By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
I have railed against Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube for censoring conservatives and their voices on the Internet. I also don’t like the fact that the Russians, Chinese, Iranians and the North Koreans are all messing with our accounts and spreading massive propaganda out on the Internet. But calling for the regulation of the Internet hands the oversight of it over to big government… or ‘the swamp’ if you will. That’s a catastrophic idea, especially if the leftists regain full control. And of course it’s one that Senate Democrats embrace. Enter Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), who has for some time now been pushing for exactly that.
A leaked memo has been circulating among Senate Democrats over this. A copy made it’s way to Axios and then to Reason, where I learned of it thanks to a friend who gave me a head’s up on it. That memo contains a slew of simply insane authoritarian proposals for regulating digital platforms. All in the name of fighting Russian intervention by bots and fake news. That’s not it at all… it’s to silence conservative voices out there once and for all. Take the freest communication platform in the world and give oversight to the feds and there goes your freedom of speech. To ostensibly save American trust in “our institutions, democracy, free press, and markets,” it suggests we need unprecedented and undemocratic government intervention into online media and markets, including “comprehensive (GDPR-like) data protection legislation” of the sort enacted in the E.U. That right there is a door to globalist intervention and one world government.
The paper is entitled, “Potential Policy Proposals for Regulation of Social Media and Technology Firms.” Sounds benign right? It’s no such thing. You can read the leaked paper here. It starts out by noting that Russians have long spread disinformation, including when “the Soviets tried to spread ‘fake news’ denigrating Martin Luther King.” Some of that was fake and some of it wasn’t – that’s another discussion for another day. It’s replete with justifications and if you think social media is bad now, just wait until something like this is enacted. A couple of weeks ago, Twitter purged millions of accounts they said were bogus. Today, Facebook purged seventeen they said were foreign propaganda accounts. But liberals are being judge and jury here on those platforms. They probably are what they say they are, but after the way leftists on Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube have shadow banned, purged and censored those on the right the way they have, do you trust they’ll do the right thing here?
“Today’s tools seem almost built for Russian disinformation techniques,” Warner opines. What he should have said was they were built for leftist fascism techniques as well. Get everyone hooked on them and then close the gate, since there are no viable conservative outlets out there. Warner claims that other communication platforms on the way will be even worse and we must ‘do something’ now, damn it! Not.
Here’s how Warner is suggesting we deal:
Mandatory location verification. The paper suggests forcing social media platforms to authenticate and disclose the geographic origin of all user accounts or posts.
Mandatory identity verification: The paper suggests forcing social media and tech platforms to authenticate user identities and only allow “authentic” accounts (“inauthentic accounts not only pose threats to our democratic process…but undermine the integrity of digital markets”), with “failure to appropriately address inauthentic account activity” punishable as “a violation of both SEC disclosure rules and/or Section 5 of the [Federal Trade Commission] Act.”
Bot labeling: Warner’s paper suggests forcing companies to somehow label bots or be penalized (no word from Warner on how this is remotely feasible)
Define popular tech as “essential facilities.” These would be subject to all sorts of heightened rules and controls, says the paper, offering Google Maps as an example of the kinds of apps or platforms that might count. “The law would not mandate that a dominant provider offer the serve for free,” writes Warner. “Rather, it would be required to offer it on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms” provided by the government.
Other proposals include more disclosure requirements for online political speech, more spending to counter supposed cybersecurity threats, more funding for the Federal Trade Commission, a requirement that companies’ algorithms can be audited by the feds (and this data shared with universities and others), and a requirement of “interoperability between dominant platforms.”
It’s also putting forth that tech platforms would have to turn over internal data and processes to “independent public interest researchers” so they can identify potential “public health/addiction effects, anticompetitive behavior, radicalization,” scams, “user propagated misinformation” and harassment—data that could be used to “inform actions by regulators or Congress.” All of this entails more revisions to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, recently amended by Congress to exclude protections for prostitution-related content. In this revision, users could demand that content be taken down and if a platform doesn’t do so, they could be sued or held liable. An admission is made that “attempting to distinguish between true disinformation and legitimate satire could prove difficult.” Ya think? It is ripe and primed for abuse.
“The proposals in the paper are wide ranging and in some cases even politically impossible, and raise almost as many questions as they try to answer,” suggested Mathew Ingram, at the Columbia Journalism Review. This is how dictatorships are born. Control the media and the communication channels and you are good to go.
“The size and reach of these platforms demand that we ensure proper oversight, transparency and effective management of technologies that in large measure undergird our social lives, our economy, and our politics,” the paper says. “The hope is that the ideas enclosed here stir the pot and spark a wider discussion — among policymakers, stakeholders, and civil society groups — on the appropriate trajectory of technology policy in the coming years.” This is not aimed at breaking up giant social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google or YouTube. It is meant to nationalize them, control them and thereby Americans’ communications via their platforms.
Warner, who made his fortune in telecommunications before running for office, has been a prominent critic of major social media platforms from his perch as top Democrat overseeing the intelligence committee’s investigation of Russian election interference. Other members of Congress say they share some of his concerns about disinformation, privacy and competition. But he’s not concerned in the way that users are. He’s concerned solely with control. Warner, in my opinion, is a Marxist with a control fetish.
