Free Speech Under Threat as the SPLC and Its Cohorts Politicize the “Pipe Bomb” Case and Synagogue Shooting

Last week, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Center for American Progress (founded by John Podesta and financed by George Soros), along with four other organizations, drafted a guide for tech giants Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to police speech on the internet.  The policy seeks to deputize intermediaries including social media platforms, payment processors, domain name registrars and chat services to shut down so-called ‘hate speech’.  In the past, users weaponized the power to flag other users, and it is likely to happen again.

Following the phony pipe bomb case and the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting, political groups blamed Trump and his supporters for crimes they did not commit.  The left commits moral blackmail to enact their agenda, and are coming after free speech.  Facebook, Twitter and Youtube can instantly terminate any speech they disagree with in an electronic Reign of Terror, as they refuse to define what permissible speech is.  The tech giants apply censorship asymmetrically, and target those who disagree with the left.

A coalition of civil rights and public interest groups issued recommendations today on policies they believe Internet intermediaries should adopt to try to address hate online. While there’s much of value in these recommendations, EFF does not and cannot support the full document. Because we deeply respect these organizations, the work they do, and the work we often do together; and because we think the discussion over how to support online expression—including ensuring that some voices aren’t drowned out by harassment or threats—is an important one, we want to explain our position.

We agree that online speech is not always pretty—sometimes it’s extremely ugly and causes real world harm. The effects of this kind of speech are often disproportionately felt by communities for whom the Internet has also provided invaluable tools to organize, educate, and connect. Systemic discrimination does not disappear and can even be amplified online. Given the paucity and inadequacy of tools for users themselves to push back, it’s no surprise that many would look to Internet intermediaries to do more.

We also see many good ideas in this document, beginning with a right of appeal. There seems to be near universal agreement that intermediaries that choose to take down “unlawful” or “illegitimate” content will inevitably make mistakes. We know that both human content moderators and machine learning algorithms are prone to error, and that even low error rates can affect large swaths of users. As such, companies must, at a minimum, make sure there’s a process for appeal that is both rapid and fair, and not only for “hateful” speech, but for all speech.

Another great idea: far more transparency. It’s very difficult for users and policymakers to comment on what intermediaries are doing if we don’t know the lay of the land.  The model policy offers a pretty granular set of requirements that would provide a reasonable start. But we believe that transparency of this kind should apply to all types of speech.

Another good feature of the model policy are provisions for evaluation and training so we can figure out the actual effects of various content moderation approaches.

So there’s a lot to like about these proposals; indeed, they reflect some of the principles EFF and others have supported for years.

But there’s much to worry about too.

Companies Shouldn’t Be The Speech Police

Our key concern with the model policy is this: It seeks to deputize a nearly unlimited range of intermediaries—from social media platforms to payment processors to domain name registrars to chat services—to police a huge range of speech. According to these recommendations, if a company helps in any way to make online speech happen, it should monitor that speech and shut it down if it crosses a line.

This is a profoundly dangerous idea, for several reasons.

First, enlisting such a broad array of services to start actively monitoring and intervening in any speech for which they provide infrastructure represents a dramatic departure from the expectations of most users. For example, users will have to worry about satisfying not only their host’s terms and conditions but also those of every service in the chain from speaker to audience—even though the actual speaker may not even be aware of all of those services or where they draw the line between hateful and non-hateful speech. Given the potential consequences of violations, many users will simply avoid sharing controversial opinions altogether.

Second, we’ve learned from the copyright wars that many services will be hard-pressed to come up with responses that are tailored solely to objectional content. In 2010, for example, Microsoft sent a DMCA takedown notice to Network Solutions, Cryptome’s DNS and hosting provider, complaining about Cryptome’s (lawful) posting of a global law enforcement guide.  Network Solutions asked Cryptome to remove the guide.  When Cryptome refused, Network Solutions pulled the plug on the entire Cryptome website—full of clearly legal content—because Network Solutions was not technically capable of targeting and removing the single document.  The site was not restored until wide outcry in the blogosphere forced Microsoft to retract its takedown request. When the Chamber of Commerce sought to silence a parody website created by activist group The Yes Men, it sent a DMCA takedown notice to the Yes Men’s hosting service’s upstream ISP, Hurricane Electric.  When the hosting service May First/People Link resisted Hurricane Electric’s demands to remove the parody site, Hurricane Electric shut down MayFirst/PeopleLink’s connection entirely, temporarily taking offline hundreds of “innocent bystander” websites as collateral damage.

