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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "First Amendment"

Majority of Millennials Want First Amendment Rewritten to Curb “Hate Speech”

Westlake Legal Group conservatives-silenced-620x326 Majority of Millennials Want First Amendment Rewritten to Curb “Hate Speech” Politics millennials Front Page Stories Free Speech First Amendment Featured Story Constitution Censorship Allow Media Exception

A new poll found that a majority of millennials want the moral equivalent of eating a Tide pod.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, the Campaign for Free Speech found that just over half of Millennials felt that the First Amendment — your right to free speech — should be altered a bit so that “hate speech” is punishable by law:

More than 60 percent of Americans agree on restricting speech in some way, while a slim majority, 51 percent, want to see the First Amendment rewritten to “reflect the cultural norms of today.” The Campaign for Free Speech, which conducted the survey, said the results “indicate free speech is under more threat than previously believed.”

“The findings are frankly extraordinary,” executive director Bob Lystad told the Washington Free Beacon. “Our free speech rights and our free press rights have evolved well over 200 years, and people now seem to be rethinking them.”

Millennials seem to believe that the Constitution “goes too far” when it comes to allowing certain kinds of speech, and over half believe jail time is a proper punishment for speaking out of line:

Nearly 60 percent of Millennials—respondents between the ages of 21 and 38—agreed that the Constitution “goes too far in allowing hate speech in modern America” and should be rewritten, compared to 48 percent of Gen Xers and 47 percent of Baby Boomers. A majority of Millennials also supported laws that would make “hate speech” a crime—of those supporters, 54 percent said violators should face jail time.

If I had a week I couldn’t tell you all the reasons why this is a bad idea, and I’ll keep it to the main point as much as possible.

Too many in my generation seem to not only have little in the way of foresight, but they also can’t seem to see what’s happening right under their nose. What is and isn’t considered to be taboo, hateful, or non-PC has changed so many times throughout the last decade that they’ve likely forgotten more things they were outraged about than they think.

People just living their lives are suddenly guilty of things like cultural appropriation, homophobia, transphobia and more. A person simply stating that a man isn’t a woman is suddenly suspended from social media platforms, and if the mob is willing enough, he may even lose his job.

These are very recent occurrences and all of them have been labeled hate speech at one point or another.

I can’t trust that the public can even define what hate speech is, and I’m not sure I ever will. The term is so nebulous and it shifts from one thing to another almost by the month. They want to ban hate speech, but I doubt that any of them can actually tell me what it is, and even if they good, I’m willing to bet that they only want those rules to apply to certain kinds of people in certain kinds of situations.

You can get a glimpse of this very thing during Steven Crowder’s “Change My Mind” video surrounding hate speech. Many seemed to know what hate speech was until they were asked to really define it. Many seemed to think that things like racist or homophobic speech really did equate to violence.

Racist and homophobic speech occurs every day, and likely more often than people think. I see more racism and sexism against white men in the mainstream media itself. I doubt many of these people would even stop to consider that racist and sexist because they don’t consider it racist or sexist to talk about how horrible white men are. Herein lies my point.

They can’t seem to define it and they’d certainly be unwilling to apply the rules across the board. What’s more, what is considered “hate speech” changes with the wind, and before you know it, you may very well be caught in a legal proceeding because you said something that qualifies as “hate speech” on Wednesday that didn’t apply on Tuesday.

The First Amendment is fine how it is.

The post Majority of Millennials Want First Amendment Rewritten to Curb “Hate Speech” appeared first on RedState.

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Poll: 51% think the First Amendment goes too far by allowing hate speech and should be “updated” to reflect cultural norms

Westlake Legal Group o Poll: 51% think the First Amendment goes too far by allowing hate speech and should be “updated” to reflect cultural norms The Blog rewrite poll hate speech Free Speech First Amendment exceptions Constitution Campaign For Free Speech

Depressing new data from the Campaign For Free Speech. No wonder those two idiots at UConn face criminal charges for saying the N-word: Although it’s unconstitutional under the law we have, it wouldn’t be unconstitutional under the law most Americans wish we had, apparently. No fewer than 52 percent in this poll thought that government should have the power to restrict the views and speech of “racists.”

CFFS asked people if they agree with the statement, “The First Amendment goes too far in allowing hate speech in modern America and should be updated to reflect the cultural norms of today.” Not only did a majority agree, but a strong majority of the benighted cohort you and I know as “young adults” supported the idea.

Are the kids about to ruin American democracy? Well, hold that thought.

