US ‘Disinformation Industry’ Lands in Court

It took years too long, writes Patrick Lawrence. But the law has at last been invoked against the creeping despotism of mainstream liberals as they attempt to control what we read, see, hear, and by way of all this, think.

Twitter HQ, 2013. (Steve Rhodes, via Flickr)

By Patrick Lawrence
Original to ScheerPost

What kind of a week was last week in the theater of war wherein battles rage over illegal censorship, illegal attacks on freedom of speech, illegal government infringements on our constitutional rights, and, amid it all, the complicity of our most powerful media in these illegalities?

For a brief while it looked as though it was a very fine week. On July 4, an excellent day for this, a district court in Louisiana ruled that the White House and a long list of other federal agencies are barred from all contacts with social media companies if the intent is to intimidate or otherwise coerce Twitter, Google, Facebook, and other such platforms into deleting, suppressing, or in any way obscuring content protected as free speech, to paraphrase a key passage in the ruling.

Wow. A federal judge brings to the surface, there on your morning page one, all the illegal interventions, years of them, in which the Biden regime and its Capitol Hill allies have indulged to quash dissent. What liberal authoritarians impudently dismissed as a kooky “conspiracy theory” on July 3 is in a judicial stroke written into the record as an ugly reality to be eliminated. What’s not to like?

[Related: US Court Victory Against Online Censorship]

Then came the insidious reaction to the Louisiana ruling among mainstream liberals and in our corporate media, which stand on the wrong side of every one of the illegalities just noted. \

These people, we are on notice, don’t give a tinker’s damn about the Constitution and the rights of all Americans thereunder, they are not going to start giving a damn now, and what happened in the Western District of Louisiana a week ago Monday is not going to stop their rampant trampling on the laws that make our troubled republic tick.

Suddenly the week looked like something other than very fine.

How shall we read these events?

Net positively I will say, risking a charge of undue optimism. Last week was one of sharpening contradictions. It gives us a new measure of clarity amid the fog in which our purported leaders and the media that serve them would have us confined.

It took years too long, but the law has at last been invoked against the creeping despotism of mainstream liberals as they attempt to control what we read, see, hear, and by way of all this think. Their hypocrisy and the extent to which corporate media will lie to obscure it are already more legible.

We are better off this week than we were at the start of the last, in other words. In all things — politics, war, painting, love, psychiatry, you name it — we never get anywhere without acknowledging where we are at the outset, our starting point.

Judge Terry Doughty in 2017. (U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

To be perfectly clear about this assessment of an eventful week’s developments, the war over the future of this country — we witness nothing less — is bound to get nastier, dirtier and bloodier before things get better.

If you like the gruesome war of attrition in Ukraine, you are going to love this one. But defenders of free speech and constitutional rights stand to win this very worthy fight.

At the horizon this seems to me the very likeliest outcome. It is a matter of stepping back to discern which of the forces at work in this confrontation is on the ascendant and which is on its back foot.

In his 155–page ruling, Judge Terry Doughty has made overt what was effectively a years’ long covert operation to subvert free speech and freedom of the press. This has led to the corruption of the very institutions charged with protecting these freedoms.

A lot more people now stand to see that a bitter war in defense of their constitutional rights has to be fought. And it will be evident to a lot of these newly aware people that this nation’s most powerful newspapers and broadcasters are complicit in a liberal authoritarian attack on the rights that reside in American law.

Last week’s events — the court ruling and the liberal authoritarian reaction to it — together bear all sorts of implications. High among these are the consequences for a major transformation among American media that was already in train.

The mainstream press and broadcasters, while they have been declining for years, have just made it clear that their commitment to those tearing down this country is complete. I have been struck this past week to note that it is only, as in exclusively, by way of independent media that Americans are able to see these events clearly and make sense of what is at stake.

This imposes a considerable burden of responsibility on these media, and to this I say, “Pile it on.” In my read they are ready to assume it as they serve an ever-enlarging audience of readers and viewers who abandon as we speak the major media that have abandoned them.

Long List of Citations

Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and President Joe Biden conferring in January in the Oval Office. (White House / Adam Schultz)

It was two state attorneys general straight from the heartland, Eric Schmitt of Missouri (who is now a senator) and Jeff Landry of Louisiana, who, with five private plaintiffs, filed the suit in May 2022 that led to Judge Doughty’s ruling.

