Pope Francis Answers Putin’s ‘Satan-2’ WMD Sabre-Rattling

Pope Francis insists that we do not require nuclear weapons or the lose-lose policy of mutually-assured destruction to maintain world peace and security. There is a better way forward than holding threats of total annihilation over the heads of humanity.

An ailing Pope Francis has dusted off rumours about his potential resignation due to his health.

Speculation continued to circulate this week after the 85-year-old acknowledged his struggle with age-related health issues, some of which have resulted in surgery, and an overseas trip cancellation.

A New York Post article fuelled the speculation, which was later written off by the Vatican as “fake news.” Addressing a gathering of bishops from Brazil, Francis spoke about his health, reassuring them that “resigning hadn’t crossed his mind”.

Asked about his plans, Francis replied,

“I want to live my mission as long as God allows me and that’s it.”

The moderate, theologically progressive Latin-American pope doesn’t appear to be giving up his tenure any time soon. He was also active this week in poking international social consciousness over nuclear weapons.

Free from Fear

Addressing the First Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, Francis took to task the concept of mutually-assured destruction (MAD).

MAD is, Francis said, an inadequate way of keeping “collective security and peace”, asserting that “a world free from nuclear weapons is both necessary and possible.”

The Vatican boss gave the treaty’s President-designate Alexander Kmentt his full backing, recommitting the Catholic Church to “promoting peace between peoples and nations and fostering education for peace throughout its institutions.”

Pope Francis further argued that nuclear weapons “were a costly and dangerous liability”, only offering the “illusion of peace.”

He then damned the use and ownership of nuclear weapons, as “immoral,” stating,

“[The act of] trying to defend and ensure stability and peace through a false sense of security and a ‘balance of terror’, sustained by a mentality of fear and mistrust, inevitably ends up poisoning relationships between peoples and obstructing any possible form of real dialogue.”

“Existing disarmament treaties,” he explained, “were more than just legal obligations. They are also moral commitments based on trust between citizens and their governments.”

As such, these treaties have “ethical consequences for current and future generations of humanity.”

Remaining true to his push for the abolition of extinction-level weaponry, Pope Francis recalled remarks from his February protest against the war in Ukraine, exclaiming, “those who wage war… forget humanity!”

Deadly Developments

The Catholic Church leader’s comments are not devoid of context.

Three months into his war on Ukrainians, Russian President Vladimir Putin, escalating the prospect of a nuclear winter, “bragged” that his “Satan-2” (the NATO designation for Russia’s RS-28 Sarmat) heavy ICBMs, will be “put on combat duty by the end of 2022.”

Popular Mechanics rates the RS-28 as being capable of “delivering up to ten thermonuclear warheads anywhere on Earth.”

The existence of RS-28, and Putin’s threats to deploy them in combat, give weight to Pope Francis’ disarmament demands.

Likewise, Pope Francis’ demand for the abolition of nuclear weapons is relevant to Iran’s quest for weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

Aside from Putin’s Eastern European powder keg, should Israel pre-emptively strike a weaponised nuclear facility in Iran, there is real potential for war in the Middle East.

It’s no secret that Israel is keeping the Biden administration at an arm’s length from its national security prerogatives. A likely reason for this is Team Biden/Obama’s face-saving attempts at a political resurrection of Barack Obama’s shady “Iran deal.”

Putin’s WMD sabre-rattling against Ukraine, Finland, Sweden, and others, is an example of what Israel, and the West, could expect from a nuclear-armed Iranian jihadist regime. A regime already on record for threatening to destroy Jews, supporters of Israel, and the nation of Israel itself.

Despite the hopes and assurances of the current Pope, it is unlikely that nuclear-armed nations are going to lay down their arms while the world is being threatened by the ambitions of militant authoritarians.

The WMD pale horse cannot be corralled after it has already bolted.

The answer to eye-for-an-eye mutually assured destruction is eye-to-eye conduct. If the West’s fraternal policy of “peace through strength” is abandoned for a policy of appeasement, with it goes the conditions for relationship and respect. The outcome would be a world inevitably thrown back into the “old world balance of power” Pope Francis decries.

___

Photo: Paul Haring/CNS

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Jimmy Kimmel Asks Joe Biden Why He’s Not Acting More Like A Dictator

Jimmy Kimmel Asks Joe Biden Why He’s Not Acting More Like A Dictator

Joe Biden is incapable of giving interviews to his allies in establishment media without looking like a centenarian overdosing on Xanax. So, the administration recruited a sycophantic late-night talk show host for the job. And, as expected, the interview with Jimmy Kimmel, who set up tee-balls for our dotard leader, was as cringe-inducing as you’d expect. Biden struggled to remember his canned talking points, promised a “mini revolution” if Roe was overturned (the same day someone tried to murder a SCOTUS justice), and rambled into the ether. Biden is an unserious person doing very serious damage.

