Category Archives: Censorship

Venn Diagram of Freedom’s Threats: Kim Jong Un-Reliable North Korea Intersects Amazon Servers

The Epoch Times – January 17, 2021 Upda

Commentary by Austin Bay

Strategists know trying to see the geopolitical battlefield from an adversary’s point of view is useful, particularly the view of an adversary with a couple of nuclear weapons and a legacy of provocative violence.

I can’t really enter the mind of North Korean dictator and chain-smoking lard tub Kim Jong Un, so his point of view, rendered as a geopolitical scenario, must be surmised.

Surmised, however, within reason. Invoking reason in these sketchy times stretches credulity, but I’ve reports attributable to Kim himself and sourced by somewhat reliable wire services, reliable South Korean media and subservient North Korean propaganda outlets, the last of which, of course, are Un-reliable.

Full stop. The pun captures North Korea’s vicious totalitarian context. Unfortunately, it has American domestic political and constitutional implications. Examples: Jeff Bezos-Reliable Amazon servers shutting down free speech outlet Parler. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi-Reliable New York Times/CNN/mainstream media refusing to cover the Hunter Biden-communist China corruption story until after the election.

Background. Amazon’s Bezos-Reliable servers denied center-right social media platform Parler access to its servers. That constitutes a brutal, hideous attack on free speech, which is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. A nuke attack? In digital and financial terms, yes, it was a nuke wipeout of Parler.

If you don’t know what I just referenced, then you live in an information-contaminated silence zone—with Amazon the likely silencing system.

I urge you to escape the destructive silence.

Unlike North Korea, Amazon didn’t threaten a nuke attack on free speech. Amazon just did.

We return to the Korean peninsula. The physical devastation of North Korean nuclear weapons is a threat to life in East Asia and North America, and a threat to the global economy, as nuking South Korea, Japan, the United States—aye, China—would murder millions and cause a global economic depression.

Alas, billionaires like Bezos, Amazon’s tech and marketing white-guy genius and biggest shareholder, would likely sleaze through the nuclear economic wreckage.

Maybe. Mr. Bezos—may I call you Jeff? Jeff, listen to me, even though I’m a Republican. Silicon Valley, California, is on Kim’s target list, just like Austin, Texas, where Samsung has its Western Hemisphere lab and where I live.

Kim hates Samsung because it’s a free-enterprise success.

Amazon is a free-enterprise success.

Jeff, bubba. Free enterprise is directly connected to freedom of speech. Check Tom Locke, Thomas Jefferson, Adam Smith—super-genius dead white guys.

Shutting down Parler, Jeff, which you did via a corporate cutout (Amazon), tells me you don’t think of the U.S. Constitution as your protector. Do you really think sucking up to a Democratic Congress and administration will protect your corporate bottom line?

See 1938 and appeasement with Nazi Germany. Did suck-up Neville Chamberlain buy peace in his time?

Back to North Korea: Jeff, play it safe and build a bunker in the Falkland Islands. Check the range of North Korean missiles. In the Falklands, you hunker in a South Atlantic British territory, safe from all but a lucky Kim intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) hit. Plus, you’ve access to courts that more or less protect human rights and your bank accounts. Don’t sweat the Argentines; they don’t have nukes. And you can buy their leaders off with $3 billion or $4 billion.

Don’t you dare argue that one. Look at what the Chinese did with Hunter Biden for a few measly million. You and your pals squelched the Biden corruption info before the election, but, Jeff, it’s a blackmail dagger at the throat of President-elect Joe Biden’s administration.

We return to Kim Jong Un, Little Rocket Man.

In 2021, it appears Kim doesn’t know quite what to do. President Donald Trump’s coercive diplomacy put him in a bind. Trump told Kim he should seek condos, not craters. The concept dazzled him. My theory: Kim likes knockout lookers, just like you do, Jeff. And lookers like condos with swimming pools, not bloody craters.