These people did their homework, let there be no question. They cited 67 people and institutions “for violations of the First Amendment, actions in excess of statutory authority, and violations of the Administrative Procedure Act,” to quote the Missouri v. Biden opinion dated March 20.

The APA dates to 1946 and gives federal courts jurisdiction over the regulatory functions of government agencies.

The list of defendants gives a good idea of the plaintiffs’ shared ire and ambition. To go by the names cited, these people are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. Among the defendants are President Joe Biden, Press Secretary Karine Jean–Pierre and her predecessor, Jen Psaki, and a variety of other serving and former White House staff.

There is a small legion of fraudulent disinformation “experts” (a fav of mine is the ridiculous Nina Jankowicz, “the Mary Poppins of disinformation”), and a lengthy roster of functionaries you have never heard of.

Former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki during a press briefing in June 2021. (White House, Cameron Smith)

Then the federal agencies. The F.B.I., the Justice, State, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services departments: They are all accused of First Amendment violations.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, an especially pernicious presence in the disinfo industry, as the Twitter Files make clear, of course gets named. Quoting the Missouri v. Biden opinion again, all 67 members of this unprincipled crew “are liable for their conduct relating to the alleged suppression of certain ideas and viewpoints on social-media platforms.”

I just love reading in published legalese a rundown of what all these sons of bitches have been doing all these years while hiding behind the law. And I love even more one of Doughty’s surmises in his ruling:

“If the allegations made by plaintiffs are true, the present case arguably involves the most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history. The plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits in establishing that the government has used its power to silence the opposition.”

Indulging my lifelong love of cliché, Doughty pretty much threw the book at the 67 people and agencies named in the ruling. He, too, seems to have done his homework, his due diligence, giving the impression he understands very well the gravity of the matter the Missouri and Louisiana AGs put before him.

When he bars the defendants from contacting those who run social media platforms for the purpose of coercing them to censor those they publish, he spells out in wall-to-wall fashion what he means:

No telephone calls, no email messages, no texting, no “engaging in any communication of any kind with social-media companies if the purpose is urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content posted with social-media companies containing protected free speech.”

Prohibitions on Defendants 

In a sign Doughty, drawing from the AGs’ suit, knows very well what has been going on for years between Washington and Silicon Valley, his ruling bars defendants from “following up” to see if orders to censor have been executed, “requesting content reports,” or — interesting inside knowledge here — “notifying social-media companies to Be on The Lookout (‘BOLO’) for postings containing protected free speech.”

This is a good one. Those named in the ruling are prohibited from

“collaborating, coordinating, partnering, switchboarding, and/or jointly working with the Election Integrity Partnership, the Virality Project, the Stanford Internet Observatory, or any like project or group for the purpose of urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content posted with social-media companies containing protected free speech.”


Some good spadework went into this feature of the Missouri–Louisiana suit such that Doughty wrote these clauses into his ruling.

Perhaps you have a general idea what these organizations are: They, and numerous others like them, are instrumental in the disinformation industry, more than occasionally serving as liaisons between the federal government and social media platforms.

Look at their websites. Look at their “who we are” pages. These are appendages of the Deep State.

Stanford is an especially disgusting case for its services to the imperium and the liberal authoritarians alike. I cannot be surprised: This is what institutions of higher learning have come to. You think corporate media have diseased relationships with power? Get a load of the leading universities sometime.

Stanford University. (Don McCullough, Flickr, CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The full text of State of Missouri et al. v. Joseph R. Biden Jr. et al. is here. By far the best extended analysis of this case comes from Glenn Greenwald — no surprise, as he is a constitutional lawyer by training. It is available on his System Update program.

The Biden regime howled when Doughty issued his ruling — per usual in the cotton-wool language they use to disguise their unconstitutional doings. From a White House official as quoted in the July 4 editions of The New York Times and The Washington Post:

“This Administration has promoted responsible actions to protect public health, safety, and security when confronted by challenges like a deadly pandemic and foreign attacks on our elections. Our consistent view remains that social media platforms have a critical responsibility to take account of the effects their platforms are having on the American people, but make independent choices about the information they present.”

