Category Archives: 1st Amendment

The Antifa thugs shame America

And the left, the MSM, cannot, for the life of them, figure out why conservatives (that’s Trump supporting thugs…) have lost faith in a level, fair playing field. This is not complicated. Thank you, Douglas Murray. mrossol

The Antifa thugs shame America

If Rule 101 of writing a book is “Turn your phone off”, then rule 101 of publicising a book is “get it banned”. The rule was once again proven this week as Andy Ngo’s forthcoming work Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s radical plan to destroy America became the Number 1 bestselling book on Amazon US. That is, the number 1 bestselling book in the English-speaking book market. How did it happen?  Because as well as being contemptuous of the laws of American society, Antifa turn out to be ignorant of the rules of the publishing industry.

For anyone unaware of him, Andy Ngo is a young American journalist who has spent recent years reporting on Antifa’s activities in Portland, Oregon, among other places. For years he has attended Antifa events (first openly, subsequently undercover) and through video, photography and written reports has testified to a reality which most American journalists either ignored or treated as an unimportant sideshow. As well as appearing in mainstream publications such as the New York Post Ngo’s journalism has caused waves online where he has attracted a huge social media following.

In the summer of 2019, while reporting on an Antifa rally, Ngo was attacked by a mob, who recognising the young journalist, attempted to stop him reporting and seriously assaulted him. The resulting injuries saw Ngo hospitalised with a brain haemorrhage. It was the moment when many people first saw the reality not just of Antifa violence, but of Antifa’s delight in violence.

Ngo is everything the progressive Left should be in favour of. The son of Vietnamese immigrants to America, he was raised in Portland and, while doing a Master’s degree at the local university, began his career at the student newspaper.

It was there that I first noticed him. He showed himself to be one of the insightful people of his age who had seen through the identity politics that were roiling their generation. Ngo had pointed out that as a person of colour, of immigrant heritage who happened to be gay, his politics and outlook on the world should have been ordained for him. The radical left clearly thought they should be able to speak for him, and yet they clearly did not. Ngo asserted the right — whatever his characteristics — to be allowed to think for himself and not to be told that he had to fall in line with some specific political project because of his background.

In subsequent years, as he progressed with his journalistic career, Ngo was consistently not just treated differently but singled out for specific attack. As his reporting from his home town began to get noticed the radical Left tried exceptionally hard to take him out. Online campaigns increasingly influenced mainstream publications to claim that Ngo was in some ways a partisan, political actor, motivated by malice and bigotry. Since it is hard to portray a quiet gay member of an ethnic minority as some kind of alt-right, white nationalist they made the most extreme claims possible about him, following the tactic that if you make the most outlandish and damaging allegations about a person then some of it will stick.

They partly proved the utility of that tactic. Antifa and their fellow travellers spent years claiming that Ngo was in league with the far-Right and that his presence reporting from demonstrations by “the Proud Boys” and other Right-wing groups was in fact proof that he was a member or supporter. Having got away with such claims they pushed further, pretending that the person they were targeting was in fact targeting them.

They claimed that by identifying individuals who had been at protests, or who had been arrested, Ngo was “doxing” (releasing the home address or other personal details) of rioters. In fact, as so often, they were simply accusing an opponent of doing something that they were doing themselves. A campaign of harassment by Antifa activists picked up pace. Forced to get security cameras at his parent’s home, Ngo filmed Antifa activists turning up there. On one occasion they did a pseudo-intelligence service sweep to “affirm” that the address was one Ngo lived at. On another they turned up in masks with Ngo’s own face on them. It was a campaign of harassment that the Portland authorities took no interest in.

Even when Ngo was seriously attacked the same authorities could not rally themselves. When a journalist was assaulted and hospitalised in broad daylight — on camera — the Portland city politicians and police spent no time trying to identify what had happened or who might be culpable. To date, nobody has been charged for the attack. If things continue to go badly wrong in the US one reason will be that so many people were able to see — spelt out in actions as well as words — that elected officials and law enforcement took so little interest in the activities of far-Left militia groups that they allowed them to pick journalists off with impunity.