Oh, yes, the wire service evidence. At the Workers’ Party Congress in early January, Kim acknowledged North Korea faces multiple crises. He said he intends to expand his nuclear arsenal. But, Jeff, Kim’s lost.

North Korea faces a COVID-19 crisis. It is also totally broke. But between you and me, Jeff, he knows Beijing has blackmail goods on Joe Biden.

It’s a guess, Jeff. Go ahead; kick me off your servers.

Austin Bay is a colonel (ret.) in the U.S. Army Reserve, author, syndicated columnist, and teacher of strategy and strategic theory at the University of Texas–Austin. His latest book is “Cocktails from Hell: Five Wars Shaping the 21st Century.”

https://www.theepochtimes.com/venn-diagram-of-freedoms-threats-kim-jong-un-reliable-north-korea-intersects-amazon-servers_3655437.html

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Online Censorship Cancels the Right of Free Speech

“Once a government is committed to silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens creating a country where everyone lives in fear.”

The Epoch Times – 1/15/2021


Commentary: Diane Dimond
 

There’s an astonishing trend afoot, and if something isn’t done to stop it in its ugly tracks, your right to freely express an opinion is in jeopardy.

President Donald Trump may be the most reviled person in the United States right now, but the moves to silence him in the public square—and others who have espoused similar ideologies—is a chilling reality.

Social media platforms TwitterFacebook, and Instagram have announced plans to permanently remove all Trump accounts. Not just until he leaves office but forever.

In what universe is it OK to eternally bar an American citizen from exercising his or her fundamental right to free speech at a place where millions gather to exchange ideas? And how unbalanced is Twitter’s expulsion policy when it allows Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to post all sorts of violent and hate-filled posts about the United States, Israel, and other perceived enemies on its platform?

The ayatollah is OK, but the president of the United States is not?

Am I the only one who wants to read what our chief executive is thinking, no matter what the message might be? Better to know what the powerful are up to than to ignore them. Everyone should be alarmed about being cut off from the most powerful person on the planet.

In addition to social media forever muzzling the president, prominent tech companies controlling app distribution—Google and Apple—dropped the Parler app from their offerings. Parler is described as “the conservative alternative to Twitter” and was a logical choice for Trump’s next social media home.

In what seemed to be a coordinated effort, Amazon quickly piled on and informed Parler that its home on the internet would be annihilated. That prompted a lawsuit from Parler.

The stated reason for removing Parler’s fast-growing app? Parler doesn’t do enough fast enough to delete questionable posts that promote violence and crime. Reportedly, some users partially planned the U.S. Capitol siege via Parler.

Interesting that similar steps weren’t taken against Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram when those platforms were used to coordinate last year’s left-wing demonstrations, which frequently turned violent. Why the censorship double standard?

Interesting, too, that a Simon & Schuster book deal was just abruptly canceled with Republican Sen. Josh Hawley after he objected to some of the 2020 election results. The book’s title? “The Tyranny of Big Tech.” See the pattern here? Trump, Parler, Hawley. Forced silencing of conservative (only) opinion. Shockingly obvious.

Many of the 74 million Trump voters believe these banishment moves were carried out to curry favor with the incoming Democratic administration. Maybe, but this really isn’t about politics. It’s about a form of censorship, fair treatment for all ideologies, and everyone’s constitutionally protected right to freely express their opinions.

An exception: If someone is online inciting hate speech or plotting violence, that is a crime and a job for law enforcement, which has been maddeningly slow to root out internet-based clues before mayhem occurs.

Even progressive Democratic U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have called for breaking up large tech companies. And the liberal-leaning American Civil Liberties Union has issued warnings about Big Tech becoming an unwanted Big Brother.

“It should concern everyone when companies like Facebook and Twitter wield the unchecked power to remove people from platforms that have become indispensable for the speech of billions,” an ACLU lawyer wrote.

In other words, if some geeky bro in Silicon Valley can decide to permanently kick Donald Trump to the digital curb, you could be next.