Orwell made the pertinent point here in his famous “Politics and the English Language,” published in 1946. “The greatest enemy of clear language is insincerity,” the English essayist wrote. “When there is a gap between one’s real and declared aims, one turns as it were to long words and exhausted idioms.”

“Insincerity” is too mild a term for the obfuscating rubbish we get now from Biden and his people in response to the Doughty ruling.

Know this, readers: The above-quoted official is describing a very grave transgression of the Constitution and long, long years of case law governing press freedom, free speech and censorship.

Know this, too: Mussolini described Fascism in its purest form as occurring when the state and the corporate sector act as one, no distinction between them. I leave the rest of this latter thought to readers.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken with Google representatives during a CEO gathering in Los Angeles in June 2022. (State Department/Freddie Everett. Public domain)

You’re not going to get anything out of the mainstream press that strays far, if at all, from the White House line on this question. You know this as soon as you start reading it.

Landry and Schmitt are Republicans. Doughty was named to the bench during the Trump presidency. These are the first things corporate media mention as they report this case. Doughty’s ruling is “a victory for Republicans,” the Times reported last week. Elsewhere in the same piece:

“The issue of the government’s influence over social media has become increasingly partisan.”


“The Republican majority in the House has taken up the cause, smothering universities and think tanks that have studied the issue with onerous requests for information and subpoenas.”

Free speech is increasingly partisan? Do you see what is being said here, text and subtext?

I am in no hurry to invite either Eric Schmitt, Andrew Bailey, his successor as Missouri A–G, or Jeff Landry over for drinks, given various of their views, but at issue are constitutional rights, not Republican politics.

Perniciously enough, we are now invited to take free speech as some kind of right-wing Republican cause. This riles me beyond words, but I will manage a few more.

The Washington Post now puts “protected speech” in quotation marks, if you please. “Over the past five years, coordination and communication between government officials and the companies increased,” the Post wants you to know. From the Times’ second-day story last Wednesday:

“Government efforts to interact with social media platforms took a major hit on Tuesday when a federal judge restricted the Biden administration from communicating with tech companies about a broad array of online content.”

Interacting with social media? Communicating with tech companies? These are references to long-established, brazenly illegal censorship operations, as we know from The Twitter Files and numerous other documents published over the past several years.

Reporting and writing in this kind of language is profoundly irresponsible. It is one reason the problem the Doughty ruling addresses has got so far out of hand. It is why many Americans, if not most, are not aware of what is being done to their rights.

I am not going to say lying should be illegal, but the Times and the Post are damn lucky it isn’t.

Doughty’s ruling is an excellent step, in the best outcome the beginning of a needed corrective. In this judgment I am with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who tweeted after the July 4 court ruling was announced, “Happy Independence Day, everybody.”

Indeed. But Doughty issued a preliminary injunction, let us not forget, which is merely a precursor to a final ruling. That is to come.

Equally, there are numerous exceptions to the decision’s restrictions. Federal agencies and the named defendants are still licensed to “interact” with Silicon Valley if the intent is “notifying social-media companies of national security threats,” or “informing social-media companies of threats that threaten the public safety or security of the United States,” or “exercising permissible public government speech promoting government policies or views on matters of public concern,” and so on through eight such clauses.

This suggests there is a lot of courtroom time ahead before the Doughty ruling becomes law in whatever form it takes.

I begin to nurse a new worry. Silicon Valley media platforms have already hired hundreds — yes, hundreds — of former government officials, ex–FBI agents, and essentially seconded intelligence operatives to run their censoring operations.

Will it come to be that social media are so stacked with these antidemocratic people that the need to intervene directly, as we have seen it to date, will be obviated? Will the official censorship regime be made an in-house function such that rulings such as Doughty’s are impotent to remedy our drift into unfreedom?

I have no answer to this now. Enough to say I would rather not have to pose the question.

It will be interesting to read about this process as it unfolds, the Biden regime having already signaled, via the DOJ, that it is likely to appeal the injunction. It will be interesting, I mean, to watch as mainstream media whitewash, to borrow from Doughty, “the most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history.”

This will be a spectacle of self-degradation that will cost corporate media dearly. And interesting, too, to see how well independent media shoulder the responsibility that falls to them as the only ones to play this immense story straight.

This shapes up as an important passage for them as they define journalism for a nation that would otherwise have none.

