We’ve been hearing Mark Zuckerberg claim for months that Facebook isn’t biased against conservatives, even as the number of conservative users and media outlets that are banned from Facebook has been rising. The “reason” is always that they’ve violated Facebook’s terms of service or were circulating “fake” or “misleading” political news (which should have gotten CNN banned for life) or vaguely-defined “hate speech,” but the details are usually fuzzy or amount to maybe one story that got something wrong and was already corrected (again, how many times does CNN do that?)
Some conservative media leaders have begun sounding alarms that this is not a coincidence, but part of a concerted effort to silence non-leftist voices; that having encouraged everyone to move away from independent websites and blogs to giant social media sites, the ultra-liberal curators of those sites are now systematically weeding out conservative voices.
Those critics got new ammunition in the past week or so, and a spotlight was shone on the tech lefties, when Facebook suddenly banned 559 pages.
These include the popular site Right Wing News. It’s run by a US military veteran who lost both legs and his right hand in combat in the Middle East. Facebook let him pay them $300,000 for advertising, then not only shut down his page with no warning, they also shut down his business page, Military Grade Coffee, which simply sells coffee and donates a portion of the profits to veterans.
The top executives of social media sites deny any political bias, it’s just those pesky algorithms. But maybe the problem is a little lower than the top. At the link is Tucker Carlson's interview with an engineer who quit Facebook after complaining about the repressive PC corporate culture. He says that despite denials from the top, there is a cabal of engineers in lower management that will attack anyone who expresses a non-far-left thought as “a sexist or a racist or a transphobe or an Islamophobe.” He claims that they are targeting conservative pages in defiance of the site’s mission to promote free speech, and that they are “unbelievably belligerent, demanding and hostile not just toward other employees, but toward Facebook leadership directly."
In other words, it sounds as if the top management at Facebook (as well as Twitter and Google) need to clean out their own houses. If these engineers actually have any talents beyond censoring people they disagree with, then it shouldn’t be hard for them to find new jobs. They can thank President Trump for that.
It hasn’t been a good PR month for Google. There have been reports of the tech giant (former motto: “Don’t be evil”) developing a censorable, traceable search engine for the Chinese government…
…The exposure of the data of half a million users and an attempt to cover it up…
…A study by the media technology group AllSides that found that despite Google’s denials of bias, the Google News home page and search results show a “strong preference” for left-leaning media sources…
And to put the cherry on top, Google’s female former PR chief has written a satirical book revealing that the Silicon Valley tech industry culture is filled with people who are stridently PC in their attitudes toward everyone else, but incredibly spoiled, sexist and privileged within their own smug bubbles…
Now, just what Google needs to cement its reputation with Americans: while they are eager to work with the communist Chinese government, Google just pulled out of bidding for a $10 billion contract with the Pentagon after some employees quit in protest that it violated their corporate principles.
At this point, I’m sure many Americans will mostly be shocked to hear that Google has principles. Meanwhile, in a totally unrelated story, I’m sure, DuckDuckGo, the search engine that doesn’t track you or keep records of your searches, just hit a record 30 million daily searches, up 50% in just one year.
In a welcome victory for religious freedom and free speech rights, the city of Atlanta has agreed to pay a $1.2 million settlement to former fire chief Kelvin Cochran. He was fired for self-publishing a book on his Christian faith with quotes from the Bible, some of which criticized sodomy or spoke of marriage being between a man and a woman, which caused LGBTQ activists to accuse him of being anti-gay. The Alliance Defending Freedom took his case pro bono and spent three years battling to defend his right to free religious expression during his off-duty hours. They not only got Cochran the settlement but a court struck down as unconstitutional Atlanta’s policy requiring government employees to get permission before engaging in free speech outside of their jobs.
Congratulations to Kelvin Cochran and the ADF for standing up and fighting for the First Amendment. And I love the way some conservatives are describing this story: “SPLC-branded ‘hate group’ wins First Amendment rights case for discriminated-against African-American.’”
