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This scandal should be investigated – and it’s not Russiagate

Special Counsel should look into the conduct of the US intelligence community and how it sought to swing the election to Hillary Clinton and away from Donald Trump

Alexander Mercouris

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In my last article on Russiagate I made known my continued doubts that the bureaucracy in Washington would ever agree to the wide-ranging investigation of the events of the US Presidential election which is now pressing.

To be clear, this investigation must go beyond Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s current narrow investigation into the allegations of collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign.

Sixteen months after those claims first began to be investigated no evidence of such collusion has been found outside of the Trump Dossier, which even its compiler Christopher Steele now admits is not completely accurate (he now says it is “70-90% accurate”).

Michael Flynn’s conversations with Russian ambassador Kislyak, Jeff Sessions’s two meetings with Russian ambassador Kislyak, Jared Kushner’s meeting with Russian ambassador Kislyak (which as it turns out was misreported), Donald Trump Junior’s meeting with the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, Carter Page’s various activities, and the indictments of Paul Manafort, Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos, do not provide evidence of illegal collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.  On the contrary they evidence that no such collusion took place.

I am in full agreement with the independent blogger Caitlin Johnstone  that if any illegal collusion had taken place evidence for it would have been found long ago.

What the evidence points to is – as Jared Kushner has admitted – a chaotic and disorganised Trump campaign, incapable of carrying out any sort of secret or illegal collusion not just with the Russians but with anyone, with unpaid and junior staffers like George Papadopoulos and Carter Page amateurishly attempting – in one case enthusiastically, in the second case calculatedly – to do foreign policy with Russia all by themselves, without receiving guidance or encouragement from the Trump campaign.

Nothing those people who were genuinely close to Trump  – eg. Manafort, Flynn, Kushner, Sessions and Donald Trump Junior – did during the campaign looks to me wrong or improper.

By contrast, whilst there is no evidence of illegal collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, and no prospect of anyone finding such evidence, there is now abundant evidence that the US intelligence community, the Justice Department and the FBI were pulling out the stops during the election to help Hillary Clinton.  Consider:

(1) The FBI took it on itself to announce that there would be no prosecution of Hillary Clinton’s misuse of her private email server whilst Secretary of State, despite this being illegal and despite her wilful destruction of thousands of her emails which passed through her server.

This happened following a conversation between Bill Clinton – Hillary Clinton’s husband – and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, which former FBI Director James Comey admits was improper.

The decision not to proceed to a prosecution was moreover announced by former FBI Director James Comey in a manner which Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and the Justice Department admit was also improper.

(2) The FBI did not undertake its own independent forensic investigation of the DNC’s and John Podesta’s computers following Hillary Clinton’s, the DNC’s and John Podesta’s complaints of Russian hacking of those computers.

Instead it accepted Hillary Clinton’s, the DNC’s and John Podesta’s assertion that the Russians had hacked the DNC’s and John Podesta’s computers, even though this assertion is based on nothing more than the opinion of a private expert – Crowdstrike – which was paid to provide its opinion by the DNC.

Having accepted Hillary Clinton’s, the DNC’s and John Podesta’s assertion that the Russians had hacked the DNC’s and John Podesta’s computers, the FBI thereafter did none of the things which a proper investigation of the hacking claims would have required..

The FBI did not for example insist on on being given access to the computers or seek a warrant to obtain possession of the computers; nor did the FBI draw any inference from the refusal of the DNC and John Podesta to allow it access to their computers; nor did the FBI interview any of the relevant witnesses, such as the staff of the DNC, Julian Assange, Craig Murray and the staff of Wikileaks.

(3) As Joe Lauria has pointed out, there is now compelling evidence that the original allegations of illegal collusion by the Trump campaign with the Russians originate with the Trump Dossier, which it has now been confirmed was paid for by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

There is now also compelling evidence that it was the ‘information’ in this Dossier which was used to obtain FISA warrants which led to the surveillance of Paul Manafort and Carter Page and possibly of others during the election campaign.

Since the Justice Department, the FBI and the US intelligence community refuse to discuss the Trump Dossier publicly, or the extent of their reliance on it, and will not say what evidence was provided to the FISA court to obtain the FISA warrants, it is not known whether the FISA court was told when the FISA warrants were applied for that the information upon which the applications were  based apparently originated in a Dossier paid for by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

(4) Though the Justice Department, the FBI and the US intelligence community have presumably known from the outset that the Trump Dossier was paid for by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign, Trump was not told this when as President elect he was first shown the Dossier by former FBI Director Comey during the meeting between Trump and the intelligence chiefs on 6th January 2017.

Though the Justice Department, the FBI and the US intelligence community have presumably known from the outset that the Trump Dossier was paid for by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign, they did not disclose this important fact either to the American people or to Congressional investigators, with this key fact only becoming known in the last few weeks as a result of the enquiries of the Congressional investigators.

Nor do the Justice Department, the FBI and the US intelligence community seem to have drawn any inferences from the fact that the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign wanted to keep their role in paying for the Trump Dossier secret.

I would add that if the Justice Department, the FBI and the US intelligence community did not in fact know that the Trump Dossier was paid for by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign, then that would prove a grossly incompetent and biased investigation.

It ought to be the first order of business when considering ‘evidence’ of the sort purportedly provided by the Trump Dossier to find out who had paid for it.  It would beg a host of questions if this was not done.

(6) The use of FISA warrants to undertake surveillance of persons involved in the Trump campaign during the election to an extent which has still not been fully disclosed was anyway inherently abusive.

FISA is not supposed to be used to carry out surveillance of US citizens.  Rather it is supposed to be used to enable surveillance of the agents of foreign powers.  That is why its full title is Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”).