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, lecturer and author, most recently of  Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century. His new book Journalists and Their Shadows, is forthcoming from Clarity Press. His Twitter account, @thefloutist, has been permanently censored. His web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon site.  His web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon site

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.


42 comments for “US ‘Disinformation Industry’ Lands in Court

  1. RWilson
    July 16, 2023 at 18:15

    A classic article. It lifted my spirits.

    In covering this ruling, PBS co-anchor Amna Nawaz did her best to disparage the ruling. Instead she strongly expressed her support for government efforts to protect Americans from “dangerous” speech. Her two “balanced” interviews were similarly slanted, with lots of obfuscation.

    There was no discussion of the specific censorship activities underlying the case. This was consistent with the Newshour’s previous reporting on the Twitter files revelations – zero coverage.

    It is by now obvious that many major institutions in American society have been captured by a deadly stealth enemy. The so-called “liberal” and “conservative” establishments have been co-opted into a distracting food fight. We must follow the various streams of money to their coordinating source and root it out. It is existential for both sides, and so will be an intense battle.

  2. peter mcloughlin
    July 16, 2023 at 07:24

    I share with Patrick Lawrence, the experience of being censored by Twitter. How we differ is that I am an insignificant commentator. I am sure the closing of my Twitter was originally done by an algorithm. But a subsequent appeal was ignored: that I was promoting my free e-book, The Pattern of History, in which I argue that humanity is on course for another world war, that every empire in history has eventually faced the conflict it was trying to avoid – but never saw it coming – and that the greatest conflict of all, WWIII, is approaching. Anyone interested in reading my book can search: A free ebook: The Pattern of History and Fate of Humanity

  3. Utu
    July 15, 2023 at 21:09

    When I look at the big picture, it would be hilarious if it wasn’t so dire.

    “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” – William J. Casey, CIA Director (1981)

    40 years later, their disinformation program worked too well. We crossed the signal-noise event horizon some time ago and now the “mainstream liberals”—really just right-wing authoritarians—are realizing their signals are getting lost in the noise as well and now they’re trying to claw back some level of power/control.

  4. Paul Citro
    July 15, 2023 at 17:02

    People still take the oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. The question is, is there anyone actually willing to do it? How far gone is our law governed Republic? How much are we now in a tyrant governed Empire?

    • J Anthony
      July 17, 2023 at 08:14

      I’d say we’re pretty far in, bordering on fascism. Don’t think so? No political institution today makes a move unless they have the go-ahead of the richest people/corporations in the country. It’s a problem. The constitution is used as a tool.

  5. Robert Emmett
    July 15, 2023 at 10:12

    Is it wrong to accept reams of new evidence dredged-up by a Republican controlled House committee whatever their other motives?

    If they’re right, the censorship dragnet is much bigger than originally reported, involving all the major tech platforms, including direct requests to private tech companies from foreign operatives to suspend or cancel accounts, by-passing the FBI as middle-man. Some are saying this “enterprise”, in effect, is the gov’t “farming-out” their targets for blacklisting.

    If proven in court, it’s hard to see how such collusion would be a good look for anybody. Provided more people were to catch-on that taking away basic rights & freedoms at the whim of unelected corporate bureaucrats & private business interests is not in the best interests of the country.

    Speaking of good looks, per the photo the judge: might want to reconsider going with that whole British wig look, style-wise that is.

  6. Gordon Hastie
    July 15, 2023 at 03:08

    The irony of neoliberal and neocon pundits, aka mainstream liberals, aka fraudulent hacks, on CNN disparaging this victory as “a conservative ruling”. 1984 meets Alice in Wonderland.

    • Anon
      July 15, 2023 at 15:27

      I am shocked and dumbfounded that so many Left-wing progressive intellectuals that I used to greatly admire are “all in” with this. The excerpt below is from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:


      “Editors and journalists were expected to follow the mandates and instructions handed down by the ministry and had to be registered with the Reich Press Chamber to work in this field. Clause 14 of the law ordered editors to omit anything “calculated to weaken the strength of the Reich abroad or at home.” The Propaganda Ministry aimed further to control the content of news and editorial pages through directives distributed in daily conferences in Berlin and transmitted through the party propaganda offices to regional or local papers. Detailed guidelines stated what stories could or could not be reported and how to report the news.”

      Goebbels soon envisioned an empire that would control schools, universities, film, radio, and propaganda. “The national education of the German people,” he wrote, “will be placed in my hands.”


