Category Archives: public wellbeing

Of Rights and Regulation

0937e0e96df56c0107d64810adea3448How much security can one safely expect in the modern world?

About this terrible shooting  by Omar Mateen in Orlando, Florida last weekend. Here is some weight I have to get off my conscience. It goes like this;

This shooter should never have had access to the weapon used, but because of our laws, that so far have served the purpose they were intended to, he was.

Why is that?

Our constitution is supposed to guarantee certain inalienable rights. The second amendment says we have the right to bear arms, but it also says that privilege is limited to “a well regulated Militia” and we now have the National Guard for that purpose. That still leaves open the definition of what constitutes a Militia. Is it run by the government? Then it is not a true Militia.

The other part of the 2nd Amendment that says that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”; is also open to interpretation, an interpretation widely held by some people to be absolute without any restrictions. But that one is too vague on it’s face.

This man involved had been on an FBI or Homeland Security watch list and that is where I have a problem. Our government is supposed to be of the people, by the people and for the people, yet we have our own government virtually spying on it’s own citizens and that is unconstitutional in my estimation.

The 14th Amendment is about civil rights and basically says, and this is supposed to apply nationally, that; “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges and or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection under the law.

This man had been spied on and evaluated and yet he still got a weapon and was still not denied his right to bear arms even with the spying. So we’re supposed to think that this spy system we have now gives us a sense of security? It sure doesn’t me. It must be eliminated.

One former president said that those that give up any rights and expect to gain security lose their rights and have no security (paraphrased of course).

He’s the problem. Assault type weapons. No one should have the right to any gun that has clips that require virtually no reloading, shots that can be fired as fast as one can pull the trigger, can be altered to full automatic easily and are basically weapons that only a trained military enlisted person should own. Why? Because they have just one purpose, to kill as many people as fast as possible.

That’s my interpretation of the 2nd and 14th Amendments and although I believe that this man had yet to commit any felony and therefore should not have been spied on, he had all the rights to these weapons just like any other U.S. citizen.

It’s the weapons that are so easily available is what needs to change here. Not the constitution, but the changing of some constitutionally legal laws designed to do some “well regulating” if you will.

This tragedy might have been prevented with a federal law that bans ALL assault type semi-automatic rifles.

I believe that also to have a real lasting effect the ban should also include any hand gun with the same features (semi-auto, clip fed, easily altered).

This stance, or opinion if you prefer and I expect to be called out. Be my guest.

This is legal to do and should be done. As for the whole spying thing, another day another subject.

When is the Gun Violence Enough to Enact Some Real Changes?

Another mass killing in Orlando and yet some want to pass the blame away from guns and towards terrorism.

Another mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, and once again we have the pundits on Fox (is not) News going on TV and repeatedly spouting the lie that this is NOT about guns, it’s about terrorism. WTF?

Of course it’s about guns.

It’s about the ease in which one can obtain weapons that are designed to do only one thing, kill people.

It’s about knowing there are people that should never have any kind of gun, yet they can obtain any weapon they choose through gun shows and straw purchases or other means.

It’s about the attention (to a radical view be it a religious one or not) one person can attain, even though in many cases it’s posthumously, when using guns with the ability to kill dozens in a matter of seconds.

When are we going to have the balls to demand a change, to take measures to reduce this massacre?

Unless we are willing to face the fact that without some radical measures to limit the type of weapons that are legal to have, the amount of ammunition one person can legally possess, addressing the mental health issue or even the total confiscation of ALL privately owned guns, (don’t get your tidy whiteys in a bunch, that’s not what I am advocating here) there will be no change, or chance of any change.

I should go into the elected representatives, um, republican representatives that refuse to even pass one simple measure to make it harder to get any gun, won’t support a ban on assault type weapons, won’t close the loopholes that are used daily by people filled with hate and mental problems, but I believe I’ve said enough.

Oh, one more thing. Vote out all these idiots that refuse to do what a majority of Americans want and vote for those that will act on the will of the people and are willing to make these much needed changes.

Until that happens, get ready for another news flash about another mass shooting somewhere in America, maybe even in you own backyard.

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What The Hell Have Republicans Really Done For Conservative Voters?

