Betraying their oath to support, protect, and defend the Constitution, Democrat-Crossover voters posing as Republicans narrowly defeated a bill in the House of Representatives that would have protected Montanans against Big Tech monopolies seeking to silence our conservative viewpoints. Instead, the “RINO” Republicans voted with their Democrat colleagues to let the technocracy run roughshod over Montanans and our constitutional liberties.
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, protect and defend the constitution of the United States, and the constitution of the state of Montana, and that I will discharge the duties of my office with fidelity (so help me God).”
And yet, siding with the unanimous opposition from Democrats, Solutions Caucus members associated with Llew Jones defeated HB573 and chose to let their constituents hang in the wind under Big Tech’s censorship regime.
HB573 (available here) was sponsored by Brad Tschida (R-HD97) and would have provided Due Process to Montanans in the event they believe their constitutional rights are being violated by Big Tech utilities. This 4th and 14th Amendment constitutional right cannot be voided or nullified by arbitrary and often capricious “terms of service” thrust upon their customers. Simply put, Facebook’s “terms of service” do not negate and neither do they transcend the U.S. Constitution.
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, often cited as a means to let Big Tech monopolies behave as publishers but enjoy the liability immunity of utilities, does not prohibit states from specifying the due process afforded their citizens or from ensuring their rights aren’t violated. Although Section 230 does protect Big Tech from “damages,” it does not forbid regulatory bodies from making sure they aren’t violating liberties by censorship.
Ultimately, the debate is not about free speech. As private companies (a dubious distinction, considering their Section 230 immunities), these corporations are not obligated to let everyone speak their mind. However, these companies appear to have acted fraudulently, building their company on the promise of providing uninhibited speech platforms and then – once consumers invested their personal information and in some cases millions of dollars into the platforms – installed censorship policies that rival that of the North Korean or Chinese governments.
But how can it be determined whether or not these companies have defrauded their customers? Thanks to these RINO Republicans, there is no system of Due Process for Montanans to defend their interests and liberties.
Meanwhile, Big Tech communication utilities are violating a premier Constitutional liberty; Equal Protection.
This 14th Amendment right guarantees that Americans will be treated without discrimination. The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that private corporations cannot discriminate against individuals because of their ethnicity, religion, or political ideology. Even if the “terms of service” for a golf club, for example, prohibits African Americans from joining, that piece of paper could not negate their constitutional liberties. All that we Montanans have been asking for is to be treated equally with those who share left-of-center political views in the Marketplace of Ideas.
Tschida’s bill would not have somehow magically denounced Big Tech on behalf of every disgruntled customer whose personal information they have sold like Kunta Kinte on the auction block. The bill merely would have specified a system of due process by which potential injurious infractions against Montanans’ constitutional liberties could be assessed and evaluated. Thanks to those who voted against it, we are now left without recourse because of the bizarre immunity given to Big Tech under federal law and the unwillingness of House Republicans to do their constitutional duty.
In Section 230, the feds left Montana – and all states – room to provide such due process, but the 2021 Montana House of Representatives has rejected our own state authority and instead ceded it to the federal government and, by extension, to private corporations that are openly hostile to our values.
The “Republicans” who joined their Democrat friends to vote against HB573 are the worst of Quisling traitors, selling out their constituents and abdicating their responsibility to protect us against the encroachment of our personal liberties. We needed Republicans to protect us, and they have failed our state.
Along with the usual Democrat Crossover voters known as the Solutions Caucus (Llew Jones, Ed Buttrey, David Bedey, Geraldine Custer, etc), they were also joined by new Solutions Caucus member, Mallerie Stromswold (“R”- Billings) and most shockingly, Casey Knudsen (“R” – Malta).
Knudsen, has had a number of bad votes this year, including his initial opposition to a bill disallowing childhood genital mutilation. From a fairly conservative district in Eastern Montana, the legislator certainly needs to explain himself to his constituents, who no doubt are unfairly targeted by Big Tech utilities in a disproportionate fashion to those in Missoula or Bozeman.
Another disappointing vote came from Wendy McKamey, another Republican who voted against the ban on childhood genital mutilation (an odd choice for a leading woman in her Mormon church), who is rumored to desire a run for the Public Service Commission which would have provided the regulatory oversight to Big Tech if the bill had passed. Should McKamey desire a run for the PSC, voters need to be reminded that she supported gutting the department of its power and purpose to protect taxpayers.
So-called “Republicans” who derelicted their duty to protect our constitutional liberties include Representatives Bedey, Buttrey, Custer, Dooling, Fitzgerald, Frazer, Greef, Holmund, Jones, Knudsen, Loge, McKamey, Putnam, Stromswold, Walsh, and Welch.
This batch of legislators amounts to quite a gaggle of self-loathing, value-compromising, party platform-ignoring Democrat Manchurian candidates. While few of these individuals, perhaps Knudsen notwithstanding, suffer any real risk of being censored in social media (because their values are more akin to Silicon Valley than Montana), their constituents were largely muzzled during the presidential primary and in the aftermath to follow.
We are well beyond the age of pitchforks and torches or tar and feathering to deal with such treasonous behavior, but their next primary battle should be a call to arms for Montana’s conservatives. Their unwillingness to defend us should stir their constituents to find the resolve to replace them with true public servants.
Montanans will remember that in the darkest night of our Republic when the entirety of the federal government and their Big Tech partners were against us, these Republicans chose to lie down, roll over, and let us to continue being the target of our enemies in Washington D.C. and Menlo Park.
Shame on them. Shame on them all. Primary them all.
Meanwhile, as the Benedict Arnold Republicans were casting their vote to rain down censorship upon Montana conservatives, YouTube decided to ban Rudy Giuliani for claiming that voter fraud was present in the 2020 presidential election. YouTube has a 90% market share for video hosting. When Standard Oil was broken up as a monopoly in 1911, it likewise had a 90% market share. Until our government begins to protect our rights and interests, we will continue to be held hostage by Big Tech’s palpable biases and bigotry.
It’s time for Republicans to act like Republicans in the Big State State.