Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship | The White House

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1.  Policy.  Free speech is the bedrock of American democracy.  Our Founding Fathers protected this sacred right with the First Amendment to the Constitution.  The freedom to express and debate ideas is the foundation for all of our rights as a free people.

In a country that has long cherished the freedom of expression, we cannot allow a limited number of online platforms to hand pick the speech that Americans may access and convey on the internet.  This practice is fundamentally un-American and anti-democratic.  When large, powerful social media companies censor opinions with which they disagree, they exercise a dangerous power.  They cease functioning as passive bulletin boards, and ought to be viewed and treated as content creators.

The growth of online platforms in recent years raises important questions about applying the ideals of the First Amendment to modern communications technology.  Today, many Americans follow the news, stay in touch with friends and family, and share their views on current events through social media and other online platforms.  As a result, these platforms function in many ways as a 21st century equivalent of the public square.

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube wield immense, if not unprecedented, power to shape the interpretation of public events; to censor, delete, or disappear information; and to control what people see or do not see.

As President, I have made clear my commitment to free and open debate on the internet. Such debate is just as important online as it is in our universities, our town halls, and our homes.  It is essential to sustaining our democracy.

Online platforms are engaging in selective censorship that is harming our national discourse.  Tens of thousands of Americans have reported, among other troubling behaviors, online platforms “flagging” content as inappropriate, even though it does not violate any stated terms of service; making unannounced and unexplained changes to company policies that have the effect of disfavoring certain viewpoints; and deleting content and entire accounts with no warning, no rationale, and no recourse.

Twitter now selectively decides to place a warning label on certain tweets in a manner that clearly reflects political bias.  As has been reported, Twitter seems never to have placed such a label on another politician’s tweet.  As recently as last week, Representative Adam Schiff was continuing to mislead his followers by peddling the long-disproved Russian Collusion Hoax, and Twitter did not flag those tweets.  Unsurprisingly, its officer in charge of so-called ‘Site Integrity’ has flaunted his political bias in his own tweets.

At the same time online platforms are invoking inconsistent, irrational, and groundless justifications to censor or otherwise restrict Americans’ speech here at home, several online platforms are profiting from and promoting the aggression and disinformation spread by foreign governments like China.  One United States company, for example, created a search engine for the Chinese Communist Party that would have blacklisted searches for “human rights,” hid data unfavorable to the Chinese Communist Party, and tracked users determined appropriate for surveillance.  It also established research partnerships in China that provide direct benefits to the Chinese military.  Other companies have accepted advertisements paid for by the Chinese government that spread false information about China’s mass imprisonment of religious minorities, thereby enabling these abuses of human rights.  They have also amplified China’s propaganda abroad, including by allowing Chinese government officials to use their platforms to spread misinformation regarding the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to undermine pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

As a Nation, we must foster and protect diverse viewpoints in today’s digital communications environment where all Americans can and should have a voice.  We must seek transparency and accountability from online platforms, and encourage standards and tools to protect and preserve the integrity and openness of American discourse and freedom of expression.

Sec2.  Protections Against Online Censorship.  (a)  It is the policy of the United States to foster clear ground rules promoting free and open debate on the internet.  Prominent among the ground rules governing that debate is the immunity from liability created by section 230(c) of the Communications Decency Act (section 230(c)).  47 U.S.C. 230(c).  It is the policy of the United States that the scope of that immunity should be clarified: the immunity should not extend beyond its text and purpose to provide protection for those who purport to provide users a forum for free and open speech, but in reality use their power over a vital means of communication to engage in deceptive or pretextual actions stifling free and open debate by censoring certain viewpoints.

Section 230(c) was designed to address early court decisions holding that, if an online platform restricted access to some content posted by others, it would thereby become a “publisher” of all the content posted on its site for purposes of torts such as defamation.  As the title of section 230(c) makes clear, the provision provides limited liability “protection” to a provider of an interactive computer service (such as an online platform) that engages in “‘Good Samaritan’ blocking” of harmful content.  In particular, the Congress sought to provide protections for online platforms that attempted to protect minors from harmful content and intended to ensure that such providers would not be discouraged from taking down harmful material.  The provision was also intended to further the express vision of the Congress that the internet is a “forum for a true diversity of political discourse.”  47 U.S.C. 230(a)(3).  The limited protections provided by the statute should be construed with these purposes in mind.

