Washington Stomps On Civil Liberty

Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

The insouciant American electorate is so inattentive that it routinely elects enemies of civil liberty to represent the public in Congress. Last Wednesday Rep. Adam Schiff (D, CA), Rep. Trey Gowdy ( R, SC), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D, CA), Sen. Mark Warner (D, VA), Rep. Jackie Speier (D, CA), Sen. Tom Cotton (R , AR ), and Rep. Joaquin Castro (D, TX) tried to intimidate executives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google into blocking all digital dissent to the anti-Trump/Russian line taken by the DNC and military/secrurity complex and to serve as spy agencies for the CIA.

Two of the above - Gowdy and Cotton - are Republicans who have aligned themselves with the attack on Russia and Republican President Trump. What unites the members of the two parties is that they want a police state. Jackie Speier demands to know from Google why Google hasn’t “shut down RT on YouTube.” Joaquin Castro wants messages linked to Russia turned over to the US government. Trey Gowdy wants false statements blocked, which would mean that the entire print and TV media in the US would be shut down along with Congress, John Brennan, Robert Mueller, and James Comey. Gowdy does not know that the First Amendment guarantees free speech and leaves it up to the public to decide what is true and what is false.

You tell me.

What kind of insouciant people are capable of electing representatives who do not respect the Bill of Rights?

Is a country whose government does not respect its own Constitution a democracy? Is such a country an exceptional, indispensable country?

Or is it a completely corrupt entity whose government no longer has the slightest allegience to the Bill of Rights and the US Constitution?

What is the quality of an electorate that sends those with a police state mentality to represent them in the government that has power over them?

Are we witnessing the destruction of democracy by the electorate?

Is the failure of the American people staring us in the face?

Are you amazed that it is the executives of Facebook, Twitter, and Google, and not the members of Congress who have sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States, who point out to US Representatives and Senators that their demands for censorship and spying are unconstitutional?

What is the liberal/progressive/left, which believes that good resides in government and evil in the private sector, to make of this?

Is the hatred of dissent so great that nothing else is important?

Here is a report on Wednesday’s hearings by the House and Senate Intelligence (sic) committees on “extremist” views (via Global Research's Andre Damon)...

Lawmakers Demand Tech Companies Censor Journalists and Conduct Mass Surveillance

Wednesday’s hearings by the House and Senate Intelligence committees on “extremist” political views served as the occasion for members of Congress to urge technology companies to flagrantly violate the US Constitution by censoring political speech, carrying out mass surveillance, and muzzling journalists in pursuit of the government’s geopolitical aims.

The hearings revolved around allegations, promoted ceaselessly in recent months by the intelligence agencies, leading figures within the Democratic Party, and newspapers such as the New York Times, that social opposition to the political establishment results from “fake news” promoted by Russia.

As Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff put it, “Russia” promoted “discord in the US by inflaming passions on a range of divisive issues” and sought to “mobilize real Americans to sign online petitions and join rallies and protests.”

The basic problem, however, as Schiff put it, is “not just foreign.” The algorithms used by Facebook and Twitter have the “consequence of widening divisions among our society.” Schiff complained:

“What ends up percolating to the top of our feeds tends to be things we were looking for,” as opposed to US government propaganda disseminated by the establishment media, which he referred to as “true information.”

Congressman Adam Schiff

In line with Schiff’s assessment, members of Congress who participated in the hearings spent the bulk of their time demanding that the companies censor such “fake” news, which they equated with the writings of exiled journalist Julian Assange and other political dissidents.

It is a testament to the decay of American democracy that it was left to the representatives of Facebook and Twitter, who have been broadly accused of violating users’ privacy for their own financial gain, to inform members of Congress about the ABC of constitutional law.

In an exchange that embodied the total contempt for freedom of speech that pervades the ruling elite, South Carolina Representative Trey Gowdy demanded that Facebook and Twitter block their users from making inaccurate statements about the current day of the week.

“Can I ‘say today is Thursday’,” the South Carolinian demanded. “What are you going to do with that?” Gowdy asked which constitutional amendment protects the right of people to make such statements, totally oblivious that almost all false statements are protected under the First Amendment.

