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First Amendment Protects Biden Opposed Banners, Court Rules

A New Jersey woman can leave up her banners after a ruling that the American Civil Liberties Union hailed as a victory for free speech.Andrea Dick’s political banners that contain a vulgar term to express her dissatisfaction with President Biden can remain hanging on her fence in a New Jersey suburb, a court ruled on Tuesday.The decision came after the town, Roselle Park, agreed to dismiss an underlying ticket and its order for her to remove three signs that included the crude four-letter word, which were thought to violate a borough ordinance against obscenities.Last week, a municipal judge had rejected her claim to a First Amendment right to hang the political banners, prompting her to appeal the decision with help from the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.Town officials said they had acted because of complaints from residents upset that their children had to view such coarse words in plain sight.“I feel amazing,” Ms. Dick, 54, said after the Superior Court of New Jersey dismissed the claim against her mother, who owns the single-family home about a 40-minute drive from Times Square.“I’m glad it’s all over,” she added.It had been a harrowing week.Ms. Dick said she had gotten hostile telephone calls and at least 20 pieces of hate mail postmarked from far-flung corners of the country, including California, Texas, Maryland, New York and North Carolina.On Monday, a box of phallic-shaped candies arrived by mail that alluded to her surname. Fines of $250 a day had also begun accruing starting Thursday.The mayor, Joseph Signorello III, called it a “moral loss” for the borough.“Those signs are offensive, and were I a neighbor, I would be offended,” said Mr. Signorello, a Democrat.“You cannot legislate decency,” he added, “and I think that’s a sad reality.”The A.C.L.U. hailed the court’s action as an “uncomplicated” victory for free speech.“The First Amendment exists specifically to make sure people can express strong opinions on political issues, or any other matter, without fear of punishment by the government,” Amol Sinha, executive director of the state’s A.C.L.U., said in a statement.“Roselle Park had no grounds to issue fines for a political sign, and the town’s use of its obscenity ordinance infringed upon fundamental rights.”Mr. Signorello said that the borough planned to try to alter its regulations at next month’s council meeting to limit the amount of signage that could appear on any homeowner’s property. But he said Ms. Dick’s signs would most likely be excluded from any new ordinance because they were hung before any change to the regulations would occur.“What’s up there is staying until I’m told differently,” Ms. Dick said.

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Senators Klobuchar And Lujan Propose ‘Health Misinformation Act of 2021’ … It is HOT garbage…

from the stop-this-nonsense dept On Wednesday, Senator Amy Klobuchar promised to introduce a bill that would somehow hold Facebook liable for medical misinformation. As we wrote in the post about her claims, that doesn't explain how there would be any legitimate underlying cause of action, because nearly all such medical misinformation is still protected by the 1st Amendment. Yesterday Klobuchar, along with Senator Ben Ray Lujan, introduced their bill: the Health Misinformation Act of 2021. To say it's unconstitutional would be giving it too much credit. To say that it wouldn't even remotely do anything useful would be to state the obvious. To say that it's a grandstanding piece of absolute nonsense would be about the best thing I could think of. It's garbage in so many ways. The actual functioning of the bill would be to add an exception to Section 230's protections, saying that they no longer apply -- if it's in the midst of a health crisis -- for medical misinformation. It would add the following "EXCEPTION" to Section 230: A provider of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of health misinformation that is created or developed through the interactive computer service during a covered period if the provider promotes that health misinformation through an algorithm used by the provider (or similar software functionality), except that this subparagraph shall not apply if that promotion occurs through a neutral mechanism, such as through