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Twitter Censors Famed Epidemiologist Martin Kulldorff

By Jeffrey A. Tucker | AIER | March 29, 2021

We’ve been witness to Twitter censorship for more than a year, beginning with obviously objectionable extremists then gradually moving to silence people based on merely having an opinion that contradicts lockdown orthodoxy. There have been days when I wondered whether I would cross the invisible line and even whether AIER would itself be silenced. Stanford public health expert Scott Atlas has been censored, and Naomi Wolf, visiting senior fellow at AIER, was put in Twitter jail for a week for landing on the wrong side of the high priests of allowable content.

Well, a new line has been crossed. Harvard Professor Martin Kulldorff and co-creator of the Great Barrington Declaration, one of the most cited epidemiologists and infectious -disease experts in the world (latest count of citations: 25,290) has been censored by Twitter. His tweet on how not everyone needs a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 was not taken down. He had a warning slapped on it and users have been prevented from liking or retweeting the post.

Here is what he wrote without the warning slapped in front of it.

Keep in mind, too, that Dr. Kulldorff serves on the Covid-19 vaccine safety subgroup that the CDC, NIH, and FDA rely upon for technical expertise on this very subject..

So here we have some geeks at Twitter curating science, in areas totally outside the specialization of web nerds, in a way that skews public understanding of the scientific debate. Dr. Kulldorff’s censorship directly coincides with Anthony Fauci making a political push to retain social distancing and mask restrictions and forced separation for children until they are vaccinated. He was all over Sunday TV shows doing that.

This attempt to silence accredited experts completely distorts the process of scientific inquiry, discovery, and public opinion. And to what end? Twitter has generally been biased in a lockdown direction. If you want to be cynical about it, you could observe that everyone who works there can get by on laptops and houseshoes for the duration.

Its stock price has more than doubled in the course of lockdowns and user engagement has risen dramatically.

It would appear that with this latest act of censorship – we are not talking about political extremism or anything else that violates normal terms of use – we have entered into a new realm. Twitter is now curating the scientific debate in ways that exclude alternative points of view, particularly those that raise doubts about the need for universalized vaccines and vaccine passports. To be sure, Dr. Kulldorff is not an anti-vaxxer (why should I have to say that?) but instead has a nuanced position in light of his professional understanding of the demographics of risk of this virus.

If there ever was a troubling sign of the power and arrogance of big tech, of which I’ve long been a defender, this new action is it. Dr. Kulldorff has been a brave proponent of traditional public health in the midst of an unprecedented and very obviously failed policy of lockdowns. He has been a voice of clarity, reason, calm, and science. That Twitter would choose to use its power over public debate to silence his insights should be of profound concern to everyone concerned about the use of science in the public interest.

March 30, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Science and Pseudo-Science | | Leave a comment

REPORT: Biden White House Working with Silicon Valley to Censor Vaccine Criticism

21st Century Wire | March 15, 2021

As reports of problems regarding the new experimental COVID vaccines continue to mount internationally, officials in the United States have been working behind the scenes to try and censor any dissent against the official party line on COVID policy, and vaccine efficacy, safety and distribution.

A recent Reuters report has revealed how a worried Biden administration has reached out to Silicon Valley’s digital monopoly firms Google Inc, Facebook, and Twitter – to coordinate efforts to shut down any discussions or independent journalism online which might challenge the credibility of either government or World Health Organization (WHO) pandemic and vaccine policies, as well crush any serious challenge to the credibility of pharmaceutical firms and the products they are pushing, namely their new experimental range of COVID vaccines.

According to a White House official, the new effort is meant to curb supposed “COVID misinformation” included making sure GoogleYouTubeFacebook and Twitter prevent any independent content from going viral.

A Twitter spokesman admitted that the firm was coordinating their censorship operation with the Biden team, and were “in regular communication with the White House on a number of critical issues including COVID-19 misinformation.”

According to a report by Reuters, a source confirmed the collusion between the White House and Big Tech is focused on protecting Biden’s vaccine numbers:

“Disinformation that causes vaccine hesitancy is going to be a huge obstacle to getting everyone vaccinated and there are no larger players in that than the social media platforms,”

“We are talking to them … so they understand the importance of misinformation and disinformation and how they can get rid of it quickly.”

The source also told Reuters that the companies “were receptive” as they engaged with the White House. “But it is too soon to say whether or not it translates into lessening the spread of misinformation.”

For its part, Facebook has committed to adding even more ‘dangerous informational’ labels to any posts which mention vaccines in a negative light, as part of its wider censorship effort to counter what it claims is “COVID-19-related misinformation” on its platforms.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed in a blog post this week that his new warning labels will contain “credible information” about the vaccines from the W.H.O. which Facebook believes is an infallible source of information COVID and pharmaceutical products. Zuckerberg said that this operation will be global, covering multiple languages.

The social network is also adding a tool to help get users vaccinated by connecting them to information about where and when they can get their shot.

The mainstream media have been applying continuous pressure on Facebook and Instagram for allowing “anti-vaxxer propaganda”, with Facebook responding by applying its notorious ‘fact-check’ labels and other censorship measures.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. from Childrens Health Defense recently explained how this coordinated censorship effort is also targeting high-profile advocates, including himself:

Over the last two weeks, Facebook and other social media sites have deplatformed me and many other critics of regulatory corruption and authoritarian public health policies. So, here is some fodder for those of you who have the eerie sense that the government/industry pandemic response feels like it was planned — even before there was a pandemic.

In fact, a simulation called Event 201, which involved top public health officials, academics and NGOs was in fact paid for by Bill and Melinda Gates, taking place only a few months before the ‘global pandemic’ was declared in January 2020. Kennedy describes the confab which took place in late October 2019 at Johns Hopkins University in Washington DC:

Gates’ co-conspirators included representatives from the World Bank, the World Economic Forum (Great Reset), Bloomberg/Johns Hopkins University Populations Center, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, various media powerhouses, the Chinese government, a former Central Intelligence Agency/National Security Agency director (there is no such thing as a former CIA officer), vaccine maker Johnson & Johnson, the finance and biosecurity industries and Edelman, the world’s leading corporate PR firm.

At Gates’ direction, these eminences role-played members of a Pandemic Control Council, wargaming government strategies for controlling the pandemic, the narrative and the population. Needless to say, there was little talk of building immune systems, off-the-shelf remedies or off-patent therapeutic drugs and vitamins, but lots of chatter about promoting uptake of new patentable antiviral drugs and vaccines.

But the participants primarily focused on planning industry-centric, fear-mongering, police-state strategies for managing an imaginary global coronavirus contagion culminating in mass censorship of social media.

The real danger here is the Government and Big Tech may in fact be censoring important critical voices of what are fast proving to be highly problematic experimental vaccines. In doing so, they may be preventing important public health opinion and commentary from being heard, which raises the likelihood that any rank corruption like with the WHO’s Swine Flu hoax in 2009, or the Swine Flu vaccine disaster in 1976 – may happen again, only this time on a global scale.

March 16, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 1 Comment

Scott Atlas: The Last Word

The Stanford Review | March 7, 2021

Editor’s Note: Scott W. Atlas, MD, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, served from August through November 2020 as Special Adviser to the President and was a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Atlas delivered the following remarks in a virtual lecture hosted by the College Republicans. They have been lightly adapted to appear in print.


