News Surrounding Venezuela

Featured

Soldiers lob tear gas at protesters

Soldiers unleash tear gas amid tension on Venezuela’s border

The Associated Press tells us through a 23 February 2019 article how Venezuelan soldiers shot tear gas at the border

A U.S.-backed campaign to force President Nicolas Maduro from power met strong resistance Saturday from Venezuelan security forces who fired tear gas on protesters trying to deliver humanitarian aid from Colombia and Brazil, leaving two people dead and some 300 injured.

Throughout the turbulent day, as police and protesters squared off on two bridges connecting Venezuela to Colombia, opposition leader Juan Guaido made repeated calls for the military to join him in the fight against Maduro’s “dictatorship.” Colombian authorities said more than 60 soldiers answered his call, deserting their posts in often-gripping fashion, though most were lower in rank and didn’t appear to dent the higher command’s continued loyalty to Maduro’s socialist government.

In one dramatic high point, a group of activists led by exiled lawmakers managed to escort three flatbed trucks of aid past the halfway point into Venezuela when they were repelled by security forces. In a flash the cargo caught fire, with some eyewitnesses claiming the National Guardsmen doused a tarp covering the boxes with gas before setting it on fire. As a black cloud rose above, the activists — protecting their faces from the fumes with vinegar-soaked cloths — unloaded the boxes by hand in a human chain stretching back to the Colombian side of the bridge.

“They burned the aid and fired on their own people,” said 39-year-old David Hernandez, who was hit in the forehead with a tear gas canister that left a bloody wound and growing welt. “That’s the definition of dictatorship.”

(Read more at the Associated Press)

When the socialist leader of Venezuela will not allow starving citizens to get to food and medicine, that shows him to be a dictator.

Aid shipments cross border as soldiers abandon posts

Venezuelan troops abandon posts amid violent clashes with protesters at Colombian border

Fox News reports in a 23 February 2019 article how Venezuelan troops have abandoned their posts in the middle of clashes with protesters.

At least five Venezuelan troops have abandoned their posts at the country’s border with Colombia as confrontations with protesters over incoming humanitarian aid grow more violent by the day.

The soldiers abandoned their watch on Saturday near the Simon Bolivar International Bridge at the Venezuela-Colombian border and reportedly requested assistance from Colombian immigration officials. In nearby Urena, the Venezuelan National Guard fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters attempting to cross the border in order to work, BBC reports. Protesters were seen throwing rocks at troops and attacking buses.

At the country’s other border in Brazil, four people have been killed as of Friday, and an additional 18 have been injured by colectivos — armed gang members who support President Nicolas Maduro, according to Alfredo Romero, the director and president of the Venezuelan human rights association Foro Penal.

Rising tensions have erupted amid opposition leader and self-declared President Juan Guaido’s decision to lead a caravan with thousands of volunteers to the Colombian border to collect at least 200 tons of humanitarian aid, primarily food and medicine. On Saturday, Guaido announced that the first shipment of aid had crossed the border from Brazil, calling it a “great achievement.” That statement, however, has been refuted by news that two trucks carrying aid from Brazil are stuck at the Venezuelan border.

(Read more at Fox News)

It is heartening to hear that at least some of the soldiers had compassion on the starving citizens and abandoned their posts. While it is understandable (since Maduro’s military holds the families of the soldiers), it is sad that some soldiers would fire on civilians trying to reach food and medicine.

Venezuela humanitarian aid met with tear gas and gunfire on borders

Venezuela humanitarian aid met with tear gas and gunfire on borders

Reuters reports in a 23 February 2019 article how Maduro deals with protestors.

Troops loyal to President Nicolas Maduro turned back foreign aid convoys from Venezuela’s border using tear gas and rubber bullets on Saturday, killing two protestors and putting his socialist government on a collision course with Washington.

Trucks laden with U.S. food and medicine for Venezuela returned to warehouses in Colombia after opposition supporters failed to break through lines of troops, who fired rubber rounds to disperse them, injuring dozens of people.

Angered by the Colombian government’s support for opposition leader Juan Guaido, Maduro said he was breaking diplomatic relations with Bogota and gave its diplomatic staff 24 hours to leave the country.

Guaido, who most Western nations recognize as Venezuela’s legitimate leader, had given a personal send-off to Saturday’s convoy carrying aid from the Colombian city of Cucuta.

The opposition had hoped Venezuelan soldiers would baulk at turning back supplies desperately needed in the country, where a growing number of its 30 million people suffer from malnutrition and treatable diseases.

(Read more at Reuters)

Two killed and 12 injured in clash at border with Brazil

Two people killed in Venezuelan town near Brazil in clashes over aid

Reuters reports in a 23 February 2019 news release how Maduro deals with those who try to get aid.

Two people were killed on Saturday in the Venezuelan town of Santa Elena de Uairen in clashes with security forces over the opposition’s plan to bring in aid from nearby Brazil, a doctor at the hospital where they were taken said.

We must all pray for the families of those who were shot.

Maduro meets with US envoy

Maduro reveals secret meetings with US envoy

AP News reports from a 15 February 2019 interview how Maduro has been meeting with a US envoy.

A month into Venezuela’s high-stakes political crisis, President Nicolas Maduro revealed in an Associated Press interview that his government has held secret talks with the Trump administration. He also predicted he would survive an unprecedented global campaign to force his resignation.

While harshly criticizing President Donald Trump’s confrontational stance toward his socialist government, Maduro said Thursday that he holds out hope of meeting the U.S. president soon to resolve a crisis triggered by America’s recognition of his opponent, Juan Guaido, as Venezuela’s rightful leader.

Maduro said that during two meetings in New York, his foreign minister invited the Washington-based special envoy for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, to visit “privately, publicly or secretly.”

“If he wants to meet, just tell me when, where and how and I’ll be there,” Maduro said without providing more details. He said both New York meetings lasted several hours.

U.S. officials have not denied Maduro’s claim of talks.

A senior administration official in Washington who was not authorized to speak publicly said U.S. officials were willing to meet with “former Venezuela officials, including Maduro himself, to discuss their exit plans.”

(Read more at >AP News)

Since we are to pray for our leaders, we should pray for the work of this envoy and the Venezuelan diplomats. Hopefully, Maduro will allow a regime change in what was once the most prosperous country of South America.

Russia's Gazprombank freezes PDVSA accounts

Russia’s Gazprombank freezes accounts of Venezuela’s PDVSA

We read in a 17 February 2019 Reueters article that Russian bank Gazprombank froze Venezuela’s PDVSA.

Russian lender Gazprombank has decided to freeze the accounts of Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA and halted transactions with the firm to reduce the risk of the bank falling under U.S. sanctions, a Gazprombank source told Reuters on Sunday.

While many foreign firms have been cutting their exposure to PDVSA since the sanctions were imposed, the fact that a lender closely aligned with the Russian state is following suit is significant because the Kremlin has been among Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s staunchest supporters.

“PDVSA’s accounts are currently frozen. As you’ll understand, operations cannot be carried out,” the source said. Gazprombank did not reply to a Reuters request for a comment.

PDVSA brandished the story as “fake news” on its Twitter account in capital red letters, but did not reply to a request for comment.

(Read more at Reueters)

Like the saying goes, “There is no free lunch.” Someone will pay in the end.

It is just too bad that Venezuela’s banks have been emptied, its riches made near worthless, and its peoples starved all while Maduro gets fatter.

Colombia leader urges China to back Maduro foes

Colombia leader urges China to back Maduro foes

Seeking a more stable neighbor, Columbia has urged China to support the foes of Maduro — as reported in a 14 February 2019 Associated Press article

The president of Colombia says China’s role in Latin America would be stronger if the Asian country recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s interim president instead of backing President Nicolas Maduro.

Speaking during a visit to Washington, Ivan Duque said Thursday: “I really would advise China to make that decision.”

China is one of 16 countries that have publicly supported Maduro during the recent resurgence of Venezuela’s political crisis. The United States, Canada, most Latin American nations and many European countries are siding with Guaido.

The Colombian leader is also urging the international community to cooperate so humanitarian aid can be taken into Venezuela on Feb. 23 as Guaido is planning. Venezuelans have been suffering with severe shortages of food and medicine amid their country’s economic collapse.

Duque says that “February 23 has to be the day in which everybody mobilizes and tells the dictatorship: ‘That’s it. Allow the humanitarian aid.’”

(Read more at the Associated Press)

Venezuela shifts oil ventures' accounts to Russian bank

Venezuela shifts oil ventures’ accounts to Russian bank

Reuters reports in a 9 February 2019 article how Venezuela has shifted their monies to a Russian bank.

Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA is telling customers of its joint ventures to deposit oil sales proceeds in an account recently opened at Russia’s Gazprombank AO, according to sources and an internal document seen by Reuters on Saturday.

PDVSA’s move comes after the United States imposed tough, new financial sanctions on Jan. 28 aimed at blocking Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro’s access to the country’s oil revenue.

Supporters of Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido said recently that a fund would be established to accept proceeds from sales of Venezuelan oil.

