Reason Roundup

Justin Amash Officially Quits House Republicans and Steps Down From Committee Seat

Plus: HHS can't compel prices in drug ads, Robert Kraft dines with Trump, and more…

|

It's official. Formerly Republican Rep. Justin Amash took another step Monday toward finalizing his breakup with the GOP. "Today, I sent … formal notification that I am withdrawing my membership in the House Republican Conference and, consistent with House rules, resigning from the Committee on Oversight and Reform," the Michigan representative tweeted yesterday.

As a Constitution-first, libertarian-learning anomaly in Congress from the get-go, Amash has become increasingly isolated from other Republicans in the Trump era, though for a while colleagues seemed fine with using Amash as cover to pretend they're still all about limited government. Amash's bridge too far for the party—now completely owned by President Donald Trump—came when he endorsed Trump's impeachment. The once-rosy relationship between Amash and prominent Republicans devolved quickly from there.

In a July 4 op-ed, Amash officially declared his independence from the GOP. "My parents, both immigrants, were Republicans," Amash wrote in The Washington Post. "I supported Republican candidates throughout my early adult life and then successfully ran for office as a Republican. The Republican Party, I believed, stood for limited government, economic freedom and individual liberty—principles that had made the American Dream possible for my family. In recent years, though, I've become disenchanted with party politics and frightened by what I see from it. The two-party system has evolved into an existential threat to American principles and institutions."

Amash concluded by asking others to join him "in rejecting the partisan loyalties and rhetoric that divide and dehumanize us" and "to believe that we can do better than this two-party system—and to work toward it."

In response, Republican leaders began calling for Amash to be removed from his committee position in Congress since he held that position as a Republican. Before they could do that, however, Amash took it upon himself to step down.

In his July 8 letter to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney, Amash wrote: "Please accept this letter as formal notification that I am withdrawing my membership in the House Republican Conference, effectively immediately, for the reasons outlined in [the Post] op-ed." He added that he would also be resigning from the Committee on Oversight and Reform.


FREE MINDS 

Another unintended consequence of Europe's new data law. Without fail, efforts to regulate the internet in the name of safety seem to end up thwarting actual safety. The latest example: "EU Privacy Laws May Be Hampering Pursuit of Terrorists." From Bloomberg:

When U.S., European and Canadian law enforcement officials claimed success last year in largely obliterating militant group Islamic State's online propaganda network following a two-year operation, it was a public database of domain names that partly helped. In an effort to crack down on websites, blogs, and Twitter accounts that relayed IS propaganda whenever there was an attack, authorities used the internet's WHOIS database to identify about 400 domains hosting the content and registered by IS supporters, resulting in a number of arrests.

But the same work would be much more difficult to do today, according to a European law enforcement official, due to Europe's strict new data privacy rules, the General Data Protection Regulation, which entered into force last May. The WHOIS directory, which previously displayed both technical and personal data related to registered domain names, has been redacted to scrub out names, email addresses and other personal information due to Europe's privacy law.


FREE MARKETS

The government can't force drug companies to disclose prices during TV ads, according to a new ruling from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The court "ruled that the Department of Health and Human Services exceeded its regulatory authority by seeking to require all drugmakers to include in their television commercials the list price of any drug that costs more than $35 a month. The rule was to take effect this week," notes The New York Times.


QUICK HITS

NEXT: Is social media a disease, and how do we treat it?

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. Formerly Republican Rep. Justin Amash took another step Monday toward finalizing his breakup with the GOP.

    Who gets custody of the title “Freedom [Group]”?

    1. Hello.

    2. According to Kris Kristofferson, Justin should have first dibs.

  2. As a Constitution-first, libertarian-learning anomaly in Congress from the get-go, Amash has become increasingly isolated from other Republicans in the Trump era…

    It takes two to isolate!

    1. When Amash is not supporting the destruction of America through Invasion USA or a Deep State coup, he’s totally Constitution first!

  3. The Republican Party, I believed, stood for limited government, economic freedom and individual liberty—principles that had made the American Dream possible for my family.

    The Republican Party is better off without someone so gullible.

    1. Unfortunately, the GOP wants to try to govern and has to appeal to a majority of voters and appease the moderates in their ranks of elected officials. If Amash got tired of pushing for his policies against that, it is a shame, but being a party of one is not going to make that any better.

      1. Exactly how does leaving the Republican party and losing his committee seat and influence advance the cause of smaller government? No one seems to be able to explain that.

        1. Good point, but doesn’t seem like he was doing much with it anyway

        2. I don’t really have strong feelings one way or the other – but Amash is a human being, maybe he got so frustrated with it that he threw up his arms and said “fuck this” and is trying to attack it from a new (and poorly thought out) angle?

          Amash might be like a voter that won’t vote in protest of the system as a whole. It’s dumb and won’t accomplish anything, but humans do that kind of shit all the time.

        3. It seems it was too much work for Amash trying fight for what he believed in within the Party. The problem is, it will be even harder outside the party, but he will have the satisfaction of being morally pure.

        4. He can now virtue signal like a mofo. Nobody said libertarians were a terribly serious bunch.

          1. Even that’s going to be more difficult now. He’s going to have to step up his Spartacus game if he’s going to compete with everyone.

        5. Rumor has it the Republican leadership was going to use the 2020 redistricting to eliminate Amash’s seat. So he figured if he’s in his last term regardless, he may as well go out with a bang.

          1. Or a whimper

    2. The Republican Party, I believed, stood for limited government, economic freedom and individual liberty—principles that had made the American Dream possible for my family. Because of this, I thought it best to support the attempt, by unelected bureaucrats, to unseat the legitimately elected president using tactics that I feigned being against while I was pretending to be a libertarian leaning Republican.

    3. Hasn’t stood for that for a lonnnnng time.

  4. Without fail, efforts to regulate the internet in the name of safety seem to end up thwarting actual safety.

    Europe planned to lean heavy into appeasement anyway.