October 19, 2014 By Allen Clifton

Conservatives like to go on and on about the horrific policies of the Obama administration and how terrible Democrats are. But something that I seem to always notice is missing is what their party has done for them. See, as a liberal who voted for President Obama, I can tell you what he’s done for this country: Created over 10 million jobs, presided over record high stock levels, Found and killed Osama bin Ladin, passed health care reform, saved the American auto industry, To just name a few, out of the long list of things that he’s done.

These are quantifiable things that I can point to and say, “See, this is what my party did for me.” Though conservatives will undoubtedly scoff at all of those. Because as we all know when it comes to conservatives, if Fox News doesn’t say it, it’s not real. But when it’s all said and done, what the hell has their party done for them? Let’s get a couple of social issues out of the way: Gay marriage, abortion, outside of the people directly involved in a same-sex wedding, or an abortion, how exactly does that impact anyone else’s life? The answer is simple: It doesn’t. So, continuing to fight for these social issues isn’t “doing something” to improve the lives of the conservative voter. It’s just a power play based on some ignorant desire to control strangers based on what they believe is right or wrong. But even if same-sex marriages and abortions were illegal, that doesn’t “improve” the life of the average conservative voter. Sure, it gives them a “win,” but it’s not doing something for them. Because the typical conservative voter wasn’t going to have an abortion or marry a homosexual in the first place. So whether or not those two things are legal has absolutely no direct impact on their life. (Unless of course they’re a hypocrite and rally against things that secretly they would do, just to save face with their conservatism or Christian beliefs.)

So, again, what has the Republican party done for the conservative voter? Has this “trickle-down” economics made them rich? And don’t give me this “well Democrats keep preventing it from working properly” nonsense. Taxes have remained at all-time lows since Reagan. The rich are doing better than they ever have in this country. Many large corporations are making billions. So don’t give me this crap about taxes or regulations. If those were really burdens to our economy, then the rich would be suffering too. And they’re not. In fact, they’re flourishing.

Is it guns? Because as far as I can tell, President Obama hasn’t passed a single law to strip away gun rights. Actually, the only suggestions he really made were universal background checks and limits on magazine size. And I’m sorry, but if you can’t hit a target with 10 bullets, you shouldn’t be operating a gun in the first place. And why would anyone oppose universal background checks? Have we become so paranoid in this country that we can’t wait a week for a gun? If you really believe your life is in that much immediate danger you either need to call 911 or seek professional help. Besides, are gun rights really an issue on which you want to support an entire political party? How does that make sense? Vote against your own best interests in nearly every other facet of your life because you get to own more guns and get them a few days quicker than if the other party was in charge? Sure, you’ve got a safe full of guns – while you work 60 hours a week at two jobs for $7.25 an hour because the party you vote for refuses to raise the minimum wage. Yeah, that makes perfect sense.

And if I’m not mistaken (and I’m not) didn’t Bush tell us back in the early 2000′s that his tax cuts were going to usher in economic prosperity and eliminate our national debt? So, how exactly did the opposite of that happen? That’s right, because trickle-down economics is scam. Is it this fear-mongering against people on welfare? Conservatives do realize that millions of conservatives are on welfare, right? And when it gets right down to it, welfare abuse makes up a very small percentage of those receiving these benefits. But this also ties into the minimum wage issue. Because millions of American workers have full-time jobs, yet still rely on the government to survive. And as much as it “pains” me to say this, mostly Republican states lead the nation when it comes to citizens relying on government assistance.

Women’s rights? Please. Female conservatives, please explain to me what the Republican party has done to secure true equality for women in America. Then there’s always health care. After all, Republicans really tried to fix our broken health care system, right? Isn’t it amazing how suddenly “Obamacare” is some social radical idea, yet it was a Republican idea in the 90′s?