The United States and dozens of other countries have recognized Guaido as the nation’s legitimate head of state. Maduro has denounced Guaido as a U.S. puppet seeking to foment a coup.

(Read more at Reuters)

Oil workers flee Venezuela's crisis for a better life

Oil workers flee Venezuela’s crisis for a better life

According to one Associated Press article dated 8 February 2019, Venezuelan oil workers have been fleeing the regime as they seek a better life.

Nieves Ribullen, a Venezuelan oil worker sick of struggling to get by as his country falls apart, is betting it all on Iraq’s far-away Kurdish region to give his family a better life.

Over the years he’s watched dozens of co-workers abandon poverty wages and dangerous working conditions at the rundown complex of refineries in Punto Fijo on Venezuela’s Caribbean coast for jobs in far-flung places like Kuwait, Angola and Chile.

Now it’s his turn. Leaving his wife and three children behind, he’ll soon ship out to Iraq’s semi-autonomous northern Kurdish region, where he expects to earn more than $3,500 a month — a fortune compared to the less than $20 he brings home monthly in increasingly unstable Venezuela.

“I only earn enough to buy a kilo (2 pounds) of meat and one chicken each month,” Ribullen said. “We’re in chaos.”

Opposition leader Juan Guaido has rallied support from distraught Venezuelans and roughly 40 countries that now recognize him as Venezuela’s rightful president.

But the accelerating exodus of oil workers means that Venezuela’s crude production — already at a seven-decade low — is unlikely to rebound anytime soon, even if recently-imposed U.S. sanctions are lifted and a business-friendly government replaces the increasingly wobbly President Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuela was once one of the world’s top five oil exporters, pumping 3.5 million barrels a day in 1998 when President Hugo Chavez was elected and launched Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution. Today, the state-run oil company PDVSA produces less than a third of that. Critics blame corruption and years of mismanagement by the socialist government.

Even worse, production is about to sink even further due to fresh sanctions by the Trump administration targeting PDVSA that have essentially cut off Venezuela from its Houston-based cash-cow, Citgo, with the aim of depriving Maduro of more than $11 billion in exports this year.

Despite the short-term pain they will bring Venezuela, Guaido said the sanctions are a critical part of stopping Maduro from consolidating power in what he calls a “dictatorship.”

(Read more at the Associated Press)

As for myself, I work for a oil-industry company. If the government of my country had changed to the extent that it threatened my family’s life and my life, I would take the action taken by these workers.

‘I Am Just Another Soldier’: Maduro Trains to Fight U.S. Troops

A 7 February 2019 Breitbart article shows how a coward Venezuelan who lost the election now pretends to be a common man and a protector.

Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro once again posted videos of himself Wednesday appearing to train with his armed forces to prepare for an allegedly incoming U.S. invasion, this time participating in what appear to be cardiovascular exercises and training with the national air force.

Maduro has managed to retain control of much of the military since the nation’s legislature, the National Assembly, deposed him and replaced him with current President Juan Guaidó, as mandated by the Venezuelan constitution. The Air Force, however, has been among the least loyal. Last week, one of the highest ranking soldiers to defect to Guaidó, Air Force General Francisco Esteban Yánez Rodríguez posted a video on social media claiming “90 percent of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces are not with the dictator” and urging more to defect.

Maduro’s visit to air force training appears to be an attempt to dispel the perception of abandonment that Yánez’s video created.

(Read more at Breitbart)

Yeah. Maduro is “just another soldier.” Only thing is that his family is not starving, he is twice as fat as any soldier, and he has about 200 Russian mercenaries around him. But otherwise …

How Venezuela turns its useless bank notes into gold

According to a 10 February 2019 Reuters article, Maduro has found another way to extract money out of a bankrupt society where people eat pets.

Venezuela’s most successful financial operations in recent years have not taken place on Wall Street, but in primitive gold-mining camps in the nation’s southern reaches.

With the country’s economy in meltdown, an estimated 300,000 fortune hunters have descended on this mineral-rich jungle area to earn a living pulling gold-flecked earth from makeshift mines.

Their picks and shovels are helping to prop up the leftist government of President Nicolas Maduro. Since 2016, his administration has purchased 17 tonnes of the metal worth around $650 million from so-called artisan miners, according to the most recent data from the nation’s central bank.

Paid with the country’s near-worthless bank notes, these amateurs in turn supply the government with hard currency to purchase badly needed imports of food and hygiene products. This gold trade is a blip on international markets. Still, the United States is using sanctions and intimidation in an effort to stop Maduro from using his nation’s gold to stay afloat.

The Trump administration is pressuring the United Kingdom not to release $1.2 billion in gold reserves Venezuela has stored in the Bank of England. U.S. officials recently castigated an Abu Dhabi-based investment firm for its Venezuela gold purchases, and have warned other potential foreign buyers to back off.

The existence of Maduro’s gold program is well-known. How it functions is not.

To get a glimpse inside, Reuters tracked Venezuela’s gold from steamy jungle mines, through the central bank in the capital of Caracas to gold refineries and food exporters abroad, speaking with more than 30 people with knowledge of the trade. They included miners, intermediaries, merchants, academic researchers, diplomats and government officials. Almost all requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly, or because they feared retribution from Venezuelan or U.S. authorities.

(Read more at Reuters)

If you look at how the rich in Venezuela have taken the near-worthless notes and turned them into gold, think about the poor Venezuelans under the boot of socialism. Think about how they have been starving. Think about how their money has been made worthless. Think about how they have been bartering for what they need for years.

US emergency aid for Venezuela arrives at Colombian border

US emergency aid for Venezuela arrives at Colombian border

An Associated Press article dated 8 February 2019 tells us that US aid for the citizens of Venezuela arrived at the Columbian border.

Trucks carrying U.S. humanitarian aid destined for Venezuela arrived Thursday at the Colombian border, where opposition leaders vowed to bring them into their troubled nation despite objections from embattled President Nicolas Maduro.

Two semi-trailers loaded with boxed emergency food and medicine rolled into the Colombian border city of Cucuta, which is just across the river from Venezuela.

“The United States is prepositioning relief items — including food, nutritional supplements, hygiene kits and medical supplies — in Colombia so they are available to reach those most in need in Venezuela, as soon as possible,” said a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue.

The focus of Venezuela’s political fight now hinges on whether Maduro will allow the aid to enter the country, a move anticipated in coming days.

Maduro denies a humanitarian crisis exists and says Venezuela is not a country of beggars. The Venezuelan military has barricaded a bridge between the two nations with a tanker and two cargo trailers in an apparent attempt to block the aid.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido, who requested the international assistance, said it is necessary in a country racked by shortages of food and medicines.

Guaido, who has the backing of some 40 countries, including the United States, is seeking to oust Maduro following a 2018 election that many have denounced as a sham. Long-time allies Russia and China and several other countries continue to support Maduro.

About a dozen human rights activists stood at the gated entrance to the Tienditas International Bridge on Colombia’s side, demanding Maduro allow the emergency aid to cross into Venezuela. They waved flags while Colombian police trucks carrying armed officers and other authorities drove by throughout the day.

(Read more at the Associated Press)

So America gives to the Venezuelan people and Maduro has his troops set the trucks on fire. The only vehicles that survive are those that stay out of Venezuela.

Could women in white sway soldiers who block aid?

Could women in white sway Venezuelan soldiers blocking aid

In a 8 February 2019 Associated Press article, we are told how the women in white might sway the soldiers.

The soldiers blocking humanitarian aid from entering Venezuela look unlikely to give any ground, but Maria Acevedo thinks she knows how to make them let the shipments through.

Acevedo, 26, wants to join together with fellow Venezuelan women and escort the food and medicine across the border from Colombia.

Her bet is that a group of hungry and suffering mothers, sisters and daughters can convince the soldiers to break with President Nicolas Maduro and let the US aid shipments pass.

Maduro, who is locked in a power struggle with opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaido, refuses to let the aid through. He calls it a “show” and says Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis has been manufactured by Washington to justify a “coup.”

What happens to the sea of shiny white plastic bags filled with vital supplies — and to Venezuela itself — now hinges on the military, which has so far stood by Maduro.

But Acevedo, who has three children, thinks she and her fellow Venezuelan women can change that.

She should know — she comes from a family of soldiers.

“I come from a military family, too. And my family is against this, against the army blocking humanitarian aid.

“But my family can’t do anything. Only the top brass,” Acevedo told AFP in Cucuta, on the Colombian side of the border.

(Read more at the Associated Press)

The answer is, “No.”

Internet censors hit the Venezuelan opposition

Venezuelan opposition targeted by internet censors

The Associated Press reports in a 3 February 2019 article that Maduro’s opposition has experienced targeting by Internet censors.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido’s calls for Venezuelans to abandon Nicolas Maduro’s government are booming across the world outside, but the self-declared interim president is having a harder time delivering his message at home.

Watchdog groups in Venezuela and abroad say Guaido’s efforts to reach citizens via the internet have been hindered by the dominant provider — state-run CANTV — in a country where critical newspapers and broadcast media already have been muzzled.

