The Shadow State: Embracing Corporations As Surrogates For Government Action

Below is my column on the expanding role of corporations as surrogates for the federal government. The White House is openly calling for greater corporate action to address censorship, health care, and other issues.  That call is being supported by a growing list of Democratic members, journalists, and academics who have discovered the advantages of shared corporate governance.

Here is the column:

Teddy Roosevelt gave a speech in 1902, “The Control of Corporations,” which warned of the danger of corporate power over citizens’ lives. Calling corporations “creatures of the state,” he said they must be controlled by “the representatives of the public.” Roosevelt was a Republican, but his distrust of corporations (and his later faith in big government) would become a touchstone of Democratic politics for generations, from the Great Depression to the Great Society.

Like the reversal of Earth’s magnetic poles, American politics now seems suddenly to have flipped: Democratic leaders increasingly advocate for corporate governance while Republicans voice populist themes. From supporting the largest censorship programs in history to privately mandated vaccine “passports,” liberals are looking to companies like Apple or American Airlines to carry out social programs free from constitutional and political limits imposed on the government.

This new model of governance was evident when White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about a mandated vaccine passport system. She responded that it is “not currently the role of the federal government” but noted that the administration hopes to see such a mandate from “private-sector entities, universities, institutions that are starting to mandate, and that’s an innovative step that they will take and they should take.”

This use of corporations is born out of political and legal convenience. Despite the rising call for mandatory vaccinations, the Biden administration clearly is not willing to face the political costs of a government mandate. As of July 11, 159,266,536 Americans were fully vaccinated — 48 percent of the country’s population. When you consider the extremely high rate of vaccination for those over 65 (an estimated 85 percent), the percentage of adults under 65 is even smaller. That is a lot of voters who would not take well to a government mandate before the 2022 election. Moreover, the Supreme Court upheld a mandatory state vaccine in 1905, but any federal mandate could face constitutional challenges.

Private companies, however, have great leeway in dictating such conditions. So some, like CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen, have called for coercive measures making it “hard for people to remain unvaccinated.” That coercion would come from private companies which would deny people access to travel, restaurants, movies, schools and other aspects of modern life. Thus, as with Psaki’s statement, the Biden White House is signaling private companies to implement such a national passport system.

And companies are listening.

Recently, Morgan Stanley declared that all employees must get a vaccine to return to work. While some many have religious objections, Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman made clear in July that employees would face what Wen called “hard” times if they tried to work from home: “If you want to get paid New York rates, you work in New York. None of this, ‘I’m in Colorado … and getting paid like I’m sitting in New York City.’ Sorry, that doesn’t work.” The message could not be clearer that working remotely will come at a penalty.

If successful, corporations will manage a system of barriers and penalties to isolate the vaccine-hesitant into smaller and smaller spaces of existence. Citizens would find it increasingly difficult to be able to travel or dine out unless they meet the demands of corporate policies.

The political convenience of relying on corporate controls is most evident in the support for a massive system of corporate-based speech controls now implanted in the United States. The government cannot implement a censorship system under the Constitution — but it can outsource censorship functions to private companies like Facebook and Twitter. Just this week, the White House admitted it has been flagging “misinformation” for Facebook to censor. At the same time, Democrats like Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) have demanded that Big Tech companies commit to even more “robust content modification” — an Orwellian term for censorship. Liberal writers and media figures have called for corporate censorship despite the danger of an effective state media run through private corporations. Even Columbia Journalism Dean and New Yorker writer Steve Coll has denounced the First Amendment right to freedom of speech being “weaponized” to protect disinformation.

The public is now required to discuss public controversies within the lines and limits set by corporate censors — with the guidance of the government. Twitter barred reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop until after the 2020 election. Facebook only recently announced that people on its platform may discuss the origins of COVID-19, after previously censoring such discussion — but it still bars opposing views on vaccinations and the pandemic. Other companies actively block wayward thoughts and views; last week, YouTube was fined by a German court for censoring videos of protests over COVID restrictions. Meanwhile, Twitter censored criticism of the Indian government meant to expose mismanagement of the pandemic that is costing lives.

The common refrain from the left is that corporate censorship is not a limit on free speech because the First Amendment only addresses government limits on speech. That not only maximizes the power of corporations but minimizes the definition of free speech. Free speech is not exclusively contained in the First Amendment. It includes the full range of speech in society in both private and public forums. Yet, liberals — who once opposed the recognition of corporate free speech rights in cases like Citizen’s United — are now great advocates for corporate speech rights, in order to justify the censorship of opposing views.

Social media companies are not just any businesses, however. They were created as neutral platforms for communication between people when they were given special immunity from lawsuits. Yet these corporations now control an enormous amount of public discourse and have become a rising threat to the democratic process, expanding their authority to frame the debate on issues ranging from climate change to gender identity, from election fraud to public health. You must espouse the “truth” as established by these companies on certain questions or risk being banned as “misinformation spreaders.” Indeed, Psaki this week insisted that once people are banned by one company, they should be banned from all social media companies.

If these trends continue, citizens could find themselves effectively exiled by order of corporate governors — unable to travel or go to school while also barred from espousing dissenting views on social media. They would, effectively, be “disappeared” within a shadow state that lacks any electoral or appellate process — a dystopian brave new world that could become all too real if we allow elected officials to use corporate surrogates to control the essential aspects of our lives.

Decades after Teddy Roosevelt’s warning about corporate control, his cousin Franklin — a Democrat — warned that the “first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself.” That warning is worth repeating — indeed, worth tweeting … if Twitter will allow it.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can find his updates on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

243 thoughts on “The Shadow State: Embracing Corporations As Surrogates For Government Action”

          1. They thought they could control the funny little Chaplinesq man with the odd mustache.

            They were wrong. This time they got Biden and he fits the puppet bill.

