First Amendment

Punishing Assange Isn't Worth Killing a Free Press: Reason Roundup

Plus: Christians and bureaucrats versus Tarot in Virginia, and Democratic candidates on restoring voting rights to prisoners

|

Julian Assange is exactly the kind of person that prompts bad policy to be made. A polarizing figure with the wrong politics for America's media establishment and a history of lurid allegations against him, Assange's fate is easy for many to dismiss as what the WikiLeaks founder deserves.

When Assange, who had been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, was arrested by British police Thursday, "few, if any, politicians defended Assange or suggested that it might be wrong to prosecute him," Joe Setyon pointed out yesterday. Even libertarian-leaning folks like Sen. Rand Paul (R–Ky.) and Rep. Justin Amash (R–Mich.) have thus far been mum.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D–Hawaii) is pretty much the only elected politician to stick up for Assange's rights. She told CNN yesterday that Assange had successfully "informed the American people about actions that were taking place that they should be aware of" and that his prosecution by U.S. law enforcement is "some form of retaliation."

For President Donald Trump's part, he simply claimed not to know anything about WikiLeaks at all, despite heaping praise on it in the past.

Twitter

Let's put aside Assange for a moment—because when laws are written or precedents set based only on whether Bad People are bad, we all lose. We let powerful figures convince us that giving that Bad Person what they deserve is what matters most, consequences be damned. And then we end up creating all sorts of new injustices to "correct" for a perceived past one.

What the government and its cheerleaders are really asking here is for us to suspend fundamental principles and practices underlying free speech and a free press.

It is not uncommon for confidential sources in government, business, and other powerful institutions to leak information to journalists and publishers. This is how we've found out about some of the biggest political scandals of the past 100 years. But now the U.S. Department of Justice is suggesting that these basic news-gathering and reporting functions are criminal.

And officials are relying on hurt feelings about Russia to distract people from what's really going on.

The American charges that Assange faces relate to WikiLeaks' publication of documents on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, using files leaked by Chelsea Manning. The feds also accuse Assange of "conspiring" with Manning to uncover more classified information along these lines. The case does not have anything to do with any alleged Assange ties to Russia, or WikiLeaks' publication of the Democratic National Committee's emails, or the 2016 election at all.

"The Assange indictment is weaker than you might expect," tweeted the constitutional lawyer and former federal prosecutor Ken "Popehat" White yesterday. "It charges that Assange and Manning conspired to access government computers (to hack, in the vernacular). BUT it doesn't say they succeeded."

At The Washington Post, Margaret Sullivan suggests that the situation hinges on whether Assange crossed "a crucial line by allegedly encouraging the password hack" instead of just passively receiving the information. I don't think that's quite such a clear demarcation. Suppose a source says she has information on huge government abuses and could get proof of more if she can guess one password. Should simply saying "Sure, go for it" count as a crime? How could it be that this is beyond the pale but otherwise encouraging a source to turn over classified information is not?

First Amendment lawyer Barry Pollack tells Sullivan that the indictment against Assange was narrow and didn't criminalize the mere receiving and publishing of classified information. But the line there is a little too close for comfort for me, and many others.

"Reminder, *everything a reporter does* to facilitate a source anonymously sending that reporter classified info is 'helping them commit a crime,'" tweets Cato policy analyst Julian Sanchez. "That's not a useful way to talk about what distinguishes the Assange case."

The indictment may not directly call certain journalist practices criminal, but it does include them—things like using encrypted communications and attempting to protect a source's identity—as among the elements that suggest Assange is guilty of conspiracy

The indictment "poses grave threats to press freedoms, not only in the U.S. but around the world," write Glenn Greenwald and Micah Lee at The Intercept:

The first crucial fact about the indictment is that its key allegation—that Assange did not merely receive classified documents from Chelsea Manning but tried to help her crack a password in order to cover her tracks—is not new. It was long known by the Obama DOJ and was explicitly part of Manning's trial, yet the Obama DOJ—not exactly renowned for being stalwart guardians of press freedoms—concluded it could not and should not prosecute Assange because indicting him would pose serious threats to press freedom. In sum, today's indictment contains no new evidence or facts about Assange's actions; all of it has been known for years.

The other key fact being widely misreported is that the indictment accuses Assange of trying to help Manning obtain access to document databases to which she had no valid access: i.e., hacking rather than journalism. But the indictment alleges no such thing. Rather, it simply accuses Assange of trying to help Manning log into the Defense Department's computers using a different user name so that she could maintain her anonymity while downloading documents in the public interest and then furnish them to WikiLeaks to publish.

The Assange prosecution "would be unprecedented and unconstitutional and would open the door to criminal investigations of other news organizations," the ACLU's Ben Wizner tells Sullivan.

QUICK HITS

  • More attempts to erode press freedom in the U.S.:

NEXT: What If Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Had Been a Maoist Revolutionary Epic?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D?Hawaii) is pretty much the only elected politician to stick up for Assange’s rights.

    EXACTLY WHICH SIDE IS SHE ON?

    1. I think she’s still on this side of the date line.

      1. Is BUCS pointing to the threshold of his door? Bold, dude, and I wish you luck.

    2. Hello.

      Just go out and enjoy the day.

    3. Ron Paul did a 20 min Liberty Report defending Assange. He also called Chelsea Manning courageous for going back to jail rather than testifying.

      1. Thank you! Should have known Ron Paul would come out on this. Downsize DC has as well, calling for pardon for Assange. (Personally, I’d favor amnesty for both Assange and Snowden, since whistle-blowing should not be a crime in a free country) You can sign a petition for Assange’s pardon on the Downsize DC website that they will send to your congress-persons and President Trump, just check Jim Babka’s blog for the link.

  2. For President Donald Trump’s part, he simply claimed not to know anything about WikiLeaks at all, despite heaping praise on it in the past.

    Not necessarily contradictory on the president’s part.

  3. Former FBI Director James Comey says he “never thought of” electronic surveillance as “spying.”

    There’s a carve-out in the Bill of Rights that allows for his lack of imagination?