Westlake Legal Group l Poll: 51% think the First Amendment goes too far by allowing hate speech and should be “updated” to reflect cultural norms The Blog rewrite poll hate speech Free Speech First Amendment exceptions Constitution Campaign For Free Speech

That’s 51/42 overall who believe the First Amendment is too permissive of hate speech, but the age split is stark. Baby Boomers are mildly opposed to the idea (47/48) while Gen Xers are only tepidly in favor (48/43). You need to sink down to Millennials before you reach robust support at 57/35. It may be that the phrasing of the question is encouraging the division by age, though, by stressing that the First Amendment is more than 200 years old and contrasting it with “the cultural norms of today.” Obviously a young adult will be more likely to take a position that associates him or her with “today’s” values rather than “yesterday’s.”

Age isn’t the only notable demographic split on this question either. There’s also a racial divide, as tends to happen when questions involving “hate speech” come up in polls. Whites are against “updating” the First Amendment to allow bans on hate speech, 43/52, but blacks and Latinos strongly favor the idea at 69/21 and 61/28, respectively. If you’re more likely to face prejudice based on race, you’re probably also going to be more open to prohibiting expressions of prejudice.

The data on “updating” the First Amendment isn’t the only discouraging result in this poll. By a margin of 48/31, Americans agree that hate speech should be against the law. (CFFS didn’t ask for partisan affiliation, alas, so we don’t know how Democrats shake out on that versus Republicans.) Of that 48 percent who think it should be illegal, 54 percent would condone possible jail time for it. The numbers don’t start getting really dodgy, though, until we reach the question about state censorship of the media. How many people agree that “The government should be able to take action against newspapers and TV stations that publish content that is biased, inflammatory, or false”?

Westlake Legal Group 4 Poll: 51% think the First Amendment goes too far by allowing hate speech and should be “updated” to reflect cultural norms The Blog rewrite poll hate speech Free Speech First Amendment exceptions Constitution Campaign For Free Speech

Fifty-seven percent agree! What’s striking about those numbers is how little support varies among different demographics. Whites and blacks are both at 56 percent in favor. Men and women are both at 57 percent. Millennials stand at 62 percent whereas Baby Boomers stand at 55. Only senior citizens, the 65 and older crowd, oppose the idea on balance at 46/50. I don’t know how to spin those results as non-disastrous except to reason that Americans are analogizing from defamation law. If an individual plaintiff can sue in civil court over false statements of fact, they may figure, why not let the, er, government prosecute people? Or maybe they’re not thinking it through at all and are simply reacting to the mention of “biased” media in the question. Everyone hates biased reporting. So if a pollster throws out a question asking if biased reporting should be sanctioned somehow, you might quickly agree just to signal how much that bias disgusts you.

But I don’t know. When CFFS drilled down by asking what type of sanction people would condone for biased/inflammatory/false reporting, 46 percent of those who supported state punishment thought that punishment should include possible jail time. I’d love to see the partisan numbers there, to know how many of that group are lefties and how many are MAGA types wanting to throw Trump’s critics in the dungeon.

One more for you, maybe the most depressing of all. Question: Do you agree with the statement, “While I agree in principle with the idea of free speech, there are places where free speech should be restricted. For instance, in universities or on social media where there is the potential to be hurtful or offensive.”?

Westlake Legal Group 5 Poll: 51% think the First Amendment goes too far by allowing hate speech and should be “updated” to reflect cultural norms The Blog rewrite poll hate speech Free Speech First Amendment exceptions Constitution Campaign For Free Speech

Fully 61 percent agree, and again the numbers are remarkably consistent across demographics. The smallest majority in favor comes among men, who agree to the tune of 56 percent. If you want to make yourself feel better, you could again zero in on the phrasing of the question and tell yourself that it’s ambiguous. “Restricted” could mean many things, after all — for instance, you could restrict certain forms of speech in certain locations without placing a blanket ban on, say, racist speech. But given the results in the other, less vaguely worded questions, I don’t know that there’s cause for deep skepticism about this number. Americans pretty clearly believe that the law should be less forgiving of inflammatory and/or outright false speech because the content itself is objectionable.

And so here’s the point where we lament that our civilization is declining. But … is it? This is why I asked you up top not to jump to the conclusion that American norms on speech are collapsing. New York writer Jesse Singal points to this piece he wrote in 2015 rounding up free-speech polls from years ago to make that point that, ah, Americans have always been pretty lukewarm about traditional speech rights. I’ve been writing about polls on hate speech for years and the numbers today are really no worse than they were four years ago, when 51 percent supported criminalizing hate speech. Free-speech rights seem to be one of those issues where the public’s preferences and the political class’s preferences conflict but the public just doesn’t feel strongly enough about its views to make trouble for the political class about it. Defending the libertarian view of the First Amendment is where most of the passion on the subject lies, and since that’s also the establishment’s view the polling to the contrary can be and is safely ignored. For now.

The post Poll: 51% think the First Amendment goes too far by allowing hate speech and should be “updated” to reflect cultural norms appeared first on Hot Air.

