Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Last Call For Our Little Domestic Terrorism Problem, Con't

The Trump regime has decided that openly supporting the online speech rights of white supremacists directly outweighs the rest of us getting hurt or killed, so America refuses to back New Zealand's call for dealing with online extremism.

The United States on Wednesday broke with 18 governments and top American tech firms by declining to endorse a New Zealand-led response to the live-streamed shootings at two Christchurch mosques, saying free-speech concerns prevented the White House from formally signing onto the largest campaign to date targeting extremism online.

The “Christchurch Call," unveiled at an international gathering in Paris, commits foreign countries and tech giants to be more vigilant about the spread of hate on social media. It reflects heightened global frustrations with the inability of Facebook, Google and Twitter to restrain hateful posts, photos and videos that have spawned real-world violence.

Leaders from across the globe, including British Prime Minister Theresa May, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Jordan’s King Abdullah II, pledged to counter online extremism, including through new regulation, and to "encourage media outlets to apply ethical standards when depicting terrorist events online.” Companies including Facebook, Google and Twitter, meanwhile, said they’d work more closely to ensure their sites don’t become conduits for terrorism. They also committed to accelerated research and information sharing with governments in the wake of recent terrorist attacks. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was among those who attended.

The call is named after the New Zealand city where a shooter killed 51 people in a March attack broadcast on Facebook and posted afterward on other social-media sites. Facebook, Google and Twitter struggled to take down copies of the violent video as fast as it spread on the Web, prompting an international backlash from regulators who felt malicious actors had evaded Silicon Valley’s defenses too easily. Before the attack, the shooter also posted a hate-filled manifesto that included references to previous mass killings.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron organized the call to action, part of Ardern’s international plea this year for greater social-media accountability. Along with New Zealand and France, countries such as Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom endorsed the document, as did tech giants Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter. (Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

And I know, the First Amendment protects vile speech, and the Supreme Court has made this clear.  But the fact this regime openly engages in the very practices this pact tries to stop is the much larger problem.

The Road To Gilead, Con't

With Alabama on the brink of outlawing abortion and making it punishable by 99 years in prison or even the death penalty, Irin Carmon at The Cut examines where the road to Gilead may take us all and a woman named Janet Porter, who has been pushing for "heartbeat bills" for years.

The legal scholar Jack Balkin has used the phrase “off the wall,” or on it, to describe how social movements can convince people the constitution says what they want it to say. Their goals are first ignored or seen as “lunatic,” he observed, then “wrong but interesting,” then “plausible but wrong,” until, through a combination of forces, they get to being considered “probably right.” And when it comes to abortion and a changing Supreme Court, we have no idea what will be on the wall.

Heartbeat bills have never been on the wall. For nearly a half century, the Supreme Court has said that states can’t ban abortion before a fetus is viable — no earlier than 24 weeks, not six, before many women even know they’re pregnant. That’s why the focus-grouped, gray-suited architects of the anti-abortion movement believe total bans hurt their cause. They’ve read the polls that say Americans broadly support abortion in the first trimester, that they don’t want to see Roe v. Wade overturned, and that they squirm when they hear about the later abortions allowed under it: after 20 weeks, or later for reason of health or life.

“Legislation is often a process, not an event. It takes time,” the National Right to Life Committee’s James Bopp — the architect of Citizens United, and an opponent of heartbeat bills to this day— once told me. What’s off the wall might not stay there, Balkin has pointed out, and it “depends a great deal on who is willing to put their reputation and authority behind the arguments and stand up for them. If enough important and influential people say that a legal argument is not crazy but one on which reasonable minds can differ — or even the best legal argument, all things considered — then it becomes on-the-wall, although it is by no means guaranteed to succeed ultimately in the courts.”

Janet Porter intuitively understands that. She has pointed out that in 2000, the Supreme Court struck down a “partial birth abortion ban.” Then Samuel Alito replaced Sandra Day O’Connor, and in 2007, the Republican appointees on the Supreme Court pretended it wasn’t overturning a precedent when it upheld the federal version. Back on the wall.