  5. Who’s going down with Epstein?

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for Labor Secretary Alex Acosta to resign for negotiating a plea deal with Jeffrey Epstein that allowed the multimillionaire financier to spend a little more than a year in jail on sex crime charges.

    “@SecretaryAcosta must step down,” Pelosi wrote on Twitter late Monday.

    In 2008, Acosta worked out a sweetheart plea deal with Epstein that dropped more serious federal charges for two felony state solicitation charges without notifying his victims.

    1. For once I agree with Pelosi. The interesting thing about Acosta is that he wasn’t Trump’s choice. Trump’s choice was voted down by the Senate because his ex wife claimed he once hit her. Acosta was forced on Trump by the Senate GOP. Acosta is the consummate GOP insider.

      The question is who was Acosta protecting. It wasn’t Epstein. Epstein is rich but DOJ throws rich people in jail all of the time. Epstein is a nobody to them. It sure as hell wasn’t Trump, who was a Democrat back then and most certainly wasn’t someone DOJ would have bothered to protect.

      I have a feeling that a lot of known people in both parties were involved with this guy. You don’t get to walk from multiple statutory rape charges by the feds because you are rich. The whole thing was covering up for someone or some people a lot more important than Epstein.

      1. You’ll hear crickets from Nancy if they ever disclose what Bill Clinton was doing on the Lolita Express. I think very powerful people are involved here with Epstein, but with the FBI investigating I am sure they’ll fuck this up somehow.

      2. There’s a lot more going on here than is apparent at first blush. When Trump took office, he almost immediately signed EO 13773, which deals with human trafficking, another law that shut down ads on shady sites like Backpage, because these places were peddling underage kids in sex ads, and a bunch of other anti-trafficking laws. In May, Tim Nolan, an ex-judge in Kentucky and former chairman of Trump’s campaign in the state, was hammered with 20 years for human trafficking and sex acts with a minor.

        What Pelosi left out in her press release is that the DoJ began an investigation back in February into the deal that Epstein got. That’s pertinent here because the higher-ups in the department clearly thought there was something fishy going on.

        It looks like the DoJ managed to catch him before he could escape the country, and during the search of his place in New York, they found all kinds of pornographic material, some with names on them other than the victims. That’s blackmail material and there’s potential here for another #MeToo-type scandal, because celebrities like Ellen Barkin are now coming out and saying they knew all about what Epstein was doing (the fact they supposedly knew about a celebrity/politician-supported pedophile ring and didn’t immediately report it to the police is arguably a bigger scandal than that). And with the judge’s conviction, there’s now legal precedent to rail Epstein and everyone associated with him.

        1. because these places were peddling underage kids in sex ads

          Really?

          1. Do you think backpage checked ID?

            1. Do you think Backpage was peddling underage girls in sex ads?

              1. Are you asking for a friend?

                1. Do cucumbers taste better pickled?

    2. I agree with Pelosi on this, Acosta should go. He’s scum that has helped perpetuate the 3-tier justice system in which he and his buddies sit at the very top.

      I hope he flips on a bunch of democrat and republican scumbags.

    3. Acosta absolutely must step down. His behavior in this case was horrible.

  6. …the Department of Health and Human Services exceeded its regulatory authority by seeking to require all drugmakers to include in their television commercials the list price of any drug that costs more than $35 a month.

    Dang. And I was looking forward to drug commercials having another 30 seconds of quickspeak tacked on at the end.

    1. The government has *total* constitutional authority to prevent the peasants from accessing medicine without paying a pound of flesh to the government enabled rent seeking medical mafia, but no authority to regulate that medical mafia to require them to provide information to consumers.

      Sounds legit.

  7. Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft sat at the same table as President Donald Trump at a dinner for the emir of Qatar.

    As long as no one donned a towel and lay on it.

    1. Are you now or have you ever been a dinner guest of Donald Trump?

      1. Being a dinner guest of the Emir of Qatar seems more problematic.

    2. They were all swapping notes about where to find the best hookers.

    3. Who got the most ice cream?

    4. This is notable because?

      Did Kraft do anything wrong by Reason’s philosophy?

      1. “This is notable because?”

        TDS is a widespread disease.

        1. Clearly Kraft is scum because #heToo had the massage parlor action. And Trump.

      2. their powder mac-n-cheese shouldn’t exist

    5. Meh. Call me when Kraft sits on Trump’s lap, or vice-versa.

      1. Please don’t call me especially if there are pics.

    6. The press’ focus on Kraft is pathetic; he’s a widower, so he wasn’t even cheating on his wife!
      Compare and contrast how the press deals with Bubba.

      1. whats the difference between a republican and a democrat who have? the republicans pay for sex while the dems turn the feminist on them to silence them.

  8. The Republican Party, I believed, stood for limited government, economic freedom and individual liberty.

    LOL

    1. And great big crony capitalist insider deals.

    2. None of those. Not now. Maybe in the past it gave lip service to two of them. Not any more. The gold statue of Reagan was torn down and replaced by a clown caricature.

  9. Though cable networks and social media now dominate news and advertising, [the Department of] Justice is suddenly trying to micromanage local broadcast markets…

    All politics is local.

  10. Blockbuster reporting from the Washington Post.

    Mitch McConnell’s ancestors owned slaves, according to a new report. He opposes reparations.

    Well that’s obviously a conflict of interest, isn’t it? Fortunately the Democratic Party is embracing reparations as part of its broader racial justice agenda. When the Democrats control the government in 2021 I hope they make reparations a top priority.

    #LibertariansForReparations

    1. Kaepernick purged his wardrobe of everything containing cotton, right?

    2. Know who else had ancestors who owned slaves?

      Obama.

      That wasn’t news-worthy, though.

    3. I’ve been hearing about reparations my entire life. Nothing has changed except the dollar amount. It’s just another giveaway scheme to make affluent white coastal elites not feel so guilty about what their great great great aunt’s neighbor did.

      At some point we just need to treat people equally under the law and move on.

      1. You are right. At some point you just have to say “no more stealing from anyone” and stop worrying about the past so much. We’ve had decades of policies supposedly trying to help descendants of slaves catch up. Even if you somehow don’t see that they have done more harm than good, at some point you need to call it quits.