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Marble Halls & Silver Screens w/Sarah Lee Ep. 11: The ‘Watchmen Shifts Stories, Barr Shifts Focus & Campuses Shift On Free Speech’ Edition

Westlake Legal Group Watchmen_graffiti_3-620x412 Marble Halls & Silver Screens w/Sarah Lee Ep. 11: The ‘Watchmen Shifts Stories, Barr Shifts Focus & Campuses Shift On Free Speech’ Edition Watchmen Safe spaces Russia collusion Russia Hollywood Front Page Stories First Amendment Featured Story Entertainment Culture college campuses Censorship bill barr Alan Moore

Second Narrows Watchmen Graffiti (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

The great genius of Alan Moore’s Watchmen graphic novel series is how in 12 issues it gives us an alternate history in which the world is protected by superheroes who are not particularly super nor heroic. Dr. Manhattan, Ozymandias, Rorschach and the rest are flawed and complicated, make questionable moral decisions, and are ultimately mostly human.

But they believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.

The reboot on HBO — which Moore wants nothing to do with but his writing partner Dave Gibbons is a consultant for — continues that world and the morally ambiguous characters and plot lines in a fascinating pilot episode that, if the trend continues, should be a fun and thought-provoking watch.

And it comes at a good time, as modern America churns like the Watchmen graffiti up at the top of the page. On the podcast, I discuss at least two other areas where morality gets a bit hazy for people who — like the Rorschach of the original series and the white supremacist group that has adopted his mask in the new series — see the world only in ever-shifting blobs of black and white.

It makes for the perfect background for today’s show discussion of Attorney General Barr’s shifting focus toward the former head of CIA John Brennan in his investigation of the origins of the Russia collusion probe, and a chat about the upcoming documentary “No Safe Spaces” about the campus-led assault on free speech.

The Watchmen reboot is sandwiched between these two topics, possibly as a link between things that have no apparent common ground except the chaos that surrounds them.

Which, if you’re familiar with Moore’s work (and which you’ll notice immediately about the new show), is pretty much what Watchmen was about: Chaos. And how we live it and try to make sense of it when perhaps we’d be better off simply embracing it.

Listen to the show in full below on Spotify. You can also find me at iHeart radio, Apple Podcasts and FCB Radio’s Spreaker.

The post Marble Halls & Silver Screens w/Sarah Lee Ep. 11: The ‘Watchmen Shifts Stories, Barr Shifts Focus & Campuses Shift On Free Speech’ Edition appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group Marble-Halls-logo-1-300x300 Marble Halls & Silver Screens w/Sarah Lee Ep. 11: The ‘Watchmen Shifts Stories, Barr Shifts Focus & Campuses Shift On Free Speech’ Edition Watchmen Safe spaces Russia collusion Russia Hollywood Front Page Stories First Amendment Featured Story Entertainment Culture college campuses Censorship bill barr Alan Moore  Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The Criminal Charges Against the Men Who Shouted the “N-Word” Won’t Hold Up, but Charges Aren’t the Real Aim

Westlake Legal Group conservatives-silenced-620x326 The Criminal Charges Against the Men Who Shouted the “N-Word” Won’t Hold Up, but Charges Aren’t the Real Aim University of Connecticut the mob Social Justice punishment Politics Front Page Stories Free Speech First Amendment Featured Story court system Connecticut Allow Media Exception Abuse of Power

According to the Washington Post, two white men will be criminally charged with a hate crime after they were filmed shouting the “n-word” with increasing volume while someone filmed them from a window above.

The three people walking through a dimly lit parking lot near a University of Connecticut student apartment complex probably didn’t know they were being watched. But as the trio crossed in front of an open window repeatedly saying the n-word louder and louder, a person inside wasn’t just observing — they were recording.

Now, university officials say an investigation into the 11-second video, which started to widely circulate on social media earlier this month, has prompted campus police to arrest and charge two students Monday night with violating a Connecticut hate crime statute.

Jarred Karal and Ryan Mucaj, both 21 and described by police as white, were charged with ridicule on account of creed, religion, color, denomination, nationality or race. The misdemeanor charge is punishable by a maximum of 30 days in jail, a fine of up to $50, or both, according to state law.

There’s a snowball’s chance that these charges are likely to stick as the First Amendment won’t allow someone shouting words to be punished, even if it’s the “n-word.” If that was the case, then the entire rap community, Hollywood writers and actors, and half the stand-up comedians in America better get ready for some jail time.

The thing is, the criminal charges aren’t the point. That any case against them for a hate crime for saying the “n-word” was a lost cause from the word “racist.”

As the analytical Twitter account known as “PoliticalMath” points out, this real punishment desired won’t come officially from government, but unofficially in the public square, which can be far more harsh and longer-lasting.

