Johnathan Jones


Conservatives have long complained about Big Tech’s censorship, but now Google-owned YouTube is deleting user comments that are critical of the Chinese Communist Party.

The news was reported by PC Mag the same day Twitter used its new fact-check directive to hit posts from President Donald Trump about the potential for fraud in widespread mail-in voting, which is being touted by Democrats and activist reporters.

As a number of Democratic governors across the country have used their executive powers to impose restrictions on citizens, Big Tech is hard at work controlling their activities online.

That apparently includes YouTube’s removal of some critical comments about the authoritarian regime that unleashed the coronavirus pandemic on the world.

PC Mag reported that two Chinese phrases, when posted in the YouTube comments section, disappear within roughly 30 seconds.

The phrases are “共匪” (Gong-Fei) and “五毛” (Wu-Mao),” the outlet reported.

“The first term means Communist bandit while the second phrase refers to internet users who covertly work to manipulate public opinion on behalf of China’s government. Try to type either term into YouTube’s comment sections and the post will mysteriously disappear about 30 seconds later,” PC Mag’s Michael Kan noted.

Virtual reality entrepreneur Palmer Luckey, who founded Oculus VR before selling it to Facebook in 2014, pointed out the issue on Twitter.

“Who at Google decided to censor American comments on American videos hosted in America by an American platform that is already banned in China?” he tweeted Monday.

Indeed, why would YouTube — or its parent, Google — go to such lengths to ban comments critical of a government that has banned it?

According to Google, those comments are being deleted because of a software issue.

“Upon review by our teams, we have confirmed this was an error in our enforcement systems and we are working to fix it as quickly as possible,” a YouTube representative said in a statement emailed to The Western Journal.

The company said the issue “was not the result of any change in its moderation policy,” according to The Verge, and had gone on unnoticed for six months.

YouTube said it has been relying more on automation during the coronavirus pandemic.

The answer wasn’t good enough for Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, who was already peeved by Twitter’s move against the president Tuesday.

Hawley, a Republican, shared Luckey’s tweet and demanded an answer from Google.

“I’d like to know the answer to this @Google,” Sen. Hawley wrote.

Indeed, by Wednesday morning, Hawley had written a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai demanding that answer.

Hawley asked Pichai to “explain whether Google or its partners had any conversations with members, representatives, or proxies of the Chinese Communist Party about these terms.”

The senator also appeared on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” Wednesday morning and discussed the issue by tying it in with Twitter’s actions against conservatives, including the president.

“Here is the bottom line on this: Big Tech gets a huge handout from the federal government. They get this special immunity, this special immunity from suits and from liability that’s worth billions of dollars to them every year,” Hawley said.

“Why are they getting subsidized by federal taxpayers to censor conservatives, to censor people critical of China?” he asked. “They need to explain. We need some answers.”

Hawley later took to Twitter to call for an end to social media’s protection from civil liability under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which is outdated and was designed with the intent to “promote the continued development of the Internet and other interactive computer services and other interactive media” way back in 1996.

It’s safe to say we have reached a point where “interactive media” and “interactive computer services,” such as Google and Twitter, have grown far beyond what could have been foreseen 24 years ago.

Big Tech has not only matured beyond the language of Section 230, it has grown into a cancer that is silencing or muffling Americans, including a sitting president, and is stooging for a communist human rights abuser that has outlawed its use by Chinese citizens.

Social media platforms have become a virtual town square, where people gather to discuss, debate and share ideas.

The ability of some Americans to participate in them should not be held hostage to foreign interests and the whims of a handful of far-left tech billionaires in Silicon Valley.

The time to hold Big Tech accountable for its influence on American life has long passed.

Author: Johnathan Jones

Source: Western Journal: Comments Critical of Chinese Communist Party Are Being Removed from YouTube, Company Calls It ‘Error’

A new Gallup survey finds that Republicans are happier and less prone to feeling anxious, lonely or bored than Democrats amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Gallup began tracking the demographics of the emotions that coincide with the nation’s health and economic crises on March 23 and found that overall, people are worrying less in May than they were two months ago.

