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North Korea warns Donald Trump: don’t provoke us ahead of the Kim-Trump summit

North Korea accuses Donald Trump of ‘ruining the atmosphere’ by making false claims ahead of the talks

Alexander Mercouris

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A year ago the situation in the Korean Peninsula appeared to be sliding rapidly towards war, with North Korea pressing ahead with its ballistic missile and nuclear tests, with Donald Trump, the US’s newly elected and highly inexperienced President tweeting threats of military action, with General H.R. McMaster, Donald Trump’s hawkish National Security Adviser lobbying for military action, and US fleets moving backwards and forwards towards the Korean Peninsula alongside wild talk that they might be about to be used in action.

A year later the mood is transformed.

Kim Jong-un – North Korea’s much demonised Great Leader – has now held successful summit meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and is negotiating the terms of a summit meeting with US President Donald Trump.

Meanwhile North and South Korea have fielded a joint Olympic team at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, North Korea has announced a freeze of its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programme, and the leaders of the two Koreas – Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in – have publicly committed themselves to negotiating a peace treaty between their two countries and to the total denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

What changed?

Firstly, it is clear that the major moves since the start of the year have come from Kim Jong-un.   It was he who proposed that North Korean athletes participate in the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, who sent his sister to attend the Games, who received a high powered South Korean delegation in Pyongyang, and who has now had highly successful summit meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing and with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Panmunjom

President Trump and his officials obviously claim it was the mounting sanctions pressure on North Korea.

The North Koreans strongly reject this and say that by repeatedly making this claim President Trump and his officials are ‘poisoning’ the mood in advance of the Kim-Trump summit.  A recent North Korean statement makes the point in trenchant terms

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea gave the following answer to a question put by KCNA on Sunday as regards the U.S. increased pressure against the DPRK:

Recently, the U.S. is misleading the public opinion, arguing as if the DPRK’s clarification of its intention for denuclearization of the Korean peninsula made through the Panmunjom Declaration adopted at the historic north-south summit is the result of so-called sanctions and pressure.

At the same time, it is making open remarks that it would not ease the sanctions and pressure until the DPRK gives up its nuclear weapons completely and also moving to aggravate the situation on the Korean peninsula by deploying strategic assets on the peninsula and increasing its attempt of taking up “human rights” issue against the DPRK.

The U.S. is deliberately provoking the DPRK at the time when the situation on the Korean peninsula is moving toward peace and reconciliation thanks to the historic north-south summit and the Panmunjom Declaration. This act cannot be construed otherwise than a dangerous attempt to ruin the hardly-won atmosphere of dialogue and bring the situation back to square one.

It would not be conducive to addressing the issue if the U.S. miscalculates the peace-loving intention of the DPRK as a sign of “weakness” and continues to pursue its pressure and military threats against the latter.

The reality is that though the sanctions have undoubtedly hurt the North Korean economy, China and Russia have consistently refused to cut off crude oil deliveries to North Korea, limiting the amount of pain the sanctions are causing.

All the reports of Kim Jong-un’s discussions with the South Korean dignitaries, with Chinese President Xi Jinping and with South Korean President Moon Jae-in  speak of him being in a confident and even buoyant mood, a fact which speaks against him having been forced into negotiations he didn’t want.

All the indications in fact are that Kim Jong-un on the contrary feels that North Korea’s successful development of intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons have put him in a position of strength.  That is why he has now acted to start negotiations with China, South Korea and the US, as he seeks to cash in the advantage North Korea’s ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons have given him.

In fact this has almost certainly been the North Korean game plan right from the start, with the North Koreans having decided a decade ago that they would not be able to force the US to the negotiating table until and unless they were seen to possess intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.

As to what facts has spurred the blizzard of initiatives which have poured out of Pyongyang over the last few months, they are in fact almost certainly traceable to two events which took place last year.

The first was China’s confirmation in August 2017 that it would defend North Korea in the event that the US were to launch a military attack on North Korea intended to overthrow the government there.