Last week, I wrote to support social media’s temporary ban of Trump’s accounts. In the wake of the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol, it seemed to me to be a necessary step—like placing a belligerent child in the corner for a timeout. But forever denying an American citizen the freedom to express their opinion—whether it’s an opinion the majority shares or not—is anathema to everything we stand for in this country.

The argument that “Well, these are private companies, so they can do what they want” just doesn’t cut it. Big Tech has, collectively, become a monster monopoly of public discourse. And worse yet, our Congress has given them that power and has allowed them to misuse it.

As Harry Truman once said, “Once a government is committed to silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens creating a country where everyone lives in fear.”

Amen to that.

Diane Dimond is an author and investigative journalist. Her latest book is “Thinking Outside the Crime and Justice Box.”

https://www.theepochtimes.com/online-censorship-cancels-the-right-of-free-speech_3658794.html

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Ideological Alignment Pushing America Toward Totalitarianism, Experts Warn

“Can U.S. Spy Agencies Stop White Terror?” Daily Beast’s Jeff Stein asked in a recent headline, concluding that a call for “secret police” to sniff out “extremist” Americans “may well get renewed attention.”

Unless “we the people” say “No!” this will be the reality. mrossol

The Epoch Times – 1/20/2021 

Concerns over the nexus of big tech, big media, and big government
 

The formation of a totalitarian state is just about complete in America as the most powerful public and private sector actors unify behind the idea that actions to stamp out dissent can be justified, according to several experts on modern totalitarian ideologies.

While many have warned about the rise of fascism or socialism in “the land of the free,” the ideas have largely been vague or fragmented, focusing on individual events or actors. Recent events, however, indicate that seemingly unconnected pieces of the oppression puzzle are fitting together to form a comprehensive system, according to Michael Rectenwald, a retired liberal arts professor at New York University.

But many Americans, it appears, have been caught off guard or aren’t even aware of the newly forming regime, as the idea of elected officials, government bureaucrats, large corporations, the establishment academia, think tanks and nonprofits, the legacy media, and even seemingly grassroot movements all working in concert toward some evil purpose seems preposterous. Is a large portion of the country in on a conspiracy?

The reality now emerges that no massive conspiracy was in fact needed—merely an ideological alignment and some informal coordination, Rectenwald argues.

Despite the lack of formal overarching organization, the American socialist regime is indeed totalitarian, as the root of its ideology requires politically motivated coercion, he told The Epoch Times. The power of the regime is not yet absolute but it’s becoming increasingly effective as it erodes the values, checks, and balances against tyranny established by traditional beliefs and enshrined in the American founding.

The effects can be seen throughout society. Americans, regardless of their income, demographics, or social stature are being fired from jobs, getting stripped of access to basic services such as banking and social media, or having their businesses crippled for voicing political opinions and belonging to a designated political underclass. Access to sources of information unsanctioned by the regime is becoming increasingly difficult. Some figures of power and influence are sketching the next step, labelling large segments of society as “extremists” and potential terrorists who need to be “deprogrammed.”

While the onset of the regime appears tied to events of recent years—the presidency of Donald Trump, the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic, the Capitol intrusion of Jan. 6—its roots go back decades.

Is It Really Totalitarian?

Totalitarian regimes are commonly understood as constituting a government headed by a dictator that regiments the economy, censors the media, and quells dissent by force. That is not the case in America but it’s also a misunderstanding of how such regimes function, literature on totalitarianism indicates.

To claim power, the regimes don’t initially need to control every aspect of society through government.

Adolf Hitler, leader of the National Socialist Workers Party in Nazi Germany, used various means to control the economy, including gaining compliance of industry leaders voluntarily, through intimidation, or through replacing the executives with party loyalists.

Similarly, the regime rearing its head in America relies on corporate executives to implement its agenda voluntarily but also through intimidation by online brigades of activists and journalists who take initiative to launch negative PR campaigns and boycotts to progress their preferred societal structure.