the use of chronological functionality And, this law would only be in effect during a public health emergency, as declared by the Secretary of Health & Human Services. The law would also require the Secretary of Health & Human Services to "issue guidance regarding what constitutes health misinformation." That last bit should make you grimace, because that's a hugely problematic thing for the 1st Amendment. Having the government define what is and what is not "health misinformation" cannot possibly pass 1st Amendment scrutiny by a court. It's also incredibly dumb. First of all, in a "public health emergency" like we're currently going through, what is and what is not "health misinformation" is not always clear, and involves constantly changing information. Remember, we went through this with the whole "wearing masks" thing at the very beginning of the pandemic. Then, you had the WHO and CDC advise against wearing masks. Under this bill, you could have had the HHS boss claim that anyone promoting mask wearing was engaging in health misinformation... and somehow try to make Facebook liable for it. Would that have been a good idea? Even worse: imagine what kind of information might be declared "health misinformation" by disingenuous grandstanders? Pro-choice information? Information about transgender health? But, going back a step: what would this law actually do, even if it weren't so blatantly unconstitutional? The answer is absolutely fucking nothing. Because, as we pointed out on Wednesday, you still need an underlying cause of action and there is none here. Okay, so now Facebook is magically "liable" for health misinformation? But as soon as anyone sues, Facebook says "that content is protected speech, so there's no cause of action here" and the court dismisses the case. Whether we like it or not, nearly all misinformation is still protected under the 1st Amendment. And, for the reasons discussed earlier, that's probably a good thing -- because otherwise, you'll have the government declaring things you agree with as misinformation, and that leads to very dangerous places. This entire bill is not just grandstanding nonsense, but a waste of time. Yes, we should be looking for ways to better educate the public about the actual efficacy of (massively successful) COVID-19 vaccines. And, yes we need to figure out better ways to reach those who are skeptical about vaccines or hesitant to get the vaccine. But this bill does none of that. It just throws a bunch of garbage out so that Klobuchar can stand before the TV cameras and pretend to do something. It's the worst kind of political grandstanding. And, while we're talking about how ridiculous this is, let's just throw in a giant "oh shut the fuck up" to Facebook as well for putting out a total garbage statement in response: "We have long supported common industry standards and section 230 reform. We believe clarification on the difficult and urgent questions about health related misinformation would be helpful and look forward to working with Congress and the industry as we consider options for reform." What a bunch of garbage. Facebook knows that this bill is a mess of nonsense, and that the 1st Amendment would stop it from having any impact. Rather than putting out a compliant, suck up statement, why can't Facebook speak up about what it's actually doing to try to deal with health misinformation on the site? That would be interesting and that has mostly been absent from this discussion beyond whatever uninformed nonsense is being stated by people outside the company about what they think Facebook is doing (which is either "nothing" according to many ignorant folks, or "censoring conservatives!" according to another bunch of equally ignorant folks). If Facebook came out and actually explained what it really is doing that would be helpful. But, of course, Facebook is trying to play the politics of all of this, rather than doing the right thing. div#post_end_plea_promo {background-color:#fefecb;margin:10px 0;padding:5px;} Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community. Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis. While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you. –The Techdirt Team Filed Under: 1st amendment, amy klobuchar, ben ray lujan, cause of action, content moderation, covid-19, health misinformation, liability, misinformation, section 230, vaccineCompanies: facebook