        You will never right the wrongs of history and it’s stupid to try because you will inevitable fuck over even more innocent people.

    4. #KamalaOwesReparations

      An inverted morality demands reparations from the descendants of those who fought a war against the slave masters, freed their slaves, granted the freed slaves citizenship, and occupied the South for a century to ensure that the descendants of slaves gained full civil rights.

      If we’re settling accounts on slavery, the descendants of those who liberated slaves should be sent checks.

  11. A new “enormous and comprehensive” study on marijuana use during pregnancy finds “some increased risk of poor birth outcomes among the cannabis users…

    Ban it. For the children. LITERALLY.

  12. Just make oral contraceptives available over the counter already…

    Smoke enough weed…

    1. LOL

  13. I’m disappointed to see Swalwell drop out so early. But his emphasis on common sense gun safety has given other Democrats the courage to stand up to the gun fetishist lobby. Here’s Joe Biden:

    @EricSwalwell ran a passionate campaign, and I commend him for bringing more attention to the urgent need for gun safety reform in America.

    As longtime libertarian activist Michael Hihn has explained, libertarians should support a ban on deadly military style assault weapons.

    #BanAssaultWeapons
    #UnbanMichaelHihn

    1. The race needed Duke Nukum for entertainment value if nothing else.

      1. Ugh, I hate when Republicans pounce on that out-of-context quote about nuclear weapons. I’m sure Swalwell’s mandatory assault weapon buyback program wouldn’t escalate to nuclear war.

        #LibertariansForSwalwell

        1. Sure, the threat of nuking all of these gun owners will get them to comply.

        2. Oh it’s OK, he was joking about nuking citizens who disagree with his proposed laws vehemently enough to refuse to comply! If someone to joke about shooting Jim Crow law protesters engaging in sit ins that would be fine too. People must be forced to obey the law at the end of a gun if necessary. (SARCASM)

          1. That’s what the law is. The end of a gun.

            The fact that we recognize that fact and almost nobody else does is what makes us libertarians.

    2. “I have the nicest things to say about my opponents who drop out!”

    3. #UnbanMichaelHihn

      You’re a monster!

  14. A new “enormous and comprehensive” study on marijuana use during pregnancy finds “some increased risk of poor birth outcomes among the cannabis users: most notably an increased risk of premature birth

    This study is likely bullshit, but if there is any truth to this it is likely what they found out about “crack babies” – the babies weren’t born addicted to crack, they were underweight and born premature because the mother – in addition to smoking crack – flat out didn’t take care of herself when she was pregnant. If they are smoking crack or weed when they are pregnant, it’s likely they aren’t eating three servings of vegetables and fruits each day, exercising, or drinking plenty of water.

    1. This study is likely bullshit, but if there is any truth to this it is likely what they found out about “crack babies” – the babies weren’t born addicted to crack, they were underweight and born premature because the mother – in addition to smoking crack – flat out didn’t take care of herself when she was pregnant. If they are smoking crack or weed when they are pregnant, it’s likely they aren’t eating three servings of vegetables and fruits each day, exercising, or drinking plenty of water.

      Which, if we weren’t covering their healthcare costs of both them and their child would be a moot distinction. However, since we are covering the healthcare costs of them and their children, it’s a moot distinction.

      This is the real shit sandwich from the libertarian perspective about illegal immigrants and felons on the voter roles. Democrats don’t need either group to be solidly registered as pro-Democrat. They just need a larger portion to be pro-Democrat and for the rest to have pet causes and/or enjoy free shit.

  15. Anti-abortion groups are fighting against in vitro fertilization benefits for veterans.

    This is my rifle, this is my gun. This is for killing, this is for fundamental right to subsidized non-essential medical procedures?

    1. Shooting blanks?

  16. Because his “Impeach Trump” campaign has been SOOOO successful:

    “Tom Steyer joins swarm of Democrats running for president”
    […]
    “Steyer made his announcement in a video to supporters, in which the candidate lamented how “corporate money has corrupted our democracy and stripped Americans of our ability to determine our own future.”…”
    https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-2020-tom-steyer-announces-presidential-campaign-20190709-story.html

    His money, of course, isn’t “corporate”. It’s all taxpayer money he’s gotten through his crony ops.

    1. Does that mean the big tech money in California has soured on Harris? It would seem to me Harris is the one most affected by this. Don’t you agree?

      1. I can’t tell.
        He seems to be an outlier in a lot of ways; pissing off Pelosi with his “Impeach” campaign, and he’s never in the mix with the Zuckerberg, et al.
        So I don’t think he’s the bellwether for tech money in general.

  17. “Anti-abortion groups are fighting against in vitro fertilization benefits for veterans.”

    The linked article refers to the “excess embryos” created in IVF labs. The fact that this program leads to human beings being described as “excess” in the media is sufficient reason to oppose it. Calling a human being “excess” is the sort of dehumanizing rhetoric that could (and does) justify killing it.

    The legacy media would be against these same veterans if they were still in the field and there was some contested killing of an alleged enemy or some errant bullet killing a civilian. I’m not so certain the media would even give those veterans the benefit of the doubt even if there was a case to be made in the military’s favor.

    But to promote the cause of dehumanizing preborn human beings, and making it easier to kill them, the media whips out the human shield of Our Brave Veterans.

    1. It is ENB, Eddy.

      What do expect, integrity?

    2. preborn human beings

      Excellent Newspeak.

      1. Says the pot.

      2. Excellent Newspeak.

        An human embryo is by definition an unborn or pre-birth human being, so preborn is not a mischaracterization.

        And I am sure you realize that calling things what they actually are is the opposite of Newspeak as Orwell defined it, which was ” the deliberate replacement of one set of words in the language for another.”

        But then, if you didn’t you wouldn’t be the giant bag of troll dicks that you are.