It is always a great pleasure, and an important part of my job, to speak to students. It is essential for students to hear ideas from many sources, especially ideas they may not agree with. That is a key part of learning how to think critically – and critical thinking is the most important lesson to learn in college, in my opinion.

The coronavirus pandemic has been a great tragedy, there can be no doubt about that. But it has also exposed profound issues in America that now threaten the very principles of freedom and order that we Americans often take for granted.

First, I have been shocked at the enormous power of the government, to unilaterally decree, to simply close businesses and schools by edict, restrict personal movement, mandate behavior, and eliminate our most basic freedoms, without any end and little accountability.

Second, I remain surprised at the acceptance by the American people of draconian rules, restrictions, and unprecedented mandates, even those that are arbitrary, destructive, and wholly unscientific.

This crisis has also exposed what we all have known existed, but we have tolerated for years: the overt bias of the media, the lack of diverse viewpoints on campuses, the absence of neutrality in big tech controlling social media, and now more visibly than ever, the intrusion of politics into science. Ultimately, the freedom to seek and state the truth is at risk here in the United States.

First, we all acknowledge that the consequences of the SARS2 coronavirus pandemic and its management have been enormous. Over half million American deaths have been attributed to the virus; more will certainly follow.  Even after almost a year, the pandemic still paralyzes much of our country. And despite all efforts, there was an undeniable failure to stop cases from rapidly escalating and prevent hospitalizations and death.

Here’s the unacknowledged reality: almost all states and major cities, with a handful of exceptions, have implemented severe restrictions for many months, including closures of businesses and in-person school, mobility restrictions and curfews, quarantines, limits on group gatherings, and mask mandates dating back to at least the summer.

And let’s clear up the myths about the behavior of Americans – social mobility tracking of Americans and data from Gallup, YouGov, the COVID-19 Consortium, and the CDC have shown significant reductions of movement as well as a consistently high percentage of mask wearing since the late summer, similar to Western European countries and approaching those in Asia.

All legitimate policy scholars should, today, be openly reexamining policies that severely harmed America’s families and children, while failing to save the elderly. Studies, including one in January from Stanford University’s infectious disease scientists and epidemiologists Bendavid, Oh, Bhattacharya, and Ioannidis, have shown the mitigating impact of the extraordinary measures was small at best and according to the study’s senior author Ioannidis, “usually harmful” – in his words, “pro-contagion.” President Biden openly admitted their lack of efficacy in his speech to the nation on January 22, when he said, “there is nothing we can do to change the trajectory of the pandemic in the next several months.”

Bizarrely, though, many want to blame those who opposed lockdowns and mandates for the failure of the very lockdowns and mandates that were widely implemented.

Separate from their limited value in containing the virus — efficacy that has often been “grossly exaggerated” in scientific journals, as documented by epidemiologists and biostatisticians Chin, Ioannidis, Tanner, and Cripps – lockdown policies have been extraordinarily harmful. The harms to children of closing in-person schooling are dramatic, including poor learning, increased school dropouts, and social isolation, most of which are far worse for lower income groups.

A recent study confirms that up to 78% of cancers were never detected due to missed screening over three months. If one extrapolates to the entire country, up to a million new cases or more over nine months will have gone undetected. That health disaster adds to missed critical surgeries, chemotherapy, organ transplants, presentations of pediatric illnesses, heart attack and stroke patients too afraid to call emergency services, and others, all well documented.

Beyond hospital care, CDC reported four-fold increases in depression, three-fold increases in anxiety symptoms, and a doubling of suicidal ideation, particularly among young adults  college age – after the first few months of lockdowns, echoing the AMA reports of drug overdoses and suicides. An explosion of insurance claims for these psychological harms in children just verified this, doubling nationally since last year; and in the strictly locked down Northeast, there was a more than 300% increase of teenagers visiting doctors for self-harm.

Domestic abuse and child abuse have been skyrocketing due to the isolation and specifically to the loss of jobs, particularly in the strictest lockdowns. Given that many in-person schools have been closed, hundreds of thousands of abuse cases are never reported, since schools are the number one agency where abuse is noticed. Finally, the unemployment “shock” from lockdowns, according to a recent NBER study, translates into what they called a “staggering” 890,000 additional U.S. deaths over the next 15 years from the lockdowns, disproportionately affecting minorities and women.

We know we have not yet seen the full extent of the damage from lockdowns, because it will last for years, even decades. Perhaps that is why lockdowns were not recommended in previous pandemic analyses, even for infections with far higher lethality.

To manage such a crisis, shouldn’t policymakers objectively consider both the virus harms and the totality of impact of policies? That’s the importance of health policy experts – my field – with a broader scope of expertise than that of epidemiologists and basic scientists. And that’s exactly why I was called to the White House – there were zero health policy scholars on the Task Force; no one with a medical background who also considered the impacts of the policies was advising the White House.

To determine the best path forward necessarily means admitting that social lockdowns and significant restrictions on individuals are deadly and extraordinarily harmful, especially on the working class, minorities, and the poor.

In his book “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds,” Charles Mackay wrote: “of all the offspring of Time, Error is the most ancient, and is so old and familiar an acquaintance, that Truth, when discovered, comes upon most of us like an intruder, and meets the intruder’s welcome.”

Optimistically, we should be seeing the light at the end of the long tunnel with the rollout of vaccines. I believe that we are. But, using logic that would put the Mad Hatter to shame, we now hear some claim that all children must be tested and vaccinated, even though they have extremely low risk from this infection and are proven to not be significant spreaders to adults? Or that all teachers must be vaccinated before they teach in-person, even though schools are one of the lowest risk environments and the vast majority of teachers are not high risk?

Worse, we hear the same faces on TV once again stressing uncertainty, and issuing new warnings – that social distancing, masks, and other restrictions will still be necessary after vaccination and until 2022. Is there no intention of those who control the narrative – the often proclaimed “consensus” – to allow Americans to live normally, to live freely, without fear, again?

Just as in Galileo’s time, one real problem is the experts and “vested academic interests.”  Faculty members of many universities, America’s centers for critical thinking, have overtly intimidated views contrary to their own, likely out of political reasons, leaving many afraid to speak up. That intimidation has been effective – I know, I have received hundreds of emails from scientists and policy scholars all over the country, all over the world, telling me to never give up, but they are afraid to come forward.  And yes, even a number of infectious disease experts right here at Stanford are afraid to step forward publicly and say the truth.

It is commendable that Stanford’s President and Provost, former Provost Etchemendy, and a few other distinguished members of the academic community here spoke in defense of academic freedom at a recent Faculty Senate meeting. But it is not only the matter of academic freedom that needs comment.

Instead of rethinking failed policies and admitting their errors, some have chosen to employ smears in opinion pieces and through organized rebukes against those of us who disagreed with what was implemented and who dared to help the country under a President they despised – apparently, the ultimate transgression.

Straw-man arguments and out-of-context distortions to defame people are not acceptable in civilized society, let alone in our great universities. There has been an attempt to silence and delegitimize me using falsifications and misrepresentations. This dishonors Stanford’s code of conduct, damages the Stanford name, and most importantly, it abuses the trust parents and society place in them to influence America’s children, our next generation of leaders.