Since Jan. 23, when Guaido proclaimed himself interim president and when protests against Maduro’s rule broke out, CANTV has blocked access to social media sites at least four times, according to the monitoring groups.

Those disruptions have coincided with politically significant events, including a rally attended by thousands of people last week and a Jan. 27 night speech that Guaido livestreamed on Periscope to call for a new round of protests and urge members of the military to defect.

CANTV accounts for about 70 percent of Venezuela’s fixed internet connections and 50 percent of mobile, and Netblocks, a non-government group based in Europe that monitors internet censorship, found that the government provider blocked Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube during 12 of the 13 minutes that Guaido’s speech lasted, so the stream could only be seen without interruptions by people using privately run internet providers.

The organization runs tests from its headquarters with software that captures evidence of connection failures. It also has designed a scanner app that volunteers in affected countries can use to run tests from their own phones or computers.

(Read more at the Associated Press)

You can always count on Facebook, Google, Twitter, and tech companies to be on the side of tyranny.

Chavez-era ex-officials turn backs on Venezuela’s Maduro

A 2 February 2019 France24 article points out how the old guard Socialists in Venezuela have started to abandon Maduro.

They embraced the socialist revolution of late leader Hugo Chavez along with millions of other Venezuelans, but four former officials have now been left disillusioned by Nicolas Maduro’s regime.

These officials from the Chavez era consider Maduro “illegitimate,” but they are torn between supporting self-proclaimed president-elect Juan Guaido and looking for another way out of the political crisis.

Maduro, with the backing of the powerful military, is desperately trying to hold onto power in the face of opposition leader Guaido’s audacious challenge, supported by the United States.

Twenty years after Chavez came to power, the country is in the grip of economic and political crises, and the four “Chavistas” have turned their back on his hand-picked successor.

(Read more at France24)

Mutiny Breaks Out At Venezuela’s Central Bank

According to a 2 February 2019 blog post at Zero Hedge, Venezuela’s central bank has started to revolt.

While the world obsesses how much longer Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro can remain in power before he loses the support of the local military or the US deploys yet another “humanitarian mission” to depose him, forcing the embattled dictator to place several tons of the country’s dwindling gold on a cargo plane to a non-extradition destination as he takes one final trip abroad, the ongoing “soft coup” is also playing out within the halls of the central bank, where in addition to a lot of currency printing in recent years, Bloomberg reports that staffers are waging a small mutiny and refusing to sign-off on key bank transactions.

(Read more at Zero Hedge)

Russian mercenaries reportedly in Venezuela to protect Maduro

Russian mercenaries reportedly in Venezuela to protect Maduro

The Guardian reports in a 25 January 2019 article that Maduro does not trust Venezuelan troops enough to use them in his protection detail.

Russian private security contractors have travelled to Venezuela to provide security to the embattled president Nicolás Maduro, the Reuters news agency has reported.

Citing three sources, the news agency said that the mercenaries are linked to the Wagner group, which has carried out missions in Ukraine and Syria and is now reportedly active in countries in Africa, too.

If it is confirmed that contractors from the group traveled to Venezuela, this would be their first known deployment in the western hemisphere.

“The order came down on Monday to form a group to go to Venezuela. They are there to protect those at the highest levels of the government,” Yevgeny Shabaev, a Cossack leader with ties to military contractors, told the Guardian by telephone.

Shabaev, one of the sources cited by Reuters, is a campaigner for the rights of veterans, a group that overlaps heavily with those who join mercenary groups in Russia. He said he had been told about the trip by the relatives of the military contractors. A government spokesman did not immediately respond for comment about the report, although he had earlier told Reuters that the Kremlin had “no such information”.

(Read more at the Guardian)

Let’s see, Russian mercenaries protect Venezuelan President Maduro and Senators Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders are adamant about keeping American troops out of Venezuela. If there are Russian mercenary companies there, does anyone suppose that they have no connection to the Russian military?

Are the American socialists opposing any intervention in Venezuela because they don’t want to have both the Russian socialists and Venezuelan socialists bested?

Pirates of the Caribbean: Venezuelans stalking open seas as economy collapses

Britian’s Telegraph reports in a 30 December 2019 article that Venezuelans have started acting as pirates.

With rich Caribbean fishing grounds on their doorstep, the villagers of Cedros in Trinidad are never short of fishermen’s tales to tell.

The latest stories to do the rounds though, are not about record-breaking hauls of kingfish. Today the fishermen themselves have become the catch.

“I was out picking up my nets late one afternoon when a boatload of armed men came at me at full speed,” said Brian Austin, 54. “From about 200 metres away they started firing shots around my boat – it was terrifying. Luckily, I have a high-powered engine, so I managed to speed off, but they took my nets and all the fish in them.”

(Read more at the Telegraph)

Venezuela & Russia are setting up a nuclear bomber base on idyllic Caribbean island

According to a 26 December 2018 article in The Sun, there is a cooperation between Venezuelan and Russian forces on a certain Caribbean island.

Venezuela’s socialist president Nicolas Maduro did not object to the proposals, according to Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

The deployment will represent the one of the largest postings of the Russian military in the region since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

Under Venezuelan law, military bases cannot be established by foreign nations in the country, but a temporary deployment of warplanes is possible.

Maduro and his left-wing administration has an acrimonious relationship with Washington.

(Read more at The Sun)

Oil output goes AWOL in Venezuela as soldiers run PDVSA

Reuters reports in a 26 December 2018 article that tells us how the Venezuelan military has taken over the oil industry of the country.

Last July 6, Major General Manuel Quevedo joined his wife, a Catholic priest and a gathering of oil workers in prayer in a conference room at the headquarters of Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA.

The career military officer, who for the past year has been boss at the troubled state-owned oil company, was at no ordinary mass. The gathering, rather, was a ceremony at which he and other senior oil ministry officials asked God to boost oil output.

“This place of peace and spirituality,” read a release by the Oil Ministry that was later scrubbed from its web site, “was the site of prayer by workers for the recovery of production of the industry.”

President Nicolas Maduro turned heads in November 2017 when he named a National Guard general with no oil experience to lead PDVSA [PDVSA.UL]. Quevedo’s actions since have raised even more doubts that he and the other military brass now running the company have a viable plan to rescue it from crushing debt, an exodus of workers and withering production now at its lowest in almost seven decades.

(Read more at Reuters)

Russian/Venezuelan cooperation in the Caribbean

A 14 December 2018 post at Tsarizm claims that Russia is in the process of setting up a military post on a Venezuelan island.

Russia has decided to develop a long-term military presence in the Caribbean in conjunction with the socialist nation of Venezuela, on one of its islands in the Caribbean Sea. The move seems to be a response to the Trump administration’s decision to pull out of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The recent flights of Russian Tu-160 long-range nuclear bombers are part of this effort.

“According to military envoys, Russian authorities have made a decision (and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro did not object) to deploy strategic aircraft to one of Venezuela’s islands in the Caribbean Sea, which has a naval base and a military airfield. Ten years ago, Russian experts and Armed Forces commanders had already visited the island of La Orchila, located 200 kilometers northeast of Caracas. Venezuelan laws prohibit the setup of military bases in the country, but a temporary deployment of warplanes is possible,” reported Russian state news agency TASS.

(Read more at Tsarizm)

German Media Suggests Venezuela Might Become Russia’s ‘New Cuba in US Backyard’

A 15 December 2018 post at Sputnik News points out that Venezuela has lined up to become Russia’s “new Cuba.”

German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine has alleged that the disturbance in US government circles, which was incited by the visit of Russian Tu-160s to Venezuela, is caused by the fact that while the US grip on the region weakens, especially on Venezuela itself, Russia is continuing to cement its positions in the Latin American country. The newspaper even suggested that Venezuela might become a “new Cuba in the US backyard” for Russia.

(Read more at Sputnik News)

Fleeing Venezuela, migrants flood Colombia amid region’s worst humanitarian crisis in decades

USA Today reports in a 19 November 2018 article how Venezuelans flooded the Columbian border rather than starve.

Lis Torrealba, a teenage mother from Venezuela, is perched on the edge of a milling street in downtown Medellin, Colombia, the same way she came to the country: alone, with her one-year-old daughter swaddled in the crook of her arm.

Once a student, Torrealba fled across the Venezuelan border three months ago with no prospects of a visa, a job or a future in Colombia.

“The money in our country, I couldn’t even buy candy if I wanted to,” she said. “I can’t buy anything, if there’s something you need. You would need a stack of money to even pay for a tomato. You would need a big stack of money.”

Now, Torrealba is among more than 1 million Venezuelans who crossed into Colombia fleeing widespread food and medicine shortages, rampant hyperinflation and violence by the regime of President Nicolás Maduro.

United Nations refugee officials said last week that the number of Venezuelan refugees and migrants who have fled their South American homeland has topped 3 million people. More than 1 million are in Colombia and almost 500,000 are in Peru, while the rest are in Ecuador, Argentina, Chile and Brazil. Venezuela is home to about 32 million people.

