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Storm clouds gather over Ukraine

As economy sinks Ukraine’s belligerent law on Donbass, point to growing instability and a return to war

Alexander Mercouris

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In a recent article for The Duran I wrote of how the economic situation in Ukraine appeared once more to be deteriorating, with economic statistics apparently being distorted to conceal the extent of the rise in inflation, making the claimed figure of 2% GDP growth in 2017 unlikely.

In a further sign of a deteriorating economic situation, recent reports from Ukraine speak of rolling electric power blackouts in some regions, suggesting growing energy shortages as the price of oil hikes.

In a symptom of how bad the situation has become, the Ukrainian government has quietly dropped its sanctions prohibiting coal imports from Russia, indicating that Ukraine is being forced to turn to Russia for imports of coal in light of the gathering energy crisis.

In this situation, as Paul Goncharoff has recently pointed out, the decision of the Stockholm Arbitration Tribunal to force Ukraine to resume gas purchases from Gazprom actually helps Ukraine,  since the gas Gazprom is able to supply Ukraine is actually cheaper than the gas Ukraine has up to now for political reasons been buying in Europe.

A further sign that economic pressures are causing a certain return to economic rationality in Ukraine is shown by a recent report from Interfax that Ukraine wants negotiations with Moscow to secure the transit of Russian gas to Europe across Ukraine

Ukraine is ready to discuss future transit of Russian gas following the ruling on their gas contract dispute from the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, Naftogaz Ukrainy chief Andriy Kobolev told Interfax during “Ukrainian Breakfast” at Davos.

The government and Energy and Coal Industry Ministry might represent Ukraine at those talks, Kobolev said.

“Naftogaz is ready, but there is one nuance. The government wants to engage in these talks. Therefore, there is the likelihood that [Deputy Prime Minister Volodymyr] Kistion will go to the transit talks together with [Energy and Coal Industry Minister Ihor] Nasalyk,” he said.

Earlier, Vice President of the European Commission in charge of Energy Union Maros Sefcovic invited Russia and Ukraine to discuss with each other future transit of Russian gas through Ukraine following the Stockholm arbitration ruling.

Russia supplied 94 billion cubic meters of gas to the EU through Ukraine last year, witnessing to the importance of this transit route in future.

“I think this can well be considered an achievement, and the massive gas volumes signal that this transit route is very important for Gazprom (MOEX: GAZP) as the supplier, for Ukraine as the transiter, and for the EU as the consumer. I will discuss with him [Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko] how we will operate after the Stockholm arbitration ruling in order to create a constructive atmosphere in order to be convinced that this transit route will remain an important route for supplies to Europe, that will be sufficient up to 2019,” he said.

Note the heavy lobbying for these talks by the European Commission, which is politically committed to preserving Ukraine’s role as a gas transit state.

Whether the Russians will be prepared to agree to allow Ukraine to remain a gas transit state notwithstanding the Stockholm Arbitration Tribunal’s decision to uphold the provisions of Gazprom’s gas supply contracts with Ukraine’s Naftogaz – which Ukraine had disputed – is another matter.

With project financing for Nord Stream 2 now in place and with construction of Turk Stream already underway there seems no obvious reason why the Russians should continue to transit gas across Ukraine once the present contracts expire.

Having said this, the mere fact that the Ukrainians now say that they are prepared to discuss future gas transit arrangements with Moscow at a government level – suggesting that they are prepared to provide interstate treaty guarantees in order to ensure the safety of Russian gas transiting to Europe – is a sign of the pressure they are now under.  Whether the Russians would accept these guarantees given the total lack of trust they now have in Ukraine is of course another matter.

However the single clearest sign of the growing economic pressure in Ukraine is that Ukraine’s Central Bank – just placed by President Poroshenko under new leadership – has today hiked its key lending rate to 16%.

Here is Interfax’s report about this

The National Bank of Ukraine has decided to hike its key policy rate to 16% per annum, effective from January 26, the NBU said in a press release.

“The tighter monetary policy will help decrease the inflation and bring it back to the target range in the middle of 2019,” the NBU said.

“In 2017, headline inflation reached 13.7%, exceeding the target of 8% ± 2 pp set for the National Bank of Ukraine in the Monetary Policy Guidelines for 2017 and Medium Term,” it said.

