A Few Answers To Questions You Always Wondered About

May 30, 2018 | No Comments » | Topics: Answers

Was Roseanne’s First Ammendement Rights Violated?

In a since-deleted tweet, Roseanne Barr referred to former President Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett as “product  of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Planet of the Apes”. 

Some have questioned Barr’s firing, saying she is protected by the First Amendment to say whatever she wants. While Barr has a right to say whatever she wants, she also has the responsibility to deal with the consequences of the things she says, and ABC also has the right to fire her.

First of all, this is in no way a free-speech or First Amendment issue. The First Amendment protects us from facing consequences from the government over our speech, not consequences from our peers or our employers. Yes, what Barr said, although abhorrent, absolutely was constitutionally protected speech, and, of course, it should be. After all, giving the government the power to decide what is and is not “acceptable” speech would be giving the government the power to silence whatever kind of speech it felt like silencing, which would be very dangerous indeed. Anyway, the point is, a free-speech-rights violation would be someone trying to, say, arrest Barr for her comments, not firing her for them. Her rights were in no way violated in this case. ABC simply exercised its own rights as a private company to decide whom it does and does not want to associate with, and it’s my view that no one should blame its executives for making the decision that they made. 

Imagine you stood up in your office and yelled what Barr tweeted. You would certainly get reprimanded, and would probably get fired.

“Free speech” does not mean you get to say anything without any repercussions in society. The government cannot impose penalties on you, but your peers can by maintaining social norms that make it socially unacceptable—shameful, even—to behave in that way. You can’t lose your liberty, but you can lose your friends and your livelihood. The Constitution doesn’t protect your popularity.

You may recognize this argument because many of the same people who now say Barr was just exercising her free speech rights are singing a different tune when they see (primarily black and brown) NFL players protesting during the national anthem. As employees of the league, critics say, these men can be punished (or, in the cases of Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid, can be blackballed by all 32 teams) for expressing themselves in a way that could hurt their company’s reputation with fans or the bottom line.

In truth, the argument applies in both cases: ABC and the NFL can both fire employees for their speech if they think it’s alienating customers. The only difference is that ABC fired someone for free speech that was racist. NFL players are protesting racial injustice in policing and the criminal justice system, but their opponents suggest they are disrespecting The Flag or The Anthem or the armed forces.

 

 

Could a modern US battalion and a few planes have won D-Day alone?

Nope, nope, noooooooope, and NOPE.

Don’t get me wrong, a modern day infantry battalion is leaps and bounds more combat effective than a WW2 battalion. One on one, it would be a slaughter. Two to one it would still be a pitched battle. 3 to 1 and it would be slightly less desperate of a fight.

But D-Day? You really need to understand the scale that was the invasion of Normandy.

First off, people think of the Invasion of Normandy as if it was just that, an invastion of some beaches in a small part of France. It might have taken place in the beaches of Normandy, but make no mistake this was the invasion of Europe. Not Normandy. Not France. They came to Invade Europe. And they brought the tools to do just that.

The allied forces comprised more than 1.3 Million combatants for the invasion. Of that number, 150k soldiers were landed on D-day itself. These 150k soldiers landed on 5 beachheads, and were preceded by an airborne assault of 24,000 airborne troops. By D-Day +5 the allies had landed more than 320,000 troops and 50,000 vehicle.

So if we instead tried to land less than a thousand guys from one modern, up strengthed battalion what would it look like? They would get smeared. First, they would not be able to land on all 5 beaches. Pick one to die on. They could probably get ashore and manage to secure the beach. Then they would get pulverized by the German reinforcements and artillery once they were encircled and zeroed in.

See, Germany had more than 50,000 troops defending those beaches. Recall all those big numbers above about what the allies brought to this fight? Now put into perspective this little nugget of truth that is not often mentioned; the allies did not meet any of their goals by the end of the first day. What I mean is, their battle plans called for certain key locations to be secured by their assigned forces during the first day of the invastion, and not a single one of those forces achieved their day one objective. The Allies took 10,000 casualties that first day. It would take almost a week before all 5 beachheads could link up, and they outnumbered the German defenders 6 to 1. Now we are talking about a modern allied force attempting this battle but being outnumbered themselves 100 to 1. Not good odds.

Not unless one of those “few planes” is a B-52 with a few tactical nuclear warheads to throw around.

Edit:

I’m getting the impression some people reading this aren’t fully appreciating the scale of what is being asked. Let’s be clear in what we are talking about. Lets pick a batalion…

A typical US Army Mechanized Infantry Battalion consists of 5 company’s (each of roughly 100 soldiers in strength).

First you have a headquarters company. This will have your comand and logistics element, a scout platoon, a mortar platoon, and support platoon.

Next will be 4 maneuvering company’s. Optional one of these could be an air defense company, or if your battalion is being chopped up to form a task force, you might trade one of your company’s away for a company of armor. Anyway lets assume this battalion does not include an air defense company.

