“Tomorrow It Could Be Somebody Else”: Bernie Sanders Comes Out Against Trump Twitter Ban

Twitter LogoSen Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) came out against the Twitter ban of former president Donald Trump yesterday.  Sanders expressed his discomfort with the role of Big Tech in censorship viewpoints, a sharp departure from his Democratic colleagues who have demanded more such corporate censorship. In an interview on Tuesday with New York Times columnist Ezra Klein, Sanders stated that he didn’t feel “particularly comfortable” with the ban despite his view that Trump is “a racist, sexist, xenophobe, pathological liar, an authoritarian … a bad news guy.” He stated “if you’re asking me do I feel particularly comfortable that the then president of the United States could not express his views on Twitter? I don’t feel comfortable about that.”

I would hope that Sanders would take the same view of a non-sitting president or an average citizen. They should all be able to speak freely. Sanders does not go as far as that “Internet originalist” position, but he at least is recognizing the danger of such censorship. He noted that “we have got to be thinking about, because if anybody who thinks yesterday it was Donald Trump who was banned and tomorrow it could be somebody else who has a very different point of view.” He stated that it is a danger to have a “handful of high tech people” controlling speech in America.

I have long praised Sanders for his principled take on many issues and this dissenting view is most welcomed by those in the free speech community. It is in sharp contrast to his Democratic colleagues who celebrated the ban and called for more censorship. One of the leading voices of censorship in the Senate is Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) chastised Big Tech for waiting so long to issue such bans: “The question isn’t why Facebook & Twitter acted, it’s what took so long & why haven’t others?”

As we have previously discussed, Democrats have abandoned long-held free speech values in favor of corporate censorship. They clearly has a different “comfort zone” than Sanders.  What discomforts many Democratic members is the ability of people to speak freely on these platforms and spread what they view as “disinformation.”

When Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey came before the Senate to apologize for blocking the Hunter Biden story before the election as a mistake, senators pressed him and other Big Tech executive for more censorship.

In that hearing, members like Sen. Mazie Hirono (D., HI) pressed witnesses like Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey for assurance that Trump would remain barred from speaking on their platforms: “What are both of you prepared to do regarding Donald Trump’s use of your platforms after he stops being president, will be still be deemed newsworthy and will he still be able to use your platforms to spread misinformation?”

Rather than addressing the dangers of such censoring of news accounts, Senator Chris Coons pressed Dorsey to expand the categories of censored material to prevent people from sharing any views that he considers “climate denialism.” Likewise, Senator Richard Blumenthal seemed to take the opposite meaning from Twitter, admitting that it was wrong to censor the Biden story. Blumenthal said that he was “concerned that both of your companies are, in fact, backsliding or retrenching, that you are failing to take action against dangerous disinformation.” Accordingly, he demanded an answer to this question:

“Will you commit to the same kind of robust content modification playbook in this coming election, including fact checking, labeling, reducing the spread of misinformation, and other steps, even for politicians in the runoff elections ahead?”

“Robust content modification” has a certain appeal, like a type of software upgrade. It is not content modification. It is censorship. If our representatives are going to crackdown on free speech, they should admit to being advocates for censorship. Indeed, leading academics had the integrity recently to declare that they believe that “China is right” about censorship.

Sanders clearly does not believe “China was right,” as least as it applies to a sitting president. Hopefully, Sanders will continue to speak out on free speech and expand on this principled stand to oppose the unrelenting push from Blumenthal and others for corporate controls over speech on the Internet.

 

91 thoughts on ““Tomorrow It Could Be Somebody Else”: Bernie Sanders Comes Out Against Trump Twitter Ban”

  1. Every country in the world has free speech. They don’t even need a Constitution – as long as that speech follows the government and societal party line(s). What makes – made – the USA different was the guarantee, in writing, of freedom for all speech. The 1st Amendment was written specifically to guarantee the incolumnity of unpopular speech and actions. Hate speech is free speech. Racism, misogyny, transphobia, none of those things are against the law, nor should they be. It is not up to the government to mandate thought, even when said thought (or lack thereof) is generally considered morally reprehensible. Stupidity is not against the law and tends to be self-defeating except when your party controls all three branches of government and the fourth estate in which case stupidity can do a lot of damage before finally imploding. It could even be postulated that this country was founded specifically to guarantee this right to unfettered freedom of speech, unique in the world. The Founders disagreed that 1A was even needed. They felt that this freedom was implicit and that it shouldn’t even need to be stated. Some far-seeing founders said, “Well, just to make 100% sure, let’s put it in writing, that way nobody will ever have to fight for freedom of speech again.” And today’s left said: “Hold my soy latte.” Sen. Sanders has stated the obvious, to his credit. The long path back to a free America will be paved with such tiny breadcrumbs of sense. And when somebody on the left finally wants to look at the stolen election of 2020, then I will begin to be hopeful that we can someday get our country back. The problem is that the left is spending so much money that one day they will say, Oops America, there is no way we can pay this back, thus we will need to confiscate your assets and then we will be stuck with whomever our leftist overlords have sold us out to and elections, free or otherwise, will be as dead as the dodo bird.

