Politics & Law

Salon: Facebook Played a Greater “Role” In Capitol Riots, But Only Parler Was Cancelled

Parler’s “role pales in comparison to social media behemoths like Facebook, which is used by nearly 70% of American adults, said Angelo Carusone, president and CEO of the” left-wing group Media Matters according to an article in the left-leaning Salon.

From “Despite Parler backlash, Facebook played huge role in fueling Capitol riot, watchdogs say”:

“If you took Parler out of the equation, you would still almost certainly have what happened at the Capitol,” he told Salon. “If you took Facebook out of the equation before that, you would not. To me, when Apple and Google sent their letter to Parler, I was a little bit confused why Facebook didn’t get one.”

[…]

Carusone argued that Facebook “had a much bigger role” in the riot, noting that Media Matters and others “brought to their attention” numerous “red flags” they spotted in the lead-up to the riot, but Facebook managers “still didn’t do anything about it.”

“Apple and Google were being extraordinarily myopic and, frankly, hypocritical in singling out Parler,” he said. “Not because I want to defend Parler, but the math is the math. Facebook was worse.”

Though the article is filled with propaganda posing as news, it does as Amy Peikoff. suggests, provide “food for thought” on the hypocrisy of Apple, Amazon, and Google’s actions in canceling Parler.

 

Tweeting is Not a Right But a Privilege

https://twitter.com/khamenei_ir/status/1003332853525110784

Twitter removing Tweets at its fancy is not censorship if Twitter is doing so of its own free-will.

No one has the right to Tweet, it is a privilege. The right to determine what goes on the Twitter website belongs to the owners of Twitter. If someone (like a government bureaucrat) is forcing Twitter to remove certain Tweets, or forcing them to display certain Tweets, then they are censoring Twitter.

If Twitter bans a user from “speaking” on their platform they are free to speak elsewhere or create their own platform. Their right to freedom of speech remains unabridged.

How is this possible? It is because individual rights form a unity. There is only one right – the right to life – which is the freedom to take those actions necessary to preserve one’s life and pursue one’s happiness so long as one does not violate the rights of others.

All other rights (right to property, right to freedom of speech, etc.) are derivatives of the fundamental right to life and when properly defined do not contradict each other. Thus Twitter’s right to use and dispose of its property does not contradict one’s right to speak freely free from the initiation of physical force (such as threats of imprisonment or threats of physical violence).

Not so with the collectivist notion of “rights” which holds that a property owner does not have an inalienable right to their property, but may only use their property by permission of the collective, the “people”, the state. Ayn Rand brilliantly demonstrates the contradictions inherent in the collectivist notion of “censorship” when she notes:

“For years, the collectivists have been propagating the notion that a private individual’s refusal to finance an opponent is a violation of the opponent’s right of free speech and an act of “censorship.”

“It is “censorship,” they claim, if a newspaper refuses to employ or publish writers whose ideas are diametrically opposed to its policy.

“It is “censorship,” they claim, if businessmen refuse to advertise in a magazine that denounces, insults and smears them . . . . [“Man’s Rights” The Virtue of Selfishness, 98]

Or: It is censorship if Twitter refuses to display a Tweet on its website that it disagrees with.

Such a confused notion of censorship turns the meaning of censorship on its head:

“[This collectivist notion] means that the ability to provide the material tools for the expression of ideas deprives a man of the right to hold any ideas. It means that a publisher has to publish books he considers worthless, false or evil — that a TV sponsor has to finance commentators who choose to affront his convictions — that the owner of a newspaper must turn his editorial pages over to any young hooligan who clamors for the enslavement of the press. It means that one group of men acquires the “right” to unlimited license — while another group is reduced to helpless irresponsibility.” [“Man’s Rights” The Virtue of Selfishness, 98]

Big-Tech Cancels Parler: Censorship By Proxy?

