It is often argued that Facebook is a private enterprise and therefore free to censor whatever it wishes.
However, Facebook and the other internet giants, such as Google, YouTube (a subsidiary of Google), and Twitter, have come to control the flow of information on the internet, to such a degree – as virtual monopolies — that they have become the ‘public square’ of our times. That outcome makes them far more than merely private enterprises and endows them with a special responsibility: Those who cannot publish on Facebook or Twitter, effectively no longer have full freedom of speech.
Governments have always known that free speech can be controlled on social media — there is no internet freedom in countries such as China or Russia. For years, however, Western governments have also been controlling the conduct of free speech on the internet – in the name of fighting supposed ‘hate speech’. Controlling free speech has taken the form of ‘cooperating’ with the internet giants — Facebook, Google, Twitter and You Tube — on voluntary initiatives such as the EU “Code of Conduct on countering illegal online hate speech online“, which requires social media giants to act as censors on behalf of the European Union and to remove within 24 hours content that is regarded as “illegal hate speech”.
This control of free speech has also brought about national legislation, such as Germany’s censorship law, in 2018. This law requires social media platforms to delete or block any alleged online “criminal offenses”, such as libel, slander, defamation or incitement, within 24 hours of receipt of a user complaint. If the platforms fail to do so, the German government can fine them up to 50 million euros for failing to comply with the law.
Two new initiatives look likely to intensify government censorship on the internet.
In France, a recent government report about Facebook, commissioned by President Emmanuel Macron, has called for increasing government oversight over the social media giant. This new ‘oversight’ includes allowing an “independent regulator” to police how Facebook deals with alleged hate speech. The report has also called for laws allowing the French government to investigate and fine social networks that “don’t take responsibility” for the content published by users on their websites. As part of writing the report, French regulators who spent six months inside Facebook, monitoring its policies, concluded, “The inadequacy and lack of credibility in the self-regulatory approach adopted by the largest platforms justify public intervention to make them more responsible”.
France’s parliament is currently debating legislation that would give such a new ‘independent regulator’ the power to fine tech companies up to 4% of their global revenue if they do not do enough to remove ‘hateful content’ from their network. “I am hopeful that it [the French proposal] can become a model that can be used across the EU”, Mark Zuckerberg said after a recent meeting with Macron.
In Paris on May 15, 17 countries, the European Commission, and eight major tech companies adopted the Christchurch Call to Action agreement. This agreement, initiated by France and New Zealand, is named after a terrorist attack that killed 51 Muslim worshipers in two Christchurch mosques in March. According to the Christchurch Call’s website:
“The Christchurch Call is a commitment by Governments and tech companies to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online. It rests on the conviction that a free, open and secure internet offers extraordinary benefits to society. Respect for freedom of expression is fundamental. However, no one has the right to create and share terrorist and violent extremist content online.
“The support shown in Paris for the Christchurch Call is just the first step. We are now calling on other countries, companies, and organisations to join us.”
The US did not sign the agreement. The White House wrote in an official statement:
“We continue to be proactive in our efforts to counter terrorist content online while also continuing to respect freedom of expression and freedom of the press. Further, we maintain that the best tool to defeat terrorist speech is productive speech, and thus we emphasize the importance of promoting credible, alternative narratives as the primary means by which we can defeat terrorist messaging.”
As indicated by the US in its statement, the problem with these government-led drives for more censorship in the name of fighting “terrorist and violent extremist content online” is where one draws the line as to what constitutes “hate speech”, and the extent to which such drives can manage to uphold the rights of citizens to free speech. In Europe, hate-speech laws have increasingly been used to shut downthe speech of citizens who disagree with government migration policies.
Do not post:
Threats that could lead to death (and other forms of high-severity violence) of any target(s) where threat is defined as any of the following:
Statements of intent to commit high-severity violence; or
Calls for high-severity violence (unless the target is an organization or individual covered in the Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy, or is described as having carried out violent crimes or sexual offenses, wherein criminal/predator status has been established by media reports, market knowledge of news event, etc.)
“established by media reports” ?!?
Facebook issues new policy, bans death threats or statement that could lead to violence or death.
FB "Unless…(mumble mumble mumble)"
Wait, FB, like…violence and death threats against Nazis are okay?
Who's a Nazi?