(Read more at USA Today)

Venezuelan firefighters jailed for mocking Maduro

Reuters reports in a 26 September 2018 article how Venezuelan firefighters have been jailed for mocking Maduro.

Two Venezuelan firefighters were detained by military officers this week as suspects behind the making of a viral video that mocked unpopular President Nicolas Maduro by likening him to a donkey touring a fire station, two rights groups said on Friday.

Government critics, who say former bus driver and union leader Maduro is to blame for oil-rich Venezuela’s brutal five-year recession, have long nicknamed him “Maburro,” a play on the Spanish word for donkey, “burro.”

The video showed a man using a rope to lead a donkey through a fire station in the Andean state of Merida. A narrator feigns guiding the president on an official visit in a style that seemed to make fun of fawning coverage on state television.

“Good evening comrades, as you can see we are receiving the visit of President Maduro. He is doing an inspection,” the man filming says in the video, as the donkey slowly walks through a dimly lit, spartan fire station.

As the donkey chews on a verdant patch overlooking a valley, the narrator says, “He is checking whether the grass is in a good state or not.”

(Read more at Reuters)

Facebook finds itself fighting problems on three fronts


Facebook investors call on Mark Zuckerberg to resign as chairman following damaging report

A 16 November 2018 article at The Telegraph reports that investors at Facebook do not seem enthused with Mark Zuckerberg’s leadership.

Facebook investors have called on the company’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg to step down as chairman, following reports that the company hired a public relations firm to smear its critics by drawing links to George Soros.

The attack on Mr Zuckerberg is set to complicate the daunting challenge facing Sir Nick Clegg, Facebook’s new global head of policy and communications, who joined last month and has been asked to conduct a review of Facebook’s use of lobbying firms.

Jonas Kron, a senior vice president at Trillium Asset Management, a US investor which owns an £8.5m stake in Facebook, last night called on Mr Zuckerberg to step down as board chairman in the wake of the report.

“Facebook is behaving like it’s a special snowflake,” he said. “It’s not. It is a company and companies need to have a separation of chair and CEO.”

Both Mr Zuckerberg and Sir Nick have been under pressure following reports Facebook hired Definers, a Republican public relations firm, to help repair its battered reputation following intense criticism of the social media platform’s handling of a scandal over Russian interference in the 2016 US elections and the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

(Read more at The Telegraph)

Considering the many pro-life groups Facebook has removed without warning, this is not “fitting” or “karma.” Considering the number of conservative campaigns (from Brazil’s Movimento Brazil Livre pages to the Trump pre-midterm ad), they don’t deserve to be heralded as supporters of free speech. They only support one side.

Nonetheless, for Facebook to hire a firm to defend George Soros seems just odd. Maybe this is an indicator that Zuckerberg will not be able to take the firm further left until he takes it off the stock market. With shareholders, he will have to stop his march to the left.

Who knows? With market forces in play, he might have to allow free speech for all. (chuckle)

Do we want to regulate Facebook?

Senators Threaten to Regulate Facebook

Bloomberg reports in a 16 November 2018 article how Senators Coons and Corker have determined to get Facebook to fly straight.

Senators Chris Coons and Bob Corker warned Friday that Congress would impose new regulations to rein in Facebook Inc. unless the social-media company addresses concerns about privacy and the spread of misinformation on its platform.

Speaking in a joint interview on the sidelines of a development forum in Wilmington, Delaware, the two senators said that Facebook probably wouldn’t like what Congress does, so it should come up with a solution first.

Chris CoonsPhotographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
“If they don’t, if they continue to act as if we couldn’t possibly deign to regulate them, they’ll get regulated and they’ll be unpleasantly surprised with how swiftly it may happen,” said Coons, a Delaware Democrat and member Senate Judiciary Committee. “I think they’ve got a lot of explaining to do.”

(Read more at Bloomberg)

If Soros wants to regulate social media, we need to watch for Big Brother in Big Social Media

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

When Democrats like Cicilline and liberal globalists like Soros support regulating social media giants, conservatives have to look out for censorship to increase to Big Brother levels. Instead of pushing regulation, maybe conservatives should look toward to a guarantee of the Bill of Rights. Further, we should look toward breaking up the monopolies of social media.

I wish the senators would focus less on the spread of misinformation. Rather, I would have them focus on the full acceptance of free speech (for all parties — not just the liberals).

Since I can judge which news pieces seem viable, maybe they should focus on ensuring all get heard. That is, since I have a habit of verifying news through good sources (e.g., the Wall Street Journal, National Review, or Breitbart), they can make certain that even the gossip publishers can publish. Therefore, in a pinch, we might even accept a story from the New York Times (if corroborating sources exist).

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Leave Facebook?

Some Facebook users are dialing back use over latest scandal

Yahoo Finance suggests in a 16 November 2018 article that people have reached their limit with Facebook.

Expect some Facebook (FB) users to dial back their use of the popular social network and even delete their accounts following the publication of a damning exposé this week.

On Wednesday, The New York Times published an extensive feature that revealed how Facebook management was reluctant to tackle Russia-linked activity on the social network following the 2016 U.S. presidential election, how unprepared Facebook was for the ensuing public fallout, as well the social network’s efforts to wield influence on Capitol Hill. Chief among Facebook’s alleged infractions: employing Definers Public Affairs, a Republican opposition research firm, to accuse left-wing financier George Soros of quietly backing anti-Facebook groups.

“It’s too early to tell the full impact The New York Times story is having — we would have to see in a month — but it will impact [Facebook’s] Daily Active Users and even just the people who are concerned about occasionally logging on and giving clicks and views to a company they might disagree with,” says Altimeter Group analyst Omar Akhtar, who adds the report severely tarnished Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s once-sterling reputation.

(Read more at Yahoo Finance)

As for myself, I have had it with Facebook and don’t use it as a primary means of sharing news. However, I can understand their anger and would suggest use of another platform (such as gab.ai (twitter alternative), vidme (youtube alternative), WordPress (blogger alternative), or Digg (Facebook alternative)).

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Censorship by Facebook, Twitter, & other media giants


Thanks Breitbart for this explanatory illustration.

Midterm meddling: Twitter follows Facebook & blacklists GOP candidate’s family story of immigration from Cambodia

In a 16 August 2-18 Breitbart article, Facebook and Twitter have been shown to be stifling political speech in California again.

Twitter has followed in Facebook’s footsteps by blocking a campaign video ad for Republican congressional candidate Elizabeth Heng. Facebook eventually admitted that a campaign video including the communist atrocities in Cambodia is not “shocking, disrespectful, or sensational,” but Twitter, which describes the ad as “obscene,” disagrees.

Shortly after Facebook came under fire for refusing to allow Republican Congressional candidate Elizabeth Heng to advertise with her campaign ad on their platform, Twitter has made the same decision. Facebook blocked the ad, which shared the story of Heng’s family being forced to flee Cambodia for the U.S., claiming that the Facebook couldn’t allow videos that contained “shocking, disrespectful, or sensational” imagery on their advertising platform. The ad was eventually approved with a Facebook spokesperson stating: “Upon further review, it is clear the video contains historical imagery relevant to the candidate’s story. We have since approved the ad and it is now running on Facebook.” A decision Twitter apparently disagrees with.

Twitter has blacklisted the campaign ad, according to Heng. The Heng campaign stated in a press release: “In recent attempts to advertise Elizabeth Heng’s campaign video on Twitter, the campaign has received a message from the company stating that upon review, the ad is ‘ineligible to participate in the Twitter Ads program at this time based on our Inappropriate Content policy.’ Twitter defined inappropriate content as ‘that which is offensive, vulgar, or obscene.’”

Heng’s advertising refusal comes shortly after Infowars host Alex Jones received a seven-day suspension on the platform and many Twitter users reported a decline in followers as Twitter purged accounts from its platform.

(Read more at Breitbart)

Did Twitter find the images of Pol Pot’s Cambodia offensive, vulgar, or obscene? That is, did the brutality of a communist regime offend the millennial sensibilities of Twitter? Or was it scenes of Fresno’s deteriorating storefronts that offended Twitter?

If it was the images of the results of economic radicals like Pol Pot, will Twitter, Google, or Facebook block video of Patriot’s Day?

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Facebook opens up on vote meddling

A 4 August 2018 Associated Press article points out how Facebook has admitted to vote meddling (however, it does not mention the removal of conservative Brazilian pages or similar actions by Facebook).

For a company bent on making the world more open, Facebook has long been secretive about the details of how it runs its social network — particularly how things go wrong and what it does about them.

Yet on Tuesday, Facebook rushed forward to alert Congress and the public that it had recently detected a small but “sophisticated” case of possible Russian election manipulation. Has the social network finally acknowledged the need to keep the world informed about the big problems it’s grappling with, rather than doing so only when dragged kicking and screaming to the podium?

While the unprompted revelation does signal a new, albeit tightly controlled openness for the company, there is still plenty that Facebook isn’t saying. Many experts remain unconvinced that this is a true culture change and not mere window dressing.

“This is all calculated very carefully,” said Timothy Carone, a business professor at the University of Notre Dame. He and other analysts noted that Facebook announced its discovery of 32 accounts and pages intended to stir up U.S. political discord just a week after the company’s stock dropped almost 20 percent — its worst plunge since going public.

