Patterico's Pontifications

5/27/2020

Trump Violates First Amendment with a Tweet

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



President Trump today threatened a private company with governmental retaliation for its speech. The threat was vague enough, in terms of what would happen and what it would be a response to, that his defenders will argue that critics are overreacting. However, threats of government action for speech are themselves a First Amendment violation. The President actually violated the First Amendment this morning, just by tweeting.

And it’s not the first time he’s done it.

Here’s the background. The other day Trump tweeted the following:

Trump Mail In Ballot Tweet 1

Trump Mail In Ballot Tweet 2

Those blue messages below the tweets were added by Twitter. Clicking on them leads to the following “fact check”:

Trump makes unsubstantiated claim that mail-in ballots will lead to voter fraud

On Tuesday, President Trump made a series of claims about potential voter fraud after California Governor Gavin Newsom announced an effort to expand mail-in voting in California during the COVID-19 pandemic. These claims are unsubstantiated, according to CNN, Washington Post and others. Experts say mail-in ballots are very rarely linked to voter fraud.

What you need to know

– Trump falsely claimed that mail-in ballots would lead to “a Rigged Election.” However, fact-checkers say there is no evidence that mail-in ballots are linked to voter fraud.

– Trump falsely claimed that California will send mail-in ballots to “anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there.” In fact, only registered voters will receive ballots.

– Five states already vote entirely by mail and all states offer some form of mail-in absentee voting, according to NBC News.

To some, it might seem seductive to have a system like this that calls out Trump’s lies. Trump lies like he breathes. Nobody knows how to lie like Trump. Shouldn’t he be held to a standard of truth?

Not this way, no. Such fact checks are a bad idea for a host of reasons.

First, fact checkers should limit themselves to actual facts; taking a statement that might be true but that fact checkers believe there is “no evidence” to substantiate is not, in my view, the proper role of a fact checker.

But more fundamentally, any such enterprise by Twitter is doomed to fail by the very nature of the project. There is no possible way for one entity to do it comprehensively enough and accurately enough to make it an addition to the discourse. Inevitably one of these fact checks will be wrong. Also, they can’t fact check everyone. It’s impossible. So whom will they choose to check? Will they fact check China? Biden? Alyssa Milano? Also, when they don’t fact check a false claim, it will be taken as evidence it’s true.

Reliance on “fact checkers” is always lazy and sloppy. It has never been otherwise. I would vastly prefer a system where the people themselves conduct their own search for truth, in replies and their own tweets, to a system that fact checks false claims as official diktats of the platform.

That said, the fact check is Twitter’s speech. And Trump this morning is clearly threatening retaliation:

Sure, he’s not saying specifically and explicitly why he is planning a “big action” or whether it’s a big government action. But we can read between the lines. The mobster who enters the business of a proprietor who is not paying the mob extortion money, and says it would be a shame if it burned down, can always profess to have been genuinely concerned about fire hazards. But under the circumstances, reasonable people can see a threat for what it is.

Trump views this as vindicating free speech, not threatening it:

But in fact Trump’s tweet this morning is a First Amendment violation. Because Twitter’s fact check, however ill-advised it might be, is Twitter’s speech. And Trump is threatening to retaliate for that speech, using the power of the Government to do so. Who knows how? It might be regulation or Lord knows what else. But the “big action” to follow is probably not just a personal decision, like, say, Trump leaving Twitter. (We should be so lucky.)

Hold up! I hear you saying. Maybe he is *threatening* (in a vague way) a First Amendment violation, but the tweet itself is not a First Amendment violation, right? Wrong. I believe it is, all by itself. Let’s look at a relevant case: Backpage.com, LLC v. Dart (7th Cir. 2015) 807 F.3d 229.

In that case, a sheriff publicly called on credit card companies to stop dealing with an online business that provided a forum for adult activities, some of which might be illegal Notably, the sheriff sent letters to the credit card companies alluding to, as the court put it, “their potential susceptibility to ‘money laundering prosecutions and/or hefty fines.'” He signed it in his capacity as sheriff, not as a private citizen.

The sheriff ripostes that he’s not using his office to organize a boycott of Backpage by threatening legal sanctions, but merely expressing his disgust with Backpage’s sex-related ads and the illegal activities that they facilitate. That’s not true, and while he has a First Amendment right to express his views about Backpage, a public official who tries to shut down an avenue of expression of ideas and opinions through “actual or threatened imposition of government power or sanction” is violating the First Amendment. American Family Association, Inc. v. City & County of San Francisco, 277 F.3d 1114, 1125 (9th Cir.2002).

. . . .“[T]he fact that a public-official defendant lacks direct regulatory or decisionmaking authority over a plaintiff, or a third party that is publishing or otherwise disseminating the plaintiffs message, is not necessarily dispositive…. What matters is the distinction between attempts to convince and attempts to coerce. A public-official defendant who threatens to employ coercive state power to stifle protected speech *231violates a plaintiffs First Amendment rights, regardless of whether the threatened punishment comes in the form of the use (or, misuse) of the defendant’s direct regulatory or decisionmaking authority over the plaintiff, or in some less-direct form.” Notice that such a threat is actionable and thus can be enjoined even if it turns out to be empty — the victim ignores it, and the threatener folds his tent. But the victims in this case yielded to the threat.

The court ordered the district judge to grant Backpage’s request injunction against the sheriff engaging in such coercion.

So a threat of governmental retaliation for speech is a First Amendment violation. The government official need not actually take the threatened action.

And Trump has done this before.

This habit of his is very dangerous, and will become only worse if he is re-elected.

UPDATE: The President had tweeted more specifics earlier about what he might do, including regulating or closing down social media platforms:

Again, the fact that it may be an empty threat does not make it less of a First Amendment violation.

220 Responses to “Trump Violates First Amendment with a Tweet”

  1. Pleaase, please, please, Brair Orange Raccoon, kick that tar-baby…!!!!

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  2. Twitter is stifling free speech.

    This is utterly disingenuous. Free speech does not mean immunity from criticism. It means the govt. cannot stop you from speaking.

    Trump is free to post BS, and others, including Twitter, are free to call him out on it. And still others are free to read both (and any other evidence) and come to their own conclusions.

    That is the essence of free speech.

    Bored Lawyer (56c962)

  3. ….Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH,

    And there you have it. The definition of a Trump supporter. Somebody who reads has that read to them and agrees.

    nk (1d9030)

  4. Trump is free to post BS, and others, including Twitter, are free to call him out on it.

    Trump the private citizen can say what he wants but Trump the President is acting in his official capacity, just like the Sheriff. IMO everything Trump says is in his official capacity as President unless he specifically says otherwise — especially things a government official controls like threatening a license or implying government action like “Big action to follow!”

    DRJ (15874d)

  5. Another word for fact-checking is reporting, so I object to “lazy and sloppy”. Like with any other journalist, there are good ones who keep their bias in check, and there are the journalists who don’t. Not that they’re perfect, but the good ones stick to actual fact-checking and keep their political opinions to the side.
    So in that light, it was a fair idea to put a warning label on his obvious lies (and add links to those fact-checks), either that or suspend him.

    Paul Montagu (b3f51b)

  6. Could Jared Kushner attempt to seize Twitter under the Defense Production Act? Trump probably doesn’t even remember what the DPA is, or even this tweet for that matter, but Jared would. Not that he would go about it any more competently than he has done anything else.

    nk (1d9030)

  7. He should get a blog and label it as private and not in his capacity as President. He could call it Trump’s Tomfoolery.

    DRJ (15874d)

  8. especially things a government official controls like threatening a license or implying government action

    China is already doing this with Google, Apple, film content, NBA, etc.

    Chinese Foreign Minister Zhao Lijian tweeted about the US Army starting CV while the Twitter fact checkers laid down. This is what will get worse, no matter who gets elected.

    Pretending that Trump is the actual threat here is a joke. The law, as it pertains to Trump, will save us from no danger. There’s an actual real world out there.

    beer ‘n pretzels (84e2fc)

  9. As we saw in the Eddie Gallagher and Roger Stone cases, and the kerfuffle with Congress over notice of covert operations, he, himself, has the conceit that his tweets are official directives.

    nk (1d9030)

  10. twitter plays by its own jacobin rules, like the legal insurrection piece noted below,

    narciso (7404b5)

  11. @4

    “Official capacity” has nothing to do with it. Trump is still free to post his opinions. Posting that universal mail-in ballots are a bad idea because that will increase vote fraud is an opinion, and I see nothing wrong with Trump posting that. But, as I said, that opens him up to criticism, for example that empirical evidence proves him wrong. Or Twitter calling him out on the flaws in his opinions.

    That is what the marketplace of ideas means. The president, no less than anyone else, is entitled to enter the debate.

    Where “official capacity” makes a difference is when he threatened to shut down or regulate Twitter. That IS something that a government official would have to do to implicate the First Amendment.

    Bored Lawyer (56c962)

  12. Whenever I see some person/group identified as “fact checkers,” I am immediately suspicious of motives and personal preferences. What are the metrics being used, do these fact checkers already hold to a certain opinion of the individual being fact checked, who monitors the line between fact checking and advocacy? It’s a recipe for disaster, no matter which side you fall on.

    Given that Trump is the President of the United States, everything he says matters, and it should. Even his own press secretary said about Trump’s tweets “[Trump] is the President of the United States, so they’re considered official statements by the President of the United States.” If he hasn’t said that he is making the statements as a private citizen, then they are official statements. And given that he is making these statements on a verified “45th President of the United States of America” Twitter feed, then it’s incumbent upon him to differentiate the comments being being said as something other than in an official capacity.

    Dana (0feb77)

  13. How absurd. He “threatened” a “private company”. Well all hail, Private companies. Guess they can do anything they want. Oh, except they can’t. And Twitter isn’t a publisher, so its not covered by slander laws or the 1st Amendment press protection. Or its covered by both. But it doesn’t get to chose.

    Most never trumpers or libertarians would support Joe Stalin as long as he owned a media Monopoloy. Because “Free Enterprise”> LoL.

    rcocean (846d30)

  14. if Twitter started “gatekeeping” and “fact checking” patterico’s comments, its good to know he’s A-OK with it. Their site, their rules. Same with if they deplatformed him.

    rcocean (846d30)

  15. Mittens has jumped in protect his “good friend” Liberal Democrat and slander merchant Joe scarborough. Romney makes me want to puke. Is there any Politician in DC who’s a bigger sanctimonious phony? And he’s “Concerned” over the widower. Good lord. When has Romney ever attacked the liberals/left like he attacks trump and the Right. What a Fraud!

    rcocean (846d30)

  16. mr donald the president known as trump had an uncle who taught at mit which is actually not named after mitt romney

    i researched it

    anyway he also has an article two where he has the right to whatever he wants as president and you dont so there

    Dave (1bb933)

  17. Trump and most of his supporters only care about free speech as a pretext to rail against criticism. Their only value is the glory of their tribe.

    RCocean is a great example of one such person. Look at the third comment, it’s all rage and grievance that a republican isn’t sufficiently loyal to the tribe.

    Time123 (dba73f)

  18. So Trump just violated the 1st Amendment. What’s the remedy? The Court enjoin Trump from saying such stuff on Twitter? Impeachment?

    Appalled (1a17de)

  19. 18.

    Trump and most of his supporters only care about free speech as a pretext to rail against criticism. Their only value is the glory of their tribe.

    FIFY Time.

    Gryph (08c844)

  20. @ rcocean, #16:

    Mittens has jumped in protect his “good friend” Liberal Democrat and slander merchant Joe scarborough. Romney makes me want to puke. Is there any Politician in DC who’s a bigger sanctimonious phony? And he’s “Concerned” over the widower. Good lord. When has Romney ever attacked the liberals/left like he attacks trump and the Right. What a Fraud!

    Good afternoon, Mr. President! Bad day, I take it?

    Demosthenes (97827d)

  21. Gryph, I think I’m more charitable than you are about this. I have friends and Family that support him for other reasons. But victim hood and grievance has become a big part of the republican brand.

    Time123 (dba73f)

  22. “And Twitter isn’t a publisher, so its not covered by slander laws or the 1st Amendment press protection. Or its covered by both. But it doesn’t get to chose.”

    You have no idea what you’re talking about.

    Davethulhu (0ed007)

  23. @20: Because the irony @18 needed more irony.

    beer ‘n pretzels (a30163)

  24. 22. You can be charitable about this all you want *if* you accept that enough people will acknowledge what a mistake they made voting for Trump in ’16, that it will cost him the election in 2020. Since I believe that Trump will handily win re-election, I can’t really tiptoe around that possibility like some reluctant Trump voters do.