        1. An human embryo is by definition an unborn or pre-birth human being

          By what definition? There isn’t a whole lot of agreement on what exactly constitutes a human being and there never has been. Even the Catholic church doesn’t claim to have a good answer.
          Many people seem to believe that any genetically human organism at any stage of development is a human being. But that seems to me to sidestep the question of what it is that makes a human the sort of thing that has rights. Deciding that as soon as an egg is fertilized it’s a human being is a simple line to draw, but I’m not convinced it is the right line to draw.
          I don’t claim to have the answer, but I think it should have more to do with the mind than with genetics.

          1. By what definition?

            The one in Pretensies-Land?

            1. Yesterday I said I feel bad for picking on you. But, really I shouldn’t. You are just a dickhead. This is a perfect example of how you never have anything to say and never understand what is going on. You are worse than shreek.

              1. Thanks for the self-righteous lecture Mom, you really put me in my place.

          2. Zeb, by the definition that life begins at conception. If you don’t agree with that assumption, fine. You can say the definition is wrong. But you can’t say that it is newspeak. It is not a lie. It is a truthful statement that relies on an assumption that you don’t share.

            1. Do you know why the embryos are excess? Because conception didn’t happen. Where’s the outrage over God making millions of women discard millions of excess embryos every day?

              1. Sorry, the embryos that don’t implant are the excess.

                The process involves producing multiple embryos and transferring them all into the woman’s womb, in hopes one would implant and cause a pregnancy.

              2. You do not know the difference between conception and implantation, apparently.

                If conception had not taken place then we are not discussing embryos.

          3. You cannot claim that you do not have the right answer and then support a definition that categorically says this class does not meet the definition.

            If you believe human rights exist as an intrinsic quality of human existance, does it make more sense to err on the side of caution to make the class that they apply to the most inclusive or exclusive? Especially if you claim that you do not know the right answer.

          4. An human embryo is by definition an unborn or pre-birth human being

            By what definition?

            Are you retarded?

            By every definition. This has nothing to do with any philosophical argument about abortion.

            He’s not talking about when it might be called a ‘human being’ or not.

            He’s stating the simple fact that a human embryo is what you call an unborn or pre-birth person.

            The pro-choicers may prefer to just say ’embryo’, ‘fetus’ or ‘clump of ‘cells’ instead of ‘baby’, Zeb, but they’re not denying that it’s a human embryo, or a human fetus–because no one would be squawking about destroying other kinds of fetuses.

          5. Deciding that as soon as an egg is fertilized it’s a human being is a simple line to draw, but I’m not convinced it is the right line to draw.

            I think you are suffering from the pablum being spread by people who don’t want to have a real conversation about this topic. They often conflate bird reproduction with human reproduction to produce a false dichotomy in the minds of the ignorant. Birds eggs grow to full size and contain a nutrient mass (yolk) regardless of fertilization. However, the yolk is not the animal, it is not even living cell tissue. Eating a bird egg is not interference in the growth of a baby bird, just consumption of protein produced in the body of another animal.

            Human eggs pass through the system without any growth and are discarded unless or until they are both fertilized and properly implanted. Being microscopic, this is easily ignored and/or conflated with the shedding of the uterine lining, but no one is saying that those discarded eggs, whether or not they are fertilized, are human beings. However, it is a simple FACT that if the zygote becomes implanted, it will develop into an embryo, then a fetus, then a baby, barring defect or outside intervention.

            The life of any organism begins when growth begins. Any other definition is intellectually dishonest.

            Now, if you want to have an honest conversation about the right to terminate a parasitical human being, we can do that. Personally, I think it is horrible, but I do not object to another’s right to be free of a parasite, human or otherwise. I would not even preclude that right after the parasite is no longer internal to the host. We should discuss why a child has legal demand of a parent.

  18. Swalwell is out, but another exciting Democrat is in!

    Tom Steyer, billionaire pushing to impeach Trump, changes mind and decides to run for president

    This is great news. He’s unlikely to overtake Harris and Warren on my list of favorites, but it’s always good to have another voice for #Impeachment.

    #BillionairesKnowBest
    #(EspeciallyWhenItComesToImmigration)

    1. Just what we need, another billionaire in office.

      1. Harder to bribe.

      2. “Just what we need, another billionaire in office.”

        And he’s running (without irony) on a platform to ‘keep corporate money out of politics’!
        National Lampoon was an instruction manual.

  19. The about face in the Republican Party in 2016 was surprisingly rapid. We all knew that they really weren’t as pro-small government as they claimed they were. We all knew they didn’t really care about the deficit and sane budgets. We all knew it was just a sham. But the speed in which they transformed into the Authoritarian Party was stunning. I was a member of that party, delegate at the state level, etc. I was there inside. And I’m still reeling from the shock of it. Everything they told you was a lie.

    I knew the leadership were scum, but I had no idea how quickly the rank and file would devolve into rabid populists. And how many libertarians they would drag down with them.

    In the old days (2015) there were three legs to the GOP stool: Fiscal responsibility, social conservatism, strong defense. Within the space of a year fiscal responsibility was taken out behind the barn and shot. And then its corpse was raped. We had a meaningless tax cut, a doubling down on spending growth, the complete inability to fix Obamacare when the chance was there. The overriding concern of the party right now is defending Trump no matter what.

    The Republican Party is no longer conservative. Not in the sense of Edmund Burke, not in the sense of Robert Taft, not in the sense of Bill Buckley, not in the sense of Ronald Reagan. There is no definition of conservatism that fits the party any more.

    1. GOP was for fiscal responsibility in 2015?

      Whoa, man! Someone has been drinking the kool-aid! They mostly quit pretending on that subject when they ran Newt out of town. They gave some lip service during the Bush years, but with the biggest entitlement expansion since the 60’s, it was clearly only lip service.

      Hell, they didn’t even try to force Obama and the Dems to pass a budget during his time in office – let alone stick to a budget.

      1. You beat me too it. The idea that the GOPe ever gave a crap about fiscal responsibility is hilarious.

      2. Yes, it was clearly only lip service. But at least it was lip service. They’re not even pretending now. It’s like they’re in a race with the Democrats to see who can tear the taint of the US taxpayer the hardest.

