Misusing The Power Of Social Media

PJ Media posted an article yesterday about a recent statement by Mark Zuckerberg.

The article reports:

During this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained that Facebook is increasingly trying to work with governments to determine what political speech it does and does not allow. Oh sorry, I mean: what kind of political ads it is willing to approve.

In the particular example Zuckerberg cited, in 2018, American pro-life groups wanted to run advertisements for Facebook users in Ireland. This is because the Irish were about to vote in a referendum on whether abortion should be legalized.

When Facebook saw the ad requests, the company contacted the Irish government asking whether this should or should not be allowed. “Their response at the time was, ‘we don’t currently have a law, so you need to make whatever decision you want to make.'”

In other words, Facebook could do as it pleased. There was no legal reason to disallow the ads. But what did Facebook do? You guessed it:

“We ended up not allowing the ads.”

When Mark Zuckerberg made this decision, Facebook became a publication–not a platform. The decision was an editorial decision–not a legal decision. The decision was consistent with the political ideology that Facebook has supported in the past. This is the point at which Facebook becomes dangerous. Much of the younger generation gets their news through social media. If Facebook is making editorial decisions based on political ideology, they are not acting as an honest broker of news. Our younger generations are not hearing the complete story–they are hearing a politically biased version–no different from the mainstream media.

There are no laws against Facebook making editorial decisions, but its users need to be aware that they are not getting both sides of any story.

Free Speech In America?

Conservative speech is under attack in America. Facebook has banned Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos. Admittedly, those two are not necessarily mainstream conservatives, but you get my point. David Horowitz is routinely suspended or banned from Twitter for telling the truth about radical Islam.

In case you haven’t noticed, there will be an election next year. If Twitter and Facebook can effectively squelch conservative speech on their platforms, how much will that impact the election? Right now more than 50 percent of Americans believe President Trump is guilty of Russian collusion. Those of us who don’t depend on the mainstream media for our news know that this is not true. The Mueller Report found no evidence of either collusion or obstruction of justice, but the mainstream media has somehow avoided making that clear. If conservatives don’t either stand up for their rights on social media or create an equally powerful social media network, our message will not get out. It’s that simple. Those who want to change America into something our Founding Fathers would not recognize can do it by controlling social media. That effort has already begun.

When You Lose One Fight, Revisit Another One

It hasn’t been a good couple of weeks for angry Democrats and Trump-haters. The Mueller Report was just not useful in the quest to impeach President Trump, the economy is doing better than expected, unemployment is low, the stock market is high, and the workforce participation rate is slowly climbing back to pre-2008 levels. Meanwhile, President Trump’s rallies are extremely well attended. So what can an angry Democrat do now? Rewrite history and get angry at Justice Kavanaugh.

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article yesterday with the headline, “Dark Money Leftist Group Runs Facebook Ads Targeting Kavanaugh.” The man was confirmed, the allegations were never proven, there was a lack of consistency in the story told, and Justice Kavanaugh is considered innocent until proven guilty. It’s time to let it go.

The article reports:

A dark money progressive organization hoping for a leftward turn on the courts is targeting Justice Brett Kavanaugh with advertisements, suggesting the Court is illegitimate following his elevation last October.

“Brett Kavanaugh’s performance during his testimony in front of the Senate was a disgrace. His blatant partisan attacks and hostile behavior towards senators calls into question his ability to serve as a fair and impartial judge. His conduct undermines the legitimacy of his decisions and the entire Supreme Court,” the ad reads.

“We’re calling on Congress to open an investigation into Kavanaugh right now.”

Other ads by the group Demand Justice alleged there was “overwhelming evidence that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh committed perjury during his confirmation hearings before the Senate” and also urged George Mason University to “fire” Kavanaugh from teaching a summer course at the Virginia school.

The article concludes:

Carrie Severino is chief counsel and policy director of the Judicial Crisis Network, which, according to its website, advocates for the rule of law consistent with the “Constitution and the Founders’ vision of a nation of limited government.”

She says Democrats and others on the left failed at phase one and two of their campaign, to delay and then defeat Kavanaugh’s nomination, and have moved on to phase three: discredit.

“Knowing that they failed even with historic levels of dirty politics, smear campaigns to get him off the court, they’re hoping they can discredit him at every future decision that he makes,” Severino told the Washington Free Beacon.

“It’s the last refuge of scoundrels,” she added later. “If you can’t actually win on the merits of your arguments, you can’t say ‘well, he’s wrong on the law,’ and then explain your constitutional or legal reasoning, then you just go for ad hominem attacks. This is a variation of that theme.”

Requests for comment to Demand Justice were not returned.

If this continues, is anyone going to want to accept an appointment to high office or want to work for the government? The group can buy all of the ads they want, but the American people need to be smart enough to ignore those ads and make them a waste of money.

Still Playing The Game

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article yesterday that explains why many people are moving away from Google as a search engine. Other than the fact that Google tracks your searches (DuckDuckGo.com does not), Google is not an unbiased search engine. It has a political agenda despite claims to the contrary.

The news of the day Friday was that there would be no further indictments in the Mueller investigation. If you went looking for that news on Google, it would not be immediately obvious.

The article illustrates:

Using Google search on multiple browsers and on private-browsing mode, the Free Beacon found Google search had an aversion to the search term “indictment.”

Using either “Trump” or “Mueller” as the subject, the following word “indictment” was not suggested even after spelling out most of it. For example, putting “Trump indi” into Google’s search bar does not lead to “Trump indictment” but rather to “Trump India,” “Trump India Pakistan,” Trump India tariffs,” and “Trump Indiana.”

Seems like Google might have overlooked the obvious. When “Mueller ind” was entered, the results were similar. The article also includes screenshots of Yahoo and Bing when the letters “Trump ind” and “Mueller ind” were entered. The first entries that came up were “Trump indictment” and “Mueller indictments”.