Dunking on Republicans and hating Trump might have been good enough to win in 2020, and it might get you frivolous applause from the automatons in Kimmel’s audience, but it isn’t political philosophy. That fact was evident last night as the host who once warned his audience about “fascists” asked the president why he isn’t unilaterally dismantling a constitutional right.

“Can’t you issue an executive order? Trump passed those out like Halloween candy,” Kimmel asked Biden, when referencing gun control. “I don’t want to emulate Trump’s abuse of the Constitution and constitutional authority,” responded the president … the same week he unconstitutionally invoked the Defense Production Act, a cronyist gift to favored solar panels that is ostensibly meant to bring down the price of gas and oil.

This president signed more executive orders in the first 100 days (this isn’t even counting the numerous other ways he’s governed through edicts) than any president in the 21st century, and it isn’t particularly close. Biden signed 32 executive orders in the first month — many of the limiting oil and gas production and undoing border security measures. Biden averages 67 executive orders a year, 12 more than Trump.

Of course, it isn’t necessarily the number of executive orders a president issues that matters — Calvin Coolidge signed 1,203 without abusing his power — it’s the intent. Postwar presidents rarely made domestic policy via executive order. Barack Obama, unable to build consensus on virtually any policy proposal, put the practice of governing by fiat into hyperdrive. And Biden’s use of executive power to make domestic policy was so unprecedented in the early going that even The New York Times editorial board felt compelled to scold him. This “is no way to make law,” the Times noted. “A polarized, narrowly divided Congress may offer Mr. Biden little choice but to employ executive actions or see his entire agenda held hostage. These directives, however, are a flawed substitute for legislation.”

One imagines the Times editors also understood that Biden, as Obama before him, would not only have his entire agenda nuked by a Republican successor, but that it would also give that successor an excuse to rule in the same authoritarian manner.

Biden, though, doesn’t seem to care. He is expected to use his executive power to “forgive” student debt by saddling taxpayers with the bill. With Dobbs potentially overturning the fictitious right to an abortion, Biden also told Kimmel that he’s looking into signing executive orders on abortion rights, an issue over which the president has zero authority. As is the case with any orders he would sign undermining Second Amendment, which would almost surely be overturned.

This is the same president who bragged about circumventing the Constitution, issuing slightly modified versions of an illegal “eviction moratorium” (which had begun under Trump) so he could offer “rental assistance” before the court shut it down again. Obama was the first modern president to openly argue that he had power to ignore the legislative branch because they didn’t adhere to his political demands. Biden might be the first modern president to openly argue that he could defy the courts for the same reason.

Look, I realize CNN and other networks have retired their Trump-era “lie trackers,” but there is simply no way Biden, when coherent, is any less mendacious than Donald Trump. There were, maybe, two or three incidental remarks in the Kimmel interview that the president let pass that were in the vicinity of reality. We’ve all grown up accepting that politicians will lie to us, but the ease and frequency — and audacity — in which they do so these days borders on sociopathic.


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Barack Obama Uses Texas Shooting to Memorialize George Floyd

Barack Obama Uses Texas Shooting to Memorialize George Floyd

Former President Barack Obama used the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, to memorialize the death of George Floyd, even though the two tragedies have almost no relation.

Indeed, Wednesday, May 25, marks the two-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, but instead of just commemorating the day on its own, the former president tied the horrific massacre in Texas, which left 19 children and two teachers dead, to Floyd’s memory.

“As we grieve the children of Uvalde today, we should take time to recognize that two years have passed since the murder of George Floyd under the knee of a police officer,” the former president tweeted. “His killing stays with us all to this day, especially those who loved him.”

“In the aftermath of his murder, a new generation of activists rose up to channel their anguish into organized action, launching a movement to raise awareness of systemic racism and the need for criminal justice and police reform,” he added.

The president then plugged the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance and its “Reimagining Policing Pledge.”

While few, except maybe the pro-Chauvin hardliners, would begrudge anyone for commemorating George Floyd on the anniversary of his death, the former president’s decision to tie it in with a current and raw national tragedy sparked significant backlash.

In line with most mainstream Democrats, the former president also used Tuesday’s horrific massacre to push gun control.

