On March 24, a civil rights group representing three people silenced by Twitter moved to sue the Biden Administration for pushing the censorship.
The suit, brought by The New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), on behalf of Michael P. Senger, Mark Changizi, and Daniel Kotzin accuses Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Beccera of pressuring Twitter to silence the accounts of each plaintiff after they posted information that diverged from one of the many changing versions of government “science.”
The government's sustained pressure on social media platforms to censor and report purported COVID-19 misinformation amounts to ‘state action’ that violates the First Amendment, according to a lawsuit filed Friday on behalf of three Twitter users.
And there are two major Bidenista periods of action on which the NCLA focuses. The first is the one on which I got to report March 8: Surgeon General Vivek Murthy’s fascist call on social media AND tech carrying instant-messaging to cite the total number of “misinformation” posts they carried on their platforms…
Twitter suspended Kotzin temporarily and Senger permanently within a week of Surgeon General Vivek Murthy's March 3 request for information (RFI) on the ‘impact and prevalence of health misinformation in the digital information environment during the COVID-19 pandemic,’ including how it affects ‘likelihood to vaccinate.’
That move was easy to understand as not only an attempt to intimidate tech platforms into shutting down dissent, but also as a targeting device to prompt individuals to self-censor. After all, despite Murthy claiming that the “instances” in which people posted “misinformation” would be aggregated, in order to confirm that the stats were real, the government would have to have confirmation of the identities of each person who released an “errant” post.
Piper continues, offering key information about the fight against the Surgeon General:
Murthy is exceeding the statutory power of his office, which lets him quarantine individuals ‘reasonably believed’ to be infected and communicable to prevent interstate transmission, NCLA claims. It's the same legal basis the Supreme Court ruled ineligible for the CDC's COVID eviction moratorium.
Of course, the deeper issue of whether the CDC is either constitutional (good luck finding it in the document) or an ethical construct (forcing you to pay for a gang of bureaucrats isn’t exactly ethical) was not addressed by the Supreme Court, but the majority DID rule that the CDC has no “statutory” power to “ban evictions” and become the de jure “landlord” of post-rights-respecting America.
But this is a valuable contribution to the fight for citizens to claw back some of their remaining rights.
The fact that people such as plaintiff Daniel Kotzin were deplatformed for posting information with which the feds, themselves, agreed, merely adds fuel to the free-speech fire.
As lawyer Jenin Younes Tweeted March 8:
Daniel Kotzin has been suspended for the Tweet below, a view shared by most epidemiologists, Rochelle Walensky (the vaccines don’t stop transmission), and Anthony Fauci (everyone will get covid). I’ll just leave that there.
And she included a screenshot of Twitter shutting down a post from Kotzin in which he had said:
It is important to never lose sight of the fact that the global pandemic is ending not because of the vaccines, but because almost everyone got infected with COVID.
And that’s just the latest wrinkle in the nasty face of this sneering, leering Big Brother treatment of free speech.
The other aspect of the suit goes back to spring and summer of last year (and even further, when looking at the deep roots of government claims to control the internet), as Piper points out:
The suit says the unconstitutional state action started with statements by the White House in May and HHS in July.
Press Secretary Jen Psaki implied President Biden would take antitrust actions against tech platforms if they didn't censor vaccine misinformation, while Murthy issued an ‘advisory on building a healthy information environment.’ The phrasing resembles that used by Chinese state media.
Not a surprise. Perhaps they caught a censorship flu from collectivist China…
Tech platforms will be held ‘accountable’ for people who reject COVID vaccines and masking and use ‘unproven treatments,’ Murthy said. They must increase monitoring of purported misinformation, crack down on ‘super-spreaders’ and ‘repeat offenders,’ and ‘amplify’ information from ‘trusted and credible sources’ and ‘subject matter experts.’
And, as the lawsuit notes:
They again directed much of their ire towards social media platforms, which they largely blamed for the problem of ostensible ‘misinformation,’ ordering social media companies, like Twitter, to remove certain posts and ban certain users. Statements made by Murthy, Psaki, and President Joe Biden made clear that these were not requests, but demands, and that the administration was contemplating penalties against social media platforms for allowing ‘misinformation’ to be disseminated on them.
These Biden-Underling threats encompass an overall mentality enshrined in Section 230 of the 1996 Telecommunications Decency Act , which shields online hosts from being called “publishers” and being targets of state-level action concerning things like posts that might contain child pornography, threats, and depictions of violence. The section also shields the tech “hosts” from civil liability.
The key is that the section DOES allow hosts to eliminate posts and to still be called “platforms” rather than “publishers”, AS LONG AS the hosts do so “in good faith” – and “good faith” is, of course, determined by the FCC.
If the FCC doesn’t think you operated “in good faith” they can go after you, and so can state governments.
So these threats of “further action” by Biden officials easily can be viewed as warnings implying changes in how the feds view the “good faith” of the hosts, and that kind of threat can inspire censorship on the part of the hosts – like Twitter.
Deeper, still, is the question of whether the FCC has any constitutional foundation in the first place. It began as the Federal Radio Commission in the 1920s under the suspicious claim that radio waves crossed state borders and there was a limited spectrum of slots for broadcasters.
But, as James Madison said, the Interstate Commerce Clause of the Constitution (Section One, Article Eight) was not written to grant the feds power to control things that went over state borders. It was written to allow Congress to mediate State-vs-State trade disputes. To say that Congress can create an agency to regulate radio because content crosses borders is akin to saying Congress can create a “Federal Book Commission” because booksellers sell in multiple states. And to claim that “the radio spectrum is limited, therefore, the feds must claim ownership and ‘license’ people to use the bands” is akin to saying that there’s a limited amount of useable paper on the planet at any given time, and, therefore, the federal “Printing Press Commission” must control the content of newspapers and books.
This lawsuit is timely and revelatory, shedding light on the fascistic tactics of the Bidenistas.
But the fascism has been around for over a century, and it’s important to throw it into the proverbial dustbin of history.