      I always assumed setting up a Ministry of Propaganda could NEVER be setup in the United States, an absolute impossibility and preposterous …because of the strength and principles of our educated progressive intellectual class. I never imagined in a million years that they would be the ones to implement it. Their past words are now rendered meaningless.

      I always wondered how the Germans ever went down this route …but we are now seeing how it happened in real time. I now realize how easy it was for Josef Goebbels. (sigh)

  7. R P Joe Smith
    July 15, 2023 at 02:47

    This is such a more complicated issue than some of the commenters seem to understand. Is there a right to lie? If so, does it have any limits? If not, how and who should address its violation, or provide rebuttals? Not easy,

    • Caliman
      July 15, 2023 at 08:59

      Of course there’s a “right to lie” built into any real right to free speech. For just one thing, who would a free people choose to be the arbiter of truth, the government?

    • torture this
      July 15, 2023 at 09:15

      It’s easier than you think. The right to lie is total and balanced by the total right to tell the truth.* The arbiter of all truth is you, me and everybody else EXCEPT the government and their toadies. The only people that complicate the issue are people that want to monopolize the debate and cover up the truth.
      * Excluding laws/judicial rulings that have been made against screaming, “FIRE!” in a crowded theater when no fire exists, threatening bodily harm to others, etc.

    • Piotr Berman
      July 16, 2023 at 09:19

      As a practical issue, the line between truth and lie (or falsehood, which is different) is blurred. Goedel proved that either arithmetic contains contradictions (i.e. the rules how to add, multiply and compare integers allow to prove patently false statements) or there are statements that neither can be proved nor disproved. In practice, there is a zone of “we do not know” in which different people have different opinions with no objective criteria who is right. And both individual and collective knowledge suffers from missing data, data errors, then hasty conclusions and so on.

      That was very acute with COVID19 issues. Was the virus in some way fictitious? I would conclude, no. Were vaccines of any kind securing all people who took them from disease? Surely not, but the report of the REDUCTION of disease instances seem credible. But wait, as we went through the epidemic, we had more cracks between the reports and “official truth”. For example, Russian vaccine was villified as given small reduction of disease instances. Then there were reports on percentage reduction from the British vaccine, which was the only available alternative for most countries (roughly), and these percentages were roughly the same. Obvious official falsehood. But a lucky set of countries hoarded Pfizer vaccine.

      Than kaboom! The miraculous vaccine requires boosting!? I never heard about such vaccines before. But no worry, take a booster, it is safe. Oh well, STATISTICALLY safe, so take another booster in 3 months. At this point, Ph.D. holders can get worried and confused by the official truth, ponder if vaccines make ANY sense for younger fit people including all children and so on. What I am trying to say is that authorities make understandably hasty decision and then are less understandably pigheaded about them. This is what happens with more or less pure intensions not corrupted by vested interests and profits (which was not exactly the case, vaccine hoarding by government were financially lucrative, friends of pharma were in charge etc.).

      One can see that even with small pressure from vested interest, well meaning authorities can ban statements that should be considered in a careful discussion, and fail to disclose data that are necessary for such careful discussion. However, there is a myriad of cases when outright fabricated falsehoods are promulgated as the only acceptable statements within the window of “legitimate discourse” and contrary statements censored in more or less official way. The ability to censor is enormously corrupting.

  8. Greg Grant
    July 14, 2023 at 23:03

    Great read, thank you!
    I guess this is going to the Supreme Court.
    Then they will just choose specific CIA or FBI agents to go “undercover” to take jobs directly with these companies.
    That’s just business as usual for those guys anyway.
    And that’s going to be hard to prove and prosecute, I mean is the FBI going to investigate itself? I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    • Sam F
      July 16, 2023 at 07:21

      These agencies do not investigate themselves and have only contempt for law and Constitution.
      They are driven by primitive tribalism: our mission is sacred, so we can subvert democracy.
      This is the excuse used by tyrants throughout history, the inevitable abuse of tribal dependency.
      That results from the failure of the Constitutional convention to make checks & balances work.
      None of the branches of federal government permit the other branches to check or balance.
      They also do not have power to do so: only the rogue executive branch has the real power.