But Facebook’s proactive disclosure, including a conference call for reporters with chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, struck a markedly different tone from the company’s ham-handed approach to a string of scandals and setbacks over the past two years. That has included:

  • CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s infamous dismissal of the idea that fake news on Facebook could have influenced the 2016 election as “a pretty crazy idea”;
  • The company’s foot-dragging as evidence mounted of a 2016 Russian election-interference effort conducted on Facebook and other social-media sites;
  • Zuckerberg, again, declining for nearly a week to publicly address the privacy furor over a Trump campaign consultant, Cambridge Analytica, that scavenged data from tens of millions of Facebook users for its own election-influence efforts.

A chastened Facebook has since taken steps toward transparency, many of them easy to overlook. In April, it published for the first time the detailed guidelines its moderators use to police unacceptable material. It has provided additional, if partial, explanations of how it collects user data and what it does with it. And it has forced disclosure of the funding and audience targeting of political advertisements, which it now also archives for public scrutiny.

Facebook said its timing was motivated by an upcoming protest event in Washington that was promoted by a suspicious page connected to a Russian troll farm, the Internet Research Agency. Several people connected to the IRA have been indicted by the U.S. special counsel for attempting to interfere in the 2016 election.

Despite Zuckerberg’s repeated mantra — delivered to relentless effect in some 10 hours of testimony before Congress in April — that the company now really gets it, some who know the company best have their doubts.

David Kirkpatrick, the author a Facebook history, argues that neither Zuckerberg nor Sandberg have ever shown themselves to be “deeply alarmed in public.” As a result, he suggests, Facebook seems more concerned with managing its image than with solving the actual problem at hand.

Such issues run deep for the company. Some of its biggest critics, including former employees such as Sandy Parakilas and early Facebook investor Roger McNamee, say the company needs to revamp its business model from the ground up to see any meaningful change.

These critics would like to see Facebook rely less on tracking its users in order to sell targeted advertising, and to cut back on addicting features such as endless notifications that keep drawing people back in. Parakilas, for example, has advocated for a subscription-based model, letting users pay to user Facebook instead of having their data harvested.

Merely hiring more moderators, or hanging hopes on the evolution of artificial intelligence, isn’t going to cut it, in their view. There have also been widespread calls for Facebook to acknowledge that it is, in a sense, a media company, responsible for what happens on its platforms — a characterization the social network has long fought.

For all that, Facebook is well ahead of Silicon Valley rivals such as Google and Twitter when it comes to openness — even if only because it’s attracted the lion’s share of criticism, said Paul Levinson, a media studies professor at Fordham University.

But Facebook “can’t win at this game,” said Siva Vaidhyanathan, a University of Virginia professor of media studies whose 2018 book “Antisocial Media” critiques Facebook’s effect on democracy and society. Because it’s so huge — 2.2 billion global users and counting — and so difficult to police, he said, “it will always be vulnerable to hijacking and will never completely clean up its content.”

(Read more at the Associated Press)

This is not big news. So what if Facebook caves again to the socialist forces that would limit free speech. This allows the media giant to feel good about itself. Too bad Facebook could not learn from the lessons provided by Stalin, Pol Pot, Kim Jong-il, and George Orwell.

Then again, there was the example of Barack Obama.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Twitter takes a stab at silencing the “shitty people”

In the following undercover video, the interviewer got Olinda Hassan, Policy Manager for Twitter Trust and Safety, to admit that “we’re trying to get the ‘shitty people’ not to show up.”

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Spotify, Apple, Google, and Facebook purge the free speech rights of Alex Jones of InfoWars

In the insightful fiction from the middle of the last century (1984 by George Orwell), the author saw the deleterious effect of a central government that controlled everything down to speech and thought. That insight came from exposure to governments that attempted to provide everything to the working class — down to what we should think.

Even with these cautionary tales, a number of media giants (Spotify, Apple, Google, Twitter, and Facebook) have taken up the task of limiting the free speech rights of others.

The rise of corporate censorship

A 7 August 2018 Spiked Online article delves into censorship by the online media giants.

So we’re now trusting the capitalist class, massive, unaccountable corporations, to decide on our behalf what we may listen to and talk about? This is the take-home message, the terrible take-home message, of the expulsion of Alex Jones’ Infowars network from Apple, Facebook and Spotify and of the wild whoops of delight that this summary banning generated among so-called liberals: that people are now okay with allowing global capitalism to govern the public sphere and to decree what is sayable and what is unsayable. Corporate censorship, liberals’ new favourite thing – how bizarre.

We live in strange times. On one hand it is fashionable to hate capitalism these days. No middle-class home is complete without a Naomi Klein tome; making memes of Marx is every twentysomething Corbynistas’ favourite pastime. But on the other hand we seem content to trust Silicon Valley, the new frontier in corporate power, to make moral judgements about what kind of content people should be able to see online. Radicals and liberals declared themselves ‘very glad’ that these business elites enforced censorship against Jones and Infowars. We should be ‘celebrating the move’, said Vox, because ‘it represents a crucial step forward in the fight against fake news’. Liberals for capitalist censorship! The world just got that bit odder, and less free.

Over the past 24 hours, Jones and much of his Infowars channel has been ‘summarily banned’ – in the excitable words of Vox – from Apple, Facebook, Spotify and YouTube. Initially, Facebook and YouTube had taken only selective measures against Jones. In response to a Twitterstorm about his presence on these platforms, they took down some of his videos. But then Apple decided to ban Jones entirely – removing all episodes of his podcast from its platform – and the other online giants followed suit. Or as the thrilled liberal commentary put it: ‘The dominoes started to fall.’ Despite having millions of subscribers, despite there being a public interest in what he has to say, Jones has been cast out of the world of social media, which is essentially the public square of the 21st century, on the basis that what he says is wicked.

This is censorship. There will of course be apologists for the corporate control of speech, on both the left and right, who will say, ‘It’s only censorship when the government does it!’. They are so wrong. When enormous companies that have arguably become the facilitators of public debate expel someone and his ideas because they find them morally repugnant, that is censorship. Powerful people have deprived an individual and his network of a key space in which they might propagate their beliefs. Aka censorship.

(Read more at Spiked Online)

The Real Reason for the Left’s Double Standard on Hate Speech

Having used the ideas of Dr. Brown as much as they aligned with my own, I again find myself dipping from the well of Dr. Michael Brown’s thought (which often appears in OneNewsNow and TownHall) in his 9 August 2018 article on the left’s propensity to excuse its own hate speech.

Why is it that organizations like the SPLC can designate conservative Christians as hate groups while ignoring radical leftists like Antifa? Why is that Facebook and Google and YouTube and Twitter appear to punish conservatives disproportionately for alleged violations of community guidelines?

The answer is as disturbing as it is simple. The left believes it is so morally and intellectually superior to the right that it can see nothing wrong with its extreme positions and hostile words. Is it wrong to be intolerant of bigots? Is it wrong to hate (or even punch) a Nazi?

In short, if I’m a member of the KKK, is it wrong for you to disparage and mock me? If I’m a dangerous homophobe, is it wrong for you to vilify and exclude me? If I’m a hate-filled propogandist spreading dangerous lies, is it wrong for you to mark me and marginalize me?

Of course, there are double standards on all sides of the debate, on the right as well as on the left. And there is more than enough hypocrisy to go around, from the most progressive to the most conservative.

All of us also have our share of blind spots, so we tend to condemn in others what we justify in ourselves. Welcome to human nature.
Still, it is conspicuous that the same behavior gets treated differently by the leftist elite (including many a university professor) and by watchdog groups like the SPLC and by the internet giants.

Back in 2004-05, when I first began to address gay activism, I was widely mocked for saying, “Those who came out of the closet want to put us in the closet.”

The response was consistent: “No one wants to put you in the closet!”

A few years back, I noticed a change in tone: “Bigots like you belong in the closet!”

But of course!

While being interviewed on a Christian TV program back in 2011, I quoted the comment of a Christian attorney. He told me that those who were once put in jail (speaking of pioneer gay activists) will want to put us in jail.
For having the audacity to say this on Christian TV, I was vilified and maligned.

Yet when Kim Davis was jailed in 2015 for refusing a court order to grant same-sex marriage licenses, there was widespread rejoicing on the left: “Kim Davis is ISIS! Lock her up!”

(Read more at AskDrBrown.org)

NBC ignores an Antifa attack on its own reporter and crew

A 12 August 2018 NewsBusters article illustrates how a “news” outlet self-censors a significant story about a group who would really repress the free press.

On the one-year anniversary of the deadly Charlottesville protests, white supremacists and radical leftists known as Antifa descended on the Virginia town once more to commit more violence. Late Saturday night, NBC News reporter Cal Perry and his crew were in the thick of it as Antifa members ganged up on them and attacked. The next morning, NBC’s Sunday Today ignored the attack and suggested the media was simply “heckled” by their assaulters.

