Tech Oligarchs Censor the Right

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The technology companies that provide social media platforms have grown to gargantuan size and now possess an ominous power over the ability of citizens to express and communicate ideas.

This control over free expression, which is held by a few tech oligarchs, is unprecedented at any time in human history.

The most widely used social media platform, Facebook, claims 2 billion users globally and is the preferred source for news for 45 percent of American adults. Three hundred hours of video are uploaded to Google-owned YouTube every minute of the day. And Twitter indicates that it has 330 million monthly active users. It was inevitable that these three monolithic social media platforms would be replete with users who seek to influence public opinion.

At one time all three seemed to reflect the notion that the general Internet should be treated as a free and open forum for any and all points of view.

The three have now shown themselves to be untrustworthy with data. They have proven to be biased, and of late have made it clear that they are willing to utilize the same kind of censorship that authoritarian regimes impose.

The ability of conservatives to reach people through the use of social media is being slowly and steadily diminished by the implemented policies of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. This is occurring under the guise of eliminating false information.

Videos, posts, and other expressions are routinely being taken down, accounts are surreptitiously being limited in scope, and in some cases users are even being exiled from the Internet.

Tech giants have consistently demonstrated hostility toward the convictions of Americans who dare to hold contrary views to the pre-ordained liberal script. This all seemed to have begun with the revelation in the spring of 2016 that news curators at Facebook were suppressing news stories from right-of-center outlets. The resultant negative publicity caused Facebook to actually remove its human editors.

Last summer Twitter blocked pro-life advertisements, labeling them “sensitive content.” Early this year Twitter claimed that it was purging the platform of suspected Russian bot accounts, but it ended up causing conservative Twitter users, including podcaster Dan Bongino, to suffer a loss of followers.

In what it claimed to be a hunt for “fake news,” YouTube shut down highly viewed non-liberal channels on its platform. It ultimately had to apologize for what it called “mistaken removals,” just one more admission that a video platform had engaged in ideological censorship. The organization’s use of an extreme left-wing group, the Southern Poverty Law Center, to determine what is “offensive” speech is a major tell of YouTube’s true intentions.

Oddly, the highly entrepreneurial Silicon Valley community has allowed itself to become a slavish patron of anti-business liberalism. As is typical of much of Wall Street and many major corporations, the tech world is devoted to leftist immigration policies that allow tech companies to access inexpensive labor.

Perhaps because the technology world considers itself to be scientifically minded, a huge portion of the tech community has become enamored with faux scientists such as Al Gore and have simply bought the notions of radical environmentalists hook, line, and sinker.

Those outside of the liberal circle, who happen to constitute a sizable segment of society, have made great strides in the past using digital technology to persuade the public. Presently, though, they are justifiably concerned about losing access to social media platforms at such a critical juncture in U.S. politics.

Where do divergent thinkers go to find a way to fight back against the free expression redactors? Here are some options for consideration:

–Litigation.

Lawsuits launched by those who feel as if they have experienced interference with their free expression on social media may find themselves in an uphill battle. However, it may be worth the struggle.

At the trial level, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh recently indicated that Prager University, a non-profit project by author, educator, and national radio talk show host Dennis Prager, failed to show in a lawsuit that YouTube infringed upon its free speech rights by placing age restrictions on its content.

The suit was filed over YouTube’s “Restricted Mode” setting on such topics it deemed offensive. The judge held that YouTube was not a “state actor,” but rather a “private entity” and as such was not subject to First Amendment protections.

The judge also dismissed a claim on another legal theory that YouTube engaged in false advertising by implying that Prager University’s videos were “inappropriate.”

The judge did encourage Prager University to amend its lawsuit to explore whether California’s state constitution would provide protection “in the age of social media and the Internet.” The decision can, of course, be appealed.

–Regulation.

The cumulative actions of social media giants have resulted in otherwise free market thinking individuals to begin eyeing the prospects of some kind of limited government regulation of the social media space.

One approach would be to classify social media platforms as “common carriers” and require that all users be treated equally. This is a variant of the much touted “net neutrality” about which tech blogs often rant.

A specific proposal that seems to have some merit involves mandating that users who are dissatisfied with either Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter be allowed to freely transfer their data to another platform, much in the same way consumers transfer their cell phone numbers from one carrier to another.

–Competition.

It is long overdue that a freedom loving social media provider appear on the scene.

Similar to the way in which the bias of the mainstream media gave birth to the alternative media, i.e., Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and the like, those who hold non-liberal beliefs must create an alternative social media and do so before its too late.