It is understandable that most Stanford professors are not experts in health policy – that is my field, my lane – and understandable that most Stanford professors are ignorant of the data about the pandemic. But it is not acceptable to claim that I made recommendations that were “falsehoods and misrepresentations of science.” That is a lie. No matter how often a lie is repeated, and regardless of how often those lies are echoed in biased media, lies do not transform into truths.

We should all remember the phrase attributed to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels – “A lie told once remains a lie, but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth” – and pray to God that it never becomes true in these United States of America.

All policy considerations I recommended to the President were designed to reduce both the spread of the virus to the most vulnerable and the structural harms of the policies to those impacted the most – the poor and working class of America. I was one of the first to push for increasing protections to those most at risk, particularly the elderly, because they were dying by the tens of thousands because the chosen policies implemented by states, recommended by other Task Force members, were failing to protect them. Almost a year ago, I recognized that we must also consider the enormous harms to physical health, mental health, and lives lost coming directly from the draconian policies that attempted to contain the infection. That is the most appropriate goal of public health policy: to minimize all harms, not simply to stop Covid-19 at all costs.

The claim in a recent JAMA opinion piece by three Stanford professors that “nearly all public health experts were concerned that [Atlas’s] recommendations could lead to tens of thousands (or more) of unnecessary deaths in the US alone” is patently false, absurd on its face. As pointed out on February 10 by Zinberg, the proposal called the Great Barrington Declaration, is “far closer to the one condemned in the JAMA article than anything [Atlas] said”. Yet, that policy declaration was co-authored by medical scientists and epidemiologists from Stanford, Harvard, and Oxford, and it has already been signed by over 50,000 medical and public-health practitioners.

When critics display such ignorance about the scope of views held by experts, it exposes their bias and wholly disqualifies their authority on these issues. Indeed, it is beyond parody that these same critics wrote “professionalism demands honesty about what they know and do not know.”

I have indeed explained the fact that younger people have little risk from this infection, and I explained the biological concept of herd immunity – protection arising when a large percentage of people acquire immunity – just like Harvard epidemiologists Katherine Yih and Martin Kulldorff, and some of the top scientists at Stanford, have explained. That is very different from proposing that people be deliberately exposed and infected by “allowing the virus to spread naturally” without mitigation efforts. I have not advised that.

And how timely it is that Professor Makary of Johns Hopkins School of Public Health just did the same, acknowledging in the Wall Street Journal on February 18, 2021 that “herd immunity is the inevitable result of viral spread and vaccination.” Makary went on to celebrate what he called “the good news” – that the consistent and rapid decline in daily cases since Jan. 8 can be explained only by natural immunity. Behavior didn’t suddenly improve over the holidays; Americans traveled more over Christmas than they had since March. Vaccines also don’t explain the steep decline in January. Vaccination rates were low and they take weeks to kick in.”

Those are Makary’s words. Will Dr. Makary now be linked with doctors who promoted eugenics and those who conducted the racist Tuskegee syphilis experiments, as in the piece in JAMA ? Will professors also call for his medical license to be stripped, or that he be formally censured for explaining the benefit of naturally-acquired immunity?

In fact, directly contrary to advocating that the infection spread, I have repeatedly called for mitigation measures, including extra sanitization, social distancing, masks, group limits, testing, and other increased protections to limit the spread and damage from the coronavirus. I also explicitly called for augmenting protection of those at risk in dozens of on-the-record presentations, interviews, and written pieces, including:

Written pieces in The Hill– May 3, The Hill-September 3,  New York Post– September 15, New York Post– April 26;  presentations to: Senate Committee on Homeland SecurityParliamentary Intelligence Security ForumLiberty Forum of Silicon Valley, YPO retreat in Sea Island, Georgia; and interviews withBen Shapiro podcast, John Bachelor radio,  Steve Deace Blaze TVTucker Carlson Fox News TV, Florida televised press conference, WAML Radioand numerous others.

One must ask the question: why would accusers also ignore my explicit, emphatic public denials about supporting the spread of the infection unchecked to achieve herd immunity – denials quoted widely in the media. Are not my own statements the object of their criticism in the first place? Or is it due to a desire to “cancel” anyone who accepted the call, who had the audacity to help this country under President Trump?

I have been accused of claiming that “young people are not harmed by the virus and cannot spread the disease.” To the contrary, I have frequently cited detailed data explicitly stating that children do get the infection, that children can have serious consequences from the infection, and that some children die from the disease. When I said in a 5/20/2020 interview with Congressman Andy Biggs that there was “an extremely low risk for children that Covid-19 poses” and that the risk of dying if you’re under 18 from this disease is “nearly zero,” that matches the data, including CDCand is almost verbatim what John Ioannidis, renowned Stanford epidemiologist, summed up about the entire world’s data. The risk of dying from Covid-19 is “almost zero” for young people.

For many months, I was maligned after calling for opening in-person schools. The compelling case to open schools is now admitted to be longstanding truth, even in lay publications like the Atlantic. They acknowledged that “Research from around the world has, since the beginning of the pandemic, indicated that people under 18, and especially younger kids, are less susceptible to infection, less likely to experience severe symptoms, and far less likely to be hospitalized or die.” Further, that “We’ve known for months that young children are less susceptible to serious infection and less likely to transmit the coronavirus. Let’s act like it.”

The accusers who wrote the opinion piece in JAMA stated: “Atlas disputed the need for masks”. That is misrepresenting my words. To the contrary, my advice on mask usage has been consistent and explicit – “wear a mask when you cannot socially distance” – and it matched the published recommendations of the World Health Organization in June: “When outside, wear a mask if you cannot maintain physical distance from others.”

In December, the WHO modified that to “(In areas of known or suspected community or cluster SARS-CoV-2 transmission), WHO advises that the general public should wear a non-medical mask in … settings where physical distancing of at least 1 metre cannot be maintained”, i.e. not at all times, not by everyone. That also matches the NIH document dated February 2021 “Prevention and prophylaxis of SARS-COV-2 infection”: “When consistent distancing is not possible, face coverings may further reduce the spread of infectious droplets from individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection to others.”

Regarding universal masks: 38 states have implemented general-population mask mandates, most since at least the summer, with almost all the rest having mandates in their major cities. Widespread, general-population mask usage has shown little empirical utility for stopping cases, even though that evidence has been censored by Twitter and Amazon. Widespread mask usage showed only minimal impact in Denmark’s randomized controlled study. Those are facts. And facts matter.

Here’s the reality: those who insist that universal mask usage is absolutely proven to be effective at controlling the spread of this virus and is universally recommended by “the science” are ignoring the published evidence to the contrary. One could say they are propagating false and misleading information; some might even call that, using a phrase from the JAMA opinion, “subverting science.”

I posted a list where mask mandates empirically failed to stop cases, along with direct quotes, without any edit, from WHO, CDC, and Oxford University. That was censored by Twitter. And I stated numerous times that it would be irrational to wear a mask “when alone riding a bicycle outside, when driving your own car alone, or when walking in the desert alone.” I stand by those words.

Those who charge that it is unethical, even dangerous, to question broad population mask mandates must not realize that several of the world’s top infectious disease scientists and major public health organizations explicitly question the efficacy of general population masks. The public needs to know the truth.