    1. At least the guy isn’t a mendacious liar or anything like that.

      1. That’s the worst kind of liar!

        1. Would that make him a liar liar?

      2. Wait! I thought it was the Russians. Now its the Mendacians?

  4. Indiana’s Pete Buttigieg said he supports restoring voting rights for felons once released from prison but not while they are incarcerated.

    We’re just haggling over price now.

    1. hehehe

  5. From ‘no crisis’ to ‘breaking point’: Mainstream media outlets change their tune on border crisis amid illegal immigration surge
    This is a follow-up to another story in the Times from last month titled “Border at ‘Breaking Point’ as More Than 76,000 Unauthorized Migrants Cross in a Month” that cited the data that over 76,000 migrants crossed the border without authorization in February, the 11-year-high that put a strain on the border patrol resources.

    Yet the report still accused Trump of using the data to justify the implementation of strict immigration controls, including building the border wall.

    The Post caught up with the Times’ first report, admitting the crisis at the border only about three weeks later, printing an article titled “U.S. has hit ‘breaking point’ at border amid immigration surge, Customs and Border Protection chief says.”

    1. WaPo: White House proposed releasing immigrant detainees in sanctuary cities, targeting political foes
      The White House believed it could punish Democrats ? including Pelosi ? by busing ICE detainees into their districts before their release, according to two DHS whistleblowers who independently reported the busing plan to Congress. One of the whistleblowers spoke with The Washington Post, and several DHS officials confirmed the accounts. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

      1. I’d have no problem with that.

        I also think Trump would be wise to get on board with the reparations train and insure that only people responsible for slavery would have to pay.

        Those people would be Democrats.

        1. “Those people would be Democrats.”

          Yes, but their living offspring would be Republicans. Except for the one’s from their raped slaves. Those would now be Democrats. This could get very confusing.

          1. I don’t think guilt by association with a political party’s long dead members is much better than guilt by association with long dead ancestors.

            1. The poor German guy in my office fully agrees with you. “eeeenuuufff about ze Naziiiiis”

            2. More fair than any policy the Democrats will come up with.

              I don’t get how “Our party enslaved you. Our party ALONE. Now, we are going to steal money to make us feel better for enslaving you. From people who didn’t enslave you. Not that you were enslaved. Nor were your parents. Nor grandparents.” is more fair than the party that was for slavery and left the USA over it paying for their sins.

              1. Is that the standard we judge things by now?

                I just think that’s a weird way to look at parties. Parties are the collection of people that make them up now. There are plenty of reasons to hate contemporary Democrats without trying to tie them to slavery. Tieing them to segregation is probably more reasonable, as some of those guys are at least still alive.

                1. Given that Joe Biden and Dems for years have accused the GOP of trying to enslave black people, my empathy is, admittedly, very low.

          2. Yes, but their living offspring would be Republicans.

            Assumption not supported by acts. Taxing ALL Democrat voters for slavery is more fair than taxing everybody, including non-Democrats who opposed slavery and lost plenty of lives to end the practice here.

            Besides, Democrats support this. They’d likely be thrilled to do it.

        2. I’m pretty sure those democrats are all long dead.

          1. Yet the mindset remains

        3. And the blacks who actually captured and enslaved people, as opposed to “merely” buying and selling already enslaved people? I cannot find evidence that the slavers actually left their ships and raided villages to get slaves. Lots of evidence that they bought unruly sons, excess daughters, and prisoners of war from black tribes.
          How about the Egyptians who enslaved the Israelites for 400 years? What is their bill?

          1. Come on, you know them darkies can not be held accountable for their actions.

      2. Isn’t that the whole point of being a sanctuary city?

        1. Trump is not “punishing” sanctuary cities and Democrats by sending them these hard-working, honest, freedom-loving asylum seekers. That evil bastard Trump is punishing these hard-working, honest, freedom-loving asylum seekers by sending them to shithole Democrat-run enclaves that loathe hard work and honesty and freedom.

          1. And really, it’s a brilliant plan. You’ve got all these people trying to make it to America because they’ve heard stories about what a great place it is – and you send them to San Francisco? In a week they’ll all be writing letters back home: “Turn around! Go back! It’s a lie! America is full of crazy drug addicts who shit in the middle of the street and everybody else is so crazy they think that’s normal! They pay 3 years salary to live in a closet for a month here because they think it’s so great! America is a worse shithole than a Honduran latrine pit!”

            1. I think that “The Streets are Paved with Gold” sheen has worn off at this point. These people probably know what they’re getting into. But compared to losing their homes, or watching their children killed or join gangs, America offers better long term possibilities.

      3. As a proponent of open borders, I would view it as the utmost hypocrisy if I ran a sanctuary city and took umbrage at immigrants being set free in that city.

    2. NY Dems block bill expanding college tuition for Gold Star families after approving $27M in tuition aid for illegal immigrants: report
      New York Assembly Democrats on Tuesday blocked a bill that proposed expanding college tuition aid for children of deceased and disabled military veterans after– having a week earlier– approved a state budget that set aside $27 million in college tuition aid for illegal immigrants.

      1. We’re not supposed to notice that the sanctuary folks are now providing PERKS for illegals. I fail to see how this does not violate the law. I thought rewarding people for violating the law was illegal.

        1. Well, it was illegal. Now it is called campaign contributions.

  6. Efforts to “rescue” sex workers in Swansea Wales will now include tough enforcement action and prosecution for sex workers who refuse support.

    You’re going to get that help, good and hard.

  7. Former FBI Director James Comey says he “never thought of” electronic surveillance as “spying.”

    Never forget: Firing this imbecile, to some, was an IMPEACHABLE offense.

    1. It explains the position that there was no spying in Trump’s campaign.

  8. “Punishing Assange Isn’t Worth Killing a Free Press: Reason Roundup.”

    He should be thanked, not punished.

    1. He will commit suicide in his cell by multiple shots to the back of the head while handcuffed.

    1. LIBERAL BLOGGER MATT YGLESIAS ADVOCATES LYING ON TWITTER
      “Fighting dishonesty with dishonesty is sometimes the right thing for advocates to do, yes,” said Yglesias.