On Twitter, Perry was documenting the protesters as they marched through the streets of college town when they started to get “very aggressive with the media” and trying to block their camera shots. “Yeah. We’re getting a lot of this. Protesters trying to grab our camera,” he responded to one Twitter commenter telling him to “f**k off national media vulture.”

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js
Things got super-heated when one Antifa protestor shouted “F**k you, snitch a** news b**ch. F**k you” and tried to either pull the camera away from the person using it or knock it to the ground. It was unclear in the video.

Despite the video evidence on the ground from their own reporter, NBC went to Garrett Haake, who was at the White House in anticipation of violence there as another white supremacist rally was set to be held. “Overnight, tense moments in the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, strong far left protesters heckling the media and chanting anti-police slogans,” he suggested at the top of his report. They actually used footage Perry and his crew shot but didn’t show anything from their attack.

The assault on NBC’s reporter came almost a year since their political director, Chuck Todd used his MSNBC program, MTP Daily to elevate Antifa’s violence as a legitimate tactic against the right. He even doubled down and allowed them to use the formerly prestigious Meet the Press as a platform to push their hate and violent methods. Todd has never condemned them.

Todd appeared on Sunday Today and had nothing to say about the attack or Antifa, which had been declared a domestic terrorism group by the State of New Jersey before he had them on last year. Instead of condemning Antifa, he lambasted the President for criticizing anthem protesters and targeted his supporters as racists.

So I don’t think, if the President is, quote, ‘learned anything’ I think in his mind, he has seen this is an effective political strategy to keep his base, his base,” he declared about what the President had learned since last year’s violence. “That it is the president’s continuation of using to be generous, dog whistles, others say they’re not silent. You can hear the whistles pretty loudly.

It’s sad and disturbing that NBC would choose to ignore violent leftists assaulting their own employees in exchange for railing against President Trump’s voters, but this appears to be the world we live in now. The assault also came after the entire liberal media had been trying to convince the public that Trump supporters where violent ones reporters had to watch out for.

(Read more at NewsBusters)

I have always been warned not to “cut off my nose to spite my face.” It looks like NBC let its nose get cut off and then dared the rest of us not to notice the profuse bleeding.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Patreon and Mastercard ban Robert Spencer without explanation

Jihad Watch reports in a 15 August 2018 article that Robert Spencer has been banned by Patreon and Mastercard without explanation. Nonetheless, this banning likely stems from his shining the light of truth on Islam.

Recently Alex Jones and Gavin McInnes have been banned from various social media platforms, in a desperate attempt by the Left to ensure that the 2016 election results aren’t repeated in 2018. Some people say it doesn’t matter that these men were deplatformed, because they don’t like what they say, and what’s more, these are all private companies. They are indeed private companies, but they have a virtual monopoly today over the means of communication, and once they start banning people because they don’t like what they say, they’ve set a precedent that is inimical to the survival of a free society.

If only approved viewpoints can be aired, we live in a totalitarian state, not a free society, and the effects of this will reverberate in our lives in ways we cannot imagine. If you think that the banning will stop when those who are deemed “crazy” or “extremist” are all banned, you’re in for a surprise.

Yesterday, they came for me, albeit in not yet as thoroughgoing a manner as the way they went after Jones and McInnes.

(Read more at Jihad Watch)

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Facebook and Twitter shadow ban conservatives


Zuckerberg loses more than $15 billion in record Facebook fall

Reuters reports in a 26 July 2018 article how Facebook has lost record amount.

Facebook Inc (FB.O) Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg’s fortune took a more than $15 billion hit on Thursday, as the social media company suffered the biggest one-day wipeout in U.S. stock market history a day after executives forecast years of lower profit margins.

At least 16 brokerages cut their price targets on Facebook after Chief Financial Officer David Wehner startled an otherwise routine call with analysts by saying the company faced a multi-year squeeze on its business margins.

That “bombshell,” as one analyst termed it, played into concerns on Wall Street that Facebook’s model could be under threat after a year dominated by efforts to head off concerns over privacy and its role in global news flow.

Shares closed down almost 19 percent at $176.26, wiping more than $120 billion off the company’s value or nearly four times the entire market capitalization of Twitter Inc (TWTR.N).

(Read more at Reuters)

One has to wonder how much of this has been driven by users who have become aggravated with the suppression of conservative opinion, the promotion of leftist trends, and the hostility to Western norms.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Facebook’s $100 billion-plus rout is the biggest loss in stock market history

A 26 July 2018 CNBC article points out the great drop Facebook took.

Facebook on Thursday posted the largest one-day loss in market value by any company in U.S. stock market history after releasing a disastrous quarterly report.

The social media giant’s market capitalization plummeted by $119 billion to $510 billion as its stock price plummeted by 19 percent. At Wednesday’s close, Facebook’s market cap had totaled nearly $630 billion, according to FactSet.

No company in the history of the U.S. stock market has ever lost $100 billion in market value in just one day, but two came close.

(Read more at CNBC)

As noted previously, there might be honest people who question how only one side gets their stories removed from social media or one side just cannot have their posts found.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Facebook removes pages of Brazil activist network before elections

According to a 25 July 2018 Reuters article, Facebook meddled in the Brazilian elections by removing pages central to a right-wing activist network prior to the elections.

Facebook Inc (FB.O) on Wednesday took down a network of pages and accounts used by a right-wing Brazilian activist group, cracking down on what it called a misinformation network ahead of elections in October.

Facebook said in a statement that it deactivated 196 pages and 87 accounts in Brazil for their part in “a coordinated network that hid behind fake Facebook accounts and misled people about the nature and origin of its content, all for the purpose of sowing division and spreading misinformation.”

The statement did not identify the pages or users involved, and a Facebook representative declined to identify them.

However, sources told Reuters that the network was run by senior organizers from Movimento Brazil Livre (MBL) or “Free Brazil Movement.”

MBL later said in a statement on Twitter that several of its organizers had been affected, confirming the Reuters report.

The group rose to prominence in 2016 leading protests demanding the impeachment of leftist former President Dilma Rousseff with an aggressive style of online politics that has helped to polarize debate in Brazil.

(Read more at Reuters)

The fact that Facebook took this action against an activist group that it disagrees with is deplorable. Still, if you consider the $3 million Hillary spent on Facebook supposedly being overwhelmed by the fraction Trump spent and the $100,000 the Russians spent, it does not seem that Facebook can really throw an election. Nonetheless, if you are going to blame the election of a populist candidate (like Trump) on Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, does that mean that Obama’s 2012 election was due to his campaign taking data from Facebook?

Twitter’s denial of shadow bans sounds like they shadow ban

A 27 July 2018 article on the Washington Free Beacon shows the absurdity of Twitter’s denials.

Twitter soon after put out a statement denying that it was “shadow banning” users, the phrase VICE used. “People are asking us if we shadow ban. We do not…” the tech company writes. “And we certainly don’t shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology.”

But then the statement contains this admission of something Twitter has long been accused of. “We do not shadow ban. You are always able to see the tweets from accounts you follow (although you may have to do more work to find them, like go directly to their profile).” [Emphasis added]

Uh, call me crazy, but that parenthetical sounds a lot like an admission that Twitter effectively shadow bans users.

The problem is that both sides of the conversation are talking past each other, because no one can agree on what “shadow ban” means. In the early days of Internet forums, “shadow ban” was a term that meant a user could still post and see other people’s posts, but secretly other users could not see their activity. They weren’t banned from the forum, but as far as the other users were concerned, the “shadow banned” user simply didn’t exist at all.

Based on that definition, there have been a series of tut-tut pieces about how of course Twitter doesn’t “shadow ban” and conservatives are freaking out over nothing. It’s also the definition Twitter uses. “The best definition we found is this: deliberately making someone’s content undiscoverable to everyone except the person who posted it, unbeknownst to the original poster,” they write.

That strict definition was useful in the days when post visibility was basically the only way users engaged with each other. If you wanted to talk about a subject, you had to navigate through a forum, click on a post, and browse through the replies to see what people were saying. In those days, making someone’s posts completely undiscoverable was the only way to “shadow ban” someone.

But social media is used so much differently. The bulk of Twitter users don’t seek out individual accounts and scroll through their tweets. The entire point of Twitter is that by tweeting and retweeting, you place yourself and others on your followers’ newsfeeds. By tagging or replying to someone, you place yourself in their mentions. By using a hashtag, you make your tweet visible to people who are interested in searching for that subject.

If, as Twitter admits, I can willingly choose to follow someone and not see any of their tweets unless I actively seek out their profile (and after their name not showing up in the search recommendations), then for all intents and purposes they have been banned from participating in Twitter the way 99.9% of users use the platform. Call it a florp, call it a bifworz, call it what you please. If a person is de facto banned from joining the conversation and isn’t informed of that fact, “shadow ban” seems like a perfectly fine shorthand to me, prescriptivism and pedantry be damned.

(Read more at the Washington Free Beacon)

Since the normal conservative Twitter user follows anywhere from 5-10K other users, Twitter’s use of the unofficial shadow banning (the type mentioned in the last paragraph) silences the greater portion of Twitter users.