In fact, the 2012 Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, passed nearly the exact same law while he was governor of Massachusetts. But I guess once the black guy supported the law, then it became “evil socialism.” And to this day, even with all of their objections to “Obamacare,” Republicans have yet to provide a single plausible alternative. Except, of course, “Obamacare.” Oh, and for the record, almost all of the propaganda Republicans use against the Affordable Care Act:

Canceled plans

Kills jobs

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Confusing

Those are actually all arguments as to why we need true universal health care for all. Bush was president for eight years and Republicans had control of most of Congress for much of his time in Washington. What did conservative voters get from it? Is Iraq better off? No. Did we balance the budget? No. Did we pay off our national debt? No. Did we find Osama bin Ladin? No. Did we usher in unheralded economic prosperity? No. Did we “win the war on terror”? No. Tell me, what the heck did Republicans do for anyone but the rich during Bush’s eight years? The only people who really prospered during his time in the White House were the wealthy, big business, big oil and big defense. That was it.

So, conservative voter, I ask of you: What the hell has the Republican party actually done for you?
Read more at: http://www.forwardprogressives.com/what-have-republicans-really-done-for-conservative-voters/

Republicans, Rights And Responsibilities

BY ON MAY 7, 2015    NEWS, POLITICS

Republicans need to take responsibility for the rights they hold dear as well as the rights they do not

Fringe groups of the Republican Party are quick to point out the rights afforded to them under the United States Constitution. Freedom of religion and the right to bear arms are two of their favorite topics. Anyone who dares to regulate either one is in for one hell of a fight. Yet the very same group is loath to admit that with any set of rights comes an equally important set of responsibilities.

Every American citizen is born with “rights’ under the Constitution. For example, we have a right to free speech. However, we also have a responsibility not to threaten people or to yell “Fire” in a crowded theater. When choosing to live in any society we are charged with certain expectations to help that society thrive. Yet it is the groups that yell the loudest about their “rights” that in turn are the most selfish about giving back to the country they claim to “love” so much. It is this denial of responsibility that is taking its toll on our country.

Taxes

No one enjoys paying taxes. However, American corporations and freedom loving Tea Party groups have taken this dislike to the extreme. Who can forget the several days standoff withCliven Bundy, the right-wing nut who refused to pay taxes for his grazing cattle for over twenty years and is estimated to owe the U.S. Taxpayers over $1 million dollars? Rather than pay the tax he issued a call to arms and gun nuts from across the country ran to his side in an effort to fight for his “freedom” to screw the government out of his fair share of taxes.

American corporations in turn are not much better than Bundy when it comes to freeloading. A corporation will go to great lengths to reduce its tax burden to the lowest percentage possible. Corporations such as Boeing and General Electric paid no income tax at all over a five year period. While the average citizen pays anywhere from 5-35% in taxes each year. Meanwhile we struggle with ways to pay for repairs to our crumbling infrastructure and provide decent public school education programs to our youth.

Health Care

When Obama introduced his signature healthcare plan nearly 47.3 million people lacked health insurance. Nearly 1 in 6 people were forced to declare bankruptcy due to mounting medical costs from a catastrophic illness that left them unable to work. Several years after the passage of “Obamacare” 9 out of 10 Americans now have some form of health insurance. The burden to hospital emergency rooms mandated to treat patients regardless of ability to pay has been greatly reduced.

Yet despite its success the Republican-controlled House has vote to repeal “Obamacare” 56 times to date. The reasons why they are so hell-bent on its repeal are many. Mostly it boils down to the simple formula that government-mandated healthcare amounts to taking from the rich to give to the poor. Even though every advanced country has some form of universal healthcare simply because it’s the right thing to do and it lessens the overall burden to society.

Voting

There are 206,072,000 people eligible to vote in America and of that number just 146,311,000 are registered to vote. In a presidential election year just 64% of registered voters turn out to vote. In primary elections the percentage of voters is drastically lower and estimated near 20% or lower. The result of low voter turnout has far reaching consequences for everyone.

Primary election voters decide who will run in general elections and when voter turnout is low special interest, fringe candidates often advance to run against the chosen candidate from the opposing party. In heavily controlled Republican districts, this radical candidate will win easily. It is how candidates like Senator Ted Cruz and Texas Governor Greg Abbott manage to win elections even though both have clearly broken with reality.