FB: "Whoever the media tells us." pic.twitter.com/YhdGbUIma2
— Mark Kern (@Grummz) July 9, 2019
Twitter has blocked John Lott’s account because of a post about the New Zealand mosque killer, and won’t explain its decision (see pictures). If you have a Twitter account, please consider retweeting the Crime Prevention Research Center’s tweet about this.The original tweet was completely accurate, and is substantiated here. We have appealed, but we are not optimistic.
The general claim that most mass public shooters are right-wingers is also false (see here).
Here is the opening paragraph of the Washington Post’s account of a rally by a group called Proud Boys protesting the exclusion of some activists from social media:
Hundreds of D.C. police officers descended on the area around Washington’s Freedom Plaza on Saturday, preventing antifascists from clashing with right-wing demonstrators during dueling rallies near the White House.
Who were these “antifascists”?
Police on bicycles and on foot quickly broke up skirmishes and prevented black-clad, hooded leftist antifascists, known as antifa, from erecting barricades in streets with toppled newspaper boxes and chairs.
What is the Post’s basis for telling its readers that Antifa, thugs who go around beating up people whose views they disagree with, is antifascist? It’s probably the fact that the Post also disagrees with the views of those whom these leftist thugs beat up.
It’s true that Antifa claims to be antifascist. But surely the Post, chock full of crack, truth-seeking journalists, isn’t taking Antifa’s word for it.
Donald Trump says he’s making America great again. The Post doesn’t parrot that claim. Why does it parrot the claim of hooded goons that they are antifascist? Again, it’s probably because the Post thinks Antifa, if not exactly on its side, is at least the enemy of its enemies.
It took four Post reporters — Peter Hermann, Peter Jamison, Hannah Natanson, and Clarence Williams — to crank out this pedestrian story, which runs only a little over two dozen paragraphs. Which of these ace reporters decided to buy Antifa’s marketing of itself as an antifascist organization? Maybe it was a collective decision. Or maybe they simply followed an editorial decision made by the Post’s brass.
Speaking of marketing, it’s shocking that a newspaper that markets itself through the slogan “democracy dies in darkness” applies a heroic description to a gang whose criminal behavior constitutes a head-on threat to free speech and, therefore, democracy.
Shocking, but not surprising, given that the newspaper in question is the Washington Post.
From of all liberal/proggie rags- The Washington Post.!
They may be finally realizing that they are dealing with a man that lets others think him a buffoon, but isn’t.
Trump didn’t cause the left to hate the U.S.
He has maneuvered them into revealing it.
The “Resistance” warned us that if we elected an authoritarian such as Donald Trump, eventually there would be tanks in the streets of our nation’s capital. Well, on Thursday, their predictions finally came true.
I’m kidding, of course, but some on the left are not. Harvard Law professor Laurence H. Tribe tweeted a photo of tanks arriving in Washington for Trump’s “Salute to America” and declared “The resemblance to days before Tiananmen Square is chilling.” At Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989, the Chinese regime broke up pro-democracy protests with tanks and troops in a military action that resulted in a still-uncertain number of deaths that is believed to range between several hundred and several thousand. Totally comparable situation.
Of all the stupid freak-outs we have experienced since Trump was elected, the hyperventilation over his Fourth of July address and celebration on the Mall may be the stupidest.
His critics called his decision to insert himself into the Independence Day celebrations virtually unprecedented. Sorry, but Trump is not the first U.S. president to give a major speech on the Fourth of July. Harry S. Truman once delivered an Independence Day address in front of the Washington monument. Presidents Woodrow Wilson, John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush all gave Fourth of July addresses from Independence Hall in Philadelphia. And, in 1986, Ronald Reagan delivered a Fourth of July address from the deck of an aircraft carrier, the USS John F. Kennedy, strategically placed in front of the Statue of Liberty.
Trump’s address took this tradition to new heights on Thursday. Democrats complained before the speech that Trump was politicizing the Fourth of July. He did nothing of the sort. In a speech reminiscent of his outstanding remarks last month at Normandy, Trump delivered a soaring presidential address — a celebration of the greatness of our country. “As we gather this evening, in the joy of freedom, we remember that we all share a truly extraordinary heritage,” Trump said. “Together, we are part of one of the greatest stories ever told — the story of America.”………
Millions of ordinary Americans who tuned in to watch must have been wondering what the fuss was all about. Democrats promised they would witness a partisan address. But instead, they saw the president deliver a deeply unifying speech that celebrated America’s accomplishments, and the courage of our men and women in uniform. With each passing minute, the president looked larger while his critics looked increasingly petty and small.
