Religious Persecution

Finland Member of Parliament Päivi Räsänen and Lutheran Bishop Juhana Pohjola stood (still stand?) accused by Finnish prosecutor Anu Mantila of the heinous hate speech crime of quoting from the Bible.

Finnish district courts said, no, and acquitted the two. The prosecutor objected and took the cases to a Finnish appellate court—where the two were once again acquitted. Räsänen:

It isn’t a crime to tweet a Bible verse, or to engage in public discourse with a Christian perspective. The attempts made to prosecute me for expressing my beliefs have resulted in an immensely trying four years, but my hope is that the result will stand as a key precedent to protect the human right to free speech.

Massie is Disappointing

The House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning antisemitism on college campuses by a vote of 396-23.

A single Republican—Congressman Thomas Massie (R, KY)—was one of the 23 voting against the resolution. He posted his rationalization on X:

Free speech means protecting speech you don’t like, not just speech you do like.
Also, who defines antisemitism?

This is a mindless quibble. The resolution did not ban any speech, or much less antisemitic speech, however antisemitism might be defined or by whom; it only decried it. Which is itself an exercise in free speech.

The 9th Circuit Got This One Right

A recent Wall Street Journal opinion concerned the question of when, or whether, a political figure who creates a personal social media account(s) can bar members of the public from interacting with those accounts. In

Michelle O’Connor-Ratcliff and TJ Zane, elected school board members in California, used personal Facebook and Twitter accounts they created while running for office to campaign and inform constituents about education news. The officials blocked two parents for making “repetitious and non-responsive comments” on their pages.

In O‘Connor-Ratcliff v Garnier, the 9th Circuit said the two board members could not do that.

Bad Mistake

Federal DC District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is presiding over former President and current Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s (R) trial on “election charges,” has issued a gag order limiting what Trump is allowed to say on matters associated with that trial. Her gag order should be found, on appeal, to be strongly unconstitutional—based on Chutkan’s own characterization of her order.

His presidential candidacy does not give him carte blanche to vilify public servants who are simply doing their jobs[.]

Trump’s status as a Presidential candidate is wholly irrelevant to this. Trump’s status as an American citizen is.

Choosing not to Understand

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has broadened an existing injunction that bars various Federal agencies from colluding with social media to censor speech to include the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. The court wrote, in part,

CISA used its frequent interactions with social-media platforms to push them to adopt more restrictive policies on censoring election-related speech. And CISA officials affirmatively told the platforms whether the content they had “switchboarded” was true or false….
Thus, when the platforms acted to censor CISA-switchboarded content, they did not do so independently. Rather, the platforms’ censorship decisions were made under policies that CISA has pressured them into adopting and based on CISA’s determination of the veracity of the flagged information. Thus, CISA likely significantly encouraged the platforms’ content-moderation decisions and thereby violated the First Amendment[.]

See No…, Hear No….

Differing opinions, that is, along with actual facts. Apparently, Progressive-Democratic Party politicians are so weak of character that their Party leader, President Joe Biden, feels constrained to protect their tender eyes and ears.

The White House is prohibiting senior administration officials from traveling for international energy engagements that promote carbon-intensive fuels, including oil, natural gas and coal, Fox News Digital has learned.

The bar came from Biden’s National Security Council because, you know, differences are anathema to Biden’s concept of security. Which isn’t far wrong, given Biden’s assessment of the fragility of the players in his Cabinet.

Internet Censorship

The Supreme Court has granted certiori to a suit involving Texas and Florida statutes barring social media from committing censorship.

The Texas law prohibited social-media platforms with at least 50 million monthly active users to censor users based on their viewpoints, thus applying to the most popular sites including Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, as well as X. The Fifth US Circuit Court of Appeals, in New Orleans, upheld the measure.
Similar Florida legislation…was largely found unlawful by the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit.

Thus, a circuit split, which virtually guaranteed a Supreme Court case. Plaintiffs argue for allowing these media to commit censorship as they see fit. Chris Marchese, NetChoice‘s Litigation Center Director:

What He Said

The subheadline on Columbia Law’s School Maurice & Hilda Friedman Professor of Law Philip Hamburger’s Tuesday Wall Street Journal op-ed is spot on.

The First Amendment protects the right to hear alternative views, not merely to express them.

Hamburger went on:

People can’t develop their views with any sophistication unless they can consider opinions that enlarge, refine, moderate, or challenge their own. So, when government demands the suppression of some speech and chills even more, it reduces the diversity, value, and moderation of opinion—and thereby diminishes the opportunity for every individual to develop and express his own considered views. Censorship inhibits the output of critical voices, which lessens Americans’ intellectual input, which in turn limits their intellectual output. Reading and speaking are inextricably linked in conversation.

Fundamentally Transforming America

I’ve written elsewhere of the Progressive-Democratic Party’s goal, and of the destructive nature of that goal.

Here is the rank and file of the Progressive-Democratic Party, demonstrating how deep-seated is that desire to destroy our Republic:

  • nearly half of Democrats (47%) support censorship, and think speech should be legal “only under certain ­circumstances”
  • one-third of Democrats (34%) think Americans have “too much freedom”
  • 75% think government has a responsibility to censor “hateful” social media posts
  • a majority of Democrats (52%) approve of the government censoring social media posts “under the rubric of protecting national security”

ByteDance and TikTok

Recall that TikTok, a social medium heavily favored by our children, is wholly owned by ByteDance. Recall further, that ByteDance is domiciled inside the Peoples Republic of China. Finally, recall that the PRC’s 2017 national security law requires every PRC-domiciled company to collect and deliver to that nation’s intelligence community any information that community requests. A bonus memory: TikTok’s executive team has been at pains to insist that, in the United States, they operate independently of all of that.

Against that backdrop, there’s this: