Donald Trump

Did Twitter Just Re-elect Trump?

Donald TrumpIt’s finally happened.

President Trump has finally issued the Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship. This hasn’t come a moment too soon and by the looks of this very detailed document, Trump’s had it ready in his desk for some time. All he had to do was wait patiently for someone to cock up massively like Twitter just did.

At this early stage it’s not clear whether the social media giants will respond by feigning shock and ignorance, loudly protesting their innocence or just carrying on like nothing’s actually happened. None of those responses would surprise me but if I had to guess, I’d say they’ll just carry on, while maybe announcing some kind of internal review which is far too little and way too late. Nobody would believe the findings of such an enquiry anyway. Not now.

Whilst this isn’t an actual change in the law, the executive order does explicitly state what everyone in the world, and his dog, has known for many years; namely that the tech giants have been wantonly abusing Section 230(c) of the Communications Decency Act with impunity for decades. Worse than that, they’ve been using the legal protections of Section 230(c) to censor the law abiding platform users for no good reason other than their will to dominate discourse and control information.

“Section 230 was not intended to allow a handful of companies to grow into titans controlling vital avenues for our national discourse under the guise of promoting open forums for debate, and then to provide those behemoths blanket immunity when they use their power to censor content and silence viewpoints that they dislike.”

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Forbidden book

D Day for the Deep State

Forbidden bookAt 3.02 this morning, the 75th anniversary of VE day, I received an innocuous looking email on behalf of the Parliamentary Petitions Committee. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that they’d reviewed the Home Office’s response to the Grooming Gangs report petition and, like me, found it to be wholly inadequate. It makes a refreshing change to see our elected officials taking the concerns of the general public seriously, although I’m sure that significant pushback from constituents has something to do with it.

Just like myself and many others, the Committee is not at all satisfied with a Home Office response that completely fails to address or even mention the central point of the petition in the first place. As a result, the Committee has written directly to the Home Secretary to request a revised response that addresses the petition’s request directly. There’s a copy of the letter below if you’d like to read it.

I’ve already voiced my suspicion that the true reason for the Home Office’s opaque response is that said report was never actually created. Now it looks like that hypothesis will be properly tested.

By writing directly to the Home Secretary, the Committee has ensured that the matter can’t just be kicked down the road by a gaggle of nameless, unaccountable mandarins. Speaking personally, I’ve no doubt that that Priti Patel is more than happy to bring this issue to a head, especially as she apparently still hasn’t laid eyes on this most rarefied government document.

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Propaganda

The Age of Alternative Media is Now

PropagandaI suppose it couldn’t last. For a brief, shining moment it seemed as though the coronavirus crisis had finally brought the mainstream media to its senses. It was the perfect lifeboat to rescue them from the island of hysterical partisan hectoring they’ve managed strand themselves on in recent years. This was a once in a generation opportunity for TV and the press to reset its badly tarnished image and present a more sombre, sober and reliable face to the world.

Of course they blew it bigly.

The BBC missed the chance to change because despite a long track record of broadcasting activists disguised as witnesses, it somehow managed to slate a 100% left wing activist lineup on their recent Panorama programme concerning the NHS. What rotten luck! I mean, what are the odds of something like that happening purely by chance? Either they didn’t check their contributors, which is unforgivable, or they did check them and pressed ahead anyway, which is also unforgivable. Why do such errors never happen in the opposite direction and how many times must we be subjected to this before we can finally do away with the rotten, corrupt and regressive licence fee? 

Things are looking no better across the pond, where the mainstream media has colluded in a conspiracy of silence surrounding the Tara Reade allegations against Joe Biden. It’s almost laughable watching these multi-million dollar enterprises behave as though they’re still the arbiters of what’s fit to print and talk about. By now, even the more remote tribes of Turkmenistan are aware of the US media’s staggering hypocrisy when comparing their treatment of Tara Reid to Christine Blasey Ford. Yet the mainstream media continues to behave like a man fixing a leaking tap while the ship is sinking.

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Green Unicorn

Does the Grooming Gang Report Really Exist?

Green UnicornI’m beginning to think there’s a unicorn hiding at the heart of Whitehall.

Call it a conspiracy theory, but there’s something deeply troubling about the Home Office’s response to the petition to release the grooming gang report. Actually there are many troubling things, but there’s something about the whole affair that’s starting to make me very uneasy. In fact, this parade of shadows and ghosts has forced me to ask a fundamental question.

Does this fabled grooming gang report actually exist?

Has anyone at the Home Office actually carried out the research and compiled this mythical report that nobody outside the Home Office has ever seen? What reliable evidence do we have to prove the existence of this legendary tome?

Except for the word of some senior civil servants there is none. Plus the non-existence of this report would explain why, having never created it, the Home Office can’t ever allow anyone to see it. It would also explain why a single word of it has never leaked, despite the intense media and public interest. The Sunday broadsheets and the tabloids have a long reach and deep pockets, yet none of them have produced a shred of evidence to confirm that the grooming gang report was ever written in the first place. Forget about the report itself; there are no emails quoting from it, no minutes of meetings and not even a credible source confirming they’ve read it.

There…is…nothing.

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Alien balloons

Conspiracy Theories are a Product of Freedom

Alien balloonsAt first reading, Instagram’s decision to slap a “false information” label on Jelena Djokovic’s post sharing a 5G coronavirus conspiracy video seems eminently sensible and responsible. After all, the news media is awash with stories of people attacking 5G masts and in some instances even threatening engineers in the belief that there’s some connection between the new communications system and the spread of the coronavirus.

At present there is no credible reason to think that any causal connection exists between a high-frequency communications system and a novel virus variant that attacks the respiratory systems of its victims. I for one am not expecting any such information to emerge any time soon.

Be that as it may, Instagram have made a big mistake in this instance and it’s a decision they will one day come to regret. The social media giants have been under increasing scrutiny over the past couple of years, especially when it comes to their arbitrary and politically motivated decisions to suppress some users while allowing others to continue using their platforms. Facebook has already tied itself in knots trying to explain its decision to remove completely legal posts by some users and not others; and the US Senate is starting to take the matter of online censorship much more seriously.

By deciding to effectively pass a value judgement on Jelena Djokovic’s personal opinion, Instagram has followed Facebook’s lead and started to assume the role of an editor as opposed to that of a neutral platform.

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