Far-left website Vox chose to commemorate July 4th by saying the American revolution was a “mistake” and that the country would have been better off staying under British control.
The reason? Because ‘racism’, or something.
“This July 4, let’s not mince words: American independence in 1776 was a monumental mistake. We should be mourning the fact that we left the United Kingdom, not cheering it,” writes Dylan Matthews.
Matthews claims that slavery would have been abolished earlier if America had lost the revolutionary war, failing to realize that the country would still be under the colonial enslavement of Great Britain – the very reason for going to war in the first place…………
It used to be somewhat of a cliché to say that liberals hate America, but their recent behavior only confirms that is now very much the case.
This piece has a prerequisite: Read up on the assaults on Andy Ngo by Portland AntiFa. Read both the accounts of the assault and the comments of “journalists” that amount to “he expected it,” “he wanted it,” and “he deserved it.” Then return here.
Finished so soon? My, my.
Attacks on journalists who dare to cover AntiFa’s violent antics have been going on for a while now. The recent assault on Andy Ngo of Quillette is entirely within that pattern. It’s distinguished (pardon the choice of words) from its predecessors mostly by its near-lethality.
And yes: Ngo, an intelligent man, would have known that once he’d been seen and identified, the probability that AntiFa would attack him would be high. That doesn’t mean he wanted it to happen, Neither does it mean that he was there to be personally attacked rather than to document the Patriot Prayer assemblage and AntiFa’s assaults on it. But he surely had a sense of the risks involved in covering the episode.
This is called devotion to one’s chosen trade. It’s also called courage. But when viewed dispassionately, the episode appears symptomatic rather than basic.
One of the worst aspects of our current political environment is the categorization of news organs and the people who work for them into political allegiances: “He’s for us” versus “He’s against us.” At this point I can’t think of a prominent organ or reporter who’s above such things. Indeed, I can’t imagine how any of them could stand apart from it, for a simple reason: Merely covering and reporting on actual events is enough to get one categorized.
That follows from AntiFa’s use of violence and intimidation to silence the Right. AntiFa is a terrorist organization. By its choice of tactics, it has placed itself above the law. Therefore, anyone who documents its actions, even if baldly and objectively, is its enemy. As we mathematical types like to say, Quod erat demonstrandum.
Ideology doesn’t enter into it. Only tactics matter. Keep that firmly in mind. Keep this in mind as well: Sooner or later, AntiFa will face adversaries as violent as itself, if not more so.
With every person and organization in journalism preassigned to an Us or Them billet, there is no longer any safety for any of them. Their persons are at continuous hazard. Their organizations are equally at risk. Those deemed Left will be exposed to the vigilantes of the Right just as those deemed Right have been exposed to the violence of AntiFa.
The inaction of the Portland police during the attack on Ngo is an equally important indicator. It now seems well established that they were under orders from On High not to intervene. Current trends continuing, we may expect that, should AntiFa confront armed, belligerent Rightists in a city under a Right-leaning administration, the police would be told not to intervene against the Right. It hasn’t happened yet, but it will.
The news game no longer has rules in any meaningful sense. If the behavior of “the forces of order” will henceforward be determined by ideology rather than law, neither does American society.
I could go on at great length about this horror…that is, if I could go on at all. Our nation is breaking down. Indeed, there’s a strong case that the breakdown has already gone to completion and what we’ve been witnessing are merely the inevitable consequences: the opening skirmishes in a non-territorial civil war. Attacks on journalists – and I don’tmean President Trump slagging off the openly hostile Acostas and Ryans of the media – guarantee that from this moment until something resembling public order is restored, all news is war news.
Americans old enough to remember the World War II “newsreels” can surely remember their patriotic gloss, their open celebrations of our victories and their grief over our setbacks and losses. There was Us and there was Them, and there was no equivocation about who were the Good Guys. The newsreels were propaganda as much as news: intended not only to inform but also to sustain domestic morale, that the men in the field might continue to receive the degree of support they would need to keep fighting.
That’s the sort of reportage we might receive at best. At worst? Let your imagination run free; I’m sure you can conjure up a more vivid picture for yourself than any I could construct from mute pixels.
It’s time to pray…for all of us.