Abbott recently convinced himself that the Federal Government was set to take over Texas. He has mobilized the Texas National Guard to “fight” off an invasion meant to seize the guns of law abiding Texans. Abbott’s panic stems from routine exercises performed by military personnel over seven states. Abbott believes that this is a cover by Obama for an invasion staged from Walmarts in Texas that are closed for remodeling. Keep in mind, this is the governor…

Not to get lost in all the nuts, but the bottom line here is voting rights. If Republicans really cared about the people in this country and their so-called rights, you would think they’d be making it easier for people to exercise the most fundamental of rights, the right to vote. It is well understood that Republicans have been doing the opposite with voter ID laws, gerrymandering districts, etc.

It has become clear over the years that the Republican Party isn’t really quick to defend their rights so much as they are quick to defend their own interests. That’s why they are always willing to defend your right to own a gun and preach the gospel, but could care less about your right to an abortion or get married to a member of the same sex.

It is equally clear that the Republican Party has little desire to be responible. Their misguided beliefs in favoring war, the wealthy and trickle down economics has led to enormous deficits, massive income inequality, crumbling infrastructure, and the American corporate oligarchy.

So, when a Republican gets in you face about their rights, be sure to ask them about their responsibilities. I wonder how many will tell you it isn’t their problem. For Republicans and Libertarians, it’s always someone else’s responsibility.

How Republican Strategies Beat Democrats

Posted by on Thursday, March 19, 2015

Democrats can be their own worst enemies, and Republicans count on that.

Democrats need to face the fact that Republicans do a much better job of mobilizing their base, thereby influencing American politics, even if they don’t actually represent the majority of the Electorate. The GOP has the Tea Party, the NRA, the Religious Right, and the 1% all pulling for them.

It’s easy for Republicans to maintain control over these groups. All they need do is invoke gay marriage and the Religious Right is in an uproar. Mention abortion to keep them frothing at the mouth then sprinkle in a picture of two gay men adopting a baby, and the Bible Belt will follow you to the Gates of Hell. For examples see Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee.

As scare tactics have such a proven track record, Republicans engage in them heavily. That’s why they’ve been screaming to the heavens about Iran trying to kill us all for most of this writer’s lifetime. Rhetoric about a third world country coming to take America’s freedom keeps the military industrial complex on board as well as spreading fear, so that’s a nice double-whammy. For examples, see Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and Tom Cotton.

Both of these groups merge seamlessly with each other. Poor conservatives are united by their fear of The Other, whether they define that as an immigrant, an LGBT American, or a specific ethnic group, especially Latinos and African-Americans. Bible thumpers and gun nuts are one and the same most times anyway, so playing to their fear and ignorance is a winning strategy.

Now factor in gerrymandering, voter suppression, voter purges, voter ID laws, more voter suppression, non-popular vote wins, unlimited dark money campaign contributions, a little more voter suppression, the elimination of same-day voter registration, shortening the period of time people can vote in, and purchase voting machines on top of everything else.

Here you have the One Percent’s contributions to Republican strategies. They are the ones who built that platform, after all. For examples, see the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, and Mitt Romney.

As for legislation, Republicans do not negotiate. They simply demand what they want repeatedly and use the bully pulpit to relentlessly batter everyone until they get their way. They do not make flowery sales pitches, they employ hellfire and brimstone. They do not change topics or accept lesser legislation.

Republicans obstruct, filibuster, threaten, and go over the heads of whomever they have to, whether that be Congress, the President, the United Nations, it doesn’t matter who, to appeal directly to a rabid conservative base. For examples see George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

Who are the Democrats? Liberals. Science enthusiasts. The working class and union members. Advocates for equal and/or fair pay. Health care activists. Ethnic minorities and immigrants. Feminists. Atheists, agnostics, and those who reject religious fundamentalism. The Occupy Wall Street movement and anti-corporatists. Academics. Anti-war advocates and lovers of peace. LGBT Americans.

In other words, a big hot mess. Democrats have to build platforms using dozens upon dozens of issues, and many are in conflict with each other. One easily sees this on social media. For the most part, Republican/Tea Party/Conservative Christian/Gun Nut Facebook groups and pages are united in their hatred of liberals. It’s the one thing they all agree on. Democratic groups are a lot more scattered.

It’s tough to get everyone on the same page in a progressive environment. While that speaks well of the prevalence of independent thinking and individualism of the Left, herding cats is not a method by which anything productive can get accomplished. At least not on a regular basis. This is the weakness that Republicans exploit time and time again.