The article concludes:

Google was previously accused of pushing positive stories about Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has denied this kind of bias occurs in its search results, saying so repeatedly in a congressional hearing last year. Democrats, however, seemed to undermine Pichai’s message by arguing in that hearing that Google is free to suppress conservatives in its search results if it so desires. Pichai said such suppression of different views would violate the company’s “core principles,” although an executive was caught emailing about making sure Google services helped Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The company’s fidelity to principles of free expression has also come under scrutiny as it has continued to work with Xi Jinping’s autocratic regime in China. Because of severe free speech restrictions in that country, Google had been developing a special search engine “Dragonfly” that would block topics disapproved by the regime, including history about China and the Communist Party. Dragonfly was put on hold after it spawned an outcry against Google, but employees have expressed concern that it’s being developed in secret.

Domestically, the Silicon Valley giant is also dealing with pressure to have its products more strictly regulated. Democratic presidential candidate and Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren (D.) has called for breaking up major tech companies on anti-trust grounds.

On a somewhat related personal note, when I began this blog in 2008, Facebook was a good source of articles posted by conservative friends and conservative sources. Blogging was very easy. That has changed in recent years–many friends have spent time in Facebook jail, and many conservative sources have been blocked. Social media in its freest state is a wonderful thing, but gradually those in charge of social media have been removing our freedom. All Americans need to be vigilant about what they read on social media and also about what search engine they use. That is sad, but necessary.

 

 

A Wonderful Story

This was posted on my Facebook feed by Sivan Rahav Meir:

“Shalom, Sivan. I must tell you about something that we experienced during the last few days. The White House invited my mother to a Hanukkah party with Trump. My mom, the Holocaust survivor Zehava Unger, 88 years old, refused to go. She had long scheduled on that day an annual Hanukkah party with the entire family, and this was supposed to be her chance to meet her more than 90 descendants! For her, this is the biggest victory over the Nazis. Only after heavy pressure from the family, did she agree to change her priorities and said ‘yes’ to the White House. It was an amazing party. I’m surprised that it wasn’t covered in the Israeli Media. Trump decided to invite 8 Holocaust survivors, one for every Hanukkah candle. It was moving to see him call the seven female survivors and one male survivor to the stage, one by one, by name, and among them – my mom. He spoke about the heroism of the Maccabees and about them continuing that heroism, since they fought against the worst kind of evil in our time, and prevailed. He turned to them and said: ‘For you I moved the embassy to Jerusalem. I did it for you.” My mother handed Trump a personal letter, and this is what she wrote there:
‘On Hanukkah of 1944 I was languishing in Auschwitz; alone, freezing and hungry; not knowing how many more seconds the Nazi beasts would allow me to live. I was only 14 years old at the time. Ironically, a delegation of Jewish Rabbis couldn’t even make their way into the White House to plead for us… Miraculously, I survived, without anyone helping me and I had no family and no home to return to. Seventy-four years later it is again Hanukkah, and the pages of history have fortunately turned. Today, I am a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother to scores of lovely children. I am privileged to be invited to the White House, which is now occupied by the greatest friend the Jewish people has ever had among the leaders of the free world'”.

Wow!

There Are Some Precedents Being Set Here That Are Dangerous

There are some legal aspects of the charges against Judge Kavanaugh that are being left out of the discussion. A lawyer friend of mine posted a few comments on the subject on Facebook:CNS News posted an article about the attempts to give the accused a chance to face his accuser.

The article reports:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told a news conference Tuesday that Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser “certainly does deserve a right to be heard,” but at the same time, he called it “disturbing” that Democrats decided to withhold her accusation until the last minute.

Later, an attorney for the accuser, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper her client “is prepared to cooperate with the committee” — but not on Monday, and not until the FBI does a full investigation. “There shouldn’t be a rush to a hearing,” attorney Lisa Banks said.

The FBI has already done extensive background checks on Judge Kavanaugh for his previous positions. None of these charges have ever surfaced. Now, when the Committee was ready to vote, the accuser comes forward, not remembering the year, the place, or how she got home. There is also a discrepancy between what she told her therapist and what she is saying now (four boys in the room instead of two boys in the room). The whole thing looks like a delay tactic. It is also really scummy to bring forth a thirty-five-year-old charge that cannot be proven one way or the other. The accuser has also refused to appear before Congress to confront Judge Kavanaugh until an FBI investigation has been conducted. There is no way the FBI can investigate a thirty-five-year-old charge where the accuser doesn’t know what year it was, where it was, and is fuzzy on the details. That is ridiculous.

This is a portion of Senator Grassley’s letter to Professor Ford’s attorney:

Ranking Member Feinstein first received a letter with allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh from Dr. Ford in July. However, Feinstein neglected to notify Committee Republicans of the letter until the day of the first Committee markup, six weeks after receiving the letter and well after the vetting and hearing process had concluded. Feinstein referred the letter to the FBI, which added it to Kavanaugh’s background investigation file. She should have treated these allegations seriously, as Grassley has done, in immediately acting upon hearing of them.

The FBI has indicated to the committee and in public statements that it considers the matter closed. The FBI does not make credibility determinations. The FBI provides information on a confidential basis in order for decision makers to determine an individual’s suitability. The Senate has the information it needs to follow up with witnesses and gather and assess the relevant evidence.

Grassley’s staff has sought to work with the Democratic staff to reach out to relevant witnesses. The Democratic staff declined to participate in a follow-up call with Judge Kavanaugh Monday regarding these allegations. And they have declined to join efforts to conduct a bipartisan investigation of the allegations.

I have a few observations. I know the Republicans are afraid that if they move forward, they will lose the women’s vote in the mid-terms. I have a word for the Republicans. As many women can identify with the idea of a woman coming forward with a career-destroying accusation against their husband thirty-five years later as can identify with the accuser. If the Republicans do not move forward with the vote immediately, they will lose more votes in the mid-term than they gain. Radical feminists are not going to vote Republican anyway, and they are the only women who ascribe any credibility to this charade. Republicans, this is your moment–either you have a spine or you don’t. If you don’t, you will lose more votes than you will gain.

Even People You May Not Agree With Have The Right To Speak

One of the really positive aspects of the Internet is that it allows voters to bypass the mainstream media and find their own news sources. That is a serious threat to the mainstream media and those who control it.

In 2012, the following charts appeared at Business Insider:

I have no reason to believe that things have changed significantly since then.

