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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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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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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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With Big Tech companies such as Google, Apple and Amazon acting in concert to crush Parler and silence conservative political speech, the big question is, what to do about it? Rep. Devin Nunes has called for a RICO investigation, but with the DOJ under the control of the Democrats, who benefit from the collusion (ironically!), that’s not likely to happen. Conservatives tried going to other platforms, but the Silicon Valley leftists control so much of the digital infrastructure that they can cut off any competitors’ web hosting, email service, even digital payment systems.

A bill was just introduced to scale back Section 230 protections when social media companies violate free speech rights, but I have little hope of it passing under the Democrats.

This article in the New York Post calls for federal intervention, but admits that won’t happen until at least 2024, when Republicans could take back the White House and Congress. But will they be able to when their free speech and online presence have been purged for four years?

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So what can be done right now? Well, there are two things, and they’re already happening. On Monday, Parler turned to the courts, where there are now a number of Trump-appointed judges who actually care about the Constitution. Parler filed a massive lawsuit against Amazon for antitrust violations, breach of contract and unlawful business interference, and demanded that their web hosting service be reinstated. Parler says their contract with Amazon requires 30 days’ notice of termination, and they got less than one day. In fact, they found out about it from the leftwing website Buzzfeed, which apparently was told an hour before Parler was informed (now we finally have an answer to the question, “Which travels faster: an email or a virtue signal?”)

Since Parler CEO John Matze says he’s getting death threats and is afraid even to go home, and I assume those were ginned up on Twitter, then under the same standard applied to Parler, Twitter is responsible for the people fomenting death threats and should be shut down.

Let’s hope this is only the first of many, many major lawsuits against the Big Tech companies. In the meantime, there is also another way to fight back, and it’s already starting. The tech giants think that they can “disappear” 75 million Americans who voted for Trump. But 75 million angry Americans can respond by refusing to do business with them. They can turn off Facebook and Twitter and actually talk to their real friends, or read a book, go outside, spend time with their families, or do something really productive, like restarting the Tea Party movement. They can shop in person at locally-owned stores instead of on Amazon.

This whole “We don’t need no stinkin’ deplorables as customers!” attitude proved its foolishness to the companies’ shareholders on Monday when Twitter’s stock value plummeted by $5 billion in one day, losing 12% of its value (that’s its stock value; I’m not sure what other value Twitter has.)

Also on Monday, other tech stocks took a beating, with Amazon losing 2.15% of its value, Google and Apple losing over 2.3%, and Facebook dropping by over 4%.

That article assumes that this is just temporary, and they’ll bounce back. Or it could be only the beginning. Show of hands: how many of you who have left Twitter plan to go back? How many plan to give money to any of these companies as long as they’re colluding to deprive you of your Constitutional rights? Wow, not seeing any hands out there.

Ultimately, the greatest power is the power of the purse. The leftist billionaires who control these tech companies are dependent on us giving them our time and money. Yet they are so arrogant and filled with hubris that they think it’s we who are dependent on them. For instance, they actually believe that if they deplatform the #WalkAway movement, it will prevent people from walking away from the left. They’re right: people are now running away.

As far as Facebook and Twitter thinking that they're here to stay and we’re permanently dependent on them: How much time have you spent on MySpace lately?

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Tuesday, House Democrats passed a resolution calling on Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove President Trump from office, which Pence promptly rejected.

Also, six House Republicans introduced a resolution to censure Trump, but Democrats are intent on impeaching him again, in a process that starts today.

At least five Republicans, including Rep. Liz Cheney, say they will vote to impeach. They blame his challenge of the vote and his rhetoric for inciting last week’s Capitol riot. I also disapproved of his rhetoric, but it’s not treason to challenge a vote (Nancy Pelosi herself spread distrust in the 2016 vote), and nothing Trump said in his speech or on Twitter was an incitement to violence. Of course, that’s a dispute that would normally be hashed out by attorneys in an impeachment proceeding, but this House has no time for trivialities like evidence or due process, so they’re just barreling ahead with a vote to impeach.

Some Republicans in the Senate are reportedly leaning toward voting to impeach (it’s rumored that even Mitch McConnell may be among them), but most other Republicans seem to think it’s just divisive political theater at a time when we need calm and unity. So the chances of a two-thirds vote are virtually nil, even if you could impeach someone who’s already left office. Nobody seems to agree on that point.