“Michelle and I grieve with the families in Uvalde, who are experiencing pain no one should have to bear,” the former president said, adding:

We’re also angry for them. Nearly ten years after Sandy Hook—and ten days after Buffalo—our country is paralyzed, not by fear, but by a gun lobby and a political party that have shown no willingness to act in any way that might help prevent these tragedies. It’s long past time for action, any kind of action. And it’s another tragedy—a quieter but no less tragic one—for families to wait another day.

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Barack Obama Criticizes ‘Gun Lobby,’ Pushes ‘Action’ on Guns in Wake of TX Shooting

Barack Obama Criticizes ‘Gun Lobby,’ Pushes ‘Action’ on Guns in Wake of TX Shooting

Former President Barack Obama responded to Tuesday’s attack on Robb Elementary School by criticizing the “gun lobby” and pushing for “action” on guns now.

The New York Times quoted Obama saying, “Nearly 10 years after Sandy Hook — and 10 days after Buffalo — our country is paralyzed, not by fear, but by a gun lobby and a political party that have shown no willingness to act in any way that might help prevent these tragedies.”

UVALDE, TX - MAY 24: Law enforcement work the scene after a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School where 19 people, including 18 children, were killed on May 24, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. The suspected gunman, identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was reportedly killed by law enforcement. (Photo by Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images)

Law enforcement work the scene after a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School where 19 people, including 18 children, were killed on May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas. (Photo by Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images)

Obama added, “It’s long past time for action, any kind of action. And it’s another tragedy — a quieter but no less tragic one — for families to wait another day.”

President Joe Biden also responded to the Robb Elementary School attack, including mention of an “assault weapons” ban.

Biden even maligned the idea of purchasing firearms that Democrats label as “assault weapons,” saying, “What in God’s name do you need an ‘assault weapon’ for except to kill someone? Deer aren’t running through the forest with Kevlar vests on, for God’s sake.”

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkinsa weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio and a Turning Point USA Ambassador. Follow him on Instagram: @awr_hawkins. Reach him at awrhawkins@breitbart.com. You can sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.

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An Easy Way For Musk To Restore Free Speech On Twitter

An Easy Way For Musk To Restore Free Speech On Twitter


An Easy Way For Musk To Restore Free Speech On Twitter

The First Amendment Option

By Jonathan Turley

Twitter Logo

Below is my column in the Hill on one way for Elon Musk to re-introduce free speech values on his newly acquired social media platform. Pro-censorship advocates like former President Barack Obama may have given Musk a roadmap for restoring free speech on Twitter.

Here is the column:

For free speech advocates, Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter could prove the most impactful event since Twitter’s founding in 2006. The question, however, is how Musk can accomplish his lofty goal of restoring free speech values to social media. He first would have to untie the Gordian knot of censorship in a company now synonymous with speech control. The answer may be simpler than most people think. Indeed, anti-free-speech figures in the country may have given Musk the very roadmap he’s looking for: the First Amendment.

The purchase of Twitter alone will have immediate and transformative changes for free speech. The control over speech on social media required a unified front. Free speech is like water, it tends to find a way out. With social media, there was no way out because of the unified front of companies like Google, Apple and Facebook. Facebook is actually running commercials trying to convince people to embrace their own censorship. This message was reinforced by Democratic leaders like President Biden, who demanded that these companies expand censorship and curtail access to harmful viewpoints.

Now this market has one major competitor selling a free speech product.

The fear is that Musk might be proven right and that Twitter could become larger and more profitable by allowing more free speech. Facebook has not had much success in convincing customers to embrace censorship, but it may find shareholders wondering why the Facebook board (like the Twitter board) is undermining its own product as a communications company committed to limited speech.

Another immediate change could be the forced exodus of a line of ardent censors from the company, with Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal (hopefully) at the head of line. Agrawal is one of the most anti-free-speech figures in Big Tech. After taking over as CEO, Agrawal quickly made clear that he wanted to steer the company beyond free speech and that the issue is not who can speak but “who can be heard.”

However, once such figures are removed from Twitter, the question is how to re-establish a culture of free speech.

The answer may be in the very distinction used by Democratic politicians and pundits to justify corporate censorship.

For years, anti-free-speech figures have dismissed free speech objections to social media censorship by stressing that the First Amendment applies only to the government, not private companies.

The distinction was always a dishonest effort to evade the implications of speech controls, whether implemented by the government or corporations. The First Amendment was never the exclusive definition of free speech. Free speech is viewed by many of us as a human right; the First Amendment only deals with one source for limiting it. Free speech can be undermined by private corporations as well as government agencies. This threat is even greater when politicians openly use corporations to achieve indirectly what they cannot achieve directly.