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Portland Police Protest Response Found “Appropriate” and “Restrained” in Summer 2020

Portland police held a press conference to answer questions about the findings of their independent review of their response to a Black Lives Matter protest. PORTLAND, Maine — The outside firm the city hired to investigate to Portland Police Department's response to a Black Lives Matter protest in June 2020 has completed its report, and concluded the response was "appropriate," and even "restrained." Clifton Larson Allen LLP was hired by the city in February 2021 to investigate the June 1-2 protest that was held in the wake of George Floyd’s death. The protest ended in 23 arrests and damage to businesses in downtown Portland. The Cumberland County District Attorney later said the charges against the people arrested would not be pursued, citing insufficient evidence.  The protest, which was held just one week after George Floyd, 46, died in Minneapolis as a police officer knelt on his neck despite his cries that he couldn't breathe, started peacefully and became increasingly tense as night fell and police clashed with protesters in the streets. Police in riot gear fired pepper spray into the crowd, and reports say officers advanced up Franklin Street after a cargo truck drove through the crowd. Protesters pushed back, and things divulged, at times, into chaos. The firm found, however, that in many cases, officers showed restraint as events from the largely peaceful protest turned more hectic.   “Even under the best of circumstances with advance scheduling and coordination, policing protests can be difficult,” the firm said in its report. The firm noted the protest was made up of a mix of peaceful demonstrators and outliers who clashed with police, throwing water bottles towards officers and inciting police reaction.  Police issued “orders to disperse” for more than an hour due to “riotous” conditions and then used pepper spray in pepper ball and aerosol canisters on protesters throwing objects at police. The outliers were met with calls from demonstrators attempting to keep the protest peaceful to stop antagonizing police. It was this “second tier of demonstration” that officers’ actions were focused on, the firm concluded. Compared to police departments’ response to similar protests across the country, the firm said Portland’s “differs greatly, in a positive manner.” “A review of police responses from other cities frequently show a response strategy involving disorder control tactics and methods. Disorder control tends to rely on the use of mass arrests and shows of force and has a result of controlling, regulating, or quashing First Amendment expression,” the firm explained in the review. The firm notes Portland Police demonstrated a “facilitation mindset” rather than using disorder control tactics and methods. Their review and evidence claimed that: Arrests were sparingly; no mass arrests occurred. It was clear that additional arrests could have been exercised. Portland targeted only those ‘agitators” in an effort to maintain order and disperse the crowd Force was used ONLY after the individuals at the demonstrations turned violent and the event was nearing its fourth hour. Pepper ball and OC fogger deployment occurred after 11 p.m- more than four hours after the start. Use of Force was targeted specifically at those violent individuals. No overly aggressive physical barriers were used for crowd containment. Importantly, those interviewed did not have complaints of NOT being able to express their views. All agreed that the incidents of violence were committed by individuals not associated with the peaceful protests. Complaints were about police tactics to control those violent behaviors, not control of protesting behaviors.  Read the firm’s full report here: Portland Police Chief Frank Clark held a press conference Friday morning to discuss the firm’s report. He said he wasn't surprised "whatsoever" about the report's findings.  Clark said he was and remains today "extremely proud" of how his department and staff handled the situation last year in the face of "unprecedented challenges." "We intend to continue to protect the city with integrity," he said, saying he thought officers responded with "discipline, restraint, and professionalism." In conducting its report into the Portland Police Departments' response on June 1 into June 2, 2020, the firm worked to solicit and compile written concerns or complaints from individuals and conduct interviews with those who took part in the protest. The firms also reviewed incident, arrest, after-action, and burglary and criminal mischief reports. That was in addition to reports by assisting agencies, dispatch logs, use of force reviews, and media coverage and social media posts of the rally. “I’d like to thank CLA for thoroughly and independently investigating the events of June 1st into June 2, 2020. As was demonstrated last year in a workshop with the City Council, the report confirms the men and women of our police department performed their responsibilities under great duress in a professional and admirable way,” Portland City Manager Jon Jennings said in a statement Thursday. “I am very proud that the Portland Police Department long-ago embraced being progressive in its approach to working with the community, and has been a leader in utilizing modern programs and best practices.” As noted in the report, Clark said the department works hard to protect the public, the city, and its officers and also works to facilitate and protect the First Amendment rights of peaceful protesters. Clark said the lack of communication between organizers and the department was frustrating, and that communication could have allowed police to help facilitate their right to peaceful protest.  The review process, as well as making the findings public, helps "build a bridge of trust" between the department and the community, Clark said.  He said, "We need to work with the community." Clark said he hopes the report will bolster the community’s trust and confidence in the department, and he said the review process helped improve their response in subsequent protests.  “As noted last year, these officers have my full faith and support, and I was extremely proud of the way our staff faced some trying and unprecedented circumstances and violence with discipline, restraint and professionalism,” Clark said in a statement. “I remain honored to be part of such a professional and progressive organization. We’ll continue to seek out best practices, hold ourselves accountable, and do our jobs with overarching integrity, as we strive to protect the public and each other.” Watch Clark's full press conference here: [embedded content] NEWS CENTER Maine covered the June 1 protest in question. Read a detailed account of the night here. As of 12 p.m. on Friday, Black Portland Organizers Working to End Racism (POWER) has not yet released a statement in response to the report. This story will be updated. More NEWS CENTER Maine Portland protest coverage: [embedded content] [embedded content] [embedded content] [embedded content]

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Portland Police Protest Response Found “Appropriate” and “Restrained” in Summer 2020

