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Jonathan Turley

Boston University Professor: Second Amendment is Based on 'Freedom to Enslave'

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As we wait for the release of the most significant Second Amendment case in over a decade from the Supreme Court (as early as tomorrow), CBS featured Ibram X. Kendi on Face the Nation on gun rights. Host Margaret Brennan discussed with the Boston University professor the “freedom to enslave” was linked to the “freedom to have guns.” There was no push back on that controversial claim or the underlying suggestion that gun ownership is largely a white impulse or practice.

Kendi is the director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University. He has a history of controversial statements like his claim that Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s adoption of two Haitian children raised the image of a “white colonizer” and she appears to use the children as little more than props. He has also declared that terms like “legal vote” are racist. He was recently in the news after explaining why he took a white doll away from this daughter to prevent her from breathing in “the ‘smog’ of white superiority.”

However,  this is a historical and constitutional claim that should not go without some factual discussion or response.
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Friends with Benefits: Sussmann Trial is an Indictment of the FBI and the Washington Establishment

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With the jury out in the trial of former 2016 Clinton campaign counsel Michael Sussmann, the usual odds-takers appeared on cable news, rating the chances of a conviction. Despite the seemingly overwhelming evidence against Sussmann, the jury’s makeup seems strikingly favorable for the defense.

One verdict, however, appears to need little deliberation. It concerns the Department of Justice, and particularly the FBI. The trial confirmed what many have long alleged about how top officials eagerly accepted any Russia collusion claim involving Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. Special counsel John Durham’s investigation, which led to Sussmann’s trial, is an indictment of a department and a bureau which, once again, appeared willfully blind as they were played by Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Despite the trial judge’s rulings imposing strict limits on the scope of the trial evidence, Durham’s case still revealed new information on how the Russia collusion theory was pushed into the FBI and the media by the Clinton campaign. Perhaps the most ironic moment came when Sussmann’s defense team outed Clinton as personally approving the campaign’s effort to spread a baseless claim that the Trump organization maintained a secret channel to the Kremlin through Russia’s Alfa Bank.

That claim was a real tinfoil-hat conspiracy theory without support. Durham previously disclosed how researchers tasked with supporting the claim were afraid it was so unsupported that they would be mocked. They argued, according to Sussmann’s indictment, that anyone familiar with analyzing internet traffic “would poke several holes” in the theory. One researcher warned: “Let’s assume again that they are not smart enough to refute our ‘best case scenario.’ You do realize that we will have to expose every trick we have in our bag to even make a very weak association.”
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'Silence the Voices of Hatred': N.Y. Governor Hochul Uses the Buffalo Massacre to Renew Calls for Censorship of Social Media

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Politicians have long viewed tragedies and crises as opportunities not to be “wasted.” Most recently, Samantha Power, Biden’s Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, told ABC that they did not want to waste the war in Ukraine as a way of pushing green initiatives. She explained to George Stephanopoulos that you should “never let a crisis go to waste.” Governor Kathy Hochul (D-NY), adopted the same approach to the massacre in Buffalo in renewing calls for censorship on the Internet. While many drew the connection between the shooting and the need for greater gun control measures, Hochul notably went further to demand the curtailment of free speech protections. Speaking later at a church, she pledged to “silence the voices of hatred and racism and white supremacy all over the Internet.”

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Hochul declared:

"They need to be called out. And leaders elected officials from both parties need to stand up at this moment and call it out and to shame it and to make sure these people crawl back into their holes and stay there. This cannot be part of our mainstream dialogue here in the United States of America. Leaders have a responsibility to call it out … we are dealing with it on the gun side but also on the social media side. And the combination of the wild access to guns, unfettered, we need national laws to deal with this as well as the unfettered sharing of hate information on the internet, that is a lethal combination. We saw that on display here just hours ago yesterday."

The reference to “national laws” is the latest example that Democratic politicians are moving beyond their long push for corporate censorship and rediscovering good old-fashioned state censorship.
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Five Steps to Save Free Speech on Twitter: A Musk Roadmap

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According to reports, Elon Musk is now expected to take over as the temporary CEO of Twitter as soon as his financing of the purchase is finalized. It is good news because buying Twitter may prove a mere skirmish in comparison to the coming battle. Political forces in the United States and abroad are already aligning to resist his effort to restore free speech to social media.

If history has shown one thing, it is that it is easier to lose rights than to regain them. Musk has a product in demand but neither governments nor many of his own employees want to be sold. If Musk is to fulfill his pledge, he will need to take five specific steps to secure free speech protections. Given the interests allied against him, Musk must move quickly if he wants to not only reintroduce but to maintain free speech on Twitter.

1. Adopt the First Amendment standard.

Pundits and politicians, including President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama, have justified their calls for censorship (or “content moderation” for polite company) by stressing that the First Amendment only applies to the government, not private companies. That distinction allows Obama to declare himself last week to be “pretty close to a First Amendment absolutist.” He did not call himself a “free speech absolutist” because he favors censorship for views that he considers to be “lies,” “disinformation,” or “quackery.”
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The Sweet Sound of Censorship: The Biden Administration Seeks the Perfect Pitch for Disinformation Governance

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Many politicians and pundits are in full panic over Elon Musk’s threat to restore free speech values to Twitter. While Hillary Clinton has called upon Europeans to step in to maintain such censorship and Barack Obama has called for US regulations, the Biden Administration has created a new Disinformation Governance Board in the Department of Homeland Security. It appointed an executive director, Nina Jankowicz, who is literally pitch perfect as an advocate for both corporate and state censorship.

It would have been hard to come up with a more Orwellian name short of the Ministry of Truth. However, the DGB needed a true believer to carry out the monitoring of political speech in the United States. It found that person in Jankowicz, who has long been an outspoken anti-free speech advocate.