Corporations clearly have free speech rights. Ironically, Democrats have long opposed such rights for companies, but they embrace such rights when it comes to censorship. The Democratic Party embraced corporate governance of free speech once these companies aligned themselves with their political agenda. Starbucks and every other company have every right to pursue a woke agenda. Social media companies, however, sell communications, not coffee. They should be in the business of free speech.

Democrats have continued to treat the First Amendment as synonymous with free speech, as a way to justify greater censorship.

Just last week, former President Barack Obama spoke at Stanford to flog this false line. Obama started by declaring himself, against every indication to the contrary, to be “pretty close to a First Amendment absolutist.” He then called for the censorship of anything that he considered “disinformation,” including “lies, conspiracy theories, junk science, quackery, racist tracts and misogynist screeds.”

He was able to do that by emphasizing that “The First Amendment is a check on the power of the state. It doesn’t apply to private companies like Facebook or Twitter.”

Well, what if it did?

The Constitution does not impose the same standard on Twitter — but Musk could. He could order a new Twitter team to err on the side of free speech while utilizing First Amendment standards to maximize protections on the platform. In other words, if the government could not censor a tweet, Twitter would not do so.

The key to such an approach is not to treat Twitter as akin to “government speech,” a category where the government has allowed major speech controls. Rather, tweets are very much as Musk has described them: akin to speech in “the digital town square.” If the government could not stop someone from speaking in a public forum like a town square, Twitter should not do so through private means.

The value to tying private speech to First Amendment jurisprudence is that there is a steady array of cases illuminating this standard and its applications.

Such a rule would admittedly allow a large array of offensive and objectionable speech — just as the First Amendment does in a public square. That is the price of free speech.

This is, admittedly, not a perfect fit. Twitter needs to protect itself from civil liability in the form of trademark, copyright and other violations in the use of its platforms. Moreover, most sites (including my own blog) delete racist and offensive terms. That can be done through standard moderation systems or, preferably, optional filters for users to adopt on Twitter. There are also standard rules against doxxing as well as personal threats or privacy violations.

Social media companies long had these limitations before plunging headlong into the type of content-based speech regulations made infamous by Twitter. Musk can use the baseline of the First Amendment with these limited augmentations to re-create the type of relatively open forums that once characterized the internet.

I have long admitted to being a type of “internet originalist” who prefers precisely the digital town square concept embraced by Musk. Adopting the First Amendment standards would create a foundation for free speech that can be tweaked to accommodate narrow, well-defined limitations.

The greatest challenge is not the restoration of free speech but the retention of such a site.

Notably, figures like Hillary Clinton have suddenly turned from advocating corporate censorship to calling for good old-fashioned state censorship. Last week, Clinton called on the European Union to pass the Digital Services Act (DSA), a massive censorship measure that has received preliminary approval. Coming after Musk’s bid for Twitter, Clinton and others now want to use European countries to offer the same circumvention of the First Amendment. Rather than use a corporate surrogate, they would use an alternative state surrogate to force Twitter to censor content or face stiff penalties in Europe.

Musk will have to fight that battle when it comes. In the interim, he can rally the public, as he did Twitter shareholders, to the cause of free speech.

*********

(TLB) published this article from Jonathan Turley with our appreciation for this  perspective. 

Header featured image/credit: The Choice is Yours/Birds/ nationandstate.com/ 2022/04/28/the-first-amendment-option


unnamed-1

Bio

Professor Jonathan Turley is a nationally recognized legal scholar who has written extensively in areas ranging from constitutional law to legal theory to tort law. He has written over three dozen academic articles that have appeared in a variety of leading law journals at Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, Northwestern, University of Chicago, and other schools.

After a stint at Tulane Law School, Professor Turley joined the George Washington faculty in 1990 and, in 1998, was given the prestigious Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law, the youngest chaired professor in the school’s history. In addition to his extensive publications, Professor Turley has served as counsel in some of the most notable cases in the last two decades including the representation of whistleblowers, military personnel, judges, members of Congress, and a wide range of other clients.

Continue reading Bio…

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The Liberty Beacon Project is now expanding at a near exponential rate, and for this we are grateful and excited! But we must also be practical. For 7 years we have not asked for any donations, and have built this project with our own funds as we grew. We are now experiencing ever increasing growing pains due to the large number of websites and projects we represent. So we have just installed donation buttons on our websites and ask that you consider this when you visit them. Nothing is too small. We thank you for all your support and your considerations … (TLB)

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Comment Policy: As a privately owned web site, we reserve the right to remove comments that contain spam, advertising, vulgarity, threats of violence, racism, or personal/abusive attacks on other users. This also applies to trolling, the use of more than one alias, or just intentional mischief. Enforcement of this policy is at the discretion of this websites administrators. Repeat offenders may be blocked or permanently banned without prior warning.