I discussed this Chinese commitment to defend North Korea in an article for The Duran dated 11th August 2017.  In it I said the following

Yesterday in an article for The Duran I said that China’s patience with the US was almost exhausted and the Global Times editorial straightforwardly says this, putting the US on the same level of childishness as North Korea and saying that China has given up hope of persuading these two countries to start behaving like grown-ups.  It says that in light of this “reckless” behaviour by both sides – with the greater onus to behave responsibly being however first and foremost on the US since it is by far the stronger party – China is obliged to make clear to both sides what its red lines are

Beijing is not able to persuade Washington or Pyongyang to back down at this time. It needs to make clear its stance to all sides and make them understand thatwhen their actions jeopardize China’s interests, China will respond with a firm hand.

(bold italics added)

Then comes the clear statement of what the red lines are, and what in the event of armed conflict China will do

China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten US soil first and the US retaliates, China will stay neutral.If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.

(bold italics added)

In other words if North Korea is so stupid as to launch an unprovoked attack on the US – which in this context probably covers the wild and reckless North Korean threat to launch a missile demonstration against Guam – it is on its own.  However if the US attacks North Korea – either as part of some ‘pre-emptive’ strategy or in order to achieve regime change there, China will come to North Korea’s defence.

The Global Times editorial – wisely – does not spell out what China would in that case do.  However since the discussion is one of war the necessary implication must be that in the event of a US attack on North Korea China will respond militarily.

Probably that response will be graduated and will depend on how severe the US attack on North Korea might be.  However since the editorial says that the survival of the North Korea is a matter of Chinese national interest, the necessary implication must be that in the event of a straightforward US-South Korean invasion of North Korea to achieve regime change there the Chinese response would be direct intervention by the Chinese armed forces to prevent that happening.

China and North Korea have a defence treaty which they agreed with each other in 1961 and which is still active.  Article 2 of the treaty reads as follows

The Contracting Parties undertake jointly to adopt all measures to prevent aggression against either of the Contracting Parties by any state. In the event of one of the Contracting Parties being subjected to the armed attack by any state or several states jointly and thus being involved in a state of war, the other Contracting Party shall immediately render military and other assistance by all means at its disposal.

The Global Times editorial of August 2017 which I discussed in my 11th August 2017 article reaffirmed that China would fulfil its commitment to North Korea under article 2 of the 1961 treaty, something which because of the increasing strain in Chinese-North Korean relations many had started to doubt.

That gave Kim Jong-un and his advisers the vital guarantee of China’s continued commitment to North Korea’s continued independence which they needed in order to press ahead with their opening to the US and to South Korea.

The second event was the coming to power in South Korea of Moon Jae-in, who won South Korea’s Presidential election of 9th May 2017 following the impeachment and removal from office of South Korea’s hardline and (as it turned out) corrupt previous President, Park Geun-hye, the daughter of South Korea’s former dictator Park Chung-hee.

That provided Kim Jong-un with a South Korean leader known to favour dialogue with North Korea whom he could negotiate with as a partner.

The result is North Korea’s proposal for an end to the state of war which has existed in the Korean Peninsula since the 1940s, its proposal for a process of reconciliation and peaceful reintegration of the two Koreas, and lastly its proposal for the total denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, which the North Koreans are quite clear must include the removal of US nuclear forces from the Korean Peninsula as well as their own.

There is also no doubt that the long term plan of the North Koreans (and of the Chinese and the Russians) is to see US military forces removed from South Korea in their entirety.

Donald Trump has publicly ruled that out, as has the South Korean government.  That some people within the South Korean government are however willing to at least consider that possibility has however been confirmed by an article by South Korean Presidential adviser Moon Chung-in which reportedly said that the continued presence of US troops in South Korea would be “difficult to justify” if the two Koreas agreed a peace treaty between them.

As I have previously discussed, diplomatic moves to break the impasse in the Korean conflict first became visible in September and October when a senior North Korean diplomat, Choe Son Hui, engaged in high level contacts in the Foreign Ministry in Moscow.   Anyone who observed those moves closely – and subsequent diplomatic moves involving South Korea and China – would not have been surprised by the sudden breakthrough at the start of the year.

The key to the end of the Korean conflict is not as many insist in sorting out the differences between North Korea and the US.  Rather it is in achieving a reconciliation between the two Koreas.  It is that process which is now underway, and which took a further major step forward in the Kim-Moon summit in Panmunjom.

Neither North Korea nor South Korea have any wish or desire to exclude the US from the discussions, and nor do the other Great Powers which are involved in the conflict: China and Russia.