“Inflation sped up to 12.4% compared to 2016, mainly due to factors on which monetary policy tools have only a limited effect. In particular, acceleration of inflation was mainly driven by a decrease in the supply of some foods resulting from the unfavorable weather conditions seen in the first half of last year, the unstable situation in animal breeding, and a rise in the global prices of, and demand for, Ukrainian foods, mainly meat and dairy products,” the NBU said.

“An increase in production costs, especially labor costs, and fast recovery of consumer demand also contributed to the growth of prices,” it said.

“In addition, the end of last year saw an increase in hryvnia exchange rate fluctuations and a noticeable easing in fiscal policy, thanks to, among other things, sharp increase in pension payments and budgetary spending being unevenly distributed over the year. This increased underlying inflationary pressure, as evidenced by a rise in core inflation, to 9.5% in December, and high inflation expectations. As a consequence, the deviation of inflation rate from the target was larger than the NBU anticipated in its October 2017 Inflation Report,” it said.

This is the NBU’s third rate hike in almost as many months: the rate went up from 12.5% to 13.5% in October 2017 and was raised to 14.5% in December. The NBU had lowered the rate prior to that.

This surge in interest rates – with the key lending rate rising from 12.5% to 16% in three stages over just three months – may be a further sign that the official inflation rate of 13.7% in 2017 is too low, and that the true inflation rate in 2017 was higher, and was really 16-17% as various Russian commentators are speculating.

Note that the Central Bank’s target range for inflation – 8% + – 2pp – is still by international standards very high, and the Central Bank does not now expect to achieve it before the middle of 2019.

I would add that if the true rate of inflation in Ukraine really is higher than is being reported, and was closer to 16-17% than 13.7% in 2017, then interest rates in Ukraine may before long rise still further.

This is happening alongside an increase in the financial burdens being borne by the Ukrainian economy.

The Central Bank’s claims that the surge in inflation in 2017 is the result of higher demand for Ukrainian foodstuffs against the backdrop of tough agricultural conditions caused by poor weather in the second half of the year has very much the look of special pleading about it and of an attempt to give a positive spin (“Ukrainian food products are in high demand”) to what is unequivocally bad news.

It seems inherently more likely that the inflation pressures within Ukraine in 2017 were caused by the rise in oil prices, the knock on effect of the blockade of the Donbass, the continued fall in production of Ukrainian finished goods, and the fiscal loosening which the Central Bank says took place towards the end of the year, which is not backed by goods or services but which Poroshenko’s government nonetheless resorted to in order to buy off growing political opposition within Ukraine from the population by increasing its pension and benefit payments.

On top of this Ukraine is now expected to make payments to its external creditors of $20 billion over the next two years.  Others put the total amount of external payments even higher, saying that they will average out at $14 billion each year over the next two years.

To these must now be added the $5 billion the courts in London and Stockholm have now said Ukraine must pay Russia and Gazprom.

In addition the government’s seizure of Kolomoisky’s Privatbank has apparently exposed a $5 billion hole in the bank’s accounts – something which will surprise no-one – with further reports that large quantities of funding provided Ukraine by the IMF cannot be fully accounted for and may have been misappropriated, something which if true will not surprise anyone familiar with the situation in Ukraine either.

Though this is a terrible situation, it should not be an irretrievable one.  Many of Ukraine’s worst problems are self-inflicted and a return to rational decision making would quickly cause them to abate.

Putting to one side the question of corruption, which is a very serious problem in Ukraine but which is also a problem that is both intractable and longstanding, it should be obvious that Ukraine’s economic problems over the last three years are the direct consequence of its conflict with Russia.

Not only has this upset much of Ukraine’s population, resulting in a civil war which has resulted in the loss of much of the Donbass – Ukraine’s industrial heartland and its economically most productive region – but the severing of economic links with Russia and the feckless spending on the military in a confrontation which can never be won are placing burdens on Ukraine’s economy which it simply cannot carry.

A reversal of these foolish policies is what Ukraine urgently needs if it is to achieve an economic stability which is sustainable.

The trouble is that despite the occasional glimmers of rationality of the sort discussed earlier in this article, reversing these policies would involve adopting the opposite course to the one which Ukraine’s Maidan establishment is determined Ukraine should follow.