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Disclaimer: TLB websites contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, health, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

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Disclaimer: The information and opinions shared are for informational purposes only including, but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material are not intended as medical advice or instruction. Nothing mentioned is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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An Easy Way For Musk To Restore Free Speech On Twitter

An Easy Way For Musk To Restore Free Speech On Twitter


An Easy Way For Musk To Restore Free Speech On Twitter

The First Amendment Option

By Jonathan Turley

Twitter Logo

Below is my column in the Hill on one way for Elon Musk to re-introduce free speech values on his newly acquired social media platform. Pro-censorship advocates like former President Barack Obama may have given Musk a roadmap for restoring free speech on Twitter.

Here is the column:

For free speech advocates, Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter could prove the most impactful event since Twitter’s founding in 2006. The question, however, is how Musk can accomplish his lofty goal of restoring free speech values to social media. He first would have to untie the Gordian knot of censorship in a company now synonymous with speech control. The answer may be simpler than most people think. Indeed, anti-free-speech figures in the country may have given Musk the very roadmap he’s looking for: the First Amendment.

The purchase of Twitter alone will have immediate and transformative changes for free speech. The control over speech on social media required a unified front. Free speech is like water, it tends to find a way out. With social media, there was no way out because of the unified front of companies like Google, Apple and Facebook. Facebook is actually running commercials trying to convince people to embrace their own censorship. This message was reinforced by Democratic leaders like President Biden, who demanded that these companies expand censorship and curtail access to harmful viewpoints.

Now this market has one major competitor selling a free speech product.

The fear is that Musk might be proven right and that Twitter could become larger and more profitable by allowing more free speech. Facebook has not had much success in convincing customers to embrace censorship, but it may find shareholders wondering why the Facebook board (like the Twitter board) is undermining its own product as a communications company committed to limited speech.

Another immediate change could be the forced exodus of a line of ardent censors from the company, with Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal (hopefully) at the head of line. Agrawal is one of the most anti-free-speech figures in Big Tech. After taking over as CEO, Agrawal quickly made clear that he wanted to steer the company beyond free speech and that the issue is not who can speak but “who can be heard.”

However, once such figures are removed from Twitter, the question is how to re-establish a culture of free speech.

The answer may be in the very distinction used by Democratic politicians and pundits to justify corporate censorship.

For years, anti-free-speech figures have dismissed free speech objections to social media censorship by stressing that the First Amendment applies only to the government, not private companies.

The distinction was always a dishonest effort to evade the implications of speech controls, whether implemented by the government or corporations. The First Amendment was never the exclusive definition of free speech. Free speech is viewed by many of us as a human right; the First Amendment only deals with one source for limiting it. Free speech can be undermined by private corporations as well as government agencies. This threat is even greater when politicians openly use corporations to achieve indirectly what they cannot achieve directly.

Corporations clearly have free speech rights. Ironically, Democrats have long opposed such rights for companies, but they embrace such rights when it comes to censorship. The Democratic Party embraced corporate governance of free speech once these companies aligned themselves with their political agenda. Starbucks and every other company have every right to pursue a woke agenda. Social media companies, however, sell communications, not coffee. They should be in the business of free speech.

Democrats have continued to treat the First Amendment as synonymous with free speech, as a way to justify greater censorship.

Just last week, former President Barack Obama spoke at Stanford to flog this false line. Obama started by declaring himself, against every indication to the contrary, to be “pretty close to a First Amendment absolutist.” He then called for the censorship of anything that he considered “disinformation,” including “lies, conspiracy theories, junk science, quackery, racist tracts and misogynist screeds.”

He was able to do that by emphasizing that “The First Amendment is a check on the power of the state. It doesn’t apply to private companies like Facebook or Twitter.”

Well, what if it did?

The Constitution does not impose the same standard on Twitter — but Musk could. He could order a new Twitter team to err on the side of free speech while utilizing First Amendment standards to maximize protections on the platform. In other words, if the government could not censor a tweet, Twitter would not do so.

The key to such an approach is not to treat Twitter as akin to “government speech,” a category where the government has allowed major speech controls. Rather, tweets are very much as Musk has described them: akin to speech in “the digital town square.” If the government could not stop someone from speaking in a public forum like a town square, Twitter should not do so through private means.

The value to tying private speech to First Amendment jurisprudence is that there is a steady array of cases illuminating this standard and its applications.

Such a rule would admittedly allow a large array of offensive and objectionable speech — just as the First Amendment does in a public square. That is the price of free speech.

