A congressional hearing that took place on Wednesday featured eloquent arguments about the importance of fighting for expression rights on campus. Ken Paulson, the President of the First Amendment Center, aggressively defended free expression principles during a congressional hearing on the relationship between free speech and the American campus. Paulson argued that certain university officials are willing to bend First Amendment principles in order to protect the feelings of students. “As part of my First Amendment work, I’ve traveled to a dozen campuses a year for the past 20 years and I honestly don’t believe there is an epidemic of suppression or intolerance in the nation’s universities,” Paulson began. “I do see some high profile instances where college administrators and students are willing to bend free speech principles to prevent hurt feelings or ideological conflict. Somewhere over the past two decades, the land of the free has become the home of the easily offended.” Paulson contends that the rise in attempts to shut down guest speakers is a consequence of the lack of education on the topic of democracy. “You can’t shout down a speaker if you truly understand how diversity of opinions has bolstered our democracy. You can’t censor students or their media if you understand what Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and the first generation of Americans meant by freedom of the press,” Paulson continued. “You can’t try to zone protests off campus if you truly appreciate the value of petition and assembly. Too many of our students and sadly, their parents and grandparents, don’t truly understand these core American principles. A First Amendment survey found that only a third of Americans can name a single freedom in the First Amendment. Only two percent can name all five.” Click here to watch the entirety of Paulson’s remarks, along with the rest of the hearing..
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California ruled on Tuesday that California’s ban on handgun advertisements violates the First Amendment. The ruling involved Tracy Rifle and Pistol (TRAP), Ten Percent Firearms, Sacramento Black Rifle, Inc., and PRK Arms, all of whom were supported by the Second Amendment Foundation, the Calguns Foundation, and California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees. The case was brought when Sacramento Black Rifle, Tracy Rifle and Pistol, and others were told aspects of their logo violated the state’s ban on advertising handgun sales with photographs and/or images of handguns. CBS Sacramento reports that Rob Adams, owner of Sacramento Black Rifle, was told he was breaking the law by having a pistol embedded with an “R” in his company logo. Adams said, “It’s a clear violation of the First Amendment, you know, advertising. It’s censoring.” California argued that the ban on handgun advertisements helps reduce suicides and crime, but court rejected these arguments, ruling that California did not provide evidence sufficient to support these claims Judge Troy L. Nunley wrote, ” In the absence of evidence and with no common-sense relation, the Government has not met its burden of demonstrating that § 26820 directly and materially advances that interest. In sum, the Government fails to show that § 26820 has any effect on handgun suicide or crime.” Nunley also addressed the issues put for by Sacramento Black Rifle owner Rob Adams, writing, “California may not accomplish its goals by violating the First Amendment.” He noted, “The Supreme Court has rejected this highly paternalistic approach to limiting speech.” Second Amendment Foundation founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb commented on legal victory, saying, “A state cannot legislate political correctness at the expense of a fundamental, constitutionally-delineated civil right. We were delighted to offer financial support to this case.” The case is Tracy Rifle and Pistol, LLC, v. Harris (No. 2:14-cv-02626).
Excellent decision!! The court was exactly right, and slapped fascist California right across the face for their brazen violation of the First Amendment ostensibly to squash advertising of firearms. Outstanding!! 🙂
Twitter announced Thursday that it “permanently suspended” Alex Jones and his show InfoWars from their platform, as well as Periscope. The announcement came via tweet from Twitter Safety, who said the decision was made “based on new reports of Tweets and videos posted yesterday that violate our abusive behavior policy, in addition to the accounts’ past violations.” It wasn’t immediately clear which tweets and videos Twitter was referring to. Jones, who has spread conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, has previously been banned from sites like Facebook and YouTube for violations of their terms of service. Facebook said it had removed four pages related to InfoWars for violating hate speech and bullying policies. Jones claims he is being politically targeted. In follow-up tweets, Twitter said they “wanted to be open about this action” due to public interest. “As we continue to increase transparency around our rules and enforcement actions, we wanted to be open about this action given the broad interest in this case. We do not typically comment on enforcement actions we take against individual accounts, for their privacy,” Twitter said. “We will continue to evaluate reports we receive regarding other accounts potentially associated with @realalexjones or @infowars and will take action if content that violates our rules is reported or if other accounts are utilized in an attempt to circumvent their ban.” Word of Jones’ fate on the social media platform came a day after he clashed with Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio after interrupting an interview. During Wednesday’s dust-up between Rubio and Jones, the lawmaker was recorded discussing with reporters his worries that China and other governments could demand social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter crackdown on dissidents. The conversation came prior to a Senate Intellgence Committe hearing. When Jones approached, he accused Democrats of “doing what you say China does” and said tech companies and Democrats are “purging” and shadow banning conservatives. The remarks led to an impassioned exchange of words between the pair, before Rubio ultimately went into the hearing.