      • J Anthony
        July 17, 2023 at 08:19

        Spot on Sam

  9. Lois Gagnon
    July 14, 2023 at 21:10

    Thank you Patrick for another excellent analysis of our present predicament. I sincerely hope this case is resolved in a manner that preserves the First Amendment rights of all Americans and results in the collapse of what passes of our mainstream media. They deserve no less. Without their corporate media gatekeepers, it’s hard to see how the current crop of authoritarians remains in power.

  10. Robert Emmett
    July 14, 2023 at 17:33

    People working on the Twitter files, like Taibbi & Mate (whose account was among the relatively few Americans originally listed), now say many more accounts were on the Ukrainian secret agency’s blacklist, that requests were made to all the big tech platforms & that some were made to them directly from the foreign agents, by-passing the FBI. Their take is that it looks more like the FBI may be farming out, ie. off-shoring, the censorship industrial complex. How about them apples?

    Makes me wonder if that hoary ww2 admonition “loose lips sink ships” means anything in an age of over-the-top surveillance. The secret agencies would like us to think so. With their own undermining of the 1st amendment & their leaks to go-to political stooges & to corporate press they’re like a mess of bottom-feeding carp. And it’s a lot more than ships their blubbering would send to Davy Jones’ locker.

  11. Douglas Sedon
    July 14, 2023 at 16:41

    as was previously stated, there are two main political parties in america today: the right wing and the ultra right wing.

    to mr lawrence, i pose this question:

    do you think people should be allowed to yell “FIRE!” in a crowded movie theatre?

    doug s.

    • dfnslblty
      July 14, 2023 at 19:29

      What an idiotic question, DS. A théâtre is only one building.
      ¿Should corporations be allowed to nationally & globally spread/reproduce false public/corporate/governmental information?
      The discussion is not about an isolated incidence of psychopathy — instead, it is oligarchic sociopathy.

      • IJ Scambling
        July 15, 2023 at 09:35

        The issue is suppression of critical views of government/establishment policies in social media, such as we had recently in the pandemic over masks, lockdowns, and experimental vaccines.

        Yesterday a federal appeals court acted against Doughty’s court order prohibiting executive branch censorship of critical online views.

        “Administration lawyers said the order was overly broad and vague, raising questions about what officials can say in conversations with social media companies or in public statements. They said Doughty’s order posed a threat of ‘grave’ public harm by chilling executive branch efforts to combat online misinformation.”


        Once again the term “misinformation” is used to depict criticisms negatively, as though ALL criticism is automatically wrong, and the only correct view is the official one.

      • IJ Scambling
        July 15, 2023 at 09:54

        Sorry. My comment was directed to D.S. pushed the wrong button

    • Steve
      July 15, 2023 at 07:57

      If there really is a fire? Absolutely.

      People who warned about the lab leak hypothesis being possible/probable, or the vaccines not stopping transmission of Covid (it wasn’t even tested for that purpose), or MRNA vaccine adverse events, or the Hunter Biden laptop being real were accused of yelling FIRE in the theater. But the theater really was burning.

    • Blessthebeasts
      July 15, 2023 at 10:03

      Yeah. And the ultra right wing party is the Democrats.

  12. IJ Scambling
    July 14, 2023 at 16:21

    “Disinformation” and its relatives is name-calling; it’s a smear. It ducks and evades, it is thoroughly contemptible, it has everything to do with bullying, manipulation, and special interests. America descends to it in its worst moments, as its history shows. One of its stars was Joseph McCarthy.

    Against this, to set up a foundation by which to REASON instead of promote irresponsible histrionics, the Judge says this:

    “The principal function of free speech under the United States’ system of government is to invite dispute; it may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger. . .

    “The following quotes reveal the Founding Fathers’ thoughts on freedom of speech:

    “For if men are to be precluded from offering their sentiments on a matter, which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences, that can invite the consideration of mankind, reason is of no use t0 us; the freedom of speech may be taken away, and dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the slaughter. George Washington, March 15, 1783.

    “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the free acts of speech. Benjamin Franklin, Letters of Silence Dogwood.

    “Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error. Thomas Jefferson.


  13. Susan Suntree
    July 14, 2023 at 15:25

    I always appreciate Lawrence’s clarity and precision. My only suggestion is to not hand Kennedy more publicity than he is already receiving. Did you hear his speech in which he claims that the climate debacle is a trick to control the population and that the remedy is the “Free Market” ? Maybe he really is looking to be Trump’s running mate.

