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Republican governors sign letter opposing WHO treaty

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From The Center Square

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The Republican governors of two dozen states, including Georgia and South Carolina, penned a letter to President Joe Biden opposing the World Health Organization’s proposed “Pandemic Agreement,” which they said could “undermine national sovereignty” and states’ rights.

The state executives argue the treaty “would seek to elevate the WHO from an advisory body to a global authority in public health.” They contend the proposed accord could also allow the WHO to establish “a global surveillance infrastructure” and force participants to censor free speech.

On Tuesday, 93.3% of voters in Georgia’s Republican primary said “unelected and unaccountable international bureaucrats,” such as those at the WHO, should not have “complete control over management of future pandemics in the United States and authority to regulate your healthcare and personal health choices.” The vote is nonbinding, but it could guide legislative action when Peach State lawmakers meet again next year.

In their letter, the governors said that “if adopted, these agreements would seek to elevate the WHO from an advisory body to a global authority in public health.

“Under the proposed amendments and treaty, the WHO’s Director-General would supposedly gain unilateral power to declare a ‘public health emergency of international concern’ (PHEIC) in member nations, extending beyond pandemics to include a range of perceived emergencies,” the governors added. The “proposals could erode state sovereignty by granting the WHO’s Director-General the authority to dictate responses to a declared PHEIC, stripping elected representatives of their role in setting public health policies and compelling citizens to comply with WHO directives, potentially including mandates regarding medical treatments.”

Govs. Kay Ivey of Alabama, Mike Dunleavy of Alaska, Sarah Sanders of Arkansas, Ron DeSantis of Florida, Brian Kemp of Georgia, Brad Little of Idaho, Eric Holcomb of Indiana, Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Jeff Landry of Louisiana, Tate Reeves of Mississippi, Greg Gianforte of Montana, Jim Pillen of Nebraska, Joe Lombardo of Nevada, Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, Doug Burgum of North Dakota, Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma, Henry McMaster of South Carolina, Kristi Noem of South Dakota, Bill Lee of Tennessee, Greg Abbott of Texas, Spencer Cox of Utah, Glenn Youngkin of Virginia, Jim Justice of West Virginia and Mark Gordon of Wyoming signed the letter.

5.22.24 Final Joint Letter WHO Pandemic Treaty

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Censorship Industrial Complex

New federal legislation should remind Canadians of Orwell’s 1984

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From the Fraser Institute

By Jake Fuss and Alex Whalen

The legislation seeks to punish citizens not just for what the governments deems as “hate speech” but also grants the state power to bring Canadians before tribunals on suspicion that they might say something hateful in the future.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of George Orwell’s classic novel 1984 (and it’s been 40 years since the actual year 1984). In the novel, Orwell explains the dangers of totalitarianism by exploring what happens when government exercises extreme levels of control over citizens including censoring and controlling language. While Canada is a relatively free country in 2024, there are aspects of Orwell’s world reflected in government policy today.

The Human Freedom Index, published annually by the Fraser Institute and Cato Institute, defines freedom as a social concept that recognizes the dignity of individuals by the absence of coercive constraint. In a free society, citizens are free to do, say or think almost anything they want, provided it does not infringe on the right of others to do the same.

Canada currently fares relatively well compared to other countries on the Human Freedom Index, placing 13th out of 165 countries. However, our score has dropped six spots on the index since 2008 when Canada recorded its highest ever rank.

This is not surprising given the Trudeau government’s recent efforts to control and manage the free exchange of ideas. The recent Online Streaming Act imposes various content rules on major streaming services such as Netflix, and requirements to extract funds to be redirected toward favoured groups. The Act seemingly seeks to bring the entire Internet under the regulation of a government body.

In another piece of recent legislation, the Online News Act, the government attempted to force certain social media platforms to pay other legacy news outlets for carrying content. In response, the social media platforms chose simply not to allow content from those news providers on their platforms, resulting in a dramatic reduction of Canadians’ access to news.

Now, a new piece of federal legislation—Bill C-63, the Online Harms Act—seeks to control language and grant government power to punish citizens for what the government deems to be unfavourable speech.

