I previously testified in the Senate on Antifa and the growing anti-free speech movement in the United States. I specifically disagreed with the statement of House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler that Antifa (and its involvement in violent protests) is a “myth.” My greatest concern remains the growing use of violence to shutdown free speech events around the country — a practice that has been going on for years on our campuses. That danger was evident in San Francisco yesterday when a conservative group gathered for a free speech rally to protest the recent actions of big tech companies like Twitter. They were violently attacked and the organizer had two teeth knocked out before the event was canceled. Continue reading “Conservatives Attacked by BLM and Antifa Supporters In Effort To Hold Free Speech Rally In San Francisco”
Below is my earlier column on the Biden controversy and the notable omission of three responses that one would have expected in the days following the disclosure in the New York Post. As I have said repeatedly, the timing and manner in which this information came to the public is highly suspicious and could well be the work of foreign intelligence. Even Rudy Giuliani now puts the chances that he worked with a Russian agent at “50-50.” However, that would still leave the question of whether the underlying emails are authentic. The Clinton emails were hacked by the Russians but they were also true. These emails show clear influence peddling, if they are authentic. Instead of addressing the specific emails or even denying their authenticity, figures like Rep. Adam Schiff simply dismissed the story as a Russian hit job. For his part, Joe Biden dismissed reporters asking him about the emails as participating in a smear campaign. There are legitimate questions about how this information was produced (questions that the FBI is reportedly investigating). However, there are also legitimate questions about the content of some of these emails and what they say about an alleged influence peddling scheme related to a presidential candidate.
We have been following the spending spree on Capitol Hill for years. Even before the pandemic, both the Trump Administration and Congress seemed to dispense with any notion of restraint on spending. The result is a towering debt that now exceeds our gross domestic product. The situation is worsening by the day as both the White House and the Congress seek massive new spending. The federal government spent a record $6,551,872,000,000 in fiscal 2020. That is a 45.4% increase from 2019 — an addition of $2,044,283,520,000 above the previous record of $4,507,588,480,000. The budget deficit has now tripled. Yet, there is no indication that the spending spree will end. Trillions of additional spending have been pledged by Democrats for programs ranging from free college to new environmental programs to bail outs for cities. The Trump Administration has pledged even greater tax cuts as the country struggles with a debt load that could be a burden for generations.
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor.
The below is a reprint of an article I authored four years ago concerning the hazard government agencies face in their reliance on censorship wielding organizations such as Facebook and Twitter to disseminate official information to the public. While it offers a quick, cheap, and easy way to offer news to the public, the price demanded in terms of arbitrary third-party rules, ownership of information, public records keeping liability, and reliance on a platform that could remove individual or all postings without prior notice is a risk the public should not be expected to bear.
There are extant messaging protocols that are not dependent upon third-party proprietary services. These include methods such as RSS Feeds, list based e-Mail servers to push information in addition, and standard web pages. Each more than adequately can fulfill the needs of the informed public. But as long as social media companies act as arbitrary and capricious gatekeepers to official information that information is at risk.
It really is also a matter of controlling the integrity of the information. Governments and agencies are opening themselves up to failure and censorship by taking the easy way out and not deploying these technologies in-house. If either of these supposedly “too big to fail” social media platforms suddenly collapsed (either financially or technologically) it would cause an immediate breakdown of a messaging system spanning governments globally. It can be one of the worst forms of single-point failure imaginable. Yet if each agency or government maintained their own system, if one individual server broke down the damage would be rather benign.
The most immediate problem before us presently is the proclivity to censor by social media outfits which might be at odds with legislation or rulemaking relating to public records and news announcements by government. It is not a duty of the social media companies to edit or formulate this information.
Here is the article:
For years, many of us have criticized President Donald Trump for his attacks on the media when they asked him about controversies involving him or his family. The media however has been largely silent as Democratic leaders have ratcheted up attacks on any journalists who question their positions. That was evident recently when Speaker Nancy Pelosi bizarrely attacked CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer as an apologist for the Trump Administration simply because he pressed her on blocking the stimulus package. Other liberals attacked Blitzer after the interview. Now Joe Biden slammed the first network reporter who asked for a response to the unfolding scandal involving his son Hunter Biden. In emails found on the laptop, Joe Biden is named in communications with foreign figures seeking influence over U.S. policy. Biden refused to comment and then disparaged CBS News reporter Bo Erickson for even asking him the question. Continue reading “Biden Slams CBS Reporter For Asking About The Hunter Biden Scandal”
Below is my column in the Hill on the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett and the oddly disconnected questions during her confirmation hearing. While I have written about the revealing moments of the hearing, the Democrats clearly elected not to focus on the nominee but the election. When they did attack the nominee, they fired wildly and missed completely in three areas.