Which brings us to Hillary Clinton. Hillary is going to be the number one focus of the Republicans going forward. They are going to continue to launch ceaseless attacks upon her, and the media is going to let them.

Look at how much focus was given to her non-scandal email story, while Republicans skirted the boundaries of treason and did massive damage to America’s ability to deal in international matters. The latter was clearly the bigger story, but the attention given to it paled in comparison to Clinton’s emails.

#47Traitors trended on twitter for days, but it’s faded away now. Tom Cotton has cemented his conservative superstar status, as was his plan all along, and the Republicans are already piling up outrage after outrage, each offense burying the last. They know the media and the American public will let them get away with it.

How are Democrats responding? They’re dithering over whether or not they should back Hillary. A great many of them are, anyway. And while Elizabeth Warren is a fine choice, there’s no way she will win the Presidency in 2016. She could land in the White House after Hillary’s terms, certainly, but she won’t get it beforehand.

Hillary Clinton is the best shot Democrats have of maintaining the Presidency. Period. Moaning and sulking about how she’s not the best progressive choice will only split the liberal vote, and the Republicans are waiting for exactly that opportunity.

And while Democrats squabble back and forth, the world is burning. Temperatures hit 90 in Los Angeles in mid-March. California only has a year of water left. Jim Inhofe throws a snowball in Congress in response.

America has just climbed back from the brink of a cataclysmic economic collapse that nearly dragged the whole planet down with it. Republicans, in response, have repealed the regulatory safeguards that were keeping the banks from sinking us all again.

An elite minority is merrily shoving us ever closer to the edge of that cliff, and should we go over it, we may not recover this time. Should the Republicans gain more power, we can expect economic collapse, environmental disasters, and, of course, war.

And Democrats pout because Hillary Clinton isn’t exactly what they want. It’s the same old cycle all over again, and we need to put a stop to it, and fast. We are on the clock, and time is getting far too short. Should the worst happen, we will only have ourselves to blame.

Chad R. MacDonald

Chad R. MacDonald has a degree in English literature from Cape Breton University and subsequently received a full scholarship to AMDA in New York City. He is a former security professional, veteran of the hospitality industry, and experienced in both the arts as well as administration. He has been writing all his life, likes baseball, hockey, literature, science, the arts, and marine photography. Chad lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son and their gigantic cat.

Weak Without Guns: Open Carry Texas

Carrying guns openly in public doesn’t help basic logic skills

It was just an ordinary day on twitter, when I suddenly noticed Open Carry Texas was acting all smug because Moms Demand Action for Gunsense in America wouldn’t meet with them. OCT has a long history of attempting to intimidate Moms Demand of course, and I decided maybe I should call them on that.

Open Carry Texas

Yes, their members have a history of murder. Here’s the link I tweeted to them. They tried to blow that off as a one-time thing, after trying to deny it first. Hey, no big deal one of their own suddenly snapped and killed her family, it was just the one time! They’d also prefer we ignore some of the criminal records their various followers possess.

Not to mention the intimidating way they introduced themselves to Moms Demand by displaying their guns to them while they met for lunch; using female mannequins to stand in for the Moms to be shot up; along with their constant swarming of Moms Demand members on twitter and Facebook, along with whomever else supports responsible firearms legislation, this writer included.

At this point, I informed them how often I get death threats from gun lobby supporters and suggested that might be contributing to their image problems. I showed them this screenshot as an example:

Open Carry Texas

I wasn’t expecting sympathy from Open Carry Texas on this, but I did want to illustrate why Moms Demand didn’t want to talk to them. Besides OCT’s constant smear campaigns against them, that is. It took them a day to answer, and their response was that both sides were equally complicit in death threats against children, a laughable premise, and tried to dismiss it entirely:

Open Carry Texas

My answer was to say that threatening the life of a child was unjustifiable. They simply insulted me in response, and said I was the one threatening them:

Open Carry Texas

Open Carry Texas

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Open Carry Texas thinks they are the ones getting bullied. They were the ones crying “victim” in the first place, that’s what got me to engage them. Those mean Moms won’t talk to them! Why can’t anyone see that they’re nice, reasonable people!