So it has gone on. Last October, while in Portland ahead of the US election I went on a tour of the Downtown area of the city with Ngo and was disgusted to see graffiti everywhere calling for his murder. “Kill Andy Ngo” was written in huge blood-red letters on the boarding of one of the endless number of buildings boarded up because of riots. The one remaining statue in the centre of town (a World War II memorial) was also plastered in graffiti attacking him. In most of the developed world, having your city daubed in graffiti calling for the murder of a journalist would be regarded as a matter of shame. In Portland the authorities clearly did not care, and none thought it worth acting on.

Last November the ineffectual Mayor of the city, Ted Wheeler, was re-elected over an Antifa-backed candidate. To say that he has lost control of his city is an understatement; the city authorities have allowed rioting for months, even resisting federal requests to assist law enforcement. Wheeler was chased out of his own apartment block and earlier this month was assaulted in a restaurant. None of the placation seems to have worked.

But this week the activists of Antifa returned to one of their favourite targets: the journalist whose factual reporting seems to get under their skin so much. Learning of the imminent publication of Ngo’s book they began a campaign to try to force bookstores in America not to stock Ngo’s book.

Their targets included Powell’s bookstore in Portland, where a group of Antifa protested this week, screaming at management and causing the bookstore to close as a safety precaution. The shop pleaded for mercy, insisting in a published statement that “This book will not be placed on our shelves… We will not promote it. That said, it will remain in our online catalog. We carry a lot of books we find abhorrent, as well as those that we treasure.”

America’s fearless and impartial media covered this as well as can be expected.  In a report on the Portland bookstore protest ABC news wrote that “Author Andy Ngo is known for aggressively covering and video-recording demonstrators.” What is this “aggressive” coverage? How does it differ from ABC’s own brand of journalism?  Does ABC favour “mild” reporting or “milquetoast” video-recording of rioters? Apparently so.

The “news organisation” continued: “In 2019, Ngo said he was targeted and suffered brain injuries when he was assaulted while covering protests in Portland.” What is this “said he was”? Either Ngo was assaulted and hospitalised or he wasn’t. It should not be hard for ABC to find this out for themselves. But in this and other ways, the effectiveness of Antifa’s tactics over recent years can be seen. Spread enough ordure around a figure, find people in the mainstream media sympathetic to some of your aims and intentions and you can subtly or not so subtly rewrite and reframe actual events and cast a victim as some type of sinister perpetrator.

For now Antifa’s tactics have worked not just in influencing some of the mainstream media but in — among other things — chasing Ngo from his home, and indeed out of his country of birth. Like his parents before him, Ngo has ended up leaving a country in which his life is in danger. That this country is the United States is shaming.

But there is one upside. Attempts to ban books do not go down well in all quarters outside of Oregon, and ahead of its release next month UnMasked shot up the online bestseller lists. And if bookstores do not stock the work then they will simply lose even more business to their online competitors. Amazon will still sell it, and this week UnMasked was selling in droves. Andy Ngo is not a victim, but thanks to Antifa he is now a Number 1 bestselling author. Which is the best reply imaginable.

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Capitol Siege Was ‘Vile’ but Left’s Suppression of Free Speech Is Worse

He says it better than me. Legitimate protestors could have made their point without breaking into the capital. I hope [my confidence is not that high] that the investigations will expose who was really behind the violence. But how many fires were set? How many police vehicles burned, trashed? Pick some metrics and evaluate the summer riots vs the January six protest. In the metrics include the MSM’s and Democrat’s description and support of… mrossol.

 
 
 
The Epoch Times – January 13, 2021 
 

Radio talk show host and columnist Dennis Prager said in an interview with The Epoch Times’ American Thought Leaders program Tuesday that, while last week’s violent siege of the U.S. Capitol was “vile” and “disgusting” and worthy of condemnation, the ongoing suppression of free speech in America by the left poses a bigger threat.