This is, admittedly, not a perfect fit. Twitter needs to protect itself from civil liability in the form of trademark, copyright and other violations in the use of its platforms. Moreover, most sites (including my own blog) delete racist and offensive terms. That can be done through standard moderation systems or, preferably, optional filters for users to adopt on Twitter. There are also standard rules against doxxing as well as personal threats or privacy violations.

Social media companies long had these limitations before plunging headlong into the type of content-based speech regulations made infamous by Twitter. Musk can use the baseline of the First Amendment with these limited augmentations to re-create the type of relatively open forums that once characterized the internet.

I have long admitted to being a type of “internet originalist” who prefers precisely the digital town square concept embraced by Musk. Adopting the First Amendment standards would create a foundation for free speech that can be tweaked to accommodate narrow, well-defined limitations.

The greatest challenge is not the restoration of free speech but the retention of such a site.

Notably, figures like Hillary Clinton have suddenly turned from advocating corporate censorship to calling for good old-fashioned state censorship. Last week, Clinton called on the European Union to pass the Digital Services Act (DSA), a massive censorship measure that has received preliminary approval. Coming after Musk’s bid for Twitter, Clinton and others now want to use European countries to offer the same circumvention of the First Amendment. Rather than use a corporate surrogate, they would use an alternative state surrogate to force Twitter to censor content or face stiff penalties in Europe.

Musk will have to fight that battle when it comes. In the interim, he can rally the public, as he did Twitter shareholders, to the cause of free speech.

*********

(TLB) published this article from Jonathan Turley with our appreciation for this  perspective. 

Header featured image/credit: The Choice is Yours/Birds/ nationandstate.com/ 2022/04/28/the-first-amendment-option


unnamed-1

Bio

Professor Jonathan Turley is a nationally recognized legal scholar who has written extensively in areas ranging from constitutional law to legal theory to tort law. He has written over three dozen academic articles that have appeared in a variety of leading law journals at Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, Northwestern, University of Chicago, and other schools.

After a stint at Tulane Law School, Professor Turley joined the George Washington faculty in 1990 and, in 1998, was given the prestigious Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law, the youngest chaired professor in the school’s history. In addition to his extensive publications, Professor Turley has served as counsel in some of the most notable cases in the last two decades including the representation of whistleblowers, military personnel, judges, members of Congress, and a wide range of other clients.

Continue reading Bio…

••••

••••

Stay tuned to …

••••

The Liberty Beacon Project is now expanding at a near exponential rate, and for this we are grateful and excited! But we must also be practical. For 7 years we have not asked for any donations, and have built this project with our own funds as we grew. We are now experiencing ever increasing growing pains due to the large number of websites and projects we represent. So we have just installed donation buttons on our websites and ask that you consider this when you visit them. Nothing is too small. We thank you for all your support and your considerations … (TLB)

••••

Comment Policy: As a privately owned web site, we reserve the right to remove comments that contain spam, advertising, vulgarity, threats of violence, racism, or personal/abusive attacks on other users. This also applies to trolling, the use of more than one alias, or just intentional mischief. Enforcement of this policy is at the discretion of this websites administrators. Repeat offenders may be blocked or permanently banned without prior warning.

••••

Disclaimer: TLB websites contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, health, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

••••

Disclaimer: The information and opinions shared are for informational purposes only including, but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material are not intended as medical advice or instruction. Nothing mentioned is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Incensed By Elon Musk’s Twitter Takeover, The Left Won’t Even Pay Lip Service To Free Speech

Incensed By Elon Musk’s Twitter Takeover, The Left Won’t Even Pay Lip Service To Free Speech

If you want to know how insane our disinformation discourse is right now, consider this: on Wednesday, just two days after Elon Musk secured a $44 billion deal to purchase Twitter — triggering apoplectic doomsaying from his critics on the left — news broke that the Department of Homeland Security has created a “Disinformation Governance Board” to combat misinformation ahead of the 2022 midterms.

Testifying before the House Appropriations Subcommittee, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the new entity would address the “threat” of so-called targeted misinformation campaigns among minority communities. Hours later, Politico reported the DHS board would also focus on illegal immigration and Russia, and would be led by Nina Jankowicz, a former disinformation fellow at the Wilson Center and an advisor to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, who also happens to be a Russia collusion truther.

In addition to spreading the false story that former President Donald Trump was put in office as part of a nefarious Kremlin plot, Jankowicz once claimed armed Trump supporters would show up to the polls to intimidate voters. In the runup to the 2020 election, she spread the false narrative that Hunter Biden’s laptop was a Russian influence operation.