In Portland, OR, over the weekend, Antifa attacked journalist Andy Ngo. He had camera equipment stolen and had to be hospitalized. Ngo has been at the forefront of a journalistic movement to document the power abuses of Antifa. In Portland, for example, the thuggish street goons have been encouraged by the mayor of the city to such an extent that even law enforcement feels helpless.
Just a few months ago, Time magazine named journalists as their “person of the year” given both the sustained abuse journalists are subjected to and the President’s ongoing verbal attacks on the press. While CNN and a number of prominent journalists have come out strongly to defend Ngo and denounce the attack on him, it is very, very telling how many blue check marked journalists on Twitter have spent the weekend either excusing or justifying the attack on Ngo.
Julio Rosas, of the Washington Examiner, compiled a pretty good list of blue checkmarked journalists and activists who have defended Antifa in this matter. It is pretty clear that many of the people who call Donald Trump a totalitarian or would be dictator are actually fine with totalitarians provided the despot is on their side………….
Because these people do not like what Ngo reports or covers, they’ve declared him not a journalist and, therefore, open to attack.
The Washington Post is all-in on stoking the fire of public harassment of Trump supporters, denying them public accommodations. So much for civility and mutual respect.
That’s the only conclusion to draw from this op-ed (non-paywall version here) published by the largest newspaper in our nation’s capital, written by Stephanie Wilkinson, the owner of the Red Hen Restaurant that kicked out Sarah Sanders and her family while dining there.
The paper proudly tweeted out its contribution to the loss of civility.
From the co-owner of the Red Hen: Restaurants are now a soundstage for our national spectacle. And the rules have shifted. https://t.co/Ig6ch7ZjJM
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) June 29, 2019
David French and his fellow peacetime conservatives are at it again, wringing their hands and gnashing their teeth as U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) takes a run at curtailing the immense power of Big Tech.
As French channels Neville Chamberlain, the fact is that unless the tech companies are forcefully confronted, now, in the immediate, our self-governing republic will be over in less than a generation and we will be ruled by a tech oligarchy.
French and his types sputter that this is outrageous, that government shouldn’t be involved in curtailing the harmful behavior of private companies. First, we would do well to remember that roughly 20 years ago, Washington, D.C. created this problem by carving out the Section 230 exemption for neutral platforms online. Only a fool would think that the tech companies are neutral platforms today. They have, by their own distinct decisions, become publishers and telecommunications companies: if you are making publishing decisions, if you are deploying broadband, if you are creating and streaming live content, you are a publisher or a telecommunications company, and sometimes both.
As these companies have changed of their own volition, Washington, D.C. has continued to live under the happy fiction that they are still nothing more than neutral platforms. What do policymakers not understand? Why are they so blind? Perhaps re-election campaign money, perhaps organizations like National Review being bought off by tech company donations—who can really say? There are all sorts of reasons why we’re in defiance of common sense, but it doesn’t remove the fact that we are.
Ask yourselves why these companies get to play by one set of rules while publishers and telecommunications companies are forced to play by others? They are in fact the same, though now the tech companies dwarf many of their fellow publishers and telecommunications companies yet still get to play by rules that favor them. This is in defiance of free-market principles: government isn’t supposed to pick winners and losers. It is supposed to create a fair playing field for everyone to compete according to the same rules and regulations so that the consumer benefits. Instead, we see it creating rigged games that allow monopolies to develop.
But this is also about what the internet actually is and who gets to decide what speech or content resides on the internet. Would Google, Facebook, and Amazon exist if there were no internet? Of course not—and I hesitate even to broach the question because it’s an absurd one. They didn’t create the internet; they are in effect, squatters having built on a foundation they did not build and do not own.
In many ways, you could argue no one really owns the internet. It is a public square, a public arena, much like the Agora and Forum of ancient times, only in digital form. So why do squatters on property not their own get to dictate anything on any level on that property? These companies were given a great deal of freedom to grow, to innovate products, and—while the Justice Department’s antitrust division pulled a Rip Van Winkle—become monopolies. To put it mildly, mistakes were made. Those mistakes need to be corrected.
If we do not correct our mistakes, our great rights of speech and assembly, offline and online, are in danger. Someone is going to be the final defender of our natural rights as codified in the Constitution. Do we want un-elected global monopolistic corporations—entities that may or may not consider themselves American companies, ruling you by algorithms? Do we want them limiting the flow of information in the online public arena, manipulating it to benefit themselves and their view of the world? Or do we want duly elected leaders of a constitutional republic defending our rights?
