What has happened to America 19

… is worse than you fear.

Now the revelation bursts upon us that Donald Trump never really stood a chance of being re-elected, even if every living citizen had voted for him.

And Americans stood no chance of remaining free. 

The vast movement to dissolve the founder’s Republic of America was begun long before the 2016 election of Donald Trump. His four years were an unexpected interruption of the reorganization of the human world into a global community of helots ruled by an oligarchic dictatorship.

America will now have a system not only like China’s oligarchic dictatorship, but in partnership with it.

It took decades for China to gain the subservience of an American government. It was finally achieved with the defeat of President Trump and the election to the presidency of Joe Biden.

Trump had seen the danger and had tried to counter it. But the forces ranged against him were far too numerous and far too powerful.

It suits Communist China very well to have Joe Biden as a figurehead president of the United States. For the Chinese, his senility is an asset. In any case, they own him. They own his son, they own his family. They have filled the Bidens’ coffers. It was probably they who chose him to be the Democratic Party’s candidate. They own the Democratic Party.

Does all  this seem too far fetched?

Lee Smith, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, explains how the process and the triumph were worked. The article is long. We select the telling points – which requires some change of the original order – and strongly recommend the reading of the whole thing.

The poisoned embrace between American elites and China began nearly 50 years ago when Henry Kissinger saw that opening relations between the two then-enemies would expose the growing rift between China and the more threatening Soviet Union. At the heart of the fallout between the two communist giants was the Soviet leadership’s rejection of Stalin, which the Chinese would see as the beginning of the end of the Soviet communist system—and thus it was a mistake they wouldn’t make.

Meanwhile, Kissinger’s geopolitical maneuver became the cornerstone of his historical legacy. It also made him a wealthy man selling access to Chinese officials. In turn, Kissinger pioneered the way for other former high-ranking policymakers to engage in their own foreign influence-peddling operations, like William Cohen, defense secretary in the administration of Bill Clinton, who greased the way for China to gain permanent most favored nation trade status in 2000 and become a cornerstone of the World Trade Organization.

The Cohen Group has two of its four overseas offices in China, and includes a number of former top officials, including Trump’s former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who recently failed to disclose his work for the Cohen Group when he criticized the Trump administration’s “with us or against us” approach to China in an editorial. “The economic prosperity of U.S. allies and partners hinges on strong trade and investment relationships with Beijing,” wrote Mattis, who was literally being paid by China for taking exactly that position.

Yet it’s unlikely that Kissinger foresaw China as a cash cow for former American officials when he and President Richard M. Nixon traveled to the Chinese capital that Westerners then called Peking in 1972. “The Chinese felt that Mao had to die before they could open up,” says a former Trump administration official. “Mao was still alive when Nixon and Kissinger were there, so it’s unlikely they could’ve envisioned the sorts of reforms that began in 1979 under Deng Xiaoping’s leadership. But even in the 1980s China wasn’t competitive with the United States. It was only in the 1990s with the debates every year about granting China most favored nation status in trade that China became a commercial rival”—and a lucrative partner. …

Just after defeating communism in the Soviet Union, America breathed new life into the communist party that survived. And instead of Western democratic principles transforming the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the American establishment acquired a taste for Eastern techno-autocracy. Tech became the anchor of the U.S.-China relationship, with CCP funding driving Silicon Valley startups, thanks largely to the efforts of Dianne Feinstein, who, after Kissinger, became the second-most influential official driving the U.S.-CCP relationship for the next 20 years.

In 1978, as the newly elected mayor of San Francisco, Feinstein befriended Jiang Zemin, then the mayor of Shanghai and eventually president of China. As mayor of America’s tech epicenter, her ties to China helped the growing sector attract Chinese investment and made the state the world’s third-largest economy. Her alliance with Jiang also helped make her investor husband, Richard Blum, a wealthy man. As senator, she pushed for permanent MFN trade status for China by rationalizing China’s human rights violations, while her friend Jiang consolidated his power and became the Communist Party’s general secretary by sending tanks into Tiananmen Square. Feinstein defended him. “China had no local police,” Feinstein said that Jiang had told her. “Hence the tanks,” the senator from California reassuringly explained. “But that’s the past. One learns from the past. You don’t repeat it. I think China has learned a lesson.” …

Clearly, big money was to be made from China. Democrats could overlook little matters like what happened in Tiananmen Square. It wasn’t the Communist government’s fault. They had no police, so they had to use tanks. Anyway, it was a learning experience for them and they’ll never do anything like that again. Look on the bright side, where the money glitters.

The American elite decided that democracy wasn’t working for them. …

[That] disenchanted elite … impoverished American workers while enriching themselves. The one-word motto they came to live by was globalism—that is, the freedom to structure commercial relationships and social enterprises without reference to the well-being of the particular society in which they happened to make their livings and raise their children.

Undergirding the globalist enterprise was China’s accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001. For decades, American policymakers and the corporate class said they saw China as a rival, but the elite … saw enlightened Chinese autocracy as a friend and even as a model—which was not surprising, given that the Chinese Communist Party became their source of power, wealth, and prestige. Why did they trade with an authoritarian regime and by sending millions of American manufacturing jobs off to China thereby impoverish working Americans? Because it made them rich. They salved their consciences by telling themselves they had no choice but to deal with China: It was big, productive, and efficient and its rise was inevitable. And besides, the American workers hurt by the deal deserved to be punished—who could defend a class of reactionary and racist ideological naysayers standing in the way of what was best for progress?

Returning those jobs to America, along with ending foreign wars and illegal immigration, was the core policy promise of Donald Trump’s presidency, and the source of his surprise victory in 2016.  … The only people who took Trump seriously were the more than 60 million American voters who believed him when he said he’d fight the elites to get those jobs back.

As Lee Smith sees it, Trump himself was the creator of the “China Class” – because opposition to him united disparate interests which were all the beneficiaries of Chinese patronage. It’s an accusation, and as such unfair since that was not the president’s intention. Smith explains:

What [Trump] called “The Swamp” appeared at first just to be a random assortment of industries, institutions, and personalities that seemed to have nothing in common, outside of the fact they were excoriated by the newly elected president. But Trump’s incessant attacks on that elite gave them collective self-awareness as well as a powerful motive for solidarity. Together, they saw that they represented a nexus of public and private sector interests that shared not only the same prejudices and hatreds, cultural tastes and consumer habits but also the same center of gravity—the U.S.-China relationship. And so, the China Class was born.

A great many Americans in technology, sport, commerce, academia, bureaucracy, politics …

…benefited extravagantly from the U.S.-China relationship. These strange bedfellows acquired what Marxists call class consciousness—and joined together to fight back, further cementing their relationships with their Chinese patrons. United now, these disparate American institutions lost any sense of circumspection or shame about cashing checks from the Chinese Communist Party, no matter what horrors the CCP visited on the prisoners of its slave labor camps and no matter what threat China’s spy services and the People’s Liberation Army might pose to national security.

Think tanks and research institutions like the Atlantic Council, the Center for American Progress, the EastWest Institute, the Carter Center, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and others gorged themselves on Chinese money. The world-famous Brookings Institution had no scruples about publishing a report funded by Chinese telecom company Huawei that praised Huawei technology.

They “gorged themselves on Chinese money” – not without a trace of shame in some cases?