This provides the background for Ukraine’s extraordinary and deeply alarming new Donbass integration law, which in flagrant violation of the Minsk Agreement treats the territories of the Donbass and Lugansk People’s Republics as territory occupied by Russia – denying the reality of Ukraine’s civil war – and which converts Ukraine’s military campaign against the two People’s Republics from an already grossly misnamed “anti-terrorist operation” into a self-depicted military conflict with Russia.

In other words instead of looking for ways to end the conflict in the Donbass and to mend relations with Russia – which is what Ukraine urgently needs to do if its economy is to stabilise – the Maidan establishment in Kiev is set on doing the opposite, and has embarked on a path which can logically only lead to more war.

As anyone familiar with the Maidan movement ought to know by now, this is in fact its typical – indeed invariable – response when it comes under pressure.  Instead of moderating its policies and adjusting them to the prevailing realities, its invariable response is to intensify its policies still more.

As it drives towards the cliff edge, its impulse is to slam down the accelerator instead of the brake.

Behind this there may be a calculation on the part of some people within the Maidan movement that greater confrontation with Russia is the way to rally support for Ukraine in the West, with the hope that if the conflict in the Donbass escalates funding from the IMF and the European Union – which has now stopped – will resume.

However it is probably a mistake to look for much calculation in these actions.  My impression is that hostility to Russia on the part of the Maidan movement and its supporters is so hardwired that their actions are largely visceral, and have little calculation behind them.

How else to explain their bizarre decision to mount a totally counter productive economic blockade of the two People’s Republics which even Anders Aslund, one of their staunchest supporters, says was misguided and which was one of their actions last year which now has him wringing his hands in despair (discussed at length in my article here)?

In the meantime the responsibility of Ukraine’s Western allies for this darkening picture cannot be overstated.

Though it is Ukraine not Russia which is openly and flagrantly violating the Minsk Agreement – Russia is not a party to the Minsk Agreement, merely its guarantor – the European Union continues to reward Ukraine for its ever grosser violations of the Minsk Agreement by prolonging the sanctions against Russia.

It does so on the completely illogical premise that it is Russia – which is not a party to the Minsk Agreement – which is responsible for its implementation rather than Ukraine.

This policy is so absurd that it has been coming under growing criticism across Europe, with the right wing parties which now look set to win the March parliamentary elections in Italy calling it  irrational – which it is – and committing themselves to reversing it by vetoing any further extension of the sanctions if they win.

However both of the parties that currently form Germany’s failing ‘grand coalition’ government – Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU and the SPD – remain committed to this ‘irrational’ policy even though it is known that many senior members of both parties are filled with doubts about it.

Compounding this folly was a recent disastrous visit to Ukraine by Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel over the course of which he publicly endorsed Ukraine’s call for a peacekeeping force to be deployed across the whole of eastern Ukraine in order to bring the territory of the two People’s Republics once more under Kiev’s control.

The Russians have repeatedly and publicly ruled out this proposal – Lavrov has just said in response to Gabriel’s comments that the proposal is intended to ‘strangle’ the two People’s Republics and is therefore unacceptable to Russia – but Gabriel appears to have deluded himself that it was a route to ending the conflict so as to get Germany off its own self-inflicted sanctions hook.

In reality, by endorsing a Ukrainian proposal the Russians have repeatedly and publicly rejected Gabriel has only managed to increase Russian suspicions of German intentions whilst giving further encouragement to the Maidan hardliners in Kiev.

However Gabriel’s folly has been far capped by that of the US administration with its recent reckless decision to supply Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine.

In a recent article published by The Duran on 26th December 2017 I discussed the extraordinary folly of this decision and the high probability that it will spur on the Maidan hardliners to launch more attacks on the two People’s Republics in eastern Ukraine in the coming months.

In that article I also said that the Javelin anti tank missiles do not provide the ‘magic bullet’ that will give the Ukrainians the superiority over the armed forces of the two People’s Republics that the Ukrainians and many others appear to imagine.

Since that article I have read various discussions of the Javelin anti tank missile on the internet which suggest that it is not only difficult to use but very vulnerable to counter measures of a sort that the armed forces of the two People’s Republics – by now well trained and advised by the Russians – would have no difficulty implementing in response to it.