Colin Stretch, Facebook’s general counsel, fighting back a skeptical smile, replied:

“There is Supreme Court precedent on that…”

Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch

Gowdy, befuddled, demanded: “On which side?” Stretch answered:

“That it is, in most cases, protected.” He continued: “On Facebook, our job is not to decide whether content is true or false.”

Although the representatives of the technology companies largely played along with the narrative of “Russian meddling” in American politics, their resistance to the most flagrant censorship demanded by the government piqued the ire of the senators leading the witch-hunt.

“I don’t think you get it,” fumed Senator Dianne Feinstein, who said the past year had seen “a cataclysmic change” in American politics. This is “the beginning of cyber warfare,” she declared, and technology companies “have to really take a look at that and what role you play.”

Senator Mark Warner, for his part, complained that his accusations had been “frankly blown off by the leaderships of your companies and dismissed.”

Earlier this month, Google removed Russia Today (RT), a Russian-sponsored TV station and online news outlet that reports stories largely censored by the mainstream press, from its list of “preferred” channels on YouTube. Feinstein took issue with Google’s statement that it revoked RT’s status as a preferred channel for non-political reasons, and demanded to know why Google had not acted against RT earlier.

Google’s general counsel Kent Walker replied:

“We have carefully reviewed the content of RT to see that it complies with the policies that we have against hate speech, violence, etc. So far, we have not found violations.”

California Democratic representative Jackie Speier asserted that RT “seeks to influence politics and fuel discontent in the United States.” She asked:

“Why have you not shut down RT on YouTube? … It’s a propaganda machine, Mr. Walker, the intelligence community says it’s an arm of one of our adversaries.”

The clashes continued. Senator Tom Cotton demanded to know why Twitter refused to turn its platform over to the CIA in order to conduct mass surveillance. He asked:

“Do you see an equivalency between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Russian intelligence services?”

Sean Edgett, Twitter’s general counsel, replied:

“We’re not offering our service for surveillance to any government.”

Cotton likewise demanded that Twitter censor WikiLeaks’ editor Assange.

“The current director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, as well as this committee, has labeled WikiLeaks a non-state hostile intelligence service who aids hostile foreign powers like the Kremlin,” he said. “Yet, to my knowledge, Twitter still allows him to operate uninhibited.”

Receiving a reply from Twitter general counsel Edgett that the company applies its policies “without bias,” Cotton retorted:

“Is it biased to side with America over our adversaries?”

In yet another incitement for technology companies to violate the Constitution, this time the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, Texas Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro asked:

“Are you also intending to turn over to the committee any kind of direct messages” on accounts suspected of being linked to Russia?

When Edgett pushed back that this would be possible only through legal channels, Castro responded:

“Certainly you’re not making the argument that a Russian account, a fakely created account, has some protection of privacy here.”

Edgett replied:

“Some users may end up being fake. Others will be real.”

The most surprising element of the hearings, however, was the extent to which Walker, Google’s general counsel, sought to separate Google’s search tools from the social networks operated by Facebook and Twitter when it comes to “fake news.”

In reference to a question regarding fake news, Walker interjected:

“I think there’s a distinction between say Google search, whose goal is to provide accurate, relevant, comprehensive information and social network concerns,” such as those related to Twitter and Facebook. “We think the heart and soul of the products is to try to provide useful and, to the extent we can, accurate information to users.”

This was in addition to his prepared testimony, where he noted:

“At Google News, we use fact check labels to spot fake news. At Google search, we have updated our quality guidelines and evaluations to help surface more authoritative content from the web.”

Based on the stated goal of fighting “fake news,” Google has implemented sweeping changes to its search algorithm that has led search traffic to 13 leading left-wing, progressive and anti-war sites to plunge 55 percent. Search traffic from Google to the World Socialist Web Site has fallen by 74 percent, and the site has been blocked from Google News.

Wednesday’s testimony makes clear the political motives behind Google’s actions. Rather than seeking, as it publicly claims, to provide “true” and “authentic” content, Google is acting as the proxy of the US government and its agencies to muzzle its critics and political opponents.