      1. So it’s OK then if I post that Yglesias does you-know-what to you-know-whats?

    2. I’m pretty sure this is because of the enormous amount of people who the progressives targeted who DON’T HAVE JOBS. Any fool who got a paycheck last year, and had rudimentary skill at math, understood that they got more money than the reduced income tax return at the end of the year.

      Oh, I said rudimentary math skill. That’s, like, 17% of public-school educated adults, these days?

    3. A lot of people don’t know what a tax refund is.

      Two years ago I had to pay a little over $1,000 to the feds. Last year I received a $75 refund. I paid more taxes last year than I did two years ago.

      1. Want to see real tax reform? Take away W-2s and make everyone withhold their own money and pay estimated taxes throughout the year. The shit storm that would create would reform taxes pretty quickly.

        1. Agreed.

          1. Sales tax, too.

      2. What did you do?

        With the 75 smackaroos.

        1. Ha!!

          I just kept it in the bank. That’s how you can tell you’re getting old. The younger me would have said it was spent on weed.

    4. “Nobody likes to give themselves credit for this kind of messaging success, but progressive groups did a really good job of convincing people that Trump raised their taxes when the facts say a clear majority got a tax cut.”

      Just add it to the pile of fake news from the legacy media.

  9. “What the government and its cheerleaders are really asking here is for us to suspend fundamental principles and practices underlying free speech and a free press.”

    What charges a being brought against Assange?

    “The single-count federal indictment charges that he conspired with then-Army intelligence analyst Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning to commit computer intrusion. The indictment says he offered to help Ms. Manning crack a password stored on Defense Department computers connected to a “U.S. government network used for classified documents and communications.”

    —-Wall Street Journal

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/ac…..555023206?

    If that’s accurate, then Assange isn’t being charged with publishing state secrets. He’s being charged with conspiring to break into Defense Department computers.

    If Assange is convicted of that, it won’t do anything to press freedom. No, press freedom doesn’t give journalists the right to break into government computers and steal things. If you can’t tell the difference between press freedom and theft, then how can you expect to teach other people about press freedom?

    Publishing stolen documents may be all about press freedom. Stealing documents is another matter.

    1. This is exactly right, and it flips around the argument. People like Reason contributors should not harm Freedom of the Press by conflating real speech with hacking and cyber theft.

      That said, this is an allegation made by the government, which was embarrassed by these revelations. It will likely not be cut and dry. Did Assange *really* help this Manning crack a password? Or did he just know about this before hand? Or did he just show Manning to publicly available info on password cracking? Or did he get a list of encrypted information that he then helped decrypt?

      Those seem to me to be a sliding scale. If he was really providing help during the theft, that is one thing. If he was delivered some encrypted data that was already stolen, and helped decrypt it, that is yet another thing.

  10. OK, what’s he got on the city council members?

    “Vallejo’s police chief will get paid twice when he retires”
    […]
    “The city council’s decision to re-appoint the already-retiring police chief will allow Bidou to “double dip” and receive both his regular base pay ($125.77/hr) and retirement benefits for that time period.
    The move, known as “double dipping,” is controversial but it is neither uncommon or illegal. Law enforcement and city officials in Cleveland, OH are currently under fire for similar issues. ”
    http://www.ktvu.com/news/2-inv…..he-retires

    1. *Normally* pensions are supposed to be capped based on a percentage of best years earnings.

      So if you earned an average of 85k the government says you’re entitled to 50% of that or a 42.5k pension – if you’re lucky.

      Usually it’s less I reckon.

      Whatever, the point is it’s not supposed to match your salary. And it’s not supposed to go above it.

      This is where you see how corruption plays out. How taxpayers tolerate this is beyond comprehension.

      1. Vallejo declared bankruptcy say 10 years ago, over pension costs.
        They sure fixed THAT:

        “Vallejo no longer bankrupt but budget gap grows”
        […]
        “Vallejo was the first of three cities that did not cut their largest debt, pensions, while in bankruptcy. Now eight years after emerging from bankruptcy, the old port city has a new forecast showing its continuing budget problem is bigger than expected.”
        http://calpensions.com/2019/01…..gap-grows/

    2. $125.77/hr

      Underpaid public servant.

    1. Work that hustle, lady.

    2. Maya Angelou was racist? I mean if you want to go full retard, you have to go all the way.

      1. That thread was a worthy attempt at it, for sure.

    3. Yeah, the “classics” do suck and forcing kids to read them is bullshit.

    4. We act as if the written word is to be worshipped and we discount oral traditions of indigenous folk and many other people of color. Book knowledge is prioritized and reading is a LEISURE activity.

      You know, except for the thousands of professional anthropologists and ethnographers who spend their lives studying that sort of thing.
      The thing about oral traditions is that unless someone transforms them to the written word, it’s necessarily difficult for many people to give them any recognition.
      I wonder if she’s talked to many “indigenous folk” to see if they actually prefer to stay illiterate and living the way their people have lived forever, or if they’d like to reap more of the benefits of civilization?

      1. “I wonder if she’s talked to many “indigenous folk” to see if they actually prefer to stay illiterate and living the way their people have lived forever, or if they’d like to reap more of the benefits of civilization?”

        When the revealed preferences are visible, she’ll claim they’re being co-opted by KKKorpurashuns!

  11. Herman ‘Flava’ Cain (Pizza boss) likely done as Con Man Fed pick:

    Report: Herman Cain likely to withdraw from consideration for the Federal Reserve
    Four Republicans now oppose his candidacy ? and that’s enough to kill it.

    Too lazy to link, Peanuts.

    1. God Father’s taco pizza is actually pretty good.

    2. Lose some weight you disgusting, Ron Jeremy – lookin’ morbidly obese sack of shit.

      1. He looks like he probably Scalia and Rich imo

    3. Got any Stormy Daniels updates?

      #MoneyshotIsTheNewPalinsButtplug

      1. No. It is always the same 10-20 Trump-loving conservatives that post here.

        Stormy is just another Mattis, Tillerson, Nielson, Cohn etc that got squashed by the Reality Show Con Man.

        1. Well that just means Clinton-voting left-libertarians like us need to be more vocal.

          On that note, any bad economic news today? Did Sam’s Club announce any more store closings?