“The point of criminally charging these students for saying the n-word is not to actually have the gov’t punish them,” said PoliticalMath. “The real punishment is extra-judicial, to make sure a Google search of their names punishes them for many years to come.”

Westlake Legal Group Capture-10 The Criminal Charges Against the Men Who Shouted the “N-Word” Won’t Hold Up, but Charges Aren’t the Real Aim University of Connecticut the mob Social Justice punishment Politics Front Page Stories Free Speech First Amendment Featured Story court system Connecticut Allow Media Exception Abuse of Power

Social justice can act like an infection that takes over public discourse by creating sacred cows. While in other countries this may even begin to affect the way laws affect the populace, in a place like America, where freedoms that protected are clearly outlined, social justice advocates can have a much harder time punishing those by legal means.

Legal punishments are a very quick way to get everyone to fall in and obey you. However, in the absence of using the court systems to force your will on the populace, you have to get the populace to be your judge, jury, and executioner for you. The mob works just as good as the law if you can make it do what you want.

Here we see this in effect with these two men. While shouting the “n-word” is definitely something detestable, it’s not something someone should have their life destroyed over, especially if it’s not spoken in hate and is likely the result of youthful foolishness.

But self-appointed social justice police are very zealous about what people can and can’t do, and these two men crossed an unforgivable line. According to standard procedure, not only must they be punished, but they must also be made an example of. They want anyone who looks at these men to be reminded of what happens to people when they step out of line.

Be it the law or the mob, they’re going to teach you to obey. If they can’t legally silence you, then they’ll try to pressure you into silencing yourself.

This is not me saying that people should go around shouting the “n-word.” I am saying, however, that we’ve seen punishments being handed down for everything from “learn to code” to “men are not women,” and those attempting to silence you should get no capitulation, no matter what punishments they mete out.

The post The Criminal Charges Against the Men Who Shouted the “N-Word” Won’t Hold Up, but Charges Aren’t the Real Aim appeared first on RedState.

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UConn students face criminal charges — for saying the N-word

Westlake Legal Group m-6 UConn students face criminal charges — for saying the N-word uconn The Blog Ryan Mucaj ridicule Race naacp N-word Jarred Karal Free Speech First Amendment Connecticut

I’ll defer to legal eagles on this, as always. But after reading half a dozen different stories about it, it sure looks unconstitutional to me. And not in a “5-4, depending upon what John Roberts had for breakfast” way either.

The facts couldn’t be simpler. Three UConn students were strolling through the parking lot of a university student apartment complex on the evening of October 11. To entertain themselves, two of them decided to play a spirited game of “let’s yell vulgar words for the fun of it,” which is just the sort of consequence-free mirth one might reasonably expect to have on a modern college campus. Eventually they got around to the most taboo word in American culture and decided to shout that one too, unaware — or unconcerned, I should say — that residents of the complex could hear everything.

It was caught on video:

An uproar ensued and the police were notified. Result: Misdemeanor charges of “ridicule” on the basis of race. Which, to my surprise, actually is a thing in Connecticut.

The arrests come amid outcry from students demanding that administrators address racism and promote inclusion on the university’s main campus in Storrs, Conn. Shortly after the parking-lot video went viral, another student alleged that two fraternity members used a racial slur against her at a party, the university’s NAACP chapter wrote in a letter published this week. On Monday afternoon, hundreds of students chanted, “It’s more than just a word,” during an on-campus march and rally, joining professors in calling for action, the Courant reported…

“I feel uncomfortable and scared on this campus at this point,” Areon Mangan, a UConn student, told WTNH last week. “We want change. This is not fair to us. It’s disrespectful and it’s just not okay.”…

On Monday, UConn’s NAACP chapter released a list of eight demands, which included updating the student code of conduct on racism and hate speech; protecting students who report such incidents; creating a mandatory course on diversity, racial discrimination and hate crimes; and hiring more black administrators, faculty, staff and police officers.

That background is essential to understanding why the two were charged, I think. There was a second (unrelated) incident involving someone allegedly saying the N-word, with tremendous pressure brought upon the university and local authorities to do something about it. UConn’s president has already announced that the school will immediately begin the search for its next chief diversity officer. As for the cops, they went thumbing through their book of statutes searching for something they could use to prosecute the offenders and came up with this turd:

Any person who, by his advertisement, ridicules or holds up to contempt any person or class of persons, on account of the creed, religion, color, denomination, nationality or race of such person or class of persons, shall be guilty of a class D misdemeanor.