    1. We vitally need “Oath of Office” training for our nation’s police chiefs, police Union leaders, FBI Directors and especially our DHS Directors.

      The First Amendment doesn’t mean it’s only illegal if officials get caught breaking the supreme law of the United States. Police chiefs and other homeland security officials appear to think that any opinion, on any topic – even legal First Amendment speech/association – entitles them to violate the Fourth Amendment and “Carpenter v. US” (landmark Supreme Court ruling).

      The verbatim wording of the “Carpenter” ruling covers the nature of totalitarian style surveillance of all kinds. Any 24/7 surveillance, extending past two weeks, is illegal in the USA without a judicial search warrant from a judge.

      For example: if a police chief or DHS officials dislikes a post on this site, that official must obtain a search warrant, from a judge, before searching the IP address of the posting. The wording of “Carpenter” is very precise and the premise applies to all surveillance, even non-electronic surveillance.

      Many posters on this site – posting perfectly legal First Amendment speech – actually sometimes receive veiled death threats from homeland security officials. This is not a national security issue and not an intelligence issue – this is an “Orwellian Thought Police”. These disloyal officials can be criminally prosecuted, under existing federal “color of law” statutes.

      The First Amendment really means “not everything is the government’s business”!

  2. That is coming from a guy who has been kicked to the curb so many times by the democrats that he has tread marks across his face. Perhaps he’s finally had some sense knocked into him.

  3. Maybe Sanders is smart enough to realize what embracing Big Tech too much can mean for the Democrat party.

    Think of Britain asking Hengist and Horsa to help out with a few problems.

    Already much of the world is wondering who is actually running this country.

    I wonder if it could actually be Silicon Valley to some degree?

    With AI help would the cabal in Washington even know they weren’t really in charge?

    With enough AI would Silicon Valley not really know who was in charge?

    Could Biden be replaced with an android that looks just like him but, refreshingly, makes sense when it talks? Okay, that hasn’t happened yet.

    What a mess.

    1. Deep Learning can be used to beat the best weiqi or “Go” master on Earth so then it certainly can be used to game out scenarios in politics at a level of sophistication that exceeds the cunning masterminds of previous generations

      More importantly with advanced AI they will be able to silence all the voices they do not like. People do not understand, twitter and youtube and facebook do not have a staff of one thousand or ten thousand censors reading posts. They have an army of intelligent robot programs reading every post AS IT IS COMPOSED. The stories were describing this many years ago and the technology has advanced. Of course they do not report on their own capabilities.

      What Silicon Valley can do to “censor” now is a thousand times more than the USSR or Hitler could have done. That is the point that people are not comprehending. The First amendment component of “Free speech” is trivial by comparison to what they are doing NOW.

      They apply these robotic tools of censorship and influencing to google searches too. I remember back a decade ago when they started really refining the google algo so that it would screen out not-politically-correct results. It was primitive then but we could see it happening.

      Today you have to dig ten pages deep to find politically incorrect commentary unless you ping directly on it. This has a huge effect on conditioning young people to accept the newer lies of our day.

      There is no ethics or morality in this information war. There is only sheer power,. They are crushing us but with subtlety. We barely notice it happening as we go. Here we are debating by what means we should clip their wings? We should clip their wings BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY to use the phrase of Malcolm X. This is INFORMATION WARFARE and it is all around us. In our conversations it often intersects with “LAWFARE” too. So there is a very small chance that on this specific website, our objections may yet be heard and not drowned out and edited by them out of existence. Praise to Turley for this small opportunity/

      Sal Sar

      1. “There is no ethics or morality in this information war. There is only sheer power,. They are crushing us but with subtlety. ”
        ***

        I tend to agree. We are not supposed to have a clue. Finding one is hard and when you do it is hard to decide whether it is a clue or bait with a hook in it. We are being well and expertly lied to.

    2. “Could Biden be replaced with an android that looks just like him but, refreshingly, makes sense when it talks? Okay, that hasn’t happened yet.”

