Paul Pelosi
Paul Pelosi

“Have you no sense of decency,” responded Boston lawyer Joseph Welch to Sen. Joseph McCarthy during his communist witch hunt investigation in 1954.

That question could be posed to Republican talking heads who claim the attack of Paul Pelosi was fake or a false flag operation.

They prefer to peddle the lurid and baseless claim that the 82-year-old husband of the Speaker of the House was involved in a homosexual tryst with his attacker David DePape.

Fox blowhard Tucker Carlson has questions about how Pelosi was alone in the house with another man 40 years younger while Nancy was out of town.

My hunch: the young guy smashed the glass door in the back to enter the house and Nancy was in DC.

In his new role as chief Twit, Elon Musk retweeted the homophobic post but then deleted it.

Charlie Kirk, podcaster and right-wing radio show host, has called for “some amazing patriot out there in San Francisco or the Bay Area" to become a midterm hero by bailing out DePape and then asking him some questions.

It’s only a matter of time before the GOP claims DePape is an Antifa operative.

Pelosi was assaulted with a hammer and suffered blunt force trauma. He underwent surgery to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands.

Welch unleashed another zinger at the 1954 hearing that could be adapted for today’s conspiracy-mongering GOP.

“Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness,” he said.

Saudis Get Their Mitts on Twitter. Saudi Arabia kicked in about $2B to help Elon Musk finance his Twitter acquisition, which means that one of the most repressive regimes in the world with no tolerance of free expression may have oversight of America’s so-called town hall.

That’s why Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy wants the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US to review Twitter’s change of ownership.

In an Oct. 31 letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Murphy notes Twitter’s foreign ownership could result in increased censorship, misinformation or political violence.

In 2019, federal prosecutors alleged that the Saudis recruited Twitter employees to spy on users to carry out surveillance and smear campaigns against dissidents.

A probe by Twitter resulted in the suspension of 88K accounts tied to a disinformation campaign backed by the Saudi government.

Murphy fears that Saudi influence over Twitter’s operations or access to user data could be used to silence government critics and human rights activists, or to further state-sponsored disinformation campaigns.

He also notes that the Saudis have demonstrated a willingness to crush dissent beyond the borders of the Kingdom.

The murder and dismemberment of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul is a prime example of the reach of Saudi intelligence forces.

Musk claimed his acquisition of Twitter “freed the bird.” The Saudi connection may cage that same bird.

Freedom on the Internet improved a little bit in the US during 2022 for the first time in six years, according to the “Freedom on the Net” report compiled by Freedom House.

There were fewer reported cases of targeted surveillance and online harassment during protests compared with the previous year.

The non-profit group praised president Joe Biden for making the promotion of internet freedom a top priority of his foreign policy but that contrasts with only marginal improvements on the home front.

Freedom House notes that the White House brought together 60 governments to sign the Declaration for the Future of the Internet to advance a positive vision of the net.

Freedom House

The US Agency for International Development unveiled a plan to spend $20M annually to boost digital democracy.

At home, the results were sparse. Proposed laws to strengthen tech-related transparency made little progress.

The lack of a comprehensive federal privacy law and incomplete reforms to surveillance rules allow US agencies to purchase data of citizens from shadowy brokers with little oversight or safeguards.

Freedom House noted the Supreme Court decision to junk Roe v. Wadeprompted renewed concerns about law enforcement access to location information, browsing histories, and other forms of data that could be used for criminal and civil investigations in US jurisdictions where legal access to reproductive health care is restricted.”

The mass denial of the 2020 election results by Donald Trump and his supporters, driven by conspiracy theories and disinformation polluted the information environment and seeped into the broader American political system.

GOP leaders use disinformation and intimidation to make false justifications for new anti-fraud measures that could restrict access to voting or distort the counting and certification processes, and set the stage for future unrest by eroding public trust in any unfavorable results.

There are tough times ahead for internet freedom in the US. The 2023 Freedom House report promises to be an interesting read.