NoDebt Number 9 Sat, 11/04/2017 - 22:56 Permalink

It's OK to say fuck on here.  Watch this:Fuckity fuck fuck fuck.  Fucking fuckers always fucking with us and fuck that fucking shit any fucking way.It's cool, dude.  Fucking walk away from self-censoring and just fucking go for it.  In the end, it works better that way (you'll have to trust me on this).  If you're like me and most people, you do your best work when you've just had fucking enough and let 'er fucking rip.You're welcome, by the way. 

In reply to by Number 9

MANvsMACHINE 1 Alabama Sun, 11/05/2017 - 07:47 Permalink

This whole thing is a charade. Don't trust the pols. Don't trust Google, Twitter, or Facebook.

It's already been proven that they're all on the same team. The only purpose of this act is to make these companies appear more credible. Remember when Apple was fighting the FBI from being forced to unlock an iphone to uphold their privacy policies? Yeah that.

In reply to by 1 Alabama

Endgame Napoleon MANvsMACHINE Sun, 11/05/2017 - 08:07 Permalink

A lot of things politicians do revolve around publicity, but these things are serious: free speech and the right to redress grievances in a peaceable manner.

The means have just changed, lessening the control of elites, due to a technological revolution that most voters and most politicians really do not fully understand.

Lawmakers likewise misunderstand why voters rail against the MSM. Hint, lawmakers: It is is not because we want them surveilled, harassed, shut up or forcibly silenced.

Other countries have a right to put out news products for us to skeptically consume, as we must skeptically read a lot of the American MSM’s ratings-obsessed and slanted-to-the-point-of-ideological-fantasy content.

The lawmakers on Capitol Hill are supposed to work for the citizens of the USA, not for lucrative, global interests, but the internet is a global thing. And voters know that.

In reply to by MANvsMACHINE

Giant Meteor MANvsMACHINE Sun, 11/05/2017 - 08:10 Permalink

A reprint from page three, sinking fast ...Ace006 Nov 5, 2017 12:46 AM writes :Excellent article. Astonishing to read that Gowdy is so "clueless" on the First Amendment. I think of him as good people.Cotton is a toad, as is to be expected. Someone must have a pic of him and Gowdy wearing Little Bo Peep costumes.The First Amendment isn't that difficult. No prior restraint of speech or content regulation by government. Gowdy's completely disingenuous on this point.All this hand wringing about fake news and Russian use of magic language to trigger guileless Americans like the Manchurian candidate is for losers. Here's the way out of the thicket: The remedy for bad speech is more speech. Thomas Jefferson.This is all evidence of how indifferent our scumbag politicians are to constitutional basics. Fucking basics. 

In reply to by MANvsMACHINE

bigkahuna Giant Meteor Sun, 11/05/2017 - 08:40 Permalink

It is aso a clue as to their aptitude and work ethic. Why bother with a coherant counter point when ou can just use the sledgehammer of censorship to shut down any threatening information.Yes, they do not fail to demonstrate the dirtbags they are.By the way, if they do not give some kind of overhaul to the "tax cut" - they are probably going to make obozo look good. Trump needs to get back into the business of Leadership and start kicking some asses. Many must go to jail - some must be executed - some must hit the street to go be useful idiots somewhere else.

In reply to by Giant Meteor

Giant Meteor bigkahuna Sun, 11/05/2017 - 09:31 Permalink

Yes, and so the Wizard writes on page 2, also sinking fast ,, responding to NoDebt Nov 5, 2017 9:53 AMMan, the intellect on this board diminishes on a daily basis. Isn't it great to witness the analytical skill of morons.Is there a difference between "civil liberty" and liberty existing within the laws of nature? The former are liberties granted by governments, most of whom are corrupt. We shouldn't expect anything more than a stomping when the ability of those operating the government fail to recognize problems and adequate remedies.Let's discuss ..