Portland police held a press conference to answer questions about the findings of their independent review of their response to a Black Lives Matter protest. PORTLAND, Maine — The outside firm the city hired to investigate to Portland Police Department's response to a Black Lives Matter protest in June 2020 has completed its report, and concluded the response was "appropriate," and even "restrained." Clifton Larson Allen LLP was hired by the city in February 2021 to investigate the June 1-2 protest that was held in the wake of George Floyd’s death. The protest ended in 23 arrests and damage to businesses in downtown Portland. The Cumberland County District Attorney later said the charges against the people arrested would not be pursued, citing insufficient evidence.  The protest, which was held just one week after George Floyd, 46, died in Minneapolis as a police officer knelt on his neck despite his cries that he couldn't breathe, started peacefully and became increasingly tense as night fell and police clashed with protesters in the streets. Police in riot gear fired pepper spray into the crowd, and reports say officers advanced up Franklin Street after a cargo truck drove through the crowd. Protesters pushed back, and things divulged, at times, into chaos. The firm found, however, that in many cases, officers showed restraint as events from the largely peaceful protest turned more hectic.   “Even under the best of circumstances with advance scheduling and coordination, policing protests can be difficult,” the firm said in its report. The firm noted the protest was made up of a mix of peaceful demonstrators and outliers who clashed with police, throwing water bottles towards officers and inciting police reaction.  Police issued “orders to disperse” for more than an hour due to “riotous” conditions and then used pepper spray in pepper ball and aerosol canisters on protesters throwing objects at police. The outliers were met with calls from demonstrators attempting to keep the protest peaceful to stop antagonizing police. It was this “second tier of demonstration” that officers’ actions were focused on, the firm concluded. Compared to police departments’ response to similar protests across the country, the firm said Portland’s “differs greatly, in a positive manner.” “A review of police responses from other cities frequently show a response strategy involving disorder control tactics and methods. Disorder control tends to rely on the use of mass arrests and shows of force and has a result of controlling, regulating, or quashing First Amendment expression,” the firm explained in the review. The firm notes Portland Police demonstrated a “facilitation mindset” rather than using disorder control tactics and methods. Their review and evidence claimed that: Arrests were sparingly; no mass arrests occurred. It was clear that additional arrests could have been exercised. Portland targeted only those ‘agitators” in an effort to maintain order and disperse the crowd Force was used ONLY after the individuals at the demonstrations turned violent and the event was nearing its fourth hour. Pepper ball and OC fogger deployment occurred after 11 p.m- more than four hours after the start. Use of Force was targeted specifically at those violent individuals. No overly aggressive physical barriers were used for crowd containment. Importantly, those interviewed did not have complaints of NOT being able to express their views. All agreed that the incidents of violence were committed by individuals not associated with the peaceful protests. Complaints were about police tactics to control those violent behaviors, not control of protesting behaviors.  Read the firm’s full report here: Portland Police Chief Frank Clark held a press conference Friday morning to discuss the firm’s report. He said he wasn't surprised "whatsoever" about the report's findings.  Clark said he was and remains today "extremely proud" of how his department and staff handled the situation last year in the face of "unprecedented challenges." "We intend to continue to protect the city with integrity," he said, saying he thought officers responded with "discipline, restraint, and professionalism." In conducting its report into the Portland Police Departments' response on June 1 into June 2, 2020, the firm worked to solicit and compile written concerns or complaints from individuals and conduct interviews with those who took part in the protest. The firms also reviewed incident, arrest, after-action, and burglary and criminal mischief reports. That was in addition to reports by assisting agencies, dispatch logs, use of force reviews, and media coverage and social media posts of the rally. “I’d like to thank CLA for thoroughly and independently investigating the events of June 1st into June 2, 2020. As was demonstrated last year in a workshop with the City Council, the report confirms the men and women of our police department performed their responsibilities under great duress in a professional and admirable way,” Portland City Manager Jon Jennings said in a statement Thursday. “I am very proud that the Portland Police Department long-ago embraced being progressive in its approach to working with the community, and has been a leader in utilizing modern programs and best practices.” As noted in the report, Clark said the department works hard to protect the public, the city, and its officers and also works to facilitate and protect the First Amendment rights of peaceful protesters. Clark said the lack of communication between organizers and the department was frustrating, and that communication could have allowed police to help facilitate their right to peaceful protest.  The review process, as well as making the findings public, helps "build a bridge of trust" between the department and the community, Clark said.  He said, "We need to work with the community." Clark said he hopes the report will bolster the community’s trust and confidence in the department, and he said the review process helped improve their response in subsequent protests.  “As noted last year, these officers have my full faith and support, and I was extremely proud of the way our staff faced some trying and unprecedented circumstances and violence with discipline, restraint and professionalism,” Clark said in a statement. “I remain honored to be part of such a professional and progressive organization. We’ll continue to seek out best practices, hold ourselves accountable, and do our jobs with overarching integrity, as we strive to protect the public and each other.” Watch Clark's full press conference here: [embedded content] NEWS CENTER Maine covered the June 1 protest in question. Read a detailed account of the night here. As of 12 p.m. on Friday, Black Portland Organizers Working to End Racism (POWER) has not yet released a statement in response to the report. This story will be updated. More NEWS CENTER Maine Portland protest coverage: [embedded content] [embedded content] [embedded content] [embedded content]