          #DrumpfRecession

        2. Why don’t you defend pedophilia some more while you’re at it?

          If I ever bump into you in person I just might put you out of your “sad clown” misery, you sick miserable fat fuck.

          1. I just might put you out of your “sad clown” misery

            Oooooohhhhh, scary

          2. Mikey M still with that Conspiracy Theory bullshit while insulting the Reason staff and hating on libertarians in general. As well as threatening others. Stay the redneck piece of shit you have always been Mikey.

            1. The good news for you is that he thinks you’re Dave Weigel, so you’re safe.

              1. If you consider getting sucked off in the middle of the night safe.

              2. Lol

            2. Seriously, you should just surrender to those suicidal impulses you’ve been struggling with most of your life. You have them because deep down inside you know what a worthless, sick motherfucker you are.

              1. deep down inside you know what a worthless, sick motherfucker you are.

                Oh, Mikey…

                1. Just let him ticker himself out. It’s okay.

                2. Hey everyone the mean girls are doing their sockpuppet/circlejerk thing again!

      2. “”Got any Stormy Daniels updates?””

        Are you asking if she’s going to be dancing on a pole anytime soon at a venue near you?

      3. I hear her lawyer has other, somewhat more pressing, things on his mind these days

    4. “Too lazy to link, Peanuts.”

      Too stupid and dishonest to post, turd.
      I was hoping you’d died.

  12. “It charges that Assange and Manning conspired to access government computers (to hack, in the vernacular). BUT it doesn’t say they succeeded.”
    I am presently incarcerated, imprisoned for a crime I did not even commit. “Attempted murder,” now honestly, did they ever give anyone a Nobel prize for “attempted chemistry?”

    1. No, but you can get a grant for attempted climate science.

    2. “” now honestly, did they ever give anyone a Nobel prize for “attempted chemistry?”””

      Well they did give one to Obama for attempted peace before he bombed countries.

  13. Sex-trafficking survivors “should not have to ‘prove rehabilitation’ to access remedies that let them clear charges from their records,” argues Decrim NY.

    Prosecutors aren’t going to give up convictions without that pound of flesh.

  14. “What the hell, Georgia? “the Ethics in Journalism Act… would authorize a board to create new ethical standards that govern journalists’ work”

    worst part is it will consist totally of Soviet Russia judges from the 80’s olympics

    1. Well, well; “common sense” regulation of the first amendment catches up with “common sense” infringement of the second amendment.
      How can this be an issue? It has been clearly established, up to the supreme court, that the constitution does not really mean what is written down.
      You want to pretend to be a journalists, take the classes, pay for the background check, and admit that the local sheriff can deny your so-called rights on a whim. IF you get your permit, just be sure to follow all the rules, and realize that a permit to blog in Georgia is NOT valid in any other state.

      Welcome to the revolution

      1. Don’t forget the 1500-character limit on the comments – as it is now they just block you from posting, after this law passes and they catch you with a high-capacity comment your ass is going to the slammer.

      2. there’s no such thing as “violent rhetoric” when journalists use it, only the NRA and gun nuts use words with the thing that goes up

        1. “…the thing that goes up”

          If you’re lucky.

  15. “That Assange did not merely receive classified documents from Chelsea Manning but tried to help her crack a password in order to cover her tracks?is not new. It was long known by the Obama DOJ and was explicitly part of Manning’s trial, yet the Obama DOJ?not exactly renowned for being stalwart guardians of press freedoms?concluded it could not and should not prosecute Assange because indicting him would pose serious threats to press freedom.

    —-Glenn Greenwald and Micah Lee

    Because the Obama administration thought something isn’t a good reason to believe anything.

    “[The indictment] simply accuses Assange of trying to help Manning log into the Defense Department’s computers using a different user name so that she could maintain her anonymity while downloading documents in the public interest and then furnish them to WikiLeaks to publish.”

    —-Glenn Greenwald and Micah Lee

    Looks like conspiracy to me. If you help someone commit a crime and avoid detection, then doesn’t that make you an accessory?

    Whether that constitutes conspiracy is a for a jury to decide. Arguing that Assange shouldn’t be convicted by the jury and arguing that he shouldn’t be indicted by the government are two different arguments that shouldn’t necessarily be conflated.

    1. Ken, you are worshipper of the State. A suggestion is not helping someone commit a crime.

      1. How do you know it was merely a suggestion?

        The government is claiming he assisted and they claim to have chat logs to prove it.

        Of course it’s not uncommon for the government to call a mole hill a mountain.

      2. I don’t see anyone but you claiming that all Assange did was make a suggestion.

        And just because I think what Assange did may well have been illegal doesn’t mean I don’t support him doing it.

        Sometimes breaking the law is the right thing to do. Maybe that’s beyond you. Maybe you’re one of these people who thinks that if MLK breaks the law on a matter of principle as a form of protest, then your job is to pretend that MLK never broke the law?

        My mind is big enough to both approve of what Assange did and recognize if it was illegal. If yours isn’t, then that’s your problem.

      3. Ken is right.

        Assange did the right thing in opposition to a law he felt was unjust. And he is suffering the consequences, which is what one should do to demonstrate how unjust the law is.

        I would like Trump to pardon him…but it’s not like he didn’t do what he is accused of.

    2. How do we know that the Obama administration chose not to indict Assange. They certainly pursued him and gave every indication that they were going to seek extradition as he scuttled into his hidey-hole at the embassy. And Assange was definitely of the opinion that the Obama administration had every intention of executing him.

      1. “The Obama DOJ?not exactly renowned for being stalwart guardians of press freedoms?concluded it could not and should not prosecute Assange because indicting him would pose serious threats to press freedom.”

        Yeah, I would insist on a citation from Greenwald and company for that–were it not a red herring.

        It doesn’t matter what the Obama administration did or why. There is nothing rational to conclude from that–even if it is true. Don’t feed into the importance of red herrings. Just call them out as red herrings and be done with it.

  16. The Alabama Human Life Protection Act would be a disaster for women’s rights. In outlawing abortion it would set back women’s freedom by decades. It’s time for pro-choice activists to fight back, says @Ella_M_Whelan

    Oh come on.