The billions that China gave to major American research universities, like $58 million to Stanford, alarmed U.S. law enforcement, which warned of Chinese counterintelligence efforts to steal sensitive research. But the schools and their name faculty were in fact in the business of selling that research, much of it paid for directly by the U.S. government—which is why Harvard and Yale among other big-name schools appear to have systematically underreported the large amounts that China had gifted them. …

But then came a freebie from China that was not welcome:

China was the source of the China Class’s power, [and] the novel coronavirus coming out of Wuhan became the platform for its coup de grace. So Americans became prey to an anti-democratic elite that used the coronavirus to demoralize them; lay waste to small businesses; leave them vulnerable to rioters who are free to steal, burn, and kill; keep their children from school and the dying from the last embrace of their loved ones; and desecrate American history, culture, and society; and defame the country as systemically racist in order to furnish the predicate for why ordinary Americans in fact deserved the hell that the elite’s private and public sector proxies had already prepared for them.

So there was really no need for the China Class to feel shame or guilt. Ordinary Americans “deserved” unemployment and poverty. Because … because … they’re racist.

For nearly a year, American officials have purposefully laid waste to our economy and society for the sole purpose of arrogating more power to themselves while the Chinese economy has gained on America’s. China’s lockdowns had nothing to do with the difference in outcomes. Lockdowns are not public health measures to reduce the spread of a virus. They are political instruments, which is why Democratic Party officials who put their constituents under repeated lengthy lockdowns, like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, are signaling publicly that it is imperative they be allowed to reopen immediately now that Trump is safely gone.

… Democratic officials intentionally destroyed lives and ended thousands of them by sending the ill to infect the elderly in nursing homes. … The job was to boost coronavirus casualties in order to defeat Trump and they succeeded

A startling accusation that – of human sacrifice on a huge scale! But it is true that it happened.

And the Chinese virus made no difference to the China Class’s opposition to President Trump:

The number of American industries and companies that lobbied against Trump administration measures attempting to decouple Chinese technology from its American counterparts is a staggering measure of how closely two rival systems that claim to stand for opposing sets of values and practices have been integrated. Companies like Ford, FedEx, and Honeywell, as well as Qualcomm and other semiconductor manufacturers that fought to continue selling chips to Huawei, all exist with one leg in America and the other leg planted firmly in America’s chief geopolitical rival. To protect both halves of their business, they soft-sell the issue by calling China a competitor in order to obscure their role in boosting a dangerous rival.

Nearly every major American industry has a stake in China. From Wall Street—Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley— to hospitality. A Marriott Hotel employee was fired when Chinese officials objected to his liking a tweet about Tibet. They all learned to play by CCP rules.

“It’s so pervasive, it’s better to ask who’s not tied into China,” says former Trump administration official Gen. (Ret.) Robert Spalding.

Unsurprisingly, the once-reliably Republican U.S. Chamber of Commerce was in the forefront of opposition to Trump’s China policies—against not only proposed tariffs but also his call for American companies to start moving critical supply chains elsewhere …

Even the Trump administration was split between hawks and accommodationists, caustically referred to by the former as “Panda Huggers”. The majority of Trump officials were in the latter camp, most notably Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a former Hollywood producer. While the film industry was the first and loudest to complain that China was stealing its intellectual property, it eventually came to partner with, and appease, Beijing. Studios are not able to tap into China’s enormous market without observing CCP redlines.

“In the Trump administration,” says former Trump adviser Spalding, “there was a very large push to continue unquestioned cooperation with China. On the other side was a smaller number of those who wanted to push back.”

Apple, Nike, and Coca Cola even lobbied against the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. On Trump’s penultimate day in office, his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States has “determined that the People’s Republic of China is committing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, China, targeting Uyghur Muslims and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups”. That makes a number of major American brands that use forced Uyghur labor—including, according to a 2020 Australian study, Nike, Adidas, Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and General Motors—complicit in genocide.

The idea that countries that scorn basic human and democratic rights should not be directly funded by American industry and given privileged access to the fruits of U.S. government-funded research and technology that properly belongs to the American people is hardly a partisan idea—and has, or should have, little to do with Donald Trump. But the historical record will show that the melding of the American and Chinese elites reached its apogee during Trump’s administration, as the president made himself [again we stress unintentionally – ed] a focal point [of shared hostility] for the China Class, which had adopted the Democratic Party as its main political vehicle.

That’s not to say establishment Republicans are cut out of the pro-China oligarchy—Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell’s shipbuilder billionaire father-in-law James Chao has benefited greatly from his relationship with the CCP, including college classmate Jiang Zemin. Gifts from the Chao family have catapulted McConnell to only a few slots below Feinstein in the list of wealthiest senators.

Riding the media tsunami of Trump hatred, the China Class cemented its power within state institutions and security bureaucracies that have long been Democratic preserves—and whose salary-class inhabitants were eager not to be labeled as “collaborators” with the president they ostensibly served. Accommodation with even the worst and most threatening aspects of the Chinese communist regime, ongoing since the late 1990s, was put on fast-forward. Talk about how Nike made its sneakers in Chinese slave labor camps was no longer fashionable. News that China was stealing American scientific and military secrets, running large spy rings in Silicon Valley and compromising congressmen like Eric Swalwell, paying large retainers to top Ivy League professors in a well-organized program of intellectual theft, or in any way posed a danger to its own people or to its neighbors, let alone to the American way of life, were muted and dismissed as pro-Trump propaganda.

Smith omits to mention a fact that is germane to his case and strengthens it – that President Bill Clinton had insistently sold American scientific, technological and military secrets to China.

The Central Intelligence Agency openly protected Chinese efforts to undermine American institutions. CIA management bullied intelligence analysts to alter their assessment of Chinese influence and interference in our political process so it wouldn’t be used to support policies they disagreed with—Trump’s policies. …

Smith notes that the CIA – the agency created to protect the United States from foreign intrusion of all kinds – stores its information with Amazon Web Services, owned by China’s No. 1 American distributor, Jeff Bezos.

Joe Biden is China’s man. He is now openly demonstrating his compliance with the CCP’s wishes:

As head of the Center for American Progress think tank, Biden’s pick for director of the Office of Management and Budget, Neera Tanden, teamed up with a U.S.-China exchange organization created as a front “to co-opt and neutralize sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority” of the CCP and “influence overseas Chinese communities, foreign governments, and other actors to take actions or adopt positions supportive of Beijing”.

Biden’s special assistant for presidential personnel, Thomas Zimmerman, was a fellow at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, flagged by Western intelligence agencies for its ties to China’s Ministry of State Security.

U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield gave a 2019 speech at a Chinese-government-funded Confucius Institute in Savannah, Georgia, where she praised China’s role in promoting good governance, gender equity, and the rule of law in Africa. “I see no reason why China cannot share in those values,” she said. “In fact, China is in a unique position to spread these ideals given its strong footprint on the continent.”

The Biden family … was reportedly given an interest-free loan of $5 million by businessmen with ties to the Chinese military. Hunter [Biden] called his Chinese business partner the “spy chief of China”. The reason that the press and social media censored pre-election reports of Hunter Biden’s alleged ties to the CCP was not to protect him—$5 million is less than what Bezos has made every hour during the course of the pandemic. No, for the pro-China oligarchy, the point of getting Joe Biden elected was to protect themselves.

[For] the pro-China oligarchy [now in power in America – ed] … Chinese autocracy is their model. Consider the deployment of more than 20,000 U.S. armed forces members throughout Washington, D.C., to provide security for an inauguration of a president who is rarely seen in public in the wake of a sporadically violent protest march that was cast as an insurrection and a coup; the removal of opposition voices from social media, along with the removal of competing social media platforms themselves; the nascent effort to keep the Trump-supporting half of America from access to health care, credit, legal representation, education, and employment, with the ultimate goal of redefining protest against the policies of the current administration as “domestic terrorism”.