There are select circumstances in which shouting the N-word might earn you some criminal jeopardy, or at least a stiffer sentence for an unrelated crime you’ve committed. If you assault someone and use slurs while doing it, that’s a hate crime; if you’re convicted of the assault, the D.A. can ask for extra time to be added to your sentence to punish you for your hateful motive. In theory, you could also be charged for saying the N-word while confronting someone even if you haven’t actually assaulted them. Under the Supreme Court’s terrible but still technically viable “fighting words” exception to the First Amendment, words that are apt to cause an immediate breach of the peace can be criminalized and the offender charged for uttering them even if no breach of the peace results.

But that’s not what we have here. The defendants weren’t confronting anyone. It’s unclear if they thought anyone could even hear their conversation. Connecticut’s statute is a straight-up “hate speech” law, in which the “crime” is purely the offense given to others by the content of the defendants’ speech. That sort of thing isn’t supposed to exist (or at least isn’t supposed to be enforceable) under the First Amendment).

It’s tempting to assume that racial “ridicule” is a subject of recent statutory interest, with Connecticut’s modern leftist vanguard quietly adding a “hate speech” law to the state’s penal code in a show of ultra-wokeness. Not so. It turns out that Eugene Volokh wrote a piece for Reason last year about this very statute and its patent unconstitutionality. The law dates from 1917 and really was aimed at ending discrimination in “advertisements” specifically, just as the language says. I would have guessed that Connecticut prosecutors long ago stopped using it, knowing that any charges would be tossed in light of the revolution in free-speech jurisprudence during the last half of the 20th century. Surely, I would have told you, the charges in this case are a simple matter of ass-covering by the local D.A. and PD, knowing that a court will inevitably dismiss the case. Then cops and prosecutors can shrug and say to angry demonstrators, “Don’t blame us, we tried.”

But no, according to Volokh’s research, people in Connecticut really do get charged with this crime. Not a ton — only one conviction or so a year, on average — but prosecutors are in fact using the statute as a type of “fighting words” prohibition. Volokh wondered why defense lawyers aren’t challenging the statute aggressively on First Amendment grounds and guessed, plausibly, that it’s being used mainly as a lesser offense in plea-bargain cases. If there’s a confrontation and the defendant utters a slur, the prosecution may offer a guilty plea to “racial ridicule” as a compromise to the defense rather than try to take the assault case to court. Forced to choose between the risk of a stiff sentence if he loses at trial and the certainty of a lighter one if he cops a plea to an unconstitutional law, a defendant in Connecticut might prefer to opt for the latter and put the whole matter behind him.

Probably not the two guys here, though. There was no confrontation and their speech, however offensive, is undeniably protected. They’ll likely fight the law and win. Maybe UConn’s administration is going to try to arrange a deal with them where they’ll ask for the charges to be dismissed if the two agree to drop out and find a new school. If they refuse, then we’ll run into the question of whether a public university can expel a student for uttering the N-word. Stay tuned.

The post UConn students face criminal charges — for saying the N-word appeared first on Hot Air.

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Twitter: World leaders are not above our policies, with exceptions

Westlake Legal Group TwitterSymbolw-Darkside715 Twitter: World leaders are not above our policies, with exceptions twitter The Blog Social Media President Trump kamala harris First Amendment Elizabeth Warren Censorship

Last June our Twitter overlords announced that labeling tweets from government officials that break rules against bullying and abusive behavior will soon begin. At the time it was seen as a veiled attempt toward censoring President Trump’s tweets. After the announcement was made, Twitter’s stock took a 1% hit and ended the day down 1.4%.

Twitter’s new policy is to apply to verified accounts of government officials, representatives or candidates for a government position who have more than 100,000 followers. Trump critics frequently complain about his tweets and many users call for him to be suspended from using the platform. Responding to leftist demands, in January 2018 Twitter executives explained that such elimination of world leaders’ tweets isn’t a good idea.

The rule marks a shift in Twitter’s response to how it handles tweets from world leaders. In January 2018, the company said it was concerned about blocking public access to information from world leaders, even if they seem controversial.

“Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets would hide important information people should be able to see and debate,” Twitter wrote at the time. “It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions.”

“We review Tweets by leaders within the political context that defines them, and enforce our rules accordingly,” Twitter said in the 2018 post.

While protecting the First Amendment rights of President Trump, Twitter made it clear that it will be harder to share messages that violate policies. There will be no more simple re-tweets of them. There will be the ability to retweet with a comment, though. However, questions remained about what exactly abuses of policy are in the Twitterverse.

Tuesday a blog post was posted by Twitter to clarify “enforceable offenses” that could result in tweets being removed.

“We want to make it clear today that the accounts of world leaders are not above our policies entirely,” the company wrote in a blog post. “This post seeks to provide clear insight into how we address content from world leaders on Twitter today, and will serve as our statement on the decisions we make, rather than our teams providing feedback on individual Tweets and decisions.”