    1. And to think that there was a recent post on the “outrage” of pregnant female prisoners being shackled during the delivery process – if this law passes, all pregnant women will be required to be shackled throughout their pregnancy. Biden didn’t know the half of it when he told a black audience that the GOP was going to put them back in chains, the GOP intends to put everybody in chains. Because that’s just how Nazis roll, not because you’re a hysterical demented conspiracy theorist trafficking in outrage and fear mongering who seriously believes Republicans are literally Nazis.

  17. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-V.t.) last week became the first presidential candidate to call for allowing people convicted of crimes to vote while behind bars, the next front in the battle for voting rights.

    This is a terrific idea.

    Of course conservatives will pounce and say “You only want prisoners voting because you know they’ll usually vote Democrat.” Actually, that’s not the case. It’s my belief in the power of redemption that motivates me to support criminals ? including even murderers and rapists ? having the right to vote.

    #LibertariansForPrisonVoting

    1. “Actually, that’s not the case.”

      it’s just icing on the cake

    2. Just being free to vote isn’t true equality. We won’t see real justice until those behind bars can sit on juries–just like everybody else.

    3. What about deadnamers and misgenderers?

    4. What about those convicted of building firearms for their own use in states where that is banned?

    5. I don’t have a problem with imprisoned people voting because they are criminals. I don’t see why convicts shouldn’t have some very tiny say in who gets elected to make the laws that put them behind bars.
      The problem is that they are not free and as such are easily bribed or coerced. I’d also guess that most convicts are pretty apolitical.

  18. Boy, people are all over the “Trump switched sides on Wikileaks” meme. In a world filled with stupid, politically motivated passions, this is near the top of the tower of stupid.

    Trump “likes” things that help Trump. That is all. So “I love Wikileaks” means “I hear that Wikileaks embarrassed my opponent. They are great!” Not “I have taken a principled stand on the notion of open access to information and the power of anonymous leaks to protect the freedom of all people!” Pretending otherwise is just stupid.

    Everyone (well, all who oppose Trump anyway) runs around saying “Trump doesn’t know anything! He is an idiot!” But then when he says “I don’t know anything about Wikileaks” you pretend like this is some great about-face and a disingenuous flip-flop? Come on, do you really think Trump ever knew anything about Wikileaks? Get real! Absent this discussion you all would have claimed that Trump doesn’t know anything about any topic that he comments on.

    1. This is what a sane person would think.

    2. “Liar-In-Chief” would also work.

      1. No, it would not work. That is quite the opposite of my point, in fact. In order to lie, you have to have understanding. That’s simply not the case with Trump (at least on these matters). Trump is unequivocally a “tit-for-tat” automaton. That’s where all the “This is the finest” praise comes from. If you praise him, he praises you. He’s like one of those little drinking bird things – there doesn’t seem to be any conscious thought behind it – it is just input-output.

        Look at his “feud” with Penn Gillette. Penn says nice things about Trump. Trump says Penn and Teller is a great show! Love it!

        Penn says something mildly critical of Trump (when asked, he says he doesn’t agree with Trump and would not vote for him) and Trump goes full scorched earth: Penn has the worst show in Vegas…. in fact they would have failed if I hadn’t helped them out with “The Apprentice”.

        Tit. Tat.

        That’s all it is.

        Wikileaks helps me. “I love Wikileaks.” Wikileaks not helping me… “who?”

        Simple.

        Wikileaks starts blasting Trump, he’ll suddenly know all about them and how terrible they are.

        In this he is extremely predictable.

        1. ^ this 100%. It’s like when I read the other day about Pamela Anderson ripping Trump for Assange’s arrest – – that’s not how any of this works Pammy. You probably shouldn’t criticize the person who can free your buddy. Your first move should be to say nice things and the befriend a Kardashian, and then you can maneuver for a pardon.

      2. “”Liar-In-Chief” would also work.”

        He termed-out, turd.

      3. “””Liar-In-Chief” would also work.”‘

        That’s been a good term for the president for as long as I can remember. What I find stupid is how people think the president lying is a new thing. They treat it as if Trump pioneered it.

        1. Don’t be such a fucking idiot.

          Even Bush didn’t casually lie about every small thing he could think of. He just lied about WMD in Iraq and cheney might have put him up to that.

          1. You would be an idiot if you think “every small thing” is the criteria.

          2. You lie about paying your bet, getting banned, and being a sock for screech.

          3. “Even Bush didn’t casually lie about every small thing he could think of. He just lied about WMD in Iraq and cheney might have put him up to that.”

            You’re right; it was Obo who did that.

          4. Obama lied about girls he dated in his books.

            How lame is that?

    3. There are a lot of people out there who don’t seem to know what they think or why until Trump says or does something. That’s what TDS is all about.

      1. I am much more critical of the progressives who were all-in with Greenwald on Assange and Wikileaks when the Bush administration was getting their ox gored, but suddenly switched to “he needs to be executed as a traitor and terrorist” the second it was their leadership getting the wikileaks treatment. They had time to assimilate the purpose and utility of Wikileaks, and when the rubber met the road they went all-in with “Team” over principle – despite the fact that Wikileaks revealed to them that their sainted Bernie was being screwed by their party.

        You’d think they would be sharp enough to be grateful, rather than spiteful. But even without that bit of help, I have more scorn for those who are knowingly and nakedly partisan and toss their values overboard for a fleeting bit of political expedience.

    4. Well, and only nitpicking here because I think the whole thing is overblown as well, just in your recap it would appear Trump knows at least one thing about Wikileaks.

      1. That is the kind of pedantry that makes conversation impossible.

        It is a version of the “not all!” comeback.

        “Women have less upper body strength…”

        Not All Women!!

        Yes… right… not all women… but on average men generally have…

        Not All Men!!

        Yes… not all… but on average, men generally have…

        You just can’t have a discussion about anything like that.

        “I don’t know anything about David Duke.”

        But you definitely head of him before! We have you on tape!!

        “fine. I have generally heard the name at some time in the distant past and when prompted I can generally recall that he was in this general category. But I don’t know anything about him as of today, what he stands for or why he does or doesn’t believe anything.”