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The Celebrities Behind the Anti-Gun March

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Lending support to the recent anti-Second Amendment march, which was misleadingly called the “March for Our Lives,” was a sizable roster of Hollywood elites.

The participating celebrities, who are routinely shielded 24/7 by their own armed security guards, were among those who were financing and supporting the nationwide protests.

The goal in mind was a singular one—to get other people to give up their God-given and constitutionally protected right to defend themselves and their families with firearms.

The Washington, D.C. protest, along with its so-called “sibling” events, was organized and funded with a considerable amount of help from Hollywood liberals and leftist organizations. Thousands of high school students were bussed to various locales via groups and individuals with links to the Democratic Party.

Despite its official noble sounding name, numerous media outlets, including BuzzfeedNews, reported that organizers were really pushing for full-on gun control legislation. It has also become increasingly clear that the march was specifically designed to gin up the voter registration rolls for the upcoming mid-term elections.

Democratic groups in Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia boosted the number of attendees by providing free transportation for participants to Washington, D.C. According to Bethesda Magazine, a Maryland Democratic House member hosted a pre-march rally and bussed supporters to the march. And the Washington Post reported that the Democrat mayor of Baltimore arranged for thousands of students to be driven to the march by bus. Democratic groups in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania also reportedly provided buses to participants.

As a further incentive for the younger demographic, organizers put together a free concert with an all-star billing, which included Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, Common, Demi Lovato, Jennifer Hudson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Vic Mensa, and Ben Platt.

During the concert, performers proceeded to supplement their music with politically loaded protest visuals.

– Cyrus performed “The Climb” while holding a sign that read “Never Again.”

– Lovato concluded her performance with a raised fist and the words “MSD strong!”

– After Grande sang “Be Alright” she was joined on stage by some attendees who engaged in a group hug and selfie snaps.

– Hudson closed out the show in 1960s protest fashion with a version of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’.”

A number of entertainment figures provided money to the organizers of the event, including Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, and George Clooney. Taylor Swift, who has made it a point to remain apolitical, indicated that she, too, had donated to the march.

Clooney and Spielberg took to the streets to join the protesters. Other celebrities who made their presence at the march known included Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Jimmy Fallon, Dennis Rodman, and Julianne Moore.

Paul McCartney joined in a march in New York and Amy Schumer spoke at a rally in Los Angeles.

Celebrities who used social media to digitally participate included Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Justin Bieber, Alyssa Milano, Michael Moore, and Debra Messing.

It is apparent that organizers of the march harbor ambition that extends far beyond the initial event. Plans are in the making to lobby lawmakers to achieve desired ends. The finance vehicle for the protest, “The March for Our Lives Action Fund,” is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, which, according to records, was registered on March 8, 2018.

The majority of non-profit groups are registered as 501(c)(3) charitable organizations; this allows donors to receive a charitable tax deduction for their gifts.

However, 501(c)(4) organizations are formed in order to conduct lobbying and legislative advocacy. The choice of this nonprofit vehicle means that donors actually lose tax deductibility for their donations.

On the group’s website, “The March for Our Lives Action Fund” has telegraphed its intent to pursue lobbying, indicating that funds will be used “to fight for comprehensive gun safety legislation at the local, state, and federal level.”

The website also offers a “March for Our Lives voter registration toolkit,” which appears to be a blatant effort to boost Democratic candidates at the polls.

Misguided Environmentalism Is the Root Cause of Devastating California Wildfires

 

thomas-fireCalifornia is in the midst of battling some of the worst wildfires in the state’s history, which have resulted in the wholesale decimation of forests, extensive destruction of property, and massive disruption of people’s lives.

Governor Jerry Brown recently characterized the dire situation by stating that these types of fires “could happen every year or every few years” and that Californians are simply “facing a new reality.”

A new reality? Hardly comforting words from the Golden State’s chronic political presence.

Certainly the “new reality” warrants a deeper investigation into what factors have been contributing to the escalation and what steps could be taken to mitigate and/or prevent future catastrophic events.

The fact of the matter is there has been a decided increase in unusually devastating fires over the last few decades. The wildfires that are occurring today are twice as large as they were forty years ago, and the fires themselves are much bigger, significantly more powerful, and consequently more dangerous.

The left claims that the mega fires are happening as a result of global warming. However, according to a recent Reason Foundation study, changes in climate cannot adequately account for the “pattern of fires observed over the past century.”

