Ep. 107 - The Assault On Free Speech
They've been watching you.
In 2013, when Edward Snowden revealed the extent of secret government surveillance programs -- including but not limited to the NSA's RETRO, MYSTIC, and PRISM programs -- Americans were rightly disturbed to learn the government had been eavesdropping on their every conversation. Liberal groups pointed out that unbridled state surveillance was deeply undemocratic, and patriots of all stripes and colors praised these revelations.
The American Civil Liberties Union, stalwart of progressive politics, put it this way:
"Unchecked government surveillance presents a grave threat to democratic freedoms. These revelations are a reminder that Congress has given the executive branch far too much power to invade individual privacy, that existing civil liberties safeguards are grossly inadequate, and that powers exercised entirely in secret, without public accountability of any kind, will certainly be abused."
Unchecked government surveillance presents a grave threat to democratic freedoms. That one line packs a powerful punch. Why does unchecked government surveillance present a grave threat to our freedoms? Because if they can scan your emails, listen to your phone calls, and track your every movement, they can find you and punish you for being out of line.
Of course, we are supposed to believe that government surveillance is intended to keep us safe. Fore example, after 9/11 the Bush administration passed the Patriot Act, in theory to protect Americans from Al Qaeda terrorists. The act’s official title is, “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism," which sounds like a noble cause.
But what exactly are these tools, and how might they be misused?
Long before Snowden pulled back the curtain and revealed the answers, liberty loving Americans, especially liberals and progressives, were outraged that the government had just given itself the authority to spy on ordinary people, expanding their ability to monitor phone and email communications, collect bank and credit records, search without serving a warrant, and track the activity of every American on the internet. To again quote the ACLU:
"While most Americans think it was created to catch terrorists, the Patriot Act actually turns regular citizens into suspects."
Fast forward to the end of 2019, when liberals were consumed with impeaching President Trump, Bill Gates and his minions were meticulously planning a global pandemic, and Nancy Pelosi ever so quietly extended the Patriot Act, which had been set to expire, by lumping it into a spending bill designed to limp the government along through the end of the year. Keep in mind this bill was passed by a Democrat majority -- which led to wild howls of protest among the few progressives who were paying any attention.
With that backdrop, let's turn attention to the Biden administrations new Disinformation Governance Board -- aka America's very own Ministry of Truth. Given the history and precedent of defending our right to privacy, one might expect that the ACLU and other liberal think-tanks would be up in arms about this abusive government overreached, but they're not.
In fact, the liberal media has essentially been silent and "utterly asleep at their keyboards," according to the Media Research Center. Executive editor Tim Graham put it this way:
"Liberal outlets don't see this as a story because it seems all right and good to them. When you believe deeply that most Americans aren't very smart and need to be guided by the smarter people, you get this."
Today's progressive mentality is that they alone represent ‘information,’ and that anything that challenges their narrative is ‘disinformation'. The obvious question, to any rational mind, is who gets to decide what information is valid and worthy of public consumption? And perhaps more importantly, why are they doing this now?
Former DHS deputy chief of staff Lora Ries has called the board "an overtly political ploy" to try and silence opposing viewpoints ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. Meanwhile, White House press secretary Jen Psaki, claims that this new Disinformation Governance Board -- the DGB, not to be confused with Russia's Committee for State Security, known as the KGB, -- is necessary "to address unauthorized terrorism." What an interesting choice of words.
While we might speculate Psaki is referring to the "unauthorized terrorism" taking place at school board meetings, or grassroots movements like the People's Convoy, or Musk's attempt to liberate free speech on Twitter, it's fascinating to note that she can't think of any reason why anyone would oppose the government explicitly policing the flow of information, "to prevent disinformation and misinformation from traveling around the country."
All this news may be as shocking as it is amusing, but it's actually exposing a much bigger issue. To quote U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee:
"As the author of the bipartisan law that established the Global Engagement Center to combat the constantly evolving threat of foreign propaganda and disinformation abroad, I do not believe that the United States government should turn the tools that we have used to assist our allies counter foreign adversaries onto the American people."
Did you catch that? They have the tools and they know how to use them. They've been using them all along, just not on the American people -- at least not openly. Have you heard of the Global Engagement Center before? Are you aware that the government has prioritized developing a "whole-of-government" strategy for countering propaganda and disinformation, since 2016?
Thanks to the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act of 2016, the State Department, the Department of Defense, USAID, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the Intelligence Community, and "other relevant agencies" have been synchronizing their whole-of-government initiatives to counter disinformation and "proactively advance fact-based narratives" that support government interests. How so?
By leveraging expertise from outside the government to create more adaptive and responsive options, including training local journalists, providing grants and contracts to NGOs, civil society organizations, think tanks, private sector companies, and media organizations -- all of whom will dutifully parrot the talking points of state sanctioned truth.
With all the pieces in place, the only remaining threat are those rowdy rebel rousers who dare to voice opposition. Now that they've got the DGB, the government can finally protect us from the dangerous information that leads to thinking for ourselves.
Doesn't the world feel like a much safer place?