Also, Hitler initially didn’t control the spread of information via government censorship but rather through his brigades of street thugs, the “brown shirts,” who would intimidate and physically prevent his opponents from speaking publicly.

The tactic parallels the often successful efforts to “cancel” and “shut down” public speakers by activists and violent actors, such as Antifa.

Dissenting media in America haven’t been silenced by the government directly as of yet. But they are stymied in other ways.

In the digital age, media largely rely on reaching and growing their audience through social media and web search engines, which are dominated by Facebook and Google. Both companies have in place mechanisms to crack down on dissenting media.

Google gives preference in its search results to sources it deems “authoritative.” Search results indicate the company tends to consider media ideologically close to it to be more authoritative. Such media can then produce hit pieces on their competitors, giving Google justification to slash the “authoritativeness” of the dissenters.

Facebook employs third-party fact checkers who have the discretion to label content as “false” and thus reduce the audience on its platform. Virtually all the fact checkers focused on American content are ideologically aligned with Facebook.

Attempts to set up alternative social media have run into yet more fundamental obstacles, as demonstrated by Parler, whose mobile app was terminated by Google and Apple, while the company was kicked off Amazon’s servers.

To the degree that a totalitarian regime requires a police state, there’s no law in America targeting dissenters explicitly. But there are troubling signs of selective, politically motivated enforcement. Signs go back to the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party groups or the difference in treatment received by former Trump adviser Lt. Gen Michael Flynn and former FBI deputy Director Andrew McCabe—both allegedly lying to investigators but only one getting prosecuted. The situation may get still worse as the restrictions tied to the CCP virus see broad swaths of ordinary human behavior being considered “illegal,” opening the door to nearly universal political targeting.

“I think the means by which a police state is being set up is the demonization of Trump supporters and the likely use of medical passports to institute the effective equivalent of social credit scores,” Rectenwald said.

While loyalty to the government and to a specific political party plays a major role, it’s the allegiance to the ideological root of totalitarianism that gives it its foot soldiers, literature on the subject indicates.

Totalitarian Ideology

The element “that holds totalitarianism together as a composite of intellectual elements” is the ambition of fundamentally reimagining society—“the intention to create a ‘New Man,’” explained author Richard Shorten in “Modernism and Totalitarianism: Rethinking the Intellectual Sources of Nazism and Stalinism, 1945 to the Present.”

Various ideologies have framed the ambition differently, based on what they posited as the key to the transformation.

Karl Marx, co-author of the Communist Manifesto, viewed the control of the economy as primary, describing socialism as “socialized man, the associated producers, rationally regulating their interchange with Nature, bringing it under their common control, instead of being ruled by it as by the blind forces of Nature,” in his Das Kapital.

Adolf Hitler, leader of the National Socialist Workers Party in Nazi Germany, viewed race as primary. People would become “socialized”—that is transformed and perfected—by removing Jews and other supposedly “lesser” races from society, he claimed.

The most dominant among the current ideologies stem from the so-called “critical theories,” where the perfected society is defined by “equity,” meaning elimination of differences in outcomes for people in demographic categories deemed historically marginalized. The goal is to be achieved by eliminating the ever-present “_’X’ supremacy,” however the ideologues currently define ‘X” (today that is ‘white’).

While such ideologies commonly prescribe collectivism, calling for national or even international unification behind their agenda, they are elitist and dictatorial in practice as they find mankind never “woke” enough to follow their agenda voluntarily.

In Marx’s prophecies, the revolution was supposed to occur spontaneously. Yet it never did, leading Vladimir Lenin, the first head of the Soviet Union, to conclude that the revolution will need leadership after all.

“The idea is that you have some enlightened party … who understand the problem of the proletariat better than the proletariat does and is going to shepherd them through the revolution that they need to have for the greater good,” explained James Lindsay, author of “Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity—and Why This Harms Everybody.”