One discussion of the Javelin anti tank missile I have read by a seemingly well-informed military technology commentator from New Zealand even says that these very simple counter measures would not only nullify the Javelin anti tank missile’s supposed advantages but would render it less effective than the Russian Metis-B missile, which supposedly costs fifty times less.

Even if these criticisms exaggerate the Javelin anti tank missile’s weaknesses, the underlying point I made in my article still stands: supplying Javelin anti tank missiles to Ukraine in whatever quantity cannot change the overall military balance on a battlefield in eastern Ukraine where former US President Obama admitted the Russians will always have “escalatory dominance” over the US.  It will however encourage the Maidan hardliners in Kiev to think that if Ukraine attacks the two People’s Republics it will have US support.

Overall it is difficult to look upon the emerging situation in Ukraine this year with anything other than a profound sense of foreboding.

The risk of further war in Ukraine has always been high.  Indeed a crisis atmosphere and lawlessness and armed conflict have been Ukraine’s continuous reality ever since the Maidan protests turned violent in December 2013.

With the political and economic situation in Ukraine steadily deteriorating, and with the Western powers once again doing everything possible however thoughtlessly to aggravate the situation, the country seems to be slipping back towards war.

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European Court of Justice rules Britain free to revoke Brexit unilaterally

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that Britain can reverse Article 50.

RT

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The UK is free to unilaterally revoke a notification to depart from the EU, the European Court has ruled. The judicial body said this could be done without changing the terms of London’s membership in the bloc.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) opined in a document issued on Monday that Britain can reverse Article 50, which stipulates the way a member state leaves the bloc. The potentially important ruling comes only one day before the House of Commons votes on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal with the EU.

“When a Member State has notified the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the European Union, as the UK has done, that Member State is free to revoke unilaterally that notification,” the court’s decision reads.

By doing so, the respective state “reflects a sovereign decision to retain its status as a Member State of the European Union.”

That said, this possibility remains in place “as long as a withdrawal agreement concluded between the EU and that Member State has not entered into force.” Another condition is: “If no such agreement has been concluded, for as long as the two-year period from the date of the notification of the intention to withdraw from the EU.”

The case was opened when a cross-party group of British politicians asked the court whether an EU member such as the UK can decide on its own to revoke the withdrawal process. It included Labour MEPs Catherine Stihler and David Martin, Scottish MPs Joanna Cherry Alyn Smith, along with Green MSPs Andy Wightman and Ross Greer.

They argued that unilateral revocation is possible and believe it could provide an opening to an alternative to Brexit, namely holding another popular vote to allow the UK to remain in the EU.

“If the UK chooses to change their minds on Brexit, then revoking Article 50 is an option and the European side should make every effort to welcome the UK back with open arms,” Smith, the SNP member, was quoted by Reuters.

However, May’s environment minister, Michael Gove, a staunch Brexit supporter, denounced the ECJ ruling, insisting the cabinet will not reverse its decision to leave. “We will leave on March 29, [2019]” he said, referring to the date set out in the UK-EU Brexit deal.

In the wake of the landmark vote on the Brexit deal, a group of senior ministers threatened to step down en masse if May does not try to negotiate a better deal in Brussels, according to the Telegraph. The ministers demanded that an alternative deal does not leave the UK trapped within the EU customs union indefinitely.

On Sunday, Will Quince resigned as parliamentary private secretary in the Ministry of Defense, saying in a Telegraph editorial that “I do not want to be explaining to my constituents why Brexit is still not over and we are still obeying EU rules in the early 2020s or beyond.”

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Seven Days of Failures for the American Empire

The American-led world system is experiencing setbacks at every turn.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


On November 25, two artillery boats of the Gyurza-M class, the Berdiansk and Nikopol, one tugboat, the Yany Kapu, as well as 24 crew members of the Ukrainian Navy, including two SBU counterintelligence officers, were detained by Russian border forces. In the incident, the Russian Federation employed Sobol-class patrol boats Izumrud and Don, as  well as two Ka-52, two Su-25 and one Su-30 aircraft.

Ukraine’s provocation follows the advice of several American think-tanks like the Atlantic Council, which have been calling for NATO involvement in the Sea of Azov for months. The area is strategically important for Moscow, which views its southern borders, above all the Sea of Azov, as a potential flash point for conflict due to the Kiev’s NATO-backed provocations.