    1. Not even mildly scarey. All power is inherent in the people. It is a mindset. Find you local jural assembly and do what we did.

      All power is inherent in the people
      We are the Oregon Statewide Jural Assembly. We meet on Skype most Mondays at 7:00PM. You will be notified. Our function is to return Oregon to a Constitutional Republican form of government thru a grand jury process. Following is a five-minute read. Then there are some attachments. We are seeking grand jury/trial jury members to take these ogres to trial.
      Briefly: We are in a benevolent, predatory, form of martial law from DC/United States* incorporated governance in some form since 1861. It’s Name is the Lieber Code from Lincoln’s Executive Order 100 in color of law. We had a Constitutional Republican form of government from 1819 to 1860 or 1861. From 1776 to 1819 it was changing from an overthrown Monarchy. Most of the “people from 1776 to 1819 the people at large” were not convinced for a long time. There really is an active conspiracy, the industrial/military/judicial/legislative/executive/banker/ BAR/royalist/communist/Muslim/Georgia Guidestone complex.
      This does not involve the true Constitutional Republican form of government on each of the several states. As long as there are still “people”- that is the body, mind, spirit as. juxtaposed to “person,” the ALL-CAP NAME corporate fiction – all power is inherent in the people.
      Rather than being subdivisions of the US, INC., each state is an autonomous Nation, each with its own Constitution! All power is inherent in the people. The number of people is not specified and a majority is not required as we are not a Democracy. The several states of the union are the creator party to “The United States of America’s Constitution.” The “people at large” are beneficiaries. The “people at large” are the creator party to their state’s Constitutions.
      The STATE OF OREGON’s incorporated governance is color of law. Operated by the Salem oligarchy, aka Kate Brown et al, which is a subdivision of the DC/United States* as originally incorporated during Lincoln’s era.
      I think each STATE OF THE OTHER 49 is about the same. A little more carrot or a little more stick.
      To remove the Lieber Code/martial law the method is clear and written down by the de facto. The Lieber code of Lincoln’s EO 100 is nullified by a civilian court on the land. So says SCOTUS Ex parte Milligan. There was no — none, zero! — civilian courts on the land of Oregon. Until ours. I was told there is one on Texas, one on Philadelphia and one on Georgia. I have been unable to prove this. I do know there is no Article III court that will claim original jurisdiction. They have acquiesced so “we, the people, must do it ourselves.”
      The Army Heritage Center 717-245-3972/3949 verified the Lieber Code was updated and still in effect in 2015. No known changes since then. The Judge Advocate General attorney, acronym JAG, knew exactly what I was talking about.
      A method of returning Oregon to a Constitutional Republican form of government was/is: We assembled our 1st amendment Oregon Statewide Jural Assembly 3 years ago. We notified the DOJ, USMS, FBI, 36 Sheriffs, 30 Senators, A.G, governor, Secretary of State lawfully and none rebutted our claim. They all acquiesced and defaulted.
      We formed Article 1, Section 1 of Oregon’s Constitution and in- formed all the same ones. We formed our civilian court of record and informed all the same ones. Through Ex parte Milligan’s authority we nullified Lieber Code/martial law. Not one rebuttal.
      We informed the Oregon National Guard/Oregon Organized Militia’s JAG and they are not happy and have talked back and hung up. We are awaiting an appointment with their Commanding General Michael Stencel.
      We have formed a Grand jury pool and trial jury pool of Oregonians — non-US citizens – we brought forth 2 presentments for 38 de facto Prosecutors and 2 true bills against the evil doers on Oregon. Then we implement Article III Amendment VII. We tried 1 governor, 2 Senators,1 House Rep and 90 Oregon Legislators and found them all guilty as Oath breakers, without honor and may not hold a position of trust and guilty of due process violation 18 USC 3571 250K for each incident. This is a template for the other states.

      Ex parte Milligan, 71 U.S. (4 Wall.) 2 (1866), was a landmark decision of the US Supreme Court that ruled the application of military tribunals to citizens when civilian courts are still operating as unconstitutional.
      Prepared by Francis Lieber, promulgated as General Orders No. 100 by President Lincoln, 24 April 1863. Instructions for the Government of Armies of the United States in the Field, prepared by Francis Lieber, LL.D., Originally Issued as General Orders No. 100, Adjutant General’s Office, 1863, Washington 1898: Government Printing Office.
      Article I Section 1 of Oregon’s Constitution Natural rights inherent in people. We declare that all men, when they form a social compact are equal in right: that all power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety, and happiness; and they have at all times a right to alter, reform, or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper. —
      *See (8) The United States is located in the District of Columbia.

  1. The elites seek to treat the American people like perpetual, helpless incompetents, in need of wiser guiding hands on what they are allowed to read, watch, say, or write. The elites and the Democrat political ruling class know best.

    1. So, according to Karen, on the one hand, we have: “the American people”, and, on the other hand we have “the elites and the Democrat political ruling class”. This says it all, and proves Trump’s appeal to those without college degrees, who fear losing white privilege, who will believe conspiracy theories, who have been indoctrinated to distrust science and government and who resent educated people, especially women and minorities. Here’s the thing, Karen: the majority of the “American people” never wanted Trump in the first place, can’t stand him and want him gone for good. Trump disciples are the distinct minority. Feeling like people are treating you “like perpetual, helpless incompetents in need of guiding hands on what [you] are allowed to read, watch, say or write” is a sign of the victimhood Republicans and their alt-right media enablers are inculcating to try to derail Biden’s presidency by discouraging vaccination, so that the pandemic will not be brought under control. Turley is just another tool in this process. Vaccine skepticism already causing COVID cases to spike, and the economy is starting to turn the other direction. Republicans will blame Biden, and people like you will believe it, because you’ll believe anything. It’s all political. Then, there are those who will get sick and die. Do Republicans give a crap?