Anyone who truly cares about free speech should be terrified after reading that. Alex Jones isn’t the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree..and can be a complete tool. The way he confronted Sen. Mario Rubio (R-FL) in the hall was obnoxious and low class…and that’s being nice. But, Alex has just as much right to spout his conspiratorial nonsense, and obnoxiousness, as the next guy. And, hey.. To be fair, every once in a rare while he, or his staff, uncover something actually newsworthy…worth actually reading. In the interest of full disclosure, here at The Daily Buzz we’ve posted about a half dozen or so articles from the InfoWars site over the last 4.5 years we’ve been here. Again, it’s been pretty rare. But, it’s not about whether you agree with Alex, or anyone else for that matter. It’s whether they have the right to voice their views like everyone else. I mean c’mon.. We all have had to put up with idiots like Jerry Springer, and Maury, for decades. How is this any different? And, while FaceBook and Twitter are private companies that have the right to censor anything they want.. They are also a bit of a monopoly on social media. As such, Congress is taking a very hard look at social media and considering regulating them. Also, it’s clear their platforms are not favorable to Republicans and conservatives. So, there is that element as well which is another cause for concern. But, again, as it relates to Alex and InfoWars.. This is something that we should ALL be very concerned about, regardless of political party affiliation or persuasion…and not be so quick to cheer that Alex was shut down and censored.
Leftists have been particularly crafty about clamping down and chilling conservative thought lately, boldly going where milder-mannered censors have previously feared to tread and managing to make several righteous-sounding cases, at least among their circles of progressive types, for the booting of deemed hate speakers from social media. But their censorship argument dangles precariously on the meaningless claim that in America there’s no room for hate speech. And I say meaningless because first off, nobody can define what constitutes hate speech and second off, even if they could, there are no criminal laws against speaking one’s mind in this country — except in cases of inciting riots or falsely yelling “fire” in a crowded theater, the latter of which is not really speech at all. Yet the shrill accusations of hate speech continue. There are political strategies behind all this screeching. This whole anti-hate speech call has been a tremendous boon for the left’s successes in shuttering conservative rhetoric, whether online, on college campuses or in the media world. The best lies and deceptions, after all, are the ones that ring of truth. The truth: In America, morally speaking, philosophically speaking, sensibly speaking — of course there’s no room in America for hate speech. Only a radical nut would see or say otherwise. But speaking of morality is not the same as speaking of legality. Morally speaking, no citizen should spew vicious, racist, misogynistic, ugly, hateful words. Legally? For the most part, have at it. Also the truth: The First Amendment was penned in part to protect primarily political speech — to preserve as a God-given right the ability of citizens to say as they will, to petition as they want, to seek redress for grievances as they ought. Some of these pursuits can get pretty rancorous. Sometimes, people get offended. The Founders knew that. That’s the beauty of the First Amendment — to protect those who would offend. But the left, unable to withstand fact-based scrutiny of its ridiculously anti-American progressive policies, and unable to legislatively advance anti-American progressive policies without the wings of emotionally charged discourse, has been trying to circumvent the spirit of free speech for some time. Why? To shut down the fact-finders and truth-tellers. The left would like nothing more than to see hate speech etched into law as a punishable offense because that would make the job of censoring conservative thought and statements so much the easier. The First Amendment and America’s long and cherished history of allowing for the lively exchange of ideas gets in the way of this goal, however. So the desperate left has advanced a public relations campaign that sees hate speech being talked about with rising frequency — as if it’s a thing. As if it’s an American concept. As if it’s a real crime, like stealing somebody’s car or punching somebody in the face in a bar. The left’s hope is to talk it up enough so it doesn’t sound odd or out of place — so people stop wondering every time they hear it, “what? What is that?” Then come the actual hate speech laws. Then go the conservatives, too chilled to speak. It’s like this: The Ku Klux Klan, the Black Panther Party, Louis Farrakhan, David Duke and a long list of others may all speak in ways that strike a large portion of the public as offensive. But fact is, they pretty much have the legal and natural right to speak as they will. The discomfort of either the few or the many does not justify the stripping of their God-given rights — or of anyone’s God-given right to speak freely. It’s a pretty good system of governance that allows both Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, haters and do-gooders alike, equality of expression. Here in America, let’s keep it that way. All discussions of hate speech should include mention of the fact no such laws in this country exist.
