Tag: Free Speech

Giving the JPod Its Due (or, Horton Gaslights a Who)

 

Despite occasional comments of mine that might suggest otherwise, I’ve always thought John Podhoretz a decent and good-hearted man, obviously bright and articulate (if prone to outrageous and sometimes comic hyperbole).

John made a point in the March 9 Commentary podcast that I thought was perspicacious and worth repeating. I give him full credit for the observation, and nothing I say here adds anything of substance to what he said in the podcast. I’m repeating it mostly for the benefit of those who won’t hear the podcast, and also because I want to reaffirm his observations with my own experience.

The Bad Side of History

 

I’ve never cared for the phrase the wrong side of history, perhaps because it is so often invoked by progressives to justify the grinding away of traditions and values of which I approve and that I think we will miss. When invoked as a defense of as-yet unrealized ambitions, it’s presumptuous: who really knows, after all, how history will judge the latest transformative social experiment?

Speculating about future history’s take on our times is always a high-risk endeavor. Just ask Martin Luther King Jr. or Theodor Geisel, if you doubt that. Or Andrew Cuomo, for that matter.

Free Speech Lives! Parler is Back Online.

 

Parler is back! Seems a bit buggy, but free speech always was. At the moment I can get it on Chrome using my phone, but not on the laptop.

I’ve occasionally toyed with the response I might give when someone is upset that I’m on Parler. I imagine some statement of dismay from a friend or co-worker, something like, “You mean you’re on that website that has extremists, that internet playground for conspiracy theorists?” I lean towards a response along the lines of, “Yes, I’ve been on Facebook for some time.”

The Freedom Seed Vault

 

By Subiet – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=92970583

On the cold and inhospitable little Norwegian island of Spitsbergen is an oddly photogenic structure, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. This austere yet visually striking underground storage facility is intended to secure the world’s agricultural future in the event that some barely imaginable catastrophe threatens it.

I don’t worry much about mass extinctions, v I certainly don’t worry about climate change. And I live way up north, in one of those growth zones where only fence posts, cows, and a few lichens really thrive, so I’m accustomed to plants that scoff at adversity and power on through.

TurleyVision 1999: Impeachment as a Madisonian Device

 

My dear spouse occasionally forwards me the legal theories of Jonathan Turley, who currently argues Trump’s impeachment trial is unconstitutional now that Trump is a former official. Curious as to what Turley had to say about impeachment before Trump, I did some digging and struck a mother lode: Turley’s 146-page 1999 Duke Law Journal article, Senate Trials and Factional Disputes: Impeachment As A Madisonian Device. Turley’s reasons for publishing such a masterwork in 1999 may not have been dispassionate, since he had recently testified at Bill Clinton’s impeachment, but since Trump’s presidency wasn’t even a gleam in the old GOP elephant’s eye back then, Turley’s thoughts on impeachment in 1999 should at least be free of any bias for or against Trump. Those with the patience to read — or at least skim — Impeachment As A Madisonian Device will be rewarded with plenty of information on impeachment’s constitutional function and history that’s interesting in its own right, and a perspective in which the non-juridical, political nature of impeachment transcends mere raw exercise of power.

Impeachment As A Madisonian Device extensively surveys the constitutional history of impeachment. Its thesis is that the impeachment process, declared first in the House, then passed to the Senate for trial, culminates in

Should Political Speech be a “Civil Right?”

 

It is time to look at expanding anti-discrimination laws to protect political expression.

Conservative media these days are replete with examples of people on the right being intimated, shunned, deplatformed, fired and worse for expressions of support for former President Trump. “No, anyone who supported the president, voted for him or worked for his administration now has to be hunted down and purged,” New York Post columnist Miranda Devine opined recently.

“They’re losing their jobs, having their insurance canceled, their book contracts and recording deals torn up. They are being banned from flying or banking or speaking on social media.

Join Jim and Greg as as they discuss leftist riots in at least three American cities Thursday night. Will the Democrats finally admit this is a problem since these people claim to hate Biden too? They also sigh as President Biden not only rejoins the World Health Organization but does so without one demand for accountability or reform. And they react to MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace and former Obama official Ben Rhodes discussing how to “detox” speech they don’t like and even bar Republicans from stating opinions if they don’t accept the left’s version of the truth.

Kurt Schlichter, Senior Columnist at Townhall.com and conservative commentator, joins Carol Roth to discuss the current state of free speech, corporatism and deplatforming vis-à-vis America’s political divide. Kurt pulls no punches as he shares the newly named “Schlichter principle” and how it applies to freedom and how things could possibly change- for better or worse.

Plus, a “Now You Know” on how to make the best steak ever.

Silicon Valley vs. Free Speech

 

Suddenly, free speech is in serious trouble.

Six years ago, CEO Jack Dorsey could proclaim “Twitter stands for freedom of expression. We stand for speaking truth to power.“ Last week, Dorsey and other big tech titans unleashed a massive speech suppression initiative, based on the notion that not only President Trump, but also anyone who supported him, including conservatives and Republicans en masse, must be silenced in the interest of public safety.