For instance, Jefferson and Heneghan of University of Oxford’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine wrote“It would appear that despite two decades of pandemic preparedness, there is considerable uncertainty as to the value of wearing masks.” Oxford’s renowned epidemiologist Sunetra Gupta said there is no need for masks unless one is elderly or high risk. Stanford’s Jay Bhattacharya stated “mask mandates are not supported by the scientific data … there is no scientific evidence that mask mandates work to slow the spread of the disease.”

Throughout this pandemic until December, the WHO’s “Advice on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19” stated: “At present, there is no direct evidence (from studies on COVID19 and in healthy people in the community) on the effectiveness of universal masking of healthy people in the community to prevent infection with respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.” In December, the WHO changed their wording to today’s “At present there is only limited and inconsistent scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of masking of healthy people in the community to prevent infection with respiratory viruses, including SARS-CoV-2.”

The CDC, in a review of influenza pandemics, “did not find evidence that surgical-type face masks are effective in reducing laboratory-confirmed influenza transmission, either when worn by infected persons (source control) or by persons in the general community to reduce their susceptibility.” And until the WHO removed it on October 21, 2020 (almost immediately after Twitter censored my tweet highlighting the WHO quote), the WHO had written “At the present time, the widespread use of masks by healthy people in the community setting is not yet supported by high quality or direct scientific evidence and there are potential benefits and harms to consider.”

My advice on masks has always been based on scientific data, and it matches the advice of many of the top scientists and public health organizations throughout the world.

One final false accusation must be addressed: that I “made unsupported claims about the immunity conferred by surviving infection“.

To the contrary, I was correct in accurately citing the scientific literature, when I explained that biological protection from this infection is not fully shown by antibody tests, since antibody prevalence changes in people over time (September 2020, Japan), and protection is also derived from other parts of the immune system (January 2021, Germany), including T-cells (January 2021, Minnesota), even in asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic patients, according to the Karolinska Institute.

Professor Makary of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health acknowledged this on February 18, 2021, explaining that “Antibody studies almost certainly underestimate natural immunity. Antibody testing doesn’t capture antigen-specific T-cells.”

I was also correctly citing data that demonstrated some individuals could have cross-protection from previous coronavirus infections, shown by Singapore researchers and explicitly supported by the NIH itself on December 15, 2020. “The evidence that a subset of people has a cross-reactive T cell repertoire through exposure to related coronaviruses is strong.”

At this point, one could make a reasonable case that those who continue to push significant societal restrictions without acknowledging their failures and serious harms are themselves putting forth dangerous misinformation. As Stanford’s Ioannidis stated on February 20, 2021, “most of the estimates show the draconian lockdowns increased the problems, it was pro-contagion.” Those restrictions have plainly “damaged the public health,” as my Stanford accusers might say.

But I will not call for their official rebuke or punishment. I will not try to cancel them. I will not try to extinguish their opinions. And I will not lie to distort their words and defame them. To do so would repeat a behavior of intimidating the discourse that is critical to educating the public and arriving at the scientific truths we desperately need.

As a health policy scholar for over 15 years and as a professor at top universities for 30 years, I now fear for our students and our nation’s future. Some faculty members of our acclaimed universities – many of whom are automatic recipients of society’s respect because of those university titles – are now dangerously intolerant of opinions contrary to their personally favored narrative. Without permitting, indeed encouraging, open exchange of views and admission of errors, we might never solve any future crisis.

At a minimum, university mottos, if such things matter – like Harvard’s “truth,” Stanford’s “the winds of freedom blow,” and Yale’s “light and truth” – need to be explained to all faculty members at these universities.

Some go further, distorting and misrepresenting words to delegitimize and prompt punishment of those of us willing to serve the country – their country – alongside a President they happen to loathe. As Tobin wrote on March 1, “Delegitimizing [Atlas] and his analysis of the coronavirus disaster was a matter of treating all those who have any connection with the Trump administration as criminals, something that could only be accomplished by blatant misrepresentations of his views and statements.”

Worse than a violation of ethical behavior among colleagues, that does not meet my standard of simple human decency.

If academic leaders – and the entire academic community – fail to denounce such attempts to vilify those whom one disagrees with, many more experts with a reputation to lose will be unwilling to serve this country in contentious times. As educators, as parents, as fellow citizens, that would be the worst possible legacy to leave to our children.

We should also fear that the concept of “the science” has been seriously damaged. Even the best journals in the world – NEJMLancetScience and Nature – have become contaminated by politics and published bad science. That adds to the public’s confusion, and it diminishes trust in experts. By now, many in the public have simply become fatigued by the arguments. That reaction is even worse, because widespread fatigue will allow fallacy to triumph over truth.

Americans are now faced with a new status quo: biased social media have joined a dominant voice on campuses to be the arbiter of allowable discussion.

The United States is on the precipice of losing its cherished freedoms, with censorship and cancellation of all those who bring views forward that differ from the “accepted mainstream.”

It is not clear if our democracy, with its defining freedoms, will recover, even after we survive the pandemic itself. But it is clear that people must step up – meaning speak up, as we are allowed, as we are expected to do in free societies – or it has no chance.

Finally: Mackay, again, presciently spoke about the herd: “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”

So, how do we proceed at this very moment, in this country, with its heavily damaged psyche? Those of us who want the truth must keep seeking it, and those of us who see the truth must keep speaking it. Even if the recovery from madness is slow, and even if it is only one by one. Because truth matters.

March 14, 2021 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Censorship-happy Twitter suddenly concerned about ‘public conversation’ as Russia cracks down on illegal content

By Nebojsa Malic | RT | March 11, 2021

Twitter’s complaints about Russian regulators slowing down its traffic would be a lot more credible if the platform hadn’t been so eager to turn into a partisan echo chamber and place itself above the law in its own homeland.

On Wednesday, Russia began throttling Twitter as a way of pressuring the San Francisco-based company to remove over 3,100 posts found to be in violation of Russian law. Specifically, this includes 450 instances of child pornography and more than 2,500 incitements to underage suicide.

Twitter responded by saying it was “deeply concerned by increased attempts to block and throttle online public conversation.”

It’s more than a bit disturbing that Twitter considers child porn and calls to suicide “public conversation.” The former is illegal in the US as well, and both are against their own terms of service.

Twitter might argue that it’s based in the US and that the First Amendment of the American Constitution protects the free speech of everyone on their platform – except we all know that for them to do so would be the height of hypocrisy.

Back in May 2018, a US federal judge defined Twitter as a “designated public forum,” ruling that then-President Donald Trump has no right to block hostile users, not even from the official presidential account but from his personal one. That would violate the law, and “no government official is above the law,” argued Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald.

Judge Buchwald was curiously silent when Twitter decided it was above the law, banning Trump’s account while he was still the sitting president in January 2021, on the basis of how his tweets might be “received and interpreted.”

Trump’s tweets “must be read in the context of broader events in the country and the ways in which the President’s statements can be mobilized by different audiences, including to incite violence,” Twitter argued, citing his “pattern of behavior” to argue that they amount to  “glorification of violence.”

Before removing the account and all its content altogether, Twitter – as well as Facebook and YouTube – outright deleted Trump’s video messages in which he called for his supporters to stay peaceful and respect law and order. Now that those are gone, the only narrative out there is the one pushed by mainstream media and Democrats, who claim Trump “incited insurrection” at the Capitol on January 6.