        1. I’d rather them stop pretending than pay lip service to something they have no intention of doing. The GOP improved under Trump if only to expose what their real policy intentions are.

    2. “We had a meaningless tax cut”

      Don’t be a fool. All tax cuts are good. But yeah, they need to cut spending.

      1. All tax cuts are good.

        Unless you think a voluntary tax or fee based government could work, or you are an anarchist, I’m not sure that’s true. You have to pay for government somehow, even a really small one.

    3. “meaningless tax cut”? OK, Jennifer Rubin, no longer having the highest corporate taxes in the developed world has some meaning. We had companies like Burger King buying Tim Horton’s so they could ‘invert” into freaking Socialist CANADA because our taxes were so high.

      1. I’ve got a buddy who sets people up with health insurance plans, and he said his business went through the roof after the Obamacare tax was removed.

        That shithead McCain might have squashed a full repeal, but at least the stupid penaltax was rendered irrelevant.

    4. “but I had no idea how quickly the rank and file would devolve into rabid populists. ”

      Neither did I. It was much more than I had dared hope for.

      Finally, the Deep State Globalist Uniparty didn’t rule both parties. There is now*one* party that stood for government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

      It’s a miracle.

  20. The article that explains how #metoo left sex workers behind does absolutely nothing to explain how #metoo left sex workers behind. It simply lists a couple of people who say sex workers have rights to consent too, but nobody thinks a sex worker can be raped… then pivots to “society is misogynistic” and the “male experience” is elevated above the female.

    It is a complete mess.

    There’s probably a good article to be written on the subject – but that wasn’t the writer to do it. Too much woke, not enough actual facts and experiences.

    1. There’s probably a good article to be written on the subject – but that wasn’t the writer to do it. Too much woke, not enough actual facts and experiences.

      That should have been Reason’s masthead for the last 3 years

  21. “Though cable networks and social media now dominate news and advertising, [the Department of] Justice is suddenly trying to micromanage local broadcast markets,” complains the Wall Street Journal editorial board.”

    That article is mostly about how the antitrust regulators are screwing up broadcast television’s ability to compete in the marketplace, especially in rural areas where high speed internet access can still be expensive and spotty. The biggest story in traditional broadcast TV, however, is probably more about how the disruptive power of streaming is making broadcast television relevant again.

    There are three apps you can install on Roku right now that can be a big deal for you–even if you live in an urban area. Tablo and AirTV will both let you plug an antennae into your WiFi and distribute broadcast television programming to whatever device you want. With Dish’s AirTV, you even get the programming guide integrated into the program guide for Sling. It’s always been absurd that the cable companies charge customers to watch something they can get for free. I can’t remember the last time I wanted to watch original programming on a broadcast network, but your local sports are mostly coming to you that way. If you like football, baseball, hockey, The Jerry Springer Show. . .

    The other app is “Lowcast”. They’re only in some of our biggest areas, but they’re expanding.

    When I say that the disruptive power of streaming is making broadcasters relevant again, I mean relevant to advertisers. Advertisers are shifting to Amazon, Facebook, and Google because broadcast television is too much of a ‘throw it up against the wall and hope something sticks’ approach. When people start streaming broadcast TV over their home networks, it means they can start hitting you with targeted advertising.

    Yeah, if and when broadcast television becomes competitive with cable by way of streaming, it will have happen despite the stupidity of the antitrust idiots at the FTC, who are now effectively protecting cable and satellite companies from competition–in the name of competition. The idea that the same bunch at the FTC antitrust division will save us from the likes of Facebook would be hilarious if so many people didn’t really believe it. Is anything more stupid and dangerous than a government bureaucracy with a legion of voters foolishly giving them a mandate?

    1. The other app is “[Locast]”.

      Fixed!

  22. Is anything more stupid and dangerous than a government bureaucracy with a legion of voters foolishly giving them a mandate?

    This is a good point. Fortunately, if the bureaucracy oversteps and their regulations have unintended side effects, there will be another legion of voters to demand that regulators be given more power to correct those unintended side effects.

    So, no need to worry.

    1. Those guys are using mandates from the 1930s to regulate industries that didn’t even exist in the 1930s.

      And they’re using logic from the 1970s. From that article, they’re still trying to protect the cable companies from traditional broadcasters!

      Now they’re going to take on this new newfangled internet thing. Level the playing field! (with hatchet, axe, and saw*).

      *credit to Peart

  23. Continuing the conversation from yesterday about how we need the government to step in and save free speech from social media, I’d like those of you who believe this to distill your thoughts into the answers to a couple of specific questions:

    1) Precisely what solution to censorship, deplatforming, etc. do you want? Does your solution violate the First Amendment right to free speech? Does your solution violate the right of free association?

    2) Who in the government is promising to save hate speech, conspiracy theories, and gun talk from social media? Is it someone in the antitrust division of the FTC or the Justice Department? Is it someone in Congress? Is it a candidate?

    I know Elizabeth Warren wants social media to crack down on fake news and hate speech, but I don’t know of anyone who’s promising or campaigning to protect fake news, hate speech, and gun talk.

    Is this just wishful thinking? Does this person only exist in your imagination?

    1. 1. The sollution is to enforce the law. That means enforcing anti trust laws so that no one platform can deprive someone of a platform entirely. Along with that, let users of these services sue and obtain statutory damages and attorney’s fees for violating their terms of service. If Twitter wants to be a “left wing only” platform, fine. But their TOS should reflect that and if it doesn’t they should have to pay. Lastly, you revoke invoking the freedom to ban anyone you like for any reason or apply your rules in unequal manner should make you a publisher and have you assume the responsibilities that come with that. Do those three things and that would solve the problem.

      2. I don’t know and I don’t care. If you enforce the law, platforms can ban or keep hate speech or whatever they want. They just have to be honest about it and assume the responsibility that comes with it.

