DeSantis Cancels Free Speech and Lindell Smothers Elections
Trump Harmonizes with Insurrectionists, Gaetz Pledges Allegiance to Accused Murderer, COVID #1 Killer of Cops, MTG Gets It Sooo Wrong—Again
Sometimes I feel like Jon Snow standing guard atop the towering Night Watch wall as the deadly White Walkers gather outside intent on destroying everything we stand for. Among the (very white) White Walkers, I can see the pale and privileged visages of Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Tucker Carlson, and others as they giddily approach with their democracy-smashing battering rams.
So, yeah, I feel compelled to raise the alarm and warn my readers whenever they start to breach our defenses or scurry up the wall. I try to pour the boiling oil of reason, facts, statistics, science, history, and logic on them, even though it has no effect. They are cursed to be immune to those things and are rabid to infect others with their curse.
Here we go again, fellow Night Watch, as we gather on the wall to guard against the White Walkers and their wilding supporters. What a week…
Ron DeSantis Wants to Be President—He Also Wants to Cancel Free Speech in Florida
Florida Is Trying to Take Away the American Right to Speak Freely (The New York Times)
Here’s How Florida Could Become the Capital of Weaponized Libel Suits (The Daily Beast)
SUMMARY: “Florida’s new House Bill 991 proposes a laundry list of legal changes that would make it easier for plaintiffs to bring and win defamation cases. It would also weaponize the law to allow the powerful to silence their critics.
“The bill’s sponsor makes no secret that the intended target of this bill is the news media. And given the widespread public dissatisfaction with the media, this bill promises to be popular, and easily spun by politicians as a way of making the media accountable.
“But it isn’t just irresponsible media actors that get hit with defamation actions. Whether we’re using Twitter, TikTok, Substack, or any other self-publishing platform, we’re all publishers now. That should make us all cautious about defamation law reforms that strongly tilt to one side.
“A close look at the proposed bill shows that it is excessively lopsided in favor of plaintiffs.”
MY TAKE: Ron DeSantis is currently touring the country proclaiming how Florida should be the blueprint for the rest of the country. I can’t decide whether it’s like Elon Musk saying the way he runs Twitter is how the country should be run—or Harvey Weinstein saying how he treated women is the way we should treat the country. Either way, it may be the scariest idea you will hear this year.
DeSantis’ State of Shame has already taken cancel culture to the extreme: he canceled Disney because they disagreed with his policy, he canceled open education because historical truths made White folks feel, not bad, but picked on, he canceled voting availability because they helped non-Republicans vote, he canceled women’s rights (“Florida Republicans Move to Ban Abortions After Six Weeks”) because he doesn’t think they are equal to men, he canceled LGBTQ+ rights because he doesn’t think they are worthy of the same rights he has.
Add to all that a bill that will cancel a major part of freedom of speech, allowing conservatives to go after what they determine to be liberal media—which could include people on social media platforms or even those who make a public speech—if they make any unintentional mistakes, even if no malice was meant or the mistake was minor. This would be a contradiction to a 1964 Supreme Court decision, The New York Times Company v. Sullivan, and throw a muzzle on anyone afraid they will be sued if they make an error or anger someone with money, vitriol, or just spare time. Which is exactly what they hope will happen. These lawsuits don’t have to be won in court, just cause enough panic and court costs to dissuade opposition from speaking out.
Clearly, a political party with a proven track record of accomplishments and a robust platform of innovative ideas and intelligent candidates wouldn’t have to resort to manipulating voting and silencing critics. But Floridian Republicans can’t win on merit, so it’s all about bullying. American exceptionalism indeed.
ALSO READ: “Ron DeSantis’ Anti-Free Speech Crusade Would Cancel Fox News” The Daily Beast)