      1. Natacha, I find it quite rich that you would talk about people dying because some are hesitant to get the vaccine. Bret Weinstein says there should be some caution and he is a man of the left. Trump recommended Hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID and people like you and your friends on the left ravaged him for saying that it could be effective. Here’s a little something that you might be interested in from the American Journal of Medicine. The Journal states that Hydroxychloroquine is an effective treatment against COVID. How many lives might have been saved if your Trump Derangement Syndrome wasn’t so intense. You should go to your closet and weep. When we look for bloody hands, you possess the stain that will never go away.

        1. Whatever you may say about Donald John Trump with or without standing. He is an oath breaker without honor and unfit for an office of trust.

          1. unfit for an office of trust.

            A great example of constitutional ill-literacy.

        2. Trump is wrong. You are wrong. See below. You need to stop repeating his lies.

          Medical Answers
          An Update: Is hydroxychloroquine effective for COVID-19?

          An Update: Is hydroxychloroquine effective for COVID-19?

          Medically reviewed by Last updated on Feb 2, 2021.
          Official Answer

          Multiple studies provide data that hydroxychloroquine (brand name: Plaquenil) does not provide a medical benefit for hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Hydroxychloroquine, an FDA-approved prescription drug used for malaria, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus erythematosus, has been suggested as a possible treatment or preventive for COVID-19 based on demonstrated antiviral or immune system activity.

          In June 2020, the FDA revoked the emergency use authorization (EUA) of oral hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine phosphate for the treatment of COVID-19. An EUA can allow quicker access to critical medical products when there are no approved alternative options.

          Based on an evaluation of the scientific data to date, the FDA concluded that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are not likely to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19 for the authorized uses in the EUA.
          In addition, the risk for serious side effects with hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine phosphate are a concern. This includes the possibility of adverse cardiovascular (heart) events such as an abnormal heart rhythm which could be fatal.
          Additional worldwide studies are still ongoing to assess the use of these agents for the treatment or prevention or COVID-19, including early-stage outpatient and use with supplements such as zinc or vitamin D or with azithromycin. However, the FDA states hydroxychloroquine should not be used outside of clinical trials in the U.S.

          The World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) have also stopped studies evaluating hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19 due to a lack of benefit. Current NIH and US treatment guidelines do not recommend use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine phosphate for COVID-19 treatment outside of clinical studies.

          Although earlier studies suggested that hydroxychloroquine could inhibit the SARs-CoV-2 virus and was more potent than chloroquine, recent studies do not support the use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine phosphate. The FDA stated on June 15, 2020 that the suggested dosing regimens for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are unlikely to kill or inhibit the virus that causes COVID-19.
          Do studies show hydroxychloroquine is not effective for COVID-19?

          Yes, multiple studies provide data that hydroxychloroquine is ineffective in the treatment of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease.

          The RECOVERY Trial from the University of Oxford is a large, randomized, controlled, open-label study evaluating a number of potential treatments for patients hospitalized with COVID-19. The study is being conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford in the UK (the hydroxychloroquine arm is now halted).

          In the RECOVERY Trial, investigators reported that there was no beneficial effect or reduction of death in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 receiving hydroxychloroquine.
          In this study, 1561 patients received hydroxychloroquine and were compared to 3155 patients receiving standard care only. No difference was found in the primary endpoint, which was the incidence of death at 28 days (26.8% hydroxychloroquine vs. 25% usual care, 95% CI 0.96-1.23; p=0.18).
          In addition, hydroxychloroquine treatment was associated with an increased length of stay in the hospital and increased need for invasive mechanical ventilation.
          Based on this data, investigators stopped enrollment in the RECOVERY hydroxychloroquine arm on June 5th, 2020.

          In a multicenter, randomized, open-label, controlled trial published in July 2020 by Cavalcanti and colleagues in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), hydroxychloroquine use was studied in patients who were hospitalized with mild-to-moderate COVID-19.

          Patients received hydroxychloroquine (400 mg twice daily for 7 days), hydroxychloroquine with azithromycin (hydroxychloroquine 400 mg twice daily + azithromycin 500 mg once daily for 7 days), or standard care only.
          The clinical status of these patients at day 15 was not improved as compared with the patients receiving only standard care.
          In addition, researchers noted that prolonged QT intervals (which may lead to abnormal heart rates and death) and elevated liver enzymes were higher in patients receiving hydroxychloroquine, either with or without azithromycin.

          A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial from Skipper and colleagues was conducted in 423 outpatients (not in the hospital) with early COVID-19. It was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in July 2020.

          Patients received oral hydroxychloroquine (800 mg once, followed by 600 mg in 6 to 8 hours, then 600 mg daily for 4 more days) or a placebo (inactive treatment).
          Researchers found that over a 14 day period a change in symptom severity and the percent of patients with ongoing symptoms did not differ significantly between groups, signaling no effect from the hydroxychloroquine treatment.
          However, side effects were significantly greater in the group receiving hydroxychloroquine compared to placebo (43% hydroxychloroquine versus 22% placebo (P < 0.001). Rates of hospitalizations and deaths did not differ significantly.

          A retrospective, observational study conducted from March to early May of 2020 did report a positive effect with hydroxychloroquine on hospitalized patient mortality, used alone and with azithromycin when compared to no treatment. The study from Arshad and colleagues was published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases in August 2020. Authors note a limitation to their analysis was the retrospective, non-randomized, non-blinded study design.

          Researchers looked at 2,541 patients, with a median total hospitalization time of 6 days.
          Mortality, by treatment, was 20.1% for hydroxychloroquine + azithromycin, 13.5% for hydroxychloroquine alone, 22.4% for azithromycin alone, and 26.4% for neither drug (p < 0.001). The primary cause of death was respiratory failure in 88% of patients.
          Adjunct therapy with corticosteroids (methylprednisolone and/or prednisone) and anti-IL-6 tocilizumab was provided in 68% and 4.5% of patients, respectively.
          Factors such as greater glucocorticoid use in the hydroxychloroquine groups and the nonrandomized study design suggested this data may be flawed and that prospective, randomized controlled studies were needed to validate these results.

