Was it a chilling act of de-facto censorship, or just a “computer glitch?” Within two hours of its appearance yesterday, search engine giant Google removed an article about Ron Paul, the IRS, and the Federal Reserve from its database.
Friday, April 18, 2008
♣ Media Paranoia Department
Call me paranoid, but please don’t stop reading just yet; I have seen this kind of thing happen more than once, and whatever the cause, it raises some serious questions.
I published a news article yesterday – Thursday – about a San Diego Meetup event which I attended on Tuesday. The article is “Ron Paul Meetup Enlightens San Diego Tax Lemmings,” and the Nolan Chart website database placed this time-stamp on the article:
Last saved: 2008-04-17 13:26:25
As I often do, I polled the Google News search engine to see if the article would appear (they do not always appear.) Sure enough, within a matter of minutes, Google spiders had crawled Nolan Chart, picked up the article, and made it available to anyone searching for “ron paul.” Fine and good so far.
I then searched “Sorted by relevance” and was pleased to see my article on the “ron paul” front page, second from the top.
However, I went back about two hours after the article’s original posting on Nolan Chart and found that Google had “mysteriously” pulled its reference to the article.
Within that two hour span, the article had been visited by over 200 readers, and favored with ten “Thumbs Up”s – a readership response that is hard to match on those rare occasions when Google does not index an article. However, when an article is not listed by the engine whose very name has become synonymous with “search,” unless it is spread virally, readership remains quite low. I did in fact see readership drop dramatically when the listing vanished.
Polling Google occasionally after the disappearance, I saw the article reappear momentarily, only to vanish once more. Perhaps that fleeting view was a copy of the evidently offending entry that had not quite been purged from Google’s distributed database farm?
From personal experience, it is evident to me that it is Google that drives the bulk of web traffic to the Nolan Chart site and its articles. This is, in my humble opinion, a two-edged sword. It’s great when an article is indexed by Google, and not so hot when it is not.
How could this have happened? Technically, removing a listing cannot quite be called “censorship” because Google is a private corporation and can index material or not as it pleases. But it begs the question: Was this a “computer glitch” or has Google possibly already been co-opted by the Internal Revenue Service and the “powers that be” who wish to maintain the hegemony IRS has over the populace?
Which would be easier: using legislative and judicial powers to restrict free speech, or “working with” the existing commercial information channels to be “selective” about what is disseminated?
You do the math.
In the past, I have seen Google “just not pick up” on some articles. The most recent example of this is “Ron Paul, Friend of April Fools and Taxpayers,” an article containing extensive information for readers who want to learn about the Tax Honesty movement. You may want to read and bookmark that one, as Google, for whatever reason, doesn’t want to help you with that.
In some cases, my suspicions were allayed when I discovered that there may have been some “automatic/technical” reason for the omission, as explained by Google themselves here. In other cases I have wondered. Yesterday’s circumstance however seemed to me at the time to be by far the most blatant evidence to date that “something might be up.”
As I am putting the final touches on this article, Google’s “technical glitch” has in fact been corrected. Last I looked, it is now possible to find “Ron Paul Meetup Enlightens San Diego Tax Lemmings” in Google’s indexed database. It somehow “reappeared” after about a two hour absence yesterday.
Even so, please consider the implications of any one entity having near complete control over your ability to locate information. Also bear in mind that “Ron Paul, Friend of April Fools and Taxpayers” still remains unlisted (at the time of this writing) if you search for “ron paul” and “april fools.”
Will Google index this article about its own shortcomings? Will it list it briefly and then “pull it” once a human member of the “thought police” actually perceives what it is about? Just how sophisticated is Google’s system and setup for regulating incoming material? Is it pure coincidence that I have seen this kind of problem, most frequently, with articles about the IRS? I welcome comments on the matter, especially from anyone with authentic “inside knowledge” of Google’s policies and technology, published or otherwise.
Most “Ron Paul rEVOLutionaries” have (justifiably) come to despise the “Mainstream Media,” but we should also be aware of the danger of getting our internet search information from a single source, as I have written about before in Google Meltdown? Where’s Ron? and other articles.
Whether this was a “technical glitch” or some darker behind-the-scenes manipulation, in my humble opinion it is PAST TIME for us to develop distributed and uncensored search engines.
by Ron Paul
There has been a lot of talk in the news recently about the Federal Reserve and the actions it has taken over the past few months. Many media pundits have been bending over backwards to praise the Fed for supposedly restoring stability to the market. This interpretation of the Fed’s actions couldn’t be further from the truth.
The current market crisis began because of Federal Reserve monetary policy during the early 2000s in which the Fed lowered the interest rate to a below-market rate. The artificially low rates led to overinvestment in housing and other malinvestments. When the first indications of market trouble began back in August of 2007, instead of holding back and allowing bad decision-makers to suffer the consequences of their actions, the Federal Reserve took aggressive, inflationary action to ensure that large Wall Street firms would not lose money. It began by lowering the discount rates, the rates of interest charged to banks who borrow directly from the Fed, and lengthening the terms of such loans. This eliminated much of the stigma from discount window borrowing and enabled troubled banks to come to the Fed directly for funding, pay only a slightly higher interest rate but also secure these loans for a period longer than just overnight.
After the massive increase in discount window lending proved to be ineffective, the Fed became more and more creative with its funding arrangements. It has since created the Term Auction Facility (TAF), the Primary Dealer Credit Facility (PDCF), and the Term Securities Lending Facility (TSLF). The upshot of all of these new programs is that through auctions of securities or through deposits of collateral, the Fed is pushing hundreds of billions of dollars of funding into the financial system in a misguided attempt to shore up the stability of the system.
The PDCF in particular is a departure from the established pattern of Fed intervention because it targets the primary dealers, the largest investment banks who purchase government securities directly from the New York Fed. These banks have never before been allowed to borrow from the Fed, but thanks to the Fed Board of Governors, these investment banks can now receive loans from the Fed in exchange for securities which will in all likelihood soon lose much of their value.
The net effect of all this new funding has been to pump hundreds of billions of dollars into the financial system and bail out banks whose poor decision making should have caused them to go out of business. Instead of being forced to learn their lesson, these poor-performing banks are being rewarded for their financial mismanagement, and the ultimate cost of this bailout will fall on the American taxpayers. Already this new money flowing into the system is spurring talk of the next speculative bubble, possibly this time in commodities.
Worst of all, the Treasury Department has recently proposed that the Federal Reserve, which was responsible for the housing bubble and subprime crisis in the first place, be rewarded for all its intervention by being turned into a super-regulator. The Treasury foresees the Fed as the guarantor of market stability, with oversight over any financial institution that could pose a threat to the financial system. Rewarding poor-performing financial institutions is bad enough, but rewarding the institution that enabled the current economic crisis is unconscionable.