    Gryph (08c844)

  25. tell us more about your moon, usul

    https://apelbaum.wordpress.com/2020/05/19/us-free-speech-meet-your-wealthy-chinese-fact-checker/

    narciso (7404b5) — 5/27/2020 @ 9:57 am

    It’s too the US doesn’t have a leader that can push public sentiment against this. Instead we have a clown who would copy this if he had the wit.

    Time123 (dba73f)

  26. Now Kellyanne Conway is calling for Trumpers to go after Twitter’s “integrity chief”. Several old tweets of his were less than friendly toward Trump’s White House:

    Twitter’s integrity chief, Yoel Roth, wrote a post that explains the policy will be applied mostly to tweets involving false information about COVID-19.

    But Kellyanne Conway, a top adviser to the president, wasn’t happy with the move. On Wednesday she warned Roth in an appearance on Fox News that he was about to get plenty of new followers.

    “He’s the head of integrity and his name is Yoel Roth, he’s @yoyoel,” Conway said on the morning show “Fox and Friends,” which Trump monitors closely and has promoted to his followers. “Somebody in San Francisco, go wake him up and tell him he’s about to get a lot more followers.”

    Dana (0feb77)

  27. How absurd. He “threatened” a “private company”. Well all hail, Private companies. Guess they can do anything they want.

    One of the stupidest in a loooooong line of stupid comments in support of a terrible, awful really bad slug.

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  28. 8. This is a great example of a straw man fallacy.

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  29. I pointed out how the ‘integrity chief’ has none, how they have a cleaner hired by china, to scrub inconvenient data, how twitter hides the conflict for their preferred course of action, as the ap already decided it was kosher,

    narciso (7404b5)

  30. “Somebody in San Francisco, go wake him up and tell him he’s about to get a lot more followers.”

    Has that poor fool heard of the Streisand Effect?

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  31. 28. I can walk and chew gum at the same time. Trump is handling this in what may be the worst possible way for a politician, but I can also acknowledge that in “fact-checking” tweets, Jack Dorsey may be scuttling his own “We aren’t publishers” argument in terms of his own immunity to lawsuits. Of course, I was saying the same thing about Facebook years ago, so there is that.

    The problem is, these “social media” platforms need as many participants as possible in order for their data aggregation to mean anything. And liberals are far more likely to boycott them than conservatives are, so irrespective of Dorsey’s personal political leanings — which I’ve always suspected were quite leftist anyway — he has a vested personal interest in keeping liberals on the platform so that his business model doesn’t tank. Then the problem becomes, to what degree is he opening himself up to lawsuits by abandoning the impartial observer role that he had taken upon himself previously?

    Gryph (08c844)

  32. 34. Of course, that reason was nothing even remotely approaching practicality or rationality. But there was a reason.

    Gryph (08c844)

  33. 34. ZOMG! Calling Duh Donald a racist tangerine!?!?

    We all know he’s a racist moronic orange!

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  34. Dana @ 28. Heh! Good move, Kellyanne! It will keep Twitter too busy suspending the accounts of Trumpkins who harass Yoel Roth to fact-check Trump’s tweets.

    nk (1d9030)

  35. @ #34:

    Yeah, it’s pretty bad, alright. Thank goodness Trump never calls anyone names…

    Demosthenes (97827d)

  36. China is already doing this with Google, Apple, film content, NBA, etc.

    Chinese Foreign Minister Zhao Lijian tweeted about the US Army starting CV while the Twitter fact checkers laid down. This is what will get worse, no matter who gets elected.

    Now, do America.

    Patterico’s point is that with infinity tweets a day, their fact checkers cannot police the whole platform. Twitter shouldn’t try, either it’s automated, then promoted to review, then notify the poster to change, then delete the account.

    I’d say, automate it, then disable the acct, then the abuser has to provide a written apology first, with a reason they’ll not do it again, pay a “reinstatement fee”, and agree to pay $20 per tweet as a paid account. That way twitter would make some money, Trump would go bankrupt Tweeting, maybe someone would leak his $12M monthly Twitter bill.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  37. Twitter has now shown that everything we have been saying about them (and their other compatriots) is correct. Big action to follow!—Donelle Twamp, mean gurl

    Stompy-foot, snot-bubble blowing tantrum to follow…

    How anyone could support this painfully moronic slug is incomprehensible.

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  38. I think social media sites should be free to curate their virtual spaces as they see fit. It’s made facebook, instagram, craigslist, Gab, & this blog the places they are today. Some I use, Some I don’t.

    More people use Twitter than Gab. At one point in time more people used Myspace than Facebook. These things change pretty fast so I’m not too worried about it.

    Time123 (457a1d)

  39. I’m not too worried that Trump will follow through on this threats. I was worried that he would do the stupid things he says. But eventually I realized he was all talk. I think we have 3 new miles of border wall today compared to 2016 and he’s done nothing to make Mexico pay for it.

    What I’m more concerned about is that the next competent administration will try to build from the principles that he espouses in a way that actually happens.

    Time123 (457a1d)

  40. 42. They’re free to curate their virtual spaces, just like newspapers can print falsehoods (as long as they are non-defamatory). The problem is that once you get into editorial decisions, the argument that you’re not a publisher no longer holds water. Newspapers can be sued for their content, and the only argument I’m making is that Twitter should now be open to lawsuits for theirs on the same basis.

    Gryph (08c844)

  41. Both my parents are deceased, my mom over five years.

    They both still get mail-in ballots (CA). I’ve notified the state and county multiple times that both are gone.

    To prevent fraud I shred them, as everyone else does.
    _

    harkin (4a404c)

  42. “ Twitter for the first time put a fact-check label on tweets from President Trump, using the controversial tactic on messages in which the president complained there is “no way” that “mail-in ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent.”

    It may be instructive that Twitter seized on the mail-in balloting tweets as the first issue from Trump’s rapid fire social media feed to slap with a fact-check label. Twitter did not disclose in its so-called fact-check it is partners with two groups financed by leftist donors that engage in voter participation efforts, including drives pushing mail-in balloting.

    https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/05/27/twitters-trump-fact-check-does-not-disclose-company-partnered-with-groups-pushing-mail-in-ballots.
    _

    harkin (4a404c)

  43. “Twitter did not disclose in its so-called fact-check it is partners with two groups financed by leftist donors that engage in voter participation efforts, including drives pushing mail-in balloting.””

    Does this change the validity of the fact check?

    Davethulhu (0ed007)

  44. 47. It does not change the validity (or lack thereof) on its own. It does utterly and completely torch the idea that Twitter is an impartial forum, and therefore should be immune from lawsuits.

    Gryph (08c844)

  45. “It does utterly and completely torch the idea that Twitter is an impartial forum, and therefore should be immune from lawsuits.”

    No it doesn’t

    Davethulhu (0ed007)

  46. https://www.breitbart.com/2020-election/2020/05/27/exclusive-dinesh-dsouza-the-specter-of-socialism/

    And in the real world the left is trying to normalize insanity.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  47. 42. They’re free to curate their virtual spaces, just like newspapers can print falsehoods (as long as they are non-defamatory). The problem is that once you get into editorial decisions, the argument that you’re not a publisher no longer holds water. Newspapers can be sued for their content, and the only argument I’m making is that Twitter should now be open to lawsuits for theirs on the same basis.

    Gryph (08c844) — 5/27/2020 @ 10:57 am

    Trying to fit Twitter/FB/This Blog into the old model doesn’t work.

    Here’s the rule as we have it. You can maintain a virtual space with content moderation and not be liable for things other people say in your virtual space. That’s the rule, it seems to be working pretty well. I have more options for online communication than I have time to use.

    The answer to virtual spaces with rules you don’t like are other virtual spaces. The problem isn’t that people are trapped in Twitter/FB/Google. They’re free to use other sites that do similar things. But people don’t want to, they like the spaces that these companies have built.

    Time123 (dba73f)

  48. “And in the real world the left is trying to normalize insanity.”

    If you’re quoting D’Souza, you’re on the wrong side of the “insanity” argument.

    Davethulhu (0ed007)

  49. 51. I’m not trying to fit anything into any model. That’s Twitter’s argument and it’s held water with the courts before. “We are not publishers.” Well, guess what, Dorsey? You are now. And that’s going to come with a whole slew of consequences you’re not ready for as a social media/data aggregation platform.

    Gryph (08c844)

  50. “Well, guess what, Dorsey? You are now. And that’s going to come with a whole slew of consequences you’re not ready for as a social media/data aggregation platform.”

    No they’re not. The people who have been telling you that this is so have been lying to you.

    Davethulhu (0ed007)

  51. . I would vastly prefer a system where the people themselves conduct their own search for truth, in replies and their own tweets, to a system that fact checks false claims as official diktats of the platform.

    Long live Utopia!
    Now please revise that argument for the real world, where a lot of people are too lazy, and most people are too busy doing other things that matter to them, to research any but the most glaring claims.

    Kishnevi (65f98d)

  52. 54. They are indeed publishers if indeed they are making editorial decisions. Their whole argument that they aren’t/weren’t publishers was predicated on the fact that they weren’t making editorial decisions. Even publishers can print falsehoods as long as those falsehoods aren’t defamatory; that isn’t what’s being argued here. “Neutral forums” don’t need fact-checkers, but a neutral forum can’t disavow responsibility for its content when they make editorial decisions concerning that content.

    Jack Dorsey: We can’t be held responsible for the content of our platform. We don’t have time to police it.

    also Jack Dorsey: But we’re going to police certain Tweets from certain individuals.

    That’s not how this works. The next time Dorsey gets hauled into court for something that happens on Twitter (and there will be a next time), he’s going to have to make the argument that he’s not a publisher based solely on the quantity of tweets. I can’t imagine that argument holding water.

    Gryph (08c844)

  53. “They are indeed publishers if indeed they are making editorial decisions.”

    No, they’re not.

    Here’s section 230: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/47/230

    Feel free to point out the “neutral forums”, “editorial decisions”, or any other buzzword you like exception. You won’t find it.

    Davethulhu (0ed007)

  54. 57. I see a lot in there about obscenity and “offensive material.” I see nothing about routine editorial decisions or fact-checking. There is nothing in the US code that would make Twitter, as a publisher, immune from civil suits for defamation on the basis that “our content is a lot of people who tweet here.” Otherwise, newspapers could just argue that they are immune from civil suits for what their reporters write.

    FWIW, it’s still not a slam-dunk case against Twitter in matters of defamation. I’m not saying they’re guilty of it. I’m just saying that this is a potential window to allow such lawsuits to go forward on the basis of the argument that they are a publisher instead of a neutral forum. They haven’t been a truly neutral forum for a long time, but if there was ever a reason to test this in court, fact-checking the president ranks right up there.

    Gryph (08c844)

  55. I’ll go ahead an poach the applicable section…

    (c)Protection for “Good Samaritan” blocking and screening of offensive material
    (1)Treatment of publisher or speaker
    No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.

    (2)Civil liability–No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of—
    (A)any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected; or
    (B)any action taken to enable or make available to information content providers or others the technical means to restrict access to material described in paragraph (1).[1]

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  56. “They haven’t been a truly neutral forum for a long time, but if there was ever a reason to test this in court, fact-checking the president ranks right up there.”

    Neutrality isn’t required.

    No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.

    No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of—
    (A) any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected

    It’s literally there in black and white. Point out the “editorial decisions” exception. Point out the “neutrality” exception.

    Davethulhu (0ed007)

  57. @ Gryph, #56:

    Your analogy is a poor one. Newspapers employ reporters and editorialists, and edit their material. Twitter does not employ, or edit content from, the vast majority of its users.

    Demosthenes (97827d)

  58. 59. Colonel, sir, my argument is not that Twitter is guilty of defamation or any other legally actionable tort or crime. My argument is simply that Twitter’s argument that they don’t have to go to court to defend against such accusations no longer holds water.

    Fact-checking the president is arguably not a good-faith effort to prevent dissemination of obscene or offensive material, particularly as regards mail-in ballots. I think such an argument would have been more apt if applied to the Joe Scarborough debacle, but that’s not the hill Dorsey apparently wanted to die on.

    Gryph (08c844)

  59. Gryph, you are simply wrong. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act specifically provides for immunity for ISPs (which is broadly defined to include internet platforms like Twitter), for any third-party content. Even if they exercise editorial control, such as removing offensive or obscene content. That is the way it was set up when Congress passed it in 1996.

    And, yes, that gives internet platforms like Twitter and Facebook an immunity that newspapers, radios stations and TV stations do not enjoy. Which some have argued is unfair. But that is the law, at least today.

    What Section 230 does not immunize is content that Twitter posted itself. If Twitter adds a warning or “fact check” label to someone’s post, that is Twitter’s own content, not third-party content. And for that there is no immunity. (At least not under Section 230, there might be other legal doctrines, like the First Amendment or the common law rule of no defamation for opinion. For those, Twitter is on the same level as everyone else.)