      My questions for you are

      1. why do you think social media companies are special such that they should not be held to the TOS with their customers or assume the same responsibilities as any publisher should they choose to act as one?

      2. why are they somehow above anti trust law and free to form cartels where no other sector of the economy can?

      1. “That means enforcing anti trust laws so that no one platform can deprive someone of a platform entirely.”

        This seems to violate freedom of association.

        Before the internet, even major cities used to have only one or two newspapers. In addition to violating freedom of the press, requiring a baker newspaper to publish something against their will would have violated freedom of speech and freedom of association–even back then. If you want to serve gay wedding cakes, go start your own newspaper or website.

        “Let users of these services sue and obtain statutory damages and attorney’s fees for violating their terms of service.”

        I have no problem with that–except that it’s outside the purview of antitrust. My understanding is that the courts have already held that any clause that says the terms of a contract can be changed at any time–should be completely ignored–because if one party can change the terms of the contract at any time, then there is no enforceable agreement. Regardless, I don’t see how antitrust can be the solution to that.

        “I don’t know and I don’t care.”

        If this is in response to the observation that the only people in government going after social media are people who want the opposite of the solutions you’re proposing, then you should care.

        The Jews invited the Romans to come in and throw out the Greeks because the Greeks put up an idol in Solomon’s Temple. Not only did the Romans subsequently oppress the Jews, once they took over, the Romans eventually destroyed the Temple.

        In this case, Elizabeth Warren and the progressives are promising to destroy the Temple. They’re saying that the reason we should put them in power is specifically so they can destroy the Temple. They want antitrust so that they can use it as an excuse to ban hate speech (however they define it), fake news (however they define it), and other bad things (like guns or whatever else they don’t like). It doesn’t even matter if Trump wins the next election.

        If you give the government the power to determine what is or isn’t on social media, the social justice warriors will use it to their own ends once the Democrats, eventually, get into the White House again. It’s even worse in this situation because a) there isn’t anyone in government who is willing to go on the record to protect hate speech in an election year and 2) Zuckerberg wants to be regulated by the social justice warriors.

        Please do not give them that path to control.

        1. If you don’t like anti trust laws, get them repealed. In the meantime, they are still on the books and your position that they should be selectively enforced is worse than any violation of freedom of association.

          Anti trust isn’t the solution to the TOS problem. The solution is you pass a law that makes it so. Statutory damages are allowed for all sorts of civil suites. Just make this one of them. It has nothing to do with anti trust. I am dumbfounded that you think it does or that I was implying it does.

          AS far as the rest of your post, none of my solutions give the government any power it doesn’t already have. Again, the solution is to enforce the law and stop treating tech companies as some kind of special entity that is above the law and above being held to their promises, which is what you are advocating whether you realize it or not.

          Your entire last paragraphs are just a strawman of my position. And you fail to respond to my point that they should lose their statutory immunity from libel and copyright suits if they choose to exercise full discretion over what content goes on their server. With freedom comes responsibility.

          1. “If you don’t like anti trust laws, get them repealed. In the meantime, they are still on the books and your position that they should be selectively enforced is worse than any violation of freedom of association.”

            Is it your position that Facebook and Google are using their dominant market position to overcharge their customers?

            1. FB and Google are using daily changes to their ToS to de-platform people resulting in deceptive acts or practices. “Sherman Act”

              Furthmore, IIRC Facebook and Google have contracts with the US gov which has them fall under the myriad of discrimination statutes under the Federal Contract Compliance Program

              1. My understanding is that antitrust is about breaking up monopolies and M&A activity. If they’re blacklisting people or colluding, there may be a legitimate role for government in protecting the rights of the victims, but a) I don’t believe that remedy is within the purview of antitrust law and b) using the coercive power of government to restructure the economy for the benefit of the disadvantages is the stuff that authoritarian socialism is made of; i.e., it is not a desirable outcome.

                If you don’t like Facebook, I’ve got a better idea:

                https://mewe.com/

                Go start yourself an account and invite all your friends and family with a Facebook account to join.

                That solution is far better than antitrust. For one, getting your friends and family on mewe isn’t authoritarian or socialist, and maybe best of all, it doesn’t give President Liz Warren the regulatory framework she needs to decide that hate speech, like the Betsy Ross flag, can’t be posted on social media anymore.

          2. “And you fail to respond to my point that they should lose their statutory immunity from libel and copyright suits if they choose to exercise full discretion over what content goes on their server.”

            The idea that Reason shouldn’t be responsible for the libel you or I perpetrate on their website is grounded in principles that are far bigger than a law that was written to protect websites like Reason from meritless lawsuits, and any lawsuit that targets a third party for malice it couldn’t possibly possess is fundamentally meritless.

            1. Reason wouldn’t have an issue because they don’t police their users beyond removing illegal content.

              1. I don’t believe that’s the way it works. In fact, I suspect Reason would quickly shut their comments section down. They’ve almost shut comments down in the past over the hassle of frivolous libel suits–because of stuff anonymous commenters have written. I can’t be the only one who remembers that.

                1. Maybe, but you don’t know that.

                  I remember. Was this back during the woodchipper controversy in response to the sentencing of Dread Pirate Roberts?

        2. requiring a baker newspaper to publish something against their will would have violated freedom of speech and freedom of association

          You just called them publishers. I thought they were platforms?

          1. The point was that there isn’t anything new about this. This was true when there were only one or two newspapers that mattered in each city, and it’s true now that there are only a few social media platforms that matter.

            The other thing that’s true is that private parties have freedom of association, and using the government to compel publishers, websites, or bakers to associate with writers, commenters, or customers they don’t like is still unconstitutional for all the same reasons as it always was–your hatred for social media notwithstanding.

            For some reason, some of you really need to have this stuff spelled out for you: the reason the government shouldn’t be able to compel YouTube to host someone’s content is the same reason the government shouldn’t be able to compel fundamentalist bakers to associate with gay couples against their will. If you want to be an irrational shithead and pretend these principles should only apply to people you like, go be a progressive! They live on that.