“This is the third tech insider who has bravely stepped forward to expose the secrets of Silicon Valley. These new documents, supported by undercover video, raise questions of Google’s neutrality and the role they see themselves fulfilling in the 2020 elections.”
I missed downloading this from Veritas’ account on YouTube (owned by Google) before they deleted it. I’ve downloaded the vid from Vimeo and I’m going to upload it on my YouTube account and see how long it lasts there.
It does so in this editorial. The Post’s editorial stance informs its front page story about Iran’s attacks. The headline in the paper edition reads “Trump steps up blame of Iran.” A subheading states “Dueling accusations raise fears of military conflict.”
Of course, Trump is “stepping up” the blame of Iran. He now has video evidence that Iran is responsible for attacks on ships in the Persian Gulf. That’s the real story here, not the “dueling accusations” angle, which posits a moral equivalence between the U.S. and Iran.
At the Washington Post, though, every story must center around an anti-Trump spin. That’s true even when the story involves outright aggression by America’s enemies.
The Post’s claim that Trump bears any responsibility for Iran’s attacks because of his hostile posture towards the regime is based on nothing more than hatred of the president. At a certain point in his presidency, Barack Obama had imposed crippling sanctions on Iran. If Iran had responded by attacking ships in the Persian Gulf, would the Post have blamed Obama? Of course not.
It won’t do to respond that Obama was always willing to negotiate with Iran. Trump too has said he wants to talk with the regime. Iran has ruled out such negotiations, as the Post editorial acknowledges.
The most interesting question here is what Iran hopes to gain from its aggression in the Persian Gulf. The Post doesn’t address that question. Doing so would be beside the point for an organ focused singlemindedly on attacking Trump.
I have no answer to the question. However, the attacks may be an attempt to save face by a regime in trouble.
JOHN adds: It is extraordinary that, given a choice between the vicious, terrorist-sponsoring mullahs of Iran and the President of the United States, the Washington Post is on the side of the mullahs, even when they launch life-threatening attacks against tankers owned by American allies. President Trump is right when he says that outlets like the Post are purveying fake news, and also when he says that such fake news outlets are enemies of the American people. This strikes me as a crystal-clear instance.
Can you imagine what the headlines would look like if a Republican had claimed on his/her tax returns that Person A was his/her spouse while still married to Person B?
But when Ms. Intersectionality does it, crickets.
At least, according to that article, the local affiliate in Minneapolis is taking some interest. But Omar isn’t answering.
I can’t even imagine what answer would suffice to exonerate her, so she’s probably best off keeping mum and hoping the national media will continue to ignore the issue. Actually, I can imagine her excuse, but someone like Nancy Pelosi would have to make it for her again, because it would be a difficult one for Omar to pull off by herself: that Omar “didn’t understand the full weight” of what she was doing.
Rather, the liar, thinks someone cares what he thinks.
This week’s Liberal Media Scream features Dan Rather ripping the nation’s will to enact strict gun control in the wake of the Virginia Beach, Va., shootings that left 12 dead.
Following the shootings Friday, Rather on “CNN Tonight” called the inaction “despicable” and charged “it speaks to our lack of honor and patriotism.”
Rather said on Friday’s “CNN Tonight” show with Don Lemon: “This story is not new. This story happens all too often, and the fact that we haven’t done anything really to come to grips with it is — despicable is the only word that comes to mind. And it speaks to our lack of honor and patriotism, in this sense: This is a national health epidemic. And can you imagine, Don, what it would be, of instead of guns, we had an outbreak of an Ebola epidemic? We the public, we the people, and our political representatives would be behaving in a completely different manner.”
Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our weekly pick: “Rather’s citing of patriotism for his cause evokes Samuel Johnson’s ‘patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.’ Rather wants government action and anyone who disagrees with him is unpatriotic, despite legitimate concerns that, unfortunately, many of the often prescribed solutions promoted by the media would have had no impact in preventing Friday’s shooting.”
Hypocritical media, but I repeat myself.
Netflix’s expressed reluctance to produce content in regions with strong anti-abortion laws seemingly does not extend to the Middle East, where recently the company has been ramping up the number of undertaken projects, according to Variety.