      Reminds me of the book Here, There Be Dragons. Part of the books depicts the government as a facade of steampunk-like clockwork politicians impersonating heads of state. Great book, excellent to listen as an audio book.

      Be careful what you wish for…

  4. “The renowned “conservative” legal scholar” who got @govkristinoem into this mess? I’m hearing it’s @JonathanTurley
    .
    The big problem for Noem? Turley is a liberal who wants polygamy to be legal. So he’s not the guy to ask for help on conservative social issues.”

    @emeraldrobinson

  5. WTF is advising Kamala Harris? Why in God’s name would she sit down for a serious interview about “empowering women” with the scum named Bill Clinton and the utterly corrupt “Clinton Global Initiative”? Who thought the “CGI” was still around? What an odd choice for Kamala to do. What a disgrace she is as VP.

    “Kamala Harris will go one-on-one with Bill Clinton on Friday to talk about the impact of COVID-19 on women, and empowering women and girls in the U.S. and around the world as part of a Clinton Global Initiative event.”

    This is at Howard University.

    Just beyond pitiful for the sitting VP to take herself down to the Clinton level of slime. For “empowering women”?? What a sad, sad joke Kamala is.

    1. The Clinton’s are STILL pandering to blacks AS IF they give two hoots about them other than what THEY can do FOR the Clintons. So why is VP Kamala sitting down with the slime-bag, Epstein Island regular visitor named Bill ‘disgusting womanizing’ Clinton who feminists despise?

    2. According to the tenets of “intersectionality” isn’t Bill Clinton a member of the congenitally White Supremacist class? His gender and race automatically disqualify him. Anything he says is invalid by default.

      When did Howard U move to Pedo Island?

    3. “Imagine being so morally corrupt that you think Bill Clinton should talk about “empowering women and girls.” Is that what Bill was doing on all those plane trips to Jeffrey Epstein’s island?”

    4. “This is obscene @KamalaHarris. You speaking with Bill Clinton about empowering women & girls is disgusting. Have you no soul? Have you no ethics? Ask him about being on an island of human trafficking victims 27 times. You are showing us exactly who you are.” @rosemcgowan

      1. Yes, Kamala is showing us exactly who she is: vacuous, vacant, self-serving, corrupt, opportunisitic, unqualified, unserious, poseur, political prostitute, inauthentic liar, elitist descendant of plantation owners. She is disqualified! Resist!

  6. “Robust content modification” has a certain appeal, like a type of software upgrade. It is not content modification. It is censorship.

    Dr Turley, kinda makes you proud to be a Democrat, doesn’t it? No, it does not.

  7. OT

    1. “China Flu, 2020” was deliberately released by China, from its Wuhan Institute of Virology, to reduce its population of elderly people as China is doomed by its one-child policy from the past. China will move further in the future to reduce its elderly population. China’s population is terminally out of balance by its overabundance of old people – China has no workforce or Social Security and Medicare to address this segment of the population.

    2. “China Flu, 2020” was released 9 months prior to the U.S. presidential election to support the malleable Joe Biden and remove President Donald J. Trump, China’s adversary and nemesis.
    _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    “The end may justify the means as long as there is something that justifies the end.”

    – Leon Trotsky
    ____________

    The Chinese Communist Party is not hindered by law or morality; by brutality and violence.

    It is merely a tool; a means to an end.

    1. Communists have a moral and ethical obligation, nay, duty, to act, without reservation, for the benefit of the collective.

  8. “Tomorrow it could be somebody else.”

    – Comrade Sanders
    ________________

    Yep. Tomorrow it’s going to be Kamala Harris.

    To wit,

    Directive to include the Harris name to prep America for the looming transition:

    “Please be sure to reference the current administration as the ‘Biden-Harris Administration’ in official public communications,” read the directive, which was provided to Outspoken by “an employee of a federal government agency.”

    And yes, “Biden-Harris Administration” was in bold in the email.

    According to Outspoken,

    The highly specific language also appears on the websites of all 15 executive departments. Press releases and other communications from the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs, and the Attorney General all exclusively refer to the Biden-Harris Administration, in lieu of only naming the president, which has been customary until now.

    – Outspoken – PJ Media

  9. Jonathan: I share Bernie Sander’s view that censorship by big tech is a slippery slope: “Tomorrow it could be somebody else”. On the other side of the argument had the Weimar republic cracked down on Hitler’s newspapers, his rallies and marches perhaps WWII and the Holocaust could have been avoided. Had Facebook been around in the late twenties and early thirties in Germany they probably would have allowed Hitler to post 30-second ads on his “solution” to the “Jewish problem”. Pick your poison.