            Just don’t expect us libertarians to pretend that you’re being rational, ethical, or principled in any way. We’re no good at that–on purpose.

            1. For some reason, some of you really need to have this stuff spelled out for you: the reason the government shouldn’t be able to compel YouTube to host someone’s content is the same reason the government shouldn’t be able to compel fundamentalist bakers to associate with gay couples against their will.

              Absolutely silly reasoning. Compelling an artist to create is not even close to compelling a company to NOT take action against someone.

              One compels an individual to act. One compels an individual to do exactly nothing. You’re making a huge logical stretch here and its pretty obvious.

      2. 1. why do you think social media companies are special such that they should not be held to the TOS with their customers or assume the same responsibilities as any publisher should they choose to act as one?

        I hope I answered that question.

        I think this is a valid criticism, but I don’t see antitrust as the solution to that problem.

        2. why are they somehow above anti trust law and free to form cartels where no other sector of the economy can?

        IF IF IF they are deplatforming people using any kind of collusion, they should compensate the victims of their illegal behavior.

        Again, that belongs in the courts and the remedy really should be sought by the victims of that collusion in court rather than by government bureaucrats fishing for more responsibilities or politicians looking for a path to power by making the world safe for snowflakes.

        1. Again, that belongs in the courts and the remedy really should be sought by the victims of that collusion in court rather than by government bureaucrats fishing for more responsibilities or politicians looking for a path to power by making the world safe for snowflakes.

          No, the remedy should be sought by DOJ. DOJ can brind anti trust actions and this is a perfect example of where they should. The damage to any one individual is not enough to make suing worth it. But the collective damage is enormous. So, it is DOJ’s job to bring the suit and put an end to their illegal behavior.

          1. That’s a justification for a class action lawsuit–not for the DOJ or the FTC to get involved.

            The antitrust divisions of those agencies are there to protect against unfair competition–not to compensate victims for damages.

            1. Sounds like its time for the DOJ or the FTC to get involved. If they are currently not able to, we should empower them to do so. Enforceable contracts are absolutely crucial to a functioning society.

              1. Using government bureaucrats to impose their “solutions” on what should be private contract disputes is a stupid, socialist idea. It’s stupid for all the same reasons all socialist ideas are stupid. It’s even dumber if you’re a libertarian who can be so easily manipulated to argue for a socialist solution.

                Reading that comment, I’m not sure you really understand the differences between socialism, authoritarianism, capitalism, etc. I’ll give you a hint: socialism is still socialism even when it’s advocated by people who don’t like to be called that. Maduro, Chavez, Castro, Mao, Stalin, and Lenin–they all love your idea, but don’t let that stop you.

                1. That’s a silly and reductionist response that totally ignores the argument actually being presented. Throwing out a bunch of dictator’s names at me is unconvincing.

                  Once again you’re hiding behind your ideology to justify giving up your rights to unelected socialists in California.

                2. It’s even dumber if you’re a libertarian who can be so easily manipulated to argue for a socialist solution.

                  I grew out of being a libertarian in high school. That’s usually when most people realize that its not just the government that can effectively take away rights from people. Its why we have criminal law – to prevent private actors from taking away our rights.

    2. My solution is to wait for Ken’s internet 2.0 to come out and render the corporate arm of the state obsolete.

    3. 1) Precisely what solution to censorship, deplatforming, etc. do you want? Does your solution violate the First Amendment right to free speech? Does your solution violate the right of free association?

      I want a solution that prevents foreign governments, who are unbound by the First Amendment, from being able to impose speech controls on people in the US. If I have to modestly restrict the freedom of action of businesses that chose to establish overseas operations in order to protect Americans’ free speech from those foreign governments, I will most assuredly do so.

      To that end, I would simply place a restriction on Section 230 that a provider is only eligible for its protections if it a) refrains entirely from censorship of content for US audiences*, or b) has no overseas operations. The providers would accordingly have the options of content control, liability protection, and overseas operations, pick any two.

      A government protector of “hate speech, conspiracy theories, and gun talk” would be completely unnecessary, since the consequence of choosing (censorship plus overseas operations) is simply civil liability as a publisher for anything transmitted.

      *Except, of course, that content actually illegal in the US would have to be made unavailable to Americans.

      1. “I want a solution that prevents foreign governments, who are unbound by the First Amendment, from being able to impose speech controls on people in the US.”

        I’m not sure I understand exactly what you’re getting at here, but it seems to met that because of the global nature of the internet, you’ll have trouble ridding the internet of foreign influence.

        If Twitter wants to operate in China, France, and the U.S., they may need to comply with Chinese and French law–even if it involves the tweets of Americans that are visible in those countries.

        Rights, markets, freedom, ethics, they’re all about respecting people’s choices, and if Americans choose to drink sugary soft drinks in Big Gulp portions, ride motorcycles without helmets, or use social media that shits all over their speech, they should be free to choose that. I have big questions about whether people realize what’s in the small print when they sign on to this stuff, but the reason they don’t realize what they’re signing up for may be because they don’t really care. Regardless, my solution involves making people aware of what’s in the small print and encouraging them to make better choices.

        My solution is great because it people’s choices, and respecting people’s choices is what tights, markets, freedom, and ethics is all about.

        1. Its like you live in a fantasy world where no one can touch your rights unless they are the US government. The world doesn’t work that way, which is why libertarians are completely irrelevant in today’s political landscape.

        2. Yes, “If Twitter wants to operate in China, France, and the U.S., they may need to comply with Chinese and French law–even if it involves the tweets of Americans that are visible in those countries.”

          But what you don’t seem to notice is that is still true even if it involves the tweets of Americans that are visible in America.

          Do you remember MGM, under Chinese government pressure, censoring the remake of Red Dawn? That movie was never even scheduled to be released in China. It was censored worldwide because the Chinese government decided it should say something else, and had the power over MGM to impose that decision.

          Your “solution” sucks donkey balls because it treats government-ordered censorship in America as perfectly acceptable, as long as it isn’t the American government doing the censoring.

    4. 1) Repeal the Crony Capitalist exemption from publishing liability law for social media.