Netflix is working on its third Arabic original, titled “Paranormal,” Variety reports. The show will be based on a series of Arabic horror books written by Egyptian author, Ahmed Khaled Tawfik, according to Variety. The show will be produced in Egypt, where abortion is punishable by imprisonment in almost all circumstances, according to the Pew Research Center. (RELATED: Netflix Says It Will ‘Rethink’ Georgia Investments If ‘Heartbeat Bill’ Takes Effect)
“Paranormal” is the most recent three Netflix original series to be set and produced in the Middle East.
“Jinn” is a Netflix produced teen drama with supernatural elements that was shot in Jordan, according to Variety. In Jordan, abortions are “very restrictive” and only legal when it is deemed that the mother’s physical and mental health are at risk or fetal impairment is determined, according to Haaretz.
How The Media Business Works
Advancing the narrative is far more important than making a profit.
Case in point, Vox on May 8 ran an article titled, “Disney put more than $400 million into Vice Media. Now it says that investment is worthless“:
Just a few years ago, big media companies were falling over themselves to bet on Vice Media. Disney made the biggest bet, by putting more than $400 million into the swashbuckling digital publisher.
Now, Disney says all of the money it put into Vice has been incinerated: In investor filings Wednesday, Disney said it no longer thinks it will ever get any return on the investment it made in Vice — a company that at one point was supposedly worth $5.7 billion.
Even though their propaganda outlet is losing money hand over fist, George Soros and a group of investors poured $250 million into the outlet just days earlier.
From NewsBusters on May 8, “Soros Investment Helps Bail Out Flailing Vice Media“:
Vice Media just got some help from the biggest funder of the left: billionaire George Soros.
The edgy and controversial liberal media company raised $250 million in debt from a group of investors including Soros Fund Management LLC, 23 Capital, Fortress Investment Group LLC and Monroe Capital, according to the May 3, Wall Street Journal.
Soros needs them to keep churning out propaganda………..
After mapping the social interactions of 58,254 Antifa accounts on the social network Twitter, Dr. Eoin Lenihan found that many journalists from major publications such as The Guardian, Vox, and more had a direct working relationship with the Antifa members.
Lenihan posted his findings to Twitter where he put up a chart showing Antifa area accounts with their related members.
Going to do a long thread on the relationship between verified twitter accounts – focus on journalists – and Antifa. Warning, could be long.
— Dr. Eoin Lenihan (@EoinLenihan) May 15, 2019
CBS News released a propaganda segment on Monday featuring New York Times tech reporter Cecilia Kang where they suggested the US government could do an end run around the First Amendment through strict “regulations” in order to suppress “hate speech” and “misinformation” online.
Both the CBS News host and NYT reporter Cecilia Kang said the US should look to countries like Australia, New Zealand, Germany and India — which do not have free speech — as models for suppressing free speech on the internet.
As I reported in November 2018, the New York Times editorial board wrote a propaganda piece comparing right-wingers to jihadists and demanded authoritarian censorship of the internet to stop the spread of “toxic ideas.”
The New York Times last year hired virulent anti-white racist Sarah Jeong in August 2018 as their lead technology writer and made her a member of their editorial board.
MSNBC Report on Venezuela Makes Case for Second Amendment
‘In Venezuela, gun ownership is not something that’s open to everybody. So if the military have the guns, they have the power’
MSNBC reporter Kerry Sanders unwittingly made the American case for the Second Amendment during a report Tuesday on the political upheaval in Venezuela.
Anchor Andrea Mitchell introduced Sanders for his report by commenting on the surprising ability of Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro to stay in power, despite the pressure on him to step down.
“Not only hanging on but he appears to still control the military,” Sanders said. “You have to understand, in Venezuela gun ownership is not something that’s open to everybody. So if the military have the guns, they have the power and as long as Nicolás Maduro controls the military, he controls the country.”
Maduro’s socialist regime has presided over economic devastation in Venezuela, where citizens are beset by rising prices and food and medical shortages. The country banned private gun ownership in 2012 under Maduro’s authoritarian predecessor, Hugo Chavez.
The Associated Press reports that opposition leader Juan Guido took the streets to protest Maduro’s government and called on the military to join him:
Anti-government demonstrators clashed with troops loyal to Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro at an air base in the capital hours after opposition leader Juan Guaidó took to the streets in a bold and risky attempt to lead a military uprising against the embattled socialist.
The early-morning rebellion seems to have only limited military support.
