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THE STAKES IN 2018: TYRANNY OR FREEDOM

By Allum Bokhari - breitbart.com

Imagine living in a world where a few executives in Silicon Valley, along with a couple of credit card companies, get to control what you say, who you interact with, what causes you can support, whose products you can buy and whether you can run a business.

Political domination by Silicon Valley and progressive corporations likely outcome if Republican voters don't turn out in sufficient numbers this Tuesday. America has already caught a glimpse of the coming corporate dystopia. Over the past two years, we've seen a massive, largely unchecked assault on Americans' ability to enjoy their constitutional freedoms, led by unaccountable CEOs and relentlessly encouraged by Democrats and the establishment media.

The most striking example of this undemocratic collusion between political factions and corporations was the mass-ban of Alex Jones and Infowars. Love him or loathe him, Jones was the most censored man in media this year, facing permanent bans from Apple podcasts, Apple's App Store, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, LinkedIn, Vimeo, Mailchimp, and even Pinterest. The mass purge followed weeks of lobbying by CNN for Silicon Valley to take action.

Other conservative figures who have been blacklisted by big tech this year include CRTV host Gavin McInnes (on both Twitter and Facebook), Islam critic Tommy Robinson, Republican organizer R.C. Maxwell, and former adviser to President Nixon, Roger Stone.

Meanwhile, far-left extremists like the notorious racist and recent New York Times hire Sarah Jeong are given privileged treatment by social media companies. Despite engaging in hate speech that would get a conservative banned in minutes, Jeong was verified by Twitter, guaranteeing that her tweets will be promoted in the influential platform's algorithm. Also verified - Sleeping Giants, a group whose sole purpose is to spread misinformation and slander about conservative news publications to their advertisers.

Social media companies don't have to ban any kind of lawful speech. They could easily devolve that power to users via opt-in filters. But even as the platforms have become modern public squares - essential arenas for Americans to exercise their First Amendment rights - they have developed a ceaselessly expanding list of rules, regulations, and prohibitions on lawful speech.

The social media platforms and their allies in the Democrat-corporate media complex avoid public use of the word "censorship" to describe these policies. Democrats go so far as to call it a conspiracy theory. But thanks to a leaked internal briefing from Google, we know that big tech privately admits what we all know to be true - that a few companies now control the majority of online speech, and that they've shifted towards censorship.

Beyond social media censorship, conservatives are being choked off financially. Under pressure from Mastercard and the far-left SPLC, the online donations site Patreon cut off support to Islam critic Robert Spencer earlier this year. Because the pressure comes from the banks and credit card companies at the very top of the financial food chain, it's also impossible to simply set up a free-speech oriented competitor to Patreon - attempts to do so, in the form of FreeStartr and MakerSupport, were effectively ended when the online payment processors Stripe and PayPal withdrew their services.

Thanks to the crackdown from credit cards and payment processors, the right are now finding it increasingly difficult to fundraise for their political causes online. And thanks to the bans on social media platforms, they can't mobilize their supporters online either. This is unprecedented election interference, far beyond the wildest Democrat conspiracy theory about Russia.

Even the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization with a left-leaning culture, is concerned. Here's what an EFF spokeswoman told Breitbart News earlier this year:

EFF is deeply concerned that payment processors are making choices about which websites can and can't accept payments or process donations. This can have a huge impact on what types of speech are allowed to flourish online. We've seen examples - such as when WikiLeaks faced a banking blockade - of payment processors and other financial institutions shutting down the accounts of websites engaged in legal but unpopular speech. I'm deeply concerned that we're letting banks and payment processors turn into de facto Internet censors.

It's not just political speech and fundraising, though. If you run a business that progressives find objectionable, corporate America will come for you too.

Driven by opportunistic progressive hysteria following school shootings, Bank of America and Citigroup launched an unprecedented assault on the Second Amendment earlier this year. Citigroup, the fourth-largest bank in the U.S., announced in March that it would sever its relationships with gun stores that did not adhere to a number of gun control policies demanded by progressive activists, including a ban on bump stocks and high capacity magazines. Bank of America followed suit later in the year, while Stripe now refuses to process payments for gun makers.

The corporate assault on the Second Amendment has plunged the National Rifle Association (NRA) into a financial crisis. The nonprofit has filed a lawsuit against New York governor Andrew Cuomo for encouraging the corporate boycotts of the organization, saying: "If the NRA is unable to collect donations from its members, safeguard the assets endowed to it, apply its funds to cover media buys and other expenses integral to its political speech, and obtain basic corporate insurance coverage, it will be unable to exist as a not-for-profit or pursue its advocacy mission

This corporate coup represents a new kind of constitutional crisis for America. What good is the First Amendment or the Second Amendment if the services that Americans rely on to conduct their day-to-day activities use their power to make those rights meaningless? It's like equal rights for African-Americans in the Jim Crow south. On paper, they had them. In practice, they did not.

There is no free-market fix to this problem, unless you think building a competitor to Mastercard and Visa is a viable option, or that Google, Facebook Apple, YouTube and Twitter will lose their dominant positions in the market overnight. And even if that were possible, who's to say that their replacements won't become just as authoritarian in their policies?

You cannot overcome the incentives. Mega-corporations face pressure from within; inherently left-leaning HR departments and metropolitan liberal employees. They also face pressure from without: Democrat lawmakers, relentless and well-funded leftwing activists, and of course legacy media like CNN.

And that's not counting the fact that CEOs in Silicon Valley lean left, while the heads of major banks are globalist-liberal almost by definition. None of these companies will voluntarily flip to a pro-liberty position. If they did, they would face immediate pressure campaign from politicians, media outlets, activists, commercial partners, and their own employees. Even if they wanted to - and most don't - it's simply not worth it.

Just as legislation fixed the erosion of African-Americans' constitutional rights under Jim Crow, only legislation will fix the new corporate tyranny. But it'll never happen if Democrats, who are both the allies and ideological leaders of this corporate coup, take control of either the House or Senate in a few days. If Republican voters don't like being ruled by Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, and a handful of other CEOs, they must turn out on Tuesday.

















E-Mail: NORTHSTARZONE@YAHOO.COM

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