          Use of hydroxychloroquine is controversial, and has been politicized in the U.S. by various groups. Mixed studies have reported both a positive and negative effect, and data may not be robust or reliable: it can include data from study reviews, nonrandomized groups, retrospective research, observational data or from a statistically small sample size of patients.

          Research for COVID is often quick to be published in non-peer reviewed, preprint online services due to the urgency of the pandemic. However, in general, preprint data should not be used to guide clinical practice. In addition, some hydroxychloroquine studies have been retracted due to lack of confidence in the data, including a Lancet study and one from the NEJM.
          What is hydroxychloroquine used to treat?

          Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are FDA-approved drugs in the U.S. The EUA revocation for COVID-19 does not change their approved uses.

          Hydroxychloroquine sulfate is approved to treat and prevent malaria, as well as for treatment of lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis. Chloroquine phosphate is approved for the treatment and prevention of malaria only. The FDA has determined that these drugs are safe and effective when used as labeled for these conditions.
          Hydroxychloroquine study for prevention after exposure to COVID-19

          A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published online in the NEJM in June 2020 (Boulware, et al) looked at prevention of COVID-19 after exposure to the virus (post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP).

          Researchers evaluated over 800 people in the U.S. and Canada who had been exposed to COVID-19. The primary outcome was the incidence of either laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 or illness compatible with the virus within 14 days.
          Hydroxychloroquine was given as 800 mg once, followed by 600 mg in 6 to 8 hours, then 600 mg daily for 4 additional days. Patients started treatment within 4 days after exposure, defined as being in close contact with a COVID-19 patient for more than 10 minutes without protection.
          Results showed that hydroxychloroquine did not prevent COVID-19 when compared to a placebo (used as post-exposure prophylaxis). The incidence of COVID-19 did not differ significantly between those who took hydroxychloroquine (11.8%) and those who took placebo (14.3%).
          Side effects were more common in the hydroxychloroquine group (40.1% compared to 16.8% with placebo), but were not reported as serious. Common adverse events included nausea, loose stools, and stomach pain.
          Limitations in this study were many, and included inability to confirm self-reported COVID-19 exposure, adherence to study drug, starting drug up to 4 days after reported exposure to the virus, lack of survey completion, and enrollment of a lower-risk population.

      2. Constitutional Republican form of government. That is the guarantee. We have a benevolent preditory form of corporat governance. under martial law of March 1861. Therefore we are removing them on Oregon.

        I dealt with cognitive dissonance until I was 75. I am no longer doing that. However, it is rampant in the Land of the coward and home of the slave. All the states and territories of the United States are under Lieber Code/martial law except Oregon. We assembled, formed a civilian court of record, implemented Ex Parte Milligan, which nullified Lieber Code/martial law. DOJ, USMS, FBI, USMC and STATE OF OREGON all acquiesced and defaulted to the Oregon Statewide Jural Assembly’s civilian court of record. 503 641 8375.

    2. I don’t care if you have more money than I do. Just don’t try to tell me how to live. This is where the Davos crowd comes from.

  2. Social media, Google, academia, Hollywood, and the public education system have organized to come branches of the Democrat Party. Together, they work for tyranny – censorship, targeting and punishing political dissenters, promoting propaganda. Don’t agree? You could lose your job, your business, or be assaulted.

    And we conservatives just stood there and let it happen. Welcome to the America of the Left. Be careful where you step, as there’s a lot of homeless poo and vomit.

    If the Left does one thing well, it’s work in lockstep. Meanwhile, conservatives complained, penned articles, and worked at cross purposes to each other.

    1. No, Karen, no, no, no. You and your ilk are NOT conservatives. That’s part of the indoctrination process. Why not read what real conservatives, like Bill Kristol, George Conway, George F. Will and the founders of the Lincoln Project have to say about conservatism and why Trumpism is NOT conservatism. Part of the alt-right indoctrination is to call disciples like you “conservatives” who oppose “the Left”. You aren’t conservatives, you are disciples. Conservatives believe in limited government, paying valid debts, marital fidelity, patriotism, honesty and hard work. None of these adjectives apply to Trump. You don’t have to use social media, go to college, watch Hollywood films or be involved in public education, and none of these things are branches of the Democrat party, which does not stand for tyranny, censorship, or any of the rest you’ve been led to believe. You resent it because most of America sees Trump for the braggadocious liar he is and the Republicans as enablers to spread the Big Lie, and taking steps to prevent Biden from having success in bringing the pandemic under control. That’s not tyranny at all. No one is stopping you from expressing an opinion, but spreading lies about a vaccine being dangerous when it isn’t, and continuing to spread lies about hydroxychloroquine being effective as a COVID treatment is dangerous because these lies can cause people to die unnecessarily. If COVID continues to surge, the economy will falter again, and people will get sick and die unnecessarily. Stopping social media from allowing its platform to be used to spread dangerous lies that can kill people is not censorship.

      1. The Lincoln Pedophile Ring’s goal is to destroy the Republican Party and makes themselves filthy rich in the process.

          1. Young, she does have a point. Here you have Trump supporters complaining about private companies censoring people who HAVE agreed to abide by their terms and conditions.

            Even libertarians have to concede that this is what small limited government gets you. Corporate dominant society. Republicans have only themselves to blame because they created the very reasons why companies such as Twitter and Facebook can do what they are complaining about.

            Mocking Natasha, only avoids the inconvenient truth about the situation.