    Bored Lawyer (56c962)

  60. 61. Fact-checking the president is precisely the kind of editorial decision that publishers engage in. Do you think when Dorsey or Twitter get taken to court, it’s going to matter that they don’t fact-check or editorialize most of their content (even though they do in deciding what Tweets get removed and who gets banned)?

    I’m telling you, this is new ground for Twitter. And it’s all someone needs to drag them back into court and force them to defend themselves. I know it has nothing to do with “neutrality” per se, but you can’t have you cake and eat it too. Twitter can not plausibly make the argument that they can’t police their forum, and then proceed to do so anyway. They’re going to be forced to defend that decision at some point, and possibly at great cost.

    Gryph (08c844)

  61. 51. I’m not trying to fit anything into any model. That’s Twitter’s argument and it’s held water with the courts before. “We are not publishers.” Well, guess what, Dorsey? You are now. And that’s going to come with a whole slew of consequences you’re not ready for as a social media/data aggregation platform.

    Gryph (08c844) — 5/27/2020 @ 11:30 am

    IANAL but from what I’ve read this isn’t an accurate summary of what the law requires or what the intention of the law was.

    Here’s a better summary than I can provide.

    It’s really been in the past year where we’ve seen this argument that Section 230 requires “neutrality.” Now, that’s always a judgment Congress could make. But I spoke with both [Section 230 architects] Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and former Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA) extensively, and I spoke with most of the lobbyists who were involved at the time. None of them said that there was this intent for platforms to be neutral. In fact, that was the opposite. They wanted platforms to feel free to make these judgments without risking the liability that Prodigy faced.

    Time123 (dba73f)

  62. 63. I don’t think the question of whether Twitter is an immune service provider or a non-immune publisher is a settled question either way. But someone would have to attempt to sue them to find out.

    Gryph (08c844)

  63. UPDATE: The President had tweeted more specifics earlier about what he might do, including regulating or closing down social media platforms:

    Again, the fact that it may be an empty threat does not make it less of a First Amendment violation.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  64. The problem is that once you get into editorial decisions, the argument that you’re not a publisher no longer holds water.

    . . . .

    They are indeed publishers if indeed they are making editorial decisions. Their whole argument that they aren’t/weren’t publishers was predicated on the fact that they weren’t making editorial decisions.

    Gryph,

    It seems like you might be getting led astray by the Josh Hawley crowd that doesn’t understand Section 230 very well. Can Twitter be accountable for any defamation that appears in their fact checks? Sure. Does the fact that they edit Trump’s tweets to include a link to a fact check mean that they are now a “publisher” for all purposes, subject to lawsuits by Trump or any Twitter user because their “status” as a “publisher” has gone poof? No. This appears to be the wet dream of “conservatives” eager to regulate speech they don’t like as long as it appears on a social media platform, but it’s no more legally accurate than any other wet dream you might have. Here is a good site with some guidelines that might help educate you on the topic:

    Can my commenters sue me for editing or deleting their comments on my blog?

    Generally no, if you are not the government. Section 230 protect a blog host from liability for “any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.” This would include editing or deleting posts you consider objectionable, even if those posts would be protected by the First Amendment against government censorship.

    Sweet, I can edit the comments on my blog to change the meaning and make commenters I don’t like seem like crazed defamers.

    Not so fast. As noted above, Section 230 protects actions taken in good faith, and you may be liable for new information you create. The ability to edit comments is strongly protected, but you should not abuse that power.

    If my blog were subject to the rules you envision in your wet dreams, nobody would be allowed to comment here. Fortunately, my blog is subject to the actual Section 230 rules and not the ones conservatives wish Section 230 to be.

    Section 230 trutherism is rampant on these here Interwebs. Don’t be a part of the problem spreading it. Be a part of the solution in combating the misinformation.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  65. I criticized the fact checking vigorously, and then rcocean said I was “A-OK” with the fact checking.

    Me, in the post:

    Such fact checks are a bad idea for a host of reasons.

    First, fact checkers should limit themselves to actual facts; taking a statement that might be true but that fact checkers believe there is “no evidence” to substantiate is not, in my view, the proper role of a fact checker.

    But more fundamentally, any such enterprise by Twitter is doomed to fail by the very nature of the project. There is no possible way for one entity to do it comprehensively enough and accurately enough to make it an addition to the discourse. Inevitably one of these fact checks will be wrong. Also, they can’t fact check everyone. It’s impossible. So whom will they choose to check? Will they fact check China? Biden? Alyssa Milano? Also, when they don’t fact check a false claim, it will be taken as evidence it’s true.

    Reliance on “fact checkers” is always lazy and sloppy. It has never been otherwise. I would vastly prefer a system where the people themselves conduct their own search for truth, in replies and their own tweets, to a system that fact checks false claims as official diktats of the platform.

    rcocean, in the comments:

    if Twitter started “gatekeeping” and “fact checking” patterico’s comments, its good to know he’s A-OK with it. Their site, their rules. Same with if they deplatformed him.

    rcocean, why would you suggest I approve of something I strongly criticized in the post? Did you miss the part where I explained why the fact checking was such a bad idea?

    If by “A-OK” you mean “firmly dislikes but believes it is Twitter’s right” then you are using a definition of “A-OK” that nobody uses in real life. Moreover, unless your world view is so simplistic that you believe every bad thing must be illegal and every illegal thing must be bad, using the term this way opens you up to being considered “A-OK” with a lot of nasty stuff. “rcocean is A-OK with calling black people racial slurs.” “rcocean is A-OK with people whacking off to bestiality porn.” “rcocean is A-OK with farting loudly and repeatedly in church.” And so forth.

    If a reporter treated a Trump statement as dishonestly as you have treated me in your comment you would certainly call them out.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  66. Patterico @68, Great summary. Thank you.

    Time123 (dba73f)

  67. I had just drafted a post pointing out that Gryph’s logic would apply against our host as well, and invite him to take it up with Patterico. Then I refreshed, and found I no longer needed to post it.

    C’est la vie.

    Demosthenes (97827d)

  68. It seems like you might be getting led astray by the Josh Hawley crowd that doesn’t understand Section 230 very well. Can Twitter be accountable for any defamation that appears in their fact checks? Sure. Does the fact that they edit Trump’s tweets to include a link to a fact check mean that they are now a “publisher” for all purposes, subject to lawsuits by Trump or any Twitter user because their “status” as a “publisher” has gone poof? No.

    As I pointed out in my post, you are correct in terms of how Section 230 works.

    But, it is important to note that this gives internet platforms immunity that other media — print, radio, TV — do not enjoy.

    Early on, it was thought this was necessary for the internet to get off the ground. That was 1996. Still true today? Would Twitter collapse if we treated it like the NY Times, CNN and your local radio station? Those are the questions for serious debate.

    (But we are living in Trump world, so everything is on the level of a playground squabble.)

    Bored Lawyer (56c962)

  69. 71. Okay, okay. I get it. Twitter has not surrendered their immunity as a service provider. But there is one important distinction that the law does not make between services like Twitter/Facebook, and Pat; Patterico’s Pontifications is not a data aggregation site, except to the extent that his upstream service providers engage in the practice. For that reason alone, I think Twitter should be treated differently as opposed to truly open forums like this comment section.

    Gryph (08c844)

  70. 72. Also worth noting BL, New York Times, CNN, and local radio stations just about all tend to have internet presence these days. Their lack of immunity seems to be a reflection of their having predated the existence of the Worldwide Web, whereas Twitter and Facebook didn’t.

    Gryph (08c844)

  71. Actually youtube is the worst at the demonetizing game, in certain respects twitter is perhaps only third worst but we see with the safety council and the china minder they are putting the thumb on the scale.

    Narciso (7404b5)

  72. Gryph, what’s the difference between this comment and if posted this comment as a Tweet?

    To me they look the same. Except if i included insults, lies, and profanity Patterico wouldn’t allow it but Twitter would.

    Time123 (457a1d)

  73. Actually youtube is the worst at the demonetizing game, in certain respects twitter is perhaps only third worst but we see with the safety council and the china minder they are putting the thumb on the scale.

    Narciso (7404b5) — 5/27/2020 @ 12:22 pm

    So use Gab.

    Time123 (457a1d)

  74. Also worth noting BL, New York Times, CNN, and local radio stations just about all tend to have internet presence these days. Their lack of immunity seems to be a reflection of their having predated the existence of the Worldwide Web, whereas Twitter and Facebook didn’t.

    Actually not. Their internet platforms would enjoy the same immunity as Twitter.

    But again, the immunity is only for third-party content. If a NY Times employee writes an article, and it is posted online to the NY Times website, then the NY Times can be liable for that, and there is not Section 230 immunity.

    Bored Lawyer (56c962)

  75. Early on, it was thought this was necessary for the internet to get off the ground.

    Bored Lawyer (56c962) — 5/27/2020 @ 12:17 pm

    The internet, note the small-i, has been around since 1969. 1973 if you trace its roots to the adoption of TCP/IP standards. When people say “the internet,” they usually mean the worldwide web that has been in existence effectively since the first HTML server was booted at CERN in 1992 and has grown exponentially ever since.

    I always thought that “We need this to support the growing internet” was a pretty weak-tea argument by new-media lobbyists, but now the old guard of NYT, CNN, and other dinosaur media are getting gored by their own oxen as they become increasingly irrelevant. And whether or not the law is on his side, naturally I welcome more scrutiny of Jack Dorsey by the old guard. Twitter is nothing but a cesspool of chattering irrelevancy with just enough celebrity to make Jon Q. Schmoe think that it matters. If it shut down tomorrow, I wouldn’t shed a single tear.

    Gryph (08c844)

  76. 78. Well yes, for third-party content which in the case of old-media websites, would be the comments.

    And that raises an interesting issue here. Does Twitter = all comments, no content? And if so, why is it such an important part of the new media vanguard?

    Gryph (08c844)

  77. But there is one important distinction that the law does not make between services like Twitter/Facebook, and Pat; Patterico’s Pontifications is not a data aggregation site, except to the extent that his upstream service providers engage in the practice. For that reason alone, I think Twitter should be treated differently as opposed to truly open forums like this comment section.

    You can think that but it doesn’t make it so.

    If you think it should be different, there’s a process for that. A law could be passed, the constitution could be amended, but you probably should think about what the consequences are, ask Harry Reid about that.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  78. 76. Good question. And that has got me thinking. Twitter = all comment, no content. That’s about as vapid as it comes, even for the internet.

    Gryph (08c844)

  79. 81. You’re a little late to the game, Colonel, sir. I ceded a few posts upthread that Twitter = all comment, no content.

    Gryph (08c844)

  80. Bored Lawyer (56c962) — 5/27/2020 @ 9:07 am

    This is utterly disingenuous. Free speech does not mean immunity from criticism. It means the govt. cannot stop you from speaking.

    The 1st Amendment means the “the govt. cannot stop you from speaking” and even that is not correct since there are limits to the 1st.

    Free speech is a more general and larger concept than that covered by the 1st Amendment. This is the same dodge that keeps coming up when people want to promote corporate-backed censorship. No one is saying people should be immune to criticism. The debate keeps turning to censorship.

    Trump is free to post BS, and others, including Twitter, are free to call him out on it. And still others are free to read both (and any other evidence) and come to their own conclusions.

    That is the essence of free speech.

    This is true and I welcome the fact-checks and the fact-checks of the fact-checks, etc. That’s not where this is going to stay though and we’re already seeing that in the other thread.

    frosty (f27e97)

  81. Frosty, But why shouldn’t a website be able to allow what they want and not allow things they don’t want? If they use that discretion in a way i don’t like I go elsewhere. If I really hate it I can start my own space pretty cheaply.

    Time123 (457a1d)

  82. 85. I’m beginning to understand what smarter law-minds than myself have been trying to tell me. Twitter is not immune for things they post themselves, and they never have been. They are immune for their third-party postings, such as comments, and they are essentially all-comment, no-content in their approach to data aggregation.

    Capriciousness in allowing tweeters or tweets to stand does not constitute a reason for them to lose that immunity, though it may bring extra-legal scrutiny from other quarters aside from the courts.

    Do I have the gist of it now, guys?

    Gryph (08c844)

  83. Twitter is not immune for things they post themselves, and they never have been.

    True as far as Section 230, the special immunity for internet platforms.

    As I pointed out above, there are other legal doctrines that can come into play, although those apply equally to everyone.

    For example, opinion is not defamation.

    Or the requirement to show “actual malice” for public figures under NT Times v. Sullivan.

    Bored Lawyer (56c962)

  84. 87. Well yeah; it’s always been my understanding (insert IANAL disclaimer here) that the easiest way to go about suing for defamation is if you can prove a reckless disregard for truth AND put an actual number on economic loss, particularly for public figures.