Among the behaviors that could force Twitter to take action include promoting terrorism, direct threats of violence against an individual, sharing private information or intimate photos, engaging in child sexual exploitation and encouraging or promoting self-harm, the company said.

Straddling the fence, Twitter claims it will err on the side of keeping the tweets up, but with a flag so that viewers make their own decision if the tweet is seen or not. The company realizes it is in unchartered waters.

With critical elections and shifting political dynamics around the world, we recognize that we’re operating in an increasingly complex and polarized political culture. These are constantly evolving challenges and we’ll keep our policies and approach under advisement, particularly as we learn more about the relationship between Tweets from world leaders and the potential for offline harm.

This post seeks to provide clear insight into how we address content from world leaders on Twitter today, and will serve as our statement on the decisions we make, rather than our teams providing feedback on individual Tweets and decisions. We’ve also updated our dedicated Help Center page to provide a significantly more detailed breakdown of how we make decisions regarding the use of the public interest notice.

Our goal is to enforce our rules judiciously and impartially. In doing so, we aim to provide direct insight into our enforcement decision-making, to serve public conversation, and protect the public’s right to hear from their leaders and to hold them to account.

It is interesting that Twitter decided to make some clarifications this week and the day of the Democrat debate. Kamala Harris calls for Twitter to knock Trump off the platform while Elizabeth Warren just chuckles when asked if she agrees and says no. Warren even had a line all ready for Harris during the debate on Tuesday night. “I don’t just want to push Trump off Twitter, I want to push him out of the White House.”

Elizabeth Warren is no friend to Big Tech these days. She’s sworn off contributions from the industry, too.

While Warren demurred on joining Harris’s plea, she had plenty of ire to offer the country’s largest technology companies: Twitter, Amazon and Facebook.

Warren called out Amazon on Tuesday, citing its wide-ranging grasp over customers, suppliers and the data that connects them.

“You get to be the umpire in the baseball game and you get to be the team, but you don’t get to do both at the same time,” she said.

Also on Tuesday, Warren pledged to turn down contributions of more than $200 from executives at Big Tech companies, large banks, private equity firms or hedge funds.

Despite the demonization of Big Tech by Warren, Silicon Valley is falling in line and donating to her campaign as they begin to fear that Biden won’t last. We’ll see how Twitter implements the new policy and which “leaders” will be affected.

The post Twitter: World leaders are not above our policies, with exceptions appeared first on Hot Air.

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NY Times Opinion: It’s time to take a second look at ‘free speech’

Westlake Legal Group NY-Times NY Times Opinion: It’s time to take a second look at ‘free speech’ The Blog NY Times Free Speech First Amendment

The NY Times published an opinion piece today with the not-very-subtle title “Free Speech is Killing Us.” The subheading clarifies that this is going to be another rant about social media: “Noxious language online is causing real-world violence. What can we do about it?” That last part is really what this is about. Author Andrew Marantz wants to explore solutions to the problem of free speech online. I’ll skip over most of the justifications and get right to those solutions, which seem to mostly revolve around new government efforts:

The Constitution prevents the government from using sticks, but it says nothing about carrots.

Congress could fund, for example, a national campaign to promote news literacy, or it could invest heavily in library programming. It could build a robust public media in the mold of the BBC. It could rethink Section 230 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act — the rule that essentially allows Facebook and YouTube to get away with (glorification of) murder. If Congress wanted to get really ambitious, it could fund a rival to compete with Facebook or Google, the way the Postal Service competes with FedEx and U.P.S.

You can probably imagine what a national campaign for news literacy put together by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer would look like. I think I’ll pass on that. A robust public media would, I guess be PBS and NPR on steroids. The BBC produces a lot of non-news programs. Would we somehow be better off if PBS were producing the next Marvel TV show? I’m not sure how that would help.

Marantz seems to envision the creation of a new government-funded social media site to compete with Facebook. Wouldn’t it be harder to deny free speech rights on such a platform given that it’s a taxpayer-funded project and therefore arguably subject to the First Amendment in ways Facebook is not? Could you even ban taxpayers from a taxpayer-funded social media site? I’m thinking that would be difficult to do.

The alternative he offers is for private companies to step up by banning more “inflammatory accounts.” Having exhausted his suggestions in a few paragraphs, Marantz then turns to his expert witness, a Berkeley professor named John A. Powell:

“We need to protect the rights of speakers,” John A. Powell, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, told me, “but what about protecting everyone else?” Mr. Powell was the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and he represented the Ku Klux Klan in federal court. “Racists should have rights,” he explained. “I also know, being black and having black relatives, what it means to have a cross burned on your lawn. It makes no sense for the law to be concerned about one and ignore the other.”

