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Wednesday, to nobody’s surprise, the House voted to impeach President Trump a second time, on grounds that he incited the violent protesters who stormed the Capitol. They were in such a rush to impeach him before he leaves office that they didn’t take time for the standard legal procedure of presenting evidence and letting him defend himself.

The vote was 232-197, with 10 Republicans joining the Democrats against Trump.

One Republican, Rep. Liz Cheney, was particularly outspoken, declaring, "The president of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing."

However, the FBI later announced that they had picked up evidence of plans for violence at the Capitol as early as January 5, the day before the attack, and they suspect some of the participants left the Trump rally early to pick up supplies and meet at the Capitol.

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If so, that would mean that Trump’s speech, while it might have been irresponsible, did not incite the Capitol rioters, who planned their attack in advance and left before his speech to launch it.

This could mark the second time the Democrats rushed to judgement to impeach Trump, only to have their efforts collapse once they left the hyper-partisan House because they substituted partisan anger for solid legal evidence. This article explains how a Senate trial might not even happen.

Joe Biden seems to have cold feet about continuing this impeachment trial in the Senate, at least judging by his statement yesterday reminding Senators of “other urgent business” and his suggestion that they split their time between that and other things.

The fact is that by pulling this final rebuke of Trump, the House may have undercut Biden by handing the Senate a divisive, time-wasting responsibility (a trial to remove a President who’s already left office) just as Biden will be coming into office and wanting to fast-track his agenda. Mostly because they hope to ban Trump from running again, which it's doubtful the Senate has the power to do. It also tells us that for all their vilification of Trump, they still fear he might beat them in 2024.

Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats seem to think that they have put a real super-duper stain on Trump by impeaching him twice, but more so, they’ve stained themselves as rabid partisans and permanently devalued impeachment. Being “double-impeached” without proper procedure of evidence as he’s leaving office anyway is as hollow as Dean Wormer warning the frat boys in “Animal House” that they’re on “Double Secret Probation.”

Impeachment of a President is the most drastic of all remedies for the most serious of offenses. It’s a grave Constitutional crisis that should be undertaken with the utmost seriousness. By talking about impeaching Trump from the moment he was elected, then impeaching him over a phone call and having the Senate throw it out -- and then impeaching him again when he’s leaving office over a riot incitement charge that not only wouldn’t pass legal muster, but if it did, the people accusing him of it would be as guilty as he is -- they’ve reduced that most solemn of last-resort responsibilities to a nakedly partisan political ploy.

Want proof? A Georgia Republican Representative announced that she plans to introduce impeachment articles against Joe Biden the day after he takes office, over corruption related to China and Ukraine.

Of course, it won’t go anywhere in a Democrat House. But as satisfying as it might be for Republicans who’ve had to put up with Trump being attacked from day one – and now accused of attempting a coup by the same people who enabled the Russian Collusion attempted coup, and of inciting violent rioters by people who’ve spent the past year defending violent rioters – do we really want a banana republic-style nation where impeachment is just a meaningless political weapon that every President can expect to get hurled at him by the other party, like a mudball?

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Electoral College Update

January 14, 2021

True to their word, several House Democrats have introduced a resolution to pass a Constitutional Amendment to abolish the Electoral College and elect the President by national popular vote. Because unlike in previous times, New York, Montana, Minnesota, Alabama and Texas are all exactly the same now.

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The chances of this passing are pretty slim, since it would require a two-thirds vote in both Houses of Congress, then ratification by three-fourths of the states (38 out of 50, or however many states there are after the Democrats get through transforming America.) I would hope that there aren’t that many states that would willingly give away their say over who becomes President to a handful of highly populated states like California, New York, Texas and Florida.

But I did want you to be aware of this, and also share their argument for why the Electoral College is obsolete. I think you’ll find it to be one of the funniest things you’ll hear all day:

“The development of mass media and the Internet has made information about Presidential candidates easily accessible to United States citizens across the country and around the world.”