      Given the choice between being legally liable for all the material they publish on their networks, and behaving as common carriers like the phone company without that liability, the social media companies will choose the latter.

      1. I maintain that rule is more of a protection against frivolous lawsuits than it is anything else. Even if Facebook could be sued because something I wrote on Facebook were libelous, Facebook could not be liable in reality because they lack malice. A third party cannot possess malice.

        If Shultz perpetrates libel against Gillespie, Gillespie should be able to sue Shultz for damages. Even then, Gillespie would need to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Shultz possessed malice–that I knew what I wrote was false. If Zuckerberg knows nothing about the veracity of the statement in question, then he could not possibly possess malice. Thus, it is not possible for Zuckerberg of Facebook to be guilty of libel by that standard.

        That section is not protecting web platforms from liability. It’s only protecting them from frivolous lawsuits. A third party platform cannot not possess malice, and, therefore, they cannot be legitimately guilty of malice. You can find an all white jury in Mississippi that will find a black man guilty of anything you want. You can find a predominantly black jury in Los Angeles County that will let O.J. Simpson get away with murder! I’m sure you can find a jury that hates Zuckerberg so much that they’ll find Facebook guilty of being Facebook.

        A third party, however, cannot actually possess malice.

        P.S. We seem to have strayed outside the purview of antitrust again. These legislative remedies may be better than the bureaucratic ones–so long as they’re consistent with the First Amendment. However, our libel laws, including section 230, evolved to be in harmony with the First Amendment including the part about how, “Congress shall make no law”.

        The remedies from antitrust are not legislative. The remedy for Facebook is likely to be about forcing them to spin off Instagram and maybe WhatsApp. Anything more is also likely to involve regulatory oversight of content, something Zuckerberg actually wants. If you think section 230 is crony capitalism, wait ’til you see whatever regulation Zuckerberg cooks up with the FTC.

        1. Malice isn’t required generally. Only on matters of public concern.

          https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/libel
          In Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc. (1974), the Court refused to extend the New York Times standard to actions for libel involving private individuals even where the matter is of public concern.

          In Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. v. Greenmoss Builders, Inc. (1985), the Supreme Court held that in actions for libel involving private individuals and matters of purely private concern, presumed and punitive damages may be awarded on a lesser showing than actual malice.

  24. smartest thing Amash has ever done why the fuck would anyone waste their daily lives as a 1 v 534?

    cynic in me assumes his gravy train was about to end whatever it was

  25. From the Section 230 files…Google is using the decision involving the Manhattan public access TV refusing to air a video as a defense against PragerU.

    Now, this is relevant because the argument seems to be “You cannot force us to make speech we don’t wish to”.

    ….except platforms are protected because what is on the platform is, legally, not the platform’s speech (Verizon isn’t liable if somebody plans a crime on their phones, for example).

    If an argument is being made that a company has a first amendment right to ban speech they dislike — it is a fine defense to make.

    But it ALSO demonstrates, clearly, that they are now a publisher (who would be held liable for speech made by them) and not a platform, which cannot make speech of its own in the first place. You don’t get both the protections of a publisher AND as a platform. You must pick one or the other.

    Google has picked one.

    Time to pull Google’s Section 230 protections. All of them. Immediately.

    1. Time to repeal 230, and let internet media companies be treated based on *behavior*, whether publisher or common carrier, not based on crony capitalist carve outs from liability law.

  26. Ross Perot died today at 89.

  27. Appeals court rules Trump violated First Amendment by blocking Twitter users

    Haha. These courts are out of control. I take it Trump cannot throw away letters from people that don’t like him nor change the channel on tv stations that he doesn’t like.

    I mean Trump has to give everyone and equal chance to bash him with TDS.

    1. I take it Trump cannot throw away letters from people that don’t like him nor change the channel on tv stations that he doesn’t like.

      Just wait until they conceptualize that private citizens blocking Russian bots violates the bots’ 1A rights.

      I wholly expect Reason to play up the ‘oppressed Twitter bot’ angle for liberty. I’m sure summarily dismissing Twitter bots will incidentally marginalize some minority who wants us to vote for something.

    2. If Trump’s twitter account amounts to a public forum, simply using twitter for a public forum amounts to a violation of the 1st Amendment, since Twitter performs it’s own content based discrimination.

      By choosing a content discriminating forum for a public forum, the government violates the 1st Amendment.

      @getongab

  28. Obamacare’s future in play as U.S. appeals court weighs its constitutionality

    Republicans RINOs in Congress subsequently failed to overturn Obamacare, but in December 2017, Trump signed into law a tax bill passed by a Republican-led Congress that reduced the tax penalty to zero dollars.

    A coalition of Republican-led states headed by Texas sued, alleging the tax penalty’s elimination rendered Obamacare unconstitutional.

    This abortion of a law was unconstitutional from Day 1. There is no enumerated power for government to force Americans to buy a product or service. NONE.

  29. As a Constitution-first, libertarian-learning anomaly in Congress from the get-go

    Yeah, other representatives understand that it is their job to represent their constituents.

    Amash’s district includes a wide range of conservatives, libertarians, and progressives. Amash seems to think that because he got elected, he can push his personal ideology to the exclusion of everything else.

    You want to see where partisanship and divisiveness comes from in Congress? Amash could be a poster boy.

  30. It’s 2009. Reason is ESPN, and Amash is Brett Favre.

  31. […] (I–Mich.) could join the race. Amash has very recently left the Republican Party, as well as his congressional committees. Whether he chooses to run as a Republican, Libertarian, or independent, it’s possible that […]

  32. […] could join the race. Amash has very recently left the Republican Party, as well as his congressional committees. Whether he chooses to run as a Republican, Libertarian, or independent, it’s possible that […]

  33. […] to maintain grassroots credibility—or else, like Justin Amash, quit before they are fired [Justin Amash Officially Quits House Republicans and Steps Down From Committee Seat, by Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Reason, July 9, 2019]. Rather than being a revolutionary candidate, […]

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.