Yes, it all follows the Chinese example. The Democratic Party of America has fast become China’s star pupil.

Smith writes:

Witness their newfound respect for the idea that speech should only be free for the enlightened few who know how to use it properly.

And:

What seems clear is that Biden’s inauguration marks the hegemony of an American oligarchy that sees its relationship with China as a shield and sword against their own countrymen.

And:

The American oligarchy … are happy to rule in partnership with a foreign power that will help them destroy their own countrymen.

The writer concludes his article with a suggestion that the American oligarchy will not last long.

But why not? Now that Donald Trump has gone, who or what will work against it? Who or what can overthrow it?

America goes 4

As the Catholic Church did in ages past, and Islam still does, the Left strives to bring every nation, and every last member of every nation, under its rule: a rule not of law but of lawyers, law-makers and law-breakers; bureaucrats, bankers, communication controllers, billionaires.

In America there are still tens of millions who refuse to comply, and they are being treated as heretics, infidels, and pariahs. If you are a Trump supporter, or in the least degree opposed to the Leftists who have seized the executive branch of government and now control both houses of the legislative branch, you are likely to be forced into conformity and unquestioning obedience. The means to be employed will be cutting you off from the services you need to live a normal life.

Through institutions of government and enormously powerful corporations, the heresies of patriotism, populism, anti-tribalism, individualism, and defiant defense of free speech, private property, arms bearing, and the teaching of reading writing reckoning and history to your children, will be punished.

You will be denied the services of banks, credit card companies, the internet, social media, insurance companies, the national health service, schools, universities. It will be very hard for you to find a job.

There will be degrees of deprivation. If you are a mild offender, you may be allowed some health care, for instance, and a low-paying job. If you are a grave offender – one who goes so far as to persist in speaking well of Donald Trump – you may face long imprisonment. An active attempt to reinstate him could be ruled a capital offense.

If you capitulate and submit, your life will not be easy. Your record will be held against you.

Even if you always supported the Left and voted the totalitarians into power, you will receive only the information that the rulers choose to allow you. You will have no way of knowing – unless by chance you personally witness a reported event – whether what you are being told is true or false.

Bruce Bawer writes at Front Page:

I’ve been ranting for years about the perfidy of the left. At times I’ve been accused of exaggerating. On rare occasions I feared – or hoped? – that perhaps I was exaggerating. In fact I can now see that these people are worse than I ever imagined. Worse than most of us ever imagined.

Worse than even Donald Trump “with all his insight” imagined.

He went into office determined to clean up the swamp. He was tireless. But not tireless enough. No mere mortal could have been tireless enough. Trump had denounced the swamp in apocalyptic terms, but it proved to be even deeper and more extensive than he knew. It reached into the upper echelons of the intelligence community and the military, into cabinet departments and the judiciary.

Not only did the Democrats try to derail his campaign and then his presidency. Even people whom he appointed to White House jobs proved unreliable. Far from being too suspicious, he’d been too trusting. He’d appointed two-faced D.C. insiders. He’d trusted people who turned out to be snakes in the grass.

The news media, with very few exceptions, made it their task to thwart his progress and poison his name with a constant flow of disinformation. They said Trump had told people to drink bleach. They said he’d called neo-Nazis “good people”. They said many other outrageous things that they knew were outright lies. They relentlessly repeated the charge that he did nothing but lie, lie, lie, when in fact it was they, the media, who were constantly feeding us lies. …

When enemies of Trump, and of freedom, created violence and mayhem in cities around the country, they were whitewashed, protected, and even praised by the media, by Democratic politicians, and by police officials. In a debate with Trump, Biden said Antifa was an idea, not an organization. Congressman Jerrold Nadler called it a myth.

Meanwhile Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey gave BLM $3 million. While the leftist gangsters went unpunished, citizens who tried to protect their homes and businesses from destruction by them were arrested by the police and demonized in the media. If you tried to spread the truth about all this on social media, you were shut down by Silicon Valley bosses who said you were lying.

And then the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.

Republican officials in the states affected by the steal sat on their hands. State legislatures, ditto. Even the justices he’d named to the Supreme Court refused to hear Texas v. Pennsylvania, absurdly maintaining that a state didn’t have standing to challenge the conduct of a presidential election in another state.

Trump’s supporters, ever civilized, waited patiently while every possible means of stopping the steal was dutifully exhausted. When it came down to the final vote certification in Congress, an army of [between 600,000 and 2,000,000!) MAGA folk gathered peacefully in Washington to show that they had Trump’s back.

Then a tiny percentage of them foolishly entered the Capitol building. And a tiny percentage of that tiny percentage – at least some of whom seem to have been Antifa goons – caused minor damage. Most of them appear to have milled harmlessly around the building, leaving paintings and statues untouched. The contrast with the conduct of Antifa and BLM insurgents during the previous year could hardly have been more striking. …

One of those people, an Air Force veteran named Ashli Babbitt, was shot dead by a Capitol Hill policeman. She didn’t do anything to provoke the shooter. It was impossible not to think of George Floyd, the career criminal who, on May 25 of last year, died while resisting arrest after committing a crime. Floyd was black; the arresting officer was white. In the ensuing months, Floyd’s death was used to justify rioting, arson, and vandalism by Antifa and BLM agitators, none of whom ended up being killed by a cop.

But nobody’s making a martyr out of Ashli Babbitt.

I’m not saying anybody should. I’m just saying that after four years of reportage that routinely demonized Trump, sugarcoated his opponents, and cruelly mocked his supporters, and after an election that was blatantly stolen yet described in the media as eminently fair, those supporters could hardly be expected not to explode – especially since they’d seen, during the previous few months, one leftist explosion after another rewarded with praise.

But they did not explode.

On January 6, Biden, oozing faux solemnity, addressed the ongoing situation on Capitol Hill. After months of referring to Antifa and BLM thugs as “protesters”, he called the non-violent people who’d entered the Capitol a “mob” of “domestic terrorists” who, in an action bordering on “sedition”,  had made an “unprecedented assault…on the citadel of liberty….This is not dissent, it’s disorder”.

He wasn’t alone. In one voice, people who’d spent months cheering leftist violence expressed horror at the breach of the Capitol building and blamed it on Trump. Once the Capitol was secured, the planned challenges to the vote steal were scuttled and the election of Biden and Harris duly certified.

Whereupon the left – and not just the left – moved with the swiftness of lightning.

Accusing Trump of having incited the Capitol breach, [Speaker] Pelosi and [Senate minority leader] Schumer raised the possibility of using the 25th Amendment to deny him his last few days in office …

And she absurdly introduced a proposal to impeach him for a second time, though he had only a few days more as president. .

Republicans who were never strong Trump supporters to begin with were quick to profess outrage at Trump’s purported provocation. Cabinet members Elaine Choi and Betsy DeVos quit. The Wall Street Journal called on Trump to resign. Senator Pat Toomey gave a thumbs-up to impeachment. Forbes warned companies not to hire anybody with a Trump connection.

