With the Twitter Files, Democrats Support Government Censorship of Lawful Speech

W.J. Astore

Welcome to the era of state-sponsored thought police

Yesterday, journalists Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger testified before the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. Their testimony, and the risible reactions of Democrats on the subcommittee, are well worth watching; I watched the entire hearing, which lasted 140 minutes. Kim Iverson has an excellent summary here which lasts about 23 minutes. As Iverson notes, the Democrats on the subcommittee demonized the journalists while supporting censorship of ordinary Americans for political advantage, a clear violation of freedom of speech and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Shellenberger and Taibbi, “so-called” journalists according to Democrats

Clearly, the Twitter Files have revealed government-directed censorship of lawful speech. The reactions and strategy of the Democrats on the subcommittee were as follows:

  1. To smear the two journalists who volunteered to appear before Congress as “so-called” journalists; as being biased witnesses in favor of the right (even though Shellenberger testified he’d voted for Biden, and Taibbi described himself as a traditional ACLU liberal); as having the basest of motives, such as taking payments and otherwise profiting from their journalism; and of being willing or unwilling dupes of Elon Musk.
  2. To repeat, again and again, that Russia massively interfered in the 2016 and 2020 elections, therefore government-directed efforts to suppress “foreign interference” in U.S. elections was both legitimate and praiseworthy.
  3. To associate Elon Musk with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, and other alleged bad actors, thereby suggesting that the Twitter Files are tainted and compromised by foreign information ops and influence.
  4. To defend the FBI and other government agencies like the DHS and CIA as trustworthy and reliable defenders of truth as well as upholders of the First Amendment.
  5. To suggest that the journalists involved posed a “direct threat,” e.g. to workers at Twitter, not the federal government or powerful corporations like Twitter itself or Facebook.
  6. To imply the subcommittee’s purpose wasn’t about free speech at all; that its purpose was purely political and intended to advance right-wing agendas.
  7. Specific to the Hunter Biden laptop story, one Democrat implied the hard drive could have been altered, thus calling into question the validity of emails and other data on that drive.
  8. To change the subject by accusing Republicans of being worse offenders since they’re trying to ban books; also that Donald Trump is worse because he jailed one of his opponents.

Not one Democrat on the subcommittee expressed concern about the peril of state-sponsored censorship and suppression of free expression. Indeed, the Democrats took pains to portray the journalists in front of them as the real peril, along with Russia, Elon Musk, Republican book-banners, and other bad actors.

It was all rather amazing, a “shit storm” to quote Kim Iverson.

Matt Taibbi, award-winning journalist with 30 years’ experience, dismissed as an Elon Musk tool by Democrats

So many important points made by Taibbi and Shellenberger could easily get lost in this political shit storm, which I suppose was the Democrats’ strategy. Here’s a short list of those points:

  1. As Taibbi said, state-directed censorship on Twitter didn’t just affect the right but also people on the left and publications like Consortium News and Truthout.
  2. We’re looking at an emerging censorship-industrial complex, an unholy alliance between government and private corporations to filter, constrain, and otherwise control information sources. A form of “digital McCarthyism.”
  3. Ordinary Americans are being deprived of their free speech rights without due process. Not only that: some are de-platformed and then denied access to pay sources (like PayPal) as punishment. So, not only can’t you speak freely: you also can’t support yourself financially.
  4. Government calls (in this case by the FTC) to investigate the backgrounds of Taibbi, Shellenberger, and other journalists involved in the Twitter Files creates a chilling effect on journalism. As Shellenberger noted, it’s reminiscent of the Stasi (secret police) in East Germany.

Democrats on the subcommittee had no interest in any of this. Their strategy was to dismiss the hearing as politically motivated and the journalists involved as greedy opportunists handpicked by Elon Musk (whom, you might recall, was associated with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, and perhaps Hitler, Stalin, and Darth Vader).

Interestingly, I learned a new word in the hearings: “pre-bunking.” Apparently, the Democrats in 2020 knew the Republicans had Hunter Biden’s laptop, so they engaged in an exercise to “pre-bunk” the release of embarrassing details from that computer. To wit, mainstream media “journalists” were encouraged not to follow the “Pentagon Papers” model of publishing leaked and legitimate material quickly. Rather, they were primed not to cover such a story, or to cover it as a case of Russian disinformation.

And that’s exactly what the mainstream media did in October 2020: as a group, they wrongly dismissed the Hunter Biden laptop revelations as Russian disinformation as the government worked hand-in-glove with Twitter, Facebook, and others to suppress the story as malicious and false. As we now know (and as was known then), the Hunter Biden laptop story was well-sourced and accurate. There was no Russian connection whatsoever. (Kudos to the Democrats for their dirty tricks here; even Richard Nixon couldn’t have done it better.)