It is an open secret that Google and Facebook largely support the political left. Google tracks your searches. That is one of many reasons I use ‘DuckDuckGo.com.’

The Gateway Pundit is reporting today:

On Monday Facebook, Apple, YouTube and Spotify banned Infowars and Alex Jones from their platforms in a coordinated attack.

Meanwhile, actual hate groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter freely post on Facebook. This is called censorship. It is happening because the political left is losing control of the dialog and is trying to regain control. Whether or not you support Alex Jones, he has the right to voice his views.

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit reported:

The InfoWars official app surged in popularity Monday evening, and surpassed CNN, following the Orwellian deplatforming of the outlet by multiple tech giants.

The app was already beating the New York Times, ABC, BBC, WSJ, NPR, CNBC, CBS, USA Today, Reuters, Bloomberg, MSNBC, Huffington Post, and the Washington Post before they bounded ahead of CNN on Tuesday evening.

Losing a monopoly is hard. Gaining freedom of the press for the American people through the Internet is wonderful.

It Is Becoming An Honor To Be Put In Facebook Jail

It is becoming obvious that Facebook is doing what it can to limit conservative speech. Their labeling of Diamond and Silk as “unsafe to the community” would have been hilarious if it wasn’t a threat to free speech. Facebook is a private company and has the right to post what they want. We as consumers have the right to use Facebook or not use Facebook. I won’t be boycotting Facebook–it keeps me up to date as to what my grandchildren are up to, but I do understand that the information playing field on Facebook is not level. Please follow the link to The Gateway Pundit to see the actual numbers on the censorship that has already taken place–it is stunning.

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted an article headlined, “Zuckerberg’s Announcement Means Final Remaining Conservative Voices on Facebook Will Be Eliminated by Election Day.”

The article included the following:

Top conservative websites have seen a stunning drop in their Facebook traffic. This was no accident. This was the plan.

In January 2017, Facebook began making algorithm changes to make sure conservative news was no longer so influential. The Gateway Pundit Facebook traffic has consistently decreased with each algorithm change.

A March 2018 study by The Outline organization found conservative publishers were hit the hardest by Facebook algorithm changes. The study also showed that The Gateway Pundit was hit the hardest.

In March 2018 Western Journal also published a study that found conservative publishers were hit the hardest by the recent Facebook algorithm changes. The report found that liberal publishers actually saw a 2 percent increase in traffic. Conservative publishers lost an average of 14 percent in traffic.

Facebook official Campbell Brown, a former anchor on NBC and CNN, told attendees at a recent technology and publishing conference that Facebook would be censoring news publishers based on its own internal biases. And they did.

The best way to counter this is to form a conservative Facebook. I am sure some entrepreneur somewhere is already working on that!

 

Sometimes The Double Standard Is Breathtaking

Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial today about data collection.  Oddly enough, the editorial was not about Facebook and the Trump campaign.

The editorial states:

In 2012, the Obama campaign encouraged supporters to download an Obama 2012 Facebook app that, when activated, let the campaign collect Facebook data both on users and their friends.

According to a July 2012 MIT Technology Review article, when you installed the app, “it said it would grab information about my friends: their birth dates, locations, and ‘likes.’ “

The campaign boasted that more than a million people downloaded the app, which, given an average friend-list size of 190, means that as many as 190 million had at least some of their Facebook data vacuumed up by the Obama campaign — without their knowledge or consent.

If anything, Facebook made it easy for Obama to do so. A former campaign director, Carol Davidsen, tweeted that “Facebook was surprised we were able to suck out the whole social graph, but they didn’t stop us once they realized that was what we were doing.”

This Facebook treasure trove gave Obama an unprecedented ability to reach out to nonsupporters. More important, the campaign could deliver carefully targeted campaign messages disguised as messages from friends to millions of Facebook users.

The campaign readily admitted that this subtle deception was key to their Facebook strategy.

“People don’t trust campaigns. They don’t even trust media organizations,” Teddy Goff, the Obama campaign’s digital director, said at the time. “Who do they trust? Their friends.”

According to a Time magazine account just after Obama won re-election, “the team blitzed the supporters who had signed up for the app with requests to share specific online content with specific friends simply by clicking a button.”

The effort was called a “game-changer” in the 2012 election, and the Obama campaign boasted that it was “the most groundbreaking piece of technology developed for the campaign.”

First of all, if you have any expectation of privacy on Facebook, you need to get rid of that expectation immediately. Privacy on Facebook does not exist. Do not write anything on Facebook that you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of The New York Times. Other than than there’s no problem.

The editorial concludes with an observation about the double standard:

More important, the vast majority of people involved in these data-mining operations had no idea they were participating. And in the case of Obama, they had no way of knowing that the Obama campaign material cluttering their feed wasn’t really just political urgings from their friends.

There is one other big difference: how these revelations were received by pundits and the press. In 2012, Obama was wildly celebrated in news stories for his mastery of Big Data, and his genius at mining it to get out the vote.

We were told then about how the campaign “won the race for voter data,” and how it “connected with young voters.” His data analytics gurus were treated as heroes.

This is not to say that Facebo0k doesn’t deserve criticism. Clearly, its data-protection policies have been slipshod.

But the recent fury exposes a massive double standard on the part of those now raising hell.

When Obama was exploiting Facebook users to help win re-election, it was an act of political genius. When Trump attempted something similar, with unclear results, it’s a travesty of democracy and further evidence that somehow he stole the election.

Welcome to the new world of elections–candidates will gather information anywhere they can. It is up to the public to guard their own privacy.

Shutting Down The Free Speech Of Conservatives

The alternative media has had an impact on the politics of America. Facebook and Twitter have been a place where conservatives could share information and ideas. Well, that is changing. According to an article posted at The Gateway Pundit yesterday, google and Facebook are purging conservative content from Facebook and YouTube. That is not a surprise, it is simply an unfortunate truth. Because many arguments by the political left are based on emotion rather than fact, they do not like engaging in rational debate. Thus, if they can, they shut down the conservative side of the debate.