            Censoring misinformation may be wrong to Turley and others, but even he recognizes that they have an absolute right to do so. Even Sean Hannity himself is pleading to his viewers to get vaccinated which I suspect he is more concerned about the economic implications that a new wave of infections will produce and he’s fully aware that he is responsible for stoking that deep skepticism about vaccines. Tucker Carlson joined in on pleading his viewers to get vaccinated. The about face is very visible and contrary their constant promoting of these anti vaccine conspiracy theories.

            It’s these Trump supporters that are fueling the censorship by social media. But as usual they want to lay blame on the left for something they have been supporting for decades. Corporate rights over customers.

            1. I thought you were mocking her by saying she is 100% right.

              You likely don’t believe that and nobody who scans her comments believes that you believe that.

              Intentionally or not, your comment mocked her.

              As for Hannity and Tucker, I make up my own mind.

              Also, I don’t presume to tell anyone to get vaccinated or to avoid it. I say make up your own mind based on your medical condition, what your doctor thinks, and the best information you can get about the risks and benefits of the vaccine as up to date as it can be.

              I would feel very foolish if I got a vaccine that made me very ill–as it did to Eric Clapton– just because Hannity said to get it. If he wants it he can get it. What I do is not his concern or business.

  3. Biden and Democrats are quickly implementing fascism.

    Fascism is “a totalitarian political movement linked with corporatism.”

    Mussolini: “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”

  4. “first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself”

    It seems that the same problem occurs when the government, particularly the Executive branch, gets too strong and large.

  5. Some here say that an attack on free speech is only prohibited if it is performed by the government. For arguments sake let’s say that the government sits down with a privately owned newspaper and makes it clear through threat that the newspaper should not allow any opinion pieces by the opposing party. Would we then say that the government had no part in limiting the speech of it’s opposition because it was not directly making the edits to the newspaper. Democratic Senator Blumenthal said that the private social media companies should censor even more. Are you so naive that you would not consider his statement a command rather than a mere suggestion. He was saying exactly what he wants them to do. So the government coerces a private company to do its bidding and somehow the government is not responsible for the limiting of our speech. Like Al Capone wasn’t responsible for the murders he ordered because the murders were not carried out directly by him but by an underlying. The source of the transgression is still the guilty party.

    1. If that’s directed at me, then you haven’t read my arguments carefully.

      Government action (via its police powers) to limit or ban speech *is* censorship. When an Antifa nihilist threatens a journalist or book store with violence, that is censorship. What is *not* censorship is when a newspaper (or Facebook) decides *on its own*, absent any coercion, to not publish something. “Censorship” is the banning of speech via the use (or threat) of physical coercion.

      If you, or others, have a different definition of “censorship,” I’m still waiting to hear it.

      If the reports are accurate, then here’s the status of Facebook, et al., with regard to the government banning “misinformation” on their platforms: An American businessman (Zuckerberg) is allowing his creation (Facebook) to be used as a tool of oppression against Americans. Government is the censor. Facebook is the tool — a tool now in the service of destruction.

      Countless companies actively support China’s dictatorship. German companies actively supported Nazi totalitarianism. If the reports are accurate, you can now add Facebook to that rogues gallery.

      1. Sam:

        The use or threat of physical coercion is not required to meet the definition of censorship. Publishers, employers, or private entities do have the right to censor. For example, if you own a football team, you, the employer, can tell your players that if they want to play for your team, they have to keep their political opinions off the field. You can tell students that they may not wear t-shirts with marijuana emblems.

        The problem is that social media pretended to be a public space of free speech. It obtained protections against lawsuits by claiming it was not a publisher, just a venue for people to say what they want, like the phone company. Only, in this phone company, the operator listens to your calls, puts in their two cents, or disconnects the line or your entire phone service if they don’t like what you say. They should lose 230 protection.

        In addition, in modern times, we need a digital public square. A place where people can talk freely. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube created these digital communication venues, they built monopolies, and they cooperated with each other to prevent competition. For example, Amazon shut down the servers for free speech platform Parler. Real free speech means that people will say offensive, idiotic things, as well as beautiful, avant guard, intellectual things. Social media prefers that people say things that are in accordance with the Democrat Party.

        If social media is an offshoot of the Democrat Party, then it needs to be made to disclose that in their marketing materials.

        If social media does not want to be a free speech platform, then we need one. This means that the Social Media monopolies and the far Left government must be prevented from interfering with the formation of free speech platforms.

        censorship noun
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        cen·​sor·​ship | \ ˈsen(t)-sər-ˌship \
        Definition of censorship
        1a : the institution, system, or practice of censoring
        They oppose government censorship.
        b : the actions or practices of censors
        especially : censorial control exercised repressively
        censorship that has … permitted a very limited dispersion of facts
        — Philip Wylie
        2 : the office, power, or term of a Roman censor
        3 : exclusion from consciousness by the psychic censor

        Definition of censor (Entry 2 of 2)
        transitive verb
        : to examine in order to suppress (see SUPPRESS sense 2) or delete anything considered objectionable
        censor the news
        also : to suppress or delete as objectionable
        censor out indecent passages

        1. You do not grasp what a proper definition is.

          1-3 are circular.

          “2 of 2:” So it’s “censorship” when an editor makes changes to a manuscript?! And the editor violates the writer’s “rights?” And the writer should run to the government for protection under 1A?

          That “definition” is so overly broad that it includes everything (or nothing).

          Some of you are dropping the context — which is, to repeat: What is the test for proving that a “right” has been violated? (That your “need” is not being satisfied is *not* the standard.)

      2. Sam, you are correct about Facebook being used as a tool of the government to censor speech. It then must follow that the censoring is indirectly prohibiting free speech but it is hindering free speech nonetheless. When people with great power tell Facebook that they should censor even more do you think that Facebook is taking them seriously? Therein we find the evidence of coercion and collusion. I state again, they are not asking social media to censor more they are telling them to censor more or else.

