Category Archives: First Amendment

President Trump is drafting executive order on social media’s censorship of conservatives

About three months ago, in May 2019, President Trump finally heeded the cries of conservative bloggers (including Fellowship of the Minds) and users of social media of being censored, blacklisted and abused by the tech giants. The White House created a webpage for us to relate our travails — as individuals, websites, and blogs.

The evidence that conservatives are being censored is overwhelming. See:

It is, of course, in President Trump’s self-interest to do something about this censorship. See “Insider Blows Whistle & Exec Reveals Google Plan to Prevent ‘Trump situation’ in 2020“.

In July, at a White House social media summit, President Trump decried the censorship and directed his administration to explore all “regulatory and legislative solutions to protect free speech and the free-speech rights of all Americans.” Last Tuesday, citing the case of a Google engineer who says he had been fired for his conservative views, Trump warned that he is “watching Google very closely.”

Now, it is reported that the Trump White House is preparing an executive order to address the anti-conservative bias of the tech giants.

Tech giants’ love-fest with Barack Obama

Politico reports, August 7, 2019, that according to a White House official and two other people familiar with the matter, the Trump White House is circulating drafts of a proposed executive order to address social media companies’ anti-conservative bias.

The unnamed White House official said: “If the internet is going to be presented as this egalitarian platform and most of Twitter is liberal cesspools of venom, then at least the president wants some fairness in the system. But look, we also think that social media plays a vital role. They have a vital role and an increasing responsibility to the culture that has helped make them so profitable and so prominent.”

The executive order, which deals with other topics besides tech bias, is still in the early drafting stages and is not expected to be issued imminently. None of the three individuals would describe the contents of the executive order or what penalties, if any, would be visited on companies deemed to be censoring political viewpoints. But its existence, and the deliberations surrounding it, are evidence that the Trump administration is taking a serious look at wielding the federal government’s power against Silicon Valley.

The Trump White House faces many obstacles in crafting a policy against the censorship:

  1. The federal government’s options on combating online bias are limited by the First Amendment. Before he left his job in May, John Morris, who handled internet policy issues at the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), said: “There’s very little in terms of direct regulation the federal government can do without congressional action, and frankly I think that’s a positive thing. Although the government may be able to support and assist online platforms’ efforts to reduce hate and violence online, the government should not try to impose speech regulations on private platforms. As politicians from both sides of the political spectrum have historically urged, the government should not be in the business of regulating speech.”
  2. Another obstacle is Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which both protects online platforms from liability for content their users post and empowers the companies to remove content without fear of liability. Section 230 has increasingly come under fire from lawmakers of both parties frustrated with tech companies’ content moderation practices.
  3. A crackdown on social media companies would involve at least four federal agencies: the Federal Communications Commission (FCC),  Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Department of Justice, and Department of Commerce. However:
    1. Although the Justice Department has announced a sweeping antitrust review of whether tech giants are harming competition or stifling innovation, antitrust cases have not traditionally been used as tools to address complaints about online speech.
    2. Republicans at the FCC and FTC already have said publicly that they don’t see a role for their agencies in policing companies’ online content:
      1. Republican FCC Commissioner and Trump appointee Brendan Carr tweeted: “Outsourcing censorship to the government is not just a bad idea, it would violate the First Amendment. I’m a no.”
      2. Republicans at the FTC, which punishes companies for unfair or deceptive acts, also have said they don’t see a role for the agency in policing allegations of social media bias. During an FTC oversight hearing in the Senate last year, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) argued that a tech company could be considered “actively deceptive” if it appears to be a neutral public platform and then engages in censorship. But Republican FTC Commissioner Noah Phillips said the FTC’s antitrust and consumer protection authorities are “not authorities to police the First Amendment itself.”
  4. Conservatives, such as the Heritage Foundation, have also spent decades opposing any attempt to revive the FCC’s old Fairness Doctrine, which required broadcasters to be balanced in their programming on controversial issues.

What the Trump White House can do:

  1. One potential approach could involve using the government’s leverage over federal contractors, a tactic the Obama administration used to advance LGBT rights via a 2014 executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against workers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Trump did just that last March when he signed an executive order to promote free speech on college campuses by requiring schools to agree to promote free inquiry (which they are already supposed to do, but many don’t) in order to receive federal research funding.
  2. The administration could have the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which handles communications policy, to convene interested parties to explore the issues.

See also:

~Eowyn

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Finally

Somehow I FINALLY managed to trick my way back in.

Every time I have tried before, it threw me completely off the net, regardless of which computer I was using.

Sorry I have been away so long, but it wasn’t my fault.