The article lists the websites that have been blacklisted or targeted by Facebook and google:

Young Cons: Extremely popular conservative news site and received millions of daily readers during the election.  The website received nearly all of its traffic from Facebook. Since 2016 Facebook shut down stories to Young Cons.  Each algorithm change meant less traffic for the popular website.  YoungCons was blacklisted by Facebook and struggles to maintain readers.  The site regularly switches domains to save traffic.

SarahPalin.com: With over 4 million fans one of the popular conservative pages on Facebook until Facebook blocked all traffic to the website.  The page was forced to change the domain to save traffic numbers.

Right Wing News:  Right Wing News grew to an enormous website in the past few years thanks its popularity on Facebook. In July of 2015, in just a week, the Right Wing News Facebook page reached 133 million people. Because conservatives were sharing content they were interested in, Right Wing News (with 3.6 million Facebook likes ) was driving the same amount of web traffic as some of the biggest newspapers in America.  Since the 2016 election Facebook blocked traffic to the website.  Owner John Hawkins announced he was shutting down the website in January.

Western Journalism: Newsweek reported that the site has grown from receiving 1,000 page views a day in 2009[3] to more than 1 million during 2016. The website was averaging around 6 million page views a day according to Quantcast during the election. Today it is down to around 500,000 a day. Western Journalism was blacklisted by Facebook.

The Gateway Pundit: TGP was ranked as the 4th most influential conservative news source during the 2016 election. The site in 2016 received nearly a third of its traffic from Facebook. This past weekend Facebook blocked all traffic from recent stories to the website. TGP advertised with Facebook and is another top conservative website blacklisted by the company. TGP is also shadow-banned by Google and frequently attacked and smeared by the liberal media.

President Trump Facebook page:  A recent algorithm change has caused President Donald Trump’s engagement on Facebook posts to plummet a whopping 45%. In contrast, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) do not appear to have suffered a comparable decline in Facebook engagement, reported Breitbart’s Alum Bokhari.

Independent Journal Review:  A massive conservative website based on Facebook audience.  The Independent Journal Review (IJR) terminated a number of its employees on Thursday, leaving an unclear future for the millennial-focused conservative website that has recently faced a declining audience.  IDF was also shadow-banned and blacklisted.

Breitbart.com:  Breitbart was the most influential conservative news source in 2016 with a massive audience.  Since the election Breitbart is constantly targeted and smeared by far left operations.  Breitbart advertising was targeted by Sleeping Giants and other Soros sites.

InfoWars:  Infowars is another dominant conservative site with enormous traffic.  After several years of video production and tens of thousands of video YouTube gave Infowars its third strike this week and threatens to shut the YouTube Channel down.

Rightside Broadcasting: This YouTube Channel had millions of views before the election.  Since 2016 YouTube has shadow-banned all of their videos.  YouTube has classified its videos of President Trump at a rally as hate speech.  YouTube has demonetized hundreds of its videos.  YouTube hides its videos.  Income for the site is down 95% since the election.

Natural News: A very prominent health website and the world’s top source on natural health. The site receives tens of thousands of readers every day. YouTube wiped out over 1,700 videos covering everything from nutrition, natural medicine, history, science and current events.

Prager Report:  PragerU, a conservative educational site, is suing Google and its subsidiary YouTube, accusing the video site of censoring its online videos because of their political leanings.  YouTube has banned several of its videos including segments on abortion and Islam.   Prager U has a massive conservative audience in the millions.

Pamela Geller.com:  Pamela is well-known for speaking out against radical Islam.  ISIS has threatened to behead her several times.  During the election PG had over 100,000 daily views from Facebook.  Today Facebook has shut down most of her traffic.  Her website suffered serious losses in revenue since the election.

Diamond and Silk: Pro-Trump YouTube sensations have a suit against YouTube. The Trump supporters announced in August 2017 that 95% of their videos have been demonetized on YouTube.

I will admit that I do not have 100% confidence in all of these websites, but it is troubling that they are being taken down. We may actually have to fight for the First Amendment rights many of us took for granted for so long.

The Russian Collusion You Haven’t Heard About

On March 1st, the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space & Technology posted the following Press Release:

SST Committee Staff Report Reveals Russia’s Social Media Meddling in U.S. Energy Markets

Mar 1, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today released a staff report uncovering Russia’s extensive efforts to influence U.S. energy markets through divisive and inflammatory posts on social media platforms. The report details Russia’s motives in interfering with U.S. energy markets and influencing domestic energy policy and its manipulation of Americans via social media propaganda. The report includes examples of Russian-propagated social media posts.

Chairman Smith: “This report reveals that Russian agents created and spread propaganda on U.S. social media platforms in an obvious attempt to influence the U.S. energy market. Russia benefits from stirring up controversy about U.S. energy production. U.S. energy exports to European countries are increasing, which means they will have less reason to rely upon Russia for their energy needs. This, in turn, will reduce Russia’s influence on Europe to Russia’s detriment and Europe’s benefit. That’s why Russian agents attempted to manipulate Americans’ opinions about pipelines, fossil fuels, fracking and climate change. The American people deserve to know if what they see on social media is the creation of a foreign power seeking to undermine our domestic energy policy.”

The report’s key findings:

  • Between 2015 and 2017, there were an estimated 9,097 Russian posts or tweets regarding U.S. energy policy or a current energy event on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
  • Between 2015 and 2017, there were an estimated 4,334 IRA accounts across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
  • According to information provided by Twitter, more than four percent of all IRA tweets were related to energy or environmental issues, a significant portion of content when compared to the eight percent of IRA tweets that were related to the election in the U.S.
  • Russia exploited American social media as part of its concerted effort to disrupt U.S. energy markets and influence domestic energy policy.
  • The IRA targeted pipelines, fossil fuels, climate change and other divisive issues to influence public policy in the U.S.

The report can be found here.

Background

On October 31, 2017, Chairman Smith sent letters to Twitter and Facebook to continue its probe into Russian attempts to influence U.S. energy markets via social media platforms. The letters cited additional evidence that Russian agents engaged in anti-U.S. energy activities on the platforms, including Facebook-owned Instagram, and reiterated Chairman Smith’s September request for information from the companies.