Mr. Powell, in other words, is a free-speech advocate but not a free-speech absolutist. Shortly before his tenure as legal director, he said, “when women complained about sexual harassment in the workplace, the A.C.L.U.’s response would be, ‘Sorry, nothing we can do. Harassment is speech.’ That looks ridiculous to us now, as it should.” He thinks that some aspects of our current First Amendment jurisprudence — blanket protections of hate speech, for example — will also seem ridiculous in retrospect.

Something about this sounded familiar to me. Looking back, I realized I’d written about a very similar piece once before, one which the same author had written for the New Yorker last year. That piece made almost the same argument and also featured John A. Powell as an expert arguing for more limits on speech:

“No one is disputing how the courts have ruled on this,” john a. powell, a Berkeley law professor with joint appointments in the departments of African-American Studies and Ethnic Studies, told me. “What I’m saying is that courts are often wrong.” Powell is tall, with a relaxed sartorial style, and his manner of speaking is soft and serenely confident. Before he became an academic, he was the national legal director of the A.C.L.U. “I represented the Ku Klux Klan when I was in that job,” he said. “My family was not pleased with me, but I said, ‘Look, they have First Amendment rights, too.’ So it’s not that I don’t understand or care deeply about free speech. But what would it look like if we cared just as deeply about equality? What if we weighed the two as conflicting values, instead of this false formalism where the right to speech is recognized but the harm caused by that speech is not?”

As I noted at the time, Powell is a believer in the idea that speech is harmful. He wrote this in 2017:

The more we recognize that certain kinds of speech can not only offend but can cause mental and physical harm, and that the harm can be lasting, the more we will be able to properly protect the rights of all—not just of people to speak, but also of their very existence and right to survive and thrive.

As we’ve seen on college campuses, this creates an incentive for adults to behave like fragile snowflakes who claim they will be permanently damaged by words they find offensive. This is how we get safe spaces. More to the point, these ideologues will quickly claim what they really need is for the entire campus to be a safe space.

There’s no arguing with this veto power over other people’s speech, no way to appeal it to reason. You can’t tell someone they aren’t harmed. It’s a personal declaration not subject to outside review. Once someone claims their “lived experience” makes your speech dangerous (to them or unnamed others), you won’t have the right to speak anymore.

Indeed, that’s always what these campus games are about: silencing whoever the far left disagrees with that day. Powell and Marantz can pretend that’s not where this winds up but only by ignoring lots of recent and compelling evidence to the contrary.

The post NY Times Opinion: It’s time to take a second look at ‘free speech’ appeared first on Hot Air.

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See It: Biden Campaign Threatens Fox News Over Explosive Trump Campaign Ad on Ukraine Issue

Westlake Legal Group JoeBidenSunglassesAPimage-620x317 See It: Biden Campaign Threatens Fox News Over Explosive Trump Campaign Ad on Ukraine Issue washington D.C. Ukraine Social Media republicans Politics North Carolina Media journalism Joe Biden Impeachment of President Trump impeachment Front Page Stories Front Page fox news First Amendment Featured Story Featured Post elections donald trump democrats delaware Culture Campaigns biden Allow Media Exception 2020 Elections 2020

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden pays for his order at a Krispy Kreme following a campaign town hall on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019, in Spartanburg, S.C. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

When it comes to maintaining a consistent campaign message, Joe Biden is someone who can be very … controlling.

Last week, streiff wrote about how the Biden campaign was attempting to intimidate cable news networks into keeping President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani off their airwaves, alleging he we was “spread[ing] false, debunked conspiracy theories on behalf of Donald Trump.”

Fast forward to this week, and the Biden campaign has once again taken to trying to strong-arm cable news outlets, this time over an explosive ad about the Ukraine issue that the Trump campaign is planning on running in key early voting states. Here’s how Politico described the upcoming ad blitz:

President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is preparing an avalanche of TV ads targeting Joe Biden in early primary states — its most aggressive step yet to meddle in the Democratic nomination contest.

Starting this weekend, the reelection effort will air over $1 million in anti-Biden commercials in Iowa, South Carolina, New Hampshire, and Nevada, according to two people familiar with the move. The spots focus on Trump’s claim that the former vice president and his son engaged in corruption in Ukraine.
[…]
The Trump campaign had already announced an $8 million national TV buy centered on impeachment and the Ukrainian matter. Of that total, slightly over $1 million will now be directed to the four early voting states, where Biden is locked in a competitive battle for the Democratic nomination.

Watch the ad below:

In response, the Biden campaign sent a threatening letter to Fox News demanding they not run it or any other ads like it:

In a letter to Fox News and Fox Business general counsel Lily Claffee, Biden campaign manager Greg Schultz wrote that the ad “falsely states” that “Biden offered Ukraine $1 billion to fire the prosecutor investigating a company affiliated with his son.”
[…]
“Though the Trump campaign is prepared to fabricate outright lies, your station’s airwaves should not be used to disseminate them,” Schultz wrote. “We are putting you on notice about the absolute falsity of the advertisement’s claims, and we expect that you will reject it. Please consider this letter a standing request that you reject any advertisement containing similar claims, regardless whether the Trump campaign or a third-party group seeks to place it.”