Both Twitter and Facebook deplatformed Trump, and when he shifted from his personal Twitter account to the POTUS account, Twitter silenced that one, too. Other enemies of the left were also kicked off social media – among them Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn, and Steve Bannon. Facebook ejected the WalkAway movement, in the process deleting countless heartfelt posts by ordinary citizens explaining why they’d quit the Democratic Party. YouTube took down a video by Rudy Giuliani. Amazon, Google, and Apple removed Parler, a “free-speech” alternative to Twitter and Facebook, from their app stores. The CEO of Mozilla, developer of the Firefox browser, wrote an essay entitled “We Need More than Deplatforming.”

(Yet the social-media accounts of the Chinese Communist Party and Ayatollah Khamenei remained untouched.)

Pelosi tried to get the military to stop taking orders from the President. …

She urged the Chiefs of Staff to mutiny against their commander-in-chief! (They refused.)

The director of ABC News spoke of “cleansing” the Trump movement after January 20, whatever that might mean. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, who’d taken the lead in challenging the vote steal, to be expelled from the Senate. Simon & Schuster canceled Hawley’s contract for a book about cancel culture. Biden likened Cruz to Goebbels. …

There’s no intrinsic magic about America that protects it from becoming Mao’s China or Stalin’s Russia. Only utopians believe in the perfectibility of man. People are people. And some of the people who are now, or are about to be, in power in the United States would, if accorded enough power, do far more to those of us who falter in loyalty than merely take away our social-media accounts.

Indeed, as scary as the situation may be right now, one thing’s for certain: worse is on its way. The Democrats now control both houses of Congress and are about to be handed the executive branch. The totalitarian-minded elements in that party are on the ascent, backed up by Silicon Valley, the legacy media, and much of corporate America.

Bruce Bawer thinks that by “listing, arresting, and imprisoning ‘enemies of the state'” – as, he reminds us, was done in the terrible reign of Stalin, and under the brutal tyranny of Mao –

These people will overreach. Their lists will grow so long, their cancelations so widespread, that, as happened with the Reign of Terror, everyone who isn’t clinically insane will finally realize that things have gone too far and will, in one way or another, put an end to the madness.

He asks:

But how far will things have to go before that happens? How long will it take? And how many lives will be destroyed before it’s over? These, alas, are the all too sobering questions that have yet to be answered.

In the meantime, those of us who care about liberty will simply have to do our best to keep enduring the daily tsunami of evil ideology, fake news, and contempt for decent people, and to continue hoping that the true and good will yet prevail.

Much as we would like his optimism – such as it is, sorrowful and tentative – to hearten us, we are less sure that such a realization will come, or that “the true and good will yet prevail”.

What has happened seems to us to demonstrate that there is a tragic weakness in freedom and tolerance. They permit those who value neither to exploit them to gain the power to abolish them. 

Freedom of speech on the internet 7

In 2011 Elizabeth Warren said:

There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did.

In 2012 President Obama said:

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me – because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t – look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something – there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

Whether or not they meant to be attacking private enterprise capitalism, that is what they were generally understood to be doing.

The capitalist, free-market argument is that if you own something you can use it as you like for all lawful purposes. If bakers of wedding cakes do not want to sell a cake, or florists do not want to supply bouquets, to same-sex couples, they are within their rights not to do so.

It is generally agreed that the private owners of places of public entertainment such as restaurants, movie theaters, hotels cannot be permitted to shut out some customers on grounds of personal antagonism.

Controversy has arisen as to whether the private owners of the “social media”, notably Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google, have a right to refuse the use of their forums to persons whose opinions they dislike, or whether they have the same obligations as owners of restaurants, movie theaters and hotels not to discriminate against some on grounds of personal disagreement.

Daniel Greenfield writes this magisterial opinion on the arguments:

“But, it’s a private company.”

It’s a familiar argument. Bring up the problem of Google, Facebook and Twitter suppressing conservative speech and many conservatives will retort that it’s a free market. The big dot com monopolies created their own companies, didn’t they? And we wouldn’t want government regulation of business.

In a FOX Business editorial, Iain Murray writes that breaking up dot coms like Google would be “a repudiation of conservative principles”. He argues that “Twitter is a private company” and that “there is no positive right to free speech on Twitter or any other private venue.”

“The same goes for the president’s attacks on Google and the complaints of conservative censorship,” Diane Katz writes at the Heritage Institute. “These private enterprises are not obligated to abide any sort of partisan fairness doctrine.”

The talking point that Google, Facebook and Twitter are private companies that can discriminate as they please on their private platforms, and that the First Amendment doesn’t apply, is in the air everywhere.

But it overlooks two very simple facts.

The driving force behind the censorship of conservatives isn’t a handful of tech tycoons. It’s elected officials. Senator Kamala Harris offered an example of that in a recent speech where she declared that she would “hold social media platforms accountable” if they contained “hate” or “misinformation”.

“Misinformation” is a well-known euphemism among Democrats and the media for conservative political content. It was originally known as “fake news” before President Trump hijacked the term to refer to the media. The recent Poynter list of “unreliable” sites was stacked with conservative sites. Lists like these aren’t hypothetical. Poynter runs the International Fact Checking Network which had been empowered by Facebook and other sites to deplatform conservative content through its “fact checks”.

All of this got underway in response to claims by Hillary Clinton and her allies that “fake news” had cost her the election and represented a grave attack on our democracy. The call was quickly taken up by Democrats in the House and the Senate. It’s been commented on supportively by powerful Clinton allies in the tech industry, like Eric Schmidt, the former chairman of Google.

Dot coms like Facebook are cracking down on conservatives as an explicit response to pressure from elected government officials. That’s not the voluntary behavior of private companies. When Facebook deletes conservatives in response to threats of regulatory action from Senate Democrats, its censors are acting as government agents while engaging in viewpoint discrimination.

Free market conservatives can argue that Facebook should have the right to discriminate against conservatives. But do they really want to argue that Senate Democrats should have the right to compel private companies to censor conservatives?

What’s the difference between that and a totalitarian state?

It might, arguably, be legal for your landlord to kick you out of your house because he doesn’t like the fact that you’re a Republican. But is it legal for him to do so on orders from Senator Kamala Harris?

Defending abusive behavior like that is a desecration of the free market.

The second fact is that the internet is not the work of a handful of aspiring entrepreneurs who built it out of thin air using nothing but their talent, brains and nimble fingers.

At this point we are going to have to concede, however much it stings our political nerve to do so, that Obama got something right when he said that Government research created the internet.

The internet was the work of DARPA. That stands for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. DARPA is part of the Department of Defense. DARPA had funded the creation of the core technologies that made the internet possible. The origins of the internet go back to DARPA’s Arpanet.

Nor did the story end once the internet had entered every home.

Where did Google come from? “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine,” the original paper by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the co-founders of Google, reveals support from the National Science Foundation, DARPA, and even NASA.

Harvard’s computer science department, where Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg learned to play with the toys that turned him into a billionaire, has also wallowed in DARPA cash. Not to mention funds from a variety of other DOD and Federal science agencies.

Taxpayers sank a fortune into developing a public marketplace where ideas are exchanged, and political advocacy and economic activity takes place. That marketplace doesn’t belong to Google, Amazon or Facebook. And when those monopolies take a stranglehold on the marketplace, squeezing out conservatives from being able to participate, they’re undermining our rights and freedoms.

“A right of free correspondence between citizen and citizen on their joint interests, whether public or private and under whatsoever laws these interests arise (to wit: of the State, of Congress, of France, Spain, or Turkey), is a natural right,” Thomas Jefferson argued.

There should be a high barrier for any company seeking to interfere with the marketplace of ideas in which the right of free correspondence is practiced.

Critics of regulating dot com monopolies have made valid points.