To deter such adventurism, Moscow has deployed to the Kerch Strait and the surrounding coastal area S-400 batteries, modernized S-300s, anti-ship Bal missile systems, as well as numerous electronic-warfare systems, not to mention the Russian assets and personnel arrayed in the military districts abutting Ukraine. Such provocations, egged on by NATO and American policy makers, are meant to provide a pretext for further sanctions against Moscow and further sabotage Russia’s relations with European countries like Germany, France and Italy, as well as, quite naturally, to frustrate any personal interaction between Trump and Putin.

This last objective seems to have been achieved, with the planned meeting between Trump and Putin at the G20 in Buenos Aires being cancelled. As to the the other objectives, they seem to have failed miserably, with Berlin, Paris and Rome showing no intention of imposing additional sanctions against Russia, recognizing the Ukrainian provocation fow what it is. The intention to further isolate Moscow by the neocons, neoliberals and most of the Anglo-Saxon establishment seems to have failed, demonstrated in Buenos Aires with the meeting between the BRICS countries on the sidelines and the bilateral meetings between Putin and Merkel.

On November 30, following almost two-and-a-half months of silence, the Israeli air force bombed Syria with three waves of cruise missiles. The first and second waves were repulsed over southern Syria, and the third, composed of surface-to-surface missiles, were also downed. At the same time, a loud explosion was heard in al-Kiswah, resulting in the blackout of Israeli positions in the area.

The Israeli attack was fully repulsed, with possibly two IDF drones being downed as well. This effectiveness of Syria’s air defenses corresponds with Russia’s integration of Syria’s air defenses with its own systems, manifestly improving the Syrians’ kill ratios even without employing the new S-300 systems delivered to Damascus, let alone Russia’s own S-400s. The Pantsirs and S-200s are enough for the moment, confirming my hypothesis more than two months ago that the modernized S-300 in the hands of the Syrian army is a potentially lethal weapon even for the F-35, forbidding the Israelis from employing their F-35s.

With the failed Israeli attack testifying to effectiveness of Russian air-defense measures recently deployed to the country, even the United States is finding it difficult to operate in the country. As the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War confirms:

“Russia has finished an advanced anti-access/area denial (A2AD) network in Syria that combines its own air defense and electronic warfare systems with modernized equipment. Russia can use these capabilities to mount the long-term strategic challenge of the US and NATO in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East, significantly widen the geographic reach of Russia’s air defense network. Russia stands to gain a long-term strategic advantage over NATO through its new capabilities in Syria. The US and NATO must now account for the risk of a dangerous escalation in the Middle East amidst any confrontation with Russia in Eastern Europe.”

The final blow in a decidedly negative week for Washington’s ambitions came in Buenos Aires during the G20, where Xi Jinping was clearly the most awaited guest, bringing in his wake investments and opportunities for cooperation and mutual benefit, as opposed to Washington’s sanctions and tariffs for its own benefit to the detriment of others. The key event of the summit was the dinner between Xi Jinping and Donald Trump that signalled Washington’s defeat in the trade war with Beijing. Donald Trump fired the first shot of the economic war, only to succumb just 12 months later with GM closing five plants and leaving 14,000 unemployed at home as Trump tweeted about his economic achievements.

Trump was forced to suspend any new tariffs for a period of ninety days, with his Chinese counterpart intent on demonstrating how an economic war between the two greatest commercial powers had always been a pointless propagandistic exercise. Trump’s backtracking highlights Washington’s vulnerability to de-dollarization, the Achilles’ heel of US hegemony.

The American-led world system is experiencing setbacks at every turn. The struggle between the Western elites seems to be reaching a boil, with Frau Merkel ever more isolated and seeing her 14-year political dominance as chancellor petering out. Macron seems to be vying for the honor of being the most unpopular French leader in history, provoking violent protests that have lasted now for weeks, involving every sector of the population. Macron will probably be able to survive this political storm, but his political future looks dire.