    The problem is corporate censorship is everywhere. Take FoxNews where you often appear as a guest, that spews out all sorts of non-sense every day and silences any guest whose opinions it does not like. Last Saturday Fox’s host Jeanine Pirro was in the middle of an interview with David Leopold, a well-known immigration attorney. They were discussing the surge in immigration under the Biden administration and Pirro falsely claimed Biden was “sending them in”. Leopold pointed out that immigration has ebbed and flowed under all administrations including the 4 years of Trump’s rule and then observed: “…very few things on this show tonight have been facts”. At this point Pirro’s hair caught fire and she abruptly terminated the interview: “I’m stopping you right there. I don’t tolerate lies on my show!”. Of course, guests don’t get to lie unless they agree with Pirro. Note: Pirro is one of three Fox hosts named in a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit by Smartmatic voting system company.

    Sacha Baron Cohen knows a lot about censorship. In 2012 he was banned from even attending the Academy Awards ceremony. My have things changed. This year he is up for best picture for his film “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” and he plays Abbie Hoffman in “The Trial of the Chicago 7”. Cohen points out: “Here in the US, the Motion Picture Association of America regulates and rates what we see. I’ve had scenes in my movies cut or reduced to abide by those standards. If these standards and practices for what cinema and television channels can show, then surely companies that publish material to billions of people should have to abide by basic standards and practices”. Of course, the problem is who is going to decide what those “standards and practices” should be? Should Facebook and Twitter be allowed to decide who gets published and who gets banned. In England and Germany the government decides. Take your pick. Voltaire put his finger on the dilemma when he said: “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities”. Sandy Hook, El Paso, Columbine–and now Colorado Springs–are reminders that deranged individuals who are given a daily diet of on-line conspiracy theories and other lies will act out by committing “atrocities” Voltaire would never have contemplated.

    1. Voltaire, like many others, assumed that the desire to destroy is not native to us all.

    2. Ah, Dennis. So confident in your views, and yet apparently forget basic history. He said “On the other side of the argument had the Weimar republic cracked down on Hitler’s newspapers, his rallies and marches”

      Surely Dennis is aware of the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch? The Weimar government fired on Hitler’s march, killed Horst Wessel, and threw Hitler in prison for treason. Where he wrote his famous book.

      So yeah apparently Weimar taking the route you suggested, did happen, and it didn’t work. Really it probably made the nazis more powerful, because of commonly shared loathing for Weimar.

      Come 32 they won the parliamentary elections.

      At the end of the day, neither censorship, nor the lack of it, will determine the biggest and most profound political outcomes. This applied back then, and it’s going to apply now too. A successful political movement always faces opposition from both inside and outside government, and no revolution is ever legal until it wins.

      Sal Sar

    3. My intention is not to go religious on you, but there is a verse in the bible “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” Evil is not universal, good people rise up when faced with evil. Unrestrained social media has its risks, but God forbid if no one shouts FIRE! when the theater is really in flames.

  10. “They should all be able to speak freely”

    They CAN all speak freely. The 1st Amendment applies to government intervention, not private companies, and nothing prevents these people from going out onto the sidewalk and speaking to their heart’s content.

    I’m not really familiar with Facebook, as I’ve never had an account and don’t read the public portions very often, but I do read a variety of Twitter accounts, nd Twitter bans lots of accounts for breaching their TOS. Here’s one I liked that mostly posted interesting science videos and has been banned for some unspecified breach –
    https://twitter.com/Chemistryvid

    Is JT arguing that Twitter cannot ban anyone? If not, then according to JT, just who CAN be legitimately banned by this private company?

      1. No, as long as the company is free to make its own decisions, it isn’t government intervention. Politicians are free to make requests just like non-politicians can make requests. A request is not a command.

        1. This is all about financial power. Of course Bernie gets it. Because he understands the perils of financial power.

          And he’s one of the few Democrats who’s not totally in the pocket of the financial interests.

          He’s got many faults, but he’s seeing clearly on this, as expected.

          It’s time to shatter Silicon Valley oligopolies into a thousand pieces. Cut these tyrants down to size. Antitrust laws provide all the tools we need.

          Sal Sar

          1. Sal Sar: “Antitrust laws provide all the tools we need.” Me: “Silicon Valley oligopolies provide all the money the politicians need.” You know these people can be bought, right? That’s the definition of a “Professional Politician.”

            1. You know these people can be bought, right?

              A point I’ve made with him on numerous occasions. Ask him what changes if billionaires don’t exist. He doesn’t have an answer for that either.