Third, we also know that many of these service providers have only the most tangential relationship to their users; faced with a complaint, takedown will be much easier and cheaper than a nuanced analysis of a given user’s speech. As the document itself acknowledges and as the past unfortunately demonstrates, intermediaries of all stripes are not well-positioned to make good decisions about what constitutes “hateful” expression. While the document acknowledges that determining hateful activities can be complicated “in a small number of cases,” the number likely won’t be small at all.

Finally, and most broadly, this document calls on companies to abandon any commitment they might have to the free and open Internet, and instead embrace a thoroughly locked-down, highly monitored web, from which a speaker can be effectively ejected at any time, without any path to address concerns prior to takedown.

To be clear, the free and open Internet has never been fully free or open—hence the impetus for this document. But, at root, the Internet still represents and embodies an extraordinary idea: that anyone with a computing device can connect with the world, anonymously or not, to tell their story, organize, educate and learn. Moderated forums can be valuable to many people, but there must also be a place on the Internet for unmoderated communications, where content is controlled neither by the government nor a large corporation.

Read full article here…


Four Caravans Are Now on the Move, Rioting at the Mexican Border on Their Way to Invading the US

There are now four caravans pushing toward the US border through Central America and Mexico, with many people traveling by bus.  On Sunday, hundreds of angry migrants from Central America hurled rocks at the Mexican border and argued with the guards for hours until they broke through the customs gate at the Guatemalan border town of Tecun while Mexican police used tear gas and rubber bullets against them.  The caravans are about 80% men.  Migrant Henry Diaz, 26, was killed by Mexican forces on Sunday as he was trying to force his way across the border; more than 100 people were wounded.

Most migrants and refugees fleeing north cite unemployment or violence or both as their primary reason for leaving Honduras. The country has one of the 10 highest per capita homicide rates in the world and more than two-thirds of its inhabitants live in poverty.

They’re not sending their best.
The second illegal migrant caravan was held up at the border between Mexico and Guatemala this weekend.

The illegal caravan migrants heading to the US southern border to claim asylum.
The caravans are mostly men, around 80%.

The angry migrants started chucking rocks at Mexican police at the border.

They hurled rocks at police for FOUR STRAIGHT HOURS!

The resolution of this video is off, but you can see hundreds of men pelting the border police and then tearing down the border fences, for hours.

At one point, the commentator claims two migrants were killed by police projectiles.

Read full article here…

Additional source…



President Trump Proposes Ending Birthright Citizenship with an Executive Order, Which Will Trigger a Supreme Court Challenge

President Trump is planning to sign an executive order to end birthright citizenship for babies of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants born on US soil.  He said, “We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States … with all of those benefits.  It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”  Any attempt to remove birthright citizenship will undoubtedly set off a constitutional challenge.  Adding weight to Trump’s argument, birthright citizenship wasn’t applied to the children of immigrants until the 1960s.

Former US Attorney Andrew McCarthy said that the controversy stems from the key phrase in the 14th Amendment, “subject to the jurisdiction,” meaning is a person who is born in the US subject to its jurisdiction at the time of their birth?  When the 14th Amendment was ratified, it was understood to mean owing allegiance to the US rather than some other country.  Congress enacted a statute that codified the 14th Amendment and the US has been proceeding for decades on this interpretation.

Senator Lindsey Graham announced that he will introduce a law in the Senate to end birthright citizenship through Congress. 



In a report that essentially confirms some of the worst fears of American progressives, Axios said Tuesday that President Trump is planning to sign an executive order to end birthright citizenship for babies of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants born on US soil…


In a report based on an interview with Axios set to air on its new show, “Axios on HBO,” the organization’s reporter said such an order would be “the most dramatic move yet” in Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration, targeting so-called “anchor babies.” It will almost certainly set off another stand-off with the courts, as Trump’s authority to impose such a change via executive order is up for debate.

Trump said in an interview that he has run the idea of ending birthright citizenship by his counsel and plans to proceed with the highly controversial move, which certainly will face legal challenges.