Warner is not clean by any means when it comes to connections to the Russians himself. He made $6 million from Russian search engine and tech company Yandex in 2012. That’s right, the guy screaming the loudest about the Russians is in bed with them himself. At the time, that was ten percent of Warner’s entire worth. Yandex, based in Moscow, is the largest search engine in Russia. And this guy is the Vice Chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus and the Vice Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Security risk anyone? Bueller?
And Warner’s connections go much deeper – via KeyWiki.org:
Adam Waldman is the founder, chairman, and president of the Endeavor Group, a D.C. consultancy based about two blocks from the White House. In May 2009, Waldman filed paperwork with the DOJ indicating he would be working with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska to provide “legal advice on issues involving his U.S. visa as well as commercial transactions.”
Deripaska had his U.S. visa revoked in 2006 due to longstanding concerns about his links to organized crime and because the State Department was concerned he lied to American investigators who were looking into his business. However, in August and October 2009, shortly after he began working with Waldman, Deripaska was allowed to make two visits to the U.S. During those trips, Deripaska met with FBI agents about an unspecified criminal probe and with top executives at American companies. The Wall Street Journal reported Deripaska’s 2009 trip included meetings with Morgan Stanley, General Motors, and Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein.
In his initial FARA paperwork, Waldman indicated Endeavor would receive “a monthly retainer of $40,000” for his work with Deripaska. Waldman also said Deripaska was not being “supervised” or “directed” by any foreign government. However, in October 2010, Waldman made another filing indicating he would be working with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, “gathering information and providing advice and analysis as it relates to the U.S. policy towards the visa status of Oleg Deripaska.”
As part of its work with Lavrov, Waldman said Endeavor would “engage in correspondence and meetings with U.S. policymakers” about Deripaska’s visa. Waldman indicated he had no “formal written contract” with Lavrov and did not specify how much he was being paid. However, Waldman included a letter Lavrov wrote to him Sept. 15, 2010 describing the assignment.
“Mr. Deripaska is one of our country’s prominent business leaders who controls or directly manages a significant number of enterprises, which employ hundreds of thousands of people in Russia. … Yet over the past several years, there has been certain ambiguity upon his visa status in the United States. A persistent state of limbo regarding Mr. Deripaska’s ability to travel freely between our two countries has become an impediment to the promotion of mutually advantageous contacts between the business communities of the two countries,” Lavrov wrote to Waldman. “The Russian side has raised this issue with various U.S. officials on numerous occasions, including in the course of bilateral discussion with both the White House and the State Department at different levels. I believe the involvement of your firm will contribute to the ongoing efforts aimed at achieving a successful resolution of this problem.”
Business Insider contacted the State Department to inquire about Deripaska’s visa status Tuesday. Citing the confidentiality of visa records, a State Department spokesman declined to comment. Waldman has not responded to multiple requests for comment from Business Insider about his work with Deripaska and Lavrov. Based on the information in his 2009 FARA filing, Waldman has received at least $2.36 million working to help Deripaska with his visa.
Deripaska did travel however to the United States on a diplomatic visa according to court documents and an affidavit provided to the Manhattan court for a lawsuit over financial disputes.
The text messages of Senator Mark Warner to Adam Waldman demanded complete secrecy and no… NO paper trail.
“We have so much to discuss u need to be careful but we can help our country,” Warner texted the lobbyist, Adam Waldman, on March 22, 2017.
“I’m in,” Waldman, whose firm has ties to Hillary Clinton, texted back to Warner.
Throughout the text exchanges, Warner seemed particularly intent on connecting directly with Steele without anyone else on the Senate Intelligence Committee being in the loop — at least initially. In one text to the lobbyist, Warner wrote that he would “rather not have a paper trail” of his messages. Waldman is best known for signing a $40,000 monthly retainer in 2009 and 2010 to lobby the U.S. government on behalf of controversial Russian billionaire Oleg V. Deripaska. Deripraska had his visa revoked by the State Department in 2006 because of charges, which he has denied, that he has organized crime ties.
The conversation about Steele started on March 16, 2017, when Waldman texted, “Chris Steele asked me to call you.”
Warner responded, “Will call tomorrow be careful.”
The records show Warner and Waldman had trouble connecting by phone. On March 20, Warner pressed Waldman by text to get him access to Steele.
“Can you talk tomorrow want to get with ur English friend,” Warner texted.
“I spoke to him yesterday,” Waldman texted.
“We have so much to discuss u need to be careful but we can help our country”
Warner, in text to lobbyist Adam Waldman, March 22, 2017
The two men appear to have finally connected about Steele by phone on March 22, according to the records.
“Hey just tried u again gotta give a speech but really want to finish our talk,” Warner texted.
Waldman, at one point, texted back that Steele really wanted a bi-partisan letter requesting his testimony first. He added that Steele was concerned about word leaking to the media that they were talking.
With Warner’s Russian and crime syndicate connections, should he be dictating what to do with social media on the Internet? Should he even be sitting on the Senate Intelligence Committee? Perhaps someone should look into Warner’s past a little more closely, because he seems awful chummy with communists, including those in Cuba. Just sayin’. Or don’t we do background checks on powerful politicians in the U.S. these days? We really, really should.
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