Opinion Speech suppression is habit-forming
Simple majorities in Congress can stop voter suppression
Amending the filibuster rule is not needed because the Constitution itself provides the remedy for election reform. The phrase "at any time" is the carve-out.Opponents of this reading of the Constitution might argue that the Framers tolerated voting restrictions much more severe than those now seen as potentially threatening the legitimacy of federal elections. That argument was used in the U.S. Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision in 1857 to deprive Blacks of any entitlement to protection of the law.
Speech suppression is a habit that the Biden administration and its liberal supporters can’t seem to break. Many staffers may have picked up the habit in their student years: colleges and universities have been routinely censoring “politically incorrect” speech for the last 30 years. As, “There are no institutions in America where free speech is more severely restricted than in our politically correct colleges and universities, dominated by liberals.”
Now the Biden administration seems to be giving the colleges and universities some serious competition. Like many Democrats during the Trump presidency, they have come to see suppression of “fake news” as the ordinary course of business and indeed a prime responsibility of social media platforms.
Retreats, Unemployment Insurance ... Emmanuel Macron's speech, a right speech?
© Ludovic Marin, AFP Emmanuel Macron delivered its eighth address since the beginning of the health crisis, Monday night from the Elysee. A speech whose political component is, according to the invited analysts of Europe 1 Monday night, in a dynamic of center-right, or even right, including the presentation of the reforms of unemployment insurance and pensions. Sanitary ads, but also political.
For decades print and broadcast media have been dominated by liberals, but Facebook, Google and Twitter have developed a stranglehold over the delivery of news which exceeds anything that the three broadcast networks and a few national newspapers every enjoyed. If they suppress a story or a line of argument, it largely disappears from public view. And to the extent that it lingers, it can be stigmatized by these multi-billion-dollar companies as “misinformation” or “fake news.”
Speech suppression was exactly what White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki had in mind last week when she called on Facebook to suppress 12 accounts which she said were spreading “misinformation” about COVID vaccines. These accounts, she said, were “producing 65% of vaccine misinformation on social media platforms,” she said July 15.
Could the voting rights fight hinder climate and energy policies?
Communities of color are more likely to support pollution controls, renewable energy and other climate policies than white communities.Voting rights and environmental advocates worry that efforts in several states to pass new election laws ranging from mandatory voter identification and limiting mail-in ballots to distributing water and food to people standing in voting lines could depress turnout among communities of color and other populations vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
“Facebook needs to move more quickly to remove harmful, violative posts," she said. "Posts that would be within their policy for removal often remain up for days, and that’s too long. The information spreads too quickly.”
And she wasn’t aiming her demand at just Facebook. “You shouldn’t be banned from one platform and not others,” she added a day later. The message was surely not lost on these companies, whose fabulously successful business models are vulnerable to government disruption.
Like most speech suppressors Psaki protested her good intentions. As did her boss, President Biden, who when asked about Facebook on Friday said simply, “They’re killing people.” The implication is that any advice contrary to the current recommendations of public health officials — contrary to The Science — is bound to increase the death toll.
This in more in line withthan Galileo’s. As Galileo knew, science is not acceptance of holy writ, but learning from observation and experiment. Today, in dealing with a novel and deadly virus, current science is a body of hypotheses only partly tested and subject to revision based on emerging evidence.
Texas Dems Are Fighting for Democracy—Why Won’t Washington’s?
Everything’s bigger in Texas, including Democrats’ political courage. On Monday morning, Texas Democrats stopped playing by the GOP’s rules in a state Republicans control and threw a wrench into Gov. Greg Abbott’s efforts to ram through a slew of voter suppression laws. How did Democrats manage to actually stall the Republican war on voting? They stopped compromising and started fighting. Fifty-eight Democratic members of the state’s House packed their bags and fled the state on Monday afternoon, just enough to paralyze legislative business in Austin.
There’s a long list of thingsbut now widely accepted as true. One prime example: the possibility that the coronavirus was accidentally released from a Wuhan lab. For more than a year, this was widely treated as a wacky right-wing conspiracy theory. Facebook slapped “warnings” on it and boasted that it reduced readership — .
Then in May, former New York Times science writer Nicholas Wade, in an article that Facebook let slip through, argued a lab leak was likelier than animal-to-human transmission and a group of 18 bioscientists called for a deeper investigation. The Biden administration, to its credit, soon reversed itself and opened its own investigation and reportedly multiple officials now believe the lab leak theory is likely correct. Some “misinformation!”
That example provides powerful support for Galileo’s view that debate over scientific matters takes place best out in the open. But of course the urge to suppress speech is not limited to science. As conservative commentator Stephen L. Miller writes, “Removing information on vaccines will translate right over to anything they think is misinformation on gun violence, or climate, or healthcare or what defines a man or woman. Which is why they are doing this.”
Biden’s rhetorical gamble on voting rights
If you are a conservative who noticed the mismatch between President Joe Biden’s apocalyptic rhetoric on voting rights (“We’re facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War”) and his subsequent lack of action (refusing to pressure Sens. Joe Manchin or Kyrsten Sinema to end the filibuster), you are not alone. © Provided by Washington Examiner Progressives noticed, too. “As you noted in your speech, our democracy is in peril,” a group of civil rights leaders wrote in a letter to Biden this week. “We certainly cannot allow an arcane Senate procedural rule to derail efforts that a majority of Americans support.
If you think that’s extravagant, consider that,, that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been stretching its ambit to studying gun violence and climate change even while letting its core mission of advancing public health atrophy, as shown by its inability to produce a COVID test.
It’s easy to imagine this administration pressuring Facebook and other social media to suppress information on other issues — for example, as the New York Post’s Michael Goodwin notes, his paper’s scoops about Hunter Biden’s shady business dealings, which was largely blocked from public view in the weeks before the 2020 election.
Speech suppression is evidently habit-forming. This is why, back in the 1790s they passed a constitutional amendment guaranteeing “freedom of speech, and of the press.” Or is that obsolete in these modern times?
Brain implants let paralyzed man with severe speech loss 'speak' again .
The UCSF research taps a brain-computer interface to turn attempted speech into typing. It's funded by Facebook, which is shifting its own focus on neural tech.The latest phase of a years-long Facebook-funded study from UCSF, called Project Steno, translates attempts at conversation from a speech-impaired paralyzed patient into words on a screen.