Prager was responding to a question about criticism leveled by some media personalities against some conservatives and “China hawks” who they accuse of being much more concerned about denouncing censorship and curtailment of freedom of speech rather than criticizing the Capitol riot.

The two are “incomparably imbalanced” in terms of the actual threat they pose to America, Prager said. While denouncing last Wednesday’s unrest, Prager argued that it did not threaten the U.S. nearly as much as the suppression of free speech.

“The whole point of America was freedom,” he said. “The left is suppressing, oppressing the greatest feature of the United States.”

“What threatens the country? A foolish, stupid, wrongheaded, vile attack on the Capitol, which reopened for business within hours, versus the ongoing suppression of free speech? It’s not symmetrical.”

“There’s no comparison,” he said. “The disgusting events of January 6 do not threaten this country nearly as much as the suppression of free speech does,” he contended.

While a full reckoning of the attack on the Capitol has yet to be completed as investigations by the Justice Department and the FBI have only just gotten underway, there is a long historical record of the consequences of leftist repression, Prager said.

The left suppresses liberty everywhere it takes power—there is no exception,” he said, noting the presence of numerous examples in the last 100 years of communist regimes committing egregious acts of oppression against their own people.

And it is happening, incredibly, in the country of the Statue of Liberty and the Liberty Bell, for which they have contempt,” he said, adding that he sees evidence that the left is exploiting the Capitol siege to dial-up restrictions on freedom of expression.

There was no exception in the last 100 years to the left taking power and not suppressing free speech,” he said, adding that, “they’re using January 6 as the excuse to do so” now.

Amazon taking down Parler is a “perfect example” of this, he said. On Monday morning, Amazon Web Services took down Parler, sparking debate about whether the suspension was about stifling free speech.

In reply to a lawsuit brought by Parler, Amazon Web Services said Wednesday that, “This case is not about suppressing speech or stifling viewpoints. It is not about a conspiracy to restrain trade.”

“Instead, this case is about Parler’s demonstrated unwillingness and inability to remove from the servers of Amazon Web Services (‘AWS’) content that threatens the public safety, such as by inciting and planning the rape, torture, and assassination of named public officials and private citizens,” the company said.

The CEO of Parler, John Matze, has condemned calls for violence on his platform.

“We would never condone it, we have a lot of things in place to stop it,” said Matze of users inciting violence, adding that Parler is about free speech.

Meanwhile, following the Jan. 6 unrest, social media giants Twitter and Facebook announced stricter measures on their platforms. Facebook is targeting content with the phrase “stop the steal,” a reference to claims of election fraud, while Twitter is taking aim at accounts that focus on the QAnon movement.

Follow Tom on Twitter: @OZImekTOM

https://www.theepochtimes.com/dennis-prager-capitol-siege-was-vile-but-lefts-suppression-of-free-speech-is-worse_3655365.html?utm_source=news&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=breaking-2021-01-13-4

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World Leaders Denounce Big Tech Censorship

I have struggled over the years with Europe’s “harsh treatment” of some American companies, but I have having second thoughts. I am hearing things from there that should be coming from America. I am afraid the American Elites do not have an appreciation for what our First Amendment cost those who secured that right. mrossol

The Epoch Times, BY VICTORIA KELLY-CLARK
 
January 12, 2021 
 

Political elites worldwide have criticized big tech companies for banning President Donald Trump from their social media platforms.

At present, the president has been banned from Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, Reddit, and Instagram.

Twitter permanently removed Trump’s account, saying that his recent posts were in violation of the “Glorification of Violence Policy.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Twitter’s ban on Trump “problematic,” and said that freedom of opinion is an essential right of “elementary significance,” her spokesperson, Steffen Siebert, said on Jan 11.

