Beware Of Politicians Promising An “Honest” Internet: New Bills Targeting Russians May Bag Free Speech

800px-Capitol_Building_Full_ViewBelow is my column in USA Today on the legislation proposed to combat Russian trolling and Internet campaigns.  There is a serious threat to free speech in these measures, which mirror efforts from (ironically) countries like Russia and China.  The serious threat is not a handful of Russians playing on our deep divisions, but rather the hacking operations and attempt to interfere with voting systems.

Here is the column:

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Controversial Polish Holocaust Denial Law Takes On Its First Media Target

Child_survivors_of_AuschwitzI recently criticized the new Polish law criminalizing any statements attributing the genocide of Jews to Polish forces or actions. The legislature approved a bill making it a crime to use statements suggesting Poland bears responsibility for crimes against humanity committed by Nazi Germany.  You could receive up to three years in prison for calling Auschwitz-Birkenau a “Polish death camp.”  USNews is reporting that the first target of this abusive law has now been announced: the Argentine Pagina 12 daily.  The newspaper was accused of breaching a new law by suggesting that Poland was complicit in the Holocaust.

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South Africa’s New Economic Plan: Expropriation of Land and Printing Money

170px-Coat_of_arms_of_South_Africa.svg.pngWith South Africa’s poor economy showing slight improvement and a major credit decision looming,  the new government of President Cyril Ramaphosa would be expected to chart a careful and conservative approach.  However,  its new leaders are turning to two measures that have historically triggered utter disaster for African nations: land expropriation without compensation and the even more dangerous plan to simply print more money and give it to the poor.  I have long admitted to have a Chicago School bias from my undergraduate days, but this does not seem promising for this struggling country.

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Christians Flogged For Not Being Good Muslims In Indonesia

PelourinhoTwo Indonesians have reason to be a tad confused this week after they were publicly whipped according to strict Sharia law. The problem is that they are Christian. However, pursuant to Islamic law in Aceh province, gamblers are to be flogged.  They were found to be gambling on Sumatra island and whipped six times each by a robed and masked man.

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“De Nile Is Not Just A River In Egypt” . . . But It Is The Cleanest

Nile_River_and_delta_from_orbitNow this is a case only Stuart Smiley can truly understand. An Egyptian “court” has sentenced well-known singer Sherine Abdel-Wahab to six months in prison and a fine for telling a joke. Sherine, as she is known, simply made an oft-hand remark that people should not drink out of the Nile.  For that, she was sentenced for “insulting the state” by suggesting that the Nile is polluted.  As Stuart Smiley said on SNL’s Daily Affirmation, “De Nile ain’t just a river in Egypt.”

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Can You Hear Me Now? Reporters Accuse Michael Wolf Of Faking Audio Problems To Avoid Question

Screenshot/ The Today Show via Twitter

Michael Wolff, the author of “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” , is under fire this week after being accused of faking audio problems and then walking off a set of the Australian Today morning show on Sunday.  Journalists were suspicious that Wolff was having no difficulty with his audio until he was asked about his conflicting statements on whether President Donald Trump is currently having an affair.  After Wolff left, the show publicly stated that there was nothing wrong with Wolff’s audio.

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