On September 26, 2017, Chairman Smith requested documents and information from Twitter and Facebook related to Russian entities purchasing anti-U.S. energy advertisements on social media platforms operated by the companies, including Facebook-owned Instagram.

On July 7, 2017, Chairman Smith and Energy Subcommittee Chairman Randy Weber (R-Texas) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin requesting that the Treasury Department investigate allegations of Russian interference in the U.S. energy market through covertly funding radical environmental groups opposed to fossil fuels.

115th Congress
This is much more important than the current expensive, political, and endless investigation being carried out by Robert Mueller, yet somehow the press has not paid very much attention to it. It is time that we take a look at some of the funding of some of the radical environmental groups. For those of you old enough to remember, when the Soviet Union fell and America had access to some of their historic documents, we learned that many of the anti-war organizations of the 1960’s and 1970’s were Soviet funded. Most Americans had no idea that was happening. Let’s not make the same mistake again.

I Totally Understand This Story

English: Wolf spider Deutsch: Wolfspinne Русск...

English: Wolf spider Deutsch: Wolfspinne Русский: Паук волк (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday Breitbart reported that a Redding, California, apartment resident recently killed a wolf spider. The story does not seem particularly newsworthy until you look at the details.

The article reports:

The Redding Record Searchlight reports that the unidentified resident of the Redding apartment complex tried to kill a wolf spider with a torch lighter but ended up setting fire to a mattress.

Fire officials say the fire spread from the mattress to several flags and curtains inside the man’s bedroom. It also torched a bedroom closet but did not spread to any other apartments in the complex.

KMOV reports that other residents unsuccessfully attempted to extinguish the fire with a garden hose before the fire department came.

Firefighters put out the blaze and no injuries were reported. However, the fire caused $11,000 in damage to the resident’s apartment and forced residents to find another place to live after fire officials deemed the apartment “uninhabitable.”

The Redding Fire Department posted a friendly reminder to Facebook warning those trying to kill spiders not to use fire to exterminate them.

I can totally relate to this story and I believe that I have family members who can also relate. Enough said.

Nine Recent Fake News Stories

Today Breitbart posted an article listing nine recent news stories that were blatantly false yet made it into the mainstream media. Please follow the link to the article to see the details on why each story is false, but here is the list of the stories:

  1. CNN caught lying about Donald Trump, Jr.
  2. ABC News spreads lie about Mike Flynn proving Trump colluded with Russia.
  3. Reuters, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal spread lie about Trump bank subpoenas.
  4. MSNBC‘s Brzezinski questions accuser with photograph of Franken groping her.
  5. CNN’s Alisyn Camerota says anti-Trump Russian Dossier is ‘corroborated’.
  6. PolitiFact spreads lies about Breitbart, Roy Moore accuser’s forgery.
  7. Facebook flags Breitbart’s 100 percent accurate story, does not flag CNN’s fake news.
  8. Washington Post handwriting expert debunked by Moore accuser.
  9. New York Times falsely claims Secretary of State Tillerson will be forced to resign.

None of these stories are true, yet all were reported by the mainstream media and theoretically believed by the Americans who depend on the mainstream media for their news. We have reached the point where you are more likely to read accurate news on the Internet than on the major networks. That is sad.

 

The Mainstream Media Just Keeps On Trying

Investor’s Business Daily posted an article today about three of the latest mainstream media’s attempts to accuse President Trump and Russia of conspiring together in the 2016 election. Unfortunately, the facts keep getting in the way of the accusations.

The first attempt the article reports is as follows:

Here’s the headline CNN put on its “exclusive” story: “Even Pokemon Go used by extensive Russian-linked meddling effort.”

It begins: “Russian efforts to meddle in American politics did not end at Facebook and Twitter. A CNN investigation of a Russian-linked account shows its tentacles extended to YouTube, Tumblr and even Pokemon Go.”

By “meddle,” of course, they mean “helped elect Trump president.”

It turns out none of this had anything to do with electing Trump.

In this case, the Russians apparently developed a campaign — called “Don’t Shoot Me” — that was designed to “exploit racial tensions and sow discord among Americans.”

The YouTube page contained news reports, amateur footage and the like that the Black Lives Matter crowd were parading all over the web.

If that constitutes “meddling” in the election, then Black Lives Matter, Hillary Clinton and the mainstream press are guiltier than these Kremlin trolls. They ceaselessly pushed the racist police story because they thought it would help energize the Democratic base.

So what was Russia’s intent? “It’s unclear,” is all CNN could muster.

The second attempt also fell flat:

…another CNN “exclusive” about how “Russian-linked Facebook ads targeted Michigan and Wisconsin.”

This story began: “A number of Russian-linked Facebook ads specifically targeted Michigan and Wisconsin, two states crucial to Donald Trump‘s victory last November, according to four sources with direct knowledge of the situation.”

It went on: “Some of the Russian ads appeared highly sophisticated in their targeting of key demographic groups in areas of the states that turned out to be pivotal.”

Had CNN finally found evidence that Russia tried, and might have succeeded, in swinging the election for Trump?

Hardly.

It was up to the Washington Examiner’s Byron York to provide the relevant facts and context.

He found that of the 3,000 Russian ads that Facebook turned over to Congress, most of them ran after the election and so could hardly be part of any “meddling.” The vast majority didn’t mention the election or any candidate. A quarter of them weren’t seen by anybody.

What’s more, out of those 3,000 ads, only a tiny handful targeted Michigan and Wisconsin, nearly all of them ran in 2015 — well before Trump was nominated — and most had fewer than 1,000 impressions.

Well, maybe the third time will be the charm:

…the infamous “smoking gun” meeting between Donald Trump Jr and a Russian lawyer is turning out to be another nothingburger.

Newly released emails showed that the meeting was entirely focused on U.S. sanctions and adoption rules involving Russia, and had nothing to do with dishing dirt on Hillary Clinton.

What about that promise of a meeting in a separate email from British publicist Rob Goldstone, who said the Russian lawyer had damaging evidence on Clinton? It’s likely that was a way to lure Trump people to a meeting they’d otherwise not bother with.

The article reaches the obvious conclusion:

For nearly a year now, we’ve seen this same pattern. A headline-grabbing story about Russia “meddling” and Trump “collusion” that ends up fizzling out when the facts come in.