    Gryph (08c844)

  85. Trump press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has voted by mail 11 times in 10 years
    …..
    ……McEnany, a graduate of South Tampa’s Academy of the Holy Names and a Davis Islands homeowner, has voted by mail 11 times over the last 10 years.

    In a statement emailed after the story published, McEnany said: “Absentee voting has the word absent in it for a reason. It means you’re absent from the jurisdiction or unable to vote in person. President Trump is against the Democrat plan to politicize the coronavirus and expand mass mail-in voting without a reason, which has a high propensity for voter fraud. This is a simple distinction that the media fails to grasp.”

    However, Florida does not have absentee voting. Anyone can vote by mail here without a reason. The Times asked McEnany if Florida should change its law to restrict voting by mail to those unable to vote in person. The story will be updated if she responds.
    …..

    RipMurdock (d2a2a8)

  86. OT- what goes around comes around– going in circles, no place, fast:

    Two U.S. astronauts, both military aviators, are ready to be launched into low-earth-orbit [LEO] on a new manned spacecraft atop a two-stage liquid-fueled rocket from the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida:

    March 23, 1965— Gemini 3, Gus Grissom & John Young.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  87. Conservative Activists Lose Lawsuit That Accused Twitter, Google and Facebook of Censorship

    A federal court dismissed activist Laura Loomer’s lawsuit against several tech platforms on Wednesday. The complaint alleged a far-flung conspiracy to censor conservative speech.

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit added insult to injury by cavalierly noting at the outset that “the issues” at stake in the original lawsuit “do not warrant a published opinion.”

    In 2018, Loomer and Freedom Watch, a non-profit and right-wing legal advocacy organization founded and run by attorney Larry Klayman, sued Google, Facebook, Twitter and Apple over allegations that the platforms had violated the First Amendment, the Sherman Antitrust Act and the District of Columbia Human Rights Act.

    Specifically, the duo alleged that those platforms worked together to “intentionally and willfully suppress politically conservative content.”

    The district court found that the plaintiffs “failed to tie [their] concerns to colorable legal claims” and dismissed the lawsuit.
    …….
    From the opinion:

    Freedom Watch’s First Amendment claim fails because it does not adequately allege that the Platforms can violate the First Amendment. In general, the First Amendment “prohibits only governmental abridgment of speech.” Manhattan Cmty. Access Corp. v. Halleck. Freedom Watch contends that, because the Platforms provide an important forum for speech, they are engaged in state action. But, under Halleck, “a private entity who provides a forum for speech is not transformed by that fact alone into a state actor.” Freedom Watch fails to point to additional facts indicating that these Platforms are engaged in state action and thus fails to state a viable First Amendment claim.

    …….

    RipMurdock (d2a2a8)

  88. Tulsi Gabbard Just Made a Completely Unconvincing Excuse for Dropping Lawsuit Against Hillary Clinton
    Looks like Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) just hoisted herself up onto the moral high ground while making a completely nonsensical excuse for utterly wasting a federal court’s time. Gabbard voluntarily withdrew her defamation lawsuit against Hillary Clinton on Wednesday, on grounds that there are simply more important things in life than defending herself from being called a Russian asset.

    Back in January, when Gabbard was still a presidential candidate, she sued Clinton for defamation; the back-and-forth between the two was straight out of Mean Girls.

    Clinton had said that Gabbard was “the favorite of the Russians,” that she was supported by “a bunch of sites and bots,” and that she (as well as Jill Stein) was “a Russian asset.” Gabbard responded, calling Clinton the “queen of warmongers,” and then sued Clinton when she refused to retract her statements.
    …..
    Now, though, Gabbard seems committed to being the bigger person. She filed a voluntary dismissal of her own case. She insisted that she definitely could have won the defamation case, but that she’s just too busy with more important stuff right now. Yes, seriously.
    ……
    Right, because that’s what plaintiffs with super strong cases do. They file cases just for fun, and then withdraw them before discovery begins and after the defendant files a motion to dismiss. Absolutely nothing is suspect about that.
    ……

    RipMurdock (d2a2a8)

  89. 88. Lemme hep you here vis defamation…

    SOME false declarations can be defamation per se; “John B. literally screws his pooch”.

    A showing of truth is a perfect defense in all cases.

    A showing that nobody would believe a false statement is a defense in Texas.

    In SOME defamation cases, there is no need to prove up economic damages, and in many none are ever proven or pled. In some jurisdictions, you can still get punitives.

    Just generally, I think it would be a hoot to represent Scarborough against T-rump in a defamation action!

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  90. @ Gryph, #73:

    I think Twitter should be treated differently as opposed to truly open forums like this comment section.

    Even granting the idea that this website has a more open forum than Twitter, which I think (and further think our host would agree) is so evidently wrong that I won’t argue the point…you’re now shifting the ground of debate to talk, not about the law, but openly about your own preferences. Maybe Twitter should be treated differently than they are. But the question at hand was their actual exposure to liability.

    @ frosty, #84:

    Free speech is a more general and larger concept than that covered by the 1st Amendment. This is the same dodge that keeps coming up when people want to promote corporate-backed censorship.

    This riposte ignores the context of President Trump’s remark. His vague threats that he won’t allow this to happen, or whatever specific words he used, invoke his role as President…which would only make sense if he were implying that Twitter had violated rights in a manner that he (in his official capacity) was permitted, and possibly duty-bound, to address. So it’s the narrower legal sense of free speech, not the broader concept, that is germane to this discussion.

    Demosthenes (97827d)

  91. @72

    It seems like you might be getting led astray by the Josh Hawley crowd that doesn’t understand Section 230 very well. Can Twitter be accountable for any defamation that appears in their fact checks? Sure. Does the fact that they edit Trump’s tweets to include a link to a fact check mean that they are now a “publisher” for all purposes, subject to lawsuits by Trump or any Twitter user because their “status” as a “publisher” has gone poof? No.

    As I pointed out in my post, you are correct in terms of how Section 230 works.

    But, it is important to note that this gives internet platforms immunity that other media — print, radio, TV — do not enjoy.

    Early on, it was thought this was necessary for the internet to get off the ground. That was 1996. Still true today? Would Twitter collapse if we treated it like the NY Times, CNN and your local radio station? Those are the questions for serious debate.

    (But we are living in Trump world, so everything is on the level of a playground squabble.)

    Bored Lawyer (56c962) — 5/27/2020 @ 12:17 pm

    I don’t think Twitter should be treated like ‘NY Times, CNN and your local radio station?’ as it’s a different media. It’s all enduser content driven, rather than publisher content driven.

    Section 230 is fine for Twitter, Facebook, et and el.

    I think what we need to do, is encourage competition somehow.

    IE, what isn’t Gab available as an app for iPhone users? Things like that…

    whembly (c30c83)

  92. – Trump falsely claimed that California will send mail-in ballots to “anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there.” In fact, only registered voters will receive ballots.

    This was the most clear misstatement. Trump said something that was simply flat out wrong.

    Now he could justify it by saying some political activists or paid collectors might register people without their knowledge or consent, but in that case they’d most likely just make up names. And addresses? How do they get delivered?

    Sammy Finkelman (f2d620)

  93. The other ideas in Trumps’ tweet are also ridiculous. Mailboxes being robbed? Does he mean mailboxes ballots are put in or mailboxes where people get mail? Probably where people get mail.

    Fake ballots printed out? I suppose that is possible, but it’s going to be noticeable. Now if this was discovered and then nothing was done about it, you would have a problem. (they all have serial numbers)

    – Trump falsely claimed that mail-in ballots would lead to “a Rigged Election.” However, fact-checkers say there is no evidence that mail-in ballots are linked to voter fraud.

    There are cases, It should say, there’s no history of this with ballots that actually went through the mail.

    They can be filled out though, by other family members other than the voter it was addressed to. And by survivors of deceased voters. Signature matching is in place in an attempt to stop that.

    Sammy Finkelman (f2d620)

  94. The other big bugaboo about mail-in ballot process is that it’s insanely labor intensive…and you know the states won’t properly fund the effort if mail-in ballots is given to everyone.

    I don’t recall if this is the case anymore, but states used to hold off from processing mail-in/absentee ballots unless that races is close.

    Frankly, I’d only restrict mail-in ballots to those who really cannot vote in person (like most states do already) AND, for the life of me, I don’t understand why Congress won’t create a federal holiday for federal elections. Not that it’d be a panacea to all the problems…but it would be super helpful.

    whembly (c30c83)

  95. 9. nk (1d9030) — 5/27/2020 @ 9:32 am

    As we saw in the Eddie Gallagher and Roger Stone cases, and the kerfuffle with Congress over notice of covert operations, he, himself, has the conceit that his tweets are official directives.

    Everybody else in the government denies that, and they are not treated that way. If he wants to do something he has to do more than announce it on Twitter. They are treated as him thinking out loud.

    A court has held, though, tat it is an official forum and consequently he can’t block anyone from receiving the tweets in their feed. That also applies to members of Congress.

    Sammy Finkelman (f2d620)

  96. The other big bugaboo about mail-in ballot process is that it’s insanely labor intensive…and you know the states won’t properly fund the effort if mail-in ballots is given to everyone.

    That’s exactly the opposite of reality. mail in balloting is ridiculously cheap. That’s one of the reasons why 5 states went to it, it’s cheap, it’s accurate, and it’s fast.

    There is the initial capital cost of equipment, but it’s massively cheaper than having thousands of polling places with tens of thousands of poll workers.

    It’s robots, OCR solutions have been doing this for decades. It’s cheap, accurate, and fast.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  97. 38. That link contains one example of ballots stoln from maillboxes:

    One of the more complex cases arose in a rural jurisdiction when the Justice Department brought a civil suit against Noxubee County, Mississippi over a massive absentee voter fraud operation run by the local Democratic Party machine. Prosecutors said notaries paid by the machine took ballots from mail boxes and voted the ballots in place of the intended voters.

    There is also violation of the secret ballot.

    Sammy Finkelman (f2d620)

  98. Just start your own conservative twitter if they don’t already exist. Its called free market(which doesn’t exist by the way).

    asset (f380cb)

  99. 94. Demosthenes, your point is made. I was reminded of the difference between content and comment. There’s no more argument to be made as far as I’m concerned. I’ve been educated today. Thank you.

    Gryph (08c844)

  100. . President Trump is against the Democrat plan to politicize the coronavirus and expand mass mail-in voting without a reason,

    The interesting thing is that this actually helps the Republican Party, and was responsible for the fact that George W. Bush was elected president in the year 2000. (The Democratic Party didn’t do that. It also caused many first time voters in Jacksonville, Florida to spoil their ballots, by telling them to vote on every page. (There were two pages of presidential candidates.)

    There were also more votes cast in counties with Democratic election officials, and more people voted mostly Democratic in counties with punch card ballots, which lost about – what?? – 3% of all votes on average?

    And the butterfly ballot in Palm each County was desgned b a Democrat.

    The Republican Party had awhole absentee ballot campaign going on.

    In general it helps Republicans because Republicans have more people with stable addresses, so they get the ballots..

    Sammy Finkelman (f2d620)

  101. 93. Truth is an absolute defense against defamation, but it’s not the only defense. It’s much harder to win a defamation case here in the States than it is in England. cf. libel tourism

    Gryph (08c844)

  102. for the life of me, I don’t understand why Congress won’t create a federal holiday for federal elections. Not that it’d be a panacea to all the problems…but it would be super helpful.

    This would likely increase voter turnout. The GOP tends to do worse in elections with high turn out.

    Time123 (dba73f)

  103. A showing that nobody would believe a false statement is a defense in Texas.

    Yes. As I said.

    It is not hard to win a defamation suit here.

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  104. Time123 (457a1d) — 5/27/2020 @ 12:36 pm

    Frosty, But why shouldn’t a website be able to allow what they want and not allow things they don’t want? If they use that discretion in a way i don’t like I go elsewhere. If I really hate it I can start my own space pretty cheaply.

    Censorship is antithetical to the principles of a free and open society. This is part of the issue George Carlin was talking about in his “you have no rights” bit. It kills me to watch the bit on YouTube and see people laugh like he’s making a joke.

    But this is phrased in a way that is meant to diminish the issue. A website isn’t something that makes a decision. A corporation isn’t either. How about this, why shouldn’t Twitter management be allowed to selectively allow content to promote an agenda? This is the real question because that’s what they are being asked to do. We aren’t talking about promoting terrorism or violence. This issue of Twitter censorship generally comes up in the context of Trump or the right and is ideological.

