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States Sue Biden Administration For ‘Pressuring And Colluding’ With Big Tech To Censor Free Speech

States Sue Biden Administration For ‘Pressuring And Colluding’ With Big Tech To Censor Free Speech

Authored by Katabella Roberts via The Epoch…

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States Sue Biden Administration For 'Pressuring And Colluding' With Big Tech To Censor Free Speech

Authored by Katabella Roberts via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Two Republican-led states have filed a lawsuit against President Joe Biden, White House press secretary Jen Psaki, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and other top administration officials for allegedly pressuring and colluding with social media giants with the aim of censoring and suppressing free speech.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks as Assistant to the President & Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers Cecilia Rouse listens during an event at the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, on May 4, 2022. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana on April 5, they announced in separate statements on Thursday.

The attorneys claim that Biden and other government officials worked with big tech companies like Meta, Twitter, and YouTube to censor conversation around matters relating to everything from COVID-19 and election integrity to the Hunter Biden laptop story, doing so under the guise of combating “misinformation.”

Others named in the lawsuit include Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and the executive director of DHS’s newly established “Disinformation Governance Board,” Nina Jankowicz.

Nina Jankowicz [ZH]

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra, and Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Jen Easterly are also listed as defendants.

In announcing the lawsuit on Thursday, attorney Schmitt stressed the importance of freedom of speech which he said is “paramount to a healthy society,” adding that “discourse, debate, and discussion have been the cornerstone of our country since the Founders codified that right in the Bill of Rights.”

Schmitt stated that Americans use social media platforms to discuss an array of topics, noting that those topics have more recently, in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, conversations regarding whether or not face coverings are effective in preventing the virus from spreading and whether the virus origins came from a lab leak in Wuhan, China.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a White House daily press briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington on May 04, 2022. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, responds to questions during a congressional hearing in Washington in a file image. (Greg Nash/Pool via Reuters)

“In direct contravention to the First Amendment and freedom of speech, the Biden Administration has been engaged in a pernicious campaign to both pressure social media giants to censor and suppress speech and work directly with those platforms to achieve that censorship in a misguided and Orwellian campaign against ‘misinformation,'” said Schmitt, referencing George Orwell’s dystopian novel about a totalitarian state, 1984.

The lawsuit filed on Thursday specifically accuses Biden and other government officials of working with big tech companies to remove “truthful information related to the lab-leak theory, the efficacy of masks, election integrity, and more,” Schmitt said.

It also accuses Biden and other officials of “falsely” attacking the Hunter Biden laptop story as “disinformation” along with tech giants like Twitter.

The story, which was first published by the New York Post in October 2020, detailed the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop that was abandoned in a Delaware computer repair shop, and which included compromising pictures and emails regarding allegedly corrupt foreign business deals.

Twitter labeled the story as “potentially harmful” and locked the New York Post’s main Twitter account while simultaneously blocking Twitter users from publishing the link to the story.

Hunter Biden attends his father Joe Biden’s inauguration as the 46th President of the United States on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 20, 2021. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool/Reuters)

The New York Times and the Washington Post have since acknowledged the existence of Hunter Biden’s laptop and emails.

Big Tech has become an extension of Biden’s Big Government, and neither are protecting the freedoms of Americans; rather, they are suppressing truth and demonizing those who think differently,” said Attorney General Landry.

“Ripped from the playbook of Stalin and his ilk, Biden has been colluding with Big Tech to censor free speech and propagandize the masses. We are fighting back to ensure the rule of law and prevent the government from unconstitutional banning, chilling, and stifling of speech.”

The lawsuit alleges that the federal government violated Missourians’, Louisianans’, and Americans’ First Amendment rights and “coerced, threatened, and pressured social-media platforms to censor disfavored speakers and viewpoints by using threats of adverse government action.”

As a result of those threats, the lawsuit states, the defendants “are now directly colluding with social-media platforms to censor disfavored speakers and viewpoints, including by pressuring them to censor certain content and speakers, and ‘flagging’ disfavored content and speakers for censorship. These actions violate the First Amendment.”

The attorneys asked the court to declare that Biden and other defendants violated the First Amendment, exceeded their statutory authority, and to stop the officials from continuing to engage in their “unlawful” conduct.

Furthermore, they claim that the DHS and HHS officials’ conduct violates the Administrative Procedure Act.

The Epoch Times has contacted a White House Spokesperson for comment.