Agreed! Thanks to Cheryl Chumley for that spot-on op/ed. 🙂
Things move very quickly in the media realm, and in quirky ways. Despite the fact that Apple, Facebook, YouTube and Spotify banned controversial broadcast host and “InfoWars” creator Alex Jones, he still led the national trends on Twitter throughout Monday. Such is the irony of social media. Certain content producers are banished from busy sites for violating “community rules” about the nature and tone of content — then the public can’t wait to talk about them. And talk they did. All that aside, the Texas-based Mr. Jones bypassed both traditional news and social media sites and immediately produced a “world exclusive” outlining his response from “being banned from the internet,” then streamed the statement from his own website, and on Twitter, where he still has a presence. Though they may not agree with Mr. Jones’ work or philosophy, many observers are troubled by the banning. “It is a dangerous cliff that these social media companies are jumping off to satisfy CNN and other liberal outlets,” said Media Research Center founder and veteran media analyst Brent Bozell. “This is part of a disturbing trend. In recent months top conservative congressmen have been shadowbanned on Twitter. Pro-life and pro-gun posts and videos are often removed on several platforms. Liberal journalists even objected to one conservative outlet attending a meeting with Facebook. Several conservative organizations like Live Action, the NRA and even the Christian satire site Babylon Bee have complained they had posts removed or censored,” Mr. Bozell continued. “Social media sites are supposedly neutral platforms, but they are increasingly becoming opportunities for the left and major media to censor any content that they don’t like,” he said, warning that the ban on Mr. Jones is “just the beginning.” Some other media forces were also at work. On Monday the Drudge Report led with Mr. Jones’ story — which is a monster-sized mention. The proverbial Drudge “hit” yields huge readership. Consider that in the last 24 hours alone, 29 million people visited Drudge, which is formatted like straightforward, old-school news. There are terse, pertinent headlines — lots of them — and all are immediately accessible, the provided links leading to the original content. Some heavy thinkers also stepped forward to have a say on Twitter, some characterizing Mr. Jones’ experiences as something right out of communist nation of yore. “Whether you like @RealAlexJones and Infowars or not, he is undeniably the victim today of collusion by the big tech giants. What price free speech?” asked British broadcaster and political analyst Nigel Farage. “Alex Jones is now an unperson, straight out of the plot of George Orwell’s 1984. Regardless what you think of him and Infowars, this is the equivalent of digital book burning and sets a horrifying precedent for mass censorship by Big Tech,” tweeted Mark Dice, an author and independent media analyst.
Agreed!! This censorship by big tech is beyond outrageous. Shame on ALL of them!! For more, click on the text above. And, if you are curious to see what all these tech companies don’t want you to see, just go to: http://www.infowars.com and you be the judge.