On the contrary the intention is to replace the present state of war on the Korean Peninsula with a peace treaty of which the US and China would be co-guarantors, with the US and China participating with the two Koreas in what would in effect be a supplemental security treaty.

However, as I have said in the past, if the US digs in its heels and makes demands which appear to obstruct the course of peace in the Korean Peninsula, then North and South Korea and China are perfectly capable of moving ahead with the peace process by themselves without the formal participation of the US.

Not only does the danger of war in the Korean Peninsula create an incentive for such a thing to happen, but the benefits of peace for the two Koreas are so obvious and so strong that if the US tries to impede the process they are highly likely to continue without it.

Suffice to say that directly after his meeting with Kim Jong-un South Korean President Moon Jae-in telephoned Russian President Putin not only to brief him about the talks but in order to obtain Putin’s assurance that the long proposed rail and pipeline projects linking the Korean Peninsula with the rest of Eurasia will immediately proceed as soon as a peace treaty between the two Koreas is in place.

That assurance Putin was fully able – even anxious – to give, as the detailed report of the conversation between him and Moon Jae-in provided by the Kremlin website confirms

The President of the Republic of Korea provided a detailed account of his meeting with the DPRK leader Kim Jong-Un in Panmunjom and its outcomes.

During the conversation, the two sides gave a positive assessment to the agreements that were reached at the meeting, with special focus on the provision in the Panmunjom Declaration stating the intention to achieve the full denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula. The two presidents expressed confidence that coordinated steps to promote cooperation between the two Koreas would help the region move toward peace and stability.

Vladimir Putin reaffirmed Russia’s readiness to continue facilitating practical cooperation between the Republic of Korea and the DPRK, including through major trilateral projects in infrastructure and energy.

Vladimir Putin stressed the importance for all the parties concerned to keep up their efforts to achieve a political and diplomatic settlement, including by following the principles set forth in the Russia-China roadmap for a settlement on the Korean Peninsula.

The two presidents also discussed topical bilateral matters focusing on ways of expanding mutually beneficial cooperation in various areas. They also agreed on a schedule of future top-level contacts.

(bold italics added)

The North Korean statement accusing Donald Trump and his officials of ‘poisoning the atmosphere’ in advance of the Kim-Trump summit should be seen for it is: a warning to Donald Trump that his position in advance of the talks is not as strong as he appears to think it is and that he should not overplay his hand.

Conciliatory noises from South Korea – such as the frankly bizarre suggestion that Donald Trump should be given the Nobel Peace Prize – do not erase this warning.

Donald Trump will be given all the plaudits he wants – and more arguably than he deserves – if supports the peace process which is now underway.

He risks being isolated and the US marginalised if instead he obstructs it.

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New Zealand enacts new weapons ban just six days after massacre

The American left is sure to pick this up and start screaming for an “assault weapons ban” because this supports their agenda so well.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Reuters reported on Thursday, March 21 that the Prime Minister of New Zealand enacted a sweeping change, banning weapons of the type that were used in the massacre of at least fifty Muslims, who were gunned down on livestream while in Friday prayer services in Christchurch last week. We quote from the Reuters piece below, with added emphasis:

New Zealand will ban military-style semi-automatic and assault rifles under tough new gun laws following the killing of 50 people in its worst mass shooting, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday.

In the immediate aftermath of last Friday’s shootings at two mosques in the city of Christchurch, Ardern labeled the attack as terrorism and said New Zealand’s gun laws would change.

“On 15 March our history changed forever. Now, our laws will too. We are announcing action today on behalf of all New Zealanders to strengthen our gun laws and make our country a safer place,” Ardern told a news conference.

“All semi-automatic weapons used during the terrorist attack on Friday 15 March will be banned.”

Ardern said she expected the new laws to be in place by April 11 and a buy-back scheme costing up to NZ$200 million ($138 million) would be established for banned weapons.

All military style semi-automatics (MSSA) and assault rifles would be banned, along with parts used to convert weapons into MSSAs and all high-capacity magazines.

Australia banned semi-automatic weapons and launched a gun buy-back after the Port Arthur massacre in 1996 in which 35 people were killed.

Ardern said that similar to Australia, the law would allow for strictly enforced exemptions for farmers for pest control and animal welfare.

“I strongly believe that the vast majority of legitimate gun owners in New Zealand will understand that these moves are in the national interest, and will take these changes in their stride.”