Tyler Durden Sat, 05/07/2022 - 14:00

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Government

Cruise Line Drops Pre-Cruise Covid Testing Rule

The major cruise lines walk a delicate line. They need to take the actual steps required to keep their passengers safe and they also need to be aware of…

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The major cruise lines walk a delicate line. They need to take the actual steps required to keep their passengers safe and they also need to be aware of how things look to the outside public. It's a mix of practical covid policy balanced with covid theater.

You have to do the right thing -- and Royal Caribbean International (RCL) - Get Royal Caribbean Group Report, Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL) - Get Carnival Corporation Report, and Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCLH) - Get Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Report have been doing that with very meticulous protocols-- but you also have to show the general public you're taking the pandemic seriously. The cruise industry has been under the microscope of both public perception and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) since covid first appeared.

That's not because you're likely to get infected on a cruise ship than at a concert, sporting event, theme park, restaurant, or any other crowded space. It's because when you get sick at one of those locations nobody can pinpoint the source of your infection

Cruises last from 3 days to 7 days or even longer and that means that some people will get covid onboard and that will be blamed on the cruise industry. To mitigate that Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian have rigid protocols in place that require passengers 12 and over to be vaccinated as well as pre-cruise covid tests taken no more than two days before your cruise leaves.

Once cruise line has dropped that testing requirement (at least on a few sailings) and that could lead Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian to follow. 

Sina Schuldt/picture alliance via Getty

Holland America Drops Some Covid Testing

As the largest cruise lines sailing from the U.S., Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian don't want to be the first to make major covid policy changes. They acted more or less in tandem when it came to loosening, then dropping mask rules and have generally followed the lead of the CDC, even when that agency's rules became optional.

Now, Holland America cruise line has dropped pre-cruise covid testing on a handful of cruises. It's a minor move, but it does provide cover and precedent for Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian to eventually do the same.

"Holland America Line becomes the first US-based cruise line to remove testing for select cruises. Unfortunately for those taking a cruise from the United States, the new protocols are only in place for certain cruises onboard the company’s latest ship, the Rotterdam, in Europe," Cruisehive reported.

The current CDC guidelines do recommend pre-cruise testing, but the cruise lines into following those rules. By picking cruises sailing out of Europe, Holland America avoids picking a fight with the federal agency just yet, but it will be able to gather data as to whether the pre-cruise testing actually helps.

Holland America has not changed its vaccination requirements for those cruises which mirror the 12-and-up rule used by Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian.

Some guests have called for the end of the testing requirement because they believe it's more theater than precaution because people can test and then contract covid while traveling to their cruise.

The Current Cruise Protocols Work

Royal Caribbean President Michael Bayley does expect changes to come in his cruise line's covid protocols, and he talked about them during Royal Caribbean's recent President's Cruise, the Royal Caribbean Blog reported.

"I think pre cruise testing is going to be around for another couple of months," Bayley told passengers during a question and answer session. "We obviously want it to go back to normal, but we're incredibly cognizant of our responsibilities to keep our crew, the communities and our guests safe."

People do still get covid onboard despite the crew being 100% vaccinated and all passengers 12 and over being vaccinated, but the protocols have worked well when it comes to preventing serious illness.

Bayley said that the CDC shared some information with him in a call.

"The cruise industry sailing out of the US ports over the past 12 months and how many people have been hospitalized with Covid and how many deaths occurred from Covid from people who'd sailed on the industry's ships, which is in the millions," he said, "And the number of people who died from COVID who'd sailed on ships over the past year was two."

That success may be why the major cruise lines are reluctant to make changes. The current rules, even if they're partially for show, have been incredibly effective.

"Two is terrible. But but but against the context of everything we've seen, that's it's truly been a remarkable success." he added.

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International

Tesla Rivals Challenge Its Lead as Nio Sets Encouraging Record

Tesla’s rivals are not even coming close to producing and delivering EVs at the same rate as the Austin, Texas-based market leader.

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Tesla's rivals are not even coming close to producing and delivering EVs at the same rate as the Austin, Texas-based market leader.

Electric vehicle makers have been struggling over the last two years to produce and deliver cars, trucks and SUVs despite obstacles such as supply chain disruptions, semiconductor shortages and factory shutdowns caused by the covid pandemic.