As states begin to reopen from lockdowns, according to the poll released on Monday, more Americans are feeling happier.

In the most recent poll, conducted between April 27 and May 10, 72 percent of respondents reported feeling happy “during a lot of the day yesterday.” That is an increase of 5 percentage points from March 23-April 5, when 67 percent of people answered the same way.

Meanwhile, 47 percent of those surveyed in the most recent poll reported feeling a sense of worry “during a lot of the day yesterday.”

By comparison, 59 percent of respondents reported feeling worried when asked the same question in late March and early April.

In its most recent survey, Gallup noted a correlation between emotions and the party affiliation of respondents.

A higher percentage of Republicans and independents reported feeling happiness when compared to the share of Democrats who said they felt that way. Meanwhile, Democrats seemed to report feeling negative emotions at a generally higher rate than Republicans and independents.

But Republicans seemed to be the happiest of the bunch.

Seventy-seven percent of Republicans reported feeling happiness during the day prior to being surveyed, compared to 74 percent of independents and 66 percent of Democrats.

More Democrats than Republicans also reported feeling the emotions of loneliness and boredom on the day prior to being surveyed.

Twenty-eight percent of Democrats reported feeling loneliness, compared to 23 percent of independents and 19 percent of Republicans.

Independents were most likely to be bored (43 percent), compared to 42 percent of Democrats and 40 percent of Republicans.

The survey also found that Democrats were far more worried than any of the groups surveyed, and edged out Republicans in this category by 20 points.

Fifty-eight percent of Democrats said they had felt worried a day prior to being polled, compared to 44 percent of independents and 38 percent of Republicans.

“Results for this Gallup poll are based on self-administered web surveys conducted April 27-May 10, 2020, with a random sample of 8,712 U.S. adults, aged 18 and older, who are members of the Gallup Panel. Gallup uses probability-based, random sampling methods to recruit its Panel members,” the polling organization noted.

“For results based on any individual sample, the margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. Margins of error for subgroups are higher.”

Author: Johnathan Jones

Source: Western Journal: Poll: Democrats Are Significantly More Miserable Than Republicans

Dave Portnoy, the founder of the blog Barstool Sports, delivered an impassioned and very vulgar speech on social media Wednesday after growing fed up with how coronavirus lockdowns are damaging jobs and the economy.

Venting in a video Twitter post that he described as “corona rant time,” Portnoy laid into government officials for moving the goal posts in regard to opening back up the economy, and said he would rather die from the coronavirus than lose his business.

“When did this become ‘flatten the curve,’ ‘flatten the curve,’ ‘flatten the curve,’ to ‘we have to find a cure or everyone’s going to die?’” Portnoy said.

Portnoy aimed some of his ire at Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who he described as a “nice enough dude.”

“He gets in front of the Senate, he’s like, ‘We reopen the country too quick, everyone’s dead!’ Where’d that come from?” he added.

“And the LA mayor, ‘We’re not opening the city ’til we find a cure’? What? Find a cure? What? Who says we’re gonna find a cure? We haven’t found a cure to cancer. It took AIDS 20 years or whatever — do we even have a cure? So the economy is just shut down?” Portnoy continued.

Pointing out that there are now ample resources for hospitals to handle an influx of patients, Portnoy called out some state and local governments for “changing the rules.”

The Barstool Sports founder said he’s concerned that if the lockdowns continue, people will not have jobs and companies to return to.

“You’ve got to give these people a choice,” Portnoy said. “If you told me, because of corona I lost Barstool, I had to get a 9-to-5 and start f—ing over, I’d rather die of corona. Seriously. Or at least take my chances.

“I’m not saying everybody would do that. I would. But if I’ve dedicated 20 years of my life I don’t want to start over. I’ll f—ing deal with corona,” he said.

“You can’t just make everybody stay inside and basically start over. It’s insane. What the f— do they think is going to happen?” Portnoy asked. “At some level, we’ve done what you asked us to do. If you’re that scared still of corona, stay inside. The beds are open.”