        It is stupid. Nobody who is actually trying to have a conversation acts that way. It is like arguing with a middle-school child who wants to get her way: “But you never said I couldn’t do that!”

    5. Yeah, his two statements aren’t really contradictory if you’ve paid any attention to how Trump talks (or twits) about things.

  19. I Was the Male Star in a ‘Dancing Bear’ Porn
    The job was supposed to be a quick $150 for being an extra, simply “to watch people fuck for the day.” It was a “Dancing Bear” scene, which often features male talent dressed in animal costumes stripping at a staged bachelorette party and having sex with the female “guests.”

    But when Dan arrived on set, he ended up doing a whole lot more.

    Of course TreasoNN isn’t covering this. Of course.

    1. *stops reading after realizing it’s not a literal dancing bear*

        1. stop pretending you aren’t going to Google that later to see if it’s a thing

          1. “What is it with the animals with the bikes? I took my daughter to the circus. She said: “Daddy, how do they teach a bear how to ride a bike?” I said: It’s easy, they nail his feet to the pedals and they beat the shit out of him. He’s not riding, he’s running. He just happens to be attached to the bike.”

            1. You’re not even funny when you steal funny material.

        2. It isn’t “that kind” of dancing bear either.

          1. Fun fact: a girl I went to college with got drunk and broke into some guys backyard zoo, and a bear tore her arm off.

  20. Weekend snow expected from the Texas Panhandle to the Great Lakes: after record-breaking winter storm Wesley exits, another storm system will bring more snow this weekend.

    “Global warming”. Ha-haaaaa, ROFLMAO.

    1. It’s. Called. Climate. Change. Now.

      1. It is called bullshit; always was, is now, always will be.
        Haven’t found a single ‘model’ that was correct about the events 10 years out from the model’s publication date.
        Found lot’s that were wrong, though.

  21. Trump claims Ivanka has ‘created millions of jobs’ as his unpaid advisor and would have been ‘great’ running the World Bank or representing the nation at the UN but held back only because ‘they’d say nepotism’
    Trump sometimes calls her ‘Baby’ in official meetings
    ‘She went into the whole helping-people-with-jobs, and I wasn’t sure that was going to be the best use of her time, but I didn’t know how successful she’d be,’ Trump said, highlighting his daughter’s efforts securing corporate pledges to provide job training.

    ‘She’s created millions of jobs, and I had no idea she’d be that successful,’ Trump said, crediting his daughter for a portion of the job gains during a continued economic expansion during his term.

    1. ‘She’s created millions of jobs,’

      ‘and *saved* literally billions!’

      1. Grade-A snark!

        The best political humor is the kind that backhands both sides in one swipe….

        1. I loved Daily Show mocking her…as if Michelle Obama ever held a real job in her life.

          1. What constitutes a real job in your opinion?

            1. Co-piloting the Millenium Falcon.

            2. A job a hospital didn’t invent because her husband was a Senator and that they didn’t fail to find a replacement for her in when he moved to the Presidency, opting to just end the position entirely.

    1. Well said.

  22. So, if women are not allowed to kill their children they have no freedom? Ah, the great scaremongering rhetoric of the Pro-abortion faction.

    1. The eternal conflict; where is the choice for an aborted woman?

      1. The choice to not let some unprotected fella leave it in is hers.

      2. always love that question.

  23. Naive people get upset about the wrong things.

    “Most of the time, when you talk to an Amazon Echo device, only Amazon’s voice-recognition software is listening. But sometimes, Bloomberg reports, a copy of the audio is sent to a human reviewer at one of several Amazon offices around the world. The human listens to the audio clip, transcribes it, and adds annotations to help Amazon’s algorithms get better.”

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-po…..exa-audio/

    It seems that people are upset to learn that what you say to your Amazon device is sometimes listened to by real people.

    How naive do you have to be to think that Amazon isn’t collecting data about you based on what you say to your device? Amazon’s advertising platform is rivaling Google’s these days. Of course, they’re listening to the things you say to the device and using that information to build a detailed digital profile of you–so they can sell it to advertisers.

    It’s okay if computer algorithms track what you say to build a database on you to make it easier to manipulate your choices in the future. You just don’t want any actual people listening to what you say?!

    Some people really do put listening devices in their homes (actually pay for the privilege), and then get upset about it intruding on their privacy!? There’s no substitute for using your own critical thinking bone.

    1. It does amaze. I now have a dash cam in my truck that records voice as well, silly as it may sound I now sensor what i say while alone in my truck because. If I cuss at someone who maybe cuts me off and then I wreck it can be used as evidence of road rage on my part. So now I turn up the radio but I hear that can be classified as a distraction as well. Next camera will not have voice recording.

    2. I think a lot of people have a reasonable expectation the device does not transmit what it is hearing to people at Amazon who are recording it. Perhaps this is foolish, but I don’t think Amazon exactly emphasizes that capability.

    3. Ken, you’re a smart guy, but you vastly overestimate the intelligence, curiosity, and knowledge of the “average” person.

    4. No shit. My soon-to-be ex wife constantly wanted an Alexa or shit. I’m thinking “I’m not going to PAY for the privilege for them to suck up even MORE of my data.”.

      Don’t be idiots, people. You give them enough personal data.

    5. Is the listening designed to serve you, the owner of the device, or others, those who own the software? Originally, smart homes and other such ideas were conceived of as being at the service of and under the control of the home owners. This is no longer the case.

    6. While it may be that Amazon is building a profile of you based on what is heard in your home[1], that is not what this article is about.

      What is happening is that someone activates the echo (“Alexa…”) and says something to it (“How many royal fizbins did Kirk get in his entire career”). Through various means, the Alexa service suspects that it isn’t understanding the question. For example, the service just knows that it doesn’t understand what “fizbin” is. Or the user tries multiple times asking the same question in different ways.

      Once the service has identified these use cases, it forwards the interaction to teams who try to identify what went wrong, and train Alexa to be better. This isn’t profiling you. It is common industry practice. When you go to a help site and mark “No, this article wasn’t helpful to me” or when you leave a site without purchasing what is in your shopping cart- these interactions are reviewed, not to build a profile on you, but to identify where the interaction may be improved to meet your (and the company’s) needs.