The United States Forest Service (USFS) is the agency responsible for managing the nation’s wilderness areas, which constitute almost two-thirds of U.S. forests. The USFS once had a great deal of success in mitigating the risk of major fires in the early part of the last century. Over the past few decades, though, forest management policy has become overly centralized and increasingly bureaucratic, while also presenting a growing detriment to public safety.

During the 1970s, after legislation was passed that claimed to protect the ecosystem, the USFS altered its policies in a manner that would have extremely serious consequences for those parts of the country that are concerned about wildfire hazards, particularly the Western part of the nation.

Decades of politicians employing central planning while pandering to environmentalist groups have resulted in overgrowth in the nation’s forests. Methods that had worked to lower fire danger were abandoned, and the USFS spent appreciably more money for significantly fewer results as it used its resources for questionable environmental practices.

Excess fuel in the form of overly dense wilderness areas became a mega fire hazard that created a danger to the public and to regional economies. Additionally, severe limitations on the harvesting of timber on federal land created dangerous conditions in forests that led directly to the massive fires of late. If the logging industry had been permitted to clear more wilderness areas, the fire threat would have been dramatically reduced.

The public needs to be alerted to the fact that when forests are too dense they become susceptible to the kind of explosive infernos that actually end up harming the ecosystem, killing wildlife and destroying habitats. Logging, controlled burns, and natural low-intensity wildfires not only assist in making mega fires less likely but contribute to the creation of healthier ecosystems as well.

Removing the wood fuels in naturally dry forests helps to greatly reduce the probability of high intensity fires while assisting the environment. It is imperative that the excess growth caused by decades of bad policy be removed. Dry forests, which were historically cleared by frequent, low-intensity fires, may need the careful implementation of controlled burns to protect the life and property of adjacent communities.

Republican leaders in Congress, who have been working along with the Trump administration, are attempting to reform the legal landscape that is plaguing America’s national forests. The congressional members are seeking to increase logging in order to thin out the overly dense and dangerous forest conditions that now exist.

In November the House passed legislation called the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017 in order to allow salvage logging and other forms of tree cutting on federal properties.

House Speaker Paul Ryan indicated that the bill was necessary to protect the nation’s federal forests “from the kind of devastation that California experienced.”

The bill would remove draconian environmental restrictions that have dramatically curtailed timber harvests on federal lands. The legislation is currently awaiting action in the Senate.

A Timeline of Treachery

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2004

Frank Giustra of Canada establishes a firm called UrAsia Energy Ltd. to invest in uranium mining.

2005

At a fundraiser that Giustra holds at his Vancouver home, he meets Bill Clinton.

Giustra’s UrAsia company sends engineers to Kazakhstan, which is ruled by a regime that controls approximately 20 percent of the worldwide uranium supply.

Giustra takes Bill Clinton aboard his private jet to ostensibly tour several nations for Clinton Foundation work: Destination, Kazakhstan. Giustra seeks a business relationship with the Kazakhstan-owned uranium company. He and Bill Clinton dine with the authoritarian dictator of the uranium-rich country.

Giustra’s UrAsia company strikes a $450 million deal with the state-owned Kazakhstan company. UrAsia becomes a top-tier uranium producer overnight.

A former opposition party leader, who planned to publish documents indicating government corruption in Kazakhstan, is found dead from four gunshot wounds, three in the chest and one in the head. The Kazakhstan government rules the death a suicide.

2006

Giustra makes a $31 million donation to the Clinton Foundation, which is not revealed until December of the following year.

Giustra co-produces a celebrity-filled 60th birthday bash for Bill Clinton, an event that eventually raises $21 million for the Clinton Foundation.

2007

Uranium One, a South African mining company, merges with UrAsia in a $3.5 billion transaction. The new company, which maintains the Uranium One name, is controlled by UrAsia investors, including Ian Telfer, a Canadian who becomes chairman, and Giustra, whose personal stake in the deal is estimated at approximately $45 million. Giustra sells his stake the same year.

2008

Giustra donates $31 million to the Clinton Foundation.

Giustra holds a fundraiser for the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative, to which he pledges $100 million. The event, which is held in Toronto, includes performances by Elton John and Shakira as well as appearances by celebrities Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and Robin Williams. The event generates $16 million in pledges.

2009

While Barack Obama assumes the presidency, the FBI begins to investigate Russia’s criminal activity in relation to U.S. uranium. Prior to Hillary Clinton assuming her new secretary of state position, the White House requires that she sign a memorandum obligating the Clinton Foundation to publicly disclose all contributors.