The silencing was comprehensive and ruthless. Recently increased censorship in social media had all been directed to the right. Then Facebook and Twitter joined in a permanent ban of the president. It was necessary to silence the President of the United States, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, because his claims of voter fraud were false and it would be dangerous to allow him to keep making them.

Our Political Moment, in Summary

 

I feel compelled to say something about President Trump and recent events, but realize that I would merely be repeating things I’ve said in my few most recent posts. So I will briefly summarize, and then move on to other things in 2021.

1. The President did not meet any legal definition of incitement.

Parler, Web Hosts, and Masterpiece Cakes

 

Parler lost its rented server space with Amazon Web Services.  Parler also found its phone apps booted off the Apple and Google app stores.  This is not the “destruction” of Parler – not unless Parler was on such shaky ground that it cannot be rebuilt.  This is certainly hamstringing it, but if this is a “death sentence”, then it is one that is easily overcome with cold hard cash (would that the Reaper were so easily fended off on more fleshly concerns).  We need perspective here, and an honest reckoning of what happened, how, and why.  We also need to yet again yank the plank from our own eye, for it was just a short while ago that we were adamantly defending another business for refusing paying clientele: I speak of none other than Masterpiece Cakes.

First, let’s get the technical stuff out of the way – understanding how Parler was built, and how it planned to make money for its creators (let’s not fool ourselves into thinking it was all charity work) is key to understanding its demise.  Web sites have to be located on computers.  You can make a website on your laptop and share it with the rest of the internet if you want.  Users just would need to know the numerical address in either IPV4 or IPV6 to find it.  If you want to make it easier to find then you would have to register a domain name, and then map that domain name to your server address.  Now suppose your little website got really popular because its topic was fun and lovable – let’s say, for the sake of argument, that your website was all about your pet bird.  If you had just a residential internet connection, after a point your neighbors would start to complain that traffic to your laptop was killing their own connections.  Plus, your laptop has limited processing power to keep serving page views out – and your addition of a little bird forum doubled traffic to the point where your laptop’s cooling fan failed from overuse.  How do you fix these issues?

Bigger Than Trump

 

Having now reviewed everything I can find on what the President actually said at the protest in D.C., I can state with confidence that he did not cross a line into legally actionable speech. The bar set for classifying speech as criminal is pretty high, and the President did not even come close to meeting it.

Try to set aside what you think about President Trump. That’s a stretch goal for a lot of us, but let’s stretch: consider, for just a moment, that there might be an issue here that’s bigger than the President himself, and that could have repercussions that go far beyond January of 2021.

Incitement to Violence?

 

I want to respond to something that I’m encountering in various forums, this idea that the President incited the mob to violence.

I can find nothing in the President’s various comments that can plausibly be interpreted as a call to violence. Impassioned speech, unsubstantiated claims of fraud and victory, and an enthusiastic rallying of his supporters, I can find all of those things. But at no point does he call upon the people assembled to commit criminal acts.

Speak Out in 2021

 

As the train wreck of 2020 steams full speed into what we have every reason to expect will be the train wreck of 2021, I’ve been thinking about how I want to apply my limited time and energy in the new year. There are certainly plenty of issues that warrant attention. After all, no problems that dogged us last year have been solved; none has even grown smaller, and a brand new set of problems is scheduled to take office in just a couple of weeks, promising a tsunami of bad judgment and its inevitable consequences.

I’ve resolved to do my best to focus most of my attention on one issue, something I consider to be of paramount importance; more important even than our foolish panic over COVID, or the frankly idiotic trans movement, or the viciousness of Antifa and hateful dishonesty of BLM, or the barely concealed self-loathing of climate catastrophism.

Ep. 270 – Jeff Brain, CEO & Founder at CloutHub discusses how social media Tech Titans Facebook and Twitter used censorship to impact the Presidential Election. What is the future for the platforms, will Trump achieve changes for Section 230, and what does the future for Social Media look like with new platforms like CloutHub coming on strong.

James has something he needs to get off his chest and opens the show by taking Toby, as the Americans would say, to the woodshed. As far as James is concerned journalistic curiosity is dead.

Then it’s on to the major news of the day, the UK has become the first nation to give regulatory approval for one of the new Covid-19 vaccinations. Because of fast tracking, this vaccination has seen limited clinical trials. If it all goes wrong who will be held liable?

On this episode of The Federalist Radio Hour, Real Clear Education’s Nathan Harden joins Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky to break down how the newly released College Free Speech Rankings can provide more insight into the problems in higher education and current campus culture.

Member Post

 

I’d be interested to hear anyone’s thoughts about this. By virtue of their market dominance and the competitive advantages of large networks, the tech giants are able to manage the flow of news and information, censoring, throttling, and editorializing as they wish. They can do this transparently or invisibly, using increasingly sophisticated algorithms coupled with […]

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