In the run-up to the 2020 US election, Twitter locked out the New York Post over a legitimate story about Hunter Biden and Ukraine; slapped a label insisting that massive changes to voting procedures were “safe and secure” – by sheer coincidence, in line with the effort to “fortify” the vote and ensure the “proper” outcome – and labeled any questions about the result as “disputed” before eventually banning those who asked them.

Twitter has since degenerated into a partisan echo chamber, where political trends are without exception the Democrat talking points of the day, often astroturfed by paid activists. Ostensibly a platform and not a publisher, their “What’s happening” sidebar editorializes constantly.

For example, earlier this week President Joe Biden seemed unable to remember the name or title of his defense secretary, who was standing right behind him. Through the lens of Twitter, that became the story of that one time Trump called the Apple CEO Tim Cook “Tim Apple,” as that’s what “people” were ostensibly talking about instead. Public square? More like loudspeakers blaring official propaganda from every lamppost.

They’re not the only Silicon Valley company to think itself above the law, or more powerful than entire countries. Witness the recent showdown between Facebook and Australia, in which Mark Zuckerberg sought to bully Canberra into abandoning plans to force online platforms to pay for news content. Perhaps Jack Dorsey is thinking he can do the same with Moscow.

Whatever the outcome of this showdown, don’t let anyone gaslight you into thinking it has anything to do with freedom of “online public conversation.” Free speech was a fundamental value of the American Republic, but that is manifestly no longer the case in the entity that has now replaced it, better known as Our Democracy. Silicon Valley supported this revolutionary change. It is now merely reaping what it has sown.

Nebojsa Malic is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Telegram @TheNebulator

March 11, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Progressive Hypocrite | , , | 1 Comment

GLOBAL SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE ERA OF GREAT POWER CONFLICT

By J.Hawk, Daniel Deiss, and Edwin Watson | South Front | March 6, 2021

Loose Tweets Sink Reputations

While on the one hand Twitter flexed its muscles when it permanently de-platformed a sitting US president and deactivated tens of thousands of other accounts, with Facebook closely following suit against accounts the two social media giants claimed were “disinformation” concerning the 2020 election results, in practice it was a pyrrhic victory at best. The real power of Facebook, Twitter, other social media lay in their reputation as essentially neutral, impartial platforms where free speech was triumphant and the invisible hand of the marketplace of ideas dictated which accounts would get millions of followers and which would languish in obscurity.

That, of course, was never really true. Twitter and Facebook were no strangers to muting, banning, or at least stealth-banning accounts that promoted ideas inconsistent with whatever dogma, social or political, prevailed in Washington D.C. at the moment. However, this tended to be done in dribs and drabs, not in avalanches which moreover explicitly targeted specific political candidates or parties. Twitter’s knee-jerk panic-induced purge of Trump and Trump-supporting accounts that followed the events of January 6, 2020 on the flimsy pretense that there was a “risk of violence” created by the mere existence of these accounts, showed that @Jack and indeed the entire @TwitterSupport team are not impartial at all, for all the world to see. Naturally, as Twitter and Biden apologists were quick to point out, the First Amendment does not extend to private entities, which means that, legally, US social media giants were in the clear. Unironically defending a mega-corporation’s inherent right to censor speech in a way that US government institutions are prohibited from doing was not exactly a very good position to be in. That is a blow to the foundations of Twitter’s free-speech reputation from which it can never recover. That toothpaste can never be put back in the tube again. Banning accounts, rather than suspending until “offending” material is deleted, is a form of “prior restraint” of free speech that is explicitly prohibited by the First Amendment of the US Constitution. Even such Donald Trump non-fans as Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron found themselves decrying Twitter’s decision to muzzle the US president, on the basis of it being a corporate abuse of power that should be reserved only to national governments.

Twitter’s epic self-own became evident within days, in the context of elections in Uganda in which Twitter, no doubt at the behest of US intelligence community failure and/or other political and economic interests, attempted to meddle by locking accounts favoring candidates the US government clearly didn’t favor. Uganda’s retaliation in the form of shutting down Twitter in all of the country led to a predictable Twitter boilerplate reaction concerning the sanctity of free speech that was equally predictably jeered by US Trump supporters who by now were less than impressed with Twitter’s commitment to open political discourse. It seems rather inevitable that other countries will follow suit whenever Twitter-based political meddling becomes too much to tolerate, without exposing themselves to the usual tut-tutting by pearl-clutching Western liberals who praised Twitter’s shut-down of Trump. US social media networks rapidly won reputation as US propaganda and influence instruments will facilitate effective action against them in the future by countries interested in defending their sovereignty and integrity of political institutions.

Ne Parler Pas

Twitter’s and Facebook’s blowing of own cover, as it were, was quickly followed by the saga of the Parler social media network which revealed a far deeper behind-the-scenes collusion among information technology firms in support of Biden and the Democrats. Parler was a low-budget, low-quality operation set up to cash in on Twitter’s banning and shadow-banning policies. Its sole advantage was the absence of literally any restrictions on political expression, which meant that it quickly became a network with a pronounced GOP lean. The low-budget aspect of the company meant that instead of setting up its own “server farm”, with mirroring and denial of service protections against the inevitable hacking attempts that incidentally also cost real money, it opted to have its operations hosted on servers owned by none other than Amazon, which has extensive dealings with and contracts from many US intelligence agencies, including secret services. A rumor that Donald Trump might react to the Twitter ban by holding court on Parler was enough for Amazon to peremptorily kick Parler off its servers. Other Parler vendors, down to law firms, similarly refused services, all of it happening to a company against which no government investigation or other action has even been initiated. Another piece of evidence, as if one were needed, of the existence of a “deep state” in the US operating outside the official legal framework.

It turns out, however, that Parler is run not only by cheapskates but experts at trolling because in their search for an alternative hosting platform they settled on a provider with servers based in… Russia, where their operations evidently do not break any laws, written or unwritten, and therefore can proceed unimpeded, in stark contrast with the United States. That revelation prompted a furious response from Congressional Democrats who are now demanding an FBI investigation into Parler’s Russia ties and Russia’s involvement in the events of January 6. Again, a panicky knee-jerk reaction that will set a precedent not only for the United States but also for the rest of the world, that social media networks on servers outside one’s country are automatically to be viewed as foreign agents.

War of Words

One way or the other, things will never be the same for social media, in the United States or elsewhere. The idea of a global free speech commons conveniently hosted by US social media networks in cozy collaboration with US intelligence services has been revealed to be a pernicious myth and is now irretrievably dead. Going forward, no self-respecting country will allow its political discourse space to be in the hands of unknown, shadowy, and unaccountable US actors. In practical terms it means demands for transparency and regulation of social media, even in the United States where the Republicans will eventually return to power and settle scores with @Jack and @Zuck. Elsewhere in the world, we are likely to see the creation of social media alternatives, as well as the growth in popularity of existing ones such as Telegram or even VKontakte. Russia’s newly adopted legal framework for hefty fines to be leveled against social media firms for allowing disinformation and other socially undesirable activities will become the norm all over the world.