      [1]: People highly overrate how much information companies care about for commercial transactions. When I briefly worked in the catalog industry I was surprised by how little catalogs cared about your hobbies, interests, demographics, etc. Those were sometimes interesting, but vastly inferior to knowing what you bought. People talk about shit all the time, but it is what they spend money on that trumps all that information.

      1. “”When I briefly worked in the catalog industry I was surprised by how little catalogs cared about your hobbies, interests, demographics, etc.””

        When was that?

        It’s no secret that these days the more information they get the better they can target adds to people who may want to see them including your hobbies, interests, demographics, ect.

  24. Assange should not be persecuted for political reasons. That’s completely wrong.

    On the personal level, he sounds like a shitty house guest. One wonders how he’d be fairing if he offered to wash the dishes more often and asked about the embassy staffs’ family by name.

  25. Silicon Valley, once a bastion of libertarianism, sees a budding socialist movement

    a small but visible movement for white-collar software engineers unionizing has been gaining steam in the Valley over the past few years ? suggesting that the people who make up the tech industry, once a bastion of libertarianism, are starting to understand the often subtle ways that their employers exploit them. This manifests itself both in the movement to organize workers as well as in the politics of the tech workers themselves, many of whom align themselves with socialist groups like the Democratic Socialists of America.

    How fun!

    1. Yep. The ultimate in exploitation; we will way overpay you because there is some kind of fantasy that coding is hard to do, and hard to learn. Please take this six or seven figure salary for doing clerical work.
      Damn right they need unions.

      1. If you code like it is clerical work, you are doing it wrong.

      2. Coding well is VERY hard to do. Even in this environment where coders are rare and overpaid good ones are hard to find. It’s true.

        1. “Coding well is VERY hard to do.”

          That certainly explains why it’s so rarely done.

    2. There’s no movement toward unionization here in Silicon Valley. This must be a very small group they are reporting on.

      1. Everyone in Silicon Valley is trying unionize because they are all socialist San Francisco libtard lefties, Mike.

    3. When was Silicon Valley ever a bastion of libertarianism? Absolutely, it has long been a place where people value the exchange of goods and services. Certainly, it has long placed value on capitalism. But an affinity towards capitalism is not the same as libertarianism.

      I went through that article to see where they got this notion from. I shit you not, they pulled quotes from an influential financier there who felt the future was one where technology takes care of most peoples’ needs and we have a financial safety net (welfare) for the most unfortunate. Mind you, most of these quotes were presented, but the “proof” this is libertarianism came by basically making silly summaries of the person’s statements.

      Salon is crazy. If you think we need to roll back some regulations, you are libertarian. If you think that capitalism is good, you are a libertarian. If you object to unions, you are libertarian. Ugh.

  26. The Democrats reject reality for ideological purity. There are compelling reasons due to the physiological differences between men and women to segregate sports based on biological sex. There is no rational reason to segregate sports based on gender identity.

    “Many states have sexual orientation and gender identity nondiscrimination laws, and all of them still have women’s sports. Arguments about transgender athletes participating in sports in accordance with their gender identity having competitive advantages have not been borne out,” Nadler said in his opening statement.

    In Connecticut, one of the states to which Nadler was referring, two male runners have dominated girls’ high school track. A female competitor called the male runners’ advantage “demoralizing.”

    Julia Beck, the head of a self-described radical feminist organization, testified against the bill.
    The Democrats’ bill would lead to a male invasion of female spaces, including on the athletic field, Beck said in her April 2 testimony. “Men will dominate female sports,” she warned.”

    1. I suppose they are hanging their hat on the notion that transgender is rare, and the male-to-female transgender person who is also a good athlete and wants to compete against women in competitive leagues instead of simply recreational sport is orders of magnitude more rare.

      But your point stands, we already have examples, and we don’t even officially do the “Identify as a woman is the same thing as a woman, even in the case of sports” thing across most of society as of yet.

      1. future generations will look back on this movement with absolute amazement.

      2. Male to female trans people don’t have to be good athletes to break women’s world records.

        This is the crux of the matter.

        1. And to assume men won’t do that for things like college scholarships is batshit insane. Hell, a decent high school boys team would beat whomever wins the WNBA title in a year. They would make mincemeat out of whomever won the national title this year.

          Why would anybody NOT encourage their son to abuse such idiotic bullshit?

    2. Another reality they’re rejecting is the difficulty of administering something like this. So if, for instance, you’re the coach of a high school girls’ track team: how do you determine if a boy truly “identifies” as a girl?

      (Newsflash for those who haven’t kept up: teenage boys can be assholes.)

      1. On the social justice / teenage boy nexus, many decades ago a couple of us decided that we needed to try out for the cheerleading squad because of a push to end several men’s sports (because it isn’t fair that girls can’t wrestle, etc.)

        So yeah, I’d say having some kid who didn’t make the baseball team trying out for softball under “I identify as” is pretty darned likely if this becomes a thing of some note. And as a father of a 9 year old girl who plays baseball with the boys and softball with the girls I can fairly confidently say that there are very few high school girl’s softball players who would be competitive in the 12U travel baseball leagues around here. And very, very few who would be competitive in the 15U league. There is one girl that I coach who will likely be able to compete on the boys high school baseball team – unless puberty is unkind to her. But she’s a unicorn. (when I had her on my baseball team as a 6 year old we were talking about doing fingertip pushups and I asked her how many she could do… she considered for a moment and then said, “a lot”. And I believed her. )

      2. From what I have seen on this website, there is great resistance in the transgender movement to establishing any legal criteria for what qualifies someone as transgender beyond their own say so.

        1. I suspect this is a case where the “movement” isn’t terribly representative of the actual people who are legitimately in these situations.
          I can only imagine that if I were dealing with real gender issues I’d be pretty damn annoyed at people trying to use it as a political wedge or doing ridiculous things like competing in girls sports when they clearly don’t have a female body.

    3. Damn.
      The feminists demanded equality; they got equality.
      Now they are whining about equality magically no longer being fair.
      And somehow we are supposed to actually care one way or the other.

