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Je suis Charlie and Free Speech

“Je suis Charlie  (I am Charlie).”

In 1997, I lived just a couple doors from Charlie Hebdo, the Parisian satirical magazine that is a Parisian institution with its root from the hippie era and student revolt of the late 1960s.      Unlike the more "political correct" American press that tends to stay away from controversial issues, Charlie Hebdo is more in-your-face free speech that dated its tradition from the days of the French Revolution and the European Age of Enlightenment of the 18th century in which Paris had played a very important role with the French philosopher Voltaire.     The magazine regularly makes fun of religious figures, politicians, police via its cartoons.    None is spared.    Not only they are part of the French and Parisian culture, they are the court jesters of our modern era.   I read Charlie Hebdo sometimes and I love its satire. 

On Jan 7th, 2015, the office of Charlie Hedbo was attacked and 12 people were brutally murdered in cold blood.    Among the deaths were some of France’s most celebrated cartoonists and satirists.      I was shocked beyond belief.      They were my former neighbors.    I might have met some of them at a nearby cafe while living there.     The radical attackers wanted to silence Charlie Hebdo's voice.      The next days, millions of people around the world demonstrated to show support for free speech and free press that Charlie Hebdo stands for.   They were murdered for having the courage to publish the image of the Prophet.

Charlie Hebdo Before the Massacre

Upon hearing the news, I asked my aunt and cousins in Paris if it is possible for me to get a copy of the 1st edition of the Charlie Hebdo magazine after the attack.    Charlie Hebdo staff were my old neighbors and I want to have memory of them and of Paris on this particular day.    My aunt, at the age of 80, had to walk all over Paris for 2 weeks to find me a copy of the magazine.   All of the copies had been sold out the moment they hit the newstands.    She really wants me to have it.    I am extremely grateful for her effort.    Above is the front cover of the Charlie Hebdo magazine of the 1st edition after the attack [Je suis Charlie (I am Charlie) -- Tout est pardonne (All is forgiven) ], I am publishing it here for you to see the reasons why the Charlie Hebdo staff were murdered for their free speech expression.

Personally I am very disturbed by this news of Charlie Hebdo’s attack in Paris.     When I was living in Communist Vietnam, free speech and free press were severely limited.   While I was growing up, I lived with my grandfather and he used to listen to the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) nightly.   In Communist Vietnam, listening to the BBC is considered an act of treason and one could gotten into big trouble if getting caught by the local police.    The penalty could be long-term prison term or your family could be sent to hard labor in remote malaria-infected jungle for years.     Each night, my grandfather would close all windows and doors to make sure the neighbors weren’t spying on him before he turned on the short-wave radio.     He made sure that the volume was small enough and he also muted the voice further by placing it under a pillow so only he could hear.      I have lived through the Communist era to know what oppression of free speech and free press is like and I do not like it.    In this age and in our society, free speech and free press must be respected and I will do whatever it takes to protect it.  

I am also less than impressed with the image the Obama administration projecting during this strategy.    Whereas world leaders from the U.K., France, Germany, Israel, etc were marching hand-in-hand with the Parisians to condemn the attack on free speech and freedom of expression in Paris.    Our American representative at the rally was a newly arrived American ambassador that nobody knows about.    At least Secretary of State John Kerry should have showed up, but he was in India -- a country whose strategic importance for the U.S.A is much less important than the European Union.    I hope that while in India he discussed the H-1B abuse with the Indian government that encourages its companies to commit visa frauds in the U.S. at the expense of American workers.    Having lived in France and knowing its culture, I know it's a "faux-pas" moment for the United States of America.    It didn't give out a good impression -- it was telling the Europeans that the United States of America is a fair-weather friend in time of need.     And I am right; the Obama administration later admitted that it made a mistake by not sending someone with much higher profile to Paris to attend the rally.     It's no wonder why the European governments from the U.K, Germany, and France now want to be a part of the China-Led bank that China is proposing to the dismay of the U.S. government.     The Europeans are signaling to us Americans that we shouldn't taken their friendship for granted.