      3. decides *on its own*, absent any coercion, to not publish something.

        Your analysis ignores history.

        Maybe its your age, or maybe you don’t consume huge quantity of “news”
        But I remember Bill Gates getting hauled before congress for several grillings. Hiss crime? He was ignoring K street. He was designing software, making operating systems, marketing his products….all the whle ignoring K street.
        Message was delivered and Gates got on board. He started paying the danegeld, and now is an honored elder in DC

        If you have the look up the reference, you will start to see the guiding hand that has been at work for decades.

    2. Thinkitthrough,

      “ For arguments sake let’s say that the government sits down with a privately owned newspaper and makes it clear through threat that the newspaper should not allow any opinion pieces by the opposing party. Would we then say that the government had no part in limiting the speech of it’s opposition because it was not directly making the edits to the newspaper. ”

      Social media and newspapers are two different things. Newspapers, are not privately run public forums.

      Conservatives ARE already threatening social media by calling for the repeal of section 230 liability protections. Problem is removing such protections doesn’t stop social media companies from censoring people who violate their terms and conditions.

      To force social media companies to carry someone else’s speech is a violation of social media’s first amendment rights.

      Republicans have constantly been advocating for small limited government and let free markets decide what they want. Now they oppose it because they are exercising the very power they gave them.

      Trump’s supporters are not conservatives, they are actually advocating for authoritarianism. Because their lies are being stifled by private companies which they have every right to do so. Even the conservatives justices in the Supreme Court would be siding with these private companies.

  6. Large corporations in the US partner with the CCP in China. They are dependent on cheap (slave) Chinese labor. China itself employs a state-owned capitalism model. Xi Jinping has made it clear that the world must follow the diktats of the criminals in Beijing, whose goal is for the entire world to embrace “socialism with Chinese characteristics.” Corporations here in the US are simply following the CCP line, and their media running dogs always blame Russia, a non-entity in the world economically. It is no coincidence that “Russia, Russia” is mindlessly screamed by our corporate-controlled media, whereas the CCP in China is routinely praised.

  7. Sky News reports that 60% of Covid hospitalizations are of people fully vaccinated, both jabs.

    They explain that the vaccine is good but not 100%.

    Okay, but shouldn’t most of the hospitalizations be of unvaccinated?

    Does the vaccine make it worse for those who contract the new variant?

    For those wondering, Trump did not approve this message.

    1. “The newest Israeli data indicate ~complete vaccine failure on every level. Remember: Israel used only the @pfizer mRNA shot and followed Pfizer dosing schedule. This data, from the @IsraelMOH telegram account, show nearly all serious cases and deaths are now among the vaccinated.”

      ~Alex Berenson

      KEY: “nearly all serious cases and deaths are now among the vaccinated.”

      President Biden said the only pandemic we have now is a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” This is misinformation coming straight from the president’s lying mouth.

      1. Good information. As I said earlier, are the already known risks of the vaccine overshadowed by its effectiveness. Perhaps not.

        I am not sure Biden is lying. He isn’t telling the truth. But he is senile. He may believe what somebody has told him to say. Although he does have a history of lying when he still had a brain.

        1. Kind of you to give Joe Biden the benefit of the doubt. But no, Biden is a bold, self-serving, back-stabbing liar who now believes his own lies because 1) the media lets his lies stand and be repeated over and over without question or correction, and 2) he is senile.

    2. Check out Bret Weinstein’s interview of Geert Vanden Bossche…this what he predicted.

    3. Young, the article actually corrects the statement; it appears that 60% were NOT fully vaccinated. I suppose that means 40% were fully vaccinated. The other point missing from this discussion, and from Alex Berenson’s about Israel, is the absolute numbers, which are relatively low, suggesting the vaccines could be having a significant impact. Hard to draw strong conclusions from this data.

      One of the great mysteries is what has happened in India, where the numbers have fallen off dramatically over the past few months, despite very low vaccination levels. Perhaps ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine, which I understand are both being widely used, have had some effect. Or perhaps the virus just progresses in waves.

      There are great uncertainties in all of this, which makes censoring what for the moment is considered “misinformation” very dangerous. Of course there are clear falsehoods, such as that the mRNA vaccines modify the dna of those who take them, but these can be answered without censorship.

      1. Daniel, Yes, you are right. I looked at the article again and they admitted they erred in saying 60% were fully vaccinated. I first read the erroneous article and you caught the corrected version.

        The corrected version makes more sense.


      2. One of the great mysteries is what has happened in India, where the numbers have fallen off dramatically over the past few months,

        Thanks for bringing up India. I had forgotten about January 8th That is the day cases nosedived in the USA. Why? Experts can’t talk about it. It’s one of those things the Biden/Obama administration has deemed “misinformation”
        Add the Jan 8 nose dive to the long list of information that never gets addressed, and leads to those that are hesitant to receive the vaccination.


    Comrades “Crazy Abe” Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barry Soetoro’s (I can’t say Joe Biden because Joke is not the president) protestations aside, endeavor, success and wealth creation in America are not a crimes.

    And the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights hold dominion – not the whimsical dictatorship of coveting, envious, criminal communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs).

    Free enterprise is not a crime, it is the rule, the rule of nature and of the Constitution.

    Freedom and the absolute 5th Amendment right to private property (i.e. not qualified by the Constitution) allow for free enterprise and competition in free markets in the private sector.

    The solution under the Constitution is competition.

    Imagine a man of worth, integrity and self-esteem saying, “Woe is me, I cannot compete” – imagine a nation of men of no worth, no integrity and no self-esteem, a nation of dolts and slaves per Karl Marx.

    That one is entirely bereft of talent, acumen and drive, does not entitle one to other people’s money, despite the despotic, unnatural, forcible imposition of the “dictatorship of the proletariat” by Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto.