In this case all the safeguards seem to have been thrown to the winds.  Though it is legally possible to undertake ‘incidental surveillance’ of US citizens caught by surveillance carried out under FISA warrants (so called “warrantless surveillance”) in this case there seems to be little doubt that Manafort and Carter Page were actually specifically targeted.

Former FBI Director Comey moreover admitted to President Trump – and it has been admitted repeatedly since – that Trump himself is not the target of the Russiagate investigation, and it is denied that he was ever a surveillance target.

Given that this is so why was it necessary to place anyone under surveillance at all?  Why did the Justice Department, the FBI and the US intelligence community not simply inform Trump during the election that there were serious concerns about the activities of some members of his campaign and invite him to take the necessary action?

Why instead of taking that obvious – and obviously appropriate – step which might have led to the individuals in question being removed from the campaign – was a campaign of secret surveillance undertaken instead?

Was it because the true intention was not to protect the integrity of the election but rather to undertake secret surveillance of the Trump campaign in the hope that this would unearth something which could be used either to prevent Donald Trump being elected or to provide grounds for his impeachment if he was elected?

(7) Just a few weeks before the election the US intelligence community published a fact-free and tortuously worded statement alleging Russian meddling in the election by implication on Donald Trump’s behalf.

Why was that done instead of the step discussed in (6) given that releasing a statement of that kind would clearly have an influence on the outcome of the election and might therefore constitute a violation of the Hatch Act (former FBI Director Comey refused to sign it for precisely that reason)?

(8) After the election members of the US intelligence community leaked to the media classified details of a secretly recorded conversation between Michael Flynn – President elect Trump’s pick for National Security Adviser – and Russian ambassador Kislyak.

As has been admitted, nothing inappropriate was actually said during this conversation.  However the leak of details of this conversation was used to force Michael Flynn to resign.

As was pointed out at the time, and as has been pointed out since, and as has never in fact been denied, the leaking of the classified details of this conversation in a way that identified Michael Flynn was a serious criminal offence under the FISA act.

That fact does not however seem to have weighed on those within the US intelligence community who leaked this information or on their superiors.  To date no-one appears to have been punished or prosecuted for it.

In any properly functioning democracy all of the above ought to be a cause of very serious concern.

It is very bad if during an election members of a campaign illegally conspire with a foreign power in order to win the election.  However – to repeat again – there is no evidence that during the 2016 election that actually took place.

It is however arguably even worse when the intelligence and security agencies of a country interfere in the conduct of an election in order to swing the outcome of the election from one candidate to another.

It becomes a matter of still greater concern if the intelligence and security agencies of that country act in concert with the party of the defeated candidate that they supported to orchestrate a media campaign vilifying the candidate they opposed because despite their efforts he won the election, and conduct a bogus investigation of phoney collusion allegations in order to put pressure on him and to discredit him and in order to conceal their own activities.

In such a situation one must question whether the country where such things are happening is any longer a democracy at all.

This however is the extremely dangerous situation in which the American Republic now finds itself.

The need for someone to look into all of this and to find out what really happened during the 2016 election would appear to be obvious.

I would add that it is by no means impossible that serious criminal offences were committed over the course of the election, which because of the diversion of time and resources into investigating the phoney Trump campaign/Russian collusion allegations are not being investigated.

These could include all or any of the following:

(1) Possible obstruction of justice arising from Hillary Clinton’s destruction of 30,000 emails which passed through her private email server;

(2) Obstruction of justice arising from the DNC’s refusal to allow the FBI access to its computers;

(3) Violations of constitutional provisions in the event that the FISA warrants were improperly used and obtained;

(4) Violations of the Hatch Act, which specifically prohibits any US government official from

[using] his official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election

(5) last but by no means least, the straightforward and indisputable crime of the leaking of classified information to force the resignation of Michael Flynn.

The above list of possible crimes is not intended to be exhaustive.  Other crimes may have been committed as well.  I am not in a position to say.  An investigator commissioned to look into this affair might however find more.

Of course if there was collusion between the Democrats and the US intelligence community which led to any one of the above crimes being committed then that would be a very serious matter indeed.  The US would then have a serious constitutional crisis on its hands.  However it is important to say that at the moment there is no evidence of this.

However enough is already known about what went on during the 2016 election to give rise to very serious concerns.  Loud alarm bells ought to be ringing.  It is alarming that they are not or if they are that people seem to be deaf to them.

The problem is that far too many important people are compromised by this affair, making it completely unsurprising that calls for the appointment of another Special Counsel to look into their activities is running into fierce resistance.

Thus in Congressional testimony Attorney General Sessions appeared to push back on suggestions that another Special Counsel should be appointed, whilst a meeting between CIA Director Mike Pompeo and William Binney, the former NSA official behind the recent VIPS report which has cast doubt on the Russian hacking claims, seems to have resulted in nothing.

Nonetheless the proposal for the appointment of another Special Counsel is now out in the open, though in my opinion some of its advocates are not helping matters by asking that the new Special Counsel be instructed to look into the Uranium One case.  Whilst there may be a scandal buried deep inside that tangled case, it has no connection to the 2016 election, which is where the focus of any expanded investigation by Special Counsel should lie.

As I have attempted to show in this article, there is actually a huge amount connected to the 2016 election for a Special Counsel to look into.  If another Special Counsel is ever appointed – and the job calls for a top constitutional law expert such as a Supreme Court Justice, not a former police investigator like Mueller – he or she will have their hands full, and should not be burdened with a sideshow like Uranium One.

I will not pretend that I have any very great hopes that such a Special Counsel will be appointed.  On the contrary the odds are heavily against it.

However anyone who genuinely cares about the future of democracy in the US ought to be demanding it.

Since there are still such people in the US, I for one am not yet willing to give up hope.  Presumably there are still people in America who remember that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

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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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