The neocons/neoliberals have played one of the last cards available to them using the Ukrainian provocation, with Kiev only useful as the West’s cannon fodder against Russia. In Syria, with the conflict coming to a close and Turkey only able to look on even as it maintains a strong foothold in Idlib, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States are similarly unable to affect the course of the conflict. The latest Israeli aggression proved to be a humiliation for Tel Aviv and may have signalled a clear, possibly definitive warning from Moscow, Tehran and Damascus to all the forces in the region. The message seems to be that there is no longer any possibility of changing the course of the conflict in Syria, and every provocation from here on will be decisively slapped down. Idlib is going to be liberated and America’s illegal presence in the north of Syria will have to be dealt with at the right time.

Ukraine’s provocation has only strengthened Russia’s military footprint in Crimea and reinforced Russia’s sovereign control over the region. Israel’s recent failure in Syria only highlights how the various interventions of the US, the UK, France and Turkey over the years have only obliged the imposition of an almost unparalleled A2AD space that severely limits the range of options available to Damascus’s opponents.

The G20 also served to confirm Washington’s economic diminution commensurate with its military one in the face of an encroaching multipolar environment. The constant attempts to delegitimize the Trump administration by America’s elites, also declared an enemy by the European establishment, creates a picture of confusion in the West that benefits capitals like New Delhi, Moscow, Beijing and Tehran who offer instead stability, cooperation and dialogue.

As stated in previous articles, the confusion reigning amongst the Western elites only accelerates the transition to a multipolar world, progressively eroding the military and economic power of the US.

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Is Silicon Valley Morphing Into The Morality Police?

Who gets to define what words and phrases protected under the First Amendment constitute hate — a catchall word that is often ascribed to any offensive speech someone simply doesn’t like?

The Duran

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Authored by Adrian Cohen via Creators.com:


Silicon Valley used to be technology companies. But it has become the “morality police,” controlling free speech on its platforms.

What could go wrong?

In a speech Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said:

“Hate tries to make its headquarters in the digital world. At Apple, we believe that technology needs to have a clear point of view on this challenge. There is no time to get tied up in knots. That’s why we only have one message for those who seek to push hate, division and violence: You have no place on our platforms.”

Here’s the goliath problem:

Who gets to define what words and phrases protected under the First Amendment constitute hate — a catchall word that is often ascribed to any offensive speech someone simply doesn’t like?

Will Christians who don’t support abortion rights or having their tax dollars go toward Planned Parenthood be considered purveyors of hate for denying women the right to choose? Will millions of Americans who support legal immigration, as opposed to illegal immigration, be labeled xenophobes or racists and be banned from the digital world?

Yes and yes. How do we know? It’s already happening, as scores of conservatives nationwide are being shadow banned and/or censored on social media, YouTube, Google and beyond.

Their crime?

Running afoul of leftist Silicon Valley executives who demand conformity of thought and simply won’t tolerate any viewpoint that strays from their rigid political orthodoxy.

For context, consider that in oppressive Islamist regimes throughout the Middle East, the “morality police” take it upon themselves to judge women’s appearance, and if a woman doesn’t conform with their mandatory and highly restrictive dress code — e.g., wearing an identity-cloaking burqa — she could be publicly shamed, arrested or even stoned in the town square.

In modern-day America, powerful technology companies are actively taking the role of the de facto morality police — not when it comes to dress but when it comes to speech — affecting millions. Yes, to date, those affected are not getting stoned, but they are being blocked in the digital town square, where billions around the globe do their business, cultivate their livelihoods, connect with others and get news.

That is a powerful cudgel to levy against individuals and groups of people. Wouldn’t you say?

Right now, unelected tech billionaires living in a bubble in Palo Alto — when they’re not flying private to cushy climate summits in Davos — are deciding who gets to enjoy the freedom of speech enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and who does not based on whether they agree with people’s political views and opinions or not.

You see how dangerous this can get — real fast — as partisan liberal elites running Twitter, Facebook, Google (including YouTube), Apple and the like are now dictating to Americans what they can and cannot say online.

In communist regimes, these types of folks are known as central planners.

The election of Donald Trump was supposed to safeguard our freedoms, especially regarding speech — a foundational pillar of a democracy. It’s disappointing that hasn’t happened, as the censorship of conservative thought online has gotten so extreme and out of control many are simply logging off for good.

A failure to address this mammoth issue could cost Trump in 2020. If his supporters are blocked online — where most voters get their news — he’ll be a one-term president.

It’s time for Congress to act before the morality police use political correctness as a Trojan horse to decide our next election.

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