I don’t think this is a very good time to claim that we can depend on the Internet to provide a free and nonpartisan flow of information about politics. Ask all the Biden voters who somehow never heard about Hunter’s laptop. Or the millions of former Parler users.

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Just weeks after it was reported that Rep. Eric Swalwell was in bed with an alleged Chinese spy (possibly literally), he had the stunning hubris to accuse a Republican Congress member of siding with terrorists and committing a crime by disclosing the location of Speaker Pelosi to the Capitol rioters.

If it’s true that Rep. Lauren Boebert disobeyed orders not to make social media posts during the assault, then that was a serious lapse that deserves attention. But tweeting that “the Speaker has been removed from the Chambers” didn’t reveal where she was, just where she wasn’t. How is that useful to terrorists?

I’d be fine with an investigation into this issue, as long as there’s also a thorough investigation into what information Swalwell, with his place on the House Intelligence Committee, might have revealed to China. But then, he’ll be too busy to answer those questions, since Pelosi gave him a post on her committee to impeach Trump for allegedly betraying America.

Self-awareness is as rare in Washington these days as fiscal responsibility.

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We’ve received a number of comments asking about an Internet rumor that Google bought the DuckDuckGo search engine that protects privacy. This is not true. A few years ago, Google bought a company that owned the domain Duck.com, which led to the confusion. DuckDuckGo complained, and Google voluntarily relinquished the domain, which now automatically redirects users to DuckDuckGo.com.

So it appears that DuckDuckGo is still so independent and dedicated to protecting privacy that they are justified in having a welcome mat at their headquarters that reads, “Come Back With A Warrant.” (I’m still disappointed that I didn’t get one of those for Christmas.)

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There’s also some discussion online about Google thinking it’s in their best interests not to try to take over or crush DuckDuckGo or Bing because that gives them some nominal competition to point to when they’re accused of being a monopoly. We’ll see how long that lasts if DuckDuckGo gets so many users that it threatens their monopoly…oops, sorry: I mean, "their business."

Here’s an article about DuckDuckGo from 2019, explaining the differences between the two search engines and why you might prefer DuckDuckGo (aside from the obvious political and “not supporting evil” reasons.)

Another issue we’re getting questions on (and that helped fuel the Google rumor) is that people think they’re seeing more left-leaning results on DuckDuckGo lately. I searched for “impeachment” and got fairly mainstream news stories and definitions from Wikipedia and History.com. A search for “Mike Huckabee” turned up a Fox News article and other benign results. It’s possible that if you see more left-leaning results, it’s because DuckDuckGo sifts through about 400 sources, including the Bing search engine, and there are currently a lot more left-leaning stories so more might turn up on DuckDuckGo, but that’s just a guess. Compare it to Google’s news results and there’s no contest.

Finally, if you want a privacy-protecting browser alternative to DuckDuckGo for some reason, you might try Qwant.com, which is based in France. But DuckDuckGo is NOT owned by Google.

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Your Tax Dollars At Work

January 14, 2021

The latest Project Veritas expose allegedly shows Michael Beller, principle counsel for PBS, saying that if Trump were to win the election, people should “go to the White House and throw Molotov cocktails.” He also said that Trump supporters are bad parents who are “raising a generation of intolerant horrible people — horrible kids.” So “even if Biden wins, we go for all the Republican voters, Homeland Security will take their children away and we’ll put them into reeducation camps.”

Nothing screams “I’m pro-tolerance” like wanting to throw Molotov cocktails if you lose an election or take your political opponents’ children away and put them into reeducation camps.

In response, PBS downplayed Beller’s role and said he no longer worked there. They condemned violence and slammed Project Veritas as a “a far-right activist group that is known for producing deceptive videos,” although they didn’t specify what was “far-right” or “deceptive” about this video.

At least, I’m glad to hear that a leftist can actually lose a job over his hateful, violent, intolerant rhetoric, although I assume he’ll soon have a cushy new job as a commentator at CNN.

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Perhaps the best source I can point to on what Big Broth—I mean, Big Tech, is doing to conservatives is, ironically, the non-conservative Glenn Greenwald, who has had to “go independent” because of his straightforwardness and is now on Substack,com.