This may lead to a situation in which the world’s polarization into hostile economic and military blocs is mirrored by the fragmentation of the Internet, including of social media, into national or regional networks, to the detriment of the currently existing global one. China’s early banning of US social media networks from its country, a decision whose wisdom is now plainly evident, may become the global norm. The deepening US political crisis that has not ended with Biden’s inauguration means that the United States is liable to lead the world in restricting the activities of foreign social media firms on its territory, under the guise of “combating domestic terrorism” that is Biden’s actual top priority, thus providing further ammunition for advocates of doing the same in their own countries. Twitter’s continued suppression of speech, such as suspension of a Chinese official government account for supposedly “dehumanizing” the Uyghurs, again ostensibly on the basis of the company’s terms of service rather than US official guidance, will only accelerate process.

Whether matters will deteriorate to such an extent remains to be seen. If US continues to escalate its aggression against countries unwilling to become its client states, social media will not remain unaffected by it. However, Twitter’s and Facebook’s panicky reaction to the January 6 “insurrection” had greatly weakened one of crucial tools of US “hybrid warfare”.

March 7, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

India threatens to jail Facebook, WhatsApp & Twitter staff over refusal to wipe data that ‘undermines national security’

RT | March 6, 2021

Indian authorities have reportedly given an ultimatum to US social media platforms, threatening jail time for their local employees if the companies continue to ignore official takedown requests against “damaging” information.

Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter have each received written notices warning their employees could face arrest should the requests be ignored, in some cases citing specific India-based staff by name, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing “people familiar” with the matter.

The reported warnings come as New Delhi faces down Big Tech platforms amid a wave of heated protests over controversial agricultural bills, which have drawn thousands of farmers to rally in the Indian capital, at times descending to violent clashes with security forces. While the government has long wrangled with the social media platforms, the threats of arrest mark a sharp escalation of pressure.

In early February, Twitter blocked access to a litany of accounts for Indian users, among them lawmakers, news outlets, journalists and political commentators. Though the platform quietly reversed those bans some 12 hours later, AFP reporter Bhuvan Bagga, citing a government source, noted the move followed an order from India’s IT ministry to block hundreds of accounts it accused of spreading “factually incorrect” claims and “inflaming passions” around the farmer protests.

The ministry responded harshly to Twitter’s sudden reversal, threatening “penal action” should it continue to rebuff the government’s takedown requests. The warning appears to have worked, as Twitter reinstituted many of the bans within days, though refused to re-block “accounts that consist of news media entities, journalists, activists, and politicians.”

A Facebook spokesperson told the Journal the platform complies with takedown and data requests “in accordance with applicable law and our terms of service,” while its subsidiary WhatsApp said it abides by the orders only when they are consistent with “internationally recognized standards” of human rights and due process. Twitter, meanwhile, was more defiant, insisting it would “continue to advocate for the fundamental principles of the Open Internet.”

As Big Tech firms seek their way into India’s massive market, the country recently imposed new rules to govern social media platforms, requiring them to appoint India-based representatives to coordinate with law enforcement and government agencies. The restrictions can also compel sites to scrub content the state believes to undermine national security or public order. Ravi Shankar Prasad, the minister of electronics and information technology, argued the rules would force the companies to be “more responsible and more accountable,” after previously blasting sites like Twitter for “double standards” in enforcing their policies.

March 5, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

House Republicans Propose Legislation to Allow Biden to Ban Sanctioned Foreign Leaders From Social Media

By Kirill Kurevlev – Sputnik – 03.03.2021

US House Republicans are introducing legislation that would broaden US sanctions law to ban social media platforms from letting foreign persons or organizations which were put under sanctions for terrorism from using their services, Fox News reported Tuesday citing a copy of the bill.

The law bill is reportedly proposed by representatives Andy Barr, Jim Banks, and Joe Wilson, and is reportedly co-sponsored by 40 other members of the House Republican Study Committee. The social media platforms mentioned in the proposed law include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

“US law gives big tech a free pass to provide platforms to terrorist groups and dictators,” Representative Barr of Kentucky is quoted in the report as saying. “Social media companies should not provide a vehicle for terrorist groups like ISIS to raise money or for dictators like the Ayatollah of Iran to spread propaganda.”

The bill reportedly aims to clarify the current sanctions legislation by empowering the president with authority to limit the “provision of services,” including the management of accounts by Big Tech platforms to foreign persons or organizations sanctioned for terrorism by the US, and top officials of states, which are listed as sponsors of terrorism.

“Economic sanctions prohibiting the provision of services to individuals and entities sanctioned for terrorism should apply to social media platforms, while still supporting the free flow of information and maintaining the important principle that information should remain free of sanctions,” the legislation reportedly reads.

The bill also reportedly encourages the Treasury Department to “ensure that consumer communications technologies, as well as tools to circumvent government censorship, are available to civil society and democratic activists in such countries.”

Representative Jim Banks of Indiana, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a conservative caucus within the House, claimed because of “outdated sanctions laws, social media platforms are able to ban President Trump and other conservatives but let the Iranian Supreme Leader and President Bashar Assad of Syria continue having accounts on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.”

“Thanks to Rep. Barr, we have a bill that would fix this double standard and hold Big Tech accountable to the same sanctions laws other American companies are required to follow,” Banks said.

Controversially enough, the lawmakers claim at the same time that the US Department of Treasury “should encourage the free flow of information in Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, and other countries,” which, according to Washington, are “controlled by authoritarian regimes,” in order to counter them.

Under the existing law, the US president does not have the authority to compel social networks to comply with US sanctions law as it pertains to designated terrorists due to the International Economic Emergency Powers Act of 1976, and especially the so-called Berman Amendments, adopted in 1988 and revised in 1994 to include electronic media. Those amendments forbid the president from even implicitly restricting or banning anything that deals with the free flow of informational services.

Republicans have repeatedly challenged social media’s liability protections under Section 230 that shield social networks from being held responsible for the content posted on their platforms, while enabling them to moderate it.

Tech giants have incurred criticism for the permanent suspension of then-President Trump’s accounts from social media platforms in the aftermath of the violent events on January 6 at the US Capitol. Particularly, Trump’s ban on Twitter has raised concerns that Big Tech could silence practically everybody online, even a country leader.

Following the criticism, Twitter suspended the account of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and removed the tweet where he said that Western COVID-19 vaccines were “completely untrustworthy.”

March 3, 2021 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 1 Comment

Russian Foreign Ministry: Twitter no longer independent social media, but a tool of ‘digital diktat’ under control of West

By Jonny Tickle | RT | February 26, 2021

Twitter is rapidly changing from an independent platform into a tool of Western countries to impose a dictatorship over the internet. That’s according to the Russian Foreign Ministry, following a recent ban of Russian accounts.

Speaking on Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova blasted the US tech giant for removing 100 accounts allegedly linked to the Kremlin. On Tuesday, the site’s owners announced that 69 were deleted for “undermining faith in the NATO alliance,” with a further 31 banned for “targeting the United States and European Union.”

“We once again can’t help but notice that Twitter is rapidly degenerating from an independent discussion platform into a tool of global digital diktat in the hands of the Western establishment,” she told journalists, noting that accounts from NATO members haven’t been victims of similar operations.