– Dave

 

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Alleged anti-Semitism: Cartoonist Ben Garrison disinvited from White House Social Media Summit; high school principal fired for refusing to state Holocaust really happened

Holocaust denial, the denial of the genocidal killing of approximately six million Jews in Europe by Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, is illegal in Israel and 16 European countries (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain).

Here in the United States, notwithstanding the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech, “anti-Semitism” is not just politically incorrect and verboten, the trend is towards banning and criminalizing “anti-Semitism” and Holocaust denial altogether:

  • A bill (HR 1697) in Congress seeks to make it a felony to support any anti-Israel boycott.
  • On May 29, 2019, in Jerusalem, Israel, Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill, HB 741, into law banning “anti-Semitism” in Florida’s public schools — the first bill in Florida history signed on foreign soil.

Below are two recent cases of alleged “anti-Semitism”.

(1) Political cartoonist Ben Garrison

Tomorrow, July 11, the Trump administration will host a Social Media Summit  on the “opportunities and challenges of today’s online environment,” in the words of White House spokesperson Judd Deere.

Deere made the announcement on June 26, the same day President Trump said the federal government should file lawsuits against some of the tech giants. Trump has accused Google, Facebook and Twitter of being biased against him and other conservatives. (Politico)

Brilliant political cartoonist Ben Garrison was first invited to the Social Media Summit, then the invitation was rescinded because of complaints from the Anti-Defamation League that Garrison is “anti-Semitic”.

This is his statement:

(2) Florida high school principal William Latson

Meanwhile, a high school principal in Florida was fired for refusing to state that the Holocaust of six million Jews in WWII was a factual, historical event.

Sarah Mervosh reports for the New York Times that in April 2018, William Latson, the principal of Spanish River Community High School in Boca Raton, Fla., wrote in an email exchange with an unidentified parent that “Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened,” amd that he had to stay “politically neutral”. He said that the school offered an assembly and courses on the Holocaust, but that they were optional and could not be “forced upon” all students.

Making a distinction between his personal beliefs about the Holocaust and his role as the principal of a public school, Latson wrote: “I can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event because I am not in a position to do so as a school district employee. I do allow information about the Holocaust to be presented and allow students and parents to make decisions about it accordingly. I do the same with information about slavery.”

The emails were recently obtained and published by The Palm Beach Post, which led to an intense backlash in South Florida — an area with a third of the population being Jewish.

Thousands signed an online petition calling for Latson’s resignation. On July 1, the Palm Beach County school district announced that he would be stripped of his position as principal and reassigned to another job in the district.

In its statement, the school district said Latson had made “a grave error in judgment” in refusing to state the Holocaust as fact. Latson was counseled by district officials in a series of meetings, and spent several days at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to increase his awareness. Latson apologized in a statement to The Palm Beach Post: “I regret that the verbiage that I used when responding to an email message from a parent, one year ago, did not accurately reflect my professional and personal commitment to educating all students about the atrocities of the Holocaust.”

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Insider Blows Whistle & Exec Reveals Google Plan to Prevent “Trump situation” in 2020

Shocker, not.

The latest from Project Veritas. If the video is removed from YouTube, watch it here.

UPDATE:

As one would expect, the video on YouTube is GONE. From James O’Keefe:

“BREAKING: YOUTUBE/GOOGLE HAS REMOVED OUR GOOGLE INVESTIGATION as it was approaching 50K likes and a million views. IMPORTANT: Please download it on @bitchute and repost it.”

COWARDS.

DCG

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Atheist loses lawsuit to remove ‘In God We Trust’ from U.S. currency

A piece of good news, at last, in the contemporary American wasteland.

Do you remember a man named Michael Newdow?

Newdow, 65, is the Californian atheist who’s been jamming the courts with lawsuits.

Newdow’s most recent lawsuit was to have “In God We Trust” removed from U.S. currency on the grounds that the motto is a government endorsement of religion and so violates the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. Last year, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Newdow — the judges found that the motto on currency “comports with early understandings of the Establishment Clause” and did not coerce people into practicing a religion.

See DCG’s “Lawsuit demands US remove ‘In God We Trust’ from money“.

“In God We Trust” was first put on an American coin in 1864, and added to both coins and paper bills in 1955. A year after, in 1956, President Dwight Eisenhower signed a law making the phrase the national motto.

Leah Klett reports for Christian Post, citing Fox News, that on June 10, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected, without comment, Newdow’s appeal.

In 2013, Newdow had partnered with the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation to sue the U.S. Treasury over the motto on currency. In his petition to the Supreme Court, Nedow, a lawyer whose clients are other atheists, had argued that:

  • The government violated his clients’ “sincere religious belief” that there is no God and turned them into “political outsiders” by placing the phrase “In God We Trust” on their money.
  • The placement of “In God We Trust” on money “has real effects on real children” and subjects atheist children to the same sufferings  historically endured by black children as “second class citizens”.

