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Senator Wicker Introduces Bill To Guarantee The Internet Sucks

Why does Senator Roger Wicker from Mississippi hate the internet? Wicker, who has a close relationship with big telcos, who have long...

After Multiple Reports Of DOJ Targeting Journalists' Communications, The DOJ Finally Says It Will Stop Targeting Journalists

The DOJ -- following President Biden's lead -- has declared targeting journalists' communications is officially off-limits...

Small Town Police Chief Hit With Actual Criminal Charges After Threatening A Critic With Bogus Criminal Charges


Fri, Jun 4th 2021 10:53am —
Tim Cushing
The corollary to "play stupid games, win stupid prizes" is that the thinner a public servant's skin is, the more damaging the outcome when they decide to abuse their power to get even.
That's the story that's buried under this rather dry recitation by the US Department of Justice, which has brought federal charges against the police chief of a small Pennsylvania town.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Brian Buglio, age 45, of Lattimer Mines, Pennsylvania, was charged in a criminal information on May 27, 2021, with a civil rights violation.

Washington Post Runs Bizarrely Ignorant Opinion Piece Claiming Florida's Content Moderation Law Is Constitutional

Look, I get that the Opinion sections of major newspapers want to run a variety of opinions, and thus might do less fact checking than...

Judge Dumps Iowa Prosecutors' Attempt To Jail An Activist For Sharing A Law Enforcement Document With Journalists


Tue, Jun 1st 2021 10:50am —
Tim Cushing
Polk County, Iowa prosecutors are making a name for themselves. And that name is "Enemy of the First Amendment." Earlier this year, Polk County prosecutor John Sarcone tried and failed to convict a Des Moines Register journalist for attending a protest and attempting to comply with conflicting orders from law enforcement.
According to the prosecutor, journalist Andrea Sahouri failed to disperse when ordered to, even though other cops at the same scene were simply telling people to "protest peacefully." Sahouri was attempting to document the protest and was arrested as she was moving
away from the epicenter of the protest. This attempt to turn First Amendment protected activity into a crime failed and the prosecutor took a rather humiliating loss in a very public fashion.

Fact Check: Yes, Fact Checking Is Totally Protected By The 1st Amendment


Fri, May 28th 2021 10:23am —
Mike Masnick
The dumb takes on social media efforts to deal with problematic content keep getting dumber. Supposedly "conservative" commentator David Marcus has now written an opinion piece for Fox somehow arguing that fact checkers used on social media sites should be regulated. He's not the first to suggest this -- we just recently wrote about a Michigan legislator who was pushing an unconstitutional bill to regulate the fact checkers, but that this is the hill supposedly "conservatives" want to die on, seems particularly stupid.
Fact checking is protected by the 1st Amendment.
It is expressive. It is a core part of journalism as well, which is doubly protected under the "freedom of the press" part of the 1st Amendment. Marcus' article is so filled with dumb that it needs a fact check itself (as if Fox News ever did that sorta thing).

DC Court Says Recordings Of Capitol Rioters Must Be Made Public, But Only On A Case-By-Case Basis

Here's a small victory for the First Amendment and presumption of openness that's supposed to apply to court proceedings. A...

Florida Man Signs Blatantly Corrupt And Unconstitutional Social Media Bill, Cementing Florida As Tech Laughing Stock


Mon, May 24th 2021 1:36pm —
Mike Masnick
And, off we go. We've talked about a bunch of states pushing blatantly unconstitutional social media content moderation bills, with Florida leading the pack as the most eager to waste taxpayer money on something so obviously bogus. As you'll recall, at the end of last month, Florida really added some unconstitutional icing on the unconstitutional cake by exempting Disney (and any other company that owned a theme park in Florida) from the bill's social media requirements.
The bill has a few different unconstitutional provisions, but the one getting the most attention is that it bans non-theme park associated websites from removing content or accounts from people running for office. There are also the ridiculous transparency clauses that have become stupidly popular of late, and which really serve as a smokescreen to allow users to sue websites for being moderated.

Another Journalist Informed Trump DOJ Otained Their Phone And Email Records


Tue, May 25th 2021 3:35am —
Tim Cushing
It certainly appears the new Attorney General is doing some house cleaning. A pretty steady drip of disclosures have made their way into the public sphere about the DOJ's activities while headed by Bill Barr and overseen by the Trump White House.
A couple of weeks ago it was disclosed that the DOJ had obtained three Washington Post journalists' phone records while investigating leaks related to Russian interference in the 2016 election. More recently, a case involving a Twitter account targeted by a Devin Nunes defamation lawsuit was unsealed, showing the DOJ attempted to force the social media service to turn over identifying info related to the NunesAlt account.

Senator Wyden Tells The DOJ It Needs To Stop Going After Journalists During Leak Investigations

Earlier this month, it was revealed the DOJ -- while headed by Bill Barr and an extraordinarily leaky White House -- decided it would be...

New Jersey State Legislators Think They Can Get Trump Back On Facebook By Passing A Stupid Social Media Moderation Bill

Facebook recently announced its decision to keep Donald Trump banned -- a decision supported by its new oversight board. That decision...

DOJ Sent A Grand Jury Subpoena To Twitter Demanding The Unmasking Of A Twitter User Being Sued By Devin Nunes

For the past couple of years, Devin Nunes has been suing Twitter users over obviously satirical accounts that use his name, the most...

Senator Bill Hagerty Believes Compelled Speech Is 'Liberty'; And Anyone Upset With Moderation Choices Should Be Able To Sue

Senator Bill Hagerty was just elected out of Tennessee to take over Lamar Alexander's old seat, and he's kicking off his...

Sens. Cruz, Hawley & Lee Show How To Take A Good Bill Idea And Make It Blatantly Unconstitutional


Wed, Apr 14th 2021 9:34am —
Mike Masnick
Senators Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and Mike Lee, all hold themselves out to be "constitutional" lawyers. All graduated from law schools and went on to clerk for Supreme Court Justices (Cruz clerked for Rehnquist, Hawley for Roberts, and Lee for Alito -- though before he moved to the Supreme Court). And yet, all three have shown that their support for the Constitution they swore to uphold and protect is a little wishy washy when they can build a culture war around it and get some silly press attention. The latest move is their new bill to strip Major League Baseball's antitrust exemption.

Devin Nunes Loses Yet Another One Of His SLAPP Suits


Mon, Apr 5th 2021 3:40pm —
Mike Masnick
A little over a year ago, a DC watchdog group had asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate Rep. Devin Nunes over his total failure to disclose who the hell is paying for all of his various frivolous SLAPP suits. As the group, Campaign Legal Center noted, Congress is forbidden from receiving free legal services unless they have set up a Legal Expense Fund -- and at least at the time of the investigation request, Nunes had not done so, despite having filed a bunch of lawsuits over the previous year.
As far as I can tell, nothing ever happened regarding that, but the issue is again worth exploring. Devin Nunes has been losing his lawsuits (badly) but continuing to push on with them anyway. In the fall of 2019, Nunes sued Fusion GPS and Glenn Simpson claiming racketeering (It's Not RICO, Dammit), because (he bizarrely claimed) they were harassing Nunes by filing a different ethics complaint against him. Nunes had some silly story about how Fusion GPS was trying to "interfere" with his "investigation." The "investigation" being Nunes' laughable attempt to argue that the Steele Dossier was illegal.

It's Apparently Bipartisan To Threaten To Punish Companies Via Antitrust Law For Speech You Don't Like


Mon, Apr 5th 2021 1:36pm —
Mike Masnick
A little over a week ago, we wrote about how Senator Elizabeth Warren clearly went over the line in threatening to punish Amazon for its speech through the use of antitrust laws. As we noted (pretty clearly, though many ignored it) at the time, there may be plenty of other reasons to use antitrust laws against Amazon, but no government official should ever even jokingly suggest that he or she would use the power of the government (via antitrust) to punish an entity for speech.
In response, many Warren supporters got incredibly mad at me, insisting that because (1) Amazon is big and (2) Warren has supported this position before, then it's perfectly fine for her to have said what she did. It was not.

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