Vivek Ramaswamy and Jed Rubenfeld write in the WSJ on “Save the Constitution From Big Tech“:

“Facebook and Twitter banned President Trump and numerous supporters after last week’s disgraceful Capitol riot, and Google, Apple and Amazon blocked Twitter alternative Parler—all based on claims of “incitement to violence” and “hate speech.” Silicon Valley titans cite their ever-changing “terms of service,” but their selective enforcement suggests political motives.”

As an example take this Tweet that apparently meets the criteria of safe content that presumably is not an “incitement to violence” or “hate speech.”:

This Tweet has been up for several years.

 

Regulatory threats are the modus operandi of fascism

Continuing from the WSJ article:

“Conventional wisdom holds that technology companies are free to regulate content because they are private, and the First Amendment protects only against government censorship.”

This is and remains true – as long as those companies are private not just in name (de jure) but in practice (de facto). But what happens when those companies have been co-opted by government officials?

“Google, Facebook and Twitter should be treated as state actors under existing legal doctrines. Using a combination of statutory inducements and regulatory threats, Congress has co-opted Silicon Valley to do through the back door what government cannot directly accomplish under the Constitution.”

“Using a combination of statutory inducements and regulatory threats” is the modus operandi or operating method of fascism.

Writes Ayn Rand on the essential characteristic of fascism:

“The main characteristic of socialism (and of communism) is public ownership of the means of production, and, therefore, the abolition of private property. The right to property is the right of use and disposal. Under fascism, men retain the semblance or pretense of private property, but the government holds total power over its use and disposal.

The dictionary definition of fascism is: “a governmental system with strong centralized power, permitting no opposition or criticism, controlling all affairs of the nation (industrial, commercial, etc.), emphasizing an aggressive nationalism . . .” [The American College Dictionary, New York: Random House, 1957.]

“Under fascism, citizens retain the responsibilities of owning property, without freedom to act and without any of the advantages of ownership.  [“The Fascist New Frontier,” The Ayn Rand Column, 98.]

The Carrot and The Stick

The authors of the WSJ opinion piece then go on to discuss Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which allows website owners to remove user-posted content from their websites (what the authors falsely claim as censoring speech) while not being held liable for content posted by users that remain.

“It is “axiomatic,” the Supreme Court held in Norwood v. Harrison (1973), that the government “may not induce, encourage or promote private persons to accomplish what it is constitutionally forbidden to accomplish.” That’s what Congress did by enacting Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which not only permits tech companies to censor constitutionally protected speech but immunizes them from liability if they do so.

“The justices have long held that the provision of such immunity can turn private action into state action. In Railway Employees’ Department v. Hanson (1956), they found state action in private union-employer closed-shop agreements—which force all employees to join the union—because Congress had passed a statute immunizing such agreements from liability under state law. In Skinner v. Railway Labor Executives Association(1989), the court again found state action in private-party conduct—drug tests for company employees—because federal regulations immunized railroads from liability if they conducted those tests. In both cases, as with Section 230, the federal government didn’t mandate anything; it merely pre-empted state law, protecting certain private parties from lawsuits if they engaged in the conduct Congress was promoting.”

“Section 230 is the carrot, and there’s also a stick: Congressional Democrats have repeatedly made explicit threats to social-media giants if they failed to censor speech those lawmakers disfavored. In April 2019, Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond warned Facebook and Google that they had “better” restrict what he and his colleagues saw as harmful content or face regulation: ‘We’re going to make it swift, we’re going to make it strong, and we’re going to hold them very accountable.’ New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler added: ‘Let’s see what happens by just pressuring them.’ ”

Such threats have worked. …It’s no accident that big tech took its most aggressive steps against Mr. Trump just as Democrats were poised to take control of the White House and Senate. Prominent Democrats promptly voiced approval of big tech’s actions, which Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal expressly attributed to ‘a shift in the political winds.’ “

A similar point was made a half-century ago by philosopher Ayn Rand writing in The Objectivist Newsletter:

“Censorship, in its old-fashioned meaning, is a government edict that forbids the discussion of some specific subjects or ideas — such, for instance, as sex, religion or criticism of government officials — an edict enforced by the government’s scrutiny of all forms of communication prior to their public release. But for stifling the freedom of men’s minds the modern method is much more potent; it rests on the power of nonobjective law; it neither forbids nor permits anything; it never defines or specifies; it merely delivers men’s lives, fortunes, careers, ambitions into the arbitrary power of a bureaucrat who can reward or punish at whim. It spares the bureaucrat the troublesome necessity of committing himself to rigid rules — and it places upon the victims the burden of discovering how to please him, with a fluid unknowable as their only guide.”