Tuesday, he posted a commentary called “How Silicon Valley, In a Show of Monopolistic Force, Destroyed Parler,” which details the principles of privacy and free speech behind the social media platform and its growth after being set up in August 2018. That growth spiked dramatically after other social media censored the NEW YORK POST’s story about Hunter Biden and started deleting posts even by the President of the United States, labeling them “misinformation.” When Twitter finally terminated Trump’s access, that was enough for millions, and they started leaving in droves for Parler.

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As Greenwald notes, the people behind Parler had done exactly what the social media giants had always said to do: If you don’t like the rules we impose, go start your own platform and make your own rules. But when Parler succeeded, they fought dirty to force it out of business. Just when it became the most downloaded app in the country, tech giants Apple, Amazon and Google worked seamlessly as one to abruptly remove it from the internet.

If Parler’s attorney’s are reading, Greenwald offers the perfect opening statement for when their HUGE LAWSUIT reaches court: “If one were looking for evidence to demonstrate that these tech behemoths are, in fact, monopolies that engage in anti-competitive behavior in violation of anti-trust laws, and will obliterate any attempt to compete with them in the marketplace, it would be difficult to imagine anything more compelling than how they just used their unconstrained power to utterly destroy a rising competitor.”

Greenwald tells how this unfolded, starting with a letter from Apple that said they’d received “numerous complaints” and “accusations that the Parler app was used to plan, coordinate, and facilitate the illegal activities in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2021, that led...to loss of life, numerous injuries, and the destruction of property.” It warned that they must submit the requested "moderation improvement plan” within 24 hours or their app would be removed from the Apple app store.

Not surprisingly, the letter was immediately leaked to BUZZFEED, which, not surprisingly, published it in full. Parler tried to communicate with Apple without success. The next day, Apple told Parler that it wouldn’t distribute apps that represent “dangerous and harmful content” and removed them. An app that's not downloaded from the Apple store cannot be used with an iPhone. As Greenwald explains, even if the Parler app has already been downloaded, it won’t be updated, which will soon render the platform “both unmanageable and unsafe.”

Google struck Blow #2, “suspending” Parler from its Play Store, thus severely limiting users’ ability to download it onto Android phones.

The next day, Amazon delivered Blow #3, informing Parler that its web hosting service was terminating them. Parler was then, effectively, offline. Amazon said: “Because Parler cannot comply with our terms of service and poses a very real risk to public safety, we plan to suspend Parler’s account effective Sunday, January 10th...”

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In a matter of just a few days, Parler went from being the most popular and fastest-growing app in the country to being banished from the internet.

Leftists, who used to be pro-free speech, are cheering the demise of Parler. Ding, dong, the First Amendment is dead!

But Parler wasn’t designed to be an echo chamber of MAGA-hatted Trump supporters. As Greenwald describes it, “The platform was created based in libertarian values of privacy, anti-surveillance, anti-data collection, and free speech.” It was for people who wanted privacy and didn’t like the idea of being “data-mined.” It was also for those who increasingly objected to the rules about what could or could not be said --- and no, that doesn't apply to calls for violence, which are against Parler’s terms of service anyway and are already illegal on any platform.

Explicit calls for violence are rampant on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (owned by Google). The Capitol breach was planned largely on Facebook and Twitter, including by members of QAnon. No participants have been found to be active on Parler.

Yet it’s the threat of more Capitol Hill-style violence that is purportedly causing Big Tech’s crackdown on Parler. Obviously, that’s just pretense for censoring conservative opinion.

Greenwald’s article is very detailed and examines Big Tech’s close relationship with politicians and the intelligence bureaucracy. It’s a must-read.

On Tuesday, Greenwald, appearing with Tucker Carlson, said Big Tech companies are “acting like nation-states,” with Facebook even setting up “committees” to decide what speech is true, false, dangerous, not dangerous. Sounds as though Winston Smith of 1984 would be right home there.