    We also aren’t talking about a simple website or a blog. Twitter’s mission statement is to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly without barriers. They should live up to that and this isn’t just about. The same applies to Facebook/Google/YouTube. California has recently tried to make the case in court that people can be banned from protesting in public because they can protest online, i.e. CA is saying these online forums are a form of public space. I don’t agree with that and I’m not sure a court will either but it’s concerning that, on the one hand, we can be told first amendment rights can be restricted in public because of online forums and at the same time be told that there are no first amendment rights in these online forums. Google recently banned Qanon apps. Independent of how I feel about Qanon I suspect those apps weren’t using anything Google related to push the actual content. That’s a case of a corporation exercising prior restraint on speech that doesn’t even transit it’s “property”. What happens when you create this website you’re talking about and Google won’t allow it to show up in searches? I suppose you can always rely on Bing. Or maybe Akami or Cloudflare decide they don’t like you either and you’re left trying to handout your IP address on the street like a $2 hooker or the daily stormer.

    Maybe a simpler solution is not letting these corporations be used to push censorship. We’re already letting Twitter/Facebook/Google get into the propaganda game. I don’t think we can stop it. But it shouldn’t be encouraged, much less wholeheartedly embraced because of Trump.

    frosty (f27e97)

  105. Trump should be ashamed (HA!) but this isn’t just him and others that have made threats have followed through on them. The Governor and State of New York are intent on punishing the NRA for it’s speech and political advocacy, to the point of using the regulatory power of the state to get insurers, bankers and other regulated businesses to cease doing business with them.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-otc-nra/in-nra-v-n-y-a-timely-reminder-that-officials-cant-use-their-power-to-squelch-speech-idUSKCN1NC2TI

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  106. Censorship is antithetical to the principles of a free and open society.

    Agreed. Taking peoples property is also antithetical to the principles of a free and open society. When you force me to do a thing with my intellectual property you’re taking it from me.

    How about this, why shouldn’t Twitter management be allowed to selectively allow content to promote an agenda?

    We should, we should absolutely do this. We should also allow GAB to do it. We should allow the Breitbart to do it. We should allow anyone that wants to make a digital space to do it. And we should avoid the ones that do it in a way with which we disapprove.

    I’m not saying Twitter would be right or good to use their stuff in this way. But I think the government should stay the heck out of it.

    Time123 (dba73f)

  107. If the president could prove that NBC was knowingly promoting “fake news” and engaging in serial libel against him, maybe he could make a case about their broadcast license. Not that broadcast licenses mean much any more. Fox News,CNN and MSNBC don’t need them.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  108. Demosthenes (97827d) — 5/27/2020 @ 1:20 pm

    There’s a lot of room between

    His vague threats that he won’t allow this to happen, or whatever specific words he used,

    and

    invoke his role as President

    I’ll wait until this is less vague before getting worked up about Trump using his power as POTUS against Twitter. Has anyone speculated on what his duty binds him too? Should we be expecting an airstrike on Twitter HQ? Maybe he’ll order the NSA to covertly change his tweets back.

    frosty (f27e97)

  109. Maybe a simpler solution is not letting these corporations be used to push censorship. We’re already letting Twitter/Facebook/Google get into the propaganda game. I don’t think we can stop it. But it shouldn’t be encouraged, much less wholeheartedly embraced because of Trump.

    So, you’d like to change the subject from the protections of the 1st Amendment, to a term you call “free speech” that has no definition other than the one you are currently being put forth. If that is the case, is the speech free of the majority objects? The 1st Amendment is the guarantee that the “government” will not directly interfere with your speech rights, even that is not without limits.

    So please, explain how your feelings of “free speech” would be enforced under the actual constitution and laws of the actual United States, and why do your feelings matter more than Jack Dorcey’s (a completely vile human person, not just because he was one of the founders of Twitter)?

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  110. We should, we should absolutely do this. We should also allow GAB to do it. We should allow the Breitbart to do it. We should allow anyone that wants to make a digital space to do it. And we should avoid the ones that do it in a way with which we disapprove.

    That’s literally the outcome of Citizen’s United. They can and do.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  111. As for “should Facebook be allowed to censor”, we’ve been though this before and I pretty much despise both extreme positions.

    No, government should not be able to tell Facebook what to allow.
    No, Facebook is not just any private company, like “Al’s Hardware.”

    Facebook is a monopoly of a certain, pervasive, type of communication, as real as a TV or radio monopoly which we have LONG decided not to allow. It can be a monopoly, subject to regulation, or it can find some way to split up and be a purely private company. As something that seems to only work as a network-effect monopoly, regulation may be the only option. Such regulations should be as light and content-neutral as possible, such as incorporating the first amendment speech rights of its users against the company, and allowing users to file suits for damages as they would against any other private company that harmed them.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  112. I note in the NRA case against NY, the judge made distinctions between the govenror’s free speech attacks on the NRA, his statements that anyone doing business with them should watch out, and subsequent enforcement actions against some doing business with the NRA
    .

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  113. 112, he could solve the Chris Wallace problem by going after the entertainment division’s (channel with Simpsons, 911 et al) broadcast license, but they could of course move to an FX# cable band or offer a Fox+ with their sports and a milquetoast news service.

    I’m just amazed he hasnt figured out Fox polling of the kind that shows him “behind” is meant to motivate (core voters into getting off couch and voting), not validate. That’s been the case since their 2004 polls always showing Kerry with a 4 or + % lead.

    urbanleftbehind (216341)

  114. 108. That depends. Are you talking as plaintiff or defendant? As public figure, or as a private citizen (in the legal sense)?

    Gryph (08c844)

  115. 109. I understand what you’re saying, Frosty. But as I’ve said so many times before over the last 20+ years, if we’re going to err, it’s better to err on the side of freedom. And I have to defend the freedom of companies and people I disagree with if I’m to have any credibility peddling that notion.

    Gryph (08c844)

  116. Time123 (dba73f) — 5/27/2020 @ 2:49 pm

    We’re agreed on this part.

    I’m not saying Twitter would be right or good to use their stuff in this way. But I think the government should stay the heck out of it.

    I don’t think I’ve said the government should get the heck into anything. That sounds like the opposite of anything I’d type. I think we’ve just gone down the rabbit hole of arguing against the position you think I’m taking. But this is just ridiculous.

    Agreed. Taking people’s property is also antithetical to the principles of a free and open society. When you force me to do a thing with my intellectual property you’re taking it from me.

    Yes, we’ve drifted. No one is taking Twitter’s property. They’ve held it out for public use, this exact use in fact, and they are making money from that. Private corporations were required to make physical changes to their property to comply with the ADA. Do you believe the ADA was morally wrong? That wasn’t the start of the trend or an exception either. The Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 limited the area that farmers could devote to wheat production even if that wheat never left their land. Will you join me in trying to roll back the power of the regulatory state? Viva la revolution?

    frosty (f27e97)

  117. 122. While I understand the all-comment no-content business model Twitter engages in, I still find it unsettling to think that Patterico could go right on doing what he’s doing without comments, but without “comments,” Twitter would cease to exist. Something about that just doesn’t sit well with me, although I am not proposing my feelings as a basis for policy.

    Gryph (08c844)

  118. Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827) — 5/27/2020 @ 2:54 pm

    So, you’d like to change the subject from the protections of the 1st Amendment, to a term you call “free speech” that has no definition other than the one you are currently being put forth.

    So please, explain how your feelings of “free speech” would be enforced under the actual constitution and laws of the actual United States, and why do your feelings matter more than Jack Dorcey’s (a completely vile human person, not just because he was one of the founders of Twitter)?

    You think this “free speech” term is something I just made up? You’re taking the position that this is a concept you’re wholly ignorant of and you are also incapable of googling “free speech principles” or reading the Wikipedia article? But you want me to explain it to you?

    Is it really that hard for you to understand the idea of not calling for censorship just because you don’t like something? Are you that married to the idea that censorship is fine as long as it’s not the government doing it?

    frosty (f27e97)

  119. can we agree, this has been a massive teaching exercise in how not to handle liberty, some have done worse than others, noem has probably been most responsible, how did we come to this moment, rent seeking politicians, power hungry bureaucrats, irresponsible media, and aggregated corporate power all cooperated to deprive us of pretty much every one of the bill of rights,

    narciso (7404b5)

  120. https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2020/05/americans-dont-get-ruled.php

    Arbitrary and capricious. We aren’t being governed. We are being ruled. Glad to see there’s at least some common sense in the justice system.

    NJRob (9e6280)

  121. 124. Not here. She hasn’t been perfect, and my local city council has been even less perfect, but right now, there is nowhere I’d rather be. Hail South Dakota!

    Gryph (08c844)

  122. 125. You know what I did today, Rob? I went to my favorite diner on the north end of town and ordered a rebel burger. Not to be confused with the vegan “rebel whopper,” the rebel burger at Scotty’s is a 50+-year-old institution consisting of three hamburger patties stacked with three slices of melty American cheese, ketchup, mustard, and reconstituted onion.

    I didn’t stop there. After lunch, I headed on down to the One-Legged Pheasant brewery where Dave Welling personally oversees the mixing, fermentation, and finishing of each and every one of his brews. Five people were lined up along the counter along with the on-duty waitress, and not a single person was wearing a mask (including me, natch). And I had a tallboy of one of the most disgustingly God-awful bitter IPAs I’ve ever had in my life. And I loved it.

    And I did it all because I can, Karen.

    Gryph (08c844)

  123. 127. Whoops. I should probably clarify that “Karen” wasn’t directed at you, NJRob.

    Gryph (08c844)

  124. governor kristi noem, of whom it has been written that if she did not have a nose you would not know if you were looking at her front or her back, is a woman

    as such her moods and whims are incomprehensible and their consequences can be evaluated only in retrospect

    i suspect that she did not want to shut down hair salons and barbershops in south dakota because it was already hard enough to distinguish south dakotans from buffaloes and badgers

    or so they say in nebraska

    nk (1d9030)

  125. 130. Keep it classy.

    Gryph (08c844)

  126. You think this “free speech” term is something I just made up? You’re taking the position that this is a concept you’re wholly ignorant of and you are also incapable of googling “free speech principles” or reading the Wikipedia article? But you want me to explain it to you?

    As displayed, you cannot articulate what you mean by “free speech” hence the quotation marks. The 1st Amendment largely defines the concept in the United States. You’ve stated multiple times that your are not talking about free speech as defined by the 1st Amendment, yet you have no specifics, cannot define it, and have no idea about how to implement your feelings as a policy for a society.

    So, since you didn’t like the constitutional definition, you choose to redefine it. Your argument is fallacious on its face, just refusing to recognize reality and turning up the volume is not a winning argument, but it is definitely a Trumpian argument.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  127. 132. Actually, the 1st amendment doesn’t really do much to define free speech. It is a clause that simply says Congress shall pass no law that infringes upon it. Free speech has been a matter of debate in courts the nation over for almost as long as the United States of America have existed.

    Gryph (08c844)

  128. 130. Keep it classy.

    Yes, Karen.

    nk (1d9030)

  129. Speaking of hair salon patronage, Noem had been sporting some pre-2020 definition Karen hairdos in official photos. But she was voted hottest House freshman in early 2011, in a HuffPo poll no less.

    urbanleftbehind (216341)

  130. 135. I don’t give a greasy brown s**t what Kristi Noem does to or in hair salons, spas, or massage parlours. I can have a greasy hamburger and a bitter-as-F beer now because she had the good sense not to shut down our state. And here we are.

    Gryph (08c844)

  131. 136. But when you wake up, you’re still in S. Dakota.

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  132. With only 4,515 cases and 50 deaths, total to date, South Dakotans have no reason to believe the virus even exists. And I’m sincerely happy for them in their bubble, but their views about the virus in the rest of the country are about as valid as Pauline Kael’s comments on Nixon’s electability.

    nk (1d9030)

  133. For those of you from Rio Linda, Pauline Kael was a film critic for The New Yorker who was astounded that Nixon was elected President — nobody she knew voted for him.

    nk (1d9030)

  134. You know what I did today, Rob? I went to my favorite diner on the north end of town and ordered a rebel burger. Not to be confused with the vegan “rebel whopper,” the rebel burger at Scotty’s is a 50+-year-old institution consisting of three hamburger patties stacked with three slices of melty American cheese, ketchup, mustard, and reconstituted onion.

    I didn’t stop there. After lunch, I headed on down to the One-Legged Pheasant brewery where Dave Welling personally oversees the mixing, fermentation, and finishing of each and every one of his brews. Five people were lined up along the counter along with the on-duty waitress, and not a single person was wearing a mask (including me, natch). And I had a tallboy of one of the most disgustingly God-awful bitter IPAs I’ve ever had in my life. And I loved it.

    And I did it all because I can, Karen.

    Gryph (08c844) — 5/27/2020 @ 3:54 pm

    Sounds awesome. Well everything except the IPA. Haven’t had a beer in 3 months and I miss my Belgians. But I decided to cut weight during this deficit of freedom.

    Glad you had a blast and others to enjoy your freedom to share it with.