What can we do?

First, we could go counter to conservatism’s principle of limited government and build a department in the Federal Communications Commission that would oversee fairness on the Internet. However, as the acts of Lois Lerner and Peter Strzok attest, the workings of our bureaucracies tend to benefit liberals, not conservatives.

Second, conservatives (like Amy Mek, below) could band together by using a recognizable symbol (like X) and stand up against those who suppress. The problem with standing up to these liberal bullies is that liberalism is the home of Antifa (who have beaten conservatives since Hillary started her campaign) and socialism (who, if you just count those killed in the first 100 years of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, eliminated 100 million). They have no respect for life, liberty, or property.

Third, as suggested by Chris Salcedo, we could allow these social media giants (as private companies) to be able to act on their liberal, bigoted proclivities as long as they supplied a truth-in-advertising statement. Since this follows existing law, maybe this constitutes one of the best alternatives for dealing with shadow banning.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Exposing the enfoced liberality of social media


Pew: Social media companies back liberals, 72% ‘censor’ views they don’t like

With a hat tip to The Chris Salcedo Show, we find that a 28 June 2018 Washington Examiner has delved into a Pew Research survey that reveals the bias we have discovered within social media.

Nearly three quarters of U.S. adults believe that social media and tech companies censor political views they don’t like, and that likely means conservative voices since nearly half say those same outlets support liberals, according to a new survey.

The latest mega-poll from the Pew Research Center found that 72 percent feels social media “actively censor political views that they find objectionable.”

And while the analysis does not conclude whose views are censored, Pew gives a major hint in reporting that 43 percent believe social media sites “support the views of liberals over conservatives.”

Pew indicated that Republicans feel the bias most.

“Fully 85 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents think it likely that social media sites intentionally censor political viewpoints, with 54 percent saying this is very likely. And a majority of Republicans (64 percent) think major technology companies as a whole support the views of liberals over conservatives,” said the survey.

Facebook and Twitter, meanwhile, have been holding secret meetings with Congress to discuss the censorship claims against Republicans.

(Read more at the Washington Examiner)

While there can be other explanations for some of the perceived instances of censorship, the bigger types of censorship (such as classification of the Family Research Center as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center) cannot be overlooked. These types of censorship cause large groups to lose credibility with the press, create needless conflicts and accusations, and should not be tolerated from a group that lies. Lies how, you might ask. One way that they lied became evident when they lost a defamation lawsuit for having lied about Maajid Nawaz and his differing view on Islam.

Another way that the SPLC’s lies have been exposed might have come through the victory for free speech that the Alliance Defending Freedom experienced in the Supreme Court (although the SPLC has branded the ADF as a hate group).

A third way the lies of the SPLC caught the breeze comes through the fact that they have been peddling this “hate group” spiel while laughing their way to the $300 million bankroll. Even the uninitiated catch on after a while.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Amazon work with the SPLC to discriminate against Christians

In a 8 June 2018 OneNewsNow article, the efforts of the Southern Poverty Law Center again come to center stage.

Facebook, Twitter, Google and Amazon reportedly all have working partnerships with the far-left group, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which is notorious for giving conservative organizations unwarranted “hate group” labels.

A Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF) investigation discovered that the left-wing nonprofit is closely tied to four of the largest tech platforms on the planet, which routinely consult or collaborate with the SPLC in policing their platforms for “hate groups” or “hate speech,” and the findings were corroborated by Facebook itself.

“[The SPLC is on a list of] external experts and organizations [that Facebook works with] to inform our hate speech policies,” Facebook Spokeswoman Ruchika Budhraja informed the DCNF in an interview.

(Read more at OneNewsNow)

I know that Jesus told us to expect to be treated poorly (John 15:20); however, Christ also did tell us to take the message of the gospel openly into the marketplace (Matthew 5:15; Luke 11:33; Matthew 28:19; and many other verses).  For Christians to fulfill our role as messengers, we need to stand against those who would limit our voice in public.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Most Facebook users should assume they have had their public info scraped

Even CNBC notes in a 4 April 2018 article admits to the enormity of the data taken in the data mining scandal.

Facebook said Wednesday that it believes most of its users who had a specific search function enabled have had their profile data scraped by third parties.

“We’ve seen some scraping,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on a call with reporters. “I would assume if you had that setting turned on that someone at some point has access to your public information in some way,” he said.

The setting Zuckerberg referred to is one where users let other users search for them by e-mail address or phone number instead of by name.

Of course, we have had our information taken by companies who either worked with or preyed upon Facebook. Still, it is odd that Facebook does not mention how Carol Davidsen (of the Obama campaign) bragged about having mined Facebook for voters. Additionally, there have been numerous events after the ballyhooed Cambridge Analytica scandal.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Facebook shared user data with 52 tech companies

A 30 June 2018 article with Engadget confirms the suspicions of most Americans in that Facebook shared data with 52 companies.

It’s no secret that Facebook shared user data with device and software makers as part of its partnerships. Now, however, the scope of those deals has become clearer. Facebook has responded to a House Energy & Commerce Committee request for data with a 747-page response detailing the social network’s data sharing deals with other companies. All told, Facebook has shared user info with 52 firms, including Chinese firms like Alibaba, Huawei, Lenovo and Oppo — some of these were already known. It has ended already partnerships with 38 of them (some due to companies ending relevant business, like HP/Palm and Inq), with seven more due to expire in July 2018 and one more in October.

Three partnerships are due to continue, Facebook said. Apple has an agreement that extends past October, Amazon also has a deal, while Tobii needs its partnership for an eye-tracking app that makes Facebook accessible to ALS patients. There are also ongoing alliances with Alibaba, Mozilla and Opera to enable Facebook notifications in browsers, although those won’t include access to friends’ data.

Facebook also acknowledged that it gave 61 third-party app developers as much as six months of extra time to wind down their data collection practices after implementing tougher sharing controls in 2014, including Hinge and Spotify. Another five developers might have had access to “limited friends’ data” through a beta test, but it didn’t explain what that involved.

Did Facebook’s data giveaway to the Obama campaign break federal law?

A 29 March 2018 OneNewsNow looks into the possibility that Facebook broke campaign finance reform law.

Another accusation has surfaced that Facebook was playing fast and loose with user data, and this time it can’t blame an outside political operative or rogue third-party app.

Barack Obama changed the way American politicians campaign with his pervasive use of social media and data collection in 2008 and 2012.

It now appears a lot of that data was given to the campaign, perhaps illegally.

The latest breach was revealed in a pair of Tweets from Carol Davidson, the media director for the Obama 2012 campaign.

“Facebook was surprised we were able to suck out the whole social graph,” she wrote, “but they … were very candid that they allowed us to do things they wouldn’t have allowed someone else to do because they were on our side.”

Hans von Spakovski of The Heritage Foundation says the problem with Facebook providing that data is that corporations are banned by law from making contributions, including in-kind donations, to federal campaigns.

“It’s very possible that the Obama campaign violated campaign finance law by accepting, illegally, a corporate contribution,” the attorney warns, “and Facebook may have violated the law by making an illegal contribution.”

Facebook is already under investigation for playing fast and loose with user data in several other instances.

(Read more at OneNewsNow)

If any company has broken the law, they should have their day in court and must answer for what they have done. While our system provides that a person or company should be considered innocent until proven guilty, it must be held accountable for violations of the law.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

The Boston Globe calls on the government to “Break up Google”

In a 14 June 2018 opinion piece, the Boston Globe calls for the dissolution of the social media giant Google.

Never in the history of the world has a single company had so much control over what people know and think. Yet Washington has been slow to recognize that Google’s power is a problem, much less embrace the obvious solution: breaking the company up.

Google accounts for about 90 percent of all Internet searches; by any honest assessment, it holds a monopoly at the very gateway to information in the modern world. From there, the company’s power radiates outward, dominating everything from maps to smartphone operating systems to video distribution — vacuuming up huge quantities of highly specific data about users along the way.

Along with Facebook, Google owns sites and services that, by some estimates, influence 70 percent of all Internet traffic. Not coincidentally, the two companies also form a duopoly that gets 73 percent of all digital advertising in the United States, and virtually all the growth in ad spending, on the Internet. Once the lifeblood of a vital free press, and later of a vast array of independent sites serving every possible interest, ad dollars increasingly flow to two tech giants that organize information produced at other people’s expense.

Google’s power is bound to grow still more. Last year, it spent more on federal lobbying than any other company. By tweaking the way information appears on search pages, Google can already promote its own websites and banish competitors to digital oblivion. (Last year, European regulators fined the company $2.7 billion, alleging that it favored its own services over competitors’.) In coming years, as Google’s vast data trove feeds ever more sophisticated artificial-intelligence algorithms, the search giant’s lead over its competitors will lengthen.

In the meantime, the company keeps getting bigger. When it can’t beat competitors, it buys them, as it has done more than 200 times since going public. Increasingly, startups aspire not to dethrone Google, but to be acquired by it. It comes as little comfort that fellow giants Facebook, Amazon, and Apple hem in Google here and there. Competing in an information economy shouldn’t require a market capitalization of a half-trillion dollars or more.