In particular, subparagraph (c)(2) expressly addresses protections from “civil liability” and specifies that an interactive computer service provider may not be made liable “on account of” its decision in “good faith” to restrict access to content that it considers to be “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing or otherwise objectionable.”  It is the policy of the United States to ensure that, to the maximum extent permissible under the law, this provision is not distorted to provide liability protection for online platforms that — far from acting in “good faith” to remove objectionable content — instead engage in deceptive or pretextual actions (often contrary to their stated terms of service) to stifle viewpoints with which they disagree.  Section 230 was not intended to allow a handful of companies to grow into titans controlling vital avenues for our national discourse under the guise of promoting open forums for debate, and then to provide those behemoths blanket immunity when they use their power to censor content and silence viewpoints that they dislike.  When an interactive computer service provider removes or restricts access to content and its actions do not meet the criteria of subparagraph (c)(2)(A), it is engaged in editorial conduct.  It is the policy of the United States that such a provider should properly lose the limited liability shield of subparagraph (c)(2)(A) and be exposed to liability like any traditional editor and publisher that is not an online provider.

(b)  To advance the policy described in subsection (a) of this section, all executive departments and agencies should ensure that their application of section 230(c) properly reflects the narrow purpose of the section and take all appropriate actions in this regard.  In addition, within 60 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary), in consultation with the Attorney General, and acting through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), shall file a petition for rulemaking with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requesting that the FCC expeditiously propose regulations to clarify:

(i) the interaction between subparagraphs (c)(1) and (c)(2) of section 230, in particular to clarify and determine the circumstances under which a provider of an interactive computer service that restricts access to content in a manner not specifically protected by subparagraph (c)(2)(A) may also not be able to claim protection under subparagraph (c)(1), which merely states that a provider shall not be treated as a publisher or speaker for making third-party content available and does not address the provider’s responsibility for its own editorial decisions;

(ii)  the conditions under which an action restricting access to or availability of material is not “taken in good faith” within the meaning of subparagraph (c)(2)(A) of section 230, particularly whether actions can be “taken in good faith” if they are:

(A)  deceptive, pretextual, or inconsistent with a provider’s terms of service; or

(B)  taken after failing to provide adequate notice, reasoned explanation, or a meaningful opportunity to be heard; and

(iii)  any other proposed regulations that the NTIA concludes may be appropriate to advance the policy described in subsection (a) of this section.

Sec3.  Protecting Federal Taxpayer Dollars from Financing Online Platforms That Restrict Free Speech.  (a)  The head of each executive department and agency (agency) shall review its agency’s Federal spending on advertising and marketing paid to online platforms.  Such review shall include the amount of money spent, the online platforms that receive Federal dollars, and the statutory authorities available to restrict their receipt of advertising dollars.

(b)  Within 30 days of the date of this order, the head of each agency shall report its findings to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

(c)  The Department of Justice shall review the viewpoint-based speech restrictions imposed by each online platform identified in the report described in subsection (b) of this section and assess whether any online platforms are problematic vehicles for government speech due to viewpoint discrimination, deception to consumers, or other bad practices.

Sec4.  Federal Review of Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices.  (a)  It is the policy of the United States that large online platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, as the critical means of promoting the free flow of speech and ideas today, should not restrict protected speech.  The Supreme Court has noted that social media sites, as the modern public square, “can provide perhaps the most powerful mechanisms available to a private citizen to make his or her voice heard.”  Packingham v. North Carolina, 137 S. Ct. 1730, 1737 (2017).  Communication through these channels has become important for meaningful participation in American democracy, including to petition elected leaders.  These sites are providing an important forum to the public for others to engage in free expression and debate.  CfPruneYard Shopping Center v. Robins, 447 U.S. 74, 85-89 (1980).