“Assumptions and unproven insinuations were once again presented as justifications,” she continued. “The reasoning in Twitter’s own report is absurd: the accounts allegedly broadcast messages related to the Russian government, undermined trust in NATO, and influenced the United States and the EU.”

In her opinion, the blocks were “arbitrary” and “illegal,” based on “opaque criteria.”

Following the ban, Russian regulator Roskomnadzor wrote to Twitter to demand a list of the blocked accounts and justifications for why Twitter blocked them.

On the same day, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov suggested the creation of national and international rules to regulate social networks to avoid censorship.

“We are increasingly concerned about the non-transparent policies of social media platforms, which, at their discretion, prohibit or censor user content, openly manipulating public opinion,” he said.

February 26, 2021 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | , , , | 1 Comment

‘Undermining faith in NATO’ is now grounds for Twitter ban, because certain kinds of politics have become a religion

By Nebojsa Malic | RT | February 25, 2021

Heresy against NATO has apparently joined the ever-expanding list of sins that will get one erased from Twitter, as Big Tech mounts a crusade against infidels at home and abroad on behalf of values of Our Democracy.

Twitter announced bans on 373 accounts it connected to “state-linked information operations” on Tuesday. Some of them, the company said, “amplified narratives that were aligned with the Russian government” or “focused on undermining faith in the NATO alliance and its stability.”

Twitter is a US-based company, and the First Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees freedom of speech as well as religion. Under that set of rules, anyone’s faith in NATO – or lack thereof – would be none of Twitter’s business.

Then again, that set of rules isn’t exactly in effect anymore. Twitter has long abandoned its “free speech wing of the free speech party” shtick to become a cudgel for Our Democracy to beat its critics with. Or did you miss the part where they censored a sitting president of the United States over how he “might be perceived and interpreted” and meddled in the election by blocking a newspaper over a true story they falsely claimed was based on hacked materials?

Assuming for the sake of argument that these things were all part of “fortifying” the election – as TIME magazine put it – and defending Our Democracy from the evils of the constitutional republic, that might explain the repudiation of free speech and free press.

Which leaves religion, and still doesn’t answer why Twitter is now embarking on a jihad to protect NATO from heretics.

Last I checked, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was not a god, but a military alliance. It hardly needs anyone’s “faith” – or Big Tech protection thereof. Not only is it armed to the teeth but commands its own legions of “disinformation” hunters and propaganda shops. Why, one of Twitter’s executives is literally an officer in a psychological warfare outfit of the UK military – a member of NATO, if anyone hasn’t been paying attention.

Big Tech is also working hand in glove with an entire cottage industry of “disinformation researchers” such as Ben Nimmo – an alum of the Atlantic Council, a think-tank serving as a NATO cut-out – and Renee DiResta of the Stanford Internet Observatory.

DiResta ought to be notorious because her old firm, New Knowledge, was exposed for literally running a bunch of fake accounts posing as ‘Russian bots’ during a 2017 special US Senate election in Alabama. Because that helped a Democrat, NK was allowed to quietly rebrand and DiResta failed upward to land at Stanford. These are not the “Russians” you are looking for, move along, that sort of thing.

So it’s ironic that DiResta’s new outfit has provided more information about Twitter’s newest crusade, as well as where it might be headed. Based on information they were provided by Twitter, some of the accounts in one of the “Russian networks,” the SIO says, “appear to have been linked to the operations primarily via technical indicators rather than amplification or conversation between them.”

Notice the weasel phrasing such as “appear to be linked,” or “show signs of being affiliated” in Twitter’s original blog. It’s simply amazing how the same people who demand irrefutable evidence of, say, US election irregularities suddenly need no evidence whatsoever for their own assertions.

SIO also offers a glimpse into the future of this crusade, noting that while Twitter, Facebook and Medium “chip away” at accounts “pushing Russia-aligned narratives about Syria and NATO,” such activity persists on LiveJournal and Telegram.

No doubt these two platforms – one bought by a Russian company back in 2007, the other founded by a Russian national but currently operating out of Dubai – will find themselves in the crosshairs soon enough.

“Censorship is an intoxicating power that endlessly expands until it’s smashed,” as independent journalist Glenn Greenwald pointed out.

Especially since enforcing “faith” means this isn’t about differences of opinion anymore. Forget about things such as free speech, or due process, or debate that’s the cornerstone of an actual democracy. Politics of a certain kind is now religion.

In a move that should surprise no one, this religious war against heretics who dare doubt NATO and other “Russian” wrongthink was hailed by such luminaries of the US establishment as former ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul.

Lest you think he’s an outlier, the US embassy in Kiev applauded the Ukrainian government’s order to close down three opposition TV stations earlier this month. Democrat lawmakers are currently pushing for similar censorship at home.

Just last week, the newly installed US President Joe Biden told European allies that “the transatlantic alliance is back,” pledging his renewed support for NATO. Biden has also said he would govern based on “values.” The thing to understand is that those values aren’t necessarily what the Constitution of the American Republic, now effectively replaced by what has been dubbed Our Democracy, says they are.

Nebojsa Malic is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Telegram @TheNebulator

February 25, 2021 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

How the Big-Tech monopolies are hurting their own value

By David James | OffGuardian | February 19, 2021

The increasing censorship by the tech monopolies is rightly prompting protests from those who see it as an attack on free speech. What has been less noticed, however, is that the social media companies are adopting one of the strangest, and potentially most self-defeating, business strategies ever devised.

They are telling a large slice of their customer base – possibly as many as 100 million in the US and tens of millions elsewhere – to get lost. It represents a massive opportunity for new players and it seems a near certainty that citizen Donald Trump – who is very much a business person and not so much a politician – will be looking closely at it, as will many others.

[David’s prediction was actually right on the money – this was published just the day after he submitted his article – ed.]

It is common for monopolies or oligopolies to treat their customers with disdain, although they usually spend some of their marketing budget pretending otherwise. What never happens, though, is for monopolies to tell a large number of their customers to go away.

It is the equivalent of JD Rockefeller, owner of the infamous monopoly Standard Oil, refusing to sell petrol to anyone who voted for the Democratic party. What it confirms is that these companies have become political entities rather than businesses, a change of direction that will inevitably weaken them.

The social media company most vulnerable is also the most aggressive. Twitter has deplatformed Trump and is removing, at a rapid rate, users it deems to be ‘contravening the terms of service’ or ‘violating community standards’, or whatever. The company is valued at $US57 billion yet its sales are falling and it only started to make profits in 2018, when it recorded a $US191 million profit.

By 2019 it was back in the red and in 2020 it came in with a massive $US1.4 billion loss. Although the share price has almost doubled over the last year – as Keynes said, markets can stay irrational longer than you can remain solvent – the vulnerability is unmistakable.

Such counterintuitive share price movement is not entirely without logic. Investors typically attempt to price the future value of a company, not the present. Social media companies get high valuations because investors expect that they will continue to grow: increase their customers, sales and profits. That is far less likely to happen when you tell a large portion of your customers to look elsewhere.

Facebook and Google are far less vulnerable than Twitter but they also have high valuations. The basic metric used to assess shares is the price-earnings ratio (PE). Facebook’s PE ratio is 35 and Google’s is 30, which are very high for mature companies. Roughly, it means that it will take, respectively, 35 and 30 years to pay back the value of the shares at the current level of profitability.