Indeed, Jankowicz put her extreme views to music and posted it on TikTok in a rendition of Mary Poppins’ “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

What is clear is that Jankowicz has a far better hold on the musical scale than constitutional values. With what is a remarkably impressive singing voice, Jankowicz croons that “You can just call me the Mary Poppins of disinformation.”
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Garland Stonewalls Questions about a Special Counsel in Hunter Biden Scandal Despite New Evidence Tied to President Biden

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Attorney General Merrick Garland continued to refuse to address questions over his refusal to appoint a Special Counsel in the Hunter Biden investigation despite new evidence tying President Joe Biden to the controversial business deals. The New York Post is reporting that President Biden agreed to cover more than $800,000 in bills of Hunter, including legal fees tied to the foreign deals. While President Biden’s denial of knowledge of Hunter’s deals have been repeatedly contradicted (including by Hunter himself), White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki declared that President Biden stands by his denials. However, she declined to explain new information showing that a key business partner in these deals visited the White House over a dozen times, including at least one meeting with then Vice President Biden.

The New York Post shows that on Jan. 17, 2019, Hunter Biden’s then-personal assistant, Katie Dodge told accountant Linda Shapero that Joe Biden was covering the legal costs. The email states “I spoke with Hunter today regarding his bills. It is my understanding that Hunt’s dad will cover these bills in the short-term as Hunter transitions in his career.”

What may be even more damaging is the the new disclosure that Hunter Biden’s business partner, Eric Schwerin, made at least 19 visits to the White House and other official locations between 2009 and 2015. Schwerin was the president of Rosemont Seneca, one of the key firms involved in the alleged influence peddling schemes.

We have previously discussed the various references to the President in these emails. Indeed, it is impossible to look into these allegations of influence peddling without repeatedly running into references to the President.
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Freedom is Tyranny: Robert Reich Goes Full Orwellian in Anti-Free Speech Screed

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We recently discussed the gathering of Democratic politicians and media figures at the University of Chicago to discuss how to better shape news, combat “disinformation,” and reeducate those with conservative views. The political and media elite shared ideas on how to expand censorship and control what people read or viewed in the news. The same figures are now alarmed that Elon Musk could gain greater influence over Twitter and, perish the thought, restore free speech protections to the site. The latest is former labor secretary under President Clinton, Robert Reich, who wrote a perfectly Orwellian column in the Guardian titled “Elon Musk’s vision for the internet is dangerous nonsense.” However, the column offers an insight into the anti-free speech mentality that has taken hold of the Democratic party and the mainstream media.

Musk is an advocate for free speech on the Internet. Like some of us, he is an Internet originalist. That makes him an existential threat for those who have long used “disinformation” as an excuse to silence dissenting views in the media and on social media.

Twitter has gone from denial of seeking to shape speech on the Internet to embracing that function. After the old Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was criticized for his massive censorship efforts, Twitter replaced him with CEO Parag Agrawal who has expressed chilling anti-free speech sentiments.
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GoFundMe and the Nag’s Head Light: How Crowdfunding Has Become The Latest Battleground Over Free Speech

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GoFundMe’s suspension of millions to support protesting truckers in Canada shocked many, particularly when the company initially announced its intention to distribute the money to other charities. It was less of a surprise for those of us who have criticized the company for years over its use of the platform to target and block funds for conservative and libertarian causes. Indeed, the company has revised an old practice known as the “Nag’s Head light” in luring the unsuspecting into what has become a liberal lockbox on funds.

In the Carolinas, locals would sometimes tie a lantern under the head of a horse to lure ships to their doom. Thinking the light was a ship in deep water, the ships would unwittingly sail into the shore rocks where they would be stripped of their cargo. That is how the resort town Nag’s Head, North Carolina got its name.

GoFundMe is the ultimate Nag’s Head operation. It draws conservative and libertarian causes to its shore with promise of being a neutral crowdfunding site. At its creation, the founders pledged to change the world by “disrupting giving” by handing control to average people in supporting others with common values and views.
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'A Stain on Our Democracy': Vindman Sues Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani and Others for Witness Intimidation

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Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the former Director for European Affairs for the National Security Council, has filed a federal lawsuit alleging violations of his civil rights by Donald Trump, Jr.; attorney and Trump advisor Rudy Giuliani; former Deputy White House Communications Director Julia Hahn; and former White House Director of Social Media and Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Daniel Scavino, Jr. He alleges a “conspiracy” to intimidate him and to retaliate against him as a witness against Donald Trump during his first impeachment proceedings. It claims that this conspiracy has left left “a stain on our democracy.” The lawsuit is novel and would create new law, if successful. However, after reading the filing, I remain skeptical of the legal basis for the action.

The complaint alleges that the defendants sought to “obstruct a constitutional proceeding by intimidating and retaliating against a key witness.” The complaint alleges two counts: a conspiracy in violation of 42 USC. § 1985(1) and a conspiracy in violation of 42 USC. § 1985(2). It seeks an order from the court to “permanently enjoin” the defendants from violating said laws again despite the fact that they are now private citizens. It also seeks nominal, compensatory, consequential, and punitive damages; and attorneys’ fees and costs.
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Study: Sixty-Five Percent of College Students Believe that They Cannot Speak Freely on Campus

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We often discuss (including a controversy today) the growing intolerance for opposing views on our campuses and the rising generation of censors in our society. Students and even faculty members increasingly call for the silencing or firing of those who espouse opposing views on a range of different subjects. The speech codes and sanctions on campuses have silenced many who might voice dissenting views, as we have seen in prior polling. That has created a type of academic echo chamber in scholarship and classrooms.
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