Creeping Totalitarianism Alert! As Expected, The Democratic Party Moves To Censor Speech And Suppress Dissent

Committee anouncement

“In their zeal for control over online speech, House Democrats are getting closer and closer to the constitutional line, if they have not already crossed it,” writes Glenn Greenwald at substack. But the point is, they want to cross it, and have been signalling that they want to cross it for a long time. This is not a conspiracy theory. This is real.

On March 25, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will interrogate Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, Facebooks’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai at a hearing which the Committee announced will focus “on misinformation and disinformation plaguing online platforms.” “Misinformation and disinformation” is defined by Democrats as any opinions, theories or analysis that they find inconvenient. Such statements as “President Trump colluded with the Russians,” “President Trump incited a deadly insurrection” or “Hunter Biden has done nothing wrong” are not “misinformation and disinformation.” Clear?

Writes Greenwald,

“House Democrats have made no secret of their ultimate goal with this hearing: to exert control over the content on these online platforms. “Industry self-regulation has failed,” they said, and therefore “we must begin the work of changing incentives driving social media companies to allow and even promote misinformation and disinformation.” In other words, they intend to use state power to influence and coerce these companies to change which content they do and do not allow to be published.”

This is a direct attack on democracy, and the certainly that the Democratic Party was poised to use this strategy once they were in power was the reason, as I stated in November, that I concluded that the only responsible choice was to vote to re-elect Donald Trump, who is as attractive to an ethicist as head cheese is to a vegan. Those who allowed emotion, bias and propaganda to convince them otherwise were irresponsible and incompetent, and have enabled an existential crisis.

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Another Totalitarian Tell: In The House Of Representatives, Only One Party Has To Obey the Rules. Now What?

metal detector

I will not accept this, and if you do, have your prison jump-suit measured.

You’ll be needing it.

Last week, Democrats in the House passed a new rule requiring members to pass through a metal detector before they entered the House floor. After all several Democrats said they were all scared and stuff of those scary GOP members who support the Second Amendment. Some of them even own those evil guns! ,

Some House members tried evading the metal detectors and entered through what’s known as “the speaker’s lobby,” so Speaker Pelosi began issuing fines for that. Rep. Louis Gohmert was fined $5,000 after briefly leaving the floor to go to the bathroom. Then Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Il) —if it had been a Democrat, we never would have heard about it—caught Pelosi herself entering through the speaker’s lobby and avoiding the detectors. Because metal detectors are for the little people. The beaten people. The submissive or soon to be. Sort of like electric collars.

Fox News (of course Fox News-–you don’t think any of the regime supporting media sources would dare report this, do you?) said:

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Is It Ethical For Responsible Americans To Remain On Facebook?

Facebook-Censorship

There was some sort of good news but also seriously ominous news regarding Facebook’s increasingly brazen efforts to distort public debate and to use its power to restrict free speech. Unfortunately, the good news wasn’t nearly good enough, and the rest might just be the proverbial straw that breaks the metaphorical camel’s back, at least for me.

On the slightly positive side was that the giant social media platform has reversed several instances of content removal after review by the company’s “independent” (I am not convinced how independent it is) oversight body. Facebook’s new 20-member Oversight Board released its first verdicts yesterday, and overturned four of five censorship decisions. Facebook is now allowed seven days to restore the banned content.

But why does it take seven days? It doesn’t really: this is a stall. With time sensitive material, the license just compounds the harm.

Now the board will decide whether to keep former President Trump’s page banned permanently. That should tell us whether the review system is legitimate or a sham with a purely political agenda, for there can be no justification for blocking the words, views and opinions of any prominent national leader, particularly a President, and particularly particularly one who is routinely savaged with twisted accusations every day by the news media and every second by other Facebook users. The Oversight Board will issue a decision in the next 90 days as the ban continues. It’s a another transparent stall. This isn’t a hard call, and if it is for anyone, then that is signature significance for disqualifying bias.