In the words of Newdow’s petition, which refers to “God” as “G-d” — a Jewish practice:

Petitioners are atheists. As such, they fervidly disagree with the religious idea that people should trust in G-d. On the contrary, their sincere religious belief is that trusting in any G-d is misguided. Defendants have conditioned receipt of the important benefit of using the nation’s sole ‘legal tender’ upon conduct proscribed by Petitioners’ atheism (i.e., upon Petitioners’ personally bearing – and proselytizing – a religious message that is directly contrary to the central idea that underlies their religious belief system).

Unless this Court ends the flagrant governmental preference for belief in G-d (and the implicit concomitant denigration of Atheism), the organizations, adults and children bringing this case will spend the rest of their lives – as they have spent their lives so far – as secondclass citizens.

Mat Staver, founder and chairman of religious liberty law firm Liberty Counsel, praised the court’s rejection of Newdow’s petition: “Our national motto ‘In God We Trust’ has been on all U.S. currency for more than 60 years and it will remain there, despite ridiculous attempts by atheists to remove it.”

Newdow’s past litigation includes:

  • Several failed litigation challenges against the “under God” phrase in the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance. In 2004, after suing for the removal of “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, his case was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. But the court did not decide on the merits of the case but instead said Newdow had no standing to sue. See my post, “‘Under God’ stays in Pledge of Allegiance“.
  • Attempts to stop prayers being read at the inauguration of Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
  • Attempts to prevent government leaders from saying the phrase “So help me God” in the 2009, 2013, and 2017 presidential inaugurations.

See also:

~Eowyn

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Can you pass this 100-question U.S. Civics Quiz?

CivicsQuiz.com has a U.S. Civics Quiz of 100 questions.

Most questions are taken right from the U.S. Naturalization Exam.

To take the quiz, click here, then report to us on your score!

I got a score of 95. How did you do?

Of the 5 questions I got wrong, I strenuously object to Question #2. Also, the supposedly correct answers for Questions #65 and #66 contradict each other.

~Eowyn

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Problematic: 41% of college students believe hate speech should not be protected by the Constitution

Who gets to define what is “hate” speech?

From Daily Mail: Some 41 percent of college students say hate speech shouldn’t be protected under the First Amendment, according to a new survey.

Just 58 percent said that hate speech should be protected under the amendment, which guarantees American’s a right to freedom of speech, according to the survey of 4,407 students by the Miami-based Knight Foundation.

‘There is a new class of students on college campuses, increasingly varied in background and ideology, who are grappling with the reach and limits of free speech and what it means in the 21st century,’ said Sam Gill, Knight Foundation vice president for learning and communities.

‘Studying their views is key to understanding the impact that they may have on rights that are fundamental to our democracy,’ he added.

Opinions split dramatically along gender lines, with just 41 percent of college women saying that protecting free speech was more important that inclusivity, compared to 71 percent of college men.

More than two-thirds (68 percent) of respondents said they felt that students can’t openly express their views due to a climate on campus that has people fearful of offending their peers. Just 31 percent disagreed that such a climate exists.

These opinions of young Americans on the matter of freedom of speech are problematic – if well intended, said Ken Paulson, the director of the Free Speech Center at Middle Tennessee State University. ‘Protecting hate speech is actually the reason we have a First Amendment,’ he told DailyMail.com. ‘We don’t need protection for freedom of speech if everyone agrees with one another. The protection we need is for speech that others may find offensive.’

The survey comes as more colleges are opting to cancel or not invite controversial speakers to their campuses due to student outrage.

For example, Middlebury College in Vermont apologized to students earlier this year after getting a negative reaction to inviting a conservative speaker to campus. College officials also promised to do more to prevent invitations to such speakers going forward.

‘The big difference between today and a decade ago is that the conservatives are the big driving force behind freedom of speech on campuses,’ Paulson said.

The report also found that more than half (53 percent) are in favor of protecting freedom of speech, while 46 percent say it’s important to ‘promote an inclusive and welcoming society.’

‘The Constitution was not designed to keep your feelings from being hurt,’ said Paulson, also the former editor-in-chief of USA Today. ‘It was designed so every American could say or do whatever they wanted and do so without being punished. To understand freedom of speech you have to understand that it’s the minority being protected against the majority and the government.’

Read the whole story here.

DCG

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Peace Cross Case Heads to US Supreme Court – Why Much More Than One Cross Is on the Line

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case about whether a the nearly 100-year-old, cross-shaped war memorial in Maryland known as Peace Cross violates the Constitution because is on government property. The case of the monument, located in the Bladensburg community of Prince George’s County, could impact hundreds of similar monuments nationwide.

