What a headline that would be! He wouldn’t be able to communicate. It would be like tying an Italian woman’s hands together, making it impossible for her to speak.
Of course, that could never happen. Or could it? Most of the major social media platforms have censored certain posts by Christians and Conservatives. Some accounts have been removed completely by the Liberals who run the huge corporations.
While it is unlikely they would have the guts to delete the account of the most powerful man in the world, they don’t have a problem bullying people who don’t have the power of the government behind them. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google, and YouTube have all been caught censoring Christian and Conservative groups, while promoting Liberal, atheist, and Muslim groups.
The abuse of power by the major Internet companies was brought to light when Facebook finally admitted that it had run $150,000 worth of ads for Russians attempting to influence the US 2016 elections. This is one issue on which both political parties agree – but for different reasons. Democrats are incensed because they believe Russia tried to swing the election in favor of Trump, and they say Facebook should have come clean long ago. Republicans are upset because Russia fears Trump, and clearly would have preferred that Hillary become president, as her Socialist ideology is much closer to Russia’s.
Naturally, this revelation brought out all the pundits, and they pontificated. I enjoyed one interesting exchange between Guy Benson of TownHall.com and Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House. I usually like Benson’s commentary, but his take on the idea of the government exercising any kind of oversight of the Internet was rather naïve, and not grounded in fact. He stated that he had little faith in the government’s ability to implement any regulation except in a ham-handed way. He went on to say that if the government had been involved in the development of the Internet it would not be the “miracle” it is today.
Gingrich quickly put him in his place with the facts. Contrary to ex-Vice-President Al Gore’s claim that he invented the Internet, it was originally called ARPANet (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network). It was conceived of and funded by the U.S. Department of Defense in 1967 (when Gore was 19). The initial funding consisted of $1 Million transferred from a ballistic missile program. (I have included a brief history of ARPANet and the Internet at the end of this article.)
While Gingrich’s comments on the origin of the Internet were true, what he said next was more important. “There has been no time in U.S. history when huge concentrations of power were not challenged by the government. Overall, this has been good for the protection of our liberties.”
The knee-jerk reaction of Conservatives (including myself) is to reject any new form of government control or regulation. I think that is a good instinct, and it typically serves us well. But the majority of the Internet is now controlled by globalist multi-billionaires who answer to no one.
The “keep your grubby government hands off my Internet” crowd is made up of idealists who still think we have some populist control over what happens on the Internet. That is pure fantasy. They believe the “little man” can influence public opinion in a meaningful way. That particular perception is perpetuated by the fact that YouTube and Facebook occasionally allow a video or post to “go viral.” The much-longer-than-usual list of article references I have provided below should convince anyone that a few powerful individuals now control huge portions of our national commerce, our communications, and most important, the information we are allowed to see.
In other words, they have become mega-censors, and by censoring content, they can exert a powerful influence on thought, public policy, perceptions, laws, and – yes - elections. They already do all these things, but up until now, they have exerted their influence quietly. If they continue to succeed unchallenged, they will become more aggressive.
These companies are huge. We’ll just look at Facebook, although others are not far behind them. Facebook is now bigger than China – the largest nation on earth – in terms of its “population.” 1.39 Billion users log into Facebook each month. China has 1.36 Billion citizens. Facebook is worth more than half a Trillion Dollars. That is greater than the GDP of all but the 23 wealthiest nations on earth.
They are simply too big. Throughout history, governments have acted to protect their citizens against monopolies. We don’t tend to think of social media companies as monopolies because our memberships are “free.” But they monopolize things worth more than money – free speech, free expression, and freedom of information. And they control something more valuable than gold – our privacy. They archive information about our private lives, our buying habits, where we live, who we associate with, and much more. Google is the greatest culprit in this, but the other platforms also maintain huge volumes of information about every aspect of your life.
And what of Amazon? While it is not a social media company, it is a major player on the Internet. Like Facebook, it is now worth more than half a Trillion Dollars. It owns the Washington Post, a very influential national newspaper. Couple that with its ability to decide which books you are exposed to, and Amazon is a major influencer of thought. They have put almost all traditional local bookstores out of business, as well as most other online booksellers, attaining a near-monopoly on book-selling.