Yet the problem at hand is not merely economic. “A handful of people working at a handful of tech companies steer the thoughts of billions of people every day,” notes former Google design ethicist Tristan Harris. A recent study of 10,000 people from 39 countries suggests Google “has likely been determining the outcomes of upwards of 25 percent of the national elections in the world for several years now, with increasing impact each year as Internet penetration has grown.”

(Read more at the Boston Globe)

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Censorship by Facebook


Facebook Ends ‘Disputed’ Tag for Fake News

A 21 December 2017 article in The Wrap documents how Facebook has abandoned one method of censoring thought on its platform.

It’s not yet been a year, and Facebook has already decided to throw out its new key feature designed to combat fake news.

The social network announced it’s scrapping its “disputed” label for flagging questionable stories because the feature ended up reinforcing “deeply held beliefs,” rather than making users look with a skeptical eye. Instead, Facebook will start adding related articles next to links.

“Related Articles, by contrast, are simply designed to give more context, which our research has shown is a more effective way to help people get to the facts,” the company said in its blog post this week on the decision. “Indeed, we’ve found that when we show Related Articles next to a false news story, it leads to fewer shares than when the Disputed Flag is shown.”

Facebook said “academic research” showed putting a disputed tag did little to disabuse readers, which is something Yale professor David Rand told TheWrap about months ago. Rand said the initiative put in place by FB back in March, after Russia used the platform to meddle in the 2016 U.S. election, was “not really effective,” according to a university study.

The professor pointed to two reasons for this: The impact of flagging was “pretty small,” with a 3.7 percent decrease in “perceived accuracy” for articles with the disputed label. The second indicated a backfiring of sorts from the labeling process, where articles without the disputed tag are, by virtue, assumed to be true — even if they’re false.

“We call this the ‘implied truth effect,’” said Rand. “Because if you tag some stories, some people will assume all of the untagged stories — rather than being stories that haven’t been checked yet — they will assume they’re stories that have been checked and verified.”

So, in other words, they were told it would not work, they tried their Big-Brotheresque, liberal-favoring program long enough that it not only failed, but failed spectacularly. Then they announced the end of the program.

The only way it could be worse would be where Facebook were declared to fall under governmental protection and thereby become a federal program.

Nonetheless, maybe they should have considered the way that they suppress conservative opinions (as documented in Gizmodo‘s article on former Facebook employees, Fox News list of 10 censoring events, The Hill‘s article on the deletion of Trump’s posts, and the Daily Signal article on Facebook censorship).

Still, the end of this program does not suggest that censorship of conservative causes has ended at Facebook.

Facebook Removes Warriors for Christ and offers no right of appeal

Freedom Outpost reports in a 7 January 2018 post how Facebook has removed, restored, and then removed again (due to their re-posting reports concerning the initial removal).

On January 1, the Geller Report brought you the news that Facebook had shut down the “Warriors for Christ” in its ongoing effort to choke off and silence all voices that dissent from the leftist line.

The Warriors for Christ page was subsequently reinstated. After that, they had done little more than post the Geller Report link and other links to stories about how Facebook had shut them down — and Facebook blocked their page again. Evidently now writing about Facebook censorship is grounds for being censored on Facebook.

I received this message from one of the Warriors for Christ admins:

We literally shared your article, articles by Joe Newby, we did 2 live streams (last night was a live prayer service-they removed that video with no explanation). Today we created an even to promote Carla D’Addesi streaming tomorrow and now the page is gone. Not just unpublished but deleted. No way of appealing nothing. We have a back up page (facebook.com/wfcchurch.org) but we only have 5,100 followers on that page. Our main page had over 225,000 and was growing even more rapidly since these articles came out.

As I said before, remember Pastor Niemoller’s famous poem:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.

Just as God worked through Nebuchadnezzar’s life, atheist Pamela Gellar has proven herself as a strong ally of Christians seeking online equity.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

The problems with social media: viewpoint discrimination, issue myopia, government


https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Censoring of Christians by Google, Facebook, and Twitter

OneNewsNow provides an account of several voices against the censoring by the giants of social media in a 10 December 2017 article.

After years of censoring Christians online, the big three Internet technology giants – Google, Facebook and Twitter – are now being targeted by the Internet Freedom Watch initiative to give believers their online voice back.

The National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) launched the initiative via the InternetFreedomWatch.org website, where numerous cases are documented, such as former Gov. Mike Huckabee’s (R-Ark.) Facebook post in 2012 supporting Chick-fil-A’s pro-family stance regarding same-sex “marriage” and Twitter’s removal of an ad by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who stands for biblical morality on a number of hot-button issues.

Let the censorship end

NRB announced that the free speech effort is being endorsed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and a former commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, as the campaign focuses on exposing the censorship of Christians on the Internet by social media search engine giant Google, as well as the popular social media channels Facebook and Twitter.

NRB President and CEO Jerry A. Johnson stresses that his organization was founded back in 1944 to fight corporate censorship of evangelical radio ministries at the time – something that continues to plague America more than seven decades later.

“[NRB is focusing on] those who desire to expunge opposing viewpoints from the marketplace of ideas by recklessly using nebulous terms like ‘hate speech,’” Johnson told those attending a press conference held last week at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., according to WND.

(Read more at OneNewsNow)

As Christians, there are two ways we might be led to react to this electronic oppression:

  • We might figuratively turn the other cheek (something not to be confused with avoiding the conflict or being silent) or
  • We might follow the example of Paul by demanding the rights afforded to citizens.

Oddly, both of these responses involve talking (either gently or very directly) with the opposition. Therefore, Christians and those who would preserve freedom must stand against this censorship.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Left-leaning Bloomberg laments the problems Facebook wants to admit

In a 14 December 2017 Bloomberg article the social media giant looks at the damage it does to children’s brains (but does not seem to make plans for lessening the detrimental impact they have). Too bad Facebook also does not also consider its own censorship of conservatives, the detrimental affects brought on by those actions, and ways to fix those bad affects.

Facebook is projected to boost sales by 46 percent and double net income, but make no mistake: It had a terrible year. Despite its financial performance, the social media giant is facing a reckoning in 2018 as regulators close in on several fronts.

The main issue cuts to the core of the company itself: Rather than “building global community,” as founder Mark Zuckerberg sees Facebook’s mission, it is “ripping apart the social fabric.” Those are the words of Chamath Palihapitiya, the company’s former vice president of user growth. He doesn’t allow his kids to use Facebook because he doesn’t want them to become slaves to “short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops.”

Palihapitya’s criticism echoes that of Facebook’s first president, Sean Parker: “It literally changes your relationship with society, with each other … God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”

Facebook has reacted nervously to Palihapitya’s accusations, saying he hadn’t worked at the company for a long time (he left in 2011) and wasn’t aware of Facebook’s recent initiatives. But I can’t see any practical manifestations of these efforts as a user who has drastically cut back on social networking this year for the very reasons cited by Parker and Palihapitya.

A wise man said, “A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not both fall into a pit?” While it is good that Facebook is seeing that constant social media use does change the brain of children and adolescents, you think that they would also wake up to the constant calls for them to stop censoring conservatives. Still, there is never anyone as blind as someone who refuses to see.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

OneNewsNow provides a view of what we should expect

Through a 15 December 2017 OneNewsNow article, a few things we should expect now that Obama’s Net Neutrality has been erased have been provided.

“I can pretty much guarantee it,” he says. “If you are a consumer and you want to know what’s going to happen now that Net Neutrality regulation has been taken off the book, the answer is probably nothing for the short-term. Your Internet experience is not going to change dramatically; probably not at all, in fact. It’ll more or less be the same, at least for the time being.”

In the longer run, Radia says consumers may see changes that are beneficial, perhaps even some arrangements involving ISPs and content companies like Netflix that Radia says could mean lower bills for Internet users.

“[I think] that’s … a little longer on the horizon maybe in a few years, rather than in the immediate term, [but] there is nothing to worry about right now,” he continues. “Your ability to binge-watch over the holidays is not going to be affected by the FCC decision, no matter what you hear from left-wing activists and certain companies that have a self-interest in not having to pay for any of this infrastructure.”

(Read more at OneNewsNow)

Since Obama’s “Net Neutrality” seemed to discriminate against a number of business and content interests, such as “edge providers” (as identified in a November 2014 article) just as the Democrat’s “Fairness Doctrine” weighed down conservative radio shows, we should expect a lot of caterwauling from the left as long as Net Neutrality remains out of effect.

Due to Obama’s and the Democrat’s record of the NSA phone surveillance scandal, the IRS targeting scandal, the VA waiting list scandal, Fast & Furious gun scandal, Benghazi, … somehow I don’t trust “Net Neutrality” to be neutral (if it ever was).

During the last of my tenure at the Johnson Space Center, I experienced the Y2K hype. Except for election cycles where the Democrat was in serious likelihood of being beaten, the Y2K only marginally beats out the Net Neutrality on the big, bad, hype-o-meter (and that assumes that NN doesn’t drag on for over a year).