All Star Panelist Dr. Carol Swain Talks Parler Shutdown, Reality Czars, and the Current Orwellian Climate of America

All Star Panelist Dr. Carol Swain Talks Parler Shutdown, Reality Czars, and the Current Orwellian Climate of America

 

Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed all-star panelist, Dr. Carol Swain, to the studio to discuss the Parler shutdown, reality czars and the current climate of Orwellian nature.

Leahy: I am very excited because in studio with us right now sitting and right across from me, socially distanced by six feet is the one and only all-star panelist, good friend, former Vanderbilt professor, former Nashville mayoral candidate Carol Swain. Good morning, Carol.

Swain: Good morning, Michael.

Leahy: You know you do a very good job of promoting your appearances here. and you put the content out that you coming on the next day. And then I just get bombarded with people on Twitter. Yes on Twitter and Facebook saying Carol is coming. Let’s see what she has to say.

Swain: Well, I mean people are just so wonderful to me. I really appreciate everyone who listens and I think have something important to say at times.

Leahy: Yeah. I’ve had a lot of folks that we talked to because I do work on other projects around the country. And every time I say, well Carol, Swain is one of my friends and she comes in as an all-star panelist. They say, Carol Swain! Well, I’ve got to talk to Carol. (Laughter) It actually happened a couple of times this week from people. So, you know, I benefit from our friendship Carol.

Swain: Well I run into listeners all the time and they come over and we chat and we take pictures.

Leahy: Well, it makes it a lot of fun. One guy who lets you we were talking about this off are I just want to sort of bringing it up. One guy who’s not having his picture taken these days is the former CEO of Parler Jonathan Matze. He announced his termination the other day and Dan Bonginio was a minority investor in that company who disputed his account of it. You would think on our side if we have trouble as Parler did, I mean Parler was shutdown unceremoniously in an unfair way about a month ago. But the CEO hasn’t been able to get them back up and running. And I think that may be why he’s no longer the CEO.

Swain: Well, there just seemed to be a disagreement about why he was terminated. And if you think about the CEO, of course, he’s going to present himself in the most positive light because he needs another job. And he seems to be a very intelligent hard-working guy. And there was a series of unfortunate and unfair circumstances that led to Parler being taken down. And by the way, I had 37,000 followers on Parler that I accumulated in maybe three or four months.

Leahy: That’s a lot.

Swain: Yeah. I’d like to see them again.

Leahy: I think they’ll get back up. I think they will I am I was personally surprised by how long it’s taken them to get back up. I mean how hard is it to find another server other than Amazon’s AWS and some others.

Swain: They were saying they had one from Russia and you can’t use Russia. And China is a bigger threat to our nation than Russia is far as I’m concerned.

Leahy: I think there are a lot of servers out there though here that are independent that you could get. I mean we use them and others use them. So I don’t know. it’s a bit of a mystery. I do know that they have a new management team. And actually, I know one of the members of the management team good guy former Tea Party leader organizer way back when. So I have confidence that they will get back up and running.

Swain: I hope so.

Leahy: We’ve had some conversations about all this Big Tech, you know, Orwellian shut down America and shut down free speech. Did you see this crazy story out of The New York Times? They want to put a realities czar up there. (Laughs)

Swain: And we know that New York Times gauges in fake news and I guess they would recommend the Arbiter of what is true and what is false and what is allowable and what isn’t.

Leahy: They’re basically trying to rewrite history.

Swain: Everything is so Orwellian. And if there’s anyone out there listening and you’ve not read George Orwell’s 1984, which was written in 1949, you need to read it. And if you read it in high school, you know 50 years ago you need to reread it because we’re going through repeating our history that is totally Orwellian when it comes to redefining terms and erasing history.

And what’s going on right now where we are not allowed to talk about what really took place during the election. We’re not allowed to talk about voter fraud or the possibility of a stolen election. And that is so unAmerican. and it is as if we’re going through a moment when our Constitution means nothing.

And if you look at our Republican members of Congress, I’m ashamed of almost all of them because for whatever reason they don’t seem to have much integrity. They’re not willing to stand up. They’re not serving our needs. And we’re locked in this two-party system where for all practical purposes we have one party. It’s the Democrats. And the Republicans are not even the loyal opposition. They shoot themselves in the foot and they undermine each other all the time.