The only way that makes any sense is for these companies to continue growing, which was already difficult enough. Facebook boasts having over two billion users and Google over four billion users. They already saturate the market; there isn’t much upside. Achieving growth becomes even harder when you deliberately turn away customers. Indeed, it is a deliberate choice to shrink.

Google’s and Facebook’s shift in attitude towards customers is an object lesson in what happens when businesses get too big and underlines why effective anti-trust law is crucial for economic and social health. On the way up, they were exceptionally innovative; so effective at providing better value to advertisers that they destroyed much of the world’s mainstream media industry.

Yet now that they are in a position of power the focus has shifted. They have become increasingly concerned about aligning themselves with politicians and government to get legal protection for their market dominance. When Mark Zuckerberg donated $US400 million to ‘help’ local election offices in the recent US election, the commercial rationale was unmistakable.

To date, new competitors have been relatively small and, some, such as Parler and Telegram, are being openly attacked with blatant anti-competitive tactics by what is surely one of the worst cartels ever. Aggressively doing whatever is required to take out the competition is, of course, another typical behaviour of monopolies.

That is where Trump, and those associated with him, may prove to be significant. The biggest barrier to entry in the digital media space tends not to be the technology but the marketing. That is what Facebook and Google at one time excelled at; it was key to their success. Marketing is labour intensive and costly, which makes it difficult for would-be competitors to gain traction.

If there was an enterprise associated with Trump, however, marketing costs would be far lower. He already appeals to tens of million of supporters who are being told they are not wanted by the tech monopoly. He represents so-called ‘populism’, which is to say he is very popular.

That is what powerful political and corporate elites, and social media companies – ‘GloboCap’ – find intolerable and are attacking in what is being accurately described as an American coup. It is hard to imagine that the potential market pull associated with providing an alternative to what amounts to an attack on democracy will not be exploited commercially.

This is not to suggest that the social media giants will go out of business, although Twitter may get into real trouble. But it is worth noting that very few companies, even giant monopolies, last longer than 20 years. Many get acquired, which invariably works out badly (an example being AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner, which will probably result in CNN being sold).

The most common reason businesses fail is that, when faced with new competitive threats, they are unable to innovate because they have become habituated into repeating what made them successful in the past.

That is exactly how Google and Facebook succeeded. When they offered advertisers a more cost-effective option than just space on a page, or a time slot in a program, almost no newspaper or television company was able to respond with a new way of providing value for their advertising customers. They simply went into a tail spin.

The tech giants seem unassailable now; Google and Facebook are two of the most highly valued companies in the world. But no company is invulnerable, and what the social media giants are doing to their customers is, from a business perspective, extremely unusual.

They are no longer just offering users the opportunity to “stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them,” to quote Facebook’s ‘vision statement.’ They are telling them what they can, and cannot, say. They are even trying to shape what they think.

It seems a near certainty that well-capitalised business interests will be noticing this – and preparing to eat their lunch. That could significantly affect what at the moment is looking like a descent into an information dictatorship.

February 19, 2021 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

The CDC’s double mask mannequin ‘study’ is lunacy dressed up as science

A new “public health” low

By Jordan Schachtel | The Dossier | February 10, 2021

The CDC has released a new “study” by the government health institution that claims to support the thesis that double-masking — or further sealing your mask in order to make it more difficult to breathe — will work to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The “study,” which occurred in January, was nothing more than a handful of experiments on mannequins in a contained environment. Here are some photos from the CDC “study” that was published today:

No human beings were involved in this study. And yes, it was that simple. The CDC sprayed aerosols at mannequins and slapped a science™ label on their experiments.

There are endless amounts of clear, immediate, obvious issues with this “study” that causes a rational-minded person to send it to the dumpster.

First and foremost, it is not a completed study at all. These are mere experiments conducted on mannequins, not humans. A proper study on the efficacy of masks needs to be a randomized controlled trial involving human beings in their normal settings — such as the Danish mask study that showed there is no evidence that masks do anything to prevent COVID-19 — and not mannequins in a laboratory.

Second, as you can see on the double masked mannequin, the lifeless object is barely able to “see” over its double mask.

Third, these masks are very tightly sealed and secured to the face of the mannequins. It is not exactly rocket science to “discover” that it is more difficult to breathe in particles from outside of a contained environment when you fully seal something over your face.

However, this is unsustainable, as it would make breathing in oxygen (which, you know, is a thing that humans need to do) very difficult, and cause severe discomfort for regular use. Mannequins don’t have to worry about breathing or seeing, but humans do.

There are so many more potential variables and side effects involving mask-wearing, and how human behavior cannot be replicated through mannequin experiments. For more on this, check out the feed of cognitive scientist Mark Changhizi on Twitter @MarkChanghizi.

When you read the fine print of the “study,” even the CDC seems to acknowledge the aforementioned paradoxes in the following paragraph of their report:

“Finally, although use of double masking or knotting and tucking are two of many options that can optimize fit and enhance mask performance for source control and for wearer protection, double masking might impede breathing or obstruct peripheral vision for some wearers, and knotting and tucking can change the shape of the mask such that it no longer covers fully both the nose and the mouth of persons with larger faces.”

The CDC concludes its remarks by stating:

“Continued innovative efforts to improve the fit of cloth and medical procedure masks to enhance their performance merit attention.”

Not exactly much of a bombshell, but that’s not how the media and Big Tech interpreted it in order to advance their agenda.

The absurd CDC mannequin study has already been promoted by countless legacy media publications and propped up by social media sites as if it’s the gospel.

Twitter has promoted the “mask study” to #1 in its curated list, claiming, without evidence, that the CDC has “confirmed” the efficacy of double mask wearing.

Eric @IAmTheActualET

Hi @TwitterSupport I’d like to report @Twitter for spreading misinformation

February 10th 2021

77 Retweets

There is no real, functional experiment-based science behind single-masking, so it shouldn’t be particularly surprising that the “public health experts,” media stenographers, and power drunk politicians are now promoting double-masking as the “new science” to “stop the spread” of COVID-19.

February 14, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | Leave a comment

Twitter suspends account of Russian arms control delegation, head diplomat wonders about censorship

RT | February 13, 2021

The Twitter account of the Russian delegation that represents the country at OSCE-hosted arms control talks in Vienna has been suspended by the US platform. The head of the team suggested it was an act of Big Tech censorship.

The unexplained ban of the account was reported on Saturday by Russia’s chief negotiator, Konstantin Gavrilov. He pondered what the reason for the decision might have been, suggesting it could have been retaliation for voicing Russia’s “alternative position … on the trends of the current [political-military] situation in Europe”.

The frozen account carried the standard Twitter notice, stating that the platform “suspends accounts which violate the Twitter Rules” at the time of posting.

Various arms control talks in Vienna are hosted by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). This week, the body hosted a key forum called the High-Level Military Doctrine Seminar, which is gathered once every five years. The Russian military, surprisingly, snubbed the event, citing “unfriendly” Western policies, but the Gavrilov-led delegation participated.

The Russian official said he would be asking OSCE Secretary General Helga Schmid to join Russia’s demand for clarification from Twitter, which he otherwise expected to be unanswered. Meanwhile, his own account would be used to publish relevant content, he added.

February 13, 2021 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | | Leave a comment