First Liberty Institute is defending the cross. One of its lawyers, Jeremy Dys, told CBN News, “This case is very important for a variety of reasons. Because this area of the law is right now – as Justice (Clarence) Thomas has said – in hopeless disarray. And so there’s really needing some clarity for this.”

The legal team  believes this could be the most crucial religious liberty case the Supreme Court handles this term. That’s because if the high court eventually decides this cross has to go, it could affect thousands of other crosses, including crosses on all federal cemeteries such as  the national cometary at Arlington.

But if the justices make a broad ruling favoring the cross and other objects like it, it could put an end to judges and bureaucrats deciding – somewhat haphazardly – if a religious symbol or display is too religious or secular enough to be left alone by secular authorities.

That possibility has opponents of the cross worried about the court setting a precedent that could counter future efforts to eradicate religious symbols–especially Christian symbols– from public display.

The District of Columbia-based American Humanist Association has led the challenge against the monument. The organization and three area residents sued Maryland officials in 2014 in an attempt to have the monument torn down. They say that the cross “discriminates against patriotic soldiers who are not Christian, sending a callous message to non-Christians that Christians are worthy of veneration while they may as well be forgotten.” And they point out that other nearby memorials are smaller and across the street from the cross.

One of the people who brought the original case against the cross – Steven Lowe of the American Humanist Association – told CBN News, “The government on this piece of property is favoring a religion with this huge symbol. When you come across the bridge or approach it from any of the highways, you see nothing but this huge Christian cross.”

Journalist Renee Green spoke with Lowe and other cross opponents for her documentary “Save the Peace Cross.” In it, United Coalition of Reason officer Fred Edwords stated, “It gives the impression of Christianity and nothing else. And it gives the impression of government endorsement of Christianity.”

And Lowe told Green, “The existence of a memorial on public land is not a problem. It is just the use of the Christian cross as part of that memorial that we find contrary to the First Amendment and separation of church and state.”

Edwords added, “It looks for all the world like, ‘Okay, this is either the state of Maryland or the city of Bladensburg endorsing one religion.'”

In the suit against the cross, one atheist said he was traumatized driving by it. Green appears on camera in her documentary to point out that many telephone poles are in the shape of a cross.

“If the plaintiffs win this lawsuit, will all the telephone poles need to be modified?” Green asks, tongue-in-cheek. She adds, “I just hope they’re not traumatized by telephone poles while driving.”

The Peace Cross has drawn the support of Maryland’s governor and senators. Over the summer the state of Maryland filed an amicus brief in support of the petition to the Supreme Court, and Gov. Larry Hogan said the state was “determined to fight all the way to the highest court in the land to keep it standing tall and proud.”

The Peace Cross was completed in 1925, and it honors 49 men from the surrounding county who died in World War I. A plaque on the cross’ base lists the names of those soldiers, and both faces of the cross have a circle with the symbol of the American Legion, the veterans organization that helped raise money to build it.

Today, responsibility for the cross falls to a Maryland parks commission that took over ownership and maintenance of it in 1961 because of traffic safety concerns.

~ Grif

The first amendment/the first enumerated right:

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.

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DemonRat candidate to crack down on “Fake News”

Sounds good, right?

The Daily Caller:
Democratic Candidate Andrew Yang Promises Government Crackdown On ‘Misinformation’

by Peter Hasson – 03-19-2019

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang says the federal government will punish media companies for the spread of misinformation if he wins in 2020.

But read on; there’s a snag.

“I will appoint a new News and Information Ombudsman with the power to fine egregious corporate offenders. One of the main purposes of the Ombudsman will be to identify sources of spurious information that are associated with foreign nationals. The Ombudsman will work with social media companies to identify fraudulent accounts and disable and punish responsible parties,” Yang wrote.

“We need a robust free press and exchange of information. But we should face the reality that fake news and misinformation spread via social media threatens to undermine our democracy and may make it impossible for citizens to make informed decisions on a shared set of facts,” he adds on his website.

Read the article at https://dailycaller.com/2019/03/19/andrew-yang-misinformation/


Think Snopes in Jackboots.

Yep, one of the infamous Sack of Ferrets has escaped the bag with a plan to kill the remaining free speech on the internet.

Here are some of the ferret’s campaign promises:

  • Universal Healthcare
  • Medicare For All
  • Combat Climate Change
  • LQBTQ Rights
  • Gun Safety
  • Right to Privacy/Abortion and Contraception

I don’t know about you,
but I smell a DemonRat.

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