Leahy: Those comments I think are primarily directed at the national level.

Swain: Well, yeah, I’m talking about the Congress right now. But we have to watch the state legislature as well. We have to hold everyone accountable. And when it comes to the election irregularities, we have to make sure that in Tennessee we don’t end up like those other states with the ballot harvesting and the absentee ballots standards relaxed to the point that we have stolen elections. And so that has to be a priority of every state.

Leahy: Every state. That’s a good point. I was talking with my friend the pollster John McLaughlin the other day who said exactly the same thing you are saying right now. Because where the Democrats have the advantage in this past election it wasn’t in-person voting. It was in all this vote by mail which has a higher probability of fraud.

Swain: But I saw the ballot harvesting. Virginia was not in play right? Well, I have relatives that live in the inner city living in the projects and places. They said that people came to your door like two or three people and they asked whether or not you had voted. They had ballots and they stood there pretty much while people filled out ballots that you handed back to them. Can you imagine? There’s no secret ballot there. There was a lot of intimidation and a lot of pressure on individuals. That should be illegal people showing up at your door.

Leahy: Yeah people showing up at your door. Hey here fill this out the way I want you to. There is intimidation. No question about it. I completely agree that should be illegal. Now the very interesting thing you brought up there is people might say well Tennessee voted for Donald Trump 60 percent. Not going to be a problem here. Well, that’s what they said about Georgia eight years ago right?

Swain: Yeah but the thing that bothers me as a Black American that lived through the parts of the Civil Rights Movement. I was a child when it started. but the Voting Rights Act that people fought so hard for was never meant to abuse be abused in the way that it is right now. And Black people are being used by the Democratic party to create lack standards to insulate Democrats. And it has nothing to do with right to vote. No one’s vote is being suppressed in 2021. And so this is a whole new ballgame with Black people being used to advance an agenda that doesn’t really benefit them.

Leahy: We got a knock on the door Carol. It’s the reality czar. (Laughter) The reality czar is coming. No, you can’t say that Carol! The reality czar is going to get his big hook out like the grim reaper. (Laughter)

Swain: Well since I’m Black and I hold these unorthodox views and I need to be sent away to camp and de-programed. but I can assure you that it will not work.

Leahy: Well Katie Couric thinks you should be deprogrammed.

Swain: Well the Democrats think that anyone who doesn’t believe the way they do should be deprogrammed.

Leahy: Let me read this from the Constitution of the United States the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights ratified in 1791. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances. Reality czar. Is that is that consistent with the First Amendment?

Swain: But you just read the First Amendment.

Leahy: Yeah. I know.

Swain: And the Capitol Hill protests that took place where they have demonized everyone that was known to have gone to Washington was totally contrary to the First Amendment right of assembly. And it’s like people have just lost sense of the Constitution. And this move, you know to make a state out of D.C., D.C. was created by the Constitution. It would take a constitutional amendment.

Leahy: It would.

Swain: Congress just can’t do that.

Listen to the full second hour here:


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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TechLife: State Gov. Relations Manager for the Heartland Institute Samantha Fillmore Discusses Big Tech and the First Amendment

TechLife: State Gov. Relations Manager for the Heartland Institute Samantha Fillmore Discusses Big Tech and the First Amendment

 

Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed Samantha Fillmore who is the state government relations manager at the Heartland Institute to the newsmakers line to discuss the institute’s mission ensuring First Amendment rights are protected from Big Tech censorship through state legislation.

Leahy: We are joined now by Samantha Fillmore. She is the state government relations manager for the Heartland Institute in cold Chicago, Illinois. Welcome to The Tennessee Star Report, Samantha.

Fillmore: Thank you for having me. Good morning.

Leahy: You are a Texan!

Fillmore: I am.

Leahy: You attended the University of Texas at Austin. You worked in the Texas legislature. You’re a big UT Longhorn fan and a fan of the Dallas Cowboys.

Fillmore: Yes, sir. That’s pretty much just about everything I’m passionate about. Football and politics, what more is there?