If Russia’s motivation in all of this wasn’t to elect Trump, but to sow discord and hostility within the U.S. — which increasingly looks like the point — then Russia’s leaders succeeded beyond their wildest imagination. And for that, they have the liberal media, not their own efforts, to thank.

Imagine what the media could do if they investigated the uranium transfer to Russia that followed a large Kremlin donation to the Clinton Foundation?

 

At Least They Are Correcting Some Of Their Fake News

President Obama has often accused the conservative media of fake news. I wonder if he will speak out against the latest example of fake news by the liberal media.

Fox News reported yesterday that The Washington Post has issued a correction of one of their ‘breaking news’ stories.

The article reports:

The Washington Post has made a correction to an explosive cover story that undermines the entire premise of Monday’s front-page article headlined, “Obama sought to prod Facebook on Russia role.”

The problem, according to a Facebook executive, is that when Obama reached out to the social media giant in 2016 to discuss political disinformation spreading on the site, he didn’t actually call out Russia – essentially making the Post’s headline misleading and inaccurate. Or, as President Trump would call it, “fake news.”

As first reported by Axios, the Post added significant information to the digital version of the story with the disclaimer, “This story has been updated with an additional response from Facebook.” The response from Facebook that didn’t make the paper’s print edition is vital and changed the story enough that the word “Russia” was removed from the updated headline.

The story detailed how then-President Obama gave Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg a “wake-up call” regarding fake news spreading on his social media platform. After reporting that Obama “made a personal appeal to Zuckerberg to take the threat of fake news and political disinformation seriously,” the paper has added that Obama “did not single out Russia specifically.”

The story reported that Obama and his top aides “quietly agonized on how to respond to Russia’s brazen intervention on behalf of the Donald Trump campaign without making matters worse.” 

Well, not quite.

This is the important paragraph in the article:

The paper also added a statement from Facebook’s vice president of communications, Elliot Schrage, which it received after the front-page story was published. Schrage told the Post that Obama’s talk with Zuckerberg was about “misinformation and false news” and “did not include any references to possible foreign interference or suggestions about confronting threats to Facebook.”

The Russian connection has been fizzling out for some time. What we can expect is to see Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller charge Paul Manafort with some sort of process crime or questionable act totally unrelated to the original reasons for a special prosecutor. The thing to remember here is that despite the fact that James Comey stated numerous times that President Trump was not under investigation to the Senate, some senators chose to mislead the American people into believing that President Trump was under investigation. What Robert Mueller is doing is conducting a very expensive witch hunt based on a story which has been proved questionable at best. The mainstream media is attempting to relive their glory days of bringing down Richard Nixon, and there is a group of people in America with little regard for the U.S. Constitution that is willing to use violence to bring about the change they want. We have a choice here. Either we believe in the U.S. Constitution, the elected government, and the rule of law, or we do not. If we want our country to stand, the rule of law has to stand. The media does not understand that if the government is brought down, they will also be destroyed in the chaos that follows.

Actions Have Consequences

First of all, I need to say that I support freedom of speech. I also support organizations creating behavior guidelines and enforcing them.

The NFL Handbook includes the following rule:

The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem.

During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.

I am not sure what the NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem were trying to prove, but actions have consequences.

The Wall Street Journal posted an article today about some of the consequences of kneeling during the National Anthem.

The article reports:

DirecTV is letting at least some customers cancel subscriptions to its Sunday Ticket package of NFL games and obtain refunds if they cite players’ national anthem protests as the reason, customer service representatives said Tuesday.

Sunday Ticket’s regular policy doesn’t allow refunds once the season is under way. But the representatives said they are making exceptions this season—which began in September—in response to the protests, in which players kneel or link arms during the national anthem.

…It isn’t just the political stakes that are high. Football draws the biggest TV audiences of American sports and is a vital income source for a host of major media companies. Sunday Ticket is a major customer draw for DirecTV and one of the NFL’s premier franchises, earning it $1.5 billion a year in licensing revenue.

A substantial number of cancellations risks further damage as the league tries to rebound in ratings. Viewership fell last year and continues to do so this year. Network executives and league officials attributed last year’s declines in part to viewing competition from the presidential election, consumer distaste with the pace and quality of games, and the anthem protests.

The revenue of the NFL comes from the fans–tickets, team merchandise, and advertising. If the income stream from the fans dries up and the fan base dries up, the advertisers may go elsewhere. The actions of the players may have bigger negative consequences than they planned on.

On another note, one of my Facebook friends suggested that if the players are concerned about the treatment of black Americans, they should be willing to go into the black schools and teach the students what they need to know to be successful.

Are We Sure We Want To Go Here?

The Daily Caller posted an article today about someone protesting a Hobby Lobby decoration. The decoration had nothing to do with the Christian faith of the owners or their views on marriage–it was a piece of cotton!

The objection was posted on Facebook:

The article includes some of the reaction:

The post received close to 15,000 shares and 160,000 comments. The user, Daniell Rider, then received backlash for her sensitivity and responded to her critics:

All those who are offended by cotton being a decoration need to quit buying any product made of cotton!

And other users quickly came to her defense, one adding:

What difference does it make if it’s a decoration or part of a product. You’re being hypocritical if your offended by cotton being a decoration and not offended by any product made of cotton.

Brutal grammar aside, these people are actually serious. They legitimately want consumers everywhere to stop buying cotton products because cotton “racist.”

Many Americans have lost their ability to reason and replaced it with a giant ability to be offended!

Free Speech In Danger In America

On Friday, The Washington Examiner reported on efforts by Democrats on the Federal Election Commission to limit political speech on the internet. The latest effort by these Democrats was triggered by the fact that unnamed Russians spent $100,000 for politically themed ads on Facebook. Somehow no Democrats on any committees were concerned when Saudi Arabia was funding anti-fracking movies.

The article reports:

Weintraub (Commissioner Ellen Weintraub) also demanded that the FEC address the issue of “internet political communications” at its next meeting on Sept. 14.

Facebook’s involvement and proof of Russian spending on political ads could give Democratic FEC critics of the freewheeling Internet the case they’ve needed.