3 European Powers Say They Will Join China-Led Bank

That's why I am deeply concerned with Facebook’s recent decision to remove Mr. Alexei Navalny’s page that called for protest against Mr. Putin.    In my opinion, Facebook is helping Mr. Putin to censor free speech in Russia.    Facebook, an American company based in Silicon Valley is helping one of the world's most oppressive regimes to suppress free speech and human rights.    There is something profoundly wrong here, isn't it?    Facebook needs to be challenged on its Internet censorship of free speech and freedom of expression.   

Russian Opposition Faces Internet Censorship by Facebook

Facebook is notorious around the world for censoring free speech.   Today it censored the Pulitzer Prize-winning "napalm girl" photo from the Vietnam War era.  The company removed the picture for "nudity" reason.   The photo was posted on facebook by a magazine editor in Norway.

Within hours, Aftenposten — Norway's largest newspaper — ran a front-page letter directly addressed to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg:
"I am upset, disappointed — well, in fact even afraid — of what you are about to do to a mainstay of our democratic society," Aftenposten's editor-in-chief, Espen Egil Hansen, wrote.    "Listen, Mark, this is serious, First you create rules that don't distinguish between child pornography and famous war photographs. Then you practice these rules without allowing space for good judgement. Finally you even censor criticism against and a discussion about the decision — and you punish the person who dares to voice criticism."

"The free and independent media have an important task in bringing information, even including pictures, which sometimes may be unpleasant, and which the ruling elite and maybe even ordinary citizens cannot bear to see or hear, but which might be important precisely for that reason. ...

Even the prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg protested Facebook by posting her own pictures -- she is making fun of the childish censorship behavior of Facebook.    It's another reason why I don't trust the integrity of Silicon Valley companies like Facebook.    They say they are for freedom of expression, but they are practicing censorship like a Communist country.    Facebook thinks that it's progressive and "enlightened" (that's why Mark Zuckerberg named his immigration group [Forward US]).    But if you look at it, Facebook is actually quite culturally backward, even more backward than many Europeans hundreds of years ago.    When the Popes and church officials saw Michelangelo (one of the greatest artists in human history) paintings on the Sistine chapel (one of the most sacred places in Christendom) and then the Last Judgement for the first time, they were flabbergasted -- there were too many frontal nude figures with all of the genitalia displayed.    The Pope's own Master of Ceremonies Biagio da Cesena said of the painting "it was mostly disgraceful that in so sacred a place there should have been depicted all those nude figures, exposing themselves so shamefully," and that it was no work for a papal chapel but rather "for the public baths and taverns,"    They asked Michelangelo to cover the nude figures.    He flatly refused.  Instead he painted Biagio da Cesena as one of the figures on his frescoes whose testicles are being bitten by a snake.    Bravo to Michelangelo for standing up to the church censorship.     The church later had to hire much less talented artists to draw fig leaves and drapes to cover the nude figures.     Today if you visit the Sistine Chapel, you will instantly recognize that these fig leaves and drapes do not belong on the Michelangelo's frescoes and they were definitely drawn by much-less-talented artists than Michelangelo.     Censorship didn't work in 1500s century Italy, what makes Facebook think that it will work in 21th century?

The Last Judgement at the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican

By Michelangelo (1536-1541) - Public Domain,

In Sweden, Facebook has removed a video on breast cancer awareness posted in Sweden after deeming the images offensive, the Swedish Cancer Society said on Thursday.  

“We find it incomprehensible and strange how one can perceive medical information as offensive,” Cancerfonden communications director Lena Biornstad told Agence France-Presse. “This is information that saves lives, which is important for us,” she said. “This prevents us from doing so.”

Basically you cannot show any breast, any genitalia at all even though it’s medical information that teaches about human health.     This is so anti-scientific and so medieval.     Facebook is making Silicon Valley and the United States of America into a laughing stock for the whole world.    Worse, whenever the U.S. starts criticizing other countries for censorship, they would rightly point out that Facebook based in the U.S. is the epitome of censorship.