Leahy: What more is there? What kind of adjustment does a woman from Texas make when she moves into cold Chicago to work at the Heartland Institute?

Fillmore: Let me put it this way, my dog and I are not thrilled. And I just discovered that you have to own a shovel to shovel your car out of snow. This is news to me. Otherwise, though, I’m very happy to be here. Chicago is a great city and I love what I do at the Heartland Institute. So, I have no complaints.

Leahy: It is a great city. But it is also much colder than Austin, Texas.

Fillmore: Yes, sir. That is true. But I’m very happy to do what I do. And again, I think anyone who is able to maintain and keep a job in the last year that we had is I should only be grateful. So I’ll handle the snow. I’ll put on my big coat and look like a marshmallow and I’ll keep quiet about it.

Leahy: Where in Texas are you from? What county?

Fillmore: My family’s from Dallas historically. A very deep, Texas family that goes back about six generations. I definitely broke the norm by coming to Chicago. I’ll definitely be going back eventually, but this is just a fun place to be building up my career. But no I did definitely think often that Texas is calling me. (Chuckles)

Leahy: Are you from Highland Park in Dallas or you from Frisco or Plano? What part of Dallas are you from?

Fillmore: Okay, so you’re familiar with the area. My family has a historic home in Arlington. I grew up very close to the stadium and Six Flags. Which I somehow never got tired of growing up.

Leahy: My wife is from Texas near Nacogdoches in Saint Augustine, and we actually met when I was working in Dallas. I managed a retail store not too far from Highland Park at the intersection of Preston Road and Lovers Lane. I’m sure you know where that is.

Fillmore: I know exactly where that is. I can imagine that in my mind. A very smart man ends up with a Texan woman.

Leahy: Well you have a very important job. and tell us a little bit before we get into the government state relations work that you do. tell us about the Heartland Institute in the important work it’s been doing in the area of State sovereignty and states rights.

Fillmore: Absolutely. So the Heartland Institute is about 37 years old. And we are an independent and national nonprofit organization. So we have that 501-C3 status. And our mission is to discover and develop free-market solutions to social and economic problems. Generally, the way that translates is we just don’t like a lot of heavy government oversight regulation.

We think that states should always maintain, have, and push for as much sovereignty as they should. And so we are headquartered in Illinois as you mentioned around the Chicago area. And we just focus on providing local and elected state officials with research to push policy that goes along with our mission.

Leahy: So you wrote a great piece last week. Why Big Tech Censorship is Super Scary. The subtitle says, the rapid innovation of technology and the ways in which it affects our daily lives has baffled those of us who remember the pre-digital and dial-up days.

Fillmore: Absolutely.

Leahy: Talk to us a little bit about this alarming and frightening trend of Big Tech domination of individual liberty and what states and individuals should do about it.

Fillmore: Of course. So as we all know overnight basically in the blip of human time we saw this huge emergence of these massive innovations of Internet social media platforms. And there was something really good about that. It elevated this national conversation and political discourse to kind of become the modern-day public square for people to discuss their opinions and listen to thought. And that is still a miraculous thing.

But with that, we have allowed it to become factored into the hand than to a handful of powerful tech titans. And unfortunately, the way that laws are right now, they’re protected from liability and they operate as monopolies which has led to Americans becoming fearful. They see a lot of prominent and especially conservative politicians or people that might not have any viewpoint that falls out of the normal lose their ability to speak. And at what point does that stop? At what point does that just become the trend? And you get into the Orwellian almost dystopian novel of being silenced and unwritten.

Leahy: Some states have been pushing back in North Dakota some legislators proposed legislation that could or would allow the citizens of that state to sue Facebook or Google if they censored them unnecessarily. And that’s been quite controversial. I know your associate there who is the director of government relations Cameron Sholty had submitted testimony before the North Dakota House Judiciary Committee on that legislation. Tell us a little bit about that issue and where you see that going?

Fillmore: Absolutely. So we actually currently now know that there’s somewhere between a dozen and 15 states that have already begun to propose legislation that looks like that. And if not, we are speaking to them and try and help them craft that. So this will definitely be a sweeping legislative trend for the 2021 session.

