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The First Amendment is Under Siege – and Most Americans Know It

Posted on Friday, December 18, 2020
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by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
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44 Comments
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First, digital conversations on “matters of public concern,” legally the centerpiece of First Amendment jurisprudence, were consistently blocked by partisan social media operators throughout the 2020 election cycle.  That alone is arresting; it has changed public access to information and calls for action.

Social media moved from offering a “public forum” (with concurrent legal duties, including openness) to a “content editor” (typically imposing higher liability, such as for defamation), then into the unseemly, otherworldly role of kingmaker.  By appearances, they know exactly what they are doing – no apologies.

Second, critical information – official, damning, highly material, and verifiably accurate information concerning Joe Biden’s son, apparently under investigation for months, was blocked by these social media giants, potentially affecting the election.  The nub is that this information not only reflected poorly on the Democrat presidential candidate – now president-elect – but implicated him.

Only after the election did we learn that data blocked could be objectively disqualifying.  If members of Joe Biden’s family, close for years, are under investigation for trading access for money, who is the “him” guilty of offering access?  It takes to two to tango, as they say – and Joe Biden is one of the two.

All this becomes even more insidious, objectionable, and arguably unconstitutional – when explicit and implied financial assistance, political advocacy, and campaign-tipping support is aligned with the Democrat Party.

In effect, political actors – soon running the federal government – have been assisted in shutting out the truth, in order to acquire power – and this power, in turn, serves the personal, financial and political agenda of those who control the social media giants.

The time has come to separate mass power over information and the Democrat party.  More, the time has come to open these social media giants to antitrust actions, public and private, and end the now-absurd notion that they should be immune from civil lawsuits – because they must be nurtured.

They have been effectively nurtured into monster-hood, a societal overlord position that allows dominance, controls critical information, shuts off information flow essential to a free, open, and properly informed republic.

What power do these players have?  Beyond the ability to distort public dialogue on “matters of public concern” – including blocking a December AMAC podcast discussing election lawsuits – these giants have become sources of mass dependence.

Thus, by way of example, on Monday, December 14th, social media users around the globe personally and professionally suffered the impact of a mass access outage, shutting off access to dialogue, but also to mass databases.  That downtime impacted everything from business communications, internet website accessibility, data access, and distance learning – shutting schools.

The outage also illustrated how much dependence has arisen – on these information-controlling outlets. Paired with political manipulation, the outage raises serious questions about the role, responsibility, and regulation of these huge, largely uncontrolled social media and high-tech companies.

In a nutshell, the time has come to open these oligopolistic companies to civil liability – beginning with a repeal of section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, then aggressively regulate, deconstruct, break up, reduce the influence of and de-politicize (and hold accountable) these digital behemoths.

Theodore Roosevelt – famously patriotic, pro-commerce, and pro-free enterprise – was among the first to call out the abuse of power by monopolies and oligopolies, and to push not only the Sherman and Clayton Antitrust Acts, but also to come down hard on the abusers of public trust – in the marketplace and the marketplace of ideas.

His example is a shining one – and should make these big social media and data-manipulating giants shiver.  The influence of big tech on America – our social harmony, mental health, basic human interactions, decision-making, political stability, institutional and political accountability, commerce, and contentment – in short, their manipulation of the public mind – is working at cross-purposes with democracy.

It has become a threat to the free flow of information vital for sustaining a free republic, not only teaming with powerful political actors (including socialist ideologues and promotors of leftist violence), but undermining the currency of any democracy, the guarantee of citizen free speech.

So, looking back on history, the most heinous deprivations of individual liberty – including impairment of the God-given freedoms of worship, assembly, travel, protest, self-defense, confronting accusers, fair trial, no false imprisonment, harm to life or limb, fear of government – all begin with loss of free speech.

That is why the outrage of the moment – is a talisman of our future.  If Americans will see and speak truth, enact laws that protect political, personal, and professional free speech – rather than empowering oppressors of free speech – we can rise above this.  If we do not act, we will wish we had.  The First Amendment is under siege – and most Americans know it.  We do not need more political violence.  We need free speech, and protection of it.   The time – if there ever was one – is now, to say so.

Robert Charles is a former assistant secretary of state for President George W. Bush, former naval intelligence officer and litigator. He served in the Reagan and Bush 41 White Houses, as congressional counsel for five years, and wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003) and “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), the latter on WWII vets in a Maine town.