MAGACOIN Crypto Launch Data Breach

The launch of a cryptocurrency developed by Donald Trump supporters last week has been marred by a website data breach. According to The Guardian, user information including IP addresses, email addresses and passwords were accessed via a poor security configuration on the project’s website. The crypto is dubbed MAGACOIN after former President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. The project’s website claims that MAGACOIN was “created by America First Conservatives out of frustration with “Losing the Election” (the site has it in quotes) and “a desire to fight back by supporting MAGA candidates in 2022 and beyond” with profits from the coin.An unnamed and self-described hacktivist told The Guardian that more than 1,000 people have signed up, including Republican figures and conservative media personalities, with the majority of hodlers having around 100 MAGACOIN. The project’s creator, used car salesman Marc Zelinka, reportedly holds 2 million MAGACOIN, along with Reilly O’Neal, a pro-Trump consultant who is now operating the project. Roughly 75 million MAGACOIN were created to represent the 75 million voters who were supposedly “disenfranchised on November 3rd, 2020” — the day of the U.S. election results in which Trump lost to Democrat Joe Biden. Trump supporters have since asserted without evidence that the election was rigged and have lost numerous court cases challenging the results. The project is offering 100 MAGACOIN to anyone that signs up, and the hacktivist has claimed that the majority of users have that amount.Some of the larger accounts are reportedly the result of marketing campaigns from the project, offering 1,000 MAGACOIN to media personalities, radio hosts, and grassroots groups in exchange for promoting the cryptocurrency.An account holding 1,500 coins is associated with an email address of John Rush, the host of “Rush to Reason” on Denver’s KXL conservative talk station, along with a similar amount associated with Colorado Republican activist Evan Underwood, who is also the chair of the Colorado Federation of College Republicans. Rush reportedly had the creator of the project, Marc Zelinka, on the show in a recent episode however Zelinka told the Guardian that “I don’t control it anymore” after he handed the reins over to prominent North Carolina-based political operative, Reilly O’Neal.A super political action community (SuperPAC) is also tied to the project and called “MAGACOIN VICTORY FUND”, which has received a 10 million MAGACOIN donation to support “MAGA candidates across the country who will fight for individual rights, religious liberty, protecting the unborn, the 2nd amendment, freedom of speech and the entire America First Agenda.” The SuperPAC’s mailing address is reportedly located at the same place several other firms and political groups operated by O’Neal. Related: ‘It’s fine’ to buy Bitcoin as gold substitute, says Trump ex-Treasury Secretary MnuchinDespite MAGACOIN being a pro-Trump project, it is yet to be seen what the former president thinks of the project as he is known for being anti-crypto. Trump stated last month that “Bitcoin, it just seems like a scam […] I don’t like it because it is another currency competing against the dollar.”

Connecticut will be back in court over background checks

gun sales Gun Retailers Take State Back To Court Over Issues With Background Check System By Christine Stuart • Published 2 hours ago • Updated 42 mins ago NBC Universal, Inc. A recent upgrade to a state computer system is impacting the speed of gun sales and now retailers and their customers are taking the state back to federal court over the issue. “We spoke to a gentleman the other day who has 67 transactions people have paid him for. He’s just looking to get approval from the state and they won’t answer the phone,” Rep. Craig Fishbein said.  Download our mobile app for iOS or Android to get alerts for local breaking news and weather. Fishbein, the attorney who is representing these dealers, said the federally licensed firearm dealers could be out of business quickly if they can’t get approval for these sales or transfers. Local connecticut in color 3 hours ago After Opening Second Location, Restaurant Owner Reflects on the Journey Waterbury 4 hours ago Person Found Dead After Car Fire in Waterbury “That telephone system has been an absolute abomination for years now,” Fishbein said.  “A lot of these stores have literally hundreds of customers lined up who are trying to purchase firearms. Many of them have already put down deposits,” Rep. Doug Dubitsky, the other attorney representing the gun retailers, said.  The system was antiquated. “Paper and pens and scissors to basically put the files together for these firearms transactions for the dealers,” Brian Foley, assistant to Public Safety Commissioner James Rovella, said.  The state police said the background check system for retailers was shut down for five days to make improvements. “When it’s fully built and constructed this will be much easier for the dealers. A completely electronic experience for them in most cases,” Foley said.  The new phone system will eventually turn into an online system, but it’s not there yet. “It’s just calling, calling, calling. You feel like you win the lottery when you get through right now,” Kyle Overturf, manager of Blue Trail Range, said.  An upgrade in a state police computer system has created delays in background checks for gun purchases and retailers say that is hurting their business. That’s not good enough for retailers or their customers. “That in essence is denying the citizens of Connecticut from being able to exercise their 2nd amendment right,” Mark Oliva, communications director for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said.  The Connecticut Citizens Defense League and N.S.S.F believe the state, like many states, should use the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check system.  “I hope that all Connecticut residents should be concerned about the state's failure to provide a process for a constitutionally protected right,” CCDL President Holly Sullivan said.  The state Attorney General's office had no comment on the lawsuit. The two sides will be back in court on Friday to make their arguments. This article tagged under: gun salesgunsgun control Weather Forecast

SCOTUS Decisions Signify 1st Amendment Direction

Law360 (July 21, 2021, 4:01 PM EDT) -- This past term has seen a flurry of First Amendment action from the U.S. Supreme Court.The court unanimously vindicated a Catholic foster agency's religious free exercise right to refuse placement of children with gay couples, voted 8-1 to confirm a minor's free speech right to disseminate off-campus, profane social media posts to hundreds of Snapchat friends about her school, and protected associational rights in a 6-3 decision that protects donors from doxing. The court also declined to decide whether the state of Washington violated a floral designer's free exercise and free speech rights in connection with her refusal to provide...