    NJRob (9e6280)

  135. It could be a kind of cosmic karma. With 150 Minuteman silos, South Dakota was the primary target of Soviet preemptive strike ICBMs during the Cold War. It probably still is. So that’s why it got a break from the virus. Or maybe the virus is especially susceptible to the radiation leakage from the plutonium warheads? Maybe the CDC should look into that.

    nk (1d9030)

  136. Nk,

    Why are you so deliberately hostile and abrasive lately? Tired of being cooped up in Chitown while your mayor prances around like she’s queen?

    NJRob (9e6280)

  137. 140. Thank you, Rob. You know why Dave calls his place the One-Legged Pheasant?

    What does a one-legged pheasant do? It HOPS! LMMFAO

    Gryph (08c844)

  138. “Well everything except the IPA. ”

    I like my ladies like I like my beer: cold and bitter.

    Davethulhu (c7dacc)

  139. 137. Yup. I am. And especially right now, there’s no place I’d rather be, Karen.

    138. Unless it’s possible…just possible…that maybe Kristi Noem is the only governor in the entire nation who is dealing with this thing honestly, and the rest of the United States of America are led by partisan hacks on both sides of the aisle. Try to wrap your mind around the non-zero chance of that possibility.

    139. And also for those of you in Rio Linda, you’re welcome to move up here to South Dakota when you get tired of Governor Gavin Noisome.

    Gryph (08c844)

  140. 141. Or maybe the virus isn’t as deadly as the screeching Karens think, and Governor Noem has actually dealt with this thing honestly. Hold your applause, Karen.

    Gryph (08c844)

  141. @ frosty, #109 and #113:

    There’s a lot of room between

    His vague threats that he won’t allow this to happen, or whatever specific words he used,

    and

    invoke his role as President

    I’ll wait until this is less vague before getting worked up about Trump using his power as POTUS against Twitter.

    There is literally no room between those two things. Just look up at his tweet. “…and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!” No. Room. At. All.

    Censorship is antithetical to the principles of a free and open society…Twitter’s mission statement is to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly without barriers.

    First off, there was no censorship here. None of Trump’s tweets was removed. Two of them were merely fact-checked. I don’t think that’s a good idea, for reasons roughly similar to those our host gives. But there’s absolutely no censorship on Twitter’s part here. And the only threatened censorship in the situation is coming from him.

    Second, I would think real hard about making such broad blanket statements as that. Our host deletes comments from time to time, after all. Are you accusing him of acting in a way that is “antithetical to the principles of a free and open society“? Because that certainly is a logical implication of your words.

    Demosthenes (97827d)

  142. @112-
    If the president could prove that NBC was knowingly promoting “fake news” and engaging in serial libel against him, maybe he could make a case about their broadcast license.

    The networks (NBC, CBS, Fox, ABC) don’t have broadcast licenses, only their local stations do. And Trump doesn’t have that power, it is the FCC. And “fake news” is only in the ear of the beholder.

    RipMurdock (d2a2a8)

  143. Trump to sign executive order on social media amid Twitter furor
    resident Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order aimed at social media companies on Thursday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Wednesday evening, a move that comes as the president and his allies have escalated their allegations that companies like Twitter and Facebook stifle GOP voices.

    McEnany told reporters aboard Air Force One that the order is “pertaining to social media” but shared no additional details on what it will do.
    …..
    POLITICO reported last year that the White House was circulating a draft executive order to address long-standing accusations from conservatives about bias by social media companies. CNN later reported that the order would task the Federal Communications Commission with developing regulations to clarify when social media companies qualify for crucial liability protections, and would have the Federal Trade Commission “take those new policies into account when it investigates or files lawsuits against misbehaving companies.”

    But the executive order was never unveiled, and even Trump’s appointees at those agencies have expressed little appetite for scrutinizing tweets and Facebook posts.

    RipMurdock (d2a2a8)

  144. A congressman caught in the 1970s Abscam sting is now at the heart of a Philly election fraud probe, sources say
    A central question lingered after federal authorities last week disclosed that a South Philadelphia poll worker had admitted taking bribes to stuff ballot boxes in local elections:

    Who was the unnamed campaign “Consultant #1” described in court filings as the man who paid Domenick DeMuro, 73, to inflate vote totals on behalf of favored candidates between 2014 and 2016?

    Prosecutors have declined to say. But two sources briefed on the matter and an Inquirer analysis of campaign finance data and court filings in DeMuro’s case point to one man: former U.S. Rep. Michael “Ozzie” Myers.

    A key figure in the Abscam scandal of the 1970s, Myers represented Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District between 1976 and 1980 — a career that ended with a three-year prison sentence for bribery and a vote by his House colleagues to expel him. He is best known, though, for one of the most enduring lines to emerge from that sting operation, which involved undercover FBI agents posing as representatives of an Arab sheikh offering bribes in exchange for political favors.

    “Money talks in this business and bulls@@@ walks,” he told the agents on an 1979 FBI recording as he accepted a $50,000 bribe.

    Since then, Myers, 77, has transitioned to political consulting work and has become one of a handful of must-hire operatives for candidates eyeing runs in Philadelphia judicial races.
    …….

    RipMurdock (d2a2a8)

  145. “This Is So Unfair to Me”: Trump Whines About His COVID-19 Victimhood as Campaign Flails
    As he headed into Memorial Day weekend, Donald Trump complained that he was COVID-19’s biggest victim. “He was just in a fu#### rage,” said a person who spoke with Trump late last week. “He was saying, ‘This is so unfair to me! Everything was going great. We were cruising to reelection!” Even as the death toll neared 100,000 and unemployment ranks swelled to over 38 million, Trump couldn’t see the pandemic as anything other than something that had happened to him. “The problem is he has no empathy,” the adviser said. Trump complained that he should have been warned about the virus sooner. “The intelligence community let me down!” he said.
    …….
    But the biggest obstacle standing in the way of a Trump-campaign reset is the candidate. “Trump is doing it to himself by tweeting idiotic conspiracy theories about Joe Scarborough. Women are tired of this shit,” said another former West Wing official. An outside adviser agreed. “Trump can’t pivot to a different strategy,” the adviser told me. “He only knows one strategy—which is attack. It worked in 2016. But now it’s not what people are looking for.” The adviser told me that Trump’s New York friends are planning an intervention to get him to stop tweeting about the Morning Joe cohost.
    ……

    RipMurdock (d2a2a8)

  146. …maybe Kristi Noem is the only governor in the entire nation who is dealing with this thing honestly, and the rest of the United States of America are led by partisan hacks on both sides of the aisle. Try to wrap your mind around the non-zero chance of that possibility.

    Naw. That’s as silly as the rest of your BS, Moana.

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  147. @118-
    he could solve the Chris Wallace problem by going after the entertainment division’s (channel with Simpsons, 911 et al) broadcast license, but they could of course move to an FX# cable band or offer a Fox+ with their sports and a milquetoast news service.

    The networks (NBC, CBS, Fox, ABC) don’t have broadcast licenses, only their local stations do. And Trump doesn’t have that power, it is the FCC. Any harassment by the FCC would be a prima facie First Amendment violation (as discussed above), and land them right in court.

    RipMurdock (d2a2a8)

  148. . Unless it’s possible…just possible…that maybe Kristi Noem is the only governor in the entire nation who is dealing with this thing honestly, and the rest of the United States of America are led by partisan hacks on both sides of the aisle. Try to wrap your mind around the non-zero chance of that possibility.

    Or maybe your state is benefiting by being out in the middle of nowhere, so to speak, heavily rural, and with a low population? I live in a county where there are about twice the number of people as in the entire state. What works for now in South Dakota isn’t going to work here.

    Kishnevi (c8d830)

  149. First Amendment lawyers LIVE for days like this!

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  150. Nk,

    Why are you so deliberately hostile and abrasive lately? Tired of being cooped up in Chitown while your mayor prances around like she’s queen?

    Gryph keeps calling me Karen and he knows very well that I prefer Katyusha?

    What “hostile and abrasive” except the South Dakotans/buffaloes/badgers joke? And that was a joke! I pointed out some simple truths. With a population density of 11.3 people per square mile, South Dakota is perpetually socially distanced. It’s not a model for the rest of the country any more than Greenland is.

    The only Karens, here, are the deniers. At least Gryph, coming from the perspective he does, comes by it honestly. The rest just want to browbeat us into sharing their moronic orange leader’s moronic orange views.

    nk (1d9030)

  151. 155. Like the rest of the nation, South Dakota is having trouble with meatpacking plants and nursing home roughly in proportion to their size, and our state’s size. Unlike every other state in the nation, we’re not inflating CoViD-19 deaths by shoving active cases into nursing homes and calling alcohol poisoning cases “death-by-CoViD-19.”

    Let me put this into perspective for you guys: It’s true that South Dakota has a lot of wide-open spaces. And it’s also true that this probably helps when it comes time for flu season and other health issues. BUT…well over 1/8 of the state’s entire population is in one city. And if you take out the cases that were traced to the Smithfield plant down there and the area nursing homes (granted, Sioux Falls skews young, and has been growing quite a bit over the last 20 years), the percentages here are about the same as in Florida and Georgia where they did lock down.

    The only other place that even remotely could be considered a “hot spot” on this side of the state is my home town. And what do we have in common with Sioux Falls? SURPRISE! A meat packing plant.

    Gryph (08c844)

  152. Hostile and abrasive? Don’t be absurd! Would a hostile and abrasive person wish harm, and possible death, to 100,000 strangers and everyone they knew?

    Hey now, wait a minute…

    Demosthenes (97827d)

  153. 157. I hope you’re not talking about me, Demosthenes. I may have said a time or two that I can’t bring myself to weep for people I never personally knew (usually in the context of celebrity funerals, but I digress), but I’ve not wished death on anyone. I just acknowledge that each and every one of us suffers from a terminal disease called “life.”

    Gryph (08c844)

  154. 151.

    Karen: Nuh uh!

    Gryph (08c844)

  155. nk knows who I’m talking about, Gryph.

    Although I’m contemptuous of all this Karen garbage.

    Demosthenes (7fae81)

  156. “Unlike every other state in the nation, we’re not inflating CoViD-19 deaths by shoving active cases into nursing homes and calling alcohol poisoning cases “death-by-CoViD-19.””

    Looking at the “excess deaths” numbers, most states are undercounting covid deaths. This has been pointed out to you before.

    Davethulhu (c7dacc)

  157. 161. “Karen” and “Douchebag” are two of my favorite go-to insults precisely because they offend so many sensibilities without being among George Carlin’s “seven words you can’t say on TV.”

    Gryph (08c844)

  158. 162. If most states are undercounting CoViD deaths and South Dakota has a lower percentage of them than just about any state in the nation save Alaska, I’d question Governor Noem’s methods before I question her motives.

    Gryph (08c844)

  159. Demosthenes (97827d) — 5/27/2020 @ 5:08 pm

    Second, I would think real hard about making such broad blanket statements as that. Our host deletes comments from time to time, after all. Are you accusing him of acting in a way that is “antithetical to the principles of a free and open society“? Because that certainly is a logical implication of your words.

    Ah, the implied threat that someone else is supposed to make good on. Well, I’ve thought really hard about it and if our host deletes otherwise harmless comments based on the viewpoint expressed then yes, I’d call that antithetical to the principles of a free and open society. Do you think otherwise? Do you think intentionally shutting down viewpoints and ideas because they challenge you fosters a free exchange of ideas? That does seem to be the idea behind the growing anti-free speech crowd.

    But I wouldn’t be able to make that comment here, under those circumstances since I’d be getting my posts deleted. Would he have the right to do that? Sure and we’ve covered this ground before. There’s nothing, other than his personal standards and principles, stopping our host from going LGF anytime he wants. However, I’ve only seen someone get booted for being intentionally and consistently belligerent, and even then a lot of intentional belligerence gets a pass.

    If you want to turn my comments into some cryptic criticism of the hosts here you’re going to need a better lead up.

    frosty (f27e97)

  160. This has been about stripping liberty from you, forever they want this to be the new normal, they want you in a food line at the mercy of government largess this was the purpose.

    Narciso (7404b5)

  161. ” if our host deletes otherwise harmless comments based on the viewpoint expressed then yes, I’d call that antithetical to the principles of a free and open society”

    “Otherwise harmless” is doing a lot of heavy lifting in this comment. Who decides if a comment is “otherwise harmless”.

    Davethulhu (c7dacc)

  162. ““Otherwise harmless” is doing a lot of heavy lifting in this comment. Who decides if a comment is “otherwise harmless”.”

    The host, of course.

    I’m certainly not opposed to him saying outright: “It’s MY site, I can do what I want to, and if you don’t like it, tough beans, kid!”

    Yet, funnily enough, he only makes that argument when it comes to defending much bigger, more ubiquitous, and much more monopolistic corporations with far less of a claim on that aphorism, while taking great pains to draw up rules and justifications to explain even the most obviously capricious bannings most would forgive him for. Is he ashamed of taking his position, or admitting that there is something other than a rights-based outlook?