Indeed, the choice of Jankowicz to head a DHS office targeting election misinformation ahead of the midterms tells you everything you need know about what the Biden administration means when it uses terms like “misinformation,” and sets up a board at DHS to “combat” it. The point of the board is to suppress any information or news that runs counter to the administration’s political aims and policy agenda. Understood in this light, the new DHS board amounts to a Soviet-style Ministry of Truth, a propaganda operation designed to quash speech and hide information from voters ahead of national elections — the exact opposite of its stated purpose.

News of this Disinformation Governance Board should snap the entire Musk-Twitter saga into focus. The unintentionally hilarious freak-outs from corporate media and left-wing blue checks about the end of democracy if Musk takes control of Twitter are not, according to the left’s point of view, overreactions.

For them, the purpose of Twitter is not to facilitate free speech or the salutary exchange of ideas or even robust debate. They care as much about all that as, say, Mayorkas and Jankowicz care about disinformation ahead of the midterms. Nor do they care all that much about hateful speech or targeted harassment on Twitter. So long as the targets of hate and harassment are on the right, it’s fine by them.

When they decry Musk’s takeover and lament that it will threaten democracy, what they mean is that they fear losing control over the platform, which, although smaller than some other social media companies, is a remarkably powerful tool for controlling narratives and shaping news coverage. None of the people who now claim Musk’s ownership of Twitter is a huge problem saw any problem at all with Twitter’s suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story ahead of the 2020 presidential election — a major case of actual misinformation that arguably influenced the outcome of the election.

You cannot get them to admit this, though, in part because they will not admit it to themselves. The epistemic closure on the left makes it impossible for someone like The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer, for example, to understand the Musk takeover of Twitter as a potential victory for free speech. For Serwer, the entire debate about free speech on Twitter is a canard, “a disingenuous attempt to frame what is ultimately a political conflict over Twitter’s usage as a neutral question about civil liberties, but the outcome conservatives are hoping for is one in which conservative speech on the platform is favored and liberal speech disfavored.”

That pretty much sums up what the left is telling itself about all this. Allowing conservatives to speak their minds on Twitter about, say, transgenderism or abortion or critical race theory, can’t possibly be considered “free speech.” To them, it’s just “hateful conduct,” and should be censored.

Same goes for raising concerns about last-minute changes to voting rules ahead of the 2020 election, or questions about the origins of Covid-19 and the efficacy of the vaccines. Mention any of that, and you’re liable to get locked out of your Twitter account. (Believe me, I know whereof I speak.)

For the left, this isn’t only right and just, it’s necessary to “protect democracy.” Consider the recent remarks from former President Barack Obama — the living, breathing avatar for this mode of thinking.

During a speech at Stanford University, Obama said censoring speech online is necessary to thwart disinformation that could hoodwink people into believing falsehoods or losing trust in their leaders, and we can’t have that. “Once they lose trust in their leaders, in mainstream media, in political institutions, in each other, in the possibility of truth, the game’s won,” he said.

It never occurs to Obama, or to his rapt audience at Stanford, that our leaders richly deserved to be distrusted, as do the mainstream media and our political institutions. The important thing, for Obama and those with his mindset, is not that these people and institutions prove themselves trustworthy, only that they be seen as such. If that means a little more online censorship, then so be it.

It was not always so. There was a time not so long ago Obama himself at least made it sound like he thought free speech was important.

Speaking at the United Nations in 2012 just weeks after the terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi that killed Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador in Libya, along with three other Americans, Obama mounted a spirited defense of free speech. (Set aside, for the moment, that he did so under the false pretense that the Benghazi attack came about as a result of spontaneous protests of an anti-Muslim video, and not, as everyone at the time knew, a coordinated assault by Islamic militants affiliated with Al Qaeda.)

The reason the United States protects free speech, Obama said, is “because in a diverse society, efforts to restrict speech can quickly become a tool to silence critics and oppress minorities,” and because, “given the power of faith in our lives, and the passion that religious differences can inflame, the strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression, it is more speech.”

Efforts to suppress free speech, he went on, are doomed to fail because “in 2012, at a time when anyone with a cell phone can spread offensive views around the world with the click of a button, the notion that we can control the flow of information is obsolete.”

What a difference a decade makes.


John Daniel Davidson is a senior editor at The Federalist. His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Claremont Review of Books, The New York Post, and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter, @johnddavidson.

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Big Tech Censors Are Pivoting From Covid To Climate Change

Big Tech Censors Are Pivoting From Covid To Climate Change

Amid news of Elon Musk’s desire to buy and restore free speech to Twitter, the social media company announced a new policy last Friday prohibiting all advertisements that they say “contradict scientific consensus on climate change.”

The move comes just days after former President Barack Obama appeared at Stanford University to effectively call for more censorship on Big Tech platforms. “While content moderation can limit distribution of clearly dangerous content, it doesn’t go far enough,” he lamented. “People are dying because of misinformation.”

Of course, Obama is advocating for an expansion of the restrictive and undemocratic tactics used by governments and their allies in Silicon Valley during the Covid-19 outbreak to promote regime-approved narratives and suppress dissent.

It’s not the first time we’ve heard this message from leftist elites. “What we learned from this Covid crisis,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau let slip last summer, “we will be applying to the climate crisis, to the housing crisis, to reconciliation, to making sure everyone has good jobs.” We’re now seeing this Orwellian vision take form.

Google has already banned advertisements that “contradict well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change.” YouTube and Facebook now display Covid-style warning labels and “information panels” next to videos and posts that mention climate change or global warming. But that’s not all.

Earlier this month, Pinterest — a social media service commonly used for sharing recipes, images of home decor, and fashion ideas — said it would begin aggressively censoring user content that strays from prevailing climate change orthodoxy.

Labeling Dissent as ‘Misinformation’

The ban on so-called “climate misinformation” includes removing content that “denies the existence or impacts of climate change, the human influence on climate change, or that climate change is backed by scientific consensus.” In other words, you’re no longer allowed to express what you believe is true on Pinterest.

Under the new policy, “False or misleading content about climate change solutions that contradict well-established scientific consensus” will be removed, as well as “Content that misrepresents scientific data, including by omission or cherry-picking, in order to erode trust in climate science and experts.” Notice a familiar theme?

It turns out the “climate misinformation policy” isn’t really about the climate. Rather, it seems the bulk of Pinterest’s policy is aimed at ensuring that no one on its platform challenges the “consensus” or proclamations of unassailable “experts.” Put another way, free and independent thought is the real problem that must be stopped.

No Debate Allowed

In order to accomplish this — in order to censor ideas and alternative perspectives that the San Francisco-based company disapproves of — Pinterest says it has partnered with “experts” (there’s that word again) including the Climate Disinformation Coalition and Conscious Advertising Network to help “inform and develop our policy based on common misinformation themes they’re seeing across media platforms.”

So might we expect viral, hyperbolic claims about the impact of climate change made by the likes of Green New Deal co-author Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., to be flagged and removed for promoting misinformation? Of course not. Instead, what we’ll likely see is the censoring of people such as best-selling author Bjorn Lomborg — who believes climate change is real but does not believe it represents an apocalyptic threat to humanity.

For example, an op-ed by Lomborg in The Wall Street Journal last year noted that despite breathless hysteria from climate activists and the corporate media, worldwide deaths from extreme weather events have actually fallen dramatically over the past 100 years.

“A century ago, almost half a million people died on average each year from storms, floods, droughts, wildfires and extreme temperatures. Over the next 10 decades, global annual deaths from these causes declined 96%, to 18,000. In 2020, they dropped to 14,000.” These numbers may well “erode trust in climate science and experts.” By Pinterest’s new standard, that’s enough to have them scrubbed from their website.

Then there’s this recent exchange between Musk and TED’s Chris Anderson: “There’s a consensus of scientists, a large consensus of scientists, who believe if we haven’t completely eliminated greenhouse gasses or offset them completely by 2050, effectively, we’re inviting climate catastrophe,” Anderson noted.

“I am not one of the doomsday people, which may surprise [you]. I actually think we’re on a good path,” Musk pushed back. “So long as we are not complacent, as long as we have a high sense of urgency about moving towards a sustainable energy economy, then I think things will be fine…The future’s going to be great. Don’t worry about it.”

By his own admission, Tesla’s CEO — one of the most brilliant and capable minds on the planet — is openly bucking “well-established scientific consensus,” which we’re now told qualifies as “climate misinformation.” See how this works?

Reasonable Disagreement Is a Threat

Michael Khoo serves as “climate disinformation co-chair” at Friends of the Earth. He believes Pinterest has “demonstrated great leadership” and wants other tech platforms to follow suit. “Climate disinformation on digital platforms is a serious threat to the public support needed to solve the climate crisis,” according to Khoo.

What’s revealing is the framing of Khoo’s above statement: In his judgment, the “serious threat” is not the supposed “climate crisis” but the prospect of insufficient “public support.” Indeed, what Khoo appears most worried about is that competing points of view may be more persuasive than his own — so they must be crushed.

For the second time in as many years, we’re witnessing a partisan public relations campaign masquerading as objective science. Once again, it involves politicians, Big Tech, and the country’s expert class working in tandem to silence opposing voices by targeting free speech online.


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