British Rapper Praises American 2nd Amendment: ‘ONLY Country In The West That Is Largely Protected Against Totalitarianism’

On Wednesday, the British rapper Zuby issued a short Twitter thread championing the United States’ constitutional right to bear arms, writing of the 2nd amendment, “The ONLY country in the West that is largely protected against totalitarianism is the USA. And that’s because of the 2nd Amendment.”He started by stating, “Many Western countries are evolving into authoritarian regimes in real-time. But people are so convinced by the illusions of ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ that they outright refuse to admit what’s happening. The cognitive dissonance is off the charts… The ego won’t allow it. Europe alone has seen the rise of multiple authoritarian regimes over the past few centuries. It is arrogant and foolish to assume history is ‘over’ or ‘that can’t happen here’. It absolutely can. Human nature has not changed. Have a Plan B if you value liberty. Real talk.”Europe alone has seen the rise of multiple authoritarian regimes over the past few centuries.It is arrogant and foolish to assume history is 'over' or 'that can't happen here'.It absolutely can. Human nature has not changed.Have a Plan B if you value liberty. Real talk.— ZUBY: (@ZubyMusic) July 21, 2021“The ONLY country in the West that is largely protected against totalitarianism is the USA,” he continued. “And that’s because of the 2nd Amendment. UK, Europe, Australia, Canada, Australia, New Zealand… all ultimately reliant on the benevolence (or wickedness) of their leaders.Over the next few years, I predict a significant movement of capable people from urban to rural, and from ‘1st world’ countries to ‘2nd and 3rd world’ countries. The veil has fallen. Bitter pill to swallow, but here we are.”Over the next few years, I predict a significant movement of capable people from urban to rural, and from '1st world' countries to '2nd and 3rd world' countries.The veil has fallen.Bitter pill to swallow, but here we are.— ZUBY: (@ZubyMusic) July 21, 2021Earlier this month, Zuby authored a Twitter thread titled, “20 Things I’ve Learned (Or Had Confirmed) About Humanity During The ‘Pandemic.’” He stated:1/  Most people would rather be in the majority, than be right.2/ At least 20% of the population has strong authoritarian tendencies, which will emerge under the right conditions. 3/ Fear of death is only rivalled by the fear of social disapproval. The latter could be stronger.4/ Propaganda is just as effective in the modern day as it was 100 years ago. Access to limitless information has not made the average person any wiser.5/ Anything and everything can and will be politicised by the media, government, and those who trust them.6/ Many politicians and large corporations will gladly sacrifice human lives if it is conducive to their political and financial aspirations.7/ Most people believe the government acts in the best interests of the people. Even many who are vocal critics of the government.8/ Once they have made up their mind, most people would rather to commit to being wrong, than admit they were wrong.9/ Humans can be trained and conditioned quickly and relatively easily to significantly alter their behaviours – for better or worse.10/ When sufficiently frightened, most people will not only accept authoritarianism, but demand it.11/ People who are dismissed as ‘conspiracy theorists’ are often well researched and simply ahead of the mainstream narrative.12/ Most people value safety and security more than freedom and liberty, even if said ‘safety’ is merely an illusion.13/ Hedonic adaptation occurs in both directions, and once inertia sets in, it is difficult to get people back to ‘normal’.14/ A significant % of people thoroughly enjoy being subjugated. 15/ ‘The Science’ has evolved into a secular pseudo-religion for millions of people in the West. This religion has little to do with science itself.16/ Most people care more about looking like they are doing the right thing, rather than actually doing the right thing.17/ Politics, the media, science, and the healthcare industries are all corrupt, to varying degrees. Scientists and doctors can be bought as easily as politicians.18/ If you make people comfortable enough, they will not revolt. You can keep millions docile as you strip their rights, by giving them money, food, and entertainment.19/ Modern people are overly complacent and lack vigilance when it comes to defending their own freedoms from government overreach.20/ It’s easier to fool a person than to convince them that they have been fooled.He added, “21/ Most people are fairly compassionate and have good intentions (this is good). As a result, most people deeply struggle to understand that some people, including our ‘leaders’, CAN have malicious or perverse intentions (this is bad).”The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member. 

Kamala Harris’ past returns with the Supreme Court.