    Thous Shalt Not Covet.

    If one is covetous, jealous and doesn’t like the power of the success of others, all one need do is endeavor, compete and succeed.

    Those who don’t are losers to be totally ignored; they are anti-American, anti-constitutional communists who want to steal the success of others, their natural superiors.

    That a corporation and its CEO succeed is not a problem, it is target for legal, constitutional and effective competition.

    The American thesis is Freedom and Self-Reliance.

    Charity is a moral industry conducted voluntarily in the free markets of the private sector – in church.

    In the extreme, the Constitution allows Congress to “take” private property for the “public use” and to tax for “…general Welfare…,” that is “all” “well” “proceed” with “general” defined as “all,” successful and failed, rich and poor alike.

    All men are created equal.

    After creation, men are what they strive for and what they accomplish of their own accord and their own occupations.

  9. “The political convenience of relying on corporate controls is most evident in the support for a massive system of corporate-based speech controls now implanted in the United States. The government cannot implement a censorship system under the Constitution — but it can outsource censorship functions to private companies like Facebook and Twitter.”
    A long time ago I wrote the Rules of Power and one of them was that power tends to support other power. Here we see a predictable merger of the state and business interests with most of the latter being multinational corporations with no loyalty to the US. They have embarked on a mission akin to a religious crusade to change America in their sordid image for profits only. As part of the bargain, the government of gets what every tyrant wants — a distracted, under-educated, civics-challenged, malleable population (marijuana legalization, anyone) to prey upon. We’re going to have to fight back through the Courts and hold these surrogate tyrants in Seville Row suits back from our liberties which is all they really want to take from us in the first place.

    Oh and as an aside, no American government may use or coerce private sector agents to effect unconstitutional results indirectly.

    1. Remember when President Trump was called Hitler and his administration fascist? Obviously, the.Left didn’t know what fascism is. Hitler’s Fascism was socialism backed by Krupps, Messerschmitt Siemens, and other corporations. Now we know, our United States is Fascist and Biden is our Furer.

        1. Actually, Milley was convinced trump had that covered.

          The hallmark of the Marxist Useful Idiot. Convinced and entirely wrong.

  10. Sometimes The Babylon Bee is prophetic:

    “Scientists warn that in a few months humanity will run out of things to call racist”

    1. Oil floats on top of water when the two are mixed.

      Oil rises to the top as it is supported, benefited and assisted by water – oil’s ascension is assured by water.

      That’s what I “call racist!”

        1. Mespo– I suppose you have seen that Black Holes in space are now racist. Could we call them African American Holes? No, that wouldn’t fly. In any event they have nothing to do with race. As everyone [except black studies astronomers] know they are said to be black because the gravity is so strong light–in fact nothing–can escape from them so they are, in fact, perfectly black.

          Don’t be pedantic and tell me that they are black with the exception of Hawking Radiation. I am talking about the race of stellar masses.

          As the Babylon Bee predicted we will soon run out of things to call racist.

  11. “Free speech is not exclusively contained in the First Amendment. It includes the full range of speech in society in both private and public forums.”

    You have a “right” to compel others (e.g., Facebook) to provide you with a forum for your speech?! Where on Earth did you get such a “right” from? How, in the name of reason, do you justify the notion that coercion is “practical,” if it achieves what you regard as a “nobel” end?

    A genuine “right” protects you from physical coercion by others (including, most importantly, the government). Now you want to turn that concept on its head — and use it as a justification for physical compulsion.

    There is no such thing as a “right” that treats another man (or company) as a means to your ends.

    Since you and others claim that your “rights” are being violated: What in your view constitutes the violation of a right? What is your principle or standard for making such a claim? (Your implied “standard” is: I have a need. And others won’t satisfy that need.)

    Finally, for those who charge Facebook, et al., with “censorship”: I’m still waiting for a valid definition of “censorship.” One cannot claim to be an expert on “censorship,” if one does not have a proper definition of “censorship.” (Ditto for “free speech.”)

    I’d still like to see how you wiggle out of the obvious contradictions and inconsistencies: It’s okay for me (and others) to delete comments. But if Facebook, et al., do it, then it’s “censorship.” It’s okay (sometimes) for publishers to not print opinion articles. But other times, it’s “censorship.” It’s okay (sometimes) for news shows to not air an expert. But other times, it’s “censorship.” That is the type of ideological chaos (and loss of credibility) that results when you cannot define your terms.

    Too many enter this debate with a muddled concept of “free speech,” an arbitrary and capricious view of “censorship,” and an upside down view of “rights.” They remind me of the expression: “With friends like this, . . .”

    P.S. I am not “from the left.” That’s a straw man.

    P.P.S. The above pertains only to *private” action, absent compulsion. What the Biden administration is doing to social media *is* censorship. It is the (implied) use of physical force to ban or compel speech. It is censorship directed at those social media companies and at those individuals who are targeted. They should protest such censorship. But they are not the censors. The Biden government is.

    P.P.P.S: “Free speech is not exclusively contained in the First Amendment.”

    As a purely practical matter: What’s that case going to look like? “Your honor, my client’s case is that his free speech is being violated. His Constitutional rights are being abridged. No, your honor, I cannot find that peculiar view of free speech anywhere in 1A, in the Bill of Rights, or in any other founding document.”

  12. Jonathan: It seems counter intuitive for you, a conservative and supporter of the “free enterprise” system, to now be complaining about the “danger of corporate power over citizens’ lives”. Large corporations have increasingly taken control of what we buy and what we read. Where have you been the last 50 years? The newspaper business is now concentrated in a few big corporations. Even space exploration has been privatized. And large corporations dominate dominate social media platforms. You falsely claim: “Democratic leaders increasingly advocate for corporate governance while Republicans voice populist themes”. Both Democrats and Republican rely on corporate money to stay in power. Most corporate PAC money goes to Republican politicians who push the interests of their large donors. You complain about the “expanding role of corporations as surrogates for the federal government”. But it was Trump who finally pushed for the rapid development of a vaccine by using $19 billion is taxpayer money to get big pharma to step up to the plate. That was a case of large corporations working as “surrogates” for the federal government. Didn’t recall you complaining about that alliance.