Below is my column in USA Today on the troubling course taken by Democratic members in the confirmation hearing of Judge Amy Coney Barrett. As I have stated, there are a host of legitimate questions to be raised over Judge Barrett’s view of the law. Indeed, I praised the exchanges between Sen. Dick Durbin (D., IL.) and Judge Barrett as the substantive highlight of the hearing. Unfortunately, those were the exceptions. Instead, the thrust of the entire hearing was that Barrett was unqualified due to her expected vote in the upcoming case on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Various senators directly stated that they would vote against Barrett to protect the ACA. That is what is so unnerving about the Barrett confirmation hearing.
Here is the column:
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on Roe v. Wade and the doctrine of stare decisis (or the respect and preservation of precedent). One of the most notable moments in the hearing came when Judge Barrett suggested that Roe was not “super precedent.” Indeed, she noted that the concept of “super precedent” is the work of others in academic publications. However, on Roe, Judge Barrett had an interesting exchange with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. in which she identified Brown v. Board of Education as such super precedent. However, when pushed on Roe, she noted “I’m answering a lot of questions about Roe which I think indicates that Roe doesn’t fall into that category.”
This issue was addressed in the column: Continue reading “Barrett: There Is Nothing Super About The Precedent In Roe v. Wade”
We have been discussing the recent talking point emerging from the Biden campaign and Democratic leaders on court packing. While continuing to refuse to state their position on packing the Supreme Court to create an ideological majority, various Democratic figures have been calling the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett (and all of the Trump nominees) a form of court packing. A recent Gallup poll found only 32 percent of voters thought that the Supreme Court was dominated by conservatives. Continue reading “Gallup Poll: Voters Do Not Support Claims Of A “Packed” Supreme Court”
Many of us in the free speech community have long complained that the 1969 case of Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District is often dismissed in cases addressing the free speech rights of students. The famous decision declared that students “do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” Yet, courts have regularly curtailed free speech rights in deference to school officials maintaining discipline and order in their schools, even in the regulation of speech outside of schools. One rare victory emerged this week in Louisiana where a federal judge ruled that Superintendent Frances Varnado and Washington Parish School District board violated the rights of a high school senior by painting over his mural of President Donald Trump. U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon relied on Tinker and declared the mural to be protected political speech.
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the array of issues that now appear to be on hold pending the outcome of the election. This weekend former Vice President Joe Biden went so far as to say that voters do not “deserve” to know his position on packing the Court, reaffirming that voters must wait until after they elect him for an answer. It has a familiar ring for those who watched the movie The Truman Show.
Here is the column:
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was the target this month of a plot of extremists to kidnap her and storm the state capitol. After the arrests of the primary suspects, Whitmer lashed about at President Donald Trump for failing to condemn right wing violence. That is certainly a common criticism. However, Whitmer also attacked Attorney General Bill Barr and suggested that he knew about the plot. It was a curious attack since the FBI uncovered the plot and the DOJ is prosecuting the plot. There is no indication that the DOJ was delaying action. To the contrary, it acted to thwart the plot and protect Whitmer. The other question is why would Barr lie about his knowledge? To what logical end? He was not asked about any threats but specifically if he knew about signs and statements made a protest in Lansing, Michigan in June — a protest that was under state, not federal, jurisdiction.
Midwestern State University in Texas Professor Nathan Jun has triggered a free speech fight in Texas after a series of unhinged, hateful statements on social media. Wearing an Antifa teeshirt on social media, Jun has lashed out at police, capitalists, and politicians. His views are extreme and offensive. They are also, in my view, entirely protected. Much like the banning of Louis Farrakhan discussed yesterday, Jun is the test of our true commitment to free speech. By supporting this right to speak, we support the right of everyone, including the vast majority who view Jun’s comments as deeply unsettling and obnoxious. Continue reading “Texas Professor Triggers Free Speech Fight After Calling For The Death Of All Police By Strangulation with the “Intestines of the Last Capitalist””
Police in Michigan are looking for the person responsible for a booby-trapped Trump-Pence sign that cut a worker who was removing it because it was too close to the road. The worker required 13 stitches. In torts, we cover a long line of cases involving “snare guns” and “man traps” going back centuries. This case presents an ironic twist under that precedent. Continue reading “A Sign of Our Times: Police Search For Culprit In Booby Trapped Trump Sign”