  • “It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t,” Trump said, declaring he can do it by executive order.
  • When told says that’s very much in dispute, Trump replied: “You can definitely do it with an Act of Congress. But now they’re saying I can do it just with an executive order.”
  • “We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States … with all of those benefits,” Trump continued. “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”
  • “It’s in the process. It’ll happen … with an executive order.”

* * *

Trump said he was surprised that Axios had caught wind of his plan.

“I didn’t think anybody knew that but me. I thought I was the only one. “

Axios later clarified that it had been working to confirm the story for weeks before the interview.

While any attempt to remove birthright citizenship would undoubtedly set off a constitutional challenge…

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

…Legal scholars are divided on the subject.

John Eastman, a constitutional scholar and director of Chapman University’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, told “Axios on HBO” that the Constitution has been misapplied over the past 40 or so years. He says the line “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” originally referred to people with full, political allegiance to the U.S. – green card holders and citizens.

Adding weight to Trump’s argument, birthright citizenship wasn’t applied to the children of immigrants until the 1960s…

Between 1980 and 2006, the number of births to unauthorized immigrants – which opponents of birthright citizenship call “anchor babies” – skyrocketed to a peak of 370,000, according to a 2016 study by Pew Research. It then declined slightly during and following the Great Recession.

The Supreme Court has already ruled that children born to immigrants who are legal permanent residents have citizenship. But those who claim the 14th Amendment should not apply to everyone point to the fact that there has been no ruling on a case specifically involving undocumented immigrants or those with temporary legal status.

Read full article here…


Swedish Central Bank Makes U-Turn on Cash as NIRP (Negative Interest Rate Policy) Is Ending

The Swedish government and its central bank, Riksbank, have been pushing for a “cashless society” for years, and many of Sweden’s bank branches have stopped handling cash altogether.  However, Sweden’s central bankers now want to reverse their policy and have proposed making it mandatory for all banks and financial institutions to offer cash services so that it does not disappear as a form of payment.  Financial companies and businesses that have converted out of cash may also be obligated to trade in cash.  A negative interest rate policy (NIRP) requires depositors to pay to store their money in banks and is intended to incentivize banks to lend money more freely and businesses and individuals to invest, lend, and spend money.  NIRP has trouble surviving when cash is an alternative.

In addition, Riksbank has also called for the development of a state-backed digital currency, the e-krona, in order to maintain control over the nation’s currency, as bankers fear the general public could move entirely to private payment solutions.  The e-krona will have a pre-paid value that can be stored on a card or mobile phone, and Riksbank has plans to implement it in 2021.

Sweden’s Riksbank has become the first central bank in the 21st century to take concrete measures to ensure that cash does not disappear as a means of payment from the financial system. To that end, the Riksbank proposes, in a document published on its website, to make it mandatory for all banks and financial institutions to offer cash services.

The pronouncement comes in response to a recent policy suggestion by the Riksbank Committee that only the country’s six major banks should be obligated to continue offering cash services.

That prompted a backlash from Sweden’s competition watchdog, which argued that the plan would distort competition as it would affect only a few of the nation’s banks. In response, the Riksbank has opted to apply the rule to “all banks and other credit institutions that offer payment accounts.”

There was also a difference of opinion between the Riksbank Committee and the central bank’s senior management on the issue of deposit facilities. While the Committee recommended that banks should only be obligated to provide deposit facilities to businesses, the Riksbank believes it is important for banks to also offer deposit services to individual citizens:

“This is a service that consumers can reasonably expect of credit institutions. There must also be symmetry between withdrawal and deposit facilities. In the Riksbank’s view, there is otherwise a risk that the possibilities for individuals to make deposits will decrease even further in the future. For most consumers, it would also be difficult to understand why they can withdraw cash from an account but not make deposits.”

For years, the government and the Riksbank have been pushing for a “cashless society.” The Riksbank has over 1,000 articles posted on its website on the “cashless society“. The emphasis worked: between 2013 and 2017, the amount of cash in circulation dropped by 35%, earning Sweden a reputation as the world’s “most cashless nation”:

Read full article here…

Read about the e-krona here….