(b)  In May of 2019, the White House launched a Tech Bias Reporting tool to allow Americans to report incidents of online censorship.  In just weeks, the White House received over 16,000 complaints of online platforms censoring or otherwise taking action against users based on their political viewpoints.  The White House will submit such complaints received to the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

(c)  The FTC shall consider taking action, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, to prohibit unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce, pursuant to section 45 of title 15, United States Code.  Such unfair or deceptive acts or practice may include practices by entities covered by section 230 that restrict speech in ways that do not align with those entities’ public representations about those practices.

(d)  For large online platforms that are vast arenas for public debate, including the social media platform Twitter, the FTC shall also, consistent with its legal authority, consider whether complaints allege violations of law that implicate the policies set forth in section 4(a) of this order.  The FTC shall consider developing a report describing such complaints and making the report publicly available, consistent with applicable law.

Sec5.  State Review of Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices and Anti-Discrimination Laws.  (a)  The Attorney General shall establish a working group regarding the potential enforcement of State statutes that prohibit online platforms from engaging in unfair or deceptive acts or practices.  The working group shall also develop model legislation for consideration by legislatures in States where existing statutes do not protect Americans from such unfair and deceptive acts and practices. The working group shall invite State Attorneys General for discussion and consultation, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law.

(b) Complaints described in section 4(b) of this order will be shared with the working group, consistent with applicable law. The working group shall also collect publicly available information regarding the following:

(i) increased scrutiny of users based on the other users they choose to follow, or their interactions with other users;

(ii) algorithms to suppress content or users based on indications of political alignment or viewpoint;

(iii) differential policies allowing for otherwise impermissible behavior, when committed by accounts associated with the Chinese Communist Party or other anti-democratic associations or governments;

(iv) reliance on third-party entities, including contractors, media organizations, and individuals, with indicia of bias to review content; and

(v) acts that limit the ability of users with particular viewpoints to earn money on the platform compared with other users similarly situated.

Sec6.  Legislation.  The Attorney General shall develop a proposal for Federal legislation that would be useful to promote the policy objectives of this order.

Sec7.  Definition.  For purposes of this order, the term “online platform” means any website or application that allows users to create and share content or engage in social networking, or any general search engine.

Sec8.  General Provisions. (a)  Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i)    the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii)   the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b)  This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c)  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

Source: Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship | The White House

Judge McHaney Speaks His Mind in Friday Afternoon Case [re: COVID] — The Villagers Voice

MAY 23, 2020 BY KATHY SANDS

Chief Judge Michael McHaney of Clay County had this to say at the conclusion of the case he heard yesterday afternoon (Mainer v Pritzker) in the Clay County courtroom:

“Since the inception of this insanity, the following regulations, rules or consequences have occurred: I won’t get COVID if I get an abortion, but I will get COVID if I get a colonoscopy. Selling pot is essential, but selling goods and services at a family owned business is not. Pot wasn’t even legal and pot dispensaries didn’t even exist in this state until five months ago and, in that five months, they have become essential, but a family-owned business in existence for five generations is not.

A family of six can pile in their car and drive to Carlyle Lake without contracting COVID but, if they all get in the same boat, they will. We are told that kids rarely contract the virus and sunlight kills it, but summer youth programs, sports programs are cancelled. Four people can drive to the golf course and not get COVID but, if they play in a foursome, they will. If I go to Walmart, I won’t get COVID but, if I go to church, I will. Murderers are released from custody while small business owners are threatened with arrest if they have the audacity to attempt to feed their families.

These are just a few of examples of rules, regulations and consequences that are arbitrary, capricious, and completely devoid of anything even remotely approaching common sense.

State’s attorneys in this state, county sheriffs, mayors, city councils and county boards have openly and publicly defied these orders followed by threats to withhold funding and revocation of necessary licenses and certifications unless you obey. Our economy is shut down because of a flu virus with a 98 percent plus survival rate. Doctors and experts say different things weekly. The defendant cites models in his opposition. The only thing experts will agree on is that all models are wrong and some are useful.

The Centers for Disease Control now says the virus is not easily spread on surfaces. The defendant in this case orders you to stay home and pronounces that, if you leave the state, you are putting people in danger, but his family members traveled to Florida and Wisconsin because he deems such travel essential. One initial rationale why the rules don’t apply to him is that his family farm had animals that needed fed. Try selling that argument to farmers who have had to slaughter their herds because of disruption in the supply chain.