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Rik
Rik
3 years ago

Our Right to Free Speech isn’t just under attack, it’s been under siege since LBJ and greatly increased under Obama. LBJ’s Affirmative Action instituted the attack and made “white” people the focus! … initially, it was a good thing but now it’s so out of control that We, “whites” are constantly being called “Racist” whenever We disagree or object to anything Black’s say and even “White” Democrats say when disagreeing with “Republicans”!!! … If We, Republicans allow Old Biddy Biden to “steal” the Presidency, We ALL will become SLAVES/SERVANTS to the “new” ruling Democratic Communist Party! There won’t be another chance to “regain” our rights and freedoms. They will be lost to us forever! … IT’S FIGHT NOW OR FOREVER BE RULED! … I intend to fight!

Kim
Kim
3 years ago

We’ve had these discussions in the past, deliberating the merits and the cautions of breaking up these monopolies of information and commerce. If I remember correctly, the consensus was to let them be, and to let marketplace pressures decide. I’m not on Facebook and I’ve never bought anything through Amazon. I choose duckduckgo over google.

How far can we go with this? Is Costco too big and putting small grocers out of business? How about Walmart? Or the pharmaceutical chains? In the end, it is we who are responsible for patronizing companies that we want to buy goods and services from. Sure, most of us hunt down the best prices.

But if we are going to be censored from reaching a site or prevented from posting an opinion that is not in line with board room chatter, then that company needs to be investigated. When they are capable of driving thought and possibly altering the outcome of an election, when they claim to be an open classroom, they should be investigated. These days, it’s all about “influencers” and the money they rake in for themselves and for the medium that hosts them. These huge companies can go out and buy other technologies, as Google did with Instagram and a few others. They get bigger and bigger, leaving no room for competition.

The First Amendment must never be violated, or those monopolies themselves will “rule”. If they parade in front of Congress and claim ignorance of their own programs, if they’re going to shut out dissenting views, then shut ’em down. They’ve had years to mend their ways, and haven’t budged.

Bruce David
Bruce David
3 years ago

The entire country is under siege by Marxists-everything from so-called teacher unions, the policians, to media seem to have been hijacked AND we need to fight back!

Larry a Taylor
Larry a Taylor
3 years ago

Amen and it is long overdue. There will be another shutdown coming and it will be total us!

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
3 years ago

1sr A under seige mostly by Big Tech: Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, others.
Revoke Section 230.
Lindsay Graham wants to revoke Section 230 but not until Jan 2023?
Why the delay.
& he wants to replace or amend 230.
These Private companies Censor whom & when ever they want too.
No more.
No Big Tech then Govt cant censor.
Side note why does DoD issue immunity cards?

Art A
Art A
3 years ago

FREE SPEECH IS IN THE BULL’S EYE OF TOO MANY FACTIONS. BIG TECH CENSORSHIP. MSM IGNORING INFORMATION TO SATISFY CERTAIN FOLKS AND AMBITIONS. THE ATTACK IS ON. IF THESE PEOPLE CAN’T SHOUT YOU OUT,THEY CURRENTLY CAN AND WILL SHUT YOU OUT.

TOMORROW WILL NEVER DIE. JAMES BOND VS THE MEDIA MOGUL,ELIOT CARVER, WHO WANTED TO CONTROL THE FLOW OF NEWS BY PLANNING TO ACTUALLY MAKE IT HIMSELF. I HOPE THAT IS NOT WHERE WE ARE GOING.

AT&T EVENTUALLY SURVIVED THE BREAKUP INTO THE BABY BELLS BY ADJUSTING AND RECOGNIZING THEIR NEW PLACE IN THE MARKET PLACE. WOULD THERE BE THE WILL TO RECONSTRUCT OUR MODERN ” MONOPOLIES?”

FREE SPEECH LIKE OTHER THINGS IS NOT FREE. WE HAVE TO FIGHT FOR IT.

Doug Drennan
Doug Drennan
3 years ago

It should be clear by now that most of the MSM and the too big tech companies are all politically aligned with the democrat party and are engaged in censorship and disinformation against a majority of Americans. Now is the time for people to start the constant demanding of change by congress. The more they are hammered on the issue the more they will be forced to act.

Steven King
Steven King
3 years ago

Just yesterday I read an article that Kareem Jabbar says that social media should do more censoring. Funny that the only people he mentioned by name are conservatives. Imagine that.
Take the time to read “Uprising” by Diamond and Silk. Read how they have been censored and were almost shut down. The book is a very good read.
Part of the problem is that many are afraid to speak their mind. Don’t sit in silence.

