Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. – First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

I (member of Congress) do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.” – Title 5, Section 3331 of the United States Code.

It is beyond sad when at least two sitting members of the U.S. House of Representatives have demonstrated a total lack of respect for the Constitution which they took an oath to support and defend.

As we reported last week, two California Democrats, Reps. Jerry McNerney and Anna G. Eshoo, who are senior members of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, recently sent a letter to 12 cable, satellite and streaming TV companies urging them to combat the "spread of misinformation" and requesting more information about their actions to address "misinformation, disinformation, conspiracy theories and lies spread through channels they host."

Talk about a blatantly subjective demand.

The left-coast liberals continued: "Right-wing media outlets, like Newsmax, One America News Network (OANN) and Fox News all aired misinformation about the November 2020 elections. For example, both Newsmax and OANN ran incendiary reports of false information following the elections and continue to support an angry and dangerous subculture [that] will continue to operate semi-openly."

Just who are these people making up the "angry and dangerous subculture?" Are the members referring to these media outlets, their viewers or both? Never mind. Reasonable and rational people already know the answer.

Companies receiving letters from the two Democrats included AT&T, Verizon, Roku, Amazon, Apple, Comcast, Charter, Dish, Cox, Altice, Alphabet and Hulu. The lawmakers included a list of interrogatory questions, beginning with: "What moral or ethical principles (including those related to journalistic integrity, violence, medical information and public health) do you apply in deciding which channels to carry or when to take adverse actions against a channel?"

The lawmakers also demand answers to these questions:

• "Have you ever taken any actions against a channel for using your platform to disseminate
any disinformation? If yes, please describe each action and when it was taken."

• "Are you planning to continue carrying Fox News and Newsmax on Dish and SlingTV both now and beyond any contract renewal date? If so, why?"

Of all the intentionally violent and salacious content on all the television service providers in this free country, Newsmax and Fox News ought to be the very least of Congress' worry.

And since McNerney and Eshoo (God bless you) are from California, one can only imagine that the House talker, who's also from California by way of Maryland politics, has a hand in this attempted constitutional abomination.

As far as I know, our television service provider wasn't targeted – yet. However, it if yields to such dirty tactics by McNerney and Eshoo (gesundheit), it will quickly become our former service provider. Fox News and Newsmax are no more deserving of cancel culture than CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS and all of the other left-leaning "news" outlets.

We can't expect opulent members of Congress to actually read the Constitution. After all, they're too busy raising cash for their next campaign. But seriously, can't they at least get through the First Amendment?

Once upon a time, liberals championed free speech. No more.

* * *

• Unlike McNerney and Eshoo, two House Democrats showed the common sense that God gave a goose and voted against the so-called Pelosi Payoff otherwise known as the $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package (which has very little to do with the coronavirus).

Congressmen Jared Golden, D-Maine, and Kurt Schrader, D-Oregon joined all House Republicans in voting against this massive spending spree. The vote, coming at 2 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, was 219-212.

The House bill includes the $15 minimum wage plan. However, Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough has stated that inclusion of the $15 plan would violate Senate rules.

That didn't deter Pelosi.

"It is inevitable to all of us, the $15 minimum wage will be achieved," Pelosi said.

As we reported, Rep. Golden explained his dissenting vote: "During challenging times, the country needs its elected leaders to work together to meet the most urgent needs in their communities. This bill addresses urgent needs, and then buries them under a mountain of unnecessary or untimely spending. This amount of new spending is unprecedented since World War II. It’s not unreasonable to take a step back and ask ourselves if we are making every dollar count and picking the right priorities. At some point, the bill has to come due, and when it does, it could put at risk critical programs such as Medicare or sap resources needed for important future priorities."

Perhaps it is not too farfetched to envision the Marine from Maine switching political parties in the future. He's making too much sense to be a Democrat in 2021.

Rory Ryan is publisher and owner of The Highland County Press, Highland County's only locally owned and operated newspaper.