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Ethics Quote Of The Week: Christopher Bedford

nationalguard

“None of this matters to the leaders in Washington: Not walling themselves from the public they serve, nor spreading even more fear and distrust among their supporters than already existed. What matters is that the Democrats and the troops be seen as the only things standing between America and a Ku Klux MAGA apocalypse.”

Christopher Bedford, National Review editor, in his essay, The Occupation Of Washington Is Pure Panic Porn — And You Are The Target

I don’t usually like to devote an Ethics Alarms post to quoting another writer’s work, but Mr. Bedford has expressed what I would have so perfectly that I’ll make an exception. Please go to the National Review and read the whole thing, but note these points:

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Why Don’t College Students Believe In Free Speech? Because They Are Taught By Totalitarianism Advocates Like Duke Professors Bill Adair and Philip Napoli. That’s Why.

First-Amendment-on-scroll1

In an advocacy piece in The Hill this week, the professors, who teach public policy instructors insist that the breaching of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters shows that the government must decide what statements and opinions are legally permissible. They wrote in part,

“Last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol was based on lies…The mob that stormed the building was acting on a tidal wave of misinformation about the election that was spread by the president, his fellow Republicans and their supporters using a web of partisan media outlets, social media and the dark corners of the internet.The lies flourished despite an extraordinary amount of debunking by fact-checkers and Washington journalists. But that fact-checking didn’t persuade the mob that stormed the Capitol — nor did it dissuade millions of other supporters of the president. Fed a steady diet of repetitive falsehoods by elected officials and partisan outlets, they believed the lies so much that they were driven to violence.”

“In his first week in office, President-elect Biden should announce a bipartisan commission to investigate the problem of misinformation and make recommendations about how to address it.The commission should take a broad approach and consider all possible solutions: incentives, voluntary industry reforms, education, regulations and new laws.”

Observations:

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For The “Scared Yet?” Files: Glenn Greenwald On Parler’s Take-Down

List of apps

Greenwald, who lost his own organization for insisting on fair reporting on the Hunter Biden scandal deliberately hidden from the public by the partisan media, has delivered an excellent account of what was done to Parler. This is why Ethics Alarms subscribes to his new platform, substack. He is one of that nearly extinct species, a journalist who reports the facts, wherever they may lead.

Of the attack on Parler, the surging alternative to Twitter, Greenwald writes in part,

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 antitrust 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…In October, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law issued a 425-page report concluding that Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google all possess monopoly power and are using that power anti-competitively. For Apple, they emphasized the company’s control over iPhones through its control of access to the App Store….Parler learned that Google, without warning, had also “suspended” it from its Play Store, severely limiting the ability of users to download Parler onto Android phones. Google’s actions also meant that those using Parler on their Android phones would no longer receive necessary functionality and security updates….

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“Scared Yet?” (Cont.)

Instagram take-down

In what will likely be, I’m sorry to say, a continuing feature here as social media and the Big Tech firms attempt to misuse their power to restrict the flow of information that might be unfavorable to their political allies, this post is a follow-up to this one, and this, the original “Scared Yet?”

“Not the Bee,” a conservative site that, as the title suggests, writes about current events and political horror stories that read like satire, but are, unfortunately, true, reports that Instagram took down this post…

Instagram takedown2

…with the message above.

The post is absolutely true, as NTB points out,

Because, you see, the day after permanently banning Trump for “inciting violence,” Twitter really did allow “Hang Mike Pence” to trend. Multiple forms of that sentiment, actually.

If anyone can figure out how the removed post “incites” violence, please explain it to me and the Ethics Alarms readership.

Comment Of The Day: “Scared Yet?” [Corrected]

And now, a fearless Comment of the Day from Mrs. Q, on the post, “Scared Yet?”

Fear is understandable but not helpful in responding to this increasingly disturbing trend. Quite frankly, these people want you to be afraid. Don’t give them that power.

To be clear, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be steadfast in our discernment of the information MSM is putting out or the tech giants’ actions. In fact, I suspect some readers here have only scratched the surface of what these “powers and principalities” are capable of.