Regulating Google or Facebook as a public utility is dangerous. And their argument that giving government the power to control content on these platforms would backfire is sensible.

Any solution to the problem should not be based on expanding government control.

But there are two answers.

First, companies that engage in viewpoint discrimination in response to government pressure are acting as government agents. When a pattern of viewpoint discrimination manifests itself on the platform controlled by a monopoly, a civil rights investigation should examine what role government officials played in instigating the suppression of a particular point of view.

Liberals have abandoned the Public Forum Doctrine, once a popular ACLU theme, while embracing censorship. But if the Doctrine could apply to a shopping mall, it certainly applies to the internet.

When dot com monopolies get so big that being banned from their platforms effectively neutralizes political activity, press activity and political speech, then they’re public forums.

Second, rights are threatened by any sufficiently large organization or entity, not just government. Government has traditionally been the most powerful such organization, but the natural rights that our country was founded on are equally immune to every organization. Governments, as the Declaration of Independence asserts, exist as part of a social contract to secure these rights for its citizens.

Government secures these rights, first and foremost, against itself. (Our system effectively exists to answer the question of who watches the watchers.) But it also secures them against foreign powers, a crisis that the Declaration of Independence was written to meet, and against domestic organizations, criminal or political, whether it’s the Communist Party or ISIS, that seek to rob Americans of their rights.

A country in which freedom of speech effectively did not exist, even though it remained a technical right, would not be America. A government that allowed such a thing would have no right to exist.

Only a government whose citizens enjoy the rights of free men legally justifies its existence.

If a private company took control of all the roads and closed them to conservatives every Election Day, elections would become a mockery and the resulting government would be an illegitimate tyranny.

That’s the crisis that conservatives face with the internet.

Protecting freedom of speech does not abandon conservative principles, it secures them. There are no conservative principles without freedom of speech. A free market nation without freedom of speech isn’t a conservative country. It’s an oligarchy. That’s the state of affairs on the internet.

Conservatives should beware of blindly enlisting in leftist efforts to take regulatory control of companies like Facebook. The result would be a deeper and more pervasive form of censorship than exists today. But neither should they imagine that the “free market side of history” will automatically fix the problem.

We have an existing useful toolset to draw on, from anti-trust laws to civil rights investigations to the Public Forum Doctrine. This will be a challenging process, but we must remember through it all, that we have a right to freedom of speech on the internet.

Our tax dollars, invested over generations, built this system. It does not belong to the Left. Or, for that matter, the Right. It belongs to all of us.

Now how to make sure Facebook etc. do not discriminate against us because of their political bias?

President Trump is willing to help us. (Though exactly what he can do we don’t know.)

SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS should advance FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Yet too many Americans have seen their accounts suspended, banned, or fraudulently reported for unclear “violations” of user policies. 

No matter your views, if you suspect political bias caused such an action to be taken against you, share your story with President Trump.

https://whitehouse.typeform.com/to/Jti9QH?fbclid=IwAR1oumZ36_InMnU29hRFZukzdSUrbBAxAaQ338B2_Lf-DYxMTJr2UBJMJWs

It’s worth trying.

.

(Hat-tip to liz for the White House link)

 

 

To keep the internet free and open 5

Solid is the technically potent open-source platform built to decentralize the web. Inrupt is the company that’s helping to fuel Solid’s success.

Facebook, Twitter, Google and its subsidiary YouTube are virtual monopolies – and they discriminate against conservative users.

Will someone come to the aid of conservatives?

Yes!  The greatest of all the technological innovators is riding his computer to the rescue: the true knight, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web.

We quote from a report by Katrina Brooker at Fast Company, a website that specializes in discussion of technological innovation:

Last week, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, asked me [and other reporters] to come and see a project he has been working on … He leads us into a sparse conference room. At one end of a long table is a battered laptop covered with stickers. Here, on this computer, he is working on a plan to radically alter how all of us live and work on the web.

“The intent is world domination,” Berners-Lee says with a wry smile. … But he is not joking.

This week, Berners-Lee will launch Inrupt, a startup that he has been building, in stealth mode, for the past nine months. … Its mission is to turbocharge a broader movement afoot, among developers around the world, to decentralize the web and take back power from the forces that have profited from centralizing it. In other words, it’s game on for Facebook, Google, Amazon. For years now, Berners-Lee and other internet activists have been dreaming of a digital utopia where individuals control their own data and the internet remains free and open. But for Berners-Lee, the time for dreaming is over.

“We have to do it now,” he says … “It’s an historical moment.”

Ever since revelations emerged that Facebook had allowed people’s data to be misused by political operatives, Berners-Lee has felt an imperative to get this digital idyll into the real world. In a post published this weekend, Berners-Lee explains that he is taking a sabbatical from MIT to work full time on Inrupt. The company will be the first major commercial venture built off of Solid, a decentralized web platform he and others at MIT have spent years building.

If all goes as planned, Inrupt will be to Solid what Netscape once was for many first-time users of the web: an easy way in. And like with Netscape, Berners-Lee hopes Inrupt will be just the first of many companies to emerge from Solid.

“I have been imagining this for a very long time,” says Berners-Lee. …

[He shows us how] on Solid, all the information is under his control. Every bit of data he creates or adds on Solid exists within a Solid pod … These pods are what give Solid users control over their applications and information on the web. Anyone using the platform will get a Solid identity and Solid pod. This is how people, Berners-Lee says, will take back the power of the web from corporations. …

Berners-Lee believes Solid will resonate with the global community of developers, hackers, and internet activists who bristle over corporate and government control of the web. …

Developers around the world will be able to start building their own decentralized apps with tools through the Inrupt site. Berners-Lee will spend this fall crisscrossing the globe, giving tutorials and presentations to developers about Solid and Inrupt. (There will be a Solid tutorial at our Fast Company Innovation Festival on October 23.)

“What’s great about having a startup versus a research group is things get done,” he says. …

It’s not likely that the big powers of the web will give up control without a fight.

When asked about this, Berners-Lee says flatly: “We are not talking to Facebook and Google about whether or not to introduce a complete change where all their business models are completely upended overnight. We are not asking their permission.”

Game on.

 

(Hat-tip to liz)

Posted under Technology by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, October 2, 2018

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The name of the wall 1

What do the globalists mean by “globalization”?

Do they mean anything more than their power, their wealth, their commercial and political control over a borderless world?

Is “globalization” anything other than a new name for old International Communism, the dictatorship over the very many by the very few?

Facebook. Google. Twitter. These are world powers, and they are all on the Left. They have the power to suppress criticism and opposition – and they do.

Elizabeth Vos writes at Disobedient Media about one of the very few:

Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Alphabet’s board of directors, stepped down without naming a successor. …  Alphabet, Google’s parent company, had announced Schmidt would be transitioning to a technical advisory role, and will continue to serve on the company’s board. …

Schmidt gained notoriety during his tenure at Google and Alphabet for his involvement in politics as well as technology. He was a regular figure amongst the Hillary Clinton Presidential campaign, even going so far as to donate the use of a private Google jet for the campaign’s use. Press reports on the relationship between Schmidt and Clinton’s campaign referred to his role in Clinton’s campaign as “crucial”.  … Schmidt created a start-up which was described as: “The stealthy, Eric Schmidt-backed startup that’s working to put Hillary Clinton in the White House.”

