The Trial Of Douglass Mackey
The system is gearing up to dismantle any form of online dissenter communication.
Douglass Mackey is one such example:
The Fight For Anonymity: How to help Douglass Mackey and Preserve Free Speech
A critical juncture for free speech in the United States.
Douglass Mackey is the man behind the influential Twitter account “Ricky Vaughn.” In 2021 he was charged by the DOJ with election interference for posting satirical memes on Twitter. His trial begins today, March 13, 2023. He faces up to ten years in prison. If you have not been following the case, you can read more about it here.
Under the pseudonym Ricky Vaughn, Mr. Mackey, at his peak during the 2016, had more influence than NBC, CNN, and the Colbert Report. He reached and energized millions. He had a talent for making politicians look foolish and for eviscerating journalists. President Trump was elected in part because of the groundswell he helped mobilize.
In 2018 he was doxxed and afterwards went to go live a quiet life in Florida away from the spotlight.
In 2021, mere days after Biden took office, Mr. Mackey was charged with election interference and arrested by the FBI.
He is accused of committing a crime for posting on Twitter. The DOJ alleges that he engaged in conspiracy to defraud people of their voting rights by posting satirical memes of the kind that are common around election-time. Specifically, he circulated images which suggested that one could vote by texting the word “Hillary” to a phone number, a mechanism so patently ridiculous that it couldn’t be taken at face value.
Mr. Mackey is being charged under 18 U.S.C. § 241, a 100-year old law written to prosecute the KKK for violence that has never been extended before to speech, especially speech in a public forum. This has chilling implications. The U.S. government is now in the business of deciding what’s a lie or what’s satire. As the eminent First Amendment scholar Eugene Volokh explains, there is no limit to how this law could be applied.
If you go back to the election cycles of 2016 and 2020, you’ll find hundreds of examples of exactly what Mackey did. Most of them leftists. But none of them are being charged. The linked article includes one such example.
The most asinine part about this charge is that if someone honestly believes they can just vote by text with no documentation, they are probably far too stupid and should not be voting in the first place. But even given that, it was clearly a joke post. One of many that came from his Twitter account back in those days.
It is becoming increasingly paramount that all content creators, even just social media users, need to be incessantly careful about what they post and what they say. One joke too far and you’ll get hit with some archaic 100-year-old law that the Feds dig up in their history books.
You have to have the carefulness and optics. If you do not, you’ll wind up in the crosshairs. There really is not any other way forward at this point.
Even if they do not secure a conviction against Mackey, they have made their point. The process is the punishment, and Mackey’s life is wrecked from this publicity alone.
Say nothing and do nothing that could get the Feds riled up. It is only going to get worse from this point on, as many of you are dutifully aware. You help no one by rotting in a prison cell. We need each and every one of you.
And if you are able, support the man. Even if you do not agree with him fully—Very few of us actually agree on all matters—this will be all of us one day. We have to fight peacefully together or die alone.
You can find ways to support him by clicking here.
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