Sonoma Valley Sun


Government and Big Tech are the real oppressors

Posted on December 29, 2022 by Sonoma Valley Sun

In 2001 our government, which is run by people sworn to protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic, passed and signed into law the PATRIOT Act, which asked us to give up our constitutional rights to privacy and protection from illegal search (fourth amendment) in the name of finding and catching terrorists. The PATRIOT Act originally was written four years earlier, by Senator Joe Biden. When Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner introduced the 2001 version, he said “Just how you wrote it, Joe” to Senator Biden.

The fact that the PATRIOT Act was written four years before 9/11 indicates that forces within our government were already working against the United States Constitution to roll back some of our rights. As we now know, the NSA had been surveilling and collecting data on every American for years, even before it was legal.

The PATRIOT Act was used as a cover for expanding search protocols at airports, making searches more invasive and often leading to accusations of racial profiling of anyone looking or sounding remotely Arabic. But it was also used as a cover for the NSA’s mass surveillance program, which was revealed by a great patriot named Edward Snowden (and when I say patriot, I don’t mean conservative, although Edward Snowden certainly was before revealing the NSA’s mass surveillance program).

And while many like to only blame George W. Bush, the law was written by Joe Biden during the Clinton administration and supported by Democrats. The PATRIOT Act was expanded under Barack Obama in 2011 and reauthorized again in 2015. And while Donald Trump railed against such things in word, he signed the renewal of warrantless FISA surveillance of Americans.

Now, thanks to Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter and subsequent release of the Twitter Files by proven journalists (like Matt Taibbi from Rolling Stone, Bari Weiss from the New York Times and David Zweig from the Atlantic and New York Times) the country is seeing what we suspected for years: that government agencies and officials have had free access to censor information on “private” social media companies (which includes Google search recommendations), even when that information was factual and linked to scientific or government sources, and even sometimes on posts replying to factually incorrect posts that were allowed to remain up and without a misinformation label.

I won’t get into the controversial topics that the files revealed were censored because I think this topic is controversial enough, but the files leave no doubt about the servitude of Twitter employees to government officials. But the files, while they may focus on Twitter because that’s who owns and collected the files, they also reveal that the same intelligence agencies met with Facebook, Google, Reddit, Pintrest, Microsoft, Apple and many more of the tech companies that are really controlling what information is allowed to flow freely and what is not.

In 1973 the United States Supreme Court said, in the Norwood v Harrison decision, that Congress “may not induce, encourage or promote private persons to accomplish what it is constitutionally forbidden to accomplish.”

In 1963, the Supreme Court saw Bantam Books Inc v Sullivan, a case in which the local zoning board members didn’t like a book that the local bookstore was displaying and demanded that they stop displaying the book. They threatened the store with potential future zoning problems if it did not comply. The book store complied but then sued the Rhode Island Commission, which argued that ‘we’re not censoring. We’re not doing anything illegal. We’re just advising the store of its rights.’ 

A position which the court held as “untenable” and went on to say that “the threat of invoking legal sanctions and other means of coercion, persuasion and intimidation demonstrates that the Commission deliberately set about to achieve the suppression of publications deemed ‘objectionable’ and succeeded in its aim.” The Commission then argued that the store didn’t have to comply, but the court still found the store owner’s decision “was not voluntary” and went on: “People do not lightly disregard public officer’s thinly veiled threats to institute criminal proceedings against them if they do not come around.”

But that’s just what Congressional hearings that subpoenaed the heads of Facebook, Twitter and Google repeatedly and questioned and demanded that these companies do more to “suppress misinformation”. Misinformation is a term with no specific meaning and ends up meaning ‘whatever the government doesn’t like’. 

That’s what the Biden White House was doing when it handed Facebook a list of names and organizations that it considered dangerous in July of 2021. Supposedly these were extremists, and maybe they WERE, but maybe they weren’t all extremists. Maybe they considered anti-establishment voices from both the left and the right? Viewed through the lens of the Twitter Files that’s not so easy to dismiss.

And it’s what Senator Ed Markey (who sits on the Subcommittee on Communication, Media, and Broadband) did when he tweeted to Elon Musk (about verification standards being too lax (they were)) saying: “Fix your companies. Or Congress will.” This wasn’t a one-time outburst. He makes no secret about his views. He said during a Senate Commerce Committee meeting “The issue is not that the companies before us today is that they’re taking too many posts down. The issue is that they’re leaving too many dangerous posts up,” 

The Twitter Files show Twitter almost as employees of the intelligence community; that when asked to censor people and posts without valid reason, Twitter’s own rules were violated in order to fabricate a reason to comply with government officials. Why WOULDN’T Senator Markey be shocked that people who work for the government aren’t complying with his wishes? 

That’s what Twitter (and by extension: other tech companies) have been doing for years. Squashing your free speech at the behest of the government. A government filled with people sworn to uphold and protect the Constitution but attack it, erode it, In both parties. Quit fighting with each other and realize your real oppressors are the government and big corporations.

— Jason Kishineff, American Canyon

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