But it was by far the most-serious challenge yet to Maduro’s rule since Guaidó, with the backing of the U.S. and dozens of other countries, declared himself the country’s interim president in January in rejection of a government he accused of stealing last year’s presidential election.
The dramatic events began early Tuesday when Guaidó, flanked by a few dozen national guardsmen and some armored crowd control vehicles, released a three-minute video filmed near a Caracas air base in which he called on civilians and others in the armed forces to join a final push to topple Maduro.
It’s far too early to predict which party will win next year’s election, but not too early to announce the national media as a clear loser in terms of national influence and prestige.
Pew reports that millennials have become as negative about major media as older generations, with their rate of approval dropping from 40% in 2010 to 27% today. Gallup tracks a similar pattern, finding 70% losing trust in the media, including nearly half of Democrats.
As Trump backers never cease to point out, the Mueller report undermined the supposedly rock solid case for “collusion.” Whatever the truth, a solid majority of Americans believe the Russiagate brouhaha was politically motivated. Some progressives, like Rolling Stone’s contributing editor Matt Taibbi, believe Mueller represents “a death-blow for the reputation of the American news media.”
Ironically, Trump, the man the media wanted to bring down, was largely their creation. At a party in 2016, my wife and I were regaled by a CNN account executive crowing about the company’s strategy of using Trump rallies, at the exclusion of others, to boost ratings. Once having created President Frankenstein, CNN then tried to keep up the ratings by chronicling his disposal — this worked for MSNBC which, unlike CNN, never much pretended to be an objective network. Today, CNN’s audience share has fallen below not only leader Fox, but MSNBC, Home and Garden, Discovery and Food networks.
Don’t blame Trump for your worries. Place that on the correct person, to whit: William Jefferson Clinton, you mendacious idjit.
“When the Philanderer in Chief, frustrated with Serbian intransigence in 1999, changed the rules of engagement to include the political leadership, news media and the intellectual underpinning of his enemy’s war effort, he accidentally filed suit under the Law of Unintended Consequences. The Serbians knuckled under, yes. But the rest of the world took note….”
For the first time in recent memory, the White House Correspondents Dinner did not have a comedian emcee its annual dinner. Instead, the president of the White House Correspondents Association, Olivier Knox, delivered a solemn address to open up the usually jubilant evening.
Knox focused his remarks on the threat he said the White House is putting journalists under.
“I don’t want to dwell on the president,” Knox said while discussing President Trump. “This is not his dinner. It’s ours, and it should stay ours. But I do want to say this. In nearly 23 years as a reporter I’ve been physically assaulted by Republicans and Democrats, spat on, shoved, had crap thrown at me. I’ve been told I will never work in Washington again by both major parties.”
“And yet I still separate my career to before February 2017 and what came after,” Know continued. “And February 2017 is when the president called us the enemy of the people. A few days later my son asked me, ‘Is Donald Trump going to put you in prison?” At the end of a family trip to Mexico he mused if the president tried to keep me out of the country, at least Uncle Josh is a good lawyer and will get you home.”
Journalists in the Trump era are under physical threat, Knox said somberly.
“I’ve had to tell my family not to touch packages on our stoop,” he told the crowd. “My name is on a statement criticizing the president for celebrating a congressman’s criminal assault on a reporter. I’ve had death threats, including one this week. Too many of us have. It shouldn’t need to be said in a room full of people who understand the power of words but fake news and enemies of the people are not punch lines, pet names or presidential. And we should reject politically expedient assaults on the men and women whose hard work makes it possible to hold the powerful to account.”
If you haven’t been keeping up with all this:
This is a New Yorker magazine article that you should read at your earliest convenience. It’s an expose’ aided by Bloomberg’s Trace organization (so you know the slant they’re coming from and how they’re going to characterize things) but as has been pointed out elsewhere, that doesn’t make it wrong or incorrect.
The NRA has some major problems to deal with and it looks like a lot of them are self inflicted. This makes the external threats even more dangerous since all this diverts resources from them to deal with the internal situation. And just personally between you and me, readers, since you and I only have the information we’ve been given, being able to determine just what the hell is actually going on is difficult.
Even leftists who don’t hold tight to the ‘correct narrative’ suffer the consequences. The media’s hypocrisy knows no bounds if one of them strays off the plantation.