The industry's leading EV manufacturer Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc. Report on July 2 said that plant closures at its Shanghai gigafactory in April and May and supply chain disruptions led to a smaller number of deliveries than expected in its second quarter ending June 30 with 254,695, which was 26.7% higher than the same period in 2021, but 17.7% lower than its record of 310,048 delivered in the first quarter of 2021. Analysts were originally expecting about 295,000 deliveries.

Tesla's production declined to 258,580 vehicles in the second quarter compared to 305,407 in the first quarter. It had produced 305,840 vehicles in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Tesla's rivals are not even coming close to producing and delivering EVs at the same rate as the Austin, Texas-based market leader. But they keep trying.

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Tesla Rivals Struggle to Produce and Deliver Volume of EVs

Tesla rival Nio  (NIO) - Get NIO Inc. American depositary shares each representing one Class A 蔚来汽车 Report on July 1 said that it had delivered 12,961 vehicles in June for a 60.3% year-over-year increase and its highest number of monthly deliveries ever. The company also reported 25,059 EVs delivered in the three months ending June 2022, increasing by 14.4% year-over-year. Nio has delivered a cumulative 217,897 EVs as of June 30.

NIO on June 15 rolled out its ES7, a new mid-large five-seat smart electric SUV, which is the first SUV product based on NIO's latest technology platform Technology 2.0. NIO also launched the 2022 ES8, ES6 and EC6 equipped with the upgraded digital cockpit domain controller and sensing suite, enhancing the computing and perception capabilities as well as digital experience of the vehicles. The company expects to start deliveries of the ES7 and the ES8, ES6 and EC6 in August.

Chinese EV maker XPeng  (XPEV) - Get XPeng Inc. American depositary shares each representing two Class A 小鹏汽车 Report on July 1 said it delivered 15,295 vehicles in June, a 133% increase year-over-year; 34,422 in the second quarter ending June 30 for a 98% increase year-over-year and 68,983 in the first six months of the year for a 124% increase year-over year.

The Guangzhou, China-based company said in August it will begin accepting orders for its new G9 SUV with an official launch in September.

Beijing-based Li Auto  (LI) - Get Li Auto Inc. Report on July 1 said it delivered 13,024 EVs in June, a 68.9% increase year-over-year and 28,687 in the second quarter ending June 30 for a 63.2% increase year-over-year. The company on June 21 began taking orders for its Li L9 SUV and recorded 30,000 orders as of June 24, according to a statement. Test drives will begin July 16 with deliveries beginning by the end of August.

GM Follows Behind Tesla and Other Rivals

General Motors  (GM) - Get General Motors Company Report had 7,300 EV sales in the second quarter, according to a July 1 statement. The Detroit automaker's sales included deliveries of the BrightDrop Zevo 600 delivery van, GMC Hummer EV pickup, and the resumption of the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV production.

GM said the Cadillac Lyriq production is accelerating, with initial deliveries in process. Orders for the 2023 model year sold out within hours and preorders for the 2024 model opened on June 22.

The company said it will gradually increase production of the Cadillac Lyriq and GMC Hummer EV Pickup in the second half of 2022. 

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Spread & Containment

Tesla EV deliveries fall nearly 18% in second quarter following China factory shutdown

Tesla delivered 254,695 electric vehicles globally in the second quarter, a nearly 18% drop from the previous period as supply chain constraints, China’s…

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Tesla delivered 254,695 electric vehicles globally in the second quarter, a nearly 18% drop from the previous period as supply chain constraints, China’s extended COVID-19 lockdown and challenges around opening factories in Berlin and Austin took their toll on the company.

This is the first time in two years that Tesla deliveries, which were 310,048 in the first period this year, have fallen quarter over quarter. Tesla deliveries were up 26.5% from the second quarter last year.

The quarter-over-quarter reduction is in line with a broader supply chain problem in the industry. It also illustrates the importance of Tesla’s Shanghai factory to its business. Tesla shuttered its Shanghai factory multiple times in March due to rising COVID-19 cases that prompted a government shutdown.

Image Credits: Tesla/screenshot

The company said Saturday it produced 258,580 EVs, a 15% reduction from the previous quarter when it made 305,407 vehicles.

Like in other quarters over the past two years, most of the produced and delivered vehicles were Model 3 and Model Ys. Only 16,411 of the produced vehicles were the older Model S and Model X vehicles.

Tesla said in its released that June 2022 was the highest vehicle production month in Tesla’s history. Despite that milestone, the EV maker as well as other companies in the industry, have struggled to keep apace with demand as supply chain problems persist.

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