This is undoubtedly going to be real red meat (or perhaps real vegetables) for the anti-gun lobby in the United States. This is because New Zealand strongly resembled the US in terms of firearm rights and the penetration of numbers of guns in the populace of this remote island nation. Reuters continues, with statements that would probably surprise, even horrify some gun owners in the States, but which are doubtlessly useful for the application of pressure on such individuals:

New Zealand, a country of fewer than 5 million people, has an estimated 1.2-1.5 million firearms, about 13,500 of them MSSA-type weapons.

Most farmers own guns while hunting of deer, pigs and goats is popular. Gun clubs and shooting ranges dot the country.

That has created a powerful lobby that has thwarted previous attempts to tighten gun laws.

Federated Farmers, which represent thousands of farmers, said it supported the new laws.

“This will not be popular among some of our members but … we believe this is the only practicable solution,” a group spokesman, Miles Anderson, said in a statement.

The main opposition National Party, which draws strong support in rural areas, said it also supported the ban.

The changes exclude two general classes of firearms commonly used for hunting, pest control and stock management on farms.

“I have a military style weapon. But to be fair, I don’t really use it, I don’t really need it,” said Noel Womersley, who slaughters cpoliticalattle for small farmers around Christchurch.

“So I’m quite happy to hand mine over.”

To be absolutely fair, the attack on the mosques was an awful event, made the worse by the shooter’s deliberate attempts to politicize various aspects of what he was doing and what he “stood for” as an attack ostensibly against US President Donald Trump, some seven thousand miles away in the United States.

The immediate reaction of the people interviewed, some among them related or friends with the victims of the massacre, was to embrace the weapons reform laws:

Nada Tawfeek, who buried her father-in-law killed in the attacks, Hussein Moustafa, on Thursday, welcomed the ban.

“It’s a great reaction. I think other countries need to learn from her [Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern],” Tawfeek said.

Mohammed Faqih, a member of the Islamic clergy who flew in from California and attended the funerals for some victims on Thursday, said he was “extremely grateful” for the gun ban.

“I wish our leaders in the States would follow on her footsteps and do the same thing,” he said.

One can expect there to be quite the outcry among American liberals about gun control, especially if anything remotely resembling this event takes place or is thwarted in coming days in the US.

It may seem very cold and cruel to focus on the political angle of this story rather than the human tragedy that it is. However, in this situation we have seen signs that the most vile form of human tragedy has actually taken place – the murder of dozens of innocent people for a mere political point. Indeed this thought has been noted and vilified already, as Mr. R.X. Dentith, writing for the New Zealand website Spinoff here quoted:

American paleo-conservative Rush Limbaugh was one of the first to note: “There’s an ongoing theory that the shooter himself may, in fact, be a leftist who writes the manifesto and then goes out and performs the deed purposely to smear his political enemies, knowing he’s going to get shot in the process. You know you just can’t – you can’t immediately discount this. The left is this insane, they are this crazy. And then if that’s exactly what the guy is trying to do then he’s hit a home run, because right there on Fox News: ‘Shooter is an admitted white nationalist who hates immigrants.’”

…[P]eople like Limbaugh… can’t stomach the idea the terrorist action in Otautahi might be motivated by the kind of rhetoric Limbaugh helps disseminate – tend to think there is a culture war going on, and they are on the losing side.

This war has many names, and the enemy is easily identified: it is the battle against Cultural Marxism; the fight against Toxic Feminism; the resistance to Identity Politics; and the fear of the Great Replacement, the thesis at the heart of the terrorist’s own manifesto.

The Great Replacement thesis posits that the majority white European countries are being “invaded” by non-white, non-European peoples. Not just that, but due to declining birth rates in the West, this “invasion” constitutes a wholesale replacement of the white population over time.

Mr. Dentith tries further to knock down this notion of the Great Replacement. However, he misses a much more basic point.

Someone who goes and takes human lives and broadcasts them for any reason is not a mere political operative. The person who does this is a very sick, deranged human being indeed. Evil is certainly appropriately used here.

However, evil is often quite cunning, and despite the intellectual arguments about the reality or non-reality of any particular manifesto statement, in this case, the killer played the media with infernal intelligence, and they took the bait. It is possible that Prime Minister Ardern also took the bait, in this most awful of bad situations, and to give her credit, she took swift actions to try to “correct” what was wrong.