Emails published last year by Wikileaks reveal that Schmidt’s support for the Clinton campaign dated [from] as far back as 2015. The emails illustrate a close relationship between Schmidt and Clinton insiders, notably Bill Clinton and John Podesta, the Clinton campaign’s Chief of Staff. … [Schmidt] has been a regular speaker at Clinton Global Initiative events. …

His position within the global power structure was noted by The Guardian, who described Schmidt: “Bilderberg insider Eric Schmidt, who runs Google, once began a speech at Davos with the words: ‘I assume that everybody here agrees that globalization is wonderful.’”

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been a long-time critic of Google. Assange authored “When Google Met Wikileaks” during his time under house arrest, detailing the various ways in which Google has become increasingly enmeshed within the structure of the American deep state.

Wikileaks‘ extract from the book describes a revolving door between Google, the State Department, the United Nations and The Council On Foreign Relations. Assange describes the close ties between Schmidt and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: “Not only had Hillary Clinton’s people known that Eric Schmidt’s partner had visited me, but they had also elected to use her as a back channel.” …

Assange described Google’s evolution under Schmidt:

Schmidt’s tenure as CEO saw Google integrate with the shadiest of US power structures as it expanded into a geographically invasive megacorporation … Long before company founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin hired Schmidt in 2001, their initial research upon which Google was based had been partly funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).  And even as Schmidt’s Google developed an image as the overly friendly giant of global tech, it was building a close relationship with the intelligence community.

This crossover between Google and intelligence agencies and military/state function, as described by Assange, is echoed by the structure and executive makeup of Crowdstrike. The company, with substantial funding from a Google subsidiary, is headed by a number of former long-serving figures from the FBI.

Crowdstrike served the Democratic Party during the 2016 Presidential campaign, which Schmidt was deeply embedded with himself, as shown in the contents of the Podesta email leak.

Crowdstrike is also the only company to have examined DNC servers, and their word serves as the entirety of the basis for Russian hacking claims.

Press reports indicate that Alphabet has financed Google Capital. Acting as an arm of Alphabet, Google Capital then financed Crowdstrike to the tune of $100 million. Google Capital has rebranded, and currently goes by the name “CapitalG.” CapitalG maintains on their website that: “Our Google connection is our key asset. ” CapitalG reiterates that “CapitalG (formerly Google Capital) is a growth equity fund backed by Alphabet, Google’s parent company.” …

The writer repeats, and we stress:

Crowdstrike is the only entity that has examined the DNC’s servers. US authorities including the FBI have not been allowed to access them in order to independently verify the firm’s claim that Russians hacked the DNC.

And she speculates:

… One possible explanation for [Schmidt’s] sudden decision that has not previously been considered by legacy press, is that the investigation into Russian hacking claims made by Crowdstrike and the DNC may have turned up some unsavory information about the company or the involvement of Mr. Schmidt in the saga as an insider to Clinton’s campaign, and that this may have prompted him to step down without announcing a successor.

This information is all very sinister. It is about conspiracy – low and dirty.

It is also bewildering. What is going on? Does anyone who is not part of the vast Left-wing conspiracy know what it is that is being plotted?

Whatever else it might be, it is certainly a movement against the nation state.

So the nation state must be preserved. Borders must be strict and strong.

We need a wall.

We need a wall that protects us from the globalists.

President Trump is all we have to protect us from them. He is the Wall.

Censoring the internet 26

The internet was a revolutionary environment that liberated individuals to make their own choices. Bloggers could compete with big media. Leaked emails could bring down a government. But the internet is becoming less free. Access is controlled by a handful of tech companies that keep getting bigger and bigger. The survivors of the scale wars will combine cable, content and commerce in new ways. And in a politicized culture, they won’t just signal their political views, they will enforce them.

So Sultan Knish writes at his website on the subject of internet censoring by those who control the technology:

How can you tell that internet censorship is really taking off? Easy. It’s becoming a business model.

Steven Brill is raising $6 million to launch News Guard. This new service will rate news sites on their trustworthiness from green to red. Forget politically unbiased algorithms. The ratings will be conducted by “qualified, accountable human beings” from teams of “40 to 60 journalists”.

Once upon a time, journalism meant original writing. Now it means deciding which original writing to censor.

“Can trust be monetized?” The Street’s article on News Guard asks. But it isn’t really trust that’s being monetized. It’s censorship. It’s doing the dirty work that Google and Facebook don’t want to do.

But nevertheless do, as we know from experience. We will come to that.

The Dems and their media allies have been pressuring Google and Facebook to do something about the “fake news” that they blame for Trump’s win. The big sites outsourced the censorship to media fact checkers. The message was, “Don’t blame us, now you’re in charge.”

Facebook made a deal with ABC News and the AP, along with Politifact, FactCheck and Snopes, to outsource the censoring for $100K. When two of these left-wing groups declare that an article is fake, Facebook marks it up and viewership drops by 80%.

Eighty percent!

Not only does the roster of fact checkers lean to the left, but so do its notions of what’s true and false. For example, Snopes and Politifact both insist that General Pershing’s forces never buried the bodies of Muslim terrorists with pigs. But General Pershing specifically stated in his autobiography, “These Juramentado attacks were materially reduced in number by a practice that the Mohamedans held in abhorrence. The bodies were publicly buried in the same grave with a dead pig.”

Both the New York Times and the Scientific American reported on it at the time. Despite that Snopes rated this widely accepted historical fact as “False” and Politifact marked it as “Pants on Fire”.

Snopes also recently marked a story that Christ Church in Virginia is removing a George Washington plaque as false even though the church publicly announced that it was doing so.

Politifact and Snopes are entitled to their incorrect opinions. The trouble is that they don’t extend the same privilege to those they disagree with. And Google and Facebook promote fake fact checks while burying sites that discuss actual historical facts. The big internet companies don’t want to get involved in all these arguments. But nor are they willing to let their users decide for themselves anymore.

And so Net Nanny for news has become an actual business model. Instead of protecting children from pornography, News Nanny protects adults from news. And from views outside the left’s bubble.

By adopting the News Nanny model, Google and Facebook are treating their users like children.

The News Guard model is in some ways even more insidious than biased fact checking because it sets up lists of approved and disapproved sites. Google is rolling out something similar with its “knowledge panels” for publishers. Search for the New York Times and the panels will tell you how many Pulitzers the paper has won. Search for Front Page Magazine and the panel note describes it as, “Political alignment: Right-wing politics”. No note listing a left-wing political alignment appears in the panel for the New York Times despite its recent laudatory series about the Soviet Union and Communism.

The media never has an official political orientation. Not even when it’s cheering Communism. But its opponents and critics always have one. Follow Google’s link for Front Page’s political alignment and the top entry states, “Right-wing politics hold that certain social orders and hierarchies are inevitable.” 

That’s a wholly inaccurate description of either Front Page Magazine or conservative politics in America. And it’s another example of how the fight against “fake news” by the left actually ends up producing it.

Fact checking has become a pipeline to censorship. The big social and search companies outsource fact checking to third parties and then demonetize, marginalize and outright ban views and publishers that those third parties disagree with. Fact checks are no longer an argument. They’re the prelude to a ban.

Google and Facebook respectively dominate search and social media. When they appoint official censors for their services, those left-wing fact checkers become the gatekeepers of the internet.

And the internet isn’t supposed to have gatekeepers.

Senator Al Franken, of all people, made that point at the Open Markets Institute. OMI’s people have emerged as the leading opponents of big tech monopolies on the left.

“No one company should have the power to pick and choose which content reaches consumers and which doesn’t,” Franken said. “And Facebook, Google and Amazon, like ISPs, should be neutral in their treatment of the flow of lawful information and commerce on their platform.”

