This is not a First Amendment issue

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Photo by dole777 on Unsplash

In the wake of the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol Building, the role that social media companies and private enterprise play in policing hate speech will be a fiercely debated political topic.

Parler — a social media company popular with American conservatives — is perhaps the most famous example. In comparison to Twitter and Facebook, Parler distinguishes itself as being a platform that does not moderate its users’ content.

Google and Apple removed Parler from their app stores after the January 6th insurrection. Amazon Web Services (AWS) soon followed suit, removing Parler from its cloud hosting service. …


Eyes around the world can see our political inaction

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Photo by dx Stub on Unsplash

January 6th was a day for the history books as insurrectionists stormed the US Capitol Building. In the aftermath of the failed coup, it is tempting to talk about a second Civil War; however, there is one aspect that remains a distinct possibility — foreign intervention.

This is not to say that a foreign country is ready to invade America’s borders, but leaders around the world can see the American government’s current paralysis. Opponents make take advantage of this chaos.

Take Iran as an example. Iran vowed retribution for the targeted assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, as Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei reminded Iranian citizens on the one-year anniversary of the assassination earlier this month. Iran is in a tough bind. Twice in one year, two prominent Iranians — Soleimani along with top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh — were killed. …


What George Orwell gets right — and wrong — about Trump

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Photo by History in HD on Unsplash

Twitter permanently deactivated President Donald Trump’s account on January 8th, leading to outrage among many of Trump’s supporters.

“Big Tech wants to cancel all 75M @realDonaldTrump supporters,” Jason Miller, a longtime advisor to the president, wrote on Twitter. “Silencing people, not to mention the President of the US, is what happens in China [sic] not our country,” tweeted former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. …


Millionaires with public platforms tell their supporters to be angry. The results are dangerous

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Photo by MIKE STOLL on Unsplash

The United States was shocked, though perhaps not surprised, that President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol Building on January 6th. Trump has long flirted with violence. His Republican opponents during the 2016 Republican primary — including many of the same Republicans who support his “Stop the Steal” movement now — warned that he incited violence at his campaign rallies.

Fast forward to 2021, where Trump has tweeted for his supporters to meet him in Washington, DC for a rally on Electoral College certification day. He telegraphed his displeasure that his vice president would not stop the certification process. Trump promised primary challengers to Republicans who would not voice objections. …


The Nebraska Senator is no Trump acolyte, but he waits for political opportunity to speak his mind

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Photo by Darren Halstead on Unsplash

Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) wrote a lengthy Facebook post in which he urged his Republican colleagues to refrain from objecting during the Electoral College certification process. While Sasse did not call out anyone by name, he probably felt compelled to write the post after Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) announced his intention to voice his objection on January 6th. Since Hawley’s statement, eleven additional Senate Republicans revealed their intentions to object to the certification.

In the Facebook post, Sasse clarified to his supporters why politicians continue to allege voter fraud. “Let’s be clear what is happening here: We have a bunch of ambitious politicians who think there’s a quick way to tap into the president’s populist base without doing any real, long-term damage,” Sasse explains. …


Republicans do not see a reason to change their public messaging following the 2020 presidential election

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Photo by Elliott Stallion on Unsplash

In the aftermath of the 2012 presidential election, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus unveiled an “autopsy” on the party’s loss. The autopsy detailed a plan that the RNC believed would be the key to future party victory, including extensive outreach to women as well as African-American, Asian, Hispanic, and gay voters. Republican policies were popular, Preibus alleged; it was the messaging that needed tinkering.

Four years later, Donald Trump secured the Republican nomination and the presidency while largely ignoring any outreach to those voters. He is who he is, warts and all; his supporters love him for it.

Following the 2020 presidential election, Democrats — the party that unseated an incumbent president— have been conducting their own version of election autopsies. Down-ballot Democrats, such as Max Rose (D-NY) and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL), offered their takes as to why they lost their House races. Congressional Democrats continue to debate whether “socialism” or “defund the police” attract or repel swing voters. Activists, including Stacey Abrams and LaTosha Brown, stress the importance of voter engagement. …


What the Commander-in-Chief does not know about security in Afghanistan

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Photo by Suzy Brooks on Unsplash

On his Christmas vacation, President Donald Trump oversaw a country facing numerous crises: a struggling economy, a worsening pandemic, and a possible terrorist attack in Nashville, Tennessee. Rather than address any of these issues, Trump remained focused on his electoral defeat.

Since the election, Trump’s Twitter account reveals that the president is almost solely dedicated to his grievances about the outcome of the election. One tweet, in particular, is jarring: a conversation with a “young military man” led Trump to speculate that “elections in Afghanistan are far more secure and much better run” than the American presidential election was.


It was a veto in search of a reason

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Photo by Michael Afonso on Unsplash

On December 23, President Donald Trump vetoed the $741 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill, which provides funding for the military, includes provisions such as pay raises for service members, military construction projects, and a counter-China fund.

Trump has telegraphed for months that he planned to veto the NDAA, offering various reasons as explanation. He disapproved of a provision to re-name bases named after Confederate leaders. Then he wanted a provision that repealed an internet free-speech law. Finally, and almost without clarification, he claimed that China would benefit from the bill.

His first threat to veto the bill came over the summer. Ten military bases are named for Confederate leaders. In the wake of the protests of racial injustice, Senator Elizabeth Warren (R-MA) inserted a provision to re-name those bases within three years. Trump disapproved of the provision, offering both tweets and official White House statements in support of the military bases with Confederate names. …


The COVID-19 vaccines are major scientific breakthroughs. Why is Trump focused on other issues?

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Photo by René DeAnda on Unsplash

This has been a brutal year.

The year 2020 began in the United States with an impeachment trial, and continued with a pandemic, protests over racial injustice, and a contested presidential election. When the American public was desperate for a feel-good story, a plot twist was unveiled in the year’s last chapter — the vaccines. The first health care workers have received their initial COVID-19 vaccine doses. The beginning of the end of the pandemic has commenced.

The significance of these vaccines should not be understated. Millions of lives, both in the United States and the rest of the world, will be saved by COVID-19 vaccinations. …


The sports and film industry cater to China’s worst impulses. In return, they get access to Chinese markets

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Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

China — one of the most repressive regimes on the planet — is normalizing its authoritarian behavior.

Examples of China’s oppression are numerous:

  • China, claiming centuries-old sovereignty over Tibet, invaded the Himalayan region in 1950. In the decades since then, China has destroyed Buddhist temples, tortured and killed Buddhist monks and nuns, and suppressed Tibetan culture
  • At least one million Uighur Muslims have been interned in more than 85 identified camps (which the Chinese government refers to as “re-education centers”) in Xinjiang. Overseas Uighurs have alleged torture, forced sterilization, and mass surveillance against Muslims in China
  • China has brutally suppressed the pro-democracy movement in Hong…

About

Jacquie Devigne

Army veteran + amateur writer + history buff + wine enthusiast

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