Germany: Angela Merkel to Step Down as the Leader of Her Party, the Christian Democratic Union, Due to Unpopularity and Mass Immigration

Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel announced she will not seek another term as chair of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) ruling party, a post she has held for 18 years, after a disastrous performance by her party in regional elections.  She will retire at the end of her current term in 2021 and says she has no plans to seek any political posts in the future.  Merkel permanently changed Europe by opening the gates to mass immigration and should be investigated for secret deals she made with George Soros and Mark Zuckerberg. 

Angela Merkel will not seek re-election as chair of Germany’s ruling CDU party, effectively standing down as leader of the Christian Democratic Union, a post she has held for 18 years, after a disastrous performance by her party in regional elections in the German state of Hesse on Sunday badly dented her authority, and followed an ultimatum by her junior coalition partner, the SPD which also suffered a devastating loss in latest elections.

According to Spiegel and Bild, Merkel, who has chaired the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) since 2000, was expected to compete again at the party congress in Hamburg in early December. however in what many are calling “the end of an era” during which her command of Germany put its stamp on Europe and beyond for more than a decade, on Monday morning she told senior party executives that she would not stand again.

Merkel is scheduled to speak to the media at 1 p.m. local time on Berlin.

The Chancellor will reportedly retire after the end of her current term in 2021, which will give the CDU time to groom a successor. Though she remains one of Germany’s most popular politicians, her fellow Christian Democrats have long been demanding that she clear a path for her successor. After leaving German politics, Merkel has reportedly said she won’t consider any EU-wide posts.

As we reported on Sunday, the CDU won the election in Hesse, but its share of the vote fell by more than 11 points, while the junior partner in her governing grand coalition, the Social Democrats, also slumped. The party’s poor showing reignited calls for the SPD to quit the government.

Read full article here…

Brazil: Far-Right Candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, Won the Presidential Election by a Wide Margin

Jair Bolsonaro, 63, Brazil’s new president-elect who was stabbed and seriously injured during his campaign, is a former army captain who won the election by promising to reform corruption after more than a decade of left-wing socialist policies.  Bolsonaro promised to crack down on crime as Brazil reports 60,000 gun deaths each year.  He proposes fighting against crime by expanding the military’s presence on the streets, increasing prison sentences, and giving the police more autonomy to open fire on suspected criminals.  In addition, he proposes arming responsible citizens.  Bolsonaro also promised to prosecute dozens of corrupt politicians involved in a scandal that saw billions of pounds stolen from the public budget.  Bolsonaro is an Evangelical Christian and staunch Zionist, and he has confirmed he will join the United States in moving Brazil’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. 

Jair Bolsonaro became president-elect of Brazil on Sunday in a stunning repudiation of the country’s left-wing political establishment.

Bolsonaro achieved an expected victory over his socialist opponent Fernando Haddad with around 55 percent of the vote, sparking political debate around the world. The 63-year-old former army captain is known for his hardline conservative and often controversial positions that he believes will push Brazil towards a new era of prosperity.

Fighting Crime and Corruption

The centerpiece of Jair Bolsonaro’s campaign was his promise to crack down on soaring levels of crime in the country. Brazil currently documents over 60,000 gun deaths every year. Bolsonaro has proposed fighting against crime by expanding the military’s presence on the streets, increasing prison sentences, and giving the police more autonomy to open fire on suspected criminals.

As well as tackling violent crime, Bolsonaro has pledged to push for the prosecution of the dozens of left-wing politicians involved in the country’s “Operation Car Wash” corruption scandal that saw billions of pounds stolen from the public budget. One of those found guilty was former leftist President Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva, who Bolsonaro has promised to keep in jail for the remainder of his 12-year sentence.

Social Conservatism

An Evangelical Christian, Bolsonaro holds socially conservative views. Bolsonaro has claimed that the socialist Workers’ Party (PT) was planning to promote a “gay kit” curriculum in schools and vowed to limit sexual education. He has also vowed to cut spending for sexually-tinged art, condemning allegedly government-funded “masturbation offices and ‘plays with people poking their orifices” on Twitter. He has also referred to himself as a “proud homophobe,” though he reportedly received around 29 percent of Brazil’s LGBT vote.

On the issue of abortion, he has pledged to block any loosening of Brazil’s abortion laws, as well as pull funding from NGOs that promote the practice.

Read full article here…