    • Caliman
      July 14, 2023 at 19:56

      Hmmm, it’s interesting that people who have no trouble seeing the corruption and power grabs inherent in government’s relationship with banking, finance, military industrial complex, and Big Tech have tons of trouble seeing the same corruption and co-option re climate change and healthcare. I think that’s what RFK Jr was saying the other day. Of course, for people whose bread is buttered by huge govt contracts (in a good cause, of course), this is anathema.

      • J Anthony
        July 17, 2023 at 08:26

        Of course there is corruption in the climate-change “industry”, if you will. Unfortunately that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening, and some of us understand there are no viable solutions or even mitigation to be had within the narrow parameters of the market-system.

    • J Anthony
      July 17, 2023 at 08:23

      That comment alone ought to make his supporters second-guess him.

  14. David Avis
    July 14, 2023 at 15:06

    Patrick, I think you should be more than just cautiously optimistic. There is a huge internet based outside of the US (and Europe) that is out of reach of these authoritarians.

    As a kid in the 60s I had a short wave radio and it was only by listening to Radio Moscow and the like that I first heard about what was really going on in Vietnam. The West occasionally tried to jam the signals, to no avail. Very few had such equipment. Many years later the truth did come out in the US and the war stopped.

    Now anyone with a cell phone has access to the world. Its impossible to “jam” the entire internet. The time scale for acknowledging the true state of Ukraine’s losses has been barely a year.

    • Steve
      July 15, 2023 at 08:05

      European governments are even worse about internet censorship than the American government, as they have no absolutely right of free speech codified in their constitutions. That’s why Rumble is banned in France, because they refused to cave to censorship requests. It’s much the same in the rest of the European colonial diaspora, where Twitter has been threatened with bans in multiple countries such as Australia and Brazil if it doesn’t kneel to government censorship requests. And don’t even get me started on how tightly the internet is censored in Asia, particularly in China. Believe it or not, America has by far the least government meddling in the internet.

      • Mc10s
        July 16, 2023 at 15:27

        The least? The least documented maybe. We are approaching chinas lockdown of info, but we’ve surpassed everyone in claims of disinfo.

        We need only look at Egypt or Arabs spring countries to see what is in store for us. The next hundred years are gonna suck and no amount of revolution is going to help.

        • J Anthony
          July 17, 2023 at 08:32

          Looking at the current trajectory, our species doesn’t have 100 years. I hope I’m wrong.

    • vinnieoh
      July 15, 2023 at 12:08

      Gil Scott-Heron said: “The revolution will not be televised.” I’ll go one further and say the revolution will not be organized on the internet. Did you not pay attention to Egypt during the Arab Spring? All of Cairo was on the streets it seemed, organized by social media – until the Egyptian government shut down the internet, and that was that. That can and will happen anywhere the powerful are under threat.

      Yes, we had great hopes for the internet that it would be the great “democritizer.” Huh, it serves the interests and the needs of the powerful, first and best. Just like anything else in the for-profit world.

  15. Sam F
    July 14, 2023 at 14:13

    Excellent decision and analysis. If not yet the “beginning of a needed corrective.” Neither of the duopoly parties is in favor of constitutional rights where they do not profit in lying, cheating, and stealing. While the Repubs run the House Subcommittee on Weaponization of Government, they silence anyone who complains when it is weaponized for their own benefit.

    An example is my case against the DOJ, FBI and HSI for refusing to investigate political racketeering.
    They investigated a Democratic candidate in FL for 6 years for alleged mishandling of $125,000.
    But refused even to reply to my seven notices to each of their local, state, HQ and OIG offices of theft of $120 million by Republican politicians there, complete with full evidence, during both Trump and Biden administrations. These agencies were in full collusion with massive theft by political racketeers.

    When the case went to the DC district, the judge was the same who had moved from the FISA court after granting over a thousand warrants to the FBI and HSI without any evidence against the accused. After granting them six months extra to file an Answer, they refused to do so and demanded dismissal claimng absolute discretion in what they investigate, as well as absolute immunity from responsibility for collusion with criminals. The crooked judge granted that and it went to appeal in the same DC Circuit involved here.