Telfer, Chairman of Uranium One, gives $1 million to the Clinton Foundation; this is the same year that his company appeals to the American Embassy to help keep its mines in Kazakhstan.

Moukhtar Dzhakishev, head of the Kazakhstan-owned uranium company, is arrested for illegally selling mining rights to foreign companies, including some rights owned by Uranium One. American diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks indicate concerns that Dzhakishev’s arrest is part of a Russian power play for control of Kazakhstan uranium assets.

A Russian entity gets a 17 percent ownership interest in Uranium One.

The FBI allows an American businessman to make kickback payments at the direction of Vadim Mikerin, Russia’s overseer of Putin’s nuclear expansion inside the U.S.

The FBI investigation uncovers proof that, between 2009 and 2012, Mikerin engaged in bribery and blackmail to compromise U.S. contractors in the nuclear industry.

2010

Telfer, Chairman of Uranium One, gives $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation using his family charity; this in the same year that Russians sought majority control.

Uranium One asks the American Embassy in Kazakhstan to take up its cause with Kazakhstan officials. The American Embassy ultimately reports this information to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

A Russian entity seeks majority ownership of Uranium One. Since Uranium One owns mining interests in the United States, it is required that the transaction be approved by the Hillary Clinton-led State Department.

Bill Clinton is paid $500,000 for a one-hour speech in Moscow. The money comes from a Russian investment bank with ties to the Kremlin.

A Russian entity obtains approval from the U.S. to acquire a majority ownership interest in Uranium One.

2011

Telfer, Chairman of Uranium One, gives $600,000 to the Clinton Foundation using his family charity.

2012

President Obama is caught on a hot microphone in a private conversation in Seoul, South Korea, telling outgoing Russian president Dmitry Medvedev that Vladimir Putin should give him more “space,” and that after his election he would “have more flexibility.”

Telfer, Chairman of Uranium One, gives $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation using his family charity.

(Over a span of years, Telfer’s charity has contributed millions to the Clinton Foundation. The contributions are not publicly disclosed, despite the agreement Hillary Clinton had made with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors.)

2013

A Russian entity gets 100% control of Uranium One, a company with uranium-mining stakes that now stretch from Central Asia to the American West. The company is then taken private. The deal makes the Russian entity one of the world’s largest uranium producers and gives Russia control of much of the global uranium supply chain, including 20 percent of U.S. uranium.

Summary

Investigative reporting by John Solomon at The Hill and Sara Carter at Circa have uncovered a sordid tale worthy of the best Hollywood screenwriters; a saga involving blackmail, corruption, and bribery conducted by the mainstream media’s favorite scoundrels, the Russians.

Details have emerged of a story involving a multi-year investigation, conducted by the FBI, into criminality and money laundering emanating from Russian entities. The Russian entities were attempting to strengthen Russia’s nuclear weaponry by obtaining access to U.S. uranium.

The FBI investigation took place when the Obama administration was in power.

Former President Bill Clinton was paid an extraordinary amount of money as a speaking fee while his wife, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, approved the uranium deal for the Russians.

Millions of dollars flowed into the Clinton Foundation from parties related to the Russia-uranium deal during this same time period. Hillary failed to disclose the monies received, despite her pledge to do so.

The FBI assembled proof dating back to 2009 that Russian operatives were trying to get their hands on U.S. uranium, and they were doing so using criminal methods. The FBI knew that several individuals, who were also major donors to the Clinton Foundation, created a company that they sold to the Russians.

The sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. Uranium is considered a strategic asset, with a serious impact on national security.

A sale of this type had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of U.S. government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the Hillary Clinton-led State Department.

The Obama administration had evidence that Russia was involved in a bribery and extortion scheme, which started in 2009, but the information was kept from the public until October 2017.

Some familiar names are involved in the Russia-uranium saga, including the following:

— Robert Mueller was the FBI Director during the multi-year investigation that assembled critical information on Russia and uranium. Mueller is now the special counsel investigating the so-called Russia collusion matter.

— The multi-year investigation was headed up by then-U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, who is now Deputy Attorney General, and then-Assistant FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who is now the Deputy FBI Director.

— Mikerin, the Russian operative, entered into what appears to be a sweetheart plea agreement with prosecutors in August 2015, a plea agreement co-signed by Rosenstein and head of
the Obama Department of Justice Fraud Section Andrew Weissmann, now one of the top prosecutors in Special Counsel Mueller’s office.

