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The Watering Hole - Conversations on 21st. Century religion.

Justice, suppressing communications, voting, and Facebook


The balance between justice and censorship is colliding in the US, with other interests interfering.

Justice, suppressing communications, and Facebook

Facebook isn't fond of controversy. Facebook is a business, not a charity or public service. It's a business there to make money. They have pressure from all kinds of groups with diverse opinions. These include political groups, the general public which is highly opinionated and very noisy, advertisers, stockholders, and the government that constantly threatens regulation. Yet as a business, Facebook is under no obligation to uphold any standards, or accept any post.

Facebook has "Community Standards." If you look them up you see clearly what goes against these, except when they don't tell you. Facebook Community Standards. They use "algorithms" to find posts that may be objectionable. I used to work in the AI field and had to explain it to others. Essentially there talking about "search strings" with a list of words that alert them. You can contest what they think they find, but during this Covid-19 crisis, they have fewer reviewers, so the algorithm makes the decisions. The limitations of artifial intelligence are clearly illustrated in this application. Better AI programs can actually make some sense of text.

I got suspended from Facebook for using the terms "voter," "voting," and "voter suppression," in three different posts. Just from observation, it appears that if these words appear with the word "Constitution," that triggers their algorithm to search for words it might not like, which would identify Second Amendment radicals and others, who lack the ability to understand Constitutional Law, who believe what they want to believe, and they misinform others and cause a ruckus. That's not welcome on Facebook, but rarely enforced.

You don't know you can't use the words "voter," "voting," and "voter suppression," until you do use them and Facebook suspends you. Those aren't words in their list of banned words. Even if you are espousing nonviolence and just trying to educate, too bad.

I suspect Facebook is trying to keep the noise down about the outrage going on with Covid-19 and the African American outrage over continued killings of their people. I also have to entertain the possibility that Republicans have bullied or enticed a Facebook programmer to search for certain words in posts and remove them. Republican administrations have repressed words like "Climate Change," that are uncomfortable for them. Facebook should be investigated.

I make no apology for speaking out about the oppression being done in the US to African Americans and others. The oppression encompasses economic, health care, and voting rights. A lot of people don't like my doing that. I don't like what they're continuing to do to others, creating conditions that cause or prolong poverty and discrimination. There is no plausible justification for it.

From a humanism point of view, the systemic repression of blacks is intolerable, inexcusable, inhumane, and a major cause of the problems we have in the US. You can't keep people down without negative repercussions. This is the main driver of violent revolution everywhere, and has been throughout the last century.

From a Biblical point of view oppression is the opposite of what most believe is the path God has set us on. "Let my people go," was the Exodus rallying cry that brought the Hebrews out from oppression in Egypt. "Let my people go," was Martin Luther King's rallying cry in the 1960s. Jesus looked at the oppression of the people in Israel and condemned the hypocrite religious leaders. They were the only people he condemned during his ministry.

Yet we have people in high places, using the C-Street idea that Jesus was wrong about standing up for the oppressed, and that power is the answer. They enlist congressmen and world leaders into their corruption, which excuses all bad behavior. We have other groups who call themselves Christians who believe that saying the magic words "I accept Christ," is all that's required of people. The main commandment, love, isn't considered. To them it's okay to repress women and LGBTQ and people of color and different ethnicity. In that, they are like the Sadducees in the Bible who believed that it was only necessary to please God, and everything else was irrelevant. The Sadducees disappeared with the ancient Jewish Temple in 70 CE. Accepting Jesus is accepting a way of life that is based on love.

There are endless groups who are trying to reinterpret Christianity to exclude everything they don't like, and make it somehow into, "You ask God and he gives it to you." God is sometimes Santa Clause and sometimes a slave holder.

The young adults and Millennials of today won't accept Christianity where they see hypocracy and bias. Youth are very sensitive to unfairness, and see it no matter how much verbal slight of hand you use. Discrimination against others is not acceptable in any way, shape, or form. It's expediting the demise of the church.

Jesus preached love of others. Love is not a state, it's actions. It means caring what happens to others, and doing something about it. Most don't undersand this as meaning endless support of them, as opponents would like you to believe, but rather helping them attain self support. In doing so, we make the entire nation stronger by improving the economy. By avoiding this we make the entire nation weaker because we provide endless support to the poor through tax breaks and government aid. This doesn't compare to our military budget, but it is significant.

It's time for oppression of blacks, Hispanics, other ethnicities, and the poor, to stop. It's time to be inclusive and help them get the tools they need to make better lives for themselves. It's time for the wealthiest nation on Earth to act more like other countries who see refugee problems, and assist those people who flee violence, devastated economies, and years of crop destroying drought, and walk 2000 miles to seek a new life. Instead we throw them in cages, then take their kids away from them and put their kids in cages for months. We do evil and call it good.