    The problem is that we do not have a judiciary or secret agencies willing to serve the people.
    The judiciary is absolutely crooked to the very top, mere operatives of political party racketeers.
    The secret agencies are crooked to the top level and OIGs, serving only political party racketeers.

  16. JonnyJames
    July 14, 2023 at 13:24

    Yes but: “mainstream liberals” are not liberal. Conservatives are not conservative. The political spectrum in the US has been reduced to right wing authoritarians, and extreme right-wing authoritarians. The only difference with the “liberal” right-wing authoritarians is that they have a rainbow flag and a Black Lives Matter bumper sticker. (They really don’t give a toss about anybody but themselves though)

    It aint just the “libruls”, this is bipartisan Full Spectrum Surveillance. Congress crooks can go through the charades, but the “horse has already left the barn”

    (For more on the political spectrum, and accurate political terms see:

    Ed Snowden, for example, has warned about totalitarian surveillance and the increasing sophistication of surveillance/espionage technology.

    Call me overly skeptical but, I have no faith in a legal system that is thoroughly corrupt. The institutionalized corruption from the “Supreme Court” on down is on full display, but many are in denial and believe in the fairy-tale of the “justice system”.

    • Rafael
      July 14, 2023 at 15:00

      Agreed. And this is not the greatest attack on free speech in US history, it’s just the most recent. Evidently the good judge forgot about the Palmer raids, the Mcarthy period, slavery and Jim Crow, and genocide. It’s hard to engage in free speech if you are dead, or if you are living and forbidden from speaking in your language.

      • Frank Lambert
        July 16, 2023 at 14:32

        Good points! The Woodrow Wilson regime sent the great American humanitarian and pro-union man Eugene V. Debs to prison for speaking against going to war in Europe.

        Another false fag and big lie from the U.S. government in 1998 was “Remember the Maine” which had an accidental explosion, but we blamed Spain for sabotaging our Navy ship.

        Or why we really nuked Japan, not once but twice, as the big lie was to “save a million lives!” Not true at all, as Imperial Japan knew the war was lost and wanted an honorable surrender in 1944. but too much money was being made so we kept the war going for another year.

        In the 21st Century, it started with the “Patriot Act” an unconstitutional law, and everything that followed after that. The American version of the Nuremburg Laws, after Germany’s “9-11” of Feb. 27, 1933.

        Hollywood has been real cozy with the CIA and other government agencies for years. The lies and deceits by Uncle Sam and big corporate Amerika have been going on for over 150 years.

    • Douglas Sedon
      July 14, 2023 at 16:39

      spot on. there’s a small fringe group of progressives in the democratic party. maybe 20 or thirty congresspersons in total?

      which is why the democratic party threw bernie under the bus, not once but twice. even after the horror show of 4 years of donald, the democratic party felt the need to risk yet another 4 years of that, then to have bernie elected.

      • Steve
        July 15, 2023 at 08:13

        Are there though?

        Maybe I’m just a skeptic, but it seems to me like ‘the squad’ is more controlled opposition than actual true believers. And AOC has gone full-blown establishment regime enabler who is now part of the inner circle. They have become part of the machine, even if they still LARP at being progressive on social media.

  17. Alex Cox
    July 14, 2023 at 12:30

    Thank you for including the correct definition of fascism in this excellent article. Liberal pearl-clutchers continually warn us that ‘fascism is coming if (whatever) happens.’ We are already living in a fascist state, and have been for a long while.

    • Theresa Barzee
      July 14, 2023 at 22:04

      Fabulous! Just refreshingly fine! Thank you so very much, Patrick Lawrence! Today washing dishes I realize that yes, of course courage is contagious and we do recognize it. And yes, deliberate obfuscation is rampant among cowardly fools. And we swim so carefully among them in this murky mess of idiocy flowing.

  18. Caliman
    July 14, 2023 at 11:57

    “Will it come to be that social media are so stacked with these antidemocratic people that the need to intervene directly, as we have seen it to date, will be obviated?”

    Indeed. As demonstrated from the egregious response to the ruling by the controllers of narrative at the Times and the Post, the MSM surely needs little help from the govt to know what to say and what not to allow. Still, the direct communication from state to the social media companies gave a degree of immediacy and comprehensiveness that will be hard for the companies to achieve on their own … that is until all is controlled by AI at which point we are all done.

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