When laws do not apply to those who make them, people are not being governed, they are being ruled. Make no mistake, these executive orders are not laws. They are royal decrees. Illinois citizens are not being governed, they are being ruled. The last time I checked, Illinois citizens are also Americans and Americans don’t get ruled. The last time a monarch tried to rule Americans, a shot was fired that was heard around the world. That day led to the birth of a nation consensually governed based upon a document which ensures that on this day in this, any American courtroom tyrannical despotism will always lose and liberty, freedom and the constitution will always win.”

—Judge Michael D. McHaney, Clay County court, Mainer v. Pritzker, argued May 22, 2020.

Thank you, Judge McHaney. You said it beautifully.

Source: Judge McHaney Speaks His Mind in Friday Afternoon Case — The Villagers Voice

The “New Normal”? Nope. YOU CAN STICK YOUR NEW WORLD ORDER UP YOUR ASS.

The energy of resistance builds. YES!

 

via Exopermaculture: The “New Normal”? Nope. YOU CAN STICK YOUR NEW WORLD ORDER UP YOUR ASS. 

My baby picture and a story for the Great Awakening/Corona Staycation 2020 ~ via Baby Picture Project

This is the longer version of an edited post dated March 19, 2020 at: https://www.babypictureproject.com/green-acres-gabrielle-shares-her-baby-photostory/
GabsBBP

Because I like long stories.

I’m Gabrielle [or Gabby depending on how well you know me]. The photo on the left is my favorite baby picture of me. I thank my dad for sending it to me, among others! This one was taken in my grandmother Lucille’s basement, circa 1969 or early 1970. This is a guess, as I’ve been told I was practically bald for a few of my formative years. I see early whisps of hair in this photo.

I’m now 52, approaching 53 with a very unruly and thick head of hair. My 52 year-old Self still enjoys finger-licking meals as much as I enjoy cooking them — thanks to both my grandmothers and at least one grandfather, Roy [all victory gardeners and wonderful cooks] and I also thank my own mother’s talents in the kitchen as well.

I currently employ these skills at a permaculture village where we grow organic food and cook often, having weekly dinner gatherings with our larger community who also share food with us. It is one of many reasons why I came to live here. The founder, Ann Kreilkamp, also birthed The Baby Picture Project which came to my awareness via email in 2016 when I was going through a personal hell.

It grounded me immediately and helped me do a great deal of healing — and remembering.

It should come as no surprise that after spending summers and gathering for Sunday dinners with my grandparents as a child, that I would wish to live in right relation to the land and grow food. My grandparents survived the Great Depression by canning, preserving, smoking meat, and having a larder [or ‘root cellar’ as one of my grannies called it], and I learned later that they thrived because they had close-knit community which traded and bartered.

It turns out my choosing to live this way now, was a surprise to some; having different ideas of what success looks like or perhaps holding a belief that ‘infinite growth’ is possible. I’m certain that kicking the debt can down the road for future generations is something my grandmothers never cottoned on to themselves.

The big-eyed little girl had a huge love of music, family and [of course] food. She still does.

beetsbishes

The longest secret she kept while growing up painfully quiet and shy [GET OUT!], was that she wanted to be a writer.

My young self was a watcher and listener, absorbing information like a sponge. I’d learned that my distant relative, General Lew Wallace was a poet, author [he penned Ben Hur], a military man and the 11th Governor of the New Mexico territory. I never read his book, but he fascinated me as one who knew quite a bit of controversy, even up to his death.

That controversy was explained over-romantically to me as a youngster. But it painted a picture of Wallace as a man with a poet’s heart that defied orders in a senseless war. The real story was more complicated, of course. That is almost always the case when discussing history, let alone the story of a singular human life. Lew Wallace spent years of his life trying to clear his name from hearsay and slander; after writing a best-selling novel that was called, “the most influential Christian book of the nineteenth century.”