“There are no great options, but you can’t just decimate the entire economy! How the f— is that gonna work?” he added. “We’re staying inside until there’s a cure?”

“There’s risk. We’re Americans. You have to take risk!” Portnoy said.

“If people want to go out, they can go out. If they want to stay in, they stay in,” he added. “We have no chance if you don’t let people go outside. This country is going to be done-zo. No one is going to have jobs, no one is going to have businesses. It’s going to be done. It’s over. Let me roll the dice and play with corona or at least give me the choice.”

As of Thursday, Portnoy’s rant had been viewed 4.7 million times on Twitter and shared more than 60,000 times.

Portnoy previously had a public feud with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York after the freshman democratic socialist congresswoman criticized Barstool Sports last year in response to a joke Portnoy made about firing employees who might attempt to start a union.

The congresswoman accused Portnoy of breaking the law.

“If you’re a boss tweeting firing threats to employees trying to unionize, you are likely breaking the law &can be sued,in your words, “on the spot,” she wrote. “ALL workers in the US have the protected freedom to organize for better conditions.”

Ocasio-Cortez attempted to use the saga to raise money for her campaign, but Portnoy ended up coming out on top after Barstool Sports was flooded with record-breaking online traffic.

Portnoy challenged the Democrat to a debate, which never happened,

Portnoy also criticized AOC on Fox News:

“I don’t think she has any clue who we are or what we do. She just jumped in the fray like an idiot and now it helped us. But, yeah, it was a good day for Barstool. It continues to be,” he said.

Author: Johnathan Jones

Source: Western Journal: Sports Media Mogul Unleashes Against Lockdown Restrictions: ‘It’s Insane’

Former first lady Michelle Obama has announced she is supporting a Democrat-authored bill that would force states to expand vote-by-mail options amid the coronavirus pandemic.

As Democrats nationwide push for the upcoming November election to be conducted largely by mail, Obama has announced her support for a bill that would require every state to offer voters absentee ballots.

Through her celebrity-centric voting rights group When We All Vote, Obama said she plans to support the Democrat-written Resilient Elections During Quarantines and Natural Disasters Act.

“There is nothing partisan about striving to live up to the promise of our country; making the democracy we all cherish more accessible; and protecting our neighbors, friends and loved ones as they participate in this cornerstone of American life,” she said in a statement to Axios.

The former first lady also tweeted her support for the bill Monday, saying, “No American should have to choose between making their voice heard and staying safe. Expanding access to #VoteByMail, online voter registration and early voting are critical steps for this moment — they’re also long overdue.”

The proposed legislation she’s supporting was written by Democrat Reps. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, Suzan DelBene of Washington and Jamie Raskin of Maryland.

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden is also a co-author of the bill.

In the legislation, Democrats ask for $500 million in grants to make blank absentee ballots easily accessible and request that those ballots be counted as long as they are postmarked by Election Day.

The bill also calls for all registered voters nationwide to be eligible for absentee voting and would require ballots printed at home to be accepted — in addition to allowing voters to request ballots up until five days before an election.

While the rules on absentee voting vary from state to state, some states currently require voters to request a mail-in ballot, along with a valid excuse for why they intend to vote via mail.

The Democrat lawmakers claim in the legislation that expansion of vote-by-mail will “be important in the event that mail is delayed due to large numbers of postal workers being quarantined.”

Many Republicans, however, worry about the potential for fraud and abuse with widescale voting by mail.

Former Obama administration adviser Valerie Jarrett also spoke to Axios about the proposed legalization.

Regarding the Wisconsin primary, in which voters showed up in-person to vote last week, Jarrett said seeing people vote in-person is “concerning” during the coronavirus outbreak.

“We all saw those lines,” Jarrett said. “It was just deeply, profoundly concerning.”

“Our goal is to just try to make sure we maximize the number of citizens who can participate in that most fundamental and important responsibility,” Jarrett told Axios.

Jarrett sits on the board of When We All Vote, which has never endorsed any specific voting legislation, until now.

Axios reported the group’s support for the Resilient Elections During Quarantines and Natural Disasters Act is “the first time the celebrity-backed organization has endorsed federal legislation — and it comes as Democrats await the Obamas’ return to the political stage to help Joe Biden.”