Rush Limbaugh says journalists who chastise the behavior of President Trump’s supporters at rallies are really upset that Americans can respond to “garbage human” insults in 2018. The man behind the “golden EIB” microphone celebrated 30 years on air by telling listeners how much has changed over the decades. Mr. Trump’s Tuesday rally in Tampa, Florida, along with anger over the heckling of CNN’s Jim Acosta, prompted a monologue on media bias. “Let me just share with you a report here from somebody at Politico,” the conservative said. “‘Politico reporter Marc Caputo mocked attendees of President Donald Trump’s Tampa rally Tuesday night, referring to them as toothless ‘garbage people.’ After nearly 11 hours, Caputo posts an apology. ‘I need to apologize for tweeting caustic remarks after seeing a reporter berated & abused. Hate begets hate. My comments referred ONLY to those jeering and swearing at the man, not a broad swath of people. But the fault is mine for causing confusion and feeding anger.’” At issue were rally attendees who shouted “CNN sucks” while the network’s chief White House correspondent spoke with colleague Wolf Blitzer. Mr. Limbaugh essentially said that modern technology and various social media platforms allow viewers to regularly see that they are viewed with contempt by journalists. “[Trump voters are] basically a bunch of disjointed, angry people who cannot adapt to the transforming of American culture and society [to reporters],” Mr. Limbaugh said. “They are a bunch of toothless, brain-dead people sitting on the deck out in front of the shack playing the banjo as Burt Reynolds and the boys go rafting by. That’s what [reporters] think of your average Trump voter, and this guy just happened to let it out.” The radio host also asserted that Mr. Acosta “secretly and privately loves” the attention he’s getting because he goes out of his way to be adversarial with the president. “Outside of this, he’s a typical CNN no-name,” Mr. Limbaugh said. “But Trump and his administration have singled him out because Acosta decides to play rude, decides to be a provocateur. He knows Trump is gonna hit back, and I’ve maintained that Acosta loves it secretly every time it happens.” “Acosta gets to go out and play like he’s actually at war and that there are real bullets being fired and he’s risking his life to go to a Trump rally and report what’s going on there,” he continued. “What they really can’t stand is that Trump still sells out and the people there are still madly in love with and totally supportive of Trump.”
Exactly!! And well said, Rush! As usual, “El Rushbo” nails it with an insight that nobody else talks about. Jim probably DOES relish the spotlight…and yet he’s such a brazen disingenuous, liberal hypocrite. Anyway.. Congrats to Rush on his 30 year anniversary behind the “golden EIB microphone!” We hope you’re around another 30! “Dittos!!” 🙂
The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a Minnesota law banning voters from wearing political apparel to the polls, saying it was too draconian in stifling Americans’ First Amendment rights. The 7-2 decision said it may be possible for states to restrict stridently political T-shirts and buttons, but the justices said Minnesota didn’t justify why its law needed to be so broad. Minnesota’s ban covered any “political badge, political button, or other political insignia” a voter might wear. Andrew Cilek, a state voter, challenged the law after he was told he couldn’t vote in 2010 because he was wearing a T-shirt with the emblem of a local tea party group and had a button asking for poll workers to check his ID. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing the majority opinion, said the law left it up to poll workers to decide what was political, creating the potential for conflicting or mischievous decisions over whether something is political. He wondered whether someone wearing a Boy Scout uniform would have to cover it up. “A rule whose fair enforcement requires an election judge to maintain a mental index of the platforms and positions of every candidate and party on the ballot is not reasonable,” the chief justice wrote. Mr. Cilek said the ruling meant free speech and the Constitution prevailed in his legal fight. “It’s ridiculous that the state would dig in its heels to the point we had to take them to the highest court in the nation,” he said. “Well, we showed that our right to free speech doesn’t stop at the polling place. Our Framers would be proud.” The lower courts had sided with the state, which argued the law was meant to avoid campaigning and disturbances near the ballot box. Thursday’s ruling overturns that decision. Justice Roberts said they weren’t striking down other state laws, saying there may be room for states to impose reasonable restrictions that can meet constitutional muster.
Agreed! A well thought-out decision…and a decision in support of free speech. For more on today’s ruling by the Supremes, click on the text above. 🙂