We have no use for Donald Trump, but even less for the arrogant lefty twit, Mark Zuckerberg, who joined a conspiracy of Silicon Valley Robber Barons on January 6th to ban a then sitting president of the United States from their social media platforms.
Yes, we know they are private companies. So they can do anything they damn will please, including thanking the Donald for the $160 million of ads his campaign bought from Facebook in 2020 by kicking him off the platform.
But this isn’t really about free speech narrowly; it’s about the malign societal impact of free money from the Fed and the manor in which the vastly overvalued companies in the tech space have enabled the callow wokesters who run them to subordinate profit-maximization to left-wing virtue-signalling.
After all, there is not a snowball’s chance in hell that YouTube, Twitter or Facebook were losing customers, revenue and profits owing to the Donald’s massive presence in social media. The Trump haters were always free to not follow or unfollow him, or to trash his posts if that’s what got their jollies off; and the Trump lovers in their tens of millions actually brought massive incremental traffic to these platforms, and therefore positive ad metrics, revenues and profits.
The abrupt, nearly simultaneous canceling of the Donald’s privileges by all three platforms on the afternoon of January 6th, therefore, is surely a trifecta of the dumbest business decisions of all time. And if it weren’t for the political correctness of the matter, it would make for a classic Harvard Business School case study (which won’t happen) on the corporate harm that results from elevating the extraneous divertissements of corporate executives over the dollars and cents of business advantage.
Of course, the trigger for the Trump ban was not the general loutishness and crude bully-boy behavior of the man, which had gotten worse by the month over the course of his tenure. Rather, it was the instantaneous edict by the MSM that the unruly mob which stumbled into the Capitol Building that day (or was let in by sympathetic Capitol police officers) amounted to a Trump-instigated insurrectionist coup and attempt to thwart the peaceful transfer of power to president-elect Biden.
Oh, puleese! In this day and age where states drip with a lethal high tech monopoly on violent instruments of social control, what kind of “insurrection” has no leaders, no plans, no weapons, no training, no armor and no escape routes from a giant mausoleum of marble and sandstone, where it could have been sequestered, subdued and defenestrated by the US military in a heartbeat?
Indeed, the January 6th insurrection narrative is one of the most egregious propaganda confections of all time – notwithstanding that the undisputed facts of the matter eviscerate it limb-for-limb.
For instance, the statement today of the Facebook Oversight Board extending the Donald’s suspension succinctly repeats the key shibboleths, all of which are not remotely true, relevant or warranted.
On January 6, 2021, during the counting of the 2020 electoral votes, a mob forcibly entered the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. This violence threatened the constitutional process. Five people died and many more were injured during the violence.
For crying out loud, let’s call a spade a spade. What happened was the consequence not of Donald Trump’s oratory on the mall, but of pathetically incompetent police work. Period.
That tens of thousands of agitated pro-Trump demonstrators had come to Washington was plain as day, as was the intelligence indicating that some among the gathered horde were planning to descend on the US Capitol Building were the electoral votes were being counted. The “attack”, therefore, was the very opposite of the hoary Pearl Harbor analogy proffered by shameless demagogues like Chuckles Schumer.
Indeed, the “forcible entry” part of the narrative is even more threadbare than the “five deaths” canard, when it has been solidly established that three demonstrators died of natural causes, the stricken police officer succumbed to a medical ailment not an assault and the Trump protester was shot dead at point blank by an unnamed policeman without warning and for no reason.
Still, the forcible entry claim should embarrass anyone who has ever had a visitors pass to the US Capitol. The place is a veritable fortress with a few dozen very small entryways that can be readily sealed off by barricades and a decent supply of tear gas, bear spray and water canons.
If they didn’t want a disorderly and emotional crowd entering the building during the electoral vote count pageant, then they could have closed the building to visitors, invited or not, with alacrity.
Obviously, what happened was the opposite – a veritable Gong Show of confusion and random disorder.
From the law enforcement side, barricades were poorly placed, if at all; little attempt was made at crowd control via nonlethal deterrents like tear gas and water canons; the Capitol Hill police, a notoriously unprofessional force riddled with patronage, was not briefed and drilled for the event or given clear rules of engagement – even though it self-evidently promised to be the biggest, most fraught event in many moons at the US Capitol.
And most crucially, the videos make damn clear that many of the Capitol Hill police officers sympathized with the demonstrators and were likely Trump voters. So when the crowds surged toward a number of entryways, the officers simply stood aside and let the demonstrators enter the “people’s house” unimpeded.
On the other side, the so-called Trump “insurrectionists” were more like the car-chasing dog which finally caught the car but had no idea what to do next. So they simply meandered randomly about the interior of the Capitol Building, surprised to find themselves in Nancy Pelosi’s unlocked office or the Senate Chamber which had earlier been vacated.
That is to say, that didn’t come with a plan to “occupy” it, nor did they posses any of the hallmarks of insurrectionists trying to seize and hold power. Not only were they bereft of weapons including guns, swords and jackknives, but they also brought no communications equipment other than standard cells phones, no food and canteen supplies and not even a list of demands.