But the problem here was not the type of weapons used. The problem is the fact that they were used by a person who thought these fifty people’s lives were worth nothing more than a bit of policy change. One of the worst examples of human evil in recent times, this incident shouts to the world that there is a problem, but the problem remains unsolved, even though many people will hand over their firearms out of a genuine wish for compassion to those lost and the hope that somehow this action will prevent a future incident.

But the logic of this emotional reaction is nil. And what is worse is that the American Left knows this, but does not care. The movers and shakers of liberalism will likely milk the actions of sincerely horrified New Zealanders for all they are worth to try at affecting change in American constitutional rights.

And the innocent dead will not rest in peace, because the real problem has not even been examined.

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Upstart Populist Party Shocks In Dutch Election Upset, 2 Days After Utrecht Attack

International reports have described the FvD as receiving “a surge of last-minute support” in the days following the Utrecht attack.

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Via Zerohedge…


Dutch voters have sent shock waves through Europe at the polls on Wednesday in the wake of Monday’s deadly Utrecht terror shooting, in which a now detained 37-year old Turkish man went on a terrifying tram killing spree which left three dead and three injured.

Euroskeptic party, Forum for Democracy (FvD), has emerged victorious in key provincial elections this week, paving the way to making it one of the two largest groups in the Dutch Senate, and representing growing Dutch frustration with the recent unprecedented refugee influx in Europe.

Newcomer Forum for Democracy party is led by 36-year-old Thierry Baudet, who is a critic of the EU and of the Netherlands’ immigration policies, via EPA

International reports have described the FvD as receiving “a surge of last-minute support” in the days following the Utrecht attack, which investigators have since described as having a “terror motive” based on a letter found in shooter Gokmen Tanis’ possession.

Forum for Democracy party leader Thierry Baudet had immediately placed ultimate blame  for the incident on the government’s “lax immigration policies” and provocatively stated a day before the elections (referencing his political rival)

If people want more deadly shootings like the one in Utrecht, then they have to vote for the VVD.

Baudet, riding a wave of renewed Euroskeptic sentiment, and whose party also wants to see more military spending, green initiatives, and an easing on income tax while greatly restricting the borders, said in the aftermath of Wednesday’s vote: “The voters in the Netherlands have spread their wings and shown their true power.”

Referencing the Utrecht attack and other deadly terror incidents on European soil, he added: “We have been called to the front because we have to. Because the country needs us.”

Three were killed and several injured in Monday’s Dutch tram terror attack, which raised the country’s emergency threat level to five as it was unfolding, its highest level.

Interestingly, the 36-year old Baudet and his party continued campaigning down to the last moments even as others stopped in the wake of Monday’s attack which rocked the Netherlands. According to Al Jazeera:

Following the lead of US President Donald Trump, Baudet opposes immigration and emphasises “Dutch first” cultural and economic themes. He opposes the euro and thinks the Netherlands should leave the European Union.

Baudet had continued campaigning when other parties stopped after Monday’s attack in Utrecht, in which a gunman shot three people dead on a tram. The populist leader blamed the incident on the government’s lax immigration policies.

The FvD is now set to take 12 seats in the upper house of parliament, which is equal to Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s conservative VVD Party, a scenario before this week considered unlikely according to many observers.

The FvD slightly outscoring the VVD means Rutte’s government has lost its majority for the 75-seat Senate ahead of upcoming May elections.

In a post-election speech on Wednesday, Baudet described further that what’s now being described in international media as “an upstart populist party [that has] shocked the Dutch political establishment” as punishing the arrogance of elites.

In his pro-Western civilization themed remarks, Baudet added, “We are standing in the rubble of what was once the most beautiful civilization in the world.”

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Will The Trump White House finally punish Facebook for censorship?

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 113.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at US President Trump’s tweet where he has said that he would be “looking into” a report that his social media chief, Dan Scavino Jr. has been censored by Facebook.

Are we finally about to see the Trump White House move to punish social media outlets for their blatant and bias censorship of alternative narratives that dare to stray from globalist neo-liberal and radical left ideology?

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“Conservatives face a tough fight as Big Tech’s censorship expands”, authored by Donald Trump Jr., via The Hill…

As Big Tech’s censorship of conservatives becomes ever more flagrant and overt, the old arguments about protecting the sanctity of the modern public square are now invalid. Our right to freely engage in public discourse through speech is under sustained attack, necessitating a vigorous defense against the major social media and internet platforms.