Dave
Dave
3 years ago

We must correct this attack on our freedom of speech by the social media and news networks across America. The radical left has forced their views on the rest of us for 4 years now and it is time we fight back by whatever means needed that remains legal and fair. We do not want to take ourselves down to their level in trying to correct the bad. Peaceful protests with millions of us carrying our flag, writing to our congress representatives, saying no to platforms that want to abuse us and use the platforms that do not!

Barbara Wirkus
Barbara Wirkus
3 years ago

Everything in this article it truth! The issue is: WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT? With low information voters totally controlled by the left, we are powerless to get our message out.

Patricia Hefferan
Patricia Hefferan
3 years ago

It it time to recognize that our entire country has been compromised by outside forces. China is beyond a formidable enemy. China has now placed the father of Hunter Biden, a traitor to our country, in the catbird seat. Joe Biden sold his soul to China. He must be removed before he starts. He has led a corrupt and frankly stupid political career all his life. He has been everyone’s puppet….”Good ol’ Uncle Joe”… just ask him for for candy and it is yours. By so doing you have sold not only your soul but our great country to the most evil forces that exist. But Uncle Joe?- “What a swell guy.”

Therese Brezin
Therese Brezin
3 years ago

Now is the time to say so, but besides forums like this…no one will allow us free speech. If you “preach” the first amendment on the street, you will, likely, be physically and/or verbally attacked. It seems that it’s already against the “law” to be a Republican, but to be a WHITE republican is more than any liberal can bear!

Donna
Donna
3 years ago

AMAC needs to join Parler & MeWe. Many conservatives have left FB & Twitter. Conservative voices are NOT censored on these platforms. We need to send a message to big tec & the best way is through their pocketbook!!!

Dr Scott
Dr Scott
3 years ago

Excuse me for this historic year’s still not over yet, and the real attacks are much more insidious than our first amendment rights.

We, the American Citizens and everything we have, are, stand for, believe, etc., have been under attack for years now. This year has brought them out of their hidey holes, to expose who and what they are.
These are socialist, Marxist, communist Revolutionaries that want to take full power over our country and our lives.
They have a plan that works well and they’ve done this evil before with success in other countries. It’s our turn now, and they know that there’s no turning back.
They are domestic and foreign entities, or truthfully, they are enemies of our Constitutional Republican government and our country.

Their media darlings are propagandists being used to persuade the public that their way is good, and the right way is bad. From the time they turned our nation upside down with morality issues like: homosexual marriage, lgbtq rights, men in the women’s showers or bathrooms, destruction of the family, abortion on demand up to live birth, and more; we began to witness God’s displeasure and His discipline upon our nation. Many refuse to believe that still.

Yes, the Church prayed for God’s help throughout this journey. Please Lord bless us and revive Your Church. Forgive us for sinning against You Lord Jesus. Help us turn from our wicked ways.

Yet, evil has grown and became even worse (almost ubiquitous now). Our children’s children were turned into the evil that’s growing and became a part of their wicked ways. Many were indoctrinated in our taxpayers’ funded schools into this evil Marxist communism and they lost their way from the biblical upbringing of many of us.

Yes, we are headed into a great divide any day now. We cannot, we must not allow them to do this to our families and our country. They have declared war against us, our Constitution, POTUS, and they have infiltrated every facet of our government. They have concealed their criminal activities and their media supporters help them each step in their way.

With God’s help and prayers, we must put on His Armor daily, and stand against this or else we lose the nation we love. With God’s help our country was founded. With God’s help, our country will be kept as intended.

Dec. 2018, POTUS Trump signed an Executive Order, strengthening the 2 signed by the previous POTUS, declaring a national emergency because our nation’s elections are under attack by foreign and domestic enemies. The next step began 12/18/2020, with a report on the election fraud and illegal voting. Insurrection is most likely ahead.
Please be prepared, inform your family and friends why this happens when it comes.
Always remember to pray for God’s help and Revival in His Church, and put His armor on daily. May God’s love and mercy sustain us, and keep us safe during this crazy time. In the powerful holy name of Jesus Christ. Amen

Dr. Scott

John Wayne Hodgkin
John Wayne Hodgkin
3 years ago

The right of free speech is one of our mos sacred rights ! and the second amendment that protects all the others is also under siege.
How are we suppose to write laws to protect them when the other side cheats in the Presidential election and the highest Court in the land will do nothing to stop it ?