For example, it would be wise to research the reach a corporation like Alphabet Inc. (Google’s owner) has in the field of medicine. If you think Google having a say in what we say is intense, check out the medical patents these “well-meaning” folks are working on. Don’t forget that Google is already used to increasingly hold more of our digital medical records. Add to that our genetic information being held by 23 and Me, whose founder is none other than Google founder Sergey Brin’s ex-wife.

As we move towards a green new world order, consider the “smart” technology being inserted into controlling our water usage, household heating and cooling, and even our cars. Is it far fetched to wonder if the wrong opinions could get one cut off from use of resources through smart tech? I’m not sure it is anymore.

Then you have the issue of what you say being “heard” by way of Amazon’s Alexa or the Hey Google voice-activated search tools. If you’ve ever noticed that suddenly your mobile device is suggesting targeted ad products to you after a private conversation in which some issue is mentioned, then you might want to consider just what is being recorded. In parts of the UK, laws are being considered to punish those in private conversations at home or elsewhere, where wrongthink may be spoken. For that to work you need omnipresent informants everywhere or a device that records you.

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Ethics Flotsam And Jetsam, 1/4/21, Borne Back Ceaselessly Into The Past

Gatsby

 “The Great Gatsby‘s” 1925 copyright expired on January 1, 2021, and right on cue, Amazon announced that it was selling a now-legal prequel to that wildly over-praised F. Scott Fitzgerald novel called “Nick,” by Michael Ferris Smith: “A tumultuous origin story of one of the most famous and unforgettable literary narrators, Nick is a true cross-continental bildungsroman. This emotional novel successfully puts “The Great Gatsby” into an entirely new perspective and era: from the battlefields of World War I to the drunken streets of Paris and New Orleans. Dive back into the world of an unparalleled classic.”

It’s not unethical exactly, I guess it’s just pathetic. This author was waiting to scavenge someone else’s original work, and had his rip-off ready the second the bell tolled. The similarly creatively challenged among you now can repurpose and sell as your own books like Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs. Dalloway,” Ernest Hemingway’s “In Our Time,” Franz Kafka’s “The Trial” (in German) Theodore Dreiser’s “An American Tragedy,” John Dos Passos’s “Manhattan Transfer,” and Sinclair Lewis’s “Arrowsmith” (a personal favorite) among others.

1. Nah, the Democrats aren’t turning into totalitarians! That’s going to be the most-used gaslighting reference here in the ordeal to come I fear, as foretold by this screed in the New Yorker (Pointer: Arthur in Maine) by John Cassidy. Its thesis is that there are legislative steps that can be taken to make sure no political outsider like Donald Trump will ever again defeat establishment hacks like Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden.

Among the steps to “Trump-proof” the Presidency: require all candidates to sell off any businesses they own (lifetime politicians don’t own businesses), force them to release their tax returns, try various end-arounds the Electoral College (none of which are constitutional, in my view), and adopt ranked-choice voting so third and fourth party candidates have no chance whatsoever (they do it in New Zealand, so it must be better than our system).

I’d take the time to fisk this thing, but it begins falling apart on its own like Captain Queeg on the witness stand about halfway through, descending into standard anti-Trump blather about “norms,” lies, and “verbal assaults on the media” (which thoroughly deserved them).

The author really exposes his bias when he cites Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington as his ethics authority, a group that somehow only finds ethics violations in the Republican Party.

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Query: How Many Ways Is This Poster Unethical Or Ethically Obtuse?

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Here’s my preliminary list:

1. It deliberately or ignorantly confounds bias with hate. Bias is a preference that may or may not be rational. There is no evidence that those men who would not choose to date trans women hate them. Do short men choose not to date tall women because they hate them? Do educated men prefer not to date high school drop-outs because they hate them?

2. Thus the poster denies the human right to choose who we want to have romantic relationships with. If it’s hateful not to want to date women who used to be men, then it’s hateful to choose only to date attractive women, thin women, strong women, Jewish women, women of one’s own religion, nationality or race. Personal preference is itself unacceptable if it does not advance the current definition of social justice.

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