We never thought we’d have a good word to say about Al Franken. But this time we like what he said.

There is no more obvious example of the lack of neutrality than Facebook and Google’s partnership with “fact checkers”. If Net Neutrality means anything, it should strike down Google’s partnership with Poynter’s International Fact-Checking Network and Facebook’s use of Snopes to silence conservatives.

When sites picked and chose content based on algorithms, they were deciding which content reached users based on what was likely to be popular. And, occasionally, based on their own agendas. Now they are picking and choosing which content reaches users based on political orientation.

While the advocates for Net Neutrality rage against cable companies, Comcast and Charter aren’t engaging in political censorship. No matter how they disguise it, Google and Facebook’s news nannies are. …

Trust in the mainstream media has never been lower. Yet the big tech companies insist that mainstream media sources are the only trustworthy ones. They want us to trust them, because they don’t trust us.

We do not want our posts to be “about us”. But this time we make an exception. Our Facebook page is being subjected to what is called “shadow-banning”. Fewer and fewer people are “reached”. Day by day the number of “likes” is decreased, stripped away, usually by twos and threes, but now and then by larger numbers. Last week we lost 30 in a few days. (The “likes” at the moment of this writing stand at 10,779; the number of our followers at 10,425.) Sometimes  when we have asked to “boost” a particular post (for which a charge is made), our request has been denied. We posted a complaint about being stripped of “likes” and having ever fewer readers, and sent it directly to Facebook, asking them why this was happening. We received no reply. But a regular long-time reader of our page sent us this information:

Well I just found out it’s worse than you know – I’ve been relying on my “feed” using the FB app for Android to see your posts since I both “like” and follow TAC. However, I just explicitly went to your page and encountered hundreds (yes, literally hundreds, going back many months) of TAC posts that have never appeared in my feed! What the hell can we do about this blatant censorship?

The discouraging answer is – nothing.

The Left, though politically weak, owns the culture. Owns the mainstream media. And owns the internet.

It is not our Atheism which offends our Facebook censors, it is our Conservatism.

The obsessed 1

The Left is obsessed with what it considers the disadvantaged conditions of being non-white and/or non-male.

Envy consumes it. It contrives remedies that will have no effect on the realities of race and sex, such as victimizing people who are white and/or male.

Recently, the search-engine company Google dismissed one of its most skilled and highly qualified engineers, James Damore, because he wrote and published a memo pointing out that there are differences between men and women that cannot be changed by company policy.

Steven Crowder energetically endorses the memo and rebukes the company.

Diversity in conformity 3

… or conformity in diversity.

This is an extract from Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber:How bias clouds our thinking about diversity and inclusion, by James Damore, July 2017

I hope it’s clear that I’m not saying that diversity is bad, that Google or society is 100% fair, that we shouldn’t try to correct for existing biases, or that minorities have the same experience of those in the majority. My larger point is that we have an intolerance for ideas and evidence that don’t fit a certain ideology. I’m also not saying that we should restrict people to certain gender roles; I’m advocating for quite the opposite: treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group (tribalism).

It is, as the extract shows, an intelligent discussion of the ideas with which it is engaging. The author’s conclusions, of which the extract is a part, seem to us to be straightforward common sense.

The complete text may be found here.

James Damore was an employee of Google. His memo criticizes Google’s insistence that all its employees hold unquestioningly a certain set of opinions – all of them ideas of the Left – having to do with “diversity and inclusion”.

A set of opinions requiring unanimous unquestioning acceptance, is an orthodoxy.

Damore challenged the orthodoxy.

But orthodoxies by definition do not allow criticism.

A challenge to an orthodoxy is blasphemous and heretical.

With the publication of his criticism, Damore became a blasphemous heretic.

So, of course, he was fired.

Is it a wise policy for a commercial company to require religious conformity of its employees? Would it harm the business if some employees held different opinions?

The company directors’ answer to those questions is plainly “yes”.

What is delightful about this story is that the Google executives want conformity of opinion on the desirability of diversity.

Could a connoisseur of irony find a better collector’s piece than that?

Well, yes, actually. There are some at least as good – in the universities:

Interviewed by Professor Jordan Peterson, James Damore said:

Google is run like a religious cult. Conform and carry out the rituals, and you’ll be rewarded and praised; ask any uncomfortable questions or offend the wrong people, and the threats and public shaming will be swift and ruthless. The religion in this case is a kind of intersectional feminism, its central tenets are Diversity and Inclusion, its demonic enemy is Bias, and its purifying rituals include humiliating forms of “training” that resemble Maoist struggle sessions.

This might sound crazy to a lot of your readers, but college students should understand, since it’s a similar culture.

Posted under Leftism by Jillian Becker on Thursday, August 10, 2017

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The world is changing – for the better? 5

We are witnessing a seismic shift in global affairs. The shake-up is a perfect storm of political, demographic and technological change that will soon make the world as we have known it for the last 30 years almost unrecognizable.

Those attention-gripping words open an article by Victor Davis Hanson at Townhall:

Since the mid-1980s there have been a number of accepted global constants. The European Union was assumed to have evolved beyond the nation-state as it ended the cycle of militarism and renounced free-market capitalism. With its strong euro, soft power and nonaligned foreign policy, the EU was praised as a utopian sort of foil to the overarmed U.S. with its ailing dollar. …

The Arab Middle East for the last 40 years seemed to be the world’s cockpit, as its huge petroleum reserves brought in trillions of dollars from an oil-depleted West, along with political concessions. Petrodollars fed global terrorism. Oil-poor Israel had little clout with Europe. In general, the West ignored any human-rights concerns involving the region’s oil-rich dictatorships, monarchies and theocracies, as well as their aid to Islamic terrorists.

Conventional wisdom also assumed that an indebted U.S. was in permanent decline, a cash-rich China in ascendency. …

But none of that conventional wisdom now seems very wise — largely because of a number of technological breakthroughs and equally unforeseen political upheavals.

The eurozone is unraveling. An aging, shrinking population and a socialist welfare state lead to serfdom, not utopia. …

The Arab Middle East is now in a free fall. Tyrants in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen were ousted, while one in Syria totters. But while the world hoped secular democrats would follow in their wake, more likely we are witnessing the emergence of one-election Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood. The region will be mired in turmoil whether these upheavals turn out to be like the hijacked Iranian revolution that ended in theocracy, or the Turkish democratic model that is insidiously becoming Islamist.

Horizontal drilling and fracking have made oil shale and tar sands rich sources of oil and natural gas, so much so that the United States may prove to possess the largest store of fossil fuel reserves in the world — in theory, with enough gas, oil and coal soon never to need any imported Middle Eastern energy again. “Peak oil” is suddenly an anachronism. Widespread American use of cheap natural gas will do more to clean the planet than thousands of Solyndras.

If the United States utilizes its resources, then its present pathologies — massive budget and trade deficits, mounting debt, strategic vulnerability — will start to subside. These new breakthroughs in petroleum engineering are largely American phenomena, reminding us that there is still something exceptional in the American experience that periodically offers the world cutting-edge technologies and protocols — such as those pioneered by Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Starbucks and Walmart.

In comparison, China is not only resource-poor but politically impoverished. For decades we were told that Chinese totalitarianism, when mixed with laissez-faire capitalism, led to sparkling airports and bullet trains, while a litigious and indulgent America settled for a run-down LAX and creaking Amtrak relics. But the truth is that the Los Angeles airport will probably sooner look modern than the Chinese will hold open elections amid a transparent society — given that free markets did not make China democratic, only more contradictory.