Greenwald pointed out that even world leaders who are not fans of President Trump, such as Germany’s Angela Merkel, are now speaking out about how dangerous Silicon Valley has become by “anointing itself the world media that controls and is more powerful than their democracies, because they know that’s coming for their democracies as well.”

He elaborated on what he’d said in his commentary, noting that out of the first 13 arrested for Capitol Hill violence, “a total of zero” were active on Parler. Most of the advocacy and planning had been done on Facebook, YouTube (Google) and Twitter. Yet AOC and others with power in the Democrat Party were demanding that Google and Apple “kick Parler off.” If their concern really is to stop violence, why weren’t they calling for Facebook and YouTube to be de-platformed?

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Here’s one clue: Biden reportedly got ten times more money from Big Tech than Trump did. The real menace is that they’re working hand in hand now to control all expression. This is blatantly illegal and unconstitutional, but unless you want to talk about how “woke” you are and how much you still hate Trump, the plan is to leave you with cute fuzzy puppies and pictures of food. Any political or societal point of view that doesn’t get the leftist gold star will have to go.

Tucker also hosted Glenn Beck, who said he'd built his own media company in anticipation of this coming. With the current political upheaval and the technological upheaval, he said, these two powers “need each other.”

As a caution, Beck compared what’s happening to what FDR did to Japanese-Americans during World War II, confiscating their wealth, shutting their businesses and, eventually, even isolating them in camps. “You can’t have freedom of speech,” Beck explained, “if you can’t express yourself in a meaningful place.”

“This is like the Germans with the Jews behind the wall,” he said. “...This is the digital ghetto.”

Beck is taking heat, of course, for making that comparison. But as he explained, he wasn’t literally comparing the current situation to Nazi Germany, just using it as an example to show the direction things can move without constitutional protection. He issued a warning: “If you don’t stand up for free speech, you will be the one that loses it as well.”

 

UPDATE 

Here's an excellent blogpost, featuring the commentary of legal expert Jonathan Turley, that agrees completely.

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The FBI is sifting through more than 40,000 tips from the public to identify people involved in last week’s violence inside the Capitol. They say Americans will be “shocked” when they learn of the brutality that took place last week.

They also reportedly have warned Congress about further potential threats of violence up to and on the Biden Inauguration date of January 20th. There have been reports of plans for armed protests in Washington and all 50 state capitals on January 17th. While the source isn’t certain, it’s rumored to be promoted by far-right extremists called the Boogaloo movement.

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Some on the right are claiming this is a false-flag designed to smear or trap law-abiding Trump supporters, but the movement is real, and its adherents are very bad news, although some seem to be more general anti-government anarchists than rightwing. They should be thoroughly condemned, and the FBI is right to take every precaution.

Here are a few recent stories about some of their members, to show why the threats must be taken seriously:

https://policetribune.com/self-proclaimed-boogaloo-boi-pleads-guilty-to-federal-terrorism-charge-for-trying-to-aid-hamas/

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/airman-charged-killing-federal-officer-during-george-floyd-protests-california-n1231187

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/another-boogaloo-bois-member-federally-charged-accused-of-riot-in-minneapolis-in-may/ar-BB1akMW9

With the warnings out, the FBI and other federal authorities on high alert, and many Trump supporters who planned to attend peaceful rallies are now rethinking that. Pundit Roger Simon urged Republicans to respond by refusing to respond in any way. Not only don’t go to any rallies, don’t watch the Inauguration on TV, don’t stream it on any devices, just ignore it completely. He says that inaugurations are supposed to be a celebration of democracy, but there’s nothing to celebrate here, so let it be a ratings disaster and a cluster of Democrats surrounded by nothingness. As he puts it, “Suppose they gave an Inauguration and nobody came?”

He writes, “You must have something better to do, like fix that leaky faucet in the guest bathroom once and for all or finally to install that second peg board in the garage that’s still in its shrink wrap.” And think of how much fun it will be to hear Democrats and CNN trying to explain how fixing your leaky faucet is an act of white supremacy.

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