This is the July 21, 2021, edition of the Essential Politics newsletter. Like what you’re reading? Sign up to get it in your inbox.Vice President Kamala Harris was hit by an unpleasant blast from her political past this month when the Supreme Court decided a case that originated when she was attorney general of California.The court‘s six Republican-appointed justices ruled against the state in favor of a group founded by conservative donors Charles and David Koch called the Americans for Prosperity Foundation. The foundation, along with another conservative group called the Thomas More Law Center, sued the attorney general for enforcing a state law requiring them to disclose to the office the names of their biggest donors, an obligation for nonprofit groups that was intended to thwart fraud.The ruling has an immediate effect on charitable donors who want to keep their identities hidden from state authorities, though the IRS still requires disclosure. Some campaign ethics watchdogs believe the high court’s decision could eventually upend rules that require big donors to disclose their political giving to the public. Good morning and welcome to Essential Politics, Kamala Harris edition. This morning, I will explain Harris’ role and, with the help of longtime Supreme Court reporter David G. Savage, delve a bit deeper into the implications of the court’s decision to bar California and other states from collecting the names of charitable donors. Newsletter Get our Essential Politics newsletter The latest news, analysis and insights from our politics teams from Sacramento to D.C. Enter email address Sign Me Up You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times. A rare confluence It’s an unusual, if not unprecedented, situation for a vice president to see a case she oversaw as a state attorney general come up like this. The last vice president to serve as a state attorney general, Walter Mondale, served 12 years in the Senate before becoming vice president in 1977, meaning it’s unlikely he would have seen any of his cases make it to the Supreme Court by the time he was vice president. (Aaron Burr and Martin van Buren also served as state attorneys general before ascending to the vice presidency.)Several people familiar with the case said Harris did not have much of a direct role. The California requirement that charities list their donors in state documents preceded her, though her office did send letters to groups like the Americans for Prosperity Foundation that failed to comply. Her successors as attorney general, Xavier Becerra and Rob Bonta, in turn have had their names on the case since Harris left that office in 2017. “Once we got sued, the office’s automatic response is to defend our policy, which they did,” said Nathan Barankin, Harris’ former chief of staff.Harris’ name does not come up often in court documents. Nor did she issue news releases during the litigation that emphasized her clash with the Koch brothers, which could have been a political winner for her, given their status among progressives as villains of the right.If Harris had boasted of taking them on, though, it could have undermined her legal position. The groups argued that revealing their names to the attorney general, even if not made public, could subject them to harassment. And news releases that brag about taking on conservative groups could have shown she was, in fact, out to get them. Enjoying this newsletter? Consider subscribing to the Los Angeles Times Your support helps us deliver the news that matters most. Become a subscriber. Why the ruling matters To explain the broader implications, I turned to David G. Savage, who has been covering the Supreme Court for The Times since 1986. You can also read his story on the 6-3 ruling, which fell along ideological lines.Q: David, what’s the biggest takeaway from this case?A: The Supreme Court’s six conservatives believe that big donors to conservative groups deserve to have their privacy protected. And they seem especially worried about conservatives being harassed in California.Q: In this case, the list of donors was never made public. It was used as an enforcement tool by the attorney general. Why do some experts think the ruling could lead to doing away with the more public form of disclosure requirements for campaign donations? A: Because if the chief justice writes an opinion that says the 1st Amendment protects not just your right to free speech but your right to have your privacy as a donor protected from public disclosure, it’s not too hard to imagine the next case in which lawyers argue that donors to controversial candidates — and maybe all candidates — deserve the same privacy.Q: Kamala Harris did not write the law and it was enforced by then-Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown before her. But her office enforced it and she defended the lawsuit from conservative groups, pursuing an appeal after losing in District Court. If it creates what liberals call bad case law, how much blame will she get from the legal left?A: Not much. She didn’t go in search of this case. California has something like 120,000 tax-exempt charities, and the attorney general has the duty to make sure those charities are not operating as scams to enrich the people who are collecting money and supposedly using it for a public, charitable purpose. The IRS tells these charities to file a confidential Schedule B that names the big donors to a charity, and California officials, like those in New York, said they wanted to also see a copy of that form. They said it allowed them to do a quick check on a charity if they received a tip or a complaint of possible wrongdoing. And that’s exactly what you would expect a state attorney general to do.Q: Have any experts or advocates said this ruling would allow more fraud to proliferate? A: Not that I know of. The state employees in the charitable giving unit will still pursue investigations if they learn of possible problems. They may have to undertake an audit to resolve their concerns.Q: The conservative justices said in their ruling that fraud concerns were overblown. Yet in a separate ruling the same day, in which they allowed new voting restrictions in Arizona, they cited potential fraud as an important concern. What are we to make of the apparent contradiction?A: I was struck by that as well and don’t have an explanation, other than that the court’s conservatives and liberals see