There’s no word yet on whether or not Fox News plans to run the ad, but my guess is that they will out of sheer defiance. Let’s hope so, anyway.

Stay tuned.

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— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

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The 4th Democratic Debate Is Two Weeks Away but Harris and Gabbard Campaigns Already Going at It

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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, speaks during the second of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN Wednesday, July 31, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

After Sen. Kamala Harris acted stupidly this week with her formal letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey demanding President Trump be suspended from the social media platform, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was asked about the move. The Hawaii Congresswoman pushed back with a strong answer about how trying to silence people over political disagreements is wrong.

The Hill reports:

When Gabbard was asked by a reporter her thoughts on Harris’s attempts to have Trump removed from Twitter, the Hawaii representative said she did not agree with the idea.

She added that “freedom of speech is something that is an important, foundational, right in our democracy.”

“We can’t just cancel or shut down or silence those who we disagree with or who hold different views or who say things that even that we strongly disagree with or abhor,” she told NBC.

Watch Gabbard speak on this issue below:

Harris campaign spokesman Ian Sams responded to Gabbard’s remarks by stating that Gabbard got her talking points from Fox News:

It was a ridiculous answer considering this issue is not about Fox News but whether or not “cancel culture” should apply to your political opponents simply because you disagree with them, as NRSC senior adviser Matt Whitlock pointed out in a tweet blasting Sams:

That said, we shouldn’t be too surprised by Sams’ nonsensical response considering the sad state the Harris campaign has been in for quite some time now.

Sams’ tweet came several hours after Gabbard’s spokesman Cullen Tiernan took a jab at the Harris campaign over reports it is being restructured in an attempt to become competitive again:

The debate that is scheduled to take place in two weeks will be on one night only, meaning all candidates will be on the same stage. Gabbard famously torched Harris in the 2nd debate in July. I’m looking forward to Round 2 between these two.

And to be honest, I’m kinda sorta hoping for a similar outcome.

——
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

The post The 4th Democratic Debate Is Two Weeks Away but Harris and Gabbard Campaigns Already Going at It appeared first on RedState.

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Surrender: City of San Francisco Suddenly Figures Out They Can’t Win Their Latest War Against the NRA

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Last month, streiff wrote about a resolution passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors that formally declared the NRA a “domestic terrorist organization.”

The resolution was inspired by the mass shooting in Gilroy, CA on July 28th that killed 3 and wounded 17. Though the NRA had nothing to do with the shooting, the Second Amendment-defending organization is a frequent whipping boy for Democrats when mass shootings happen.

They responded to the resolution by suing the city, county and the supervisors on First Amendment grounds:

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against the city and county of San Francisco and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. It accuses city officials of violating the gun lobby’s free speech rights for political reasons and claims the city is trying to blacklist anyone associated with the NRA from doing business there.

A few weeks later, we find out that the city has decided to back down in its war on the group:

Mayor London Breed issued the advisory on Sept. 23, a few weeks after the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution labeling the NRA a “domestic terrorist organization” and calling on the city to take steps to assess possible ties between its contractors and the organization.

In a memo co-written by the city attorney, Breed wrote that the board can only enact new contracting requirements by ordinance. Resolutions have no legal weight.

In a desperate bid to save face, city officials say the NRA misinterpreted what the resolution actually said:

John Cote, spokesman for the city attorney’s office, said the resolution was never intended to change any laws.

“If the NRA thinks this is a win, it’s only because their lawsuit completely distorts what the resolution actually does,” he said.
[…]
[Supervisor Catherine Stefani] said Tuesday that the resolution did not direct the city to assess contracting practices.

Cote and Stefani are both being dishonest (surprise). The resolution clearly states what the objective was:

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the City and County of San Francisco should take every reasonable step to assess the financial and contractual relationships our vendors and contractors have with this domestic terrorist organization; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the City and County of San Francisco should take every reasonable step to limit those entities who do business with the City and County of San Francisco from doing business with this domestic terrorist organization; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the City and County of San Francisco should encourage all other jurisdictions, including other cities, states, and the federal government, to adopt similar positions.

Resolutions are indeed typically more symbolic than binding, but this one was not written like that.

It’s not clear the NRA knew the resolution by its nature was essentially toothless. But what is clear is that any attempt the city makes in the near future to pass an actual ordinance on this matter will likely be met with the same response.

Related –>> Great News for L.A.’s Homeless Population: ‘Second Phase’ of City’s Plastic Straw Ban Now Underway

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— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

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