From “shadowbans” on Facebook and Twitter, to demonetization of YouTube videos, to pulled ads for Republican candidates at the critical junctures of election campaigns, the list of violations against the online practices and speech of conservatives is long.

I certainly had my suspicions confirmed when Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, “accidentally” censored a post I made regarding the Jussie Smollett hoax, which consequently led to me hearing from hundreds of my followers about how they’ve been having problems seeing, liking or being able to interact with my posts. Many of them even claimed that they’ve had to repeatedly refollow me, as Instagram keeps unfollowing me on their accounts.

While nothing about Big Tech’s censorship of conservatives truly surprises me anymore, it’s still chilling to see the proof for yourself. If it can happen to me, the son of the president, with millions of followers on social media, just think about how bad it must be for conservatives with smaller followings and those who don’t have the soapbox or media reach to push back when they’re being targeted?

Thanks to a brave Facebook whistleblower who approached James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas, we now know that Mark Zuckerberg’s social media giant developed algorithms to “deboost” certain content, limiting its distribution and appearance in news feeds. As you probably guessed, this stealth censorship was specifically aimed at conservatives.

Facebook appears to have deliberately tailored its algorithm to recognize the syntax and style popular among conservatives in order to “deboost” that content. “Mainstream media,” “SJW” (Social Justice Warrior) and “red pill” — all terms that conservatives often use to express themselves — were listed as red flags, according to the former Facebook insider.

Facebook engineers even cited BlazeTV host Lauren Chen’s video criticizing the social justice movement as an example of the kind of “red pills” that users just aren’t allowed to drop anymore. Mainstream conservative content was strangled in real time, yet fringe leftists such as the Young Turks enjoy free rein on the social media platform.

Despite the occasional brave gesture, politicians have been far too sluggish in recognizing the extent of the problem. But the Republican Party and the conservative movement are becoming more vigilant against the suppression of our speech, as we saw at last weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

Silicon Valley lobbyists have splashed millions of dollars all over the Washington swamp to play on conservatives’ innate faith in the free-market system and respect for private property. Even as Big Tech companies work to exclude us from the town square of the 21st century, they’ve been able to rely on misguided conservatives to carry water for them with irrelevant pedantry about whether the First Amendment applies in cases of social media censorship.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has been making a name for himself as a Republican prepared to stand up to Big Tech malfeasance since his time as Missouri’s attorney general. He delivered a tour de force interview with The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel in front of the CPAC crowd, one that provided a clear-eyed assessment of the ongoing affront to the freedoms of conservative speech and expression.

Hawley demolished the absurd notion that “conservative principles” preclude taking action to ensure free debate online simply because Big Tech firms — the most powerful corporations in the world — are private companies.

Hawley pointed out that Big Tech companies already enjoy “sweetheart deals” under current regulations that make their malfeasance a matter of public concern. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, for instance, allows them to avoid liability for the content that users post to their platforms. To address this problem, Hawley proposed adding a viewpoint neutrality requirement for platforms that benefit from Section 230’s protections, which were originally enacted to protect the internet as “a forum for a true diversity of political discourse.”

“Google and Facebook should not be a law unto themselves,” Hawley declared. “They should not be able to discriminate against conservatives. They should not be able to tell us we need to sit down and shut up!”

It’s high time other conservative politicians started heeding Hawley’s warnings, because the logical endpoint of Big Tech’s free rein is far more troubling than conservative meme warriors losing their Twitter accounts. As we’re already starting to see, what starts with social media censorship can quickly lead to banishment from such fundamental services as transportation, online payments and banking.

Left unchecked, Big Tech and liberal activists could construct a private “social credit” system — not unlike what the communists have nightmarishly implemented in China — that excludes outspoken conservatives from wide swaths of American life simply because their political views differ from those of tech executives.

There is no conservative principle that even remotely suggests we are obligated to adopt a laissez-faire attitude while the richest companies on earth abuse the power we give them to put a thumb on the scale for our political enemies.

If anything, our love of the free market dictates that we must do whatever is necessary to ensure that the free marketplace of ideas remains open to all.

Donald Trump Jr. is executive vice president at The Trump Organization.

 

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