The government has sold Bill C-63 as a way to promote the online safety of Canadians, reduce harms, and ensure the operators of social media services are held accountable. In reality, however, the bill is Orwell’s Big Brother concept brought to life, where government controls information and limits free exchange. The legislation seeks to punish citizens not just for what the governments deems as “hate speech” but also grants the state power to bring Canadians before tribunals on suspicion that they might say something hateful in the future. Not surprisingly, many have raised concerns about the constitutionality of the Bill, which will surely be tested in court.

Put differently, the Bill dictates that citizens may not only be punished for speech crimes, but also punished when another person or group of individuals believes they are likely to commit such a crime. The legislation outlines punishment mechanisms at the government’s disposal, including electronic monitoring devices, house arrest or jail time. Frighteningly, if the government doesn’t like what you say or even suspects they won’t like what you might say, then you could face serious repercussions.

That sounds eerily similar to Orwell’s concept of the Thought Police. In 1984, a secret police force investigates and punishes “thoughtcrimes,” which are personal and political thoughts unapproved by the state. The Thought Police monitor citizens and arrest anyone who engages in such crimes, to prevent personal autonomy and freedom of thought, thus providing the state with immense power and control over the populace.

The big government approach inherent in the Online Harms Act and others is antithetical to the idea of personal freedom. Famed English philosopher J.S. Mill was particularly observant in recognizing the perils of controlling and punishing speech government officials deem “dangerous.” In his book On Liberty, Mill stated “If any opinion is compelled to silence, that opinion may, for aught we can certainly know, be true. To deny this is to assume our own infallibility. Secondly, though the silenced opinion be an error, it may, and very commonly does, contain a portion of the truth; and since the general of prevailing opinion on any subject is rarely or never the whole truth, it is only by the collision of adverse opinions that the remainder of the truth has any chance of being supplied.”

Orwell’s famous novel provides a guidebook for what governments should avoid doing at all costs. Unfortunately, hints of 1984 have seeped into government policy in Canada today. The erosion of personal freedom is not something we should take for granted anymore.

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Censorship Industrial Complex

‘We are in the most dangerous anti-free speech period in our history’

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From LifeSiteNews

By Tom Olohan

“It’s hard to get a free people to give up freedom, you have to make them afraid, you have to make them very afraid. And that’s why you hear this echo chamber that its free speech that’s endangering us”

Jonathan Turley, a Fox News contributor and George Washington University law professor, issued some stark warnings on the future of free speech.

During the July 12 episode of MRC UnCensored, MRC Free Speech America Vice President Dan Schneider spoke with Turley about his new book, The Indispensable Right: Free Speech in an Age of Rage, and his observations about free speech and the media from a long and successful career.

Turley warned that journalism schools have abandoned long-held standards and young Americans have been indoctrinated against free speech. He made clear that a dangerous public-private partnership between powerful institutions threatened the future of the First Amendment.

“We are now in what the book refers to as the most dangerous anti-free speech period in our history, and the reason is indeed this alliance that has never formed before, of the government, corporations, academia [and] the media, all aligned against free speech,” he said.

 

Turley followed with a description of this alliance’s twisted rationale. “You now have on college campuses and in many media outlets, the unrelenting mantra that free speech is dangerous, that it is threatening us, threatening jobs, even threatening lives,” Turley said. “And the idea here is very simple, it’s hard to get a free people to give up freedom, you have to make them afraid, you have to make them very afraid. And that’s why you hear this echo chamber that its free speech that’s endangering us and if you just give the government more power over your speech you’ll be happy and safer.”

When Turley warned that the “wave” of censorship arriving in America “began in Europe,” Schneider lamented that American free speech had once inspired advocates of freedom in Europe and the world, such as Lech Wałęsa and Václav Havel. “And something has changed again, in Europe, in here, where people now see free speech as a threat to democracy, as a pose to the most important central element of democracy.”

Turley dug deep from his experience and observations to explain this state of affairs. He mentioned that he had poured 30 years of work into his book and observed the media make a massive turn for the worse during that period.

The Fox News contributor also noted that journalism schools have officially abandoned objectivity and neutrality. Turley made the point that the media had abandoned its principles in part because new graduates had been taught to abandon them: “J-schools now teach that, that objectivity and neutrality get in the way of social and political agendas. That’s what we’re producing from J-schools and its having an impact.”

Reprinted with permission from NewsBusters.

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