So your infantry company’s will be arranged in 4 platoons. A headquarters platoon, and 3 mechanized infantry platoons. Those 3 platoons are your main fighting force. They will each have 4 M-2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and 3 rifle squads. 4 pieces of light armor and 27 boots on the ground.

Roll that up and your main fire and manuever force consists of 48 BFVs and 324 infantry. Plus about 2 each additional M3 scout vehicles from the various HQ platoons, and 8 more pieces of light armor.

Supporting them is one platoon of mortars, one more of scouts, and then their support personal (supply, medics, utility vehicles)

An impressive amount of firepower for sure. But they are up against…… 50 THOUSAND defenders, with full division level artillary and armor. 1400 tanks and self propelled guns. At least 2 divisions on combat hardened airborn and mechanized infantry. Prepared defensive positions. The disparity in fire power is orders of magnitude.

Chris Morehouse

 

 

How is Russia using disinformation to divide the West?

Example 1 – 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

A quick summary of Special Counsel Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russians and 3 Russian entities;[1]  Russian operatives used stolen US identities, traveled across 9 states collecting intelligence, discussed escape routes if they were caught inside the country, bought equipment including burner phones/SIM cards. This operation included hundreds of employees conducting information warfare during the election, it was funded with millions of dollars from the Kremlin. Russia was and is actively pushing propaganda and fake news to create a system that manipulates the narrative using social media sites as conduits for this endeavour. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein put it best when he said that Russia was waging information warfare.[2]

Russia’s geo-political aim is to weaken the West through destabilization by sowing division among the population.[3]  Russian operatives used social media to exploit racial and religious divisions during the 2016 election.[4] Democrats in the House Intelligence Committee released 3500 Facebook ads that were created by the Internet Research Agency, Russia specifically targeted racial tensions in America.[5]

  • Divisive racial ad buys averaged about 44 per month from 2015 through the summer of 2016 before seeing a significant increase in the run-up to Election Day. Between September and November 2016, the number of race-related spots rose to 400. An additional 900 were posted after the November election through May 2017.

Example 2 – Parkland School Shooting

Russia has been using social media sites as conduits to promote disinformation creating a system that manipulates the narrative. Russia has promoted disinformation campaigns to destabilize the West for quite some time[6]  – there is a historical precedence on the matter.[7]  A recent example would be the online aftermath of the Parkland school shooting tragedy. Russian bots flooded social media to sow discord by taking both sides of the gun control issue. They’re stoking political divisions across western nations.[8]

The bots are “going to find any contentious issue, and instead of making it an opportunity for compromise and negotiation, they turn it into an unsolvable issue bubbling with frustration,” said Karen North, a social media professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. “It just heightens that frustration and anger.”

…When the Russian bots jumped on the hashtag #Parklandshooting — initially created to spread news of the shooting — they quickly stoked tensions. Exploiting the issue of mental illness in the gun control debate, they propagated the notion that Nikolas Cruz, the suspected gunman, was a mentally ill “lone killer.” They also claimed that he had searched for Arabic phrases on Google before the shooting. Simultaneously, the bots started other hashtags, like #ar15, for the semiautomatic rifle used in the shooting, and #NRA.

Example 3 – Ukraine Conflict

This is the GRU modus operandi, we all saw the disinformation campaign to sow division during the Ukrainian conflict and their subsequent invasion of Crimea, they drummed up the disinformation campaign by promoting fake news depicting the Ukrainian government as fascists.[9]

Pretending to be ordinary Ukrainians, GRU operatives also tapped out comments aimed at riling up pro-Russian citizens against the protesters, whom they called “zapadentsy” — or “westerners.” One comment read: “Brigades of zapadentsy are now on their way to rob and kill us. It is very clear that these people hold nothing sacred.’’

…On Feb. 27, when the Crimean parliament building was seized, the GRU created four groups on Facebook and VK to encourage Crimeans to support secession from Ukraine. “Using our accounts on Facebook, we circulated commentaries informing the population of the Crimean peninsula of a threat from Nazi organizations,” the GRU reported.

The International Criminal Court declared Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a crime.[10]  We can’t forget the consequences of this conflict in Ukraine, including Russia’s role in the 298 deaths from a commercial airliner that was shot down over Ukraine.[11]  The European Commission has warned that Russia has been very successful at spreading disinformation across the European Union.[12]

Final Thoughts

Russia is actively trying to divide the West and has been for quite some time, be aware that they use inflammatory language online and promote disinformation.[13]  It can be frustrating when talking to those who share a different set of beliefs, but we should attempt to find common ground with those who believe in the pillars that make Western democracy so great – equity, representation, freedom, and justice. Yes there are institutional problems that need to be addressed and ultimately fixed and there are different views on how we can come to a solution on these institutional problems. But as it stands right now Western democracy and society is under assault and we must work together by staying informed and exercising our constitutional duty by voting in elections in our respective countries.

– PoppinKREAM