Legal analysts disagree, but all admit that the Constitution says nothing about it other than that a President is removed from office after being impeached. I’m not a legal scholar, but I assume the Founders didn’t put anything about impeaching departed Presidents into the Constitution because they never imagined that Americans would elect leaders who were dumb enough to come up with an idea like that.

But what do the American people think about all this late-stage impeachment deja vu? I’ve told you that before you believe any poll, take a look at the sample size and breakdown. Right now, the media are trumpeting a poll claiming that “Americans narrowly back Trump’s impeachment, resignation.” That poll claims that Americans back Congress starting impeachment proceedings by 48-44 percent.

Here’s the part they don’t talk about so much: the poll sample was 813 Democrats to 595 Republicans and 588 independents. Independents were split 50-50, so they had to oversample Democrats by about 30% to get a 4% lead, and the pro-impeachment vote was still less than 50%. That’s with the media giving us a 24/7 pro-impeachment drumbeat and social media and Big Tech trying to silence any opposition.

What I think is a more accurate poll by McLaughlin & Associates, with a sample reflective of the 2020 election, found that 60% of voters think impeachment is a waste of time and money, 74% think it’s politically motivated to keep Trump from running again, 73% think they should be dealing with the coronavirus instead, and 65% think Pelosi and Biden are keeping the country divided. Also, 70% believe Big Tech companies are too powerful and need to be regulated, and 74% agree that if they can take away the President’s free speech, they can take away any American’s right to free speech.

All this proves that despite what the propaganda press is telling us, most Americans are smart enough to know when they’re being bamboozled.

Banned by Facebook

January 13, 2021

Facebook has permanently banned a clothing retailer called Patriotic Me for alleged violations of terms of service, but the company can’t get anyone from Facebook to explain what they did wrong.

The business was started by a wife and mother who sells non-partisan clothes with patriotic themes, such as the American flag. A portion of every sale goes to the Tunnels to Towers Foundation, a charity to help injured veterans and first responders (I’ve had the founder of that group on “Huckabee” as a Huck’s Hero: https://youtu.be/rryvCv3CYJc).

Sales are down by 94% because Facebook has cut off their traffic, and the owner can’t get through to any live human to explain why so that they can correct it. Let’s hope the increased exposure forces Facebook to respond and relent. In the meantime, here’s the shop’s website, which at least is still allowed to be online.

https://patrioticme.com/

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A Second Impeachment Vote

January 12, 2021

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tried to force the House to adopt by unanimous consent (meaning no debate) a resolution calling on Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove President Trump from office. Surprise: it failed.

So now, House Democrats are expected to move on to their frankly idiotic second impeachment vote by Wednesday. It’s a move opposed by Republicans and even some moderate Democrats to impeach a President who’s leaving office in eight days and will already be gone by the time the Senate reconvenes, and where there’s no way a two-thirds vote would convict anyway.


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I should also mention that the so-called “grounds” for impeachment are that Trump allegedly incited rioters, even though nothing he said urged violence (the opposite, in fact), it’s likely the Capitol rioters hadn’t even heard his speech, and the same people impeaching him just spent most of 2020 defending violent rioters (that includes Nancy Pelosi, whose previous dismissive response to violent protesters attacking buildings and monuments in DC was that people will do what they do.) If you were going to sit down and try to think up a more pointless, nakedly partisan, laughably hypocritical endeavor, I don’t think it would be possible.

Even Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin and former Democrat Senate Leader Tom Dashle see no point in it. This article notes that maybe House Democrats think it will put a special stain on Trump to be the only President to be impeached twice, but considering there was no real evidence for either impeachment, history is more likely to record it as Pelosi leaving a stain of rabid partisanship on the House.

Seven Republican Senators are calling on Joe Biden to intervene and tell Pelosi to reel it in, but so far, he hasn’t.

It not only will accomplish nothing but wasting the taxpayers’ time and money, but it will also tie up Congressional time that Biden hoped to use to start pushing through his agenda.

So come to think of it, so ahead, Nancy, impeach away! It's for the good of America and to protect the Constitution! And here’s another conservative who supports impeachment, just because of how foolish it will make the Democrats look.

Finally, leave it to the satirical site the Babylon Bee to write the perfect epitaph not for the Trump Administration but for the twilight of the Bizarro World straw manTrump that the Democrats and the media invented and obsessed over for the past four years, and apparently will keep doing so until the sun burns out.


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