With the advent of the internet, no life is without controversy and any story told now could be influential. I’ll never write epic fiction like Ben Hur as fiction doesn’t interest me — not when epic issues are the reality d’jour. That Lew Wallace was a writer and a poet interested me. That the art of writing is in my family tree and in my DNA, interested me. It held me steadfast — something this double Gemini child secretly nurtured in her heart — also from her Twice Great Aunt Nella — until she was 32. That knowledge made me a life-time learner, reader and an appreciator of both art and history. My own and the land called America where I was raised.

This land’s government, not so much. I have to thank artists for that wisdom as well…and the Constitution which protects [once protected?] their work, regardless of how controversial it is to many — or the few.

I deeply appreciate sacrifices made by others, including my grandfather’s service in WWII. I could experience the freedom to become who I am, find my own voice, and arrive at this moment in our shared history. Not that it wasn’t a personal battle to get here but that’s what makes good stories. Journalism is different. They ought to be scribing dutifully without bias, partisanship or thought to sponsors, but instead with due diligence for future generations to understand what gains have been made and about the cost of those gains. All of us should be concerned about the cost, not just in terms of currency but wisdom lost. The generation gap widened and became a chasm in a technological age — but there’s time to cross it and time to try. It is not impassable. The alternative is like a yodel or a rebel yell in the wilderness of A.I.

Will anyone from the next several generations hear you? Or me?

One of my favorite memes on the internet is a hand-drawn picture of a little girl and an old woman. Both hold books in their hands. Written upon it is very good advice: “The only two people you need to impress: Your 8 year old Self and your 88 year old Self.”

I’ve thoroughly impressed my 8 year old Self. I’m working toward impressing my elder Self without forgetting my 8 year old. PLAY is important! I was blessed to have great teachers in my grandparents and that they took lots of pictures of what mattered most to them. During this time, try playing behind a camera instead of in front of one, playing in the kitchen instead of sitting in front of the television, learning [or teaching] a skill that requires devices like shovels, download some seeds into a cache of soil, and listen to stories from elders. They have had experiences during times that were far harder and more challenging than what we face today. We all have a lot to learn.

I remember sitting on my grandmother’s porch in Virginia, listening to the grown folks talk about politics — sometimes heated debates between my uncles and cousins. Huffs and guffaws, points and counterpoints, their communications both fascinating and confusing to young ears. Then, inevitably, someone from inside the house would yell, “Who wants pie?!” And just like that, the debate ended and everyone got up and had dessert together. Later, the once agitated air had been forgotten, carried away in a soft lilac breeze, often replaced by the sounds of a friendly card game, crickets, laughter and sometimes a guitar.

Remember there are children watching and listening. What are we teaching them?

I leave you with my favorite agrarian elder and poet, Wendell Berry, “You can best serve civilization by being against what usually passes for it.”

__________________________________________

PS: I produce a podcast for the elder who founded the permaculture village – also see my bio, and who founded the Baby Picture Project. Thanks a million, Ann! Follow and share feedback at https://patreon.com/ARKCroneCast and on Youtube. Here’s one of many public offerings, this one is about The Baby Picture Project.  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGC3MPlCH52YjIiTGYIZAeg.

Note: This is why I’ve been missing on my own site much of this year. The #CoronaStaycation found me busier than most, even with the AirBnB closed — more on that later. I’m also a property manager and gardener: just two more hats I wear at Green Acres and I’m working on a third…whew.

Gabrielle
Is Web Mistress, Outreach Coordinator and AirBnB Hostess,
at Green Acres Permaculture Village we are “Growing Community From the Ground Up”
Visit us at Maple House AirBnb!
We’re co-creating a resilient world with ARC
Green Acres is also member of Fellowship for Intentional Community
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I’ve opened the barn door and left myself open to whatever the universe sees fit to bring.  Nice to meet you!

Life in Green Acres Village during CV Lockdown

Only one thing has decidedly changed: No more Thursday Community Dinners for the duration, since they inevitably draw way more than ten people. Otherwise, for we who are more in tune with nature than with the existing culture, not much changes here; or I should say, whatever massive, ongoing changes occur in the “outside world,”…

 

via Life in Green Acres Village during CV Lockdown