Facebook's FWD.US actually reminds me of Mao Zedong's "The Great Leap Forward" in which 30+ millions of Chinese (many of them Chinese intellectuals) were murdered in the 1960s.    You can read the great book the "Wild Swans:  Three Daughters of China" by Jung Chang that details many heart-breaking stories during this period in Chinese history.   When I first heard about Facebook's FWD.US, I said to myself, "this couldn't be true."   Is Mark Zuckerberg is trying to copy Mao Zedong's the Great Leap Forward campaign or what?     Now I have read an ex-Facebook employee book's "Chaos Monkey," by Antonio García Martínez, it could be true that what Mark Zuckerberg is emulating the Communists.   


...he provides an unvarnished account of Facebook's stop-at-nothing culture, detailing 14-hour work days, eating all three meals at the office and doing nothing but writing and reviewing code.

"We had slogans on the walls, we were all wearing a uniformIt all felt very North Korean or Cuban, almost (my comment:  sound exactly like Mao Zedong's red guard doing during the Great Leap Forward -- the Chinese Cultural Revolution). And so in that moment, I just realized... the motive force in history, which is one egomaniac's twitchy drive and then the common man's desire to be part of a compelling story -- which is what we were, we just were bit players in Zuckerberg's story," Martinez said.


I know more about high-tech Silicon Valley culture than Zoe Lofgren or any other candidates out there from the inside.   The last startup that I worked, they had something called "SCRUM" -- basically each morning you have to stand up in front of the whole group and tell everyone what you did yesterday and what you are going to do today.     It's a requirement in many of Silicon Valley companies.  In the back of my mind, I said to myself, "This is too Communist-like."    It reminds me of the dark days back in Communist Vietnam, everyone in the neighborhood had to gather together at the end of each day exhausted but still be forced to tell everyone in your neighborhood things like what you did that day, whom you met, what you ate and let your neighbors criticized your activities.    Once, my next-door neighbor told people in the neighborhood meeting that she ate chicken that date.   She was immediately condemned as "Capitalist Roader."     It makes me wondered why Silicon Valley, located in the United States of America in the 21st century, supposed to be the enlightenment center of the world in high-tech has to copy the practices of one of the most oppressive regimes ever.    All of the engineers that I know in Silicon Valley hate “SCRUM.”     I also imagined what would it like if I told my co-workers back in Europe about the experience, I think they would run out screaming.       What I find interesting in the book is the way Mark Zuckerberg copying of the Communist style and in a way, I understand why he is funding a corrupt politician like Zoe Lofgren to oppress American professionals.

The Vietnamese Communists also copied the Chinese Communists and they also had similar campaign to oppress the Vietnamese intellectuals and my own family suffered greatly during this period.   That's why it's a personal fight for me.    I am strongly against it.  This is in contrast with Sergrey Brin, Google's co-founder.    When Google tried to enter the Chinese market and China wanted Google to censor, Sergrey Brin had a backbone to stand up to the Chinese censorship by moving Google to Hong Kong.    His parents came from Communist Russia so at least he understands how harmful censorship could be.    For that, I have a great admiration for Sergrey Brin and I would support someone like him and Google rather than Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg..

Our congresswoman Zoe Logren is bragging about her human rights records.   Shouldn't she step up the plate and put pressure on Facebook on this issue?   She has been bought out by Facebook.

It doesn't matter if the right-to-protest in Russia, free speech in Norway, Breast Awareness video in Sweden, or Facebook's use of corrupt politicians like our Congresswoman through direct contribution or through its FWD.US to oppress American IT professionals through the use of the corrupt H-1B program, it's a big cause of concern for all of us.   

By the way, all of the articles that mentioned her name -- Zoe Lofgren, were full of anti-Zoe Lofgren comments on the dates the articles were published.   The next day, all of the negative comments that mentioned her name disturbingly disappeared.     If each negative comment is a form of protest against her corruption, by removing the comments without consent from the posters, she is seriously violating the constitutional rights of American citizens to protest and to express free thought.    What is she afraid of?  The truth that she is corrupt to the core?   Zoe Lofgren's action reminds me of the KGB or the Chinese Secret Service that monitor what their citizens are saying online and try to remove the messages.   Zoe Lofgren is suppressing free speech in the United States of America.    By doing so, she is undermining American democracy with its tradition of free speech and freedom of expression.    She is doing a disservice to the American public and particularly to the voters of California 19th Congressional district who deserve nothing but the truth from her. 