“No, a federal commissioner may never utter a single word for or against any program. But what do you suppose will happen if and when, with or without his knowledge, a third-assistant or a second cousin or just a nameless friend from Washington whispers to a television executive that the commissioner does not like producer X or does not approve of writer Y or takes a great interest in the career of starlet Z or is anxious to advance the cause of the United Nations?” [“Have Gun, Will Nudge” The Objectivist Newsletter, March, 1962]

Or in this case, signaling out and canceling a private company – Parler – which at the time of its cancellation was the most popular and most downloaded app on the internet – that provided an outlet that provides serious competition to the established “progressive” far-left tech and political orthodoxy.

What makes this all the more ominous is that the CEOs of social media tech companies are calling out for further regulation to violate their rights, which they find preferable to the pressure of continuous, arbitrary government “pressure” and threats.

What these Big-Tech CEOs do not realize is that when the door is fully opened for the government to partially violate the rights of tech-Companies through regulations, the threats will only become greater, until they only own their companies in name, with the actual company board decisions being made by Congress and the actual CEOs becoming government bureaucrats in another alphabet government agency, so that they become little more than public utilities.

Jeff Jacoby on Trump’s Record As President: So Much Losing

Writes Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe on the record of Donald Trump:

As a candidate for president, Donald Trump promised voters that his election would usher in an era of nonstop winning.

…He was wrong. In his four years as president, Trump did put important wins on the board — tax reform, judicial confirmations, the crippling of ISIS, significant deregulation, and Middle East peace accords. But the winning that occurred on Trump’s watch was dwarfed by all the losing.

To begin with, there were the electoral losses. When Trump took office, his party controlled both houses of Congress. But in the 2018 midterms Republicans lost 41 House seats, along with their majority, as dozens of Trump-endorsed candidates went down to defeat. In 2020, the “winning, winning, winning” president lost his bid for reelection by solid majorities in both the popular vote and the Electoral College. For two months following the election, Trump’s lawyers filed a torrent of lawsuits challenging the outcome; they lost every one. Last week the two candidates he supported in the Georgia Senate runoffs were also defeated. When Trump leaves office, the White House and both houses of Congress will be in Democratic hands.

Then there were the policy losses.

…[O]nly a sliver of Trump’s proposed 1,000-mile wall was ever built — just 15 miles of barrier where none existed before. Most of the costs were borne by the Defense Department; none were paid by Mexico.

…Obamacare remains in force to this day.

…The tariffs he imposed on foreign goods saddled American households with higher prices and ended up reducing US exports. Trump swore he would slash America’s trade deficit; instead, it grew bigger than ever.

Trump’s years in power have been replete with ideological losses as well.

…Trump has managed to turn Americans against pretty much every position he promotes.

Read the rest.

WSJ: Was Trump Guilty of Inciting a Riot?

In the lead WSJ editorial, Donald Trump’s Final Days, the WSJ Editorial Board writes that Trump’s actions are impeachable, but instead for the good of the country who should resign:

In concise summary, on Wednesday the leader of the executive branch incited a crowd to march on the legislative branch. The express goal was to demand that Congress and Vice President Mike Pence reject electors from enough states to deny Mr. Biden an Electoral College victory. When some in the crowd turned violent and occupied the Capitol, the President caviled and declined for far too long to call them off. When he did speak, he hedged his plea with election complaint.

This was an assault on the constitutional process of transferring power after an election. It was also an assault on the legislature from an executive sworn to uphold the laws of the United States. This goes beyond merely refusing to concede defeat. In our view it crosses a constitutional line that Mr. Trump hasn’t previously crossed. It is impeachable.