Republicans on the FEC have claimed for years that the Democrats have been focused on the Internet in part because they want to silence conservative outlets like the Drudge Report, conservative videos, and even movies.

But the Facebook revelation and huge amount of money involved should give the Democrats a new weapon in their fight to regulate spending on Internet sites beyond paid advocacy. Under current rules, paid online ads that say, for example, “Vote For” or “Vote Against,” are regulated. The so-called Internet freedom rule, however, exempts free Internet posts and advocacy by third parties.

This sort of government intervention into free speech never ends well. I have no problem with anyone posting anything on Facebook as long as the source of the post is obvious. Where were these people when conservative groups were being denied tax-exempt status? This is a political move partially caused by the fact that Democratic election and fund-raising efforts are not going well. This is an attempt to slant the playing field to the Democrats advantage. It needs to be stopped.

These Were Not The Study Results They Had Hoped For

Breitbart posted an article today about a study done by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg‘s open borders organization. The study was initiated to show the hardships that would be caused by ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.This is the program that affects people who were brought to America illegally as children and have no relationship or association with the countries they came from. In many cases they don’t even speak the language of the country they were born in. Obviously these people do need some sort of special consideration, but whatever consideration they are given has to be done in a way that limits fraud and does not interfere with those seeking to come to America legally.

Meanwhile, back at the study.

The article reports:

According to the FWD.us study, if DACA is repealed it would mean potentially 700,000 American jobs could open up for American citizens.

The study claims that on average, if Trump were to repeal DACA, 30,000 American job opportunities would open up each month. FWD.us President Todd Schulte touted the results of the study as a loss for America’s business community, saying it would have “severe consequences” on the economy.

“Eliminating DACA would have immediate and severe consequences for not only the 800,000 Dreamers enrolled in the program, but for the millions of Americans who live, work, and study with these young people every single day,” Schulte said in a statement.

Immigration hawks have long argued the booming illegal alien population–estimated between 12 to 30 million–and high levels of legal immigration, where the U.S. admits more than one million a year, contribute to the displacement of American workers and wage stagnation.

The situation with DACA is a mess. We need to find a way to help these people become citizens without penalizing American workers and people who come here legally. However, legal Americans need to be given priority in finding employment.

When The Numbers Just Don’t Add Up

This was posted by a friend on Facebook:

This seemed like a reasonable question, so I did some research. On December 2016, CNN Money posted the following:

Nearly 6.4 million Americans have selected Obamacare policies through the federal exchange for coverage starting Jan. 1, federal officials announced Wednesday. That’s 400,000 more than had selected policies a year ago.

Under the proposed repeal and replace ObamaCare bill, the rate of growth of Medicaid will be cut–Medicaid will still grow, but more slowly. The goal is to create a program that will create a rate structure that allows more Americans to pay for their own health insurance. I am not thrilled with the current bill in the Senate, but passing it may be a necessary evil if we are to avoid single-payer or socialized medicine (which would be the result of the total collapse of ObamaCare which is rapidly approaching).

Comments On A Current Scandal

This is not a news article—this is a rant from an old person who is concerned about the activities of the current younger generations. There is no source for this article although it is the result of the news we have recently seen about the scandal in the Marine Corps regarding nude pictures and videos. Admittedly, I come from a generation that was more accustomed to privacy—we didn’t have Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. to post pictures of our lunch and other activities. The older generation had a different concept of privacy than the current generations.

I don’t find it odd that men would look at pictures of naked women. I don’t find it odd that a man would look at an explicit video. I do question the wisdom of the women posting these pictures or videos. A good rule of thumb is to never put anything on the internet that you wouldn’t mind seeing on the front page of The New York Times or on the evening news. Even if the pictures of videos were not intended for the internet, there is no guarantee when you give a person a picture or a video that the picture or video will never be seen by anyone else. Again, wisdom is called for. Never put anything on film or in your phone or laptop that you don’t want to go public. These pictures and videos could create a serious problem if a future employer were to see them.

I don’t know what the eventual punishment of the people involved in this scandal will be. It is my hope that the people who created the pictures and videos will be disciplined as well as those who set up the Facebook page to view them. There are no victims here—the women who created the pictures and videos are not victims—the pictures and videos were created with their consent. They are guilty of bad judgement, just as the men who set up the Facebook page are guilty of bad judgement.

As I have previously stated, I am part of a generation that believed in privacy. These pictures and videos devalue the women that made them. They are the result of the lies that many women are told about their value and about their role as women.  My advice to a woman whose boyfriend or husband asks for such a picture or video is to find another boyfriend of husband. You are worth more than that.

I am sure there will be some serious consequences for the people involved in this scandal. It is my hope that they will learn from their mistakes and be more prudent in their actions in the future. I also hope that the women involved begin to realize their true worth and that the men involved begin to respect the women in their lives rather than viewing them as sex objects.

It Depends On What You Mean By Free Speech

I am about to get into the weeds here, but I want to explain what is happening to our freedom of speech in America and where the threat to the First Amendment is coming from.

In his book Catastrophic Failure, Stephen Coughlin explains, “In the United States, the initial amendment of the Constitution indicates the primacy of free expression. The framers of the Universal Declaration of Human RIghts–understanding that free expression is linked with freedom of though and conscience–mirrored the First Amendment’s intent in Article 19:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

“The Cairo Declaration addresses free expression in its Article 22, using language that parallels that of the Universal Declaration:

(a) Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shari’ah.

(b) Everyone shall have the right to advocate what is right, and propagate what is good, and warn against what is wrong and evil according to the norms of Islamic Shari’ah.”

The Cairo Declaration embodies the Islamic definition of free speech. As you can see, it differs from the American definition of free speech. Unfortunately, there are those in America (some of whom have a great influence on public opinion) who are moving toward the Islamic definition of free speech.

The American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) has released a press release stating the the AFLC has filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, challenging Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) under the First Amendment.

The press release states:

Section 230 provides immunity from lawsuits to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, thereby permitting these social media giants to engage in government-sanctioned censorship and discriminatory business practices free from legal challenge.

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, and Jihad Watch.