It's time to restructure the economy so it works for everyone. Some people act like were still in the 1700s where people could grow their own food and shoot game for the table. We have a complex society in which we are very interdependent, People suffer homelessness with job loss, and they can't understand the complex interdependence at all. Businesses own the means of food production and distribution. Homes depend on jobs. There is no going back. We need a participatory economy where eveyone gets a piece, instead of the wealthy gaming the system to enrich themselves because they can. There is absolutely no reason for poverty if we help people support themselves.

But as long as Republicans can misuse the system of voting, people can't vote to improve their lives.

I should mention that I'm an Eisenhower Republican, more conservative than liberal, and have little in common with current Republicans. I'm a realist and a pragmatist. The Democrats have the edge on morality and humanity.

The Bible calls us to be active in justice for our fellow people in major definitive passages. "But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream." (Amos 5:24 (ESV))

We are not called to admire justice from afar. We're called to "act justly." "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8 NIV)

Jesus admonished us, “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others,” (Luke 11:42, NIV).

The Bible, in endless verses, calls for justice. That is, making things right for the people in this world, while preventing others from taking unfair advantage of others. This is neither a liberal nor conservative definition and this is a major theme in the Bible. The Prophets of Israel made endless appeals to not mistreat others, and to look after the widow, the orphan, the poor and needy. To some extent the US does this, but it keeps people down, and it continues the problem.

Jesus condemned the religious leaders, and rather than making more rules to follow, or follow the old rules, that people would always find self-serving exceptions to. he asked us to love others, even our enemies.

The Apostle Paul went to extremes to help us understand what love is. Quoting from him, 1 Corinthians 13 (NIV) "If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."

It's not up to us to judge who is a Christian and who isn't. We're all a work in progress. We all miss the mark. But Jesus advised us about who to follow (who has the traits of a Christian): "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. ... a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them." (Matthew 7:15-20 (NKJV)) (Biblical fruit equates to good deeds and treating others well.)

The post that put me in Facebook suspension tried to help people understand voting suppression. Many in government are using it as a way of preventing minority votes, so prolonging problems that we could conquer.

Following is one of the posts that Facebook objected to. They were all similar, mentioning voting rights. After the posts are the reason I was more than justified in posting these.

Post: Remedies for systemic abuse, persecution, racial and ethnic discrimination, and oppression.

In this post I advocated for nonviolence, and explained how the US Constitution rectifies the problem that led to violence and the Revolutionary War, and how this is being subverted illegally by some, so we still have some problems. I mention voting.

The Constitution was written to avoid violent remedies for these things. I hate violence. We have a system of laws intended to create equal treatment for all. The statue of justice in the US is blindfolded. The law tries to error on the side of freedom. The law isn't supposed to see color, race, ethnicity, gender, wealth, or any other human characteristic.

What our Constitution provides as a remedy is assembly and voting. You can assemble in groups and protest, and you can vote candidates out.

What we are seeing at this point in history is two things:

  1. Our system of justice, which includes the police and courts, has ceased to be blind to differences between individuals in some areas.
  2. Our president, legislature, and state legislatures, try to oppress votes from voters through gerrymandering (choosing the voters they want to represent), and through closing polls in areas where people who are less desirable to them live (see below), making it very hard to vote. Even vote by mail is being bullied by the President.

The founders of our nation realized how difficult it can be for people to fight the system. They stated in the Declaration of Independence that most people would rather suffer injustice than stand up to it, until it becomes insufferable.

Rather than organizing and demonstrating, or even civil disobedience, rioting and destruction are the result of insufferable abuse and lack of accountability or legal recourse. It's a fight against the system. Leave your guns at home (including gun enthusiasts and white supremacists), and stop the destruction. Stand up and be counted.

Enlist the voice of others. Keep your focus on issues and candidates, not angry destruction. Vote Nov. 4 to remove all Republicans from office, or they will legislate against you and block any action to reform or legislate for you, as they have in the past. You matter to Democrats. Republicans just use you to get what they want.

Why would I talk about voting suppression as part of the problem?

Verified Republican dirty tricks of Voter suppression Wikipedia.

It doesn't take much to swing an election in a divided nation. If you can suppress 1% of the vote, you likely get in office. It's easer than getting people to switch votes, even though by switching 1% you get a 2% lead.

The following are just some of the instances of verified dirty tricks Republicans have used to suppress votes, that went to investigation or court, and then one Democrat one since they aren't perfect, just much less likely to do this.

2016, over 120,000 voters were dropped from rolls in Brooklyn, New York. An analysis found that the purge had disproportionately affected majority-Hispanic districts. All voters were reinstated in time for the congressional primary. The Board of Elections subsequently suspended the Republican appointee in connection to the purge.