Elements of this intellectual foundation can be found in ideologies of many current political forces, from neo-nazis and anarcho-communists, through to progressives and to some extent even neoliberals and neoconservatives, Lindsay acknowledged.

“This is why you see so many people today saying that the only possible answers are a full return to classical liberalism or a complete rejection of liberalism entirely as fatally disposed to create progressivism, neoliberalism, etc.,” he said.

That’s not to say these ideologies are openly advocating totalitarianism but rather that they inevitably lead to it.

The roadmap could be summarized as follows:

  1. There’s something fundamentally and intolerably wrong with current reality
  2. There’s a plan to fix it requiring a whole society buy-in
  3. People opposing the plan need to be educated about the plan so they accept it
  4. People who resist the persuasion need to be reeducated, even against their will
  5. People who won’t accept the plan no matter what need to be removed from society.

“I think that’s the general thrust,” Lindsay said. “We can make the world the way we want it to be if we all just get on the same page and same project. It’s a disaster, frankly.”

Points four and five now appear to be in progress.

Former Facebook executive Alex Stamos recently labeled the widespread questioning of the 2020 election results as “violent extremism,” which social media companies should eradicate the same way they countered online recruitment content from the ISIS terrorist group.

The “core issue,” he said, is that “we have given a lot of leeway, both in traditional media and on social media, to people to have a very broad range of political views” and this has led to the emergence of “more and more radical” alternative media like OAN and Newsmax.

Stamos then mused about how to reform Americans who’ve tuned in to the dissenters.

“How do you bring those people back into the mainstream of fact-based reporting and try to get us all back into the same consensus reality?” he asked in a CNN interview.

“And can you? Is that possible?” CNN host Brian Stelter added.

The logic goes as follows: Trump claimed the election was stolen through fraud and other illegalities. That has not been proven in court and is thus false. People who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and managed to break inside and disrupt the electoral vote counting did so because they believed the election was stolen. Therefore, anybody who questions the legitimacy of the election results is an extremist and potentially a terrorist.

With tens of thousands of troops assembled to guard the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) recently told CNN that all guard members who voted for Trump belong to a “suspect group” that “might want to do something,” alluding to past leaders of other countries who were “killed by their own people.”  [Why should I not conclude that everyone who voted for Cohen, and Biden, believe that anyone and everyone who voted for Trump should be suspect of being a dangerous person?  I don’t hear ANY push back from those voters. mrossol.]

Former FBI Director James Comey recently said the Republican party needs to be “burned down or changed.”   [I hear no pushback from the left. mrossol.] 

“They want a one party state,” commented conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza in a recent podcast. “That is not to say they don’t want an opposition. They want a token opposition. They want Republicans where they get to say what kind of Republican is ok.”

Just as Marx blamed the ills of the world on capitalists and Hitler on Jews, the current regime tends to blame various permutations of “white supremacy.”

“Expel the Republican members of Congress who incited the white supremacist attempted coup,” said Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) in a recent tweet, garnering some 300,000 likes.  [I hear no pushback from the left. mrossol.] 

She was referring to the Republican lawmakers who raised objections on Jan. 6 to election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania. Their objections were voted down.

“Can U.S. Spy Agencies Stop White Terror?” Daily Beast’s Jeff Stein asked in a recent headline, concluding that a call for “secret police” to sniff out “extremist” Americans “may well get renewed attention.”   [I hear no pushback from the left. mrossol.] 

Under the regime, allegations of election fraud—de facto questioning the legitimacy of the leader—have become incitement of terrorism. YouTube (owned by Google), Facebook, and Twitter have either banned content that claims the election was rigged or are furnishing it with warning labels. Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey was recently recorded as saying that banning the president’s account was just the beginning.

The approach closely mirrors that of the Chinese communist regime, which commonly targets dissidents for “subverting” the state or “spreading rumors.”

What’s the Alternative?