In reply to by bigkahuna

BlindMonkey Sanity Bear Sun, 11/05/2017 - 08:53 Permalink

The difference is it is true.  Israel is proud of their lobbying arm and the ability to make the US dance to their tune. Russians state they are not concerned about the election process in the US.  Why is that?  IMO, they are keenly aware of who runs the show.  This clip is of Putin revealing he knows exactly who is in control; the men in dark suits that tell the president what his options are.  https://youtu.be/XP3D1sUSuzg Here is Bibi in a private moment talking about how easy America is to be moved to their purpose.  https://youtu.be/JrtuBas3Ipw 

In reply to by Sanity Bear

HRClinton TahoeBilly2012 Sun, 11/05/2017 - 10:35 Permalink

"Jews"?  Not quite. That's like foreigners blaming "Americans" for all their troubles. Are YOU to blame? Or is your inaction (lack of vocal and public activism) a defacto admission of your complicity to American Imperialism?  See how that can be argued? So... don't be lazy, sloppy or an ignoramus -- and chose your words with care and precision, if you want to move the Argument / Thesis forward. The words you should have used are: Zionists.Globalists is also acceptable and accurate. "Global-Lusts", as I like to call (((them))). Because their agenda for Globalism is really rooted on the unquenchable Lust for Total Ownership and Total Full-Spectrum Controls that propels a subset of the Population.

In reply to by TahoeBilly2012

True Blue espirit Sun, 11/05/2017 - 03:40 Permalink

Agreed in sentiment, but what can be done?PCR laments that it is 'our' fault as voters, but when the politicians can lie with impunity and essentially none can be believed -how can we be 'responsible' for their actions? Hell, the courts upheld a decision that slapped the voters in the face by stating that politicians are not responsible for the promises they make while campaigning for office and cannot even be sued for false advertising. Even worse is that they get to keep their actions and the actions of their subordinates a secret from the very people expected to judge their performance and ultimately bear the pain and responsibility for their decisions while in office.That makes the whole thing a charade of manufactured consent; an illegitimate tyranny no matter who is 'in charge.'But 'tell you something you didn't already know (for decades.)' Right?

In reply to by espirit

aurum4040 True Blue Sun, 11/05/2017 - 05:27 Permalink

They can lie with impunity and then alter and form reality turning lies into 'truth'. If you tell the same lie enough times it becomes the truth - a Goebells truth. What can be done? We need a new party, although parties are bullshit usually but in this case it is needed for mobilization and organization. A party that renounces all current establishment politicians, all corporate polictical interests, any and all corporations that mold public perception, and a party that fully upholds the Constitution. A party that litterally and truly drains the swamp. The problem is that everyone looks to someone other then themselves to do it. All talk no action. And it must change. 

In reply to by True Blue

S.N.A.F.U. True Blue Sun, 11/05/2017 - 08:11 Permalink

You sum up the situation all too well.  Given an "insouciant American electorate", I don't really have a good answer to the "what can be done?" question.So...I should do something.But it doesn't matter what I do.Might as well down-vote your commenting.And try to pretend it's not true!<<insert long, disturbing, maniacal laughter here>>

In reply to by True Blue

Number 9 espirit Sat, 11/04/2017 - 23:11 Permalink

our libertys have been under attack before you were born .. no government likes a free people.. so knowing that what does the proles do..they vote again thinking this time we can change it and the next boss is as same as the last boss or worse and the shitshow carries on and more laws are passed and more liberties taken until what..climb on the ammo box and kill every one of these fvkrs and all their henchmen and all their sympathizers and what do you wind up with.. .. Castro

In reply to by espirit

NoDebt MuffDiver69 Sat, 11/04/2017 - 23:25 Permalink

True, but I prefer to encourage those who are on the verge of maybe waking up and realizing what their potential REALLY is, if they simply allow themselves to use it.One of the most seminal events in anybody's mental/emotional/spiritual development is to learn how to say "fuck you, the answer is NO!"  The legs might seem a little wobbly at first, but the more you stand on them the stronger they get. 

In reply to by MuffDiver69

philipat NoDebt Sat, 11/04/2017 - 23:59 Permalink

Indeed. And of course those are the very people that Gubmin wants to prevent from propogationg such "sedicious" ideas or from receiving information from other like-minded people to further support their case.When the time has come that it is left to Goolag, Facefuck and Twatter to "defend" the First Amendment, it should be obvious to all that something is very, very wrong. Insouciant isn't such a bad word to describe the average Americam, whilst acknowledging that PCR does tend to overuse the word!!

In reply to by NoDebt