Even more surreal, tiny oil-poor Israel, thanks to vast new offshore finds, has been reinvented as a potential energy giant in the Middle East. Such petrodollars will change Israel as they did the Persian Gulf countries, but with one major difference. Unlike Dubai or Kuwait, Israel is democratic, economically diverse, socially stable and technologically sophisticated, suggesting the sudden windfall will not warp Israel in the manner it has traditional Arab autocracies, but instead become a force multiplier of an already dynamic society. Will Europe still snub Israel when it has as much oil, gas and money as an OPEC member in the Persian Gulf?

Good, good – but Islam is still waging jihad and spreading sharia law; and the UN still exists; and Iran is still becoming a nuclear power; and Obama is still occupying the Oval Office.

The nearsighted Mr Magoos of business and industry 2

The Second Industrial Revolution, the computer revolution, occurred because its inventors, entrepreneurs, venture-capitalists, its innovators and risk-takers and visionaries of all sorts were free. They had freedom of action, could use their time and resources as they chose. What they produced has benefited uncountable millions of other people. Their country, their world, and all generations to come, the whole human race, are the beneficiaries of their ideas and labors. They have enriched us all. If ever men have deserved to grow rich themselves, they have.

No government, no social program, no redistribution of wealth, no central planning, no high-tax-high-spend economic system, can do for the general good what they have done for it. They have created wealth. Governments diminish it. And redistributing governments, run by “social justice” liberals, destroy it.

Why can’t the very men who used freedom so well understand this? Why are so many of them helping to destroy that essential freedom of which they took splendid advantage, so that in future others cannot do what they did?

In an article at Front Page on business leaders toadying to Obama, Benjamin Shapiro considers the strange phenomenon of their self-destructive behavior:

On April 5, President Obama kicked off his newly-minted presidential campaign by announcing that he would be conducting a “Facebook town hall” event streaming live via the website and via the White House website on April 20. Just to ensure that the Facebook audience recognizes that this isn’t merely another media appearance but an endorsement of Obama by the Facebook executives, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg quizzed Obama before an audience of over 1,000 Facebook employees and other internet mavens.

The recorded result will be chopped up and distributed via Facebook and the White House website over the coming months. “We’re honored that President Obama will be visiting headquarters later this month and will be using the Facebook platform to communicate with an international audience,” Andrew Noyes, Facebook spokesman, gushed.

Obama isn’t the first politician to use Facebook as a fundraising platform. But he is the first politician to be granted the privileged insider status of visiting HQ to do so. Facebook has been one of Obama’s most important supporters over the past several years. And Facebook is hardly the only Silicon Valley organization backing Obama. Apple and Google have also become vocal supporters of the administration. Steve Jobs dined with Zuckerberg and Obama in February to discuss job creation; Google CEO Eric Schmidt was one of Obama’s earliest backers for the presidency; Chris Hughes, one of Facebook’s founders, became Obama’s internet czar in 2007. In fact, prior to the election of 2008, Schmidt toured the United States with Obama’s soon-to-be FCC Commissioner Julius Genachowski to stump for Obama’s net neutrality policies.

On the surface, this makes little sense. Obama’s policies have targeted businesses with remorseless cruelty, setting them up as villains in the class conflict Obama wishes to precipitate. Facebook, Apple, and Google are three of the most successful businesses of the 21st century. Yet all three seem to be mobilizing in favor of the Obama Administration.

That’s because all three must dance for their political master.

Because the federal government is so large and so powerful, and because President Obama is obviously willing and able to use government weight to press forward his agenda, major businesses in the United States must look to appease him. Obama has no problem wielding the heavy club of regulation to hurt his political enemies, or to help his political friends. Major businesses like Facebook, Google, and Apple have all felt the sour stings and warm embraces of big government. And all of them prefer the warm embraces.

President Obama has already promoted Facebook and Google openly: in his State of the Union address, for example, Obama stated, “We are the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook.” Obama’s net neutrality policy, which may or may not be backed by Google, would lock Google into place as the leading search engine on the internet – other search engines would not be able to pay internet service providers (ISPs) to make their websites run faster. Obama has promoted Apple publicly too, particularly [Steve] Jobs.

By the same token, Obama has also targeted each and every one of these businesses, making it clear that they had better get in line. Obama’s Justice Department has cracked down on Google Books, covertly threatening antitrust lawsuits. The DOJ has also pledged to shut down Google’s acquisition of ITA, a flight data and software company. Michelle Obama has said that Facebook is no place for children, and President Obama has stated that iPads and iPods threaten the republic, making “information … a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment … it is putting new pressures on our country and on our democracy.”

Facebook’s, Google’s, and Apple’s flirtations with President Obama are just the latest example of how American businesses die. To be sure, Facebook, Google and Apple are a long way from death. But once they begin dancing to the tune of the government flute, it is only a matter of time before they become obsolete.

The growth of government – and the threat of government involvement in industry – has eventually crippled virtually every major industry in America over the past century and a half.  Businesses are started by entrepreneurs; when they grow successful, government intervenes to take its pound of flesh; entrepreneurs respond by parlaying with government, hamstringing their own businesses in an attempt to [appease] government wrath. Those businesses gradually become decrepit, dependent on the whims of the capricious Washington D.C. deities.  Overseas competitors begin to compete, and the now-slow-moving businesses require government subsidies to survive. This is how businesses turn from American assets into American sinkholes. …

James J. Hill, the man who built the Great Northern Railroad, derided government aid, explaining, “The government should not furnish capital to these companies, in addition to their enormous land subsidies, to enable them to conduct their business in competition with enterprises that have received no aid from the public treasury.”  … Hill started off as a grocery clerk, then worked in a variety of industries before pooling his cash with several partners to enter the world of the railroads.  His business model was a paradigm of pure capitalism.  Teddy Roosevelt’s trust-busting converted the railroad industry into a shell of its former self, and converted its “robber baron” leaders into public villains. Now today, President Obama tells us that we must publicly fund rail systems so as to compete with the Chinese.

In the oil industry, the Rockefellers of the early 20th century gave way to the heavily regulated firms of today – and not coincidentally, the foreign oil dependence that now shapes our foreign and domestic politics.

In the automobile industry, Henry Ford entrepreneurialism gave way to government-supported unionization, subsidization, and finally, bankruptcy.

When President Obama praises the fact that we are “the nation that puts cars in driveways and computers in offices,” he neglects to mention that we are also the government that kills the car industry and ships the computer industry overseas; when he lionizes us as “the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers,” he ignores the fact that Edison has given way to government-sponsored GE, a company whose stock fluctuates with each presidential press conference; when he effervesces over Google and Facebook, he blithely overlooks the fact that his own intervention will help make those companies archaic before their time.

This is what liberalism does to industry.  It kills it.

How is it possible for such brilliant achievers to be played for chumps so easily?

The cartoon Mr Magoo never gets personally hurt, though he leaves wreckage behind him. The Magoos of business and industry cannot count on being so lucky. Obama wants to turn America into a socialist state. Socialism is the wrecker of freedom. Socialism is bad not only for the economy as a whole and so for all business and industry, but for every individual –

Except its ruling elite. So, you men of the great start-ups, of great ideas and great ability, maybe for you personally the way of Chris Hughes is the way to go: join the administration and help to wreck America.

And watch the admiration and gratitude of your country and the world, which you have now, change to anger, contempt, and unforgiving blame.

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