If calls for radically reorganizing the world are inherently totalitarian, how is the world to avoid them? The question appears to be its own answer. If totalitarianism inherently requires allegiance to its ideology, it can’t exist in a society with a lack of such allegiance.

The United States were founded on the idea that individual rights are God-given and unalienable. The idea, rooted in traditional beliefs that human morality is of divine origin, stands a bulwark against any attempt to assail people’s rights even for their own good.

“If you’re not a believer in actual God, you can posit a God’s ideal on the matter … We have to posit some arbiter who’s above and beyond our own prejudices and biases in order to ensure these kinds of rights. … Because otherwise you have this infinitely malleable situation in which people with power and coercive potential can eliminate and rationalize the elimination of rights willy-nilly,” Rectenwald said.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/one-party-rule-ideological-nexus-of-big-tech-big-media-big-government-is-totalitarianism-experts-say_3664663.html?utm_source=news&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=breaking-2021-01-20-5

 

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Blacklists Are the Rage in Publishing

Surely Joe Biden does not support blacklisting. Why doesn’t he come out and say so? Biden supporters, do you support blacklisting? mrossol

WSJ. By Thomas Spence Jan. 18, 2021

In this image from video, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., speaks as the Senate reconvenes to debate the objection to confirm the Electoral College Vote from Arizona, after protesters stormed into the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (Senate Television via AP)PHOTO: /ASSOCIATED PRESS

Listen to this article3 minutes00:00 / 03:111x

I am an independent book publisher, and in recent days I have been taking calls from journalists asking which authors I would refuse to publish. That’s an odd question to ask an American publisher, but suddenly it seems to be on everyone’s mind in our industry. Some 250 self-described “publishing professionals”—mostly junior employees of major houses—have issued a statement titled “No Book Deals for Traitors,” a category in which they include any “participant” in the Trump administration.

Readiness to silence someone because of who he is or whom he associates with is often called the “cancel culture,” but I prefer an older term—blacklisting—whose historical associations expose the ugliness of what is going on. Not so long ago, publishing professionals would have been horrified to be accused of it. Today they compete to see who can proclaim his blacklist with the fiercest invective.

On Jan. 6, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri invoked his legal right to object to Congress’s certification of electoral votes. Reasonable people can disagree whether his act was noble or cynical, courageous or rash, but no one can reasonably argue that he intended to incite that afternoon’s invasion of the Capitol by a lawless mob. He immediately and forcefully condemned the attack. But the next day Simon & Schuster canceled his forthcoming book, “The Tyranny of Big Tech,” citing the senator’s “role in what became a dangerous threat.”

I started getting calls from reporters in effect daring me not to join the blacklisters and from publishers, editors and agents who wondered when and how the mob would come for them.

The founder of my publishing house, Henry Regnery, proudly called himself a “dissident publisher.” The conservative books to which he devoted his fortune and career were no more in favor in 1951, when he published William F. Buckley’s “God and Man at Yale,” than they have been during my own 25 years in this business. But blacklisting then, though real, was discreet. Everyone knew it was un-American. No one was proud of it.

An independent publisher is vulnerable to today’s Jacobins in many ways, for it relies on large partners to print, distribute and sell its books. Now that dissent from the latest version of progressive orthodoxy is equated with violence and treason, my colleagues and I know we could be next. But we choose to fight back.

We’re proud to publish Mr. Hawley’s book, which his original publisher has made more important than ever. We don’t have to agree with everything—or anything—Mr. Hawley does. We ask only if his book is well-crafted and has something true and worthwhile to say. The answer is yes.

The statement of the 250 “publishing professionals” shows that today’s censors recognize no limits. I appeal to the real professionals of publishing, some of whom may be the bosses and mentors of those who signed that mindless rant: Remember that you are Americans. Americans argue, write, preach, campaign and vote. They don’t blacklist.

Mr. Spence is president and publisher of Regnery Publishing.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/blacklists-are-the-rage-in-publishing-11610981201?mod=opinion_lead_pos7

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