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Daily Tech News 19 March 2024 | Main | Mid-Morning Art Thread
March 19, 2024

The Morning Report — 3/19/24


Good morning, kids. There can never be a national emergency or crisis situation, be it a war, civil unrest or a plague, when it is permissible for the government to take away our right of free speech. It, along with the Second Amendment, are the one-two punch intended as the firewalls that are or were supposed to protect us from tyranny. And yet that is exactly what is being debated right now in the Supreme Court, specifically concerning that bit about "plague." And the legal eagles that are reading the tea leaves based on the justices comments are not exactly exuding strength and confidence that the First Amendment will prevail.

[Justice Kentanji Brown-25] Jackson had earlier presented a hypothetical situation in which social media platforms were allowing a dangerous trend to circulate in which children were encouraged to jump out of windows “at increasing elevations.” She asked whether government authorities could not “encourage social media platforms to take down the information that is instigating this problem.”

Aguiñaga suggested that the government could use the “bully pulpit” to push back against the content of the information, but could not call the social media platforms to encourage them, or coerce them, to take down the information.

Jackson objected, saying that it was not enough to say that the government could post its own speech. There were situations, she suggested, in which the government could “encourage or require this kind of censorship” necessary for public safety.

To say "just fucking wow" in reaction to this, considering what we know the anti-American left are by bitter experience is a waste of breath. Remember that this is someone who, at her confirmation hearing couldn't articulate the definition of a woman.

Meh, not so much couldn't but wouldn't, as to do so would make her the instrument by which the mass forced psychosis of transsexualism would've been exposed for all to see. In fact, had Marsha Blackburn (IIRC she was the one who sort of cornered Brown 25 on this) gone just a step further, she could've twisted her into knots trying to defend the continued necessity of the 19th Amendment and really caused heads to explode, but I guess that was expecting too much even for someone who I consider one of the few GOP Senate stalwarts.

In any case, logic, reason and tradition should – should – dictate that even a plague, real or in this case as we now know, the intentionally hyped fear of a plague, does not allow the quashing of the First Amendment, even and really especially in cases where the citizenry, scientists, medical professionals and real journalists raise serious doubts as to the government's official story about all the aspects of the alleged "emergency."

The bitter irony here is that even this government's own ideologically-driven, inept bureaucracy, the CDC, which hyped and lied about the origin, cause, and dangers of the disease, ditto the effective treatments and the snake oil that was the vaccines, finally admitted that what was supposed to be a humanity-ending Andromeda strain strained only their own credibility. That is, it was merely a worse-than-usual flu, that commonly available, cheap therapeutics like ivermectin and HCQ were indeed effective, masking, lockdown social distancing and the much ballyhooed vaccines and multiple boosters were worse than useless, and that our own government in the form of mini-Mengele Fauci funded and helped the Chi-Coms create and perhaps unleash this Franken-virus.

Even more bitterly ironic is the fact that the government went after anyone and everyone who challenged their narrative to the point of stripping doctors and researchers of their licenses to practice medicine. Which is why this case has come to the Supreme Court in the first place!

But putting COVID aside, the estimable Margot Cleveland made this cromulent observation, which pace my aforementioned logic, reason and tradition should all by itself rule in favor of the First Amendment:

[Tweeting on "X"] Federalist Senior Legal Correspondent Margot Cleveland called the government’s response “horrible” for three reasons. “1) because an emergency doesn’t trump 1st amendment,” 2) it happened with elections, 3) it happened with Hunter Biden.

Federalist Executive Editor Joy Pullmann reported last summer that “the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, a federal agency, set up a private entity to ban and throttle election-related online speech Democrats dislike.”

“Much of the information choked by this algorithmic censorship operation is true, such as the legitimacy of Hunter Biden’s laptop,” Pullmann wrote.

The federal government also sought to suppress information during the 2020 election implicating the Democrats’ presidential nominee in his son’s potentially criminal overseas business schemes. . .

. . . Biden-appointed Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson asked if the government conceded whether platforms were coerced into speech censorship.

“I’m interested in your view that the context doesn’t change the First Amendment principles,” Brown said. “I understood our First Amendment jurisprudence to require heightened scrutiny of government restrictions of speech but not necessarily a total prohibition when you’re talking about a compelling interest of the government to ensure, for example, that the public has accurate information in the context of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.”

Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor and frequent Fox News legal analyst, called the question on X “chilling for free speech advocates.”

As I've been writing over the past few Morning Report editorials, it's not about speech or words per se; it's about who gets to decide what speech is acceptable, what isn't and what happens to those who violate the rules laid down by whoever the gatekeepers-du-jour happen to be. And not just about hypotheticals regarding trends "encouraging kids to jump out of windows." As an aside, this steers us into the debate about the censorship of TikTok, which is a ChiCom tool that is being used to brainwash America's youth into everything from swallowing Tide Pods to rallying in favor of slaughtering Jews in Israel and right here at home.

Like everything else, the "cure" proposed by government seems to be far worse than the problem itself, seemingly setting up Patriot Act 2, Internal Security Boogaloo. When Donald Trump and Titty-Caca AOC both agree that what's being proposed is bad, it kind of makes you sit up and take notice.

But Psaki-Psircling back to Murthy, aside from the now in-your-face, naked will to power of the anti-American Left and those who support it for fun and profit, what the government is seeking in winning this case is having the veneer of legitimacy in openly demanding that any voices contra its own be squelched.

As of right now, they have a propaganda industrial complex that will eagerly do their bidding automatically, or with a nod and a wink. Still, it's not 100% effective since much of the internet as well as talk radio to greater or lesser extent is beyond their reach because of that pesky First Amendment. Brown-25 and other two Marxists are for sure a lock. The problem with the Roberts court is not only primarily Roberts but the mercurial and unpredictable Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Coney-Island.

Outrageously, the government claimed its purported right to speech would be under threat should the court side with the plaintiffs — a right it acknowledged is not constitutional but part of “democratic governance.”

It lamented it would be subjected to “sprawling audits” if the standards in the case held and it is subjected to oversight and accountability when it threatens our most basic rights.

Our ruling regime, that is, played the victim. . .

. . . Roberts, for example, questioned whether the government was monolithic, insinuating multiple agencies might have different views, diluting its coercive ability. He asked if a hypothetical “We encourage you to take it down” message from a government official constitutes coercion.

Kavanaugh alluded multiple times to the idea government frequently challenges traditional media the same way it does social-media companies — to sit on or correct stories — without it rising to the level of a First Amendment case.

Barrett seemed to question the clarity of the plaintiffs’ position altogether.

Witnessing oral arguments from inside the room, I thought Aguiñaga was put on his back foot, conceding that if the court took issue with the injunction’s terms or breadth, the plaintiffs would accept narrow tailoring but pleading it “has to say something in our favor on the merits.”

If the court does not, we can kiss what remains of our First Amendment goodbye.

Go long on smoke signals and oatmeal cans with string, I guess. But Trump said "bloodbath!"

NOTE: The opinions expressed in the links may or may not reflect my own. I include them because of their relevance to the discussion of a particular issue.

ALSO: The Morning Report is cross-posted at if you want to continue the conversation all day.

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