I’ve been concerned about the decline in interest by the left in free speech issues for quite a while. One of my early posts on this blog a decade ago was about the First Amendment and the left’s abandonment of it. It’s only gotten worse since then. We’ve come a long way from the 1970’s, when the ACLU defended Nazi’s (actual Nazi’s, not simply Republicans walking too close to an antifa riot) and their right to march.
Nothing like that would happen today. The heart and soul of the left now belongs to the book burners and the censors. Antifa protested a bookstore selling a book that..exposed Antifa. Squad member Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bugeyes) suggested some version of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to “figure out how we rein in our media environment so that you can’t just spew disinformation and misinformation…” Well that’s just what we need, the government determining what disinformation and misinformation is.
But now that the Harris but also Biden administration is in place, the fight against the First Amendment can really get started. From The Washington Post National Security section (yes really!):
NEW YORK — A far-right social media influencer was arrested Wednesday and accused of interfering in the 2016 election through an organized campaign to boost Donald Trump’s candidacy by conning supporters of his opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, into voting through illegitimate means such as text message or online.
Prosecutors allege that Douglass Mackey, 31, used an alias, reportedly derived from actor Charlie Sheen’s character Ricky Vaughn in the 1989 film “Major League,” to circulate messages on Twitter that encouraged Clinton’s supporters to “Avoid the line. Vote from home,” according to charging documents. Nearly 5,000 people fell for the ploy, according to the Brooklyn U.S. attorney’s office, which announced the arrest.
William Sweeney, assistant director in charge the FBI’s New York field office, called Mackey’s alleged efforts “nothing short of vote theft.”
This is, of course, insanity. “Ricky Vaughn” was a meme maker during the 2016 Great Meme War, not a conspirator in vote stealing or election fraud. I don’t want to minimize how important memes were to winning the 2016 election. In fact I think memes were vitally important in turning a tiny bit of online culture into the Trump camp. I couldn’t guess how many votes that actually translated into, but the 2016 campaign was a brilliant, creative time for clever funny memes. Several passed my view via Facebook and Twitter on a daily basis during the election, and they did a good job mocking the left in general and Hillary and the Democrats in particular.
Now comes payback time.
From the criminal complaint:
“In or about and between September 2016 and November 2016, both dates being approximate and inclusive, in the Eastern District of New York and elsewhere, the defendant DOUGLASS MACKEY (“MACKEY”), also known as “Ricky Vaughn,” together with others, conspired to injure, oppress, threaten and intimidate persons in the free exercise and enjoyment of a right and privilege secured to them by the Constitution and laws of the United States, to wit, the right to vote, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 241.”
And how exactly did Ricky Vaughn “injure, oppress, threaten and intimidate” Hillary voters? With this:
Besides the obvious absurdity that these memes could have moved Hillary voters one way or another, it’s highly unlikely that any Hillary voter ever saw these memes. These were shared on right leaning sites, chats, and forums, not posted to liberal sites.
The Washington Post reported that “nearly 5,000 people fell for the ploy.” I’ve no doubt 5,000 people actually texted the number on the meme, but was even one of them a Hillary voter thinking that they were “voting?” The answer will obviously be no and if this goes to trial, the failure to present a tricked Hillary voter as victim will become obvious.
But this doesn’t even need to go to trial. Mackey was arrested by the FBI, bonded out for $50,000, and now faces months or years of legal wrangling and costs. Even if this whole thing is dismissed two or three years from now, Mackey will have been ruined. It makes you wonder exactly who is being injured, oppressed, threatened and intimidated here.
Another thing to consider is that this entire case had been sitting in the bowels of the Justice Department for 4 years, and mere days after the inauguration, the FBI arrests Mackey. I guess it just goes to show that the Justice Department was never Trump’s. It was biding its time, waiting to get its revenge on its perceived enemies.
This is a useful reminder that in our new era, we don’t really have any rights. Exercising enlightenment concepts like “rights” is simply staying below the notice of the Permanent government’s eye of Sauron. Being too clever, funny, or effective might get yourself a visit from the FBI.