[…]

But impeachment so late in the term won’t be easy or without rancor. It would further enrage Mr. Trump’s supporters in a way that won’t help Mr. Biden govern, much less heal partisan divisions. It would pour political fuel on Wednesday’s dying embers.

All the more so because Democrats aren’t likely to behave responsibly or with restraint. They are already stumping for impeachment articles that include a litany of anti-Trump grievances over four years. Mrs. Pelosi’s ultimatum Thursday that Mr. Pence trigger the 25th Amendment or she’ll impeach also won’t attract GOP votes.

Democrats would have more impeachment credibility now if they hadn’t abused the process in 2019. A parade of impeachers that includes Russian-collusion promoters Reps. Adam Schiff and Jerrold Nadler would repel more Americans than it would persuade. The mission would look like political revenge, not constitutional enforcement—and Mr. Trump would play it as such until his last breath.

According to former assistant attorney general of the District of Columbia, 2007-09, Mr. Jeffrey Scott Shapiro “Inflaming emotions isn’t a crime. The president didn’t mention violence, much less provoke it.” Writes Shaprio in an opinion piece titled “No, Trump Isn’t Guilty of Incitement” (WSJ):

The president didn’t commit incitement or any other crime. …. Hostile journalists and lawmakers have suggested Mr. Trump incited the riot when he told a rally that Republicans need to “fight much harder.” Mr. Trump suggested the crowd walk to the Capitol: “We’re going to cheer on brave senators and congressmen and -women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them. Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong.”

The president didn’t mention violence on Wednesday, much less provoke or incite it. He said, “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.

District law defines a riot as “a public disturbance . . . which by tumultuous and violent conduct or the threat thereof creates grave danger of damage or injury to property or persons.” When Mr. Trump spoke, there was no “public disturbance,” only a rally. The “disturbance” came later at the Capitol by a small minority who entered the perimeter and broke the law. They should be prosecuted.

The president’s critics want him charged for inflaming the emotions of angry Americans. That alone does not satisfy the elements of any criminal offense, and therefore his speech is protected by the Constitution that members of Congress are sworn to support and defend.

Read the rest here.

The last-minute spectacle of the Democrats trying to impeach Trump in his last days of office will only satisfy the emotions of Trump haters while making him a martyr to his religious followers.

The best response is for GOP Republicans to disown him completely and for the press to ignore his antics.

Trump does not mind being hated, cursed at, and talked about. This is par for his course.

What Trump fears most is being ignored.

Recommended Reading:

Amy Peikoff on Freedom of Speech, Privacy and Big-Tech Threats to Parlor

Objectivist and privacy advocate, Amy Peikoff, has made several major media appearances discussing Freedom of Speech, Privacy, and Big-Tech Threats to Parlor.

Amy Peikoff on Tucker Carson: Google Banning Parler and Threats From Apple and Amazon

Professor of Philosophy and Law and Parler Chief Policy Officer Amy Peikoff (@AmyPeikoff) discusses the ban of the fast-growing Twitter competitor, Parler – a free-speech social media platform that does not “data-mine” your personal information.

 

Amy Peikoff on Ben Shapiro: Free Speech Platform Parler “Singled Out” By Big-Tech

Amy Peikoff, CPO at Parler, joins the Ben Shapiro Show to discuss the free speech site being de-platformed by Apple, Amazon, and other big tech companies.

 

Amy Peikoff on Dana Loesch: Amazon and Big-Tech’s Combined Targeting of Parler

Dana Loesch talks with Parler’s CPO Amy Peikoff (@AmyPeikoff- Twitter and Parler) on Amazon shutting down Parler, what Amazon said to them, and when they did it.

 

Caroline Glick: Fallout From The Storming of the U.S. Capitol

Caroline Glick has an excellent analysis in Israel Hayom, on the events surrounding the storming of the U.S. Capitol and how they will play out.