              1. I got an answer. At 100-millionaire level you got a level of rich people who aren’t at the same scale of titanic power that these billionaires are relative to the rest of society. The issue is a matter of scale.

                Ah but to the sensible notion that there will always be a top. of course. If America tames its current plutocratic masters, new masters will exist. They always do. But ask yourself who you prefer at the end of the day. Billionaires accountable to nobody but themselves, who eat the nation for lunch, or old fashioned masters who at least have to account to their own political foundations.

                There will always be elites and leaders. But do you want leaders who are just cynical money masters or leaders who show some sense of affinity with the people.

                Olly why are you pulling for billionaires? they are bigger than nations, they view systems and ideas as trifles and playthings. Look at Soros. Talks like a socialist, but one of the most famed speculators in the history of capital markets. Socialism and capitalism are playthings to him, not committments. Where he has money, he advances “freedom” and where he does not, there he advances “civil rights.” Where there is populism, there he advances socialism. It is all strategic. There is no ideal that he cherishes beyond his own fevered imagination. There is no system that commands his loyalty. He has no ends besides his own.

                They seek to end the systems of nations entirely. That is globalism. But the rich elites of earlier generations did not have the scale of wealth and power to actually make it happen.

                See, size matters. Here we are, and their size is leviathan to dwarf even the state itself. Not too far out, the West will either control our billionaires, or they will have fully enslaved us all, even if we are too dim to see it. Sal

                1. But the rich elites of earlier generations did not have the scale of wealth and power to actually make it happen.

                  They had the scale of wealth, what they didn’t have was the power that their wealth could buy. They needed a government they could buy. And they got it.

                  1. Today’s sinister billionaires buy and destroy whole nations at will with the scale of their money power. It is a different time in history. These titans make the robber barons of early industrialization in America such as Carnegie, look like saints. The issue of scale is at the crux of this.

                    Here’s a story of just one country that Soros wrecked, Thailand. he broke the Bank of England too at one time. He is the very incarnation of the globalist idea in action, destroying economic systems that presume to stand up to international capital, toppling governments in the four corners of the Earth, that opposed his radical agenda of social “transformation”

                    If I believed there was an actual person who could be the Antichrist, walking around in a pair of shoes, it would be him. I don’t think I do, I take Revelations metaphorically, but he would fit the bill nicely if we were looking for a literal, personified, Beast., Is that a forceful enough statement to make myself clear, Olly?

                    https://www.businessinsider.com/how-george-soros-broke-the-bank-of-thailand-2016-9

                    1. Is that a forceful enough statement to make myself clear, Olly?

                      It wasn’t necessary Kurtz. We have many problems, with many causes. Are billionaires the root of our problems? Globalists? Tech giants? Media? “Peaceful invasions on the southern border? Racism? CCP? Climate change? Covid? National debt? Big pharma? And on and on. They all have something in common…a complicit government(s). And what does a complicit government need? An ignorant, apathetic and dependent electorate to keep them in power. That last point will likely change if H.R.1 passes. If that happens, we will have put a fork in any chance for a peaceful revolution.

            2. You need a populist to do it who is not dependent on Silicon Valley. Trump entertained the idea of breaking them up, and failed to deliver. Instead his AG “studied the idea.” Among Trump’s most obvious failures, was his inability in respect of both, to get them to execute policy. Biden certainly is not the guy to do it since Silicon Valley funded him. Maybe some future politician will step up to the plate. It either happens in 2024 or never because the power of Silicon Valley is growing geometrically. It will swallow America whole after that, if not before. Maybe already too late but we will see. Sal Sar

    1. Twitter and Facebook are akin to a large bank, utility service or cable/internet company. Don’t worry, they will soon ban dissident “haters” from utility services, having a checking account or internet service. And if you oppose any of this you are a “nazi” too.

      After all they are “private” companies.

      Not sure if you are a s@@tlib or Connservative, Inc, type (who conserves nothing, btw).

      antonio

    2. Don’t really care what the Communist Party’s former Chief Executive has to offer when we already know the failure of socialism has already proved it’s nothing. I said former since Biden has taken his place in the Socialist Party. Ask me again when it’s a Constitutonal Republic Centrist or something relevant.

    1. @mespo727272

      Convenient indeed! These are the same people who have been suppressing free speech for years with university speech codes, speech codes for lawyers (i.e. ABA model rule 8.4), and internet censorship, deplatforming, doxxing, shaming, etc. And they will be the same people who will attempt to soon carve out exceptions to the 1st amendment. I dare them to tell me otherwise. At least I would respect these s@@tlibs for being honest. Won’t my breath on the latter.

      antonio

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