    Don’t know, man, libertarianism and frustrated ambition screws with your brain.

    OJ Scarborough (e73ac0)

  163. Davethulhu (c7dacc) — 5/27/2020 @ 6:48 pm

    “Otherwise harmless” is doing a lot of heavy lifting in this comment. Who decides if a comment is “otherwise harmless”.

    Since the questions was:

    Are you accusing him of acting in a way that is “antithetical to the principles of a free and open society“?

    The answer to your question is I decide whether I accuse someone of something. I’m not going to let someone else decide whether I accuse someone of something.

    But ok, you win, “otherwise harmless” and basic common sense, are doing some heavy lifting.

    frosty (f27e97)

  164. To Karen, or not to Karen? That is (apparently) the question.

    Leviticus (b3a900)

  165. @ frosty, #166:

    Ah, the implied threat that someone else is supposed to make good on.

    There was no threat, implied or otherwise. (I thought the folksiness would make that clear.) When you make statements that can be taken as absolutes, you should “think real hard” before you do it. Almost every rule has legitimate exceptions.

    Well, I’ve thought really hard about it and if our host deletes otherwise harmless comments based on the viewpoint expressed then yes, I’d call that antithetical to the principles of a free and open society.

    You are equivocating, in an attempt to shift the ground of the debate. What you originally said was: “Censorship is antithetical to the principles of a free and open society.” Would deleting comments for outrageous personal attacks (one of the things Patterico does) not count as some form of censorship, on your view? What about preemptive suppression of particular swear words with a filter (another thing he does)? Most dictionaries would consider that censorship. So would the ACLU. They define censorship as “the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are ‘offensive’…” And that’s what is going on in those two examples. I would like to add, for the record, that those are two examples of censorship with which I have no problem at all. Censorship is sometimes — perhaps frequently — a bad thing. But not always.

    Do you think otherwise? Do you think intentionally shutting down viewpoints and ideas because they challenge you fosters a free exchange of ideas? That does seem to be the idea behind the growing anti-free speech crowd.

    So here’s what you’re doing. (I know you know what you’re doing. I am explaining this to anyone else who might not be able to see it.) In the previous passage, you tried to smuggle a particular definition of “censorship” into your comments…one that is extremely restrictive of the word’s actual meaning, only applying it to a particular type of case. Then here, having “defined” yourself to be in the right, you ask me here if I’m opposed to you…presumably hoping that either I’ll place myself on your side, or else bite the bullet and out myself as some sort of anti-free-speech fascist type. Finally, you cap it off with a neat little well-poisoning.

    Do I think “intentionally shutting down viewpoints and ideas because they challenge [me] fosters a free exchange of ideas?” No, I do not. But I also don’t think that what you are saying now is semantically equivalent to what you said before. And I don’t think you do either, because you now seem to realize how unfortunately overbroad your original statement was. You’re doing a tapdance, Billy Flynn. Unfortunately for you, I know the steps.

    If you want to turn my comments into some cryptic criticism of the hosts here you’re going to need a better lead up.

    Of course I didn’t think you were actually criticizing Patterico. What I thought was, you made a comment that you hadn’t thought through. (Which, I think it’s now obvious, you hadn’t.) So I decided to come up with a counterexample. Though, now that I look back on it, a better phrasing would probably have been “Would you accuse him…” instead of “Are you accusing him…” — but of course, the second one was what I said. So there we go. That’s proof positive that I don’t always think through my comments very well either.

    Demosthenes (7fae81)

  166. I’ve been thinking about it all day. The best defense is a good offense. Twitter should terminate Trump’s account and throw the whole thing to the courts. I have a feeling that Twitter will win all the way to the Supreme Court, 7-2, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh dissenting.

    nk (1d9030)

  167. Demosthenes (7fae81) — 5/27/2020 @ 7:40 pm

    When you make statements that can be taken as absolutes

    This is a version of being unwilling to read a comment in a way you’d want applied to yourself. Does anyone really want their statements taken as absolutes? Is it really a requirement that all statements be surrounded with exceptions and disclaimers?

    You are equivocating, in an attempt to shift the ground of the debate.

    I’m trying to respond while avoiding what seems like an obvious gotcha game.

    We’ve got two different but related threads. One has comments about whether Twitter should censor Trump and another about whether Trump should censor Twitter (I know, there isn’t enough space to do anything other than over simplify. That is akin to being over broad and obviously that’s a route to trouble. So, this is the best I’m willing to do as a disclaimer). I’m not in favor of either of those. Assuming for the sake of discussion that I have been over broad does that undermine either of those positions? I don’t think it does. What it can do is lay the ground work for moving the line. First, the camel’s nose gets in the tent, something is over broad because there are no absolutes. Then the frog is slowly boiled by adding exceptions that really aren’t any different than what’s been allowed before. Then before long the frog is cooked and the camels are stomping on everything because free speech is only about government restrictions.

    So, are you disagreeing with me on either of those positions? If so which one and would you elaborate on why? Or do you want to debate what counts as acceptable censorship first and then back into one of these other issues? Did I miss another option?

    frosty (f27e97)

  168. As several commenters have noted, Trump is intending to sign and executive order to curtail social media.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-expected-to-sign-executive-order-that-could-threaten-punishment-against-facebook-google-and-twitter-over-allegations-of-political-bias/ar-BB14GPyk?ocid=spartandhp

    There he goes again, doubling down on his autocratic tendencies. Why, because these websites dare to fact check his idiotic conspiracy theories?

    And why is it only Facebook, Google and Twitter? What about Yahoo? Or any one of a number of social media websites. What’s next, the New York Times and the Washington Post, or any other of a number media outlets that fact check his bizarre statements? CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, NPR, what about FOX?

    Assuming powers he does not have and issuing orders that will get laughed out of court, that’s Donald J. Trump, who thinks his middle initial stands for Jesus.

    Freedom is the absence of tyranny. Liberty is individual rights. That’s why we have a Constitution based on a separation of powers–legislative, executive, judicial–and a Bill of Rights.

    The Constitution merely structures the government, and it cannot be divorced from the Declaration of Independence, because each and every section and article is a response to a complaint against the Crown.

    Trump thinks he wears a Crown. He doesn’t. The child-man is a total fraud.

    By the way, I visited Silicon Valley once. Yeah, it was when I flew up to comfort a grieving friend while he was going through a horrible divorce. I warned him about marrying that girl, but he didn’t listen, and it was the best I could do.

    So, we’re sitting in a coffee shop in Silicon Valley. I’m looking at all of these tech geeks, and I said out loud, real loud, “I like Bill Gates.” It damn near started a riot.

    No, seriously, I thought these geeks were going to attack and beat me to death. They all hated Bill Gates. He was a Harvard dropout, the son of a lawyer, and not a programmer.

    Here’s the thing. Yes, Bill Gates did drop out of college. He had a vision–he took technology from Xerox, Kodak and IBM, combined them together and created Microsoft in his garage. He then became one of the richest men in the world, a multi-billionaire.

    What did he do with all that money? Well, he’s spent the last decade funding laboratories around the world that study infectious diseases. To the tune of several hundred of millions of dollars.

    What has Trump done with his inherited money? Nothing, as far as anyone knows. Has he donated to any labs, invested in any research? No.

    He’s too busy accusing a television host of murder, to distract public attention away from his abject failure in handling this pandemic.

    Bill Gates was donating to infectious disease labs a decade ago.

    But if I had said in that Silicon Valley coffee shop years ago that “I like Donald Trump.” What do you think would have happened? Not a riot, that’s for sure.

    Bill Gates spends more money on infectious disease control than Donald Trump. That’s what I’m talking about.

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  169. Well, there is the Trump Family Foundation For Unwed Gold Diggers.

    nk (1d9030)

  170. They are actually planing to isue an executive order – what it will do has not been worked out yet as of thsi morning – it sounds like what he might do is maybe hold them responsible for content, which actually would create more censorship. But he doesn’t care if what he does makes any eense. He wants something done, and so they’ll do something.

    The only thing he might possibly do is rule them a publisher. That has always been the threat. Congress passed a law a long time ago (Internet time) to prevent that.

    It seems like Donald Trump really doesn’t like any challenging of his claim that there will be a lot of vote fraud (against him) if there is routine vote by mail. And he desn;t want Twitter and Facebook (where he also posted the identical tweets( to take a position against that.

    Sammy Finkelman (f2d620)

  171. What he is doing works as a threat only. It harms him in execution, The bottom line has to be that, if they will stop fact checking him, and anybody else, he’ll retract it.

    Sammy Finkelman (f2d620)

  172. From the New York Times story it seems like what they are going to do is let Facebook, Twitter and Google (the issue with Google is hiding websites from search results) keep, for now, the protections of Section 230 but only on condition that they don’t engage in “selective censorship” allowing the federal government to go into court charging that they do.

    He will also reduce somewhat federal government advertising on those platforms.

    Sammy Finkelman (f2d620)

  173. I make it a point to not attempt a rational discussion with anyone who simply insults whoever they disagree with, rather than dealing with the issues involved. So let’s try considering an important issue…rationally, without rancor, or name-calling.

    Let me begin this hopeful debate by pointing out that I am not a master chef, not a trained auto mechanic, not a physician, and certainly not a certified psychiatrist. However, I know when an omelet’s been burnt, when a finger is broken, when my car’s brakes don’t work, and when a person is mentally deranged.

    Naturally, I might very well be wrong in any or all of these instances. I could be in a restaurant in France, where I’m told that omelets are typically reheated and browned on the bottom. That “broken” finger may simply be a congenital condition with no serious consequences. I could, and have, accidentally put my foot on the wrong pedal. And the object of my “analysis” could simply be clowning.

    But, should actual experts in any of these fields make such “diagnoses at a distance”? That is a serious question, which is a crucial one in these troubled times. Here goes my attempt to answer it.

    Not being a psychiatrist, I see no reason why I can’t state unequivocally, and based entirely on his tweets, speeches, interviews, and his public statements, that President Donald Trump is mentally ill.

    But, should a professional psychiatrist make such a statement about our President? My answer is “yes”. Diagnosis at a distance by professionals in their field of expertise is ordinarily, at the very least, an absurdity. But, as in many instances in this life, actions which may be flat-out wrong in most instances could, under extenuating circumstances, be essential.

    Since Donald Trump is clearly one of the most powerful persons on earth, can order someone killed without being held to account, may even plunge us into war through his position as Commander-in-Chief of our armed forces…public recognition of his fragile mental condition by psychiatrists is not only acceptable but even required.

    It has been some years since I’ve read Gulliver’s Travels, but I do remember that the protagonist did what would ordinarily be regarded as an unpardonable act…having made use of his giant stature and the contents of his bladder to urinate on the Lilliputian monarch’s palace. But it was on fire, and that was the only water readily available.

    Maybe now is indeed the time when psychiatrists must commit what would ordinarily be an inexcusable offense, which consists of diagnosing a person at a distance. However, this time the subject is a person who could do, and has already done, irreparable damage to others, to this country, and even to the world.

    And, perhaps, psychiatrists are even justified in analyzing at a distance anyone who can casually overlook the evidence that President Donald Trump is clearly showing signs of a serious mental illness.

    John A. Broussard
    http://www.kohala.homestead.com

    John A. Broussard (f30f93)

  174. Well, John…

    just amain.

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  175. As others noted above, CNN says:

    President Donald Trump is set to announce an executive order against social media companies on Thursday, days after Twitter called two of his tweets “potentially misleading.”

    The draft executive order being prepared by the Trump administration tests the boundaries of the White House’s authority. In a long-shot legal bid, it seeks to curtail the power of large social media platforms by reinterpreting a critical 1996 law that shields websites and tech companies from lawsuits.

    It claims Trump will use the good faith requirement of Section 230 to (curtail/sanction/threaten/whatever?) social media companies. It seems to be a threat more than an actual attempt to change the law.

    DRJ (15874d)

  176. Only the threat is of any use to Donald Trump because carrying it out on;y makes it worse for him.

    Sammy Finkelman (f2d620)

  177. @183: A law shielding internet media platforms from lawsuits has nothing to do with the First Amendment, unless you believe newspapers and magazines, which do not enjoy such carve outs, have had their free speech rights curtailed all along.

    And, spare me the publisher vs. platform nonsense. It’s not 1996.

    beer ‘n pretzels (6181e7)

  178. 185. No, it’s not 1996. And maybe it is time to re-examine the protections that platforms provide, especially in light of the fact that Twitter is all-comment and no-content. Or maybe not.

    Gryph (08c844)

  179. 181. Biden is showing signs of progressive dementia, and that isn’t keeping him from running against Trump this year. Maybe we should all be a little more introspective and consider how embarrassed we should be at continuing to participate in this farce we called “politics.”