“This fundamental right can be intervened in, but according to the law and within the framework defined by legislators—not according to a decision by the management of social media platforms,” Siebert said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel answers questions about the German government’s policy at the parliament Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany, on Dec. 16, 2020 (Markus Schreiber/AP Photo).

“Seen from this angle, the chancellor considers it problematic that the accounts of the U.S. president have now been permanently blocked,” he said.

Members of the French government agreed.

Clement Beaune, the junior minister for European Union affairs, said he was “shocked” a private company made this kind of decision.

“This should be decided by citizens, not by a CEO,” he told Bloomberg TV on Monday. “There needs to be public regulation of big online platforms.”

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire also condemned the move and said that tech giants were part of a digital oligarchy that was a threat to democracy.

Manfred Weber, the leader of the European People’s Party—a centre-right political party—echoed Beaune and called for Big Tech firms to be regulated.

“We cannot leave it to American Big Tech to decide how we can or cannot discuss online. Today’s mechanisms destroy the compromise searching and consensus-building that are crucial in free and democratic societies. We need a stricter regulatory approach,” he wrote on Twitter on Jan. 11.

Meanwhile, Norway’s left-wing Labor Party leader Jonas Gahr Støre said that Big Tech censorship threatens political freedom around the world.

He said Twitter needs to apply the same standard globally that it did to Trump.

“This is a line where freedom of expression is also at stake,” said Støre. “If Twitter starts with this sort of thing, it means that they have to go around the world and look at other people completely astray, and shut them out.”

Epoch Times Photo
Then Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack in Parliament House in Canberra December 16, 2020. (Sam Mooy/Getty Images)

The Australian government has also called the ban on Trump an act of “censorship.”

Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack said, “There’s been a lot of people who have said and done a lot of things on Twitter previously that haven’t received that sort of condemnation or indeed censorship. I’m not one who believes in that sort of censorship.”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he was uncomfortable with Twitter’s ban on Trump. “Those decisions were taken by commercial companies, but personally, I felt uncomfortable with what they did,” he said.

Quoting Voltaire’s famous line: “I may not agree with what you say, but I defend the right to say it,” Frydenberg said that freedom of speech is fundamental to a democratic society.

Fellow Liberal Party member and senator, Alex Antic, said he will push for a Senate Select Committee into Big Tech’s influence and censorship of political ideas when the Australian Parliament resumes next month.

Antic told The Epoch Times on Jan. 12 that he is concerned that Big Tech can so easily censor one side of the debate.

“Our democratic process is founded on our ability to share ideas freely and to be exposed to challenging and opposing viewpoints. It is crucial to the integrity of that process that Big Tech companies do not censor one side of the debate,” Antic said.

Mexican President Manuel López Obrador also echoed his global counterparts, with Reuters reporting that he said it was a bad sign when private companies try to censor opinion.

Obrador said a “court of censorship like an inquisition to manage public opinion.”

“I don’t like anybody being censored or taking away from the right to post a message on Twitter or Face(book),” he said.

In Russia, the opposition leader, Alexey Navalny, who is an outspoken anti-corruption campaigner, said he believed the ban was an unacceptable form of censorship and was based not on a genuine need but rather Twitter’s political preferences.

In a thread posted on the platform on Jan. 10, Navalny said: “Don’t tell me he was banned for violating Twitter rules. I get death threats here every day for many years, and Twitter doesn’t ban anyone.”

Alexei Navalny
Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny gestures while speaking to a crowd during a political protest on in Moscow, on July 20, 2019. (Pavel Golovkin/AP Photo)

He noted that this pattern had been seen before in both Russian and China when big companies utilise their position to become a government best friend and enabler when it comes to state-based censorship laws.

“This precedent will be exploited by the enemies of freedom of speech around the world. In Russia as well. Every time when they need to silence someone, they will say: ‘this is just common practice, even Trump got blocked on Twitter,’” he wrote on Twitter.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/world-leaders-denounce-big-tech-censorship-of-us-president-donald-trump_3652983.html?utm_source=news&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=breaking-2021-01-12-1

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