      There can not be any such thing as “female spaces”. We are all just a collection of cells, from conception to death. Any labels at all are by definition discriminatory, and therefore evil incarnate.
      All cells are equal and must be allowed to participate in any and all parts of social life as they choose. This includes those parts of social life that in the dark ages of oppression were designated for a collection of cells that happened to be birthed in a particular state of wealth, or physical appearance that was used to filter cell collections in a bigoted manner.

  27. Senators Question Pentagon Plan for Space Force

    Despite growing threats of space warfare, the Pentagon’s plan to create a new military branch called the Space Force faced tough questioning on Capitol Hill Thursday from both Republicans and Democrats who voiced concerns about costs, increased bureaucracy, and impact on military readiness.

    Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.) told a hearing of senior military and defense officials that future conflicts with Russia and China will involve attacks “from, in, and through space.”

    “This would profoundly disrupt our society which is heavily dependent upon satellite communication, positioning, navigation and timing, and other vital space-based technology,” he said. “We must restore our margin of dominance in space over our adversaries.”

    Jim Inhofe is 84.

    1. Uh, as noted progressive Neil DeGrasse Tyson said when speaking to a libertarian interviewer of some note, “we already have a space force. It is part of the Air Force.”

      1. But there’s no air in space. That’s why it’s called space.

    2. Are you advocating for age discrimination? What relevance does your comment have to the subject?

      (full disclosure; I am taking the yellow pills today)

  28. I despise Assange and I don’t think prosecuting him would chill the free press, because no other journalist did what he did, which was to publish thousands of classified documents wholesale without a valid rationale. (Russia is irrelevant to me.) Nevertheless, you make a strong case.

    1. Veritas Liberabit Vos

    2. Uh….. let’s do bullet points, I guess:

      * Loads of journalists piggie-backed on his work.

      * They claim they vetted the documents with some sort of criteria – so not wholesale.

      * And they provided their rational – that transparency is better than the alternative, and exposing governments doing the wrong thing is good.

      * “not valid” is not the same thing as “i disagree with”.

  29. I guess my tired old eyes missed something somewhere. What has hacking got to do with the press?

      1. I think Floyd Abrams sums it up well:

        “notwithstanding the unique features of the case, much of it is based on not uncommon journalistic conduct ? receiving and publishing classified material. To that extent, the case still has some level of broader risk for journalists. On balance, though, it seems to me that the government has used significant restraint in making only this single rather unique charge against Assange and the ultimate impact on the press may thus be limited.”

      2. cnn has good information?

        1. There is only one way to find out…

          1. i’ll choose no, gracias.

              1. never stop trying. you’ll get better.

  30. +1 Tulsi Gabbard.

  31. Continuing our discussion from yesterday (and subsequent to the Amazon story above) about why Facebook and Google really censor content, here’s what’s going on with their advertising businesses:

    “The world’s largest ad buyer, WPP PLC, reportedly spent an estimated $300 million on Amazon ads in 2018, up from between $100 million and $150 million in 2017.

    About 75% of that total came at the expense of Google, the report said. That’s still just a small part of the $3 billion-plus the agency spent on Google advertising last year, but it does show that the landscape is starting to shift in Amazon’s favor. It also seems to confirm earlier reports that advertisers were moving a growing portion of their digital ad budgets from Google and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) to Amazon, which helped the company become the third largest digital ad platform in the U.S.”

    —-The Motley Fool, April 9, 2019

    http://www.fool.com/investing/…..ising.aspx

    The story goes on to mention YouTube and Facebook’s user generated comments being a part of what’s scaring advertisers away. Amazon doesn’t generally have that problem. The media content they’re reselling is content that’s made in Hollywood (rather than generated by users), and the consumer comments associated with various offerings aren’t the draw like they are with Facebook and YouTube.

    1. In related news, Facebook and YouTube made it unpossible to put ads on Weedcraft, Inc posts. It’s not that the lefty hipsters hate weed just like they hate guns. It’s, presumably, because McDonalds, Nestle, et. al. don’t want their advertising associated with that shit.

      http://arstechnica.com/gaming/…..-facebook/

  32. Unplanned Is a Movie That Could Get Someone Killed

    The makers of Unplanned, the anti-abortion propaganda film that’s earned more than $6 million since its debut in late March, waste no time getting to their point. Just minutes after the lights in the theater go dark, viewers are transported to what’s supposed to be a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas, where an aspiration abortion (when a suction device is used) is taking place.

    1. There are currently 357 Planned Parenthood health centers that provide abortions in the U.S., and already, hundreds of thousands of people have viewed Unplanned. It would only take one of them to create a real-life tragedy.

      Toward the end of Unplanned, Johnson’s character tells members of the coalition that in her eight years at Planned Parenthood, she had seen lots of women drive away when they saw protesters praying outside the clinic. “It works,” she says to the other characters, but really, the audience. The message is as subtle as an infomercial: Take to the clinics. It works. In the theater I was in, a woman with white hair nodded and a man in the third row raised his arms up to the ceiling, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was witnessing something scary.

      Then the lights came on, and everyone looked perfectly nice.

      I’m scared you guys.

      1. They are literally pulling squirming babies out of the vaginas of pretty, young white women!

      2. I’m vastly amused by the Left’s cries that Unplanned is “propaganda”. Sure it is, but getting in a lather over it is a bit hypocritical given that most Hollywood movies these days seem to have a “message”.

  33. The New York Times sucks donkey balls.

    Fuck you assholes.

    Where are the WMDs you fucking assholes?

  34. fuck you Obama, Lord of the Drones.

  35. I always wonder about people who complain about ‘occult’ practices, black magic, and witchcraft. Do they think that magic is real? If not, why are they so upset about obviously fictional beliefs? Why don’t they complain about Marvel’s Thor, for example, based upon the Norse god of thunder? Shouldn’t they be picketing the MCU Thor movies?

    Also, how can one be a Satanist or Devil worshiper *without* believing in God? Shouldn’t Christians be happy that such people believe in God? Instead they seem more upset with them than with atheists.

  36. My democrat progressive neighbor says big government is our friend and we should comply with their demands.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.