As alleged in the lawsuit, Geller and Spencer, along with the organizations they run, are often subject to censorship and discrimination by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube because of Geller’s and Spencer’s beliefs and views, which Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube consider expression that is offensive to Muslims.

Such discrimination, which is largely religion-based in that these California businesses are favoring adherents of Islam over those who are not, is prohibited in many states, but particularly in California by the state’s anti-discrimination law, which is broadly construed to prohibit all forms of discrimination.  However, because of the immunity granted by the federal government, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are free to engage in their otherwise unlawful, discriminatory practices.

As set forth in the lawsuit, Section 230 of the CDA immunizes businesses such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube from civil liability for any action taken to “restrict access to or availability of material that” that they “consider[] to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.”

…David Yerushalmi, AFLC co-founder and senior counsel, added:

“Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have notoriously censored speech that they deem critical of Islam, thereby effectively enforcing blasphemy laws here in the United States with the assistance of the federal government.”

Yerushalmi concluded:

“It has been the top agenda item of Islamic supremacists to impose such standards on the West.  Its leading proponents are the Muslim Brotherhood’s network of Islamist activist groups in the West and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which co-sponsored, with support from Obama and then-Secretary of State Clinton, a U.N. resolution which called on all nations to ban speech that could promote mere hostility to Islam.  Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are falling in line, and we seek to stop this assault on our First Amendment freedoms.”

Unfortunately, there is an implied threat to those speaking out against Islam. Islam in its end game is about political control. One part of gaining political control is to silence any opposition. Although I can understand the reasons for censoring speech critical of Islam (protecting assets, employees, avoiding terrorist attacks), it is folly to believe that anyone benefits from being ignorant of the goals of Islam. Some Americans have done their own research into the Muslim Brotherhood Plan for America (laid out in government exhibit 3-85 from the Holy Land Foundation Trial– the first part is in a language other than English, the second part is in English) and realized what civilization jihad is. If this is a new concept for you, please check out the centerforsecuritypolicy.org for more information. There is a move to take away Americans First Amendment rights. We need to stop that move.

 

Let’s Put The Blame Where It Belongs

MSNBC is reporting today on the protests that forced the cancellation of the rally to support Donald Trump in Chicago last night. This is a story that needs to be looked at carefully. America has a First Amendment. Donald Trump has as much right as anyone to speak out. Protesters also have the right to speak out. They don’t, however, have the right to destroy property or prevent anyone else from speaking. For a number of years we have seen conservative speakers shut down at college campuses; now we are seeing a Presidential candidate prevented from speaking. That does not bode well for the future of our country. We need to take a look at these ‘protests’ and see who organized them (they were organized) and what they are actually about.

Yesterday Gateway Pundit posted an article about the Chicago protesters.

The Gateway Pundit article reported:

Obama buddy and domestic terrorist Bill Ayers was seen protesting Donald Trump in Chicago today.

Thousands of leftwing protesters were expected today to protest Donald Trump at the University of Chicago Illinois campus.
5,000-7,000 people were already inside the pavilion at 5 PM Central. Thousands more were still in a line that stretched several blocks.

I guess some leopards just don’t change their spots.

MSNBC reported:

When Ja’Mal Green, a prominent black activist and Bernie Sanders supporter in Chicago, saw that Donald Trump was coming to the University of Illinois Chicago, he knew what he had to do. “Everyone, get your tickets to this. We’re all going in!!!! ‪#‎SHUTITDOWN‬,” he posted on Facebook last week.

Little did he know they actually would shut it down.

Friday night, hundreds of protesters invaded Trump’s rally while thousands more marched outside, leading the candidate to abruptly cancel the event due to safety concerns. The night spun out from there, as angry Trump fans clashed with protesters, who saw the shutdown as a victory.

This sort of political activity does not belong in the American political system.

The article further reports:

A Facebook page was started to promote the protest. By the night of Trump rally, more than 11,600 people had RSVP’d on the page saying they would attend the event. Another 19,000 said they were “interested.” Organizers were shocked when Facebook’s analytics said the page reached more than 1.5 million users.

The page explained how to acquire tickets to the Trump rally, complete with links, instructions on where and when to meet, and exhortations to remain peaceful.

Jorge Mena, a undocumented graduate student at UIC, started a petition on MoveOn.org calling on the school’s administration to cancel the event. The petition garnered more than 50,000 signatures, and once brass at MoveOn, which has endorsed Sanders, caught wind of the UIC backlash, they wanted to help. MoveOn chipped in money to get signs and a banner printed and blasted out an email to members in the Chicago area encouraging them to join the protest.

With just four days to plan, organizers said more than 1,000 students turned out for the march, along with thousands of community members.

It’s a shame that this sort of organization and energy could not have been directed toward something more constructive. Again, protests are allowed; shutting down speech is not.

Many Americans Want To Have The Ability To Protect Themselves When They Need To

Breitbart.com posted an article yesterday about a turn-in program for ‘unwanted guns’ in Greensboro, North Carolina.

On November 10, the Greensboro Police Department make the following announcement on Facebook:

Greensboro police are asking at least 1,000 residents of the Gate City to show their commitment to safety by signing a “Pledge of Nonviolence” this Saturday, Nov. 14 at Destiny Christian Center, 2401 Randleman Rd. from 9 am to 3 pm. At the same event, gun owners can safely turn in unwanted firearms from their homes. Police employees will be accepting handguns, rifles, shotguns, and ammunition at the event. This is not a buy-back program. No cash will be given in exchange for weapons voluntarily surrendered to police.

The pledge and the opportunity to turn in weapons are spurred, in part, by an increase in gun violence. This year compared to last, gun violence has increased 68%. The term ‘gun violence’ includes any crimes against people in which weapons were used, and shootings into occupied dwellings. An incident can be classified as gun violence even if no one was injured.

One knife and a BB gun pistol that resembled a real gun were turned in. Also, almost 1,000 people did sign the “Pledge of Nonviolence” which was made available to be signed during the event.

Remember, France has some of the strictest gun laws in the world, yet the bad guys were able to buy guns. The good guys followed the law and were unarmed. A few good marksmen carrying guns in the theater might have made a big difference.