To be sure, these citizens behaved rudely, disgracefully and irresponsibly once they stumbled into the Capitol and should have been charged with disorderly conduct, trespassing, destruction of public property and fined to the gills.
But, actually, that’s just the point. This was not a coherent political force that threatened anything other than the paperweights on Nancy Pelosi’s desk. It was actually just a disorganized mob of 5,000 to 10,000 mainly yahoos, yokels and societal riff-raff, who originated on the margins of the political system and streamed into Washington on whims and wild-ass distaste for their societal bettors.
Overwhelmingly, they were not experienced GOP political operatives, elected officials, leading citizens or people of any means at all. They did not come to the nation’s capital city the way real power-seekers do – in troop transports or corporate jets. They couldn’t have seized and held power if Donald Trump himself had led them into the Situations Room.
In short, January 6th was not remotely the Day of Infamy it has been cracked-up to be. To the contrary, it was merely an accidental moment of rank police incompetence that enabled a few ruffians and a large, naive crowd of surprised pro-Trump demonstrators to have their proverbial 15-minutes of fame, milling around the Capitol Building with no purposive intent other than to vent their anger that the Donald was driven from office by a mere 48,000 votes in three states out of 157 million cast around the nation.
Yet the liberal elites and their progressive-left allies have turned this great big nothing-burger in the annals of actual historical putsches, coups and insurrections into a putative assault on American democracy ranking way above Shay’s Rebellion and nearly at the level of the South Carolina militia’s firing on Fort Sumter; and they did so largely in the course of a single afternoon during which the mainstream media confected the fiction from the pointless contretemps unfolding inside the Capitol.
Nevertheless, the Oversight Board quoted in full the Donald’s 4:21 EST video posted to Facebook and Instagram as one of the two offenses that motivated Zuckerburg to properly cancel the Donald’s welcome on the platform.
We quote the video text in full, as well, because we’ll be dammed if we can fathom how these words can be construed as an incitement to coup d’ etat, or even random violence:
I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election, and everyone knows it, especially the other side, but you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt. It’s a very tough period of time. There’s never been a time like this where such a thing happened, where they could take it away from all of us, from me, from you, from our country. This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You’re very special. You’ve seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace.
Still, exactly 80 minutes later at 5:41 pm Eastern Standard Time, Zuckerburg personally authorized the removal of this post for violating Facebook’s “Community Standard on Dangerous Individuals and Organizations”.
But even then the Zuck was not done. About 26 minutes later at 6:07 PM the Donald posted a written statement on Facebook that once again urged his followers to go home in peace. Yet it prompted Zuckerburg to strike a second time, ordering the post to be removed eight minutes later and the ban which followed promptly thereafter.
These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love in peace. Remember this day forever!
Sure, the bombast about a “sacred landslide victory” was the Donald’s juvenile pettifoggery at its most lame, but the point should be damn obvious. This post was actually his swan song: He told the Capitol Mob and millions of Americans following the news not to challenge the transfer of power, but to go home and hang a commemorative poster on their kitchen wall!
So, yes, Zuckerburg is a callow dilettante and tool of the vicious liberal and media elites which have resorted to endless lies and abuse of governmental powers to eliminate the Trumpian challenge to their rule. That’s been the real coup, if there was one at all.
Alas, in American democracy snot-nose punks like Zuckerburg have a right to be as misguided, petty and vindictive as the wish, and we don’t begrudge them for exercising it.
Our beef is with the 19 Fed heads who have created such a phantasmagorical financial bubble that lightweight jerks like Mark Zuckerburg have $118 billion of net worth and a $900 billion corporate monster to put behind their sanctimonious left-wing politicking.
Here’s the thing. For reasons we have amplified at length elsewhere, Facebook is worth maybe $200 billion, not $900 billion. It’s the serendipitous beneficiary of a one-time shift of global advertising dollars to the internet from legacy media, but the underlying truth of the matter is that advertising is a low growth 2-3% per year business that does not merit in the slightest Facebook’s current 38X multiple against its $24 billion of operating free cash flow.
As made crystal clear in the chart below, the one-time migration which got started in earnest about 2010 is now nearly over, unless you think that all the legacy media – including TV – are going to disappear entirely from the face of the earth.
We don’t, and we also think that once Facebook’s revenue growth regresses to the 2-3% ad industry average, its fabled margins will take a hit as well, as it has to spend more and more to fend off digital competition for a quasi-static pool of advertising dollars.
So give it a an 8X free cash flow cap rate and the company’s market cap shrinks to $200 billion and Zuckerburg’s net worth implodes by upwards of $100 billion.
Distribution of advertising spending worldwide in 2020, by market
That’s roughly what honest price discovery on the free market would come up with – absent the Fed’s endless inflation of financial asset prices, and the resulting blind worship of “growth” on Wall Street that has turned the tech sector into the most fantastic bubble in recorded history. One more thing. At $200 billion of market cap and fighting hard to keep it, Facebook might have actually thought twice about blowing away its best customer and subordinating the business of business to the whims of the preternaturally rich brats who hang-out in Silicon Valley.
Reprinted with permission from David Stockman’s Contra Corner.