The Department of Justice arrested a man for meme panels he made and posted leading up to the 2016 presidential election. The DOJ wants to put Douglass Mackey, known on Twitter as “Ricky Vaughn,” into federal prison for a decade for posting numerous memes against Hillary Clinton from several social media accounts. The government claims Mackey’s social media postings were a violation of the civil rights conspiracy statute and that he schemed to deprive Americans of their constitutional rights.
Targeted for Effectiveness
What rights, exactly? According to the criminal complaint, by tricking some viewers of the memes and potential viewers, Mackey and his co-conspirators would or could deny those people the right to have their votes counted. Government lawyers claim Mr. Mackey was the “107th most important influencer of the then-upcoming Election” and that he had more influence than Stephen Colbert or Newt Gingrich.
Mr. Mackey made several memes described in the filing, including ones that suggested Hillary supporters could vote via Facebook or text message. Another meme concerned #draftourdaughters, a campaign designed to have liberal women oppose Clinton to prevent females from being drafted. A Twitter direct message chat log was included in the complaint where Mackey was asked, “What did you do that got you suspended so many times.” He responded that he wasn’t sure about the first occasion and that “the second time it was because I posted a meme that told Hillary supporters they could text to vote. lol.”
Novel Criminality for Trump Supporters
“Obviously, we can win Pennsylvania. The key is to drive up turnout with non-college whites, and limit black turnout.” That’s the kind of statement prosecutors will try to hang Mackey with, and they may have an uphill battle doing so. The New York Times says the “case will test the novel use of federal civil rights laws as a tool to hold people accountable for misinformation campaigns intended to interfere with elections …” Why do so, then? Orange Man Bad seems a likely cause. How else to explain sitting on the charges for years until Biden was sworn in?
Any novel application of criminal laws must be looked at with heavy skepticism by all those who value liberty. Laws that are re-interpreted to allow criminal prosecution of the enemies of those in power should be greeted with a presumption that they are unfair. Need we imagine the outcry far and wide if it were Trump lawyers prosecuting pro-Hillary meme artists? That’s just what’s likely to follow, from Trump or another Republican who wants to hit back using the same tools.
Mackey’s co-conspirators were not named by the government. Still, per The New York Times, “one of them was Anthime Gionet, a far-right media personality known as ‘Baked Alaska,’ who was arrested after participating in the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, according to a person briefed on the investigation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.”
No public statement addressing the charges from Mackey or his attorneys has been provided yet. The accused was released from custody on a $50,000 bond. Meanwhile, the Trump Derangement Syndrome continues apace, making liars out of liberals.
Read more from Scott D. Cosenza.
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