On Thursday, popular Twitter user and writer known by the alias “Kantbot” found his Medium account suspended in the wake of publishing a piece that went viral regarding school shootings and mental health interventions primarily in public schools.
Despite a somewhat provocative headline — “Guns Don’t Kill People, School Psychologists Do” — the piece gives a nuanced look at the culture of school psychology and mental health interventions in relation to school shootings. Notably, the post veers from talking points supporting gun control measures or, conversely, armed guards at schools — the two competing narratives consistently debated after such attacks.
According to a vague email from the tech platform, the writer’s account was suspended for “hateful text, images, or other content in (his) username, profile, or bio.”
The writer’s bio on Medium featured a photo of a philosopher-esque “Pepe the Frog” and a quote from Friedrich Schiller’s “On the Aesthetic Education of Man.”
Kantbot finds the timing suspect. The writer noted that he’s been publishing posts on Medium for two years using the same bio and photo without ever encountering an issue.
“It seems strange that after I posted a popular story to all of a sudden be cracked down on without any warning,” he told The Daily Wire, adding that he “wasn’t given a chance to remove” his avatar, if that indeed was the issue.
Washington State gun owners who surrendered their bump stocks in exchange for financial compensation from the state are sounding alarms since learning of a Public Records Act (PRA) request from an individual seeking their names and addresses in order to build a database and publicly reveal their identities.
The request was in a brief email to the Washington State Patrol (WSP), which administered the “buyback” program in March. Under a law enacted earlier this year, the state allocated $150,000 for the purpose of “buying back” bump stocks for $150 apiece, with a limit of five per person. According to WSP public records officer Gretchen Dolan, the money went fast, so at least 1,000 bump stocks were turned in by Washington gun owners.
But then came the PRA request via email from an individual named “Yati Arguna,” which may be a pseudonym.
“This is a public records request. I seek to inspect any and all completed WSP bump stock buy back (sic) forms. I seek to obtain the names and addresses where checks will be mailed for the bump stock buy back (sic) program. My intent is to create a searchable database and map of Washington state to overlay the locations. The public has a right to know that these dangerous devices may have been in neighborhoods that the (sic) live in and who has previously owned such devices.”
WSP has been sending letters to all people who turned in their bump stocks and will receive compensation, to advise them of the request. It ignited a firestorm, best illustrated by the conversation that erupted on a popular AR-15 internet forum.
In the letter to gun owners, WSP advised, “Disclosure will occur in fifteen days (April 26, 2019), absent a superior court order enjoining disclosure.” (emphasis added) This offers a course of action for gun owners, but they will have to act fast. The WSP letter was sent specifically to advise the affected gun owners of the PRA request “to give you the opportunity to seek to enjoin disclosure of the records…” Otherwise, the information on the former bump stock owners will be released because it does not appear to be protected from disclosure by law.
But there is a bizarre development that turned their wrath in the wrong direction.
Coincidentally, Kennewick-area gun rights activist Paul Holgate also submitted a more formal PRA request, with his email address and phone number, and a copy of that request, along with the “Yati Arguna” note was part of the package mailed to each participating gun owner. The result was an avalanche of telephone calls and emails to Holgate from concerned gun owners.
Holgate told Liberty Park Press, “I’m a big Second Amendment advocate and I also believe in government accountability.”
He was “bothered” that the state might be building its own database, and when he initially inquired about that, Holgate said the state declined to answer. So, he filed the PRA request, asking how many individuals turned in bump stocks, what information was collected by the state patrol, any policy or procedure documents that may have been created and how the agency disposed of the bump stocks it collected.
He does not think “Yati Arguna” actually exists.
Liberty Park Press attempted to contact that person via the email address supplied on the original note, but received no response.
Gun owners are wary about such a request because of past attempts, in other parts of the country, to identify people with gun permits and reveal their home addresses. This could, they worry, make them vulnerable to burglary or home invasion robberies, and also exposes them to possible public scorn.
In Washington state, the identities of gun owners with concealed pistol licenses is confidential by law.
For his part, Holgate said he is “just a private citizen” and a longtime gun owner who is frustrated by a wave of anti-gun activism that has erupted in recent years.
“There’s a lot of crap going down in Washington state. They’re trying to degrade our Second Amendment rights and I think the state should be held accountable…I could care less about getting information about people.”—Paul Holgate
“I totally understand why people are up in arms,” he chuckled, “but they’re up in arms at the wrong person.”