Censorship

Twitter has made itself an open, enthusiastic censor of political speech.

Twitter applied…fact-checking notices late Tuesday to two tweets from the president about the potential for fraud involving mail-in ballots. With a small label—”Get the facts about mail-in ballots”—and a link to more information, Twitter alerted its users that those claims were unsubstantiated.
The tweets “contain potentially misleading information about voting processes and have been labeled to provide additional context around mail-in ballots,” a Twitter spokesman said.

Never mind that Twitter’s “fact” checking is done by the likes of CNN and The Washington Post.

Limit FISA Surveillance?

Certainly, the process is beset with vast, and serious, problems.

Mr [DoJ Inspector General] Horowitz’s staff reviewed a sample from a recent five-year period, October 2014 to September 2019, during which the eight FBI field offices applied for more than 700 surveillance warrants on US persons. Each of the reviewed files contained errors, inconsistencies and omissions. After reviewing the report, the FISA court’s Chief Judge James E Boasberg issued a rare public order. He told the government to undertake steps to ensure the accuracy of FISA applications. Yet inaccuracy isn’t the only problem. The use of FISA against a US citizen presents a fundamental threat to civil liberties. It essentially suspends the Constitution.

An Expansionist Germany

Not military expansion, but a more insidious one: legal expansion.

The German government must come up with a new law regulating its secret services, after the country’s highest court [Federal Constitutional Court] ruled that the current practice of monitoring telecommunications of foreign citizens at will violates constitutionally-enshrined press freedoms and the privacy of communications.

And:

The key legal question was whether foreign nationals in other countries were covered by Germany’s constitution….

Why, yes, yes they are. Because German sovereignty reaches deep inside other nations’ borders, other nations’ legal and political jurisdictions, overrides those nations’ own sovereignty. Germany’s laws not only apply outside German borders, they apply inside other nations’ borders.

Time for a New Plan

That’s what Dr Marty Makary, Professor of Surgery at Johns Hopkins Medicine, says.  Broad lockdowns might have been justified at the outset of the present Wuhan Virus situation, but new information has arisen.

Since that time, we have data that has taught us that this infection is associated with public transit, with density, with mass gatherings, with city-to-city travel and it is associated with climate[.]

And

What we do know, [is that] there are safe ways to conduct activities in society if we use certain precautions and we probably need a targeted approach where we find areas where there is either an outbreak or an ongoing increase in cases, and use some of the more aggressive strategies in that particular location.

Finally, Some Recognition

…of the role of Federal laws in State activities. Recall that two New Jersey officials of then-Governor Chris Christie’s (R) administration were convicted in Federal court for

hav[ing] participated in a 2013 scheme to create traffic backups in Fort Lee, NJ, by limiting motorists’ access to the George Washington Bridge that crosses into New York—in retaliation against Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor, Mark Sokolich, for not supporting the re-election bid of Mr Christie, a Republican.

The Supreme Court, unanimously, tossed those convictions. The unanimity of the throwing out is made the more noteworthy by this money quote, by none other than Justice Elena Kagan, who wroteg for the Court:

It’s a Start

But it can’t possibly be the final answer; it doesn’t go nearly far enough. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has issued the final rule regarding college/university sexual harassment complaints and how colleges/universities must handle them. Along the way, DeVos revoked with finality the Obama DoEd rule that eliminated the rights of the accused.

It allows both the accused and accuser to submit evidence and participate in cross-examination in live proceedings, and both parties can also appeal a school’s ruling. Victims-rights advocates say the provision for cross-examinations could traumatize those alleging misconduct and potentially keep them from filing complaints at all.
It also allows institutions to choose one of two standards of evidence—”clear and convincing,” or the lower “preponderance of the evidence,” which just requires a greater than 50% likelihood of wrongdoing—as long as they apply the standard evenly for all cases

A First Amendment Case

Oral argument on a 1st Amendment case was heard by the Supreme Court last Wednesday. The case centers on

whether or not a 1991 law that protects people from receiving unwarranted telemarketer calls is a violation of the First Amendment when applied to political organizations.

This strikes me as a no-brainer that never should have gotten out of any District court. The 1st Amendment bars the abridgment of political speech in the public square. It does not take away the right of private citizens to decide for themselves what speech they will hear from within their own, private property.

Micromanagement

California’s Governor Gavin Newsom (D) has published a list of activities he deems permissible for Californians to engage in while they’re outdoors.

Specific activities, carefully enumerated. Not principles of (social distancing) behaviors, particular behaviors.

Activities Newsom will allow [scroll down to Outdoor recreation] include

  • badminton—singles, mind you, doubles are too many
  • BMX biking—but not just pedaling around neighborhood
  • gardening—again, singles. Your kids or spouse aren’t allowed to help
  • car-washing—here, too, no spousal or kid help. And if it’s a kid chore, he’s on his own
  • tree climbing—unspecified as to whether a boost up is allowed

Cowardice and Bigotry

The US Army’s 10th Mountain Division has a Facebook page, and its main page used to have videos posted by Division chaplains Major Scott Ingram and Captain Amy Smith suggesting some prayers.

Of course, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation objected, demanding the posts be taken down and put somewhere else. Such religious bigotry is standard fare for the Left.

What’s especially despicable, though, is the response of those in charge of the Division. Instead of fighting the bigotry, those managers answered the objections by taking the posts down.  Michael Berry, General Counsel for First Liberty Institute, has the right of it.

“This is about a public health crisis”

That’s what Progressive-Democrat Governor Laura Kelly, ruling in Kansas, said about her Executive Order barring churches and church-goers from gathering in groups greater than 10 folks after a Federal judge enjoined her (temporarily) from enforcing her diktat.

More completely, she said,

We are in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic. This is not about religion. This is about a public health crisis.

Because religion and public health have nothing to do with each other, or maybe because they stand in opposition to each other.