President Trump says that he’s been told personally by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that he had no knowledge of the brutal dismemberment death of Saudi Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi during an interrogation at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey.
Some Republicans who were only a couple of weeks ago defending the concept of innocent until proven guilty are demanding immediate action against Prince Mohammed. If it is established that this interrogation/killing was ordered by the Prince, then the repercussions should be severe. But there are questions about this case that have yet to be answered.
For instance, the Prince has been trying to liberalize Saudi society, rid his country of Islamic radicals and build a closer relationship with the US. So why would he sanction such a brutal act, something that sounds like what Islamic radicals do, knowing it would destroy that relationship? The fact that it happened in Turkey, a country which currently has strained relations with the US and would like to undermine the US-Saudi-Israel alliance against Iran, also raises suspicions. Khashoggi’s background and his ties to the Muslim Brotherhood aren’t being discussed. There are also reports of what happened to Khashoggi and that some people close to bin Salman were involved, but is there any actual evidence?
Here are even more questions that need to be answered or at least considered, before we take action against Saudi Arabia and risk adverse international repercussions:
Again, I stress that the killing of Khashoggi was a reprehensible and savage act that calls for the harshest of consequences. But before we impose those consequences, let’s be certain we know all the facts and are imposing them on the guilty parties. Finally, to give you an idea of just how convoluted this situation really is, here’s some deep background on all concerned that reads like a spy novel, from Middle East expert John R. Bradley.
How Not To Create A Campaign Ad:
In North Dakota, Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s campaign tried to attack her Republican challenger, Kevin Cramer, for allegedly not being sensitive enough to women who claim to be victims of sexual abuse. So they put out an open letter signed by women who allegedly declared themselves to “have all suffered from domestic violence, sexual assault, or rape.”
But the snit hit the fan after the letter came out, and many of the women whose names were on it complained that they never gave the Heitkamp campaign permission in any way to publicly identify them as victims of sexual assault. The names apparently were taken from Facebook postings. One woman said she not only wasn’t a victim of domestic assault, she doesn’t even support Heitkamp, and asked, “Can this even be legal?”
Heitkamp pulled the ad and issued a retraction and personal apologies to all the women (who may or may not have been victimized before, but they sure feel as if they have been now.) That might not be good enough, however: some of the women issued a statement saying that “Heidi Heitkamp's political agenda has interfered with, or downright ruined, our lives," and they’ve begun to “search for a lawyer.” I wouldn’t be surprised if a number of lawyers were already searching for them.
Making America Great Again:
In an annual report by the World Economic Forum, the United States is once again the #1 most competitive nation in the world, followed by Singapore, Germany, Switzerland and Japan. The study ranks 140 countries based on 98 indicators that measure business investment and productivity. This is the first time that the US has been #1 since the economic meltdown of 2008.
Of course, there are those who would like to blame the nearly decade-long lapse entirely on the 2008 meltdown. But I seem to recall something else happening in 2008 that might have had a lot to do with it. We could have reacted to the meltdown by making our economy more competitive and business-friendly and come back a lot sooner. Instead, we went the other way and spent nine years out of our natural place at #1. Now, after just two years of Republican leadership, we’re back where we belong.
There's currently another competition under way. Less than three weeks from now, Americans will have to decide whether they like being #1 again or they want Democratic “change.” I hope they understand that could mean trading long-delayed prosperity for pocket change.
Here’s something you don’t hear too often: that Sen. Orrin Hatch is a funny guy! But then, it’s easy when you have Elizabeth Warren handing you set-ups for jokes on a silver platter.
The Congressional Budget Office just released the figures on income taxes paid in fiscal year 2018. The top 1% of earners paid 37.3% of income tax revenues, while the top 3% paid 50% of all taxes. Leftists who keep yelling that the rich should pay their “fair share” might want to pipe down before the rich take them up on that and demand a big tax cut.
Beto doesn't want to share
Apparently, Texas Senate candidate and Democratic media darling Robert “Beto” O’Rourke has his eye on a really expensive new skateboard.