In 2008 Georgia Republican Secretary of State used a systematic purging procedure that's expressly prohibited by federal laws. An attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund said it likely violated two Federal laws against purging within 90 days of an election. Naturalized citizens and U.S.-born citizens appeared to be the target.

In North Carolina, Republican lawmakers requested data on various voting practices, broken down by race. They then passed laws that restricted voting and registration many ways that disproportionately affected African Americans. The court held that the Republicans used the data to suppress African American voters from voting during that week, and African American voters were more likely to vote for Democrats.

In 2004, brothers Charles and David Koch in support of Republican candidates and causes, sent many Democratic voters a mailing that gave an incorrect deadline for returning absentee ballots.

In 2011 Texas an unconstitutional voter ID law discriminated against black and Hispanic voters because only a few types of ID were allowed.

During the 21st century, several states with Republican-controlled governments passed restrictive voter ID laws affecting identification cards for college students (a liberal-leaning demographic group).

In 2002 Republican officials paid professional telemarketers in Idaho to make repeated hang-up calls to the telephone numbers used by the Democratic Party's ride-to-the-polls phone lines on election day, to prevent Democratic voters from reaching the polls.

2004 Voters Outreach of America collected and submitted Republican voter registration forms while inappropriately discarding Democrat voter registration forms.

Michigan Republican state legislator John Pappageorge was quoted as saying, "If we do not suppress the Detroit vote, we're going to have a tough time in this election.

Democrats: In 2006, four employees of candidate John Kerry's campaign were sentenced to six months in jail for slashing the tires of 25 Republican vans used for driving Republican voters and monitors to the polls.

Virginia 2006: Democratic voters received calls incorrectly informing them voting will lead to arrest. False identities called voters and told them thier voting location had changed. Fliers paid for by the Republican Party, stating "SKIP THIS ELECTION" that allegedly attempted to suppress African-American turnout.

2008 Michigan: Republicans used used home foreclosure lists to challenge voters' addresses. 5500 voters were reinstated.

Wisconsin: The Republican Party attempted to have all 60,000 voters in the heavily Democratic city of Milwaukee who had registered since January 1, 2006 deleted from the voter rolls.

2010 Maryland: Republicans placed thousands of Election Day robocalls to Democratic voters, telling them that the Democratic candidate, Martin O'Malley, had won, although in fact the polls were still open for some two more hours, to get African Americans to stay home.

Texas has closed more than 400 polling places, mostly in Latino areas, since 2014. Arizona closed 200. Indiana closed 20% of thiers. Republicans in North Carolina reduced the black vote by 50% by closing polling stations in swing districts. Georgia closed 200 in poverty areas.

President Trump stated that if mail in voting is allowed, Republicans are unlikely to ever win another election. Chicago Tribune. This indicates election by theft is the accepted practice.

Closing polls in poverty areas, African American, and Latino ares, is a favorite Republican dirty trick. Republican legislator Mike Bennett, supervisor of elections in a Florida County, after long lines had discouraged a lot of local voters in 2012, made his reasoning crystal clear: “Why would we make it any easier? I want ‘em to fight for it,” Bennett made lines even longer by closing 30 percent of the county’s total. Black and Latina turnout dropped by 3 and 5 percent. New Republic

And on and on it went through the next elections.

Currently Republicans are trying to prevent any form of early voting and mail in voting. They move polling places to areas that busses can't reach, or move them far enough away that people can't get to them.

A clerk handed me back a $20.00 bill several years ago and said it was counterfeit. I asked what to do with it and she said take it to a bank and turn it in. No one called the police. No police came. I wasn't arrested. No one put their knee on my neck. Imagine that. Blacks have every right to be fed up. This is just one tiny example of their being treated very differently.

Having watched this movies since the 1960s, over and over with nothing happening, I completely understand Black frustration, that they are fed up with being fed up, and are angry as hell and not going to take it anymore. Protests will likely get worse, just as they did in the 1960s. No army will control it. It's up to individuals to reform our nation. And its up to voters to elect leaders who can solve problems instead of creating them.

The police, which I strongly support, have been trying to change. While many still use "Escalation of force" as a procedure, many are now turning to de-escalation techniques like used in other countries. They work. Pulling a gun just escalates any engagement whether police or not. The badge must be respected, as it represents our government and our people, but respect doesn't mean authoritarian absolutism and a license to mistreat others. Trump holds in high esteem Putin, Kim Jung Un, and Saddam Hussein (deceased) who wield power to suppress any kind of challenge. But this doesn't work.

So, yes, I say with respect to African American, other ethnicities, and those who live in impoverished areas, Republicans suppress your votes so you can never change your oppression. I believe I am right to help others understand, and to advocate for nonviolence, including on Facebook.

- Dorian

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- Dorian

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