— After Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russian meddling case, Obama appointee Rosenstein is the same person who appointed Mueller as special counsel.

Reportedly, no details of what was an active FBI criminal investigation were given to Congress at the time of the Russia uranium deal.

Democrat Collusion

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Much to the chagrin of the Democratic Party, the establishment media, and the never Trumpers, after months of investigation there has been no evidence found that would indicate there was collusion during the last presidential election cycle between Russia and the Trump campaign. Likewise there is still no proof that a single vote was changed due to supposed Russian meddling.

Still, the media continue to run with the story as they have from the beginning without having any actual credible grounds that might bolster the Russia story’s veracity.

The Robert Mueller investigation nevertheless persists, seemingly in search of some kind of crime that could possibly support the notion that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to deprive Hillary of her presidential destiny.

Reportedly, the probe has focused on the social media, particularly the possibility that Facebook advertising sales to Russian entities may lead investigators to uncover some heretofore hidden illegalities.

The possibility that founder Mark Zuckerberg and/or other Facebook executives knew about ad purchases from Russian entities and failed to report potential illegal activities to federal authorities has placed the Facebook management directly in the crosshairs of the investigation.

The intriguing twist in this story is that the Russians that Mueller has been chasing actually used Facebook ads in late 2015 and early 2016 to promote the group Black Lives Matter, according to CNN. The advertising was specifically targeted to reach audiences in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland, the places from which the racial tension emanated.

The reported objective of the Russians seems to have aligned perfectly with the Democrat Party, the Clinton campaign, and those on the political left. The Facebook ad campaign was, according to the cable news network, seeking to “amplify political discord and fuel an atmosphere of incivility and chaos.”

In a recent turn of events, though, proof of collusion managed to make its way to light. What is startling, however, is that instead of finding evidence of collusion that favored the Trump presidential effort, the proof is pointing toward collusion that actually favored Trump’s opponent, Hillary.

It also turns out that Facebook may allegedly be involved, according to a significantly credible source, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Facebook head Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg evidently colluded with the Clinton 2016 election campaign; this according to emails recently released by Assange.

Using his Twitter account, Assange posted links to emails that were exchanged between then-Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and Sandberg, which showed the COO promoting the Democratic presidential candidate, providing research to her, and meeting with her on multiple occasions during the campaign.

“I still want HRC to win badly,” Sandberg said in an email to Podesta. “I am still here to help as I can.”

Sandberg added, “She came over and was magical with my kids.”

Podesta expressed his gratitude to Sandberg, in a January 2, 2016 email, for her assistance to the Clinton campaign. After wishing her a Happy New Year, Podesta wrote, “2015 was challenging, but we ended in a good place thanks to your help and support. Look forward to working with you to elect the first woman President of the United States.”

Zuckerberg himself acknowledged having met with Podesta and asked the campaign head, in an August 7, 2015 email, to refer the Facebook CEO to others with whom he could communicate, presumably in order to assist Clinton with her effort to secure the White House.

“I enjoyed spending time with you yesterday and our conversation gave me a lot to think about,” Zuckerberg noted.

“Thanks for sharing your experiences with CAP [Center for American Progress] and some of the choices you made as you put the organization together. I hope it’s okay if I reach out as my thinking develops to get your ideas and reactions. If there are any other folks you think I should talk to, please let me know. Thanks again,” Zuckerberg wrote.

In an August 7, 2015 email from Facebook Vice President of Communications Elliot Schrage, the contents of the email may point to further involvement by Zuckerberg with the Clinton campaign.

“John [Podesta], I wanted to add my personal thanks, too. Mark [Zuckerberg] can be a demanding and inquisitive student, and he was both impressed and grateful for your time and candor,” Schrage wrote.

The “inquisitive student” was apparently buoyed upon hearing the left wing thoughts of progressive Podesta.

“…your ideas and perspectives really moved his thinking. I know he was focused on the kinds of structures he should put together, but now I suspect he’ll be paying more attention to the types of people he needs – policy entrepreneurs and strategists – as he thinks about next steps,” Schrage added.

“Any and all suggestions are welcome among folks you know or have worked with.” Schrage wrote.

To what kind of “structures” and “next steps” was Zuckerberg referring, and why would the Facebook head be seeking input from Podesta? Logic would dictate that the two were working together to bolster the Hillary campaign.

Mueller and company have a great deal of work ahead of them in exploring the collusion that potentially took place between the Facebook CEO, COO, and the Hillary Clinton campaign, but only if the individuals involved in the investigation are willing to do their jobs.