    Gryph (08c844)

  180. And, perhaps, psychiatrists are even justified in analyzing at a distance anyone who can casually overlook the evidence that President Donald Trump is clearly showing signs of a serious mental illness.

    Psychiatrists have said that the publicly available evidence on Trump’s mental condition is much more extensive than they can gather from a patient in clinical examinations.

    But that very plausible observation by experts is rejected by the Trumpsters who say you shouldn’t pronounce upon Trump’s mental state unless you’re an expert – and then they turn around and tell us “the experts are all wrong,” about such things as infectious disease.

    Meanwhile, they say that anyone who comments on Trump’s nuttiness and nastiness and dishonesty is “deranged” and should “get help!”

    Radegunda (89f220)

  181. 188. Let me clarify a couple of things her, Rad:

    First, although I do believe that the cited experts are wrong about CoViD-19, and have been wrong about a lot of other things (including most notably AIDS), I am not a Trump humper. There is a large degree of overlap between people who openly admire Trump’s sociopathy and those who think the economy should reopen without qualification, but I am not in that particular group.

    Secondly, I’ve never believed that Trump is “crazy” in the sense that he is detached from reality. If he were, he probably would not have such a large percentage of people wrapped around his finger. He plays rules of ethics and morality to the hilt, and has become very famous doing so. In that, he has a degree of notoriety which money can’t really buy. So I don’t think he’s stupid either.

    Gryph (08c844)

  182. No, it’s not 1996. And maybe it is time to re-examine the protections that platforms provide, especially in light of the fact that Twitter is all-comment and no-content. Or maybe not.

    Shocking, but I agree. Congress should look at modernization of the legal framework. 24 years is a long time in internet time.

    The president has zero ability to wedge an executive order into this. Well, I guess he can sign an executive order for almost anything, doesn’t mean it actually does more than if I eat a lot of cabbage. That actually will have more impact on my wife than a Trump executive order.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  183. consider how embarrassed we should be at continuing to participate in this farce we called “politics.”

    Planning to opt out of being governed by either Trump or Biden in the upcoming years?

    Radegunda (89f220)

  184. 191. I’ve been pretty vocal for a long time now about my perception of the federal government writ-large as unconstitutional and illegitimate. Trump’s a symptom of an underlying rot. I’m not ready to pull a Minneapolis and start burning the MFer down, but for everything I’ve paid in federal taxes over the last decade, I might as well be John Galt.

    Gryph (08c844)

  185. 188. Let me clarify a couple of things her, Rad:

    I wasn’t responding to you. I was responding to the exact statement I quoted. (Are you posting under two different names?)

    Then I made further comments on a general pattern I’ve seen among Trump defenders, with no specific reference to any comment of yours.

    So I really don’t know why you seem to have taken it personally.

    Radegunda (89f220)

  186. 181. That’s not it, nor is saying crazy things a sign of an illness.

    Errol Lewis in the New York Daily News says that Trump is losing it (I don;t think things are at that stage yet) because he;s losing his re-election bid (I think he;s worried but it is too soon to tell.

    I think Trump is most worried about what could happen to the economy.

    Sammy Finkelman (704f59)

  187. 193. Not at all. I didn’t post that with any malice or anger. Just some observations of fact. I apologize if that came across in a manner that I did not intend.

    Gryph (08c844)

  188. Trump’s ‘Horrifying Lies’ About Lori Klausutis May Cross a Legal Line
    ……Mr. Trump’s wantonly cruel tweets about the tragic death in 2001 of Lori Klausutis are distinctive: They may constitute intentional torts for which a civil jury could award punitive damages against him.
    ……
    Mr. Trump’s first tort is called intentional infliction of emotional distress, which the courts developed precisely to condemn wanton cruelty to another person who suffers emotionally as a result. This tort, which is sometimes called “outrage,” readily applies to Mr. Trump’s tweets about Ms. Klausutis. They were intentional and reckless, and were “extreme and outrageous” without a scintilla of evidence to support them. And they caused severe emotional distress — the protracted, daily-felt grief described in Mr. Klausutis’s letter to Mr. Dorsey.
    ……
    ……Mr. Scarborough might succeed in a defamation suit against Mr. Trump for reputational harm. After all, the president’s innuendo that Mr. Scarborough may have murdered Lori Klausutis — presumably credible to the many Trump Twitter followers who subscribe to conspiracy theories — may seriously harm Mr. Scarborough’s reputation with them and others.
    ……
    Mr. Scarborough, as a public figure in his own right, must satisfy the Supreme Court’s demanding test for defamation liability in its landmark New York Times v. Sullivan decision. …..Mr. Scarborough must prove that Mr. Trump made his defamatory comment either with actual knowledge that it was false or with “reckless disregard” for whether it was true or false. But the president’s tweets about the Klausutis case probably satisfy this test. After all, he has not cited any evidence to support his calumny either before the tweets or in response to the backlash since then. If the jury found for Mr. Scarborough, it could require Mr. Trump to pay substantial punitive damages in addition to compensation for his reputational harm.

    Under the court’s unanimous 1998 ruing in Paula Jones’s sexual harassment suit against President Bill Clinton, both of these lawsuits — by Mr. Klausutis and by Mr. Scarborough — could proceed against the president while he is still in office. Because his tweets reach followers nationwide, the lawsuits could probably be brought in any state. …..
    ……

    RipMurdock (d2a2a8)

  189. And Trump doesn’t have that power, it is the FCC.

    Pretty sure anyone has the power to “make a case” against a broadcast license. Or licenses.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  190. “Karen” is not only sexist, but is now just a meaningless pejorative (other than impugning the intelligence of others). It is akin to “OK, Boomer!” in dismissing an opponent’s views without any actual real argument. It probably should go on the site’s watchword list.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  191. 197. Politically motivated threats of non-renewal came from the FCC regularly under The Fairness Doctrine.

    Gryph (08c844)

  192. Defying Trump, Twitter Doubles Down on Labeling Tweets
    Twitter on Thursday added new fact-checking labels to hundreds of tweets, even as the Trump administration prepared an executive order to curtail the legal protections that shield social media companies from liability for the content posted on their platforms.
    ……
    ……Twitter doubled down and continued its fact-checking effort. Early Thursday, it added fact-checking labels to messages from Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry who had claimed that the coronavirus outbreak may have begun in the United States and been brought to China by the U.S. military.

    Twitter also added notices on hundreds of tweets that falsely claimed a photo of a man in a red baseball cap was Derek Chauvin, an officer involved in the death of George Floyd, an African-American man who died this week after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by police. The Twitter label alerted viewers that the image was “manipulated media.”
    …..

    RipMurdock (d2a2a8)

  193. Pretty sure anyone has the power to “make a case” against a broadcast license. Or licenses.

    They would need to go from city to city challenging each affiliates license. Hardly worth the effort.

    RipMurdock (d2a2a8)

  194. 196. Trump said he didn;t invent the allegation against Joe Scarborough, and he didn’t. The target of possible intentional (albeit probably unsuccesful, infliction of emotional distress is Joe Scarborough. Lori Klausutis’ survivors are just collateral damage.

    Sammy Finkelman (704f59)

  195. 198. This will be fine as long as no one actually tries to quote someone named Karen, or no one tries to use Karen as a pseudonym.

    Gryph (08c844)

  196. Planning to opt out of being governed by either Trump or Biden in the upcoming years?

    Many have opted out long since. The two parties, offering us this choice, are totally bankrupt. One cannot get rid of a 500-pound chimpanzee and the other is having trouble finding leaders above ground. So, we have a choice of Bozo or Chernenko.

    The real question is why someone with the ability to make it stick hasn’t opted out politically.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  197. 198…seconded.

    urbanleftbehind (268510)

  198. 204. Too many voters feel invested in something that doesn’t matter in any practical sense. It’s the same reason people go ape-s**t nuts for sports teams that pay out millions of dollars yearly to men and women who play games.

    Gryph (08c844)

  199. And now Trump is preparing an EO that would revisit Section 230, which would be an attack on the 1st Amendment. Instead of a warning label, they could’ve linked to a source that refuted Trump’s bogus assertions, like this one

    According to the well-constructed News21 database, absentee-ballot ballot fraud made up 24.2 percent of all reported prosecutions of election crimes between 2000 and 2012. But the total number of cases was just 491 — during a period in which literally billions of votes were cast. While certain pockets of the country have seen their share of absentee-ballot scandals, problems are extremely rare in the five states that rely primarily on vote-by-mail, including the heavily Republican state of Utah.

    What’s really getting Trump angry is that someone is actually holding his words to account, calling out his lies.

    Paul Montagu (b3f51b)

  200. Trump retweets a video saying ‘the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat’
    If there was ever a tweet tailor-made for promotion by President Trump, it might be this one: A video by an account called “Cowboys for Trump” in which the speaker begins by saying, “The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.” The speaker quickly qualifies that he’s not speaking literally.

    At precisely midnight, the president felt this was the kind of message that people needed to see. “Thank you Cowboys. See you in New Mexico!” he said in a retweet.
    ……
    …..The speaker, an Otero County, N.M., commissioner named Couy Griffin, has already been disavowed by the New Mexico Republican Party, even if he was just speaking figuratively.
    …….
    Griffin initially declined to back down and claimed persecution, though he eventually said he “could’ve chosen a different verbiage, you know. I guess I need to be more careful when I choose the words that I speak.”
    …..
    It’s exactly the kind of thing Trump does: He’s saying this thing, but he’s also saying that he’s not really saying this thing, and it’s your fault for misinterpreting.
    …..
    ….[Trump’s] happy to repeatedly raise the specter of violence against people he dislikes — while clarifying that he’s not advocating it. Plenty of people will believe these musing are being exaggerated and taken out of context, but the thrust of all of them is unmistakable and consistent. It’s like that old, stereotypical mafia expression, “It’d be a shame if something happened to XYZ.”
    ……

    RipMurdock (d2a2a8)

  201. There;s been a lot of intentional infliction of emoional distress on Amy Cooper, the Central Park dog walker who threatened to make and then made a false 911 call, so much so that now she had real reasons to call the police.

    She did that because the 57-year old bird watcher, an important member of the Audubon society, had set himself up as a policeman to enforce the rule about keeping a dog unleashed in that portion of the park. He had found that people didn’t listen to him. So he had hit upon the idea of carrying dog treats with him, to get the dog to come to him. He had found that usually worked. But Amy Cooper had grabbed the dog by the collar, but she would not put on the leash. Instead, she threatened to lie to the police. That’s when the 57-year old African American man started recording. He told her to call them and say whatever you want.

    When the police came, they determined there had been a verbal dispute between two people and there was no cause to arrest anyone.

    Sammy Finkelman (704f59)

  202. @200, Twitter should mess with him hard and publicly. Not in a serious way, just silly stuff that mocks him. Silly changes in his handle. Pin rude tweets the top of his thread. Limit him a randome number of posts a day. When people complain Jack should just tell everyone it’s his place and he can do what he likes.

    Time123 (457a1d)

  203. And now Trump is preparing an EO that would revisit Section 230, which would be an attack on the 1st Amendment.

    Fact check: BS

    I guess newspapers and magazines have had their 1st amendment rights trampled all these decades, since they enjoyed no such exemptions.

    beer ‘n pretzels (73045a)

  204. @211, you should spend time learning what’s going on before you fact check stuff.

    Time123 (457a1d)

  205. “had set himself up as a policeman to enforce the rule about keeping a dog unleashed in that portion of the park”

    If he had actually set himself up as a policeman, he would have shot the dog.

    Davethulhu (c7dacc)

  206. @212:

    Fact check: ad hominem

    beer ‘n pretzels (73045a)

  207. 196. Trump said he didn;t invent the allegation against Joe Scarborough, and he didn’t.

    And in defamation law, it does not matter one bit. Anyone…and everyone…who republishes (repeats) a defamatory statement can be equally liable with the original tortfeasor.

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  208. 214. You don’t know what ad hominem means.

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  209. There’s been a lot of intentional infliction of emoional (sic) distress on Amy Cooper, the Central Park dog walker who threatened to make and then made a false 911 call, so much so that now she had real reasons to call the police.

    She should sue.

    RipMurdock (d2a2a8)

  210. @217 spoken like any lawyer. 😉

    Time123 (235fc4)

  211. @218-
    There is no need to insult me. /s
    IANAL, nor do I play one on TV. I do enjoy our host’s legal posts, though.

    RipMurdock (d2a2a8)

  212. Amendment I

    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.

    It looks to me like congress must pass a law to violate the first amendment. Until that actually happens, we don’t have a violation. A regulation that abridges freedom of speech authorized by a law that congress passed could also do it.

    A tweet or threat is not sufficient.

    1DaveMac (4cc9b4)


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