Amazon controls 43% of all online sales of every kind of product – they’re not just about books anymore. They have 341,400 employees. What if Amazon told their employees to vote for someone for president explaining that the other candidate would cause them to lay off employees?
Amazon has put tens of thousands of small companies out of business, and cost hundreds of thousands of jobs. MarketWatch columnist Rex Nutting wrote recently, “Amazon.com has been crowing about its plans to create 100,000 American jobs
in the next year, but as with other recent job-creation announcements
, that figure is meaningless without context.
What Amazon won’t tell us is that every job created at Amazon destroys two or three others. What Jeff Bezos doesn’t want you to know is that Amazon is going to destroy more American jobs than China ever did.” And it competes unfairly, since it doesn’t have to charge sales tax as traditional stores must do. Again, this is one company with far too much power. It is essentially, if not legally, a monopoly.
Will the government move to break up Amazon? Not likely. Have you noticed that instead of dropping Saturday deliveries as it had announced it would, the U.S. Postal Service has changed its mind? In reality, Amazon changed its mind for them. Amazon is subsidizing the Postal Service by shifting a large portion of its deliveries to them. This gives Amazon powerful leverage over the government.
A colossal war is brewing over the Internet between Big Tech and the American people. In this war, improbably, the people are represented by the government. At stake is who will control the future of the United States. The first battle in this war will involve the child sex trafficking that takes place every day on the Internet. Currently, Intenet providers who allow such activity on their platforms are protected against lawsuits and criminal prosecution by short-sighted and outdated federal laws.
Surprisingly, the generals in this battle are a Democrat and a Republican. Senators. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) have introduced the “Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017” (Senate Bill 1693), which would remove the immunity from legal action currently enjoyed by websites which knowingly allow sex traffickers to exploit children by advertising unlawful sex acts. The bill has broad support from both sides of the aisle.
Not surprisingly, Big Tech has pulled out all its big guns to fight the bill. Liberal giants Amazon, Facebook and Google have declared war against the U.S. Congress in an effort to protect sex trafficking of children. The Big Three tech companies and others such as Twitter and Airbnb have already spent millions to fight the bill since it threatens their power. They will spend billions if necessary.
Immediately after the law was introduced, ultra-Liberal sites such as Slate leaped to the defense of Big Tech. Mike Godwin wrote an article titled, “A Bill Intended to Stop Sex Trafficking Could Significantly Curtail Internet Freedom.” We can expect organizations like the ACLU to join the hysterical chorus of voices claiming to be “Internet Freedom Fighters” battling against Congress’ attempt to stifle all freedom of expression on the Internet.
But Congress already has laws in place governing the Internet as well as newspapers, TV, radio and other forms of communication. This Bill would simply address a loophole in in a 1934 law. Its intent is stated clearly in its first paragraph. (You can read the entire proposed law by following the Link below in the Resources section):
To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to clarify that section 230 of that Act does not prohibit the enforcement against providers and users of interactive computer services of Federal and State criminal and civil law relating to sex trafficking.
We would never allow even the most Liberal big newspaper in the nation, the New York Times, to run ads selling sexual services performed by children – particularly if those children were “trafficked” (enslaved by the criminals and forced to perform the indecent acts). But Liberals insist that stopping that sort of vile activity is a “slippery slope” that will end with the government stifling all freedom of speech on the Internet.
It is amazingly ironic that Big Tech companies are spending fortunes to prevent any form of public oversight on the grounds that it would hinder free speech; while at the same time engaging in censorship on a massive scale. The dozen or so articles below about censorship by these companies are just a small sample of the thousands of examples you can find with – ironically – a simple Google search.
The Big Tech companies are in many ways already more powerful than the too-powerful U.S. government. This is a nightmare in which a handful of technocrats have the power of government – but the people don’t have the power to elect them or remove them from office. So what do we as a nation face in terms of their overreaching power? Under current law, a few globalist billionaires – with no oversight or accountability – can and do…
Censor political speech they don’t like
Censor religious speech they don’t like
Promote politically correct speech, including terrorist recruiting
Control the flow of information
Decide which side of an argument you will be allowed to see
Profit from the misery of others by permitting the advertising of illegal and indecent acts
Exercise their monopolistic power to crush any competition
Use their massive resources to bribe legislators and influence the courts
Never before has the United States faced the terrifying prospect of a few monstrous companies controlling the marketplace, the flow of information, and the power to shape public opinion. If their power is unchecked, it won’t be long before they have the clout to decide who gets elected. If that happens, our Republic is finished.