Also, I was apparently the one threatening them, even though I’d done nothing of the sort. Unless pointing out their history and the flaws in their arguments were what Open Carry Texas considered “threats.” If so, this should bring up grave concerns as to what they see as a threat while they’re walking around with firearms.

It was during this exchange a fellow by the name of Gavan Boucher challenged OCT over how they must feel weak without their guns. Open Carry Texas didn’t seem to grasp his point, and went ahead and confirmed it:

Open Carry Texas

Whether it was because they realized they’d argued themselves into a corner; felt outnumbered by three dudes on the Internet; or because (more likely) they’d just given up; OCT didn’t try again until the next day. Which was curious, because they just picked right back up with the insults, even though it had gotten them nowhere:Open Carry Texas

So, as they were sticking with the whole “death threats against your kid don’t mean shit because people threaten us sometimes” angle, I stayed on them with how that’s not ethically sound. I pointed out how they could barely handle pushback against their own arguments, so probably shouldn’t try to justify death threats. The next day, Open Carry Texas made another attempt to do just that:

Open Carry Texas

Open Carry Texas had taken three days to issue these responses. Perhaps the organizational account was being handled by several people who weren’t bothering to check how the conversation had gone previously, and decided to just miss the points previously made and insult me as their predecessors had done. Perhaps it was just one person, with no idea how to present or defend an argument.

But it was clear that OCT wasn’t very good at debating. They’d been run in a circle, had utterly failed to prove they weren’t comprised of dangerous people, and certainly weren’t very pleasant to deal with. They couldn’t even condemn death threats against a child, instead trying to justify them with “Well we get threats sometimes too!”  Yet they claimed it was Moms Demand who were bullying OCT?

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Then OCT tried to “Rand Paul” their tweets, saying they didn’t say what they’d just said. I simply sat back and let them continue destroying their own arguments. Like what happened next, when they disavowed Kory Watkins, after I reminded them of his recent antics:

Open Carry Texas

Mmm. Open Carry Texas had nothing to do with how Kory Watkins got so big. Even though his picture is present on the OCT website several times and he used their platform to raise himself to greater prominence, they can’t be held responsible.

Oh really, Open Carry Texas? If you can’t take even partial responsibility for Kory Watkins implying lawmakers who oppose Open Carry’s goals deserve death; Hell, if you can’t even take responsibility for your own words, then how can you be trusted to take responsibility for a firearm?

This isn’t blaming guns, as Open Carry Texas likes to say, it’s blaming people. One simple twitter conversation easily exposed OCT’s inability to hold together a solid argument or even admit to their own words on screenshot. They are unable to condemn those who threaten the life of a child. They admitted they feel weak without guns. All they had to offer was hatefulness and insults. And they can’t even be honest about it.

Open Carry Texas

And that was pretty much it. They blocked me after that, just like John Lott did when he couldn’t out-debate me, and the blatantly racist NRA Cheerleader “Raging” Rob Kinnison did as well.

The surprising thing about the conversation was how little interference I got from OCT’s followers. No doubt they were trying to pile on, but I’d been speaking out against gun lobbies for a year now, and the worst and most awful of the gun troll accounts were previously blocked. Accounts, it needs to be said, with a history of threatening and insulting those who don’t go along with their Molon Labe viewpoints. Accounts repeatedly retweeted by… Drum Roll… Open Carry Texas!

The takeaway here is that the most vocal pro-gun people count on insults and intimidation to get their way. I’ve proven this before, here and here. They are certain to continue along these lines. For proof, just look to the comments underneath pieces like these. They are invariably jammed with gun lobby supporters trying to virtually shout me down.

Many of the commenters, it needs to be said, have had to be blocked from my personal profiles for vile attacks on my family as well as myself. That’s just how they roll. But there aren’t as many of them as they’d like you to believe. And most of them are in Texas.

Stand up to Open Carry Texas, and all those like them. Don’t let them have their way. OCT are not good guys, but bullies. They are dishonest about their motivations. They can’t even defend their own arguments. And if all they have are threats and insults, then just block them. The rest won’t be able to handle you, and they will block you.

But where you block them for threats and scorn, they will block you for the truth. You can’t get a clearer distinction of right and wrong than that.

“Knowing what’s right doesn’t mean much unless you do what’s right.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt