RIOTING IN MINNESOTA
The rioting and looting over the death of an African-American man, George Floyd, at the hands of police in Minneapolis continued for a third day, and even included the burning of a police station. President Trump has made it clear that if the city can’t stop it, he will send in the National Guard with orders to shoot rioters.
Trump has expressed how disgusted and disturbed he is by the video footage of the police officer with his knee on Floyd’s neck, as he said he couldn’t breathe and bystanders urged the cop to let up. Trump has also ordered in the FBI to investigate.
Meanwhile, protests have also spread to St. Paul and turned violent in Los Angeles, New York and other cities. Racial division merchants are rushing to exploit Floyd’s death to promote more riots, calls for attacks on white people who had nothing to do with it, and burning and looting of stores and attacks on police in black neighborhoods that will only hurt the people who live, shop and work there. They even burned down a six-story apartment building that was under construction in South Minneapolis, and that was going to provide affordable housing. How is that supposed to help the people they claim to care so much about that they’re rioting on their behalf? Did anyone poll them to ask if they wanted their stores and homes burned down?
Oh, I’m sorry. I said “rioting” when, of course, I meant “protesting.” At least, that’s the PC term you have to use if you’re on NBC or MSNBC.
This was taken to the point of absurdity by an MSNBC reporter who was standing in the middle of rioters in front of a burning building when he said, “I want to be clear on how I characterize this. This is mostly a protest. This is not generally speaking unruly.” I hope for his landlord’s sake that he never throws a party that does turn “unruly.”
FYI: as is our policy here, I’m not giving any attention to stupid, incendiary tweets by leftist celebrities calling for more riots and racial violence. Why bother? They all carry the same tactic message: “Burn everything down!...Except my mansion.”
Naturally, the anti-Trump brigades such as the reliably loopy Rep. Maxine Waters are trying to blame Trump and Republicans for the “atmosphere” that led to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. So for the record:
Minneapolis has been famous for decades as one of the most liberal, one-party cities in America. The city council has 13 members: 12 from the Democratic-Farmer-Laborers Party, one from the Green Party, and zero Republicans. The council president is a DFL Party member who was previously a city planner in San Francisco. The mayor is a very liberal DFL Party member with a degree in government and a background in community organizing. The Governor, police chief and Hennepin County Attorney are all Democrats.
And worst of all for one Democrat, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is the former Hennepin County D.A. During that time, she reportedly declined to prosecute multiple police officers accused of excessive force, including the killing of civilians. They also include the very officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck and another who was present and fired. The two cops combined reportedly had at least a dozen conduct complaints against them.
Sen. Klobuchar might be able to offer reasons for those decisions, or maybe she’ll pass the buck and say it was made by someone else in her office. But I doubt that even blaming Trump will prevent her erasure from Joe Biden’s VP short list.
PRESIDENT TRUMP MADE GOOD ON HIS THREAT
Thursday, President Trump made good on his threat against social media giants such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube that selectively censor, edit or place warning labels on posts based on political views. He signed an executive order calling on all executive agencies to consider new regulations to ensure that such companies comply narrowly with Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act in maintaining neutrality or else risk losing their immunity from legal liability.
I know that what you’ll mostly hear about this on the news is the usual hair-on-fire “Trump is a dictator” rage fits, so here’s the actual order in its entirety for you to read for yourself. See if it sounds to you as if he’s trying to do away with free speech or protect it:
For background, here’s what Section 230 of that law says: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” In other words, if you’re offended by a post, you can’t sue the platform where it appeared, you have to sue the person who posted it. Otherwise, social media would be impossible because every post would have to be vetted before it appeared. Section 230 does allow platforms to remove posts that violate terms of service, such as being obscene or threatening, as long as the action is taken “in good faith.” And that’s it.
Strangely enough, for all the foaming at the mouth over Trump’s executive order, it seems to me as if it does nothing much more than reaffirm what Section 230 originally intended. Under pressure from the left, and their own hive-mind leftist corporate cultures, companies like Google and Twitter started adopting the left’s attitude that it was their duty not to remove merely obscene or threatening posts (indeed, they leave up plenty of posts that curse and threaten conservatives), but to determine whether a post is “true” or "misleading." Philosophers have been trying to define “what is truth” for centuries, but a group of leftist techies in Silicon Valley have finally nailed it. Under the left’s definition, their opinions are objectively true, and any opposing views are lies and misinformation.
It’s always useful in cases like this, when the anti-Trump hysteria is at its peak right after he does...well, anything (the anti-Trumpers are like Groucho Marx: “Whatever it is, I’m against it!”) to ignore their heat-of-the-moment statements and look back at what they said before Trump weighed in. So here’s an article from February on this very subject that explains a lot of the issues well, and notes that there were bipartisan concerns about the abuse of Section 230, both for the way it was being used to censor political views and to crush start-up competitors and turn the majors into monopolies.
I should also note one of the Democrats’ recurring problems: Joe Biden’s mouth. He immediately blasted Trump’s executive order on Section 230 as “an extreme abuse of power” that “demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of the role and function of the federal government.” But just last December, he told the New York Times that “Section 230 should be revoked immediately.” He then repeated that twice for emphasis.
Unless Congress acts, Trump is limited in what he can do to the social media companies. Unlike the previous President, he doesn’t believe he can ignore Congress and rewrite laws with executive orders. But his EO doesn’t so much change Section 230 as reaffirm its original meaning and warn that if the tech giants don’t stop abusing the legal immunity it grants them by ignoring the strict neutrality rules, they could lose it. Not by Trump changing the law, but by him doing something the previous Administration never dreamed of: actually enforcing it. And frankly, it’s about time.