    Republican “populist themes” are generally not popular with most Americans. Because Republican have no serious proposals to address the critical issues facing the country (climate change, expanding educational opportunities, expanding health care, wider distribution of the Covid vaccine ,etc.) Republicans focus on the so-called “culture wars, e.g., mistrust of the science of climate change, falsely claiming the 2020 election was “stolen” from Trump, passing laws to prohibit the teaching of the racist history of the US, attacks on the LGBTQ community, expanding voting rights, etc. It’s a theme of xenophobia, anti-immigration and nativism. The programs that are really “popular” with Americans are being pushed by the Democrats. But Republicans label Democratic proposals as “socialist” or even “Communist”. In their rhetoric Republicans and conservatives favor “small government”. It’s a paradox that you are now advocating that the federal government establish competing social media platforms to combat the so-called “censorship” of Twitter and Facebook. Hard to figure.

    When it comes to Covid vaccinations we are facing a stark reality. Infections across the country are rising. Right now less than 50% of the population is fully vaccinated. To reach “herd immunity” we need to get to at least 70%. But Trump and his supporters are resisting– falsely claiming the various vaccines are “dangerous” and can cause long-lasting damage to your DNA. So the Biden administration is working with large corporations to get their employees vaccinated. Requiring employees to be vaccinated before returning to work doesn’t seem an undue burden considering the continuing threat from Covid and the Delta variant. I doubt any court would conclude otherwise because your “free speech” rights end when you punch that time card. But you seem to think Morgan Stanley’s policy on vaccinations is a “dystopian brave new world”. I disagree. Any Morgan Stanley who does not want to get vaccinated has an alternative. Become self-employed, continue to work from home, and refuse to interact with society in general. But when you become infected don’t expect the public, that is vaccinated, to show any sympathy.

    1. Dennis: “But Trump and his supporters are resisting– falsely claiming the various vaccines are “dangerous” and can cause long-lasting damage to your DNA.”
      What is wrong with you? Posters left and right here have acknowledged that vaccination hesitancy is highest among minorities, hardly classic Trump supporters.

      Also government employees working in the CDC and for Fauci were ‘around’ only 60% vaccinated. Some say in the 50% ranges which is ‘around’ 60% when you don’t want to admit the real number.

      Last, I and others have posted links to articles noting Trump’s recommending getting the vaccine.

      It was prominent Democrats who implied the ‘Trump’ vaccine was unsafe until Biden stole credit for making it.

      For you and Natch and a couple others here, Trump is like Global Warming, responsible for everything bad that happens even when the evidence is to the contrary.

    2. You’re a very well trained sycophant Comrade .
      You’ll do well in The Great Reset
      I bet you turn in your neighbors for having an American Flag. You believe they’re Terrorist.

    3. Seems you are not aware the vaccine is experimental and not fully FDA approved. This is the first vaccine using mRNA. The norm is 2 years of study and recording side effects of people that volunteered. That did not happen with this vaccine. The inventor of mRNA is Dr. Robert Malone who has concerns. He has videos on youtube. You also might want to look at the CDC on side effects.

    4. “To reach “herd immunity” we need to get to at least 70%.”

      Which the U.S. has already reached, via full vaccinations and natural immunity.

      It’s fascinating, though, that “herd immunity” has suffered the same fate as “flattening the curve.”

  13. Watching Wall Street reaction to the China virus Delta mutation. Yeah, the indexes are trading lower. The oil index is even lower. Could this be a silver lining due to the China virus mutation?…….Cheaper gas prices again?

  14. Lefties, do you realize that for every person you censor and/or force to get vaccinated; another person begins to realize that it isn’t their country anymore? You aren’t creating another “good”, compliant citizen, but only reinforcing the further Balkinization of America.

    I welcome this trend and look forward to our eventual divorce.


  15. Off topic. Recycling. Where do all the plastic bottles go? Indonesia? Do they float back across the Pacific Ocean?
    Should we NOT recycle things to Asia? Should we recycle or melt down the plastic at American centers?
    It would be better to have our plastic bottles go into deep trash holes in America.

  16. I am quite certain that using coercion and force to require covid vaccinations will work wonders for social capital and unity.

    What could possibly go wrong?


    1. Fat is beautiful, healthy at any weight, normalized metabolic syndromes, a socially progressive comorbidity (a la sexual revolution, not limited to selective-child, including HIV and anal intercourse, friends with “benefits”) past, present, and progressive.

  17. Good article.

    When a handful of companies take over the public square and dictate who can speak and what they can say—and, by extension, what people can hear—it fundamentally changes the nature of free speech as America has always understood it. But when the government exerts itself upon that power, dictating to compliant companies who can speak, and what can be seen, heard, and said, that, as Glenn Greenwald pointed out recently, is the taproot of fascism.

    1. The model of a leftist regime in collusion between public and private sectors, and worse, under a notably Pro-Choice, selective, opportunistic (“=”), relativistic (“ethical”) religion that denies women and men’s dignity and agency, and reduces human life to a property.

    2. “. . . free speech as America has always understood it.”

      Before the inflation of “rights” in this country, America understood free speech to mean what it means: Speech free from government coercion.

      1. Apparently the right not to hear anything that might upset you triumphs over all other rights.

        1. Yes. Emotionalism over facts. Race Card over facts.
          Thank Obama on that one.
          Don’t like Obama’s politics, clearly one is racist , according to the Democrats Censorship Called PC.

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