Check it out yourself.  

(whatever comments about her I posted on my website is just a tiny number of extremely negative comments about her over the years.    There are thousands and thousands of negative comments that I just don't have space to post them.  I just select some of the comments that I think are relevant to the issue that I am discussing at a particular web page).

According to the New York Times, Facebook provides a censorship tool to the Chinese government.    So whenever you hear Facebook talks about free speech and human rights, you can disregard it completely.    It's just propaganda from Facebook.

Facebook Said to Create Censorship Tool To Get Back Into China (New York Times)

According to the New York Times, Facebook has become a censorship tool for the Chinese government in the U.S.

Facebook Briefly Suspends Account of Outspoken Chinese Billionaire (New York Times, April 21, 2017)

What does this mean, Facebook blocked me?” he wrote in part in the post. “They must have gotten really scared! Can this stop my revelations? This is truly lawless. This is very interesting. Their fear and worry makes me think that the value of my various evidence is bigger than what I had imagined.”

尊敬的网友们好:这是什么意思.Facebook 给屏蔽了?这真是把他们吓坏了!这能阻止我爆料吗?这真是无法无天了!这个很有意思.他们的恐惧与担心让我觉得我的各种证据的价值比我想像的还要大!谢谢这些为此工作的人员!我希望你们不会是下一个马健副部长的下场!一切已经是刚刚开始!✊️✊️

— 郭文贵 guo wen gui (@KwokMiles) April 21, 2017

Some responded to Mr. Guo’s message by posting photos of Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, meeting with high-profile Chinese politicians.

Should we even allow Facebook to impose its censorship on Americans and the whole world? No, we shouldn't.   Facebook claims to be the place where people share information.    Mr. Guo wanted to share details of the corruption of the Chinese government, he was immediately blocked by Facebook.    It's the news from a reliable source such as Mr. Guo that I am and perhaps a lot of the readers around the world are interested in knowing more about, instead Facebook gives us fake news, real-time sex crimes and homicide.   The sharing economy from Silicon Valley and freedom of speech and expression, Facebook is making the U.S. the laughing stock for the whole world.

Another terrorist attack in France.   This time it happened on a train bounded for Paris from Belgium.

I am extremely impressed with the courage, selflessness, and bravery of three ordinary American citizens, two of them are military personnel who have thwarted a terrorist attack and saved another person life on a high-speed train from Amsterdam to Paris.    They were on their vacation but they acted when they were needed and their heroic actions have restored the good image of the U.S. overseas and particularly in France and in Europe.    It's something that our politicians have failed to do miserably.   The three American friends from the Sacramento area truly deserve the Legion of Honor medals that have been bestowed on them by the French president.      I feel quite proud to be an American when my friends and relatives in France send me articles written in French about these three American heroes.

Je suis Charlie et je suis Americain (I am Charlie and I am an American)



Hats off to IEEE for standing up to bullies and morally corrupt Congressmen like Zoe Lofgren who are on the payroll of big corporations.

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Reha Yankovich

We need to start voting out these anti US worker politicians like Zoe Lofgren, she sucks.

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 Northern San Joaquin Valley 21 days ago

I felt like I was getting close to deleting my FB account when they recently enabled email notifications after I very intentionally disabled them several months earlier. Now they've shown a willingness to do Putin's dictatorial bidding. No respect for me personally, plus no respect for free speech, equals me going "bye-bye."

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is a trusted commenter Hartford 21 days ago

This is where the Facebook model breaks down. What's going on here is that government in dictatorships like Russia are attempting to block content. It's not essentially different from the Germans jamming BBC transmissions to occupied Europe with the difference that Facebook are cooperating unlike the BBC

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