According to Glick, the assault on the Capitol by Trump supporters is a continuation of political violence of Leftist Groups:

The first reality is that the assault on the Capitol was not a unique event. Rather it was a direct continuation of the political violence that leftist groups dominated by BlackLivesMatter and Antifa have engaged in in cities across America since last May. BLM and Antifa rioters have burned and looted small businesses, destroying the savings and livelihoods of tens of thousands of Americans. Armed and violent rioters stormed and destroyed a police precinct in Minneapolis. They laid siege to a federal courthouse in Portland and vandalized the mayor’s home.

Democrats supported the violence of BLM and Antifa and backed the rioters:

As BLM and Antifa rioters burned a swathe across the country, even as police officers and civilians were killed and wounded, Democrat politicians on the local, state, and national levels supported them. While distancing himself from the violence, Biden supported them. In a television interview in late August, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris egged on the shock troops and embraced them. In an interview with Stephen Colbert, Harris said of the rioters, “Everyone beware. They’re not gonna stop before Election Day in November, and they’re not gonna stop after election day…They’re not gonna let up and they should not.” The media, including social media giants Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, backed the rioters. Their hashtags were trending and their violence whitewashed even as people were killed and wounded and their mayhem inflicted $2 billion in damages on the US economy already battered by the coronavirus.

Trump opposed the storming of the Capitol:

The second reality that is underplayed in the newsrooms quick to criminalize the outgoing president is that the Republicans including Trump and his closest associates and supporters opposed the storming of the Capitol. […] Trump not only called for the protesters to behave peacefully. He posted a video calling for them to stand down and leave the Capitol. But whereas the social media giants were happy to serve as the logistics bases for Antifa and BLM rioters, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube all froze Trump’s accounts and removed his video plea from their servers.

The entire essay deserves a read.

 

 

 

How Some Democrats Plan To Change America Now That They Possess Complete Power

According to Catherine Glick, writing in Israel Hayom, in “Trump rings in the era of ‘total political correctness“, with the winning control of the Senate Democrats have complete unrestricted power:

In summary:

This week’s assult on the Capitol will give the Democrats – who now have  complete control of the US government – “justification” to implement the revolutionary dogma of the thugs that torched America’s cities last year.

[…]

The day before his supporters stormed the Capitol, Georgia elected two new Democratic senators. Those elections mean that beginning January 20, the Democrats will control all three elected bodies in Washington. And so, at least until the 2022 Congressional elections, Democrats will be able to do whatever they wish and Republicans won’t be able to stop them.

Some of the proposals and changes suggested include:

Shortly after the vote count in Georgia made clear that Democrats had won control of the upper chamber, Democrat Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced that the Democrats will “study and look at,” eliminating the filibuster – the Senate rule that requires super-majorities for passing laws. The filibuster blocks radical policy shifts by requiring the majority party to convince at least some members of the minority party to sign on to their bills before they become law. Abrogating the filibuster is a precondition for Democrats to pass a series of radical measures that taken together will change the face of America.

Among other things, the steps include giving statehood to Puerto Rico and Washington, DC. By adding four new senators from these territories, the Democrats will effectively ensure their continued control the Senate indefinitely.

The Democrats also intend to increase the number of Supreme Court justices from nine to fifteen, which will enable them to pack the court with progressive jurists guaranteeing a progressive majority for at least the next generation.

The Democrats intend to nationalize healthcare in the US.

They intend to pass the so-called Green New Deal, a package of legislation regarding energy and pollution conceived by activists in the extreme margins of the party. The package will cost US taxpayers in excess of $10 trillion and destroy America’s fossil fuels industries.

House Democrats approved a rule this week that will enable the appropriation by simply majority of massive sums not covered by the US Treasury for environmental and health programs.

Read the rest.

Stossel Interview with Real American Hero Whistleblower Edward Snowden

Writes Stossel:

I once was unsure if Edward Snowden — who leaked documents showing that the NSA spied on Americans — was a hero, or a traitor who made us all less safe. Now I’ve done my research, and I think he’s a hero. What do you think? Our full interview, above, will help you decide.