And that’s important because every state legislature is meeting this year, which is not always the case. so pretty much as I’m sure you know, President Trump signed his executive order on social media censorship in May 2020. And that cracked down the ability of the Communication Decency Act and Section 230 for social media outlets to begin to censor.

Leahy: And if we can stop here just for a moment. You’re talking about Section 230 of the 1996 national law called the Communications Decency which prohibited citizens from suing Facebook and Google and other social media outlets for censoring them. Critics have said what they’re doing is they’re privatizing the government’s ability to violate First Amendment rights. That’s the criticism of it.

Fillmore: Yes sir it is. That is correct. So the way that it’s written and what in the law of Section 230 it absorbs these large platforms from ever having to be liable for material that their users post because they are just simply hosting platforms. However, the more that they censor certain tweets or certain people they turn into an editorial context.

So then the logic is that if you’re that in turn to this editorial contact, you should then be able to be liable for these actions. And the way that states are fighting against that such as North Dakota are is with legislation that would allow that you said private citizens to take private action in court if they feel that they have been silenced unnecessarily.

What is important to note about this is that it does have to be proven through all this legislation that they did not break any of the Good Samaritan laws or rules-based in the industry that goes along with posting. Which I think should be fair. Obviously, anyone outwardly pushing for violence was saying atrocious things which we have seen on social media that that does violate the terms and conditions that you sign up for and some of these platforms.

But if you were saying something simply political or something that has nothing to do with politics until it got taken down and you were still within those agreements then that is actionable to be taken into a court of law.

Leahy: So give us an update on the possibility and likelihood that this legislation in North Dakota will move towards passage in both the House and the Senate and then signature by Governor Doug Burgum.

Fillmore: Well, it is still pretty early in the legislative process however, the committee meetings are going very well. And I am very confident in the ability of the good legislators in North Dakota to see the value in this. And it is a concern for both the Senators and the Representatives that I know in North Dakota but also around the nation. I think this could be sweeping legislation that has lasting effects and can stick in many states and hopefully go across a multitude of Governors’ desks.

Listen to the full second hour here:


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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Samantha Fillmore” by The Heartland Institute. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Host Leahy and Crom Carmichael Take Listener Calls Regarding Big Tech and Censorship

Host Leahy and Crom Carmichael Take Listener Calls Regarding Big Tech and Censorship

 

Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the studio who took calls from listeners weighing in on the constitutionality of Section 230 and Big Tech’s ability to censor free speech.

Leahy: Crom, I thought that was a very interesting dialogue with Akiva Cohen the attorney who was defending the constitutionality of this Section 230 and defending Big Tech.

Carmichael: Well, he’s not just defending Section 230. He’s defending the actions and that’s what’s key. He’s defending the actions of the Big Tech companies because there is an in spite of what he said about Skokie, Illinois, that’s not really the issue.

Leahy: It had nothing to do with the argument. What he said was accurate, but it wasn’t relevant.

Leahy: Exactly. We’ve got a lot of that these days Crom.

Carmichael: And we’ll have to have him back on because at some point there will be a case that that will determine whether or not his position or the position of these writers in The Wall Street Journal is accurate. Because the Supreme Court has ruled on numerous occasions that if the federal government gives an exemption to a private organization that the government itself cannot do then that is unconstitutional.

They’ve ruled that in a number of cases. Here is what they’re saying. I’m going to quote. ‘Section 230 is the carrot and there’s also a stick. Congressional Democrats have repeatedly made explicit threats to social media giants if they failed to censor speech those lawmakers disfavored in April 2019.’ In Louisiana representative, Cedric Richmond warned Facebook and Google that they ‘better’ restrict what he and his colleagues saw as harmful content or face regulation. Nadler did the same thing. So there are a number of other examples.

Leahy: It makes Google and Facebook state actors.

Carmichael: Yes. Well, there are a number of other examples that show that the government threatened Facebook and Google and I’d like to know whether or not Akiva believes that the federal government has the right to stifle what Trump says or what Candace Owen says. And my guess is he would say no, that the First Amendment protects their rights.