these matters in quite different ways. In the Arizona case, Justice [Samuel] Alito said the state had a “strong and entirely legitimate” interest in protecting against fraudulent votes, even though he had no examples to cite. It wasn’t clear why throwing out the ballots cast by registered voters who went to the wrong precinct had anything to do with fraud. In the California case, Chief Justice [John G.] Roberts Jr. agreed there was fraud in charities, and the attorney general’s office had a duty to police it, but he said the investigators didn’t really need the names of the big donors in order to launch an investigation.Q: Finally, we’ve been talking a lot about the conservative-liberal divide on the court itself. But one other thing that struck me is the list of outside groups that weighed in on the case does not fit neatly along those lines. At least two groups usually seen as liberal — the American Civil Liberties Union and the Council on American-Islamic Relations — filed briefs supporting the plaintiffs, who argued against disclosure. Were you surprised? A: No. There are liberal groups — think of supporters of abortion rights, for example — where donors could fear they could be subject to harassment. And historically, the ACLU has been on the side of expanding 1st Amendment rights and protecting against compelled disclosures enforced by the government. But it’s also true, as Justice Sonia Sotomayor pointed out in her dissent, that most people who donate to charities — food banks, hospitals, museums, theater groups, wounded veterans, animal shelters and the like — are proud to be donors and do not fear having their names disclosed.The view from Washington — No notable Republican has declared an outright challenge to President Biden in 2024, but plenty of them are flocking to Iowa — signaling that the GOP presidential primary is already underway even as the former President Trump keeps Republicans guessing whether he will run again, writes Melanie Mason.— Thomas J. Barrack, Jr., the chair of former Trump’s inaugural committee and a prominent Southern California businessman, was arrested Tuesday on federal charges that he and two associates were part of a secretive, years-long effort to shape Trump’s foreign policy as a candidate and later, president, all to the benefit of the United Arab Emirates, report Michael Finnegan and Matt Hamilton.— The Justice Department on Monday issued a formal policy that restricts the ability of federal prosecutors to obtain the records of reporters, a policy shift that followed intense lobbying by free-press advocates outraged by the Trump administration’s efforts to obtain such data, Meena Venkataramanan reports. — Biden took some credit during remarks from the White House’s State Dining Room on Monday for the country’s expanding economy, Eli Stokols writes. He also urged support for his two long-term infrastructure proposals, which hang in Congress’ balance this week as lawmakers battle over the details.— From Sarah D. Wire: The Justice Department declined to prosecute former Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for misleading Congress about the origins and purpose of asking about citizenship on the 2020 census, a government watchdog told Congress on Monday.— Twitter gave Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene a 12-hour timeout, saying some of the Georgia Republican’s tweets violated the social media site’s policy on misinformation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.The view from California — California is leading the drive toward electric cars, but as companies move toward scraping the seabed for battery materials, alarmed oceanographers and advocates warn they are literally in uncharted waters. It’s just one act in a fast unfolding, ethically challenging and economically complex drama that stretches around the world, from the cobalt mines of Congo to the corridors of the Biden White House to fragile desert habitats throughout the West where vast deposits of lithium lay beneath the ground, writes Evan Halper. — Faced with widespread fraud in California’s unemployment benefit system, state officials said Tuesday they have hired former federal prosecutor McGregor Scott to serve as special counsel to assist in the investigations of bogus claims filed by international criminal organizations, prison inmates and others, writes Patrick McGreevy.— California voters are getting an unprecedented peek at the personal finances of the candidates seeking to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom in September’s recall election, after hundreds of pages of documents were published online detailing salaries, investments and taxes paid over the last five years, McGreevy, John Myers, Phil Willon, Melody Gutierrez and Julia Wick report.— Newsom faces a delicate decision over whether to again impose statewide mask requirements and risk upsetting Californians just weeks before they decide if he should be recalled from office, write Willon and Taryn Luna.— Two groups of protestors converged at a spa in Westlake on Saturday and, by the end, the LAPD had used projectiles and batons and arrested 40 people. What happened? Far-right rage over transgender rights spiraled into chaos, report Leila Miller, Anita Chabria and Laura J. Nelson. — Jerry Lewis, the longest-serving Republican congressman in California history and a former House Appropriations Committee chairman, died July 15. He was 86.Changes ahead for Essential Politics We’re making some changes to the way you get the latest political news from The Times. Starting next month, John Myers will host a new weekly analysis of California politics. You can sign up for it here.The California Politics newsletter will continue to offer glimpses at what’s happening both on the campaign trail and in the halls of state government in Sacramento. We’ll focus on two big topics in the coming weeks: the Newsom recall election and the end of the California Legislature’s yearlong session. John’s last Monday edition of Essential Politics will run July 26.Current Essential Politics subscribers will still receive the latest from David Lauter, Noah Bierman and Laura Blasey in Washington. What would you like to see in California Politics and Essential Politics? Let us know at politics@latimes.com.One more quick programming note: Essential Politics is taking Friday, July 23, off. We’ll be back Monday. 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