Again, Democrats on the subcommittee showed no interest in or concern about an emerging censorship-industrial complex and its suppression of free speech rights. They painted the journalists before them as bad or sketchy actors and the FBI and other government agencies like DHS and the CIA as the good guys, working selflessly and without bias to protect us all from the “dangerous” ideas of our fellow citizens.

Welcome to the era of state-sponsored thought police, brought to you by your Democratic friends in Congress.

Addendum (3/11): All those Democrats so eager to pillory Taibbi and Shellenberger: they all took an oath to support and uphold the Constitution.

I’m not sure there’s any more fundamental right to that oath than freedom of speech.

If you take your oath seriously as a Member of Congress, your focus at the hearing should — must — have been on upholding that fundamental right against government-directed interference and censorship.

Yet none of them mentioned this or their oath — their sworn duty — to the Constitution.

This is worse than mendacity; they are derelict in their duties as representatives and public servants.

19 thoughts on “With the Twitter Files, Democrats Support Government Censorship of Lawful Speech

  1. Mike Whitney interviewing interviewing Paul Craig Roberts. There’s not much new here that I wasn’t already aware of, but it’s always good to know from an insider, I’m not alone with my point of view.

    ‘Rising Tensions with China’
    Mike Whitney: The Biden administration is determined to provoke China on the issue of Taiwan. The White House now believes that they must take a more aggressive approach to China in order to contain their development and preserve America’s role as regional hegemon.
    The irony of Washington’s approach, however, is the fact that tens of thousands of US corporations have fled the US over the last 3 decades to take advantage of China’s low-paid work force. In fact—according to Registration China—there are now more than 1 million foreign-owned companies registered on Mainland China, many of which are owned by Americans.
    These corporations are largely responsible for China’s meteoric economic rise over the same period of time. So my question to you is this: Why is China being blamed and targeted for the explosive growth for which US corporations are mainly responsible? Or do you disagree with my analysis?…………………………….



  2. All of this is quite dispiriting despite my never paying the slightest attention to Twitter, TikTok, FaceBook, Instagram, or any other social media other than the lowly blog (this one, my own, others). The list of Democratic responses seems to me quintessential whataboutism, all highly conjectural and off-point except the accusation that the hearings and inquiries are “politically motivated.” Well, yes, they are! That’s precisely it, you numbskulls.

    Speaking of new words, I just learned of 5GW (look it up). The name of the committee, the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, is itself an open admission that the citizenry is under attack by its own government. We’ve come at last to the opening stages of the War of All Against All, with rhetoric being the weapon of choice (for now at least) to control narrative and thought and foment hatred of the “other,” whoever fits the bill at the moment. We’re creating our own dystopia, choosing from a veritable cafeteria of options described in all those harrowing novels from the middle of the 20th century.


    1. Yes, very depressing. The Democratic response veered between farce and vitriol with the intent of smearing and otherwise dismissing these journalists as biased toadies of Musk.

      Nothing meaningful was said about government-sponsored and -directed censorship that impedes free speech in violation of the oaths Members of Congress take to uphold the Constitution.

      So it goes in Amerika!


  3. CBS Removes Documentary on Ukraine Military Aid After Pressure from Ukrainian Government
    Ukraine’s foreign minister called for an investigation into the documentary, which found that most military aid wasn’t making it to the frontlines.
    “All of this stuff goes across the border, and then something happens, kind of like 30% of it reaches its final destination,” said Jonas Ohman, the founder of Blue-Yellow, a Lithuania-based organization that CBS said has been meeting with and supplying frontline units with aid in Ukraine since the start of the war in the Donbas in 2014. “30-40%, that’s my estimation,” Ohman said.

    After the documentary sparked outrage from the Ukrainian government, it was removed from the internet by CBS. In an editor’s note, CBS said it changed the article that was published with the documentary and that the documentary itself was being “updated.”…………………………………………….

    Here’s the video DBS deleted,



  4. Given this [and all] Government’s history of mis-, dis-, and mal-information, and the dutiful complicity of its Media in perpetrating and perpetuating all that Bullshit, all that the Twitter Files indicates is that nothing has changed except the technology with which to do it.

    Just remember folks: You carry Big Brother’s telescreen along with You in Your hip pocket, backpack, or purse.