When We All Vote describes itself as “a non-profit, nonpartisan organization that is on a mission to increase participation in every election and close the race and age voting gap by changing the culture around voting, harnessing grassroots energy, and through strategic partnerships to reach every American.”

The group is co-chaired by Obama, pop singer Selena Gomez, actor Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, NBA point guard Chris Paul, country singers Faith Hill and Tim McGraw and a number of other celebrities.

Soccer star Megan Rapinoe, who is a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, also is listed as a co-chairwoman of the organization.

Trump has emerged as a leading voice against expanding absentee voting.

The president was asked by ABC News’ Jonathan Karl if the country should expand absentee voting earlier this month at a media briefing.

“I think people should vote with ID, voter ID. I think voter ID is very important, and the reason [Democrats] don’t want voter ID is because they intend to cheat,” Trump said.

“It should be you go to a booth and you proudly display yourself … You should vote at the booth. And you should have voter ID, because when you have voter ID, that’s the real deal,” he concluded.

Author: Johnathan Jones

Source: Western Journal: Michelle Obama Joins with Congressional Democrats in New Push for Mail-In Voting

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Wednesday she might be inclined to delay passage of a $2 trillion bipartisan coronavirus stimulus package.

Senate lawmakers from both parties and the White House struck a tentative deal early Wednesday to move forward on legislation to offer relief to American workers and businesses currently being affected by nationwide shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“At last, we have a deal. After days of intense discussions, the Senate has reached a bipartisan agreement on a historic relief package for this pandemic,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday morning, NBC News reported.

“In effect, this is a wartime level of investment for our nation,” McConnell added.

“Struggling Americans are going to go to their mailboxes and find four-figure checks to help with their bills. Why? Because the Senate stepped up.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, said, “Help is on the way, big help.”

If the deal is passed by the Senate, it could make its way to President Donald Trump’s desk quickly, with CNN reporting that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her caucus on Wednesday she would like for the House to adopt the measure by unanimous consent.

As The Hill noted, a bill can only be passed by unanimous consent if no lawmakers object.

But Ocasio-Cortez says she is currently deciding whether or not she might request a recorded, in-person vote on the relief package in the House.

The move would force House members who are not currently in Washington, D.C., to travel there to vote.

“With the health risks of travel, there is no easy choice here,” the freshman lawmaker from New York told CNN.

“But essential workers are showing up and putting their health at risk every day, and if the final text of a bill is set up to hurt them, [a recorded vote] may be something we have to do,” she added.

Ocasio-Cortez said she had not yet seen a final draft of the bill.

But “I’m open” to forcing a recorded vote “if necessary,” she said.

CNN reported that if Ocasio-Cortez decides to ask for a recorded vote, it could delay passage of the legislation by several days.

Pelosi said in a conference call with her Democratic colleagues she’s discussed with the House physician’s office any precautions that might need to be taken in the event of a recorded vote, a source close to congressional negations told CNN.

Axios White House reporter Alayna Treene reported Pelosi supports the bipartisan bill, but did complain it was not as far-reaching as a bill introduced by House Democrats on Monday.

“This bipartisan legislation takes us a long way down the road in meeting the needs of the American people. While the compromise does not go as far as our[s] … the bill has moved a great deal closer to America’s workers,” Pelosi said.

Ocasio-Cortez was not the only lawmaker to express concern about adopting the measure via unanimous consent.

“I know we’re in a very challenging time,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters Wednesday.

“I know we have members who are quarantined, members who are battling the virus, members in New York City who could not travel here without 14 days, but I don’t believe we should pass a $2 trillion package by unanimous consent.”

Later, Pelosi acknowledged to PBS that “I don’t think we can get unanimous consent” on the bill.

The Senate was set to vote on the legislation at some point Wednesday evening, NBC reported.

Author: Johnathan Jones

Source: Western Journal: Ocasio-Cortez Warns She’s ‘Open’ To Single-Handedly Delaying Coronavirus Bill ‘If Necessary’

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