Kennedy’s successor, Brett Kavanaugh, has already made it clear in a Louisiana procedural vote that he’s willing to throw out abortion precedent in radical fashion as long as he can sound slightly calmer than he did in his confirmation hearings. Chief Justice John Roberts, the court’s new swing vote, is no one’s idea of a moderate and, despite voting to keep Louisiana’s clinics temporarily open in a procedural move, has upheld every single abortion law that the court has considered in full. But he has tended to not want to harm the Republican Party’s chances at the ballot, which upholding a total ban might do.

Breyer’s distress might also tell us something about an abortion mystery at the court. Last Friday, the justices considered for the 13th time whether to hear an Indiana abortion restriction that bans abortions in case of a fetal disability and mandates fetal burial or cremations. This was not a close call for the vast majority of judges who threw it out or refused to rehear it, because in the words of one of them, the law “seeks to accomplish precisely what the Supreme Court has held is impermissible,” by banning abortion before viability. So why not send Indiana packing, unless there’s a chance that could change?

For now, Janet Porter has to be feeling pretty good about where she is. Once no state had a heartbeat bill; now they’re multiplying. She was a birther; now, so is the president of the United States. She enlisted conservative Jay Sekulow to work out the legal details of what she wanted to get done; so did Trump. According to the Guardian, “In late 2017, she delivered her message directly to Mike Pence, and has been invited back to the White House for an anti-abortion gathering since.”

We don’t know how judges will read those cues, and neither do the people making laws. “When you have a willing court,” Bopp said, “then you pursue what they’re willing to do.” That was six years ago, and the walls have been coming down ever since.

And now the walls are nearly down.  Abortion won't end in America of course.  Safe abortion that doesn't kill women will end in America.

[UPDATE] Alabama GOP Gov. Kay Ivey didn't hesitate to sign the bill into law this evening.

Liz Warren Says Just FOX Off

In a world where Democratic candidates for 2020 are expected to come crawling and kneel before FOX News only to be tarred and feathered anyway as Socialist enemies of the United States, it's nice to finally see a Democrat take a stand by telling the network to go FOX itself.

Elizabeth Warren turned down a Fox News invitation Tuesday for a televised town hall and denounced the cable network as a “hate-for-profit racket that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists.

The network has been inviting Democratic presidential candidates to participate in town halls moderated by its news reporters. Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar already done the events, while Pete Buttigieg and Kirsten Gillibrand are scheduled to. All of them have criticized the network’s coverage of the Trump administration but defended going on the network as a means to reach voters.

Without mentioning her rivals, Warren argued that agreeing to go on the network would ultimately lend Fox News credibility and boost its revenue.

“A Fox News town hall adds money to the hate-for-profit machine. To which I say: hard pass,” she wrote in a Twitter thread. “Fox News is welcome to come to my events just like any other outlet.”

A Fox News representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Anticipating criticism that she's ducking hard questions, Warren noted that since January she's done town halls in 17 states, had 57 media "availabilities" with reporters and done 131 interviews. After her town halls and events, Warren often takes questions from reporters for a few minutes. Her team said that they tabulated that she has taken over 1,100 questions the media since January.

Warren also participated in two CNN town halls earlier this year.

“I won’t ask millions of Democratic primary voters to tune into an outlet that profits from racism and hate in order to see our candidates — especially when Fox will make even more money adding our valuable audience to their ratings numbers,” she wrote. "Hate-for-profit works only if there’s profit, so Fox News balances a mix of bigotry, racism, and outright lies with enough legit journalism to make the claim to advertisers that it’s a reputable news outlet. It’s all about dragging in ad money — big ad money."

It's incredible that this is news, and that it took this long for a Democratic candidate for higher office finally call out FOX News for what it is, instead of simpering and bleating some ninsense about "winning over FOX viewers" as if the network doesn't happily function as the GOP's propaganda arm 24/7.

FOX News is not news, and I'm glad to finally see someone treat it as the media cancer it is.   There is zero, I repeat, zero benefit to go on FOX News for Dems, but they do it anyway to appear "bi-partisan" when of course all the viewers would rather see Democrats in jail than on FOX.

That part could be coming soon too, I don't know.


Related Posts with Thumbnails