  5. Government censorship is the flip side of government Propaganda.

    ‘Imperial Narrative Managers Always Try To Make Peace Seem Unnatural’
    I’ve been ranting all week about the shocking war-with-China propaganda escalation in Australian mainstream media, and I feel like I could easily scream about it for another month without running out of vitriol for the disgusting freaks who are pushing this filth into the consciousness of my countrymen. One really really can’t say enough unkind things about people who are openly trying to pave the way toward an Atomic Age world war; in a remotely sane world such monsters would be driven from human civilization and die cold and alone in the wilderness with nothing but their bloodlust to keep them company.

    One of the most obnoxious things said during this latest propaganda push appeared in the joint statement provided by the five “experts” (read: empire-funded China hawks) recruited by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age to share their obscenely hawkish opinions in an official-looking media presentation. This paragraph has been rattling around in my head since I first read it:

    "Australia must prepare itself. Most important of all is a psychological shift. Urgency must replace complacency. The recent decades of tranquillity were not the norm in human affairs but an aberration. Australia’s holiday from history is over. Australians should not feel afraid but be alert to the threats we face, the tough decisions we must make and know that they have agency. This mobilisation of mindset is the essential prerequisite to any successful confrontation of China."

    Do you see what they’re doing there? These professional China hawks are explicitly trying to frame peace as a strange “aberration”, and war as the status quo norm. They’re saying Australians require a “psychological shift” and a “mobilisation of mindset” from thinking peace is normal and healthy to thinking war is normal and healthy………………………………………………………………..



  6. It was a few articles back I attempted to draw attention to Israel and the US preparing for WAR with Iran. That got no comment or discussion.

    It doesn’t matter. Elijah J Magnier is now raising the same questions with the same warning.
    ‘Will America and Israel go to WAR with Iran?’

    All military options remain on the table. With this phrase, US officials keep their war options open, not to deny the possibility of planning an attack on Iran and keeping their opponent on constant alert. Almost all presidents have used this phrase on various occasions throughout the many US administrations since the “Islamic Republic” came to power in Iran. Moreover, Israel has repeatedly raised its voice and expressed its readiness to launch a military strike against Iran to prevent it from acquiring the Russian S-400 air defence system or to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons. This threat of Israeli war preparations against Iran coincides with the visit to Israel of the commander of the Joint Forces, General Mark Milley, followed by the US Secretary of Defence, Lloyd Austin. These visits by top US military officials coincide with press reports that Tel Aviv has requested US military cooperation in launching a strike on Iran to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons. Can Israel, alone or in collaboration with the US, launch a war against Iran or even attack its nuclear reactor? What are the consequences of military action in the Middle East?

    It is nothing new for Israel, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to raise its voice in the face of Iran and to threaten a pre-emptive military strike, as it always does. This doctrine allows Israel to attack neighbouring countries and violate international law with impunity. In the past, Netanyahu appeared on the podium of the United Nations with drawings in which he claimed that Iran was close to producing a nuclear bomb without Tehran having reached the required level of military nuclear capability.

    However, the recent news of traces indicating a percentage of pure uranium of 83.7 per cent has caused several parties to sound the alarm, even though these traces do not indicate a production line heading towards 90 per cent. In military nuclear terms, it takes 25 kilograms of 90 per cent uranium to make a bomb. Many countries in the Middle East and the West, including Europe, are very concerned about Iran acquiring military nuclear capabilities. Still, little has been done to return to the nuclear deal.

    Anyone remember this video of former Supreme Military Commander of NATO in Europe, US General Wesley Clark blowing the whistle in 2007 on US WAR PLANS brought out within weeks of 9/11 to change the regimes of Iraq, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, and at THE END, Iran?
    Apparently the US is sticking with the 2001 WAR PLAN.

    General Clark is now a paid Propagandist WAR HAWK on Ukraine calling for more Weapons and WAR!


  7. Is the Oscar winner ”Everything Everywhere All at Once’ prescient, and a SIGN of our Times?

    With the WARS and rumours of WARS, potential environmental disaster worse than we’ve seen already, and now potential Economic collapse with Bank failures, what comes next, and how will the MASSES react, especially in the US with so many weapons in the hands of the MASSES with what we’ve seen so far?

    Living on $1311 USD a month to pay for everything, I’m not too concerned with high finance, but I’m aware enough to know even that could disappear if the leading indicators of everything everywhere all at once continue as they are.

    For those who do have substantial cash in the Banks, stocks, bonds and 401Ks, you will want to listed to Jim Rickards explaining the implications of what has transpired with the collapse of 3 Banks in the last week. He explains high finance those who don’t have it can understand.



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