Cherie
Cherie
3 years ago

This is probably a good article but as soon as you called Biden the now President elect, I stopped reading it. He’s not and this election is a fraud being perpetrated on the American people to steal the election and destroy America. Next step will be to unsubscribe. I’m sick and tired of it. It’s not over and Trump won and we all know it.
Stop calling Biden the President elect. He simply is not!

Janet
Janet
3 years ago

This is a great article but we need action Talk is cheap. What can we do to stop this and save our FREEDOM???

Clyde Hurst
Clyde Hurst
3 years ago

I agree with everything here but until people start voting differently nothing is going to change. We also need an amendment to the constitution to standardize voting procedures. And furthermore the US Congress will never police themselves. The Convention of States is the only way any of this will ever happen.

Brenda Blunt
Brenda Blunt
3 years ago

Those that chose to lie about information, should be held accountable and suffer the consequences! Our First Amendment was fought for and earned. This should not and cannot be taken away!! This is America and we have earned the right to think and feel on our own.

John A. Fallon
John A. Fallon
3 years ago

Everybody keeps overlooking the lawyers, who have made all this corruption possible, the educational system, the court system, the political system, everything about AMERICA is being changed by lawyers, they ignore the constitution whenever they can, because the constitution LIMITS what lawyers, judges(Gen. Flynn case) and politicians(mostly lawyers) are allowed to do, so it is not about the first or second amendments, it is about the ENTIRE CONSTITUTION AND BILL OF RIGHTS and all legitimate laws, rules and regulations, biggest mistake this nation ever made was allowing lawyers to become LAW MAKERS, every law, rule and regulation benifits lawyers, how many “special councils” and investigations have taken place the last few decades? How many criminals have been punished? NONE!!! millions of taxpayer dollars in the pockets of lawyers who then “donate” to the people they were investigating, how much more evidence is needed to prove VOTER FRAUD? the clintons and bidens and oh bummers? Tons of evidence and they are STILL STEALING FROM “WE THE PEOPLE”, the graves of all REAL AMERICANS WHO SACRIFICED EVERYTHING FOR THE FREEDOM THese DONKEYBUTTS ARE THROWING AWAY ARE BEING PISSED ON BY THESE DIRTBAGS THAT HAVE NEVER SACRIFICED OR CONTRIBUTED TO THIS GREAT NATION, yet they “think”? they are “entitled”? to make the decisions? NEVER!!!

Rich
Rich
3 years ago

This is nothing new. It is only escalating. The perfect storm for socialism and beyond. IF the socialists are elected, we are headed down a very dark pathway. Keep praying, God is the only one that can deliver us.

Martella Organics
Martella Organics
3 years ago

paragraph 7 did you want to se the word nurture or neuter?

notluf trebor
notluf trebor
3 years ago

Until the purpose of our elections is changed from a child mentality, leftist narrative “everyone must vote” as the central purpose for elections, to a “we must encourage and elect the most qualified persons to represent the interests of those of us that do vote”, and no elected person is allowed to serve more than two terms, we will continue to get the results of a juvenile, no photo I.D. system that believes vote-by-mail can sustain a moral free- enterprise republic.

BTW, using Teddy for any United States of America conservative political argument is not a good idea. Like all Progressives his statements were utopian and not grounded on American principles; history, not propaganda, should find our heroes.

publius

James Marvin
James Marvin
3 years ago

Isn’t that what communist countries have. NO free speach!

Sug
Sug
3 years ago

Thanks

Bob Elder
Bob Elder
3 years ago

The mainstream media runs neck in neck with the U.S. Congress in the race for the absolute lowest trust rating (9-11%) with the American people. This poll is accurate and they both need reformed.

Jerry L
Jerry L
3 years ago

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we don’t have a 1st amendment anymore. Oh, it’s still written down on some ancient parchment enshrined somewhere out of sight. But make no mistake, we do not have free speech anymore. Try this experiment if you don’t believe me. Try wearing a MAGA hat to work or to school or to the mall. Let me know how long it takes for the thought police to correct your “wrong thinking”. Try posting the truth on twatter of FB, or any of the other social media sites. Let me know how that works out for you. Free speech, indeed. Next up, the 2nd amendment. After these two cornerstones of our Republic fall, the rest will look like a house of cards. Gone will be everything out ancestors fought and died for.

Don
Don
3 years ago

The treason and sedition occurring is paramount to me.

Dr. Anthony Taylor
Dr. Anthony Taylor
3 years ago

The idea to “close the gate” is much too late! The horse is already out and all we have done is talk about it – no action – just talk.
We need to have information on “How to restore” not “What to restore.”

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