Can’t happen? Let’s take a quick look at how another mega-company, Disney, bought its own government. If Disney can seize power in an unprecedented way in Florida, how much easier will it be for much larger and richer companies to seize power nationally?
How would you like to own a huge business, pay taxes to yourself instead of a legitimate government, and own the building inspectors and the health inspectors who decided if your buildings were safe and restaurant kitchens were sanitary? That’s what Disney did – with help from government officials who were in their pocket – when it formed the Reedy Creek Improvement District.
Reedy Creek is a taxing district that encompasses all of Disney’s property in Orange County, Florida. It operates like a county, providing most services like fire, emergency medical services, enacting building and zoning codes, and more. Disney pays taxes to the District, but Disney also owns it. And Disney appoints the members of the Board that supposedly controls it.
How convenient. If Disney wants to build using shoddy materials, it owns the building inspector. If they make a mistake that results in a fire or a death – well, they also own fire-rescue.
But Disney also wanted to own a police department too, and they couldn’t do it through the Reedy Creek scam. So it incorporated two “cities,” which it controls just as it does Reedy Creek. The “city” of Bay Lake encompasses the four theme parks. The “city” of Lake Buena Vista covers Downtown Disney and the Disney hotels. Disney populates these “cities” with its own employees and retirees.
Why do I refer to them as “cities”? Because they are not cities in the sense that we think of them. People don’t decide to move there; they are hand-picked by Disney. The residents don’t freely choose their city officials. These are company-owned towns, much like the railroad or mining towns of the 1800’s which were totally owned by the companies.
In an article on this subject, Chad Emerson, author of a book called "Project Future" about Disney 's creation of its three private governments, is quoted: "The reality is, they're just private cities." Disney declined to be interviewed about the cities and referred questions to Reedy Creek.
Disney decides who lives in their private cities. Although thousands of people visit the cities and stay in the hotels temporarily, Bay Lake has just 22 residents; Lake Buena Vista has just 10. About a third of all residents are children, leaving 21 residents of voting age between the two cities. The fewer the number of residents, the easier it is to control them.
What happens if residents don’t vote the way Disney wants? They live in mobile homes and pay $75 lot rent to Disney. They have lots of perks, including being close to their jobs. They know that if they buck the system, Disney can fire them or refuse to renew their leases. So they stay quiet and vote as instructed. Not that there’s much to vote on; the last council election was a decade ago.
Disney’s private governments are just a preview of what can happen if we allow the gargantuan Big Tech companies to continue to grow and control more and more of America. They already refuse to comply with the law when asked to cooperate in criminal investigations. What will our lives be like when they get to make the laws, as Disney does?
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE INTERNET
The original concept for APRANet came from the RAND Corporation in the early 1960’s. Paul Bryan had been researching systems that could survive a nuclear attack. He published his ideas in 1964. A year later Donald Davies of the U.K.’s National Physical Laboratory independently came up with a similar idea in 1965 and produced a working model in 1968.
The military saw it as a Cold War tool for communication in case of an attack, and a way to overcome the deficiencies of our national radar system that was being hastily thrown together. The initial ARPANet consisted of four computers based at universities that were linked together and used to transfer packets of information. Educational institutions were used rather than military installations because that’s where the biggest and best computers lived. Since the Network was based in universities, as it developed it became more of an academic, scientific tool for exchanging information between institutions.
ARPANet was turned over to another military agency, the Defense Communications Agency, in 1975. MIT published a handbook on the use of ARPANet in 1982. It read, in part, “It is considered illegal to use the ARPANet for anything which is not in direct support of Government business...Sending electronic mail over the ARPANet for commercial profit or political purposes is both anti-social and illegal. By sending such messages, you can offend many people, and it is possible to get MIT in serious trouble with the Government agencies which manage the ARPANet.”
Eventually, ARPANet was divided into two parts: MILNET, a strictly military network, and what eventually became the Internet. The management of the non-military portion of the network was turned over by the government to a group of civilian organizations.