When Social-Media Blocking Goes Political

I’ve talked about free speech often in the past. I even said, quite recently and quite angrily, that getting blocked on social media is not a violation of your free speech.

However… it would appear that some Twitter users have found an exception… and I’m not sure I can think up an argument against this…

President Donald Trump may be the nation’s tweeter-in-chief, but some Twitter users say he’s violating the First Amendment by blocking people from his feed after they posted scornful comments.

Lawyers for two Twitter users sent the White House a letter Tuesday demanding they be un-blocked from the Republican president’s @realDonaldTrump account.

“The viewpoint-based blocking of our clients is unconstitutional,” wrote attorneys at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University in New York.

The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Stop. Defending. Bigots. Even Liberal Ones.

Warning: This post is filled with even more strong language than usual. I’m angry, okay?

I get it.

I get that I cuss a lot, on Facebook, here on this blog… and I very often don’t do it in anger. I very often cuss in the routine of speaking. It’s part of my language… my voice. Some people think it’s crude. I get that. I also don’t care. But I am angry as hell, here. I’m sick and tired of this conversation.

So yes. More cussing than usual.

No. I’m not linking to it. I’m not going to bore you with the rehashed details of Bill Maher’s latest bigoted bullshit, when he a made a racist joke using the n-word in full.

You already know it all.

See, instead, what I want to talk about is all his defenders. All those supposedly “liberal” people who insist that “oh no! Bill Maher isn’t racist! He has black guests! He dates young black women! He’s the opposite of a racist!” and then absolutely demand that we must “allow differences of opinion! He has freedom of speech! Black people are allowed to say it! Why aren’t white people?!?”

So here’s the problem…

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White House Actively Looking to Restrict Press Freedom

From ABC News

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said the Trump administration has “looked at” changes to libel laws that would curtail press freedoms, but said “whether that goes anywhere is a different story.”

President Trump frequently slams the press for its coverage of him and in March suggested changing libel laws.

Libel is when defamatory statements about someone are published. But the American press enjoys some protection from lawsuits claiming libel because of the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech rights.

At least, that’s how it should be…

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So Why am I So Pissed About the Moralizing Over a Nazi Getting Punched in the Face?

Okay okay… I guess maybe I need to explain myself. I’ve been throwing barbs at people whining about a Nazi getting punched in the face all morning.

To be honest, I am really, truly livid at everyone doing this. I honestly thought that this post would be cathartic, but it somehow only made me angrier.

I know it’s going to be hard to believe, but I am, actually, a pacifist. War scares me like you wouldn’t believe, I abhor guns with a passion (I really think they should all be banned, bar none; they had fucking muskets when the 2nd amendment was written; so you know what?… I’ll bend on allowing 18th-century muskets), and I actually do think that, in theory, violence should be a last resort.

But this is not theory.

We are not in a place where we can hold Vulcan-academic discussions about it all. This shit is not just some ivory tower discussion about something that might happen.

This shit is actually happening, in real life, right now.

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GoFundMe “Defense against Carrier SLAPP Suit”

https://www.gofundme.com/defense-vs-carrier-slapp

I’m just gonna quote:

Dr. Richard Carrier is suing us for reporting  on his well-known allegations of misconduct. These allegations were widely reported on throughout the community, including by third-parties critical and sympathetic to him who are not themselves defendants.

This lawsuit has all the hallmarks of a SLAPP suit — a lawsuit filed to stifle legitimate criticism and commentary. The named defendants are Skepticon, The Orbit, and Freethought Blogs – as well as individuals Lauren Lane, the lead organizer of Skepticon; Stephanie Zvan, a blogger for The Orbit; PZ Myers, a blogger for Freethought Blogs; and Amy Frank-Skiba, who publicly posted her first-hand allegations against Carrier.

We need your help to keep our voices alive. All the defendants are represented by the same attorney, First Amendment lawyer Marc Randazza. Randazza is providing his services at a significant discount, but we are not asking him to work for free. Plus, there are thousands of dollars in “costs” for the case that don’t include legal bills, and there is no way to discount those. In order to continue fighting this lawsuit, we, the defendants of this case, have put together this campaign to raise money to defray our costs, some of which is outstanding. Donations will be used only for this case. In the event that the funds raised exceed our legal bills, they will be donated to Planned Parenthood .

We are pooling our defense costs with Skepticon, however as a 501(c)3 non-profit Skepticon is also conducting its own fundraiser where donations may be tax-deductible (ask your tax advisor). Skepticon cannot use donations it receives to help pay the shares of other individuals or organizations, though, and any excess funds raised via their campaign will go to the Skepticon conference fund.

We are confident that the court will uphold our First Amendment rights. But, through time, stress, and of course financial expense, every case like this has a chilling effect. Your support enables us to fight, and creates a warmer environment – not just for us but for others in the future.

Thank you for your support of freedom of speech, and may your new year be powerful and effective!

-Amy Frank-Skiba
-Lauren Lane
-PZ Myers
-Stephanie Zvan

Please donate.

Thank you.

On Baseball Bats, Heads, and Free Speech

(Content note: rape culture)

So, if you haven’t heard (though I can’t see how you haven’t), a very horrid preacher was shouting “you deserve to be raped” at a bunch of high school students. A 19-year-old woman walked up behind him and whacked him upside the head with an aluminum baseball bat.

This has raised an interesting conversation, as many (myself included) have utterly no sympathy for him, and have, in fact, made fun of him over it. In fact, I commented, and then posted on my Facebook, the following:

To be completely fair, I think we need to ask some important questions…

What was he doing there, at that time of day, just being all provocative, and not even with a chaperone? Things happen when you go out like that. I mean really… he shouldn’t have expected any less.

And what was he wearing, anyways? Did he have on a provocative shirt, showing off too much?

And before you say it, no I’m definitely *not* victim blaming. All I’m saying is that there are ways he could have minimized his risk, and really… shouldn’t he be held responsible at least for his own actions?

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