Leahy: Yeah. I think you’re probably right there.

Carmichael: So there will be a court case at some point. And North Dakota is passing a law saying that people from North Dakota can sue and this issue will come up in that lawsuit.

Leahy: If that law passes there will be a lawsuit in a federal court that will determine it. I think that they would rule in favor of North Dakota. But we’ll see.

Carmichael: There will have to be somebody in North Dakota. Some individual in North Dakota who is D platformed.

Leahy: And then sues.

Carmichael: And then sues for being de-platformed and then the issue will come up.

Leahy: Well the phones have lit up Crom! Carl in Murfreesboro wants to talk about this issue. Carl good morning.

Caller Carl: Well good morning. I’ll tell you what. Y’all just have some of the most interesting guests. And I was calling and I’m not going to comment on the other Carl said a couple of weeks ago, but I was thinking about that guy. I didn’t know where he was coming from and then at the end I realized what he was saying.

And the reason I was calling you is that I couldn’t tell you this case, but I was listening to I think Mark Levin and he had Glenn Beck on. And Glenn Beck brought up a very interesting case from 1946. And this would be for Crom or you Michael to investigate. But back in 1946, the Supreme Court ruled that a corporation cannot infringe basically on the civil rights of an individual.

He said that a farmer is freer on his own land with his own tractor. So I could cut through the chase on all this mess of opinions and for and what you’re wanting to say and what you can’t say. I have to look at it if we can go back to the Jim Crow laws and discrimination. What we need to do is look at this. This is no different than saying I’m a White guy and a Black guy is not allowed in my restaurant.

Leahy: Hold on. Let’s get Crom responding to that Carl.

Carmichael: Well what you have here, and I’m not really disagreeing with you because I think the protections that are provided by section 230 are now unconstitutional because of the actions of the protected parties. So if Section 230 were to be ruled unconstitutional then what you’re saying would it would happen. What they’re trying to do is they’re trying to claim that Section 230 allows them to discriminate.

I think you’re exactly right. That’s what they’re arguing. They are allowed to discriminate against a Black person, against a gay person, and against anybody they want to because Section 230 allows it. now what these people arguing is that no they don’t have that right because by doing what they are doing they are acquiescing to the threats made to them by government officials. And that therefore Section 230 does not protect them. They are now by legal term state actors.

Leahy: The phones are lighting up. We thank Carl in Murfreesboro for that call and we go on now to Colin in Nashville who wants to talk about Akiva Cohen’s argument that Section 230 is is perfectly okay. Colin, you’re on the Tennessee Star Report.

Caller Colin: Hey, good morning gentlemen. The way he was going about his argument and how he explained how Section 230 came into being was because of a defamation issue with CompuServe. But what he didn’t really point out was that free speech doesn’t mean that everything can be said. There is protected speech and there’s unprotected speech.

Defamation is unprotected speech just like things like National Security. You can’t give away government secrets because that’s unprotected speech. But what Section 230 is done has allowed those corporations to discriminate against protected speech. And I think that should be one of the bigger issues brought up because political opinion is 100 percent protected speech. So for them to say that they can discriminate against protected speech I think maybe a little bit of a different avenue that could be taken in regards to Section 230.

Carmichael: And that’s really what the argument being made by the writers in The Wall Street Journal. What they’re claiming is that if it were not for the fact that Democrats in Congress had threatened Big Tech telling them if you don’t eliminate speech that we disagree with we’re going to take away your protection under Section 230. And then each one of these companies then did exactly what the Democrats demanded that they do.

And so that is what these authors are saying makes these companies now state actors. Because they have done what government itself would not be able to do constitutionally. The government could not say Trump does not have a right to speak. But the Democrats threaten Twitter and Facebook and Google saying if you don’t deny them their right to free speech because we disagree with what they’re saying. Not because they’re dropping the F-bomb or this type of thing or that they’re even lying, they just don’t agree with the opinions. And so that’s really where this hinges Colin. So I agree with Colin.

Leahy: Are you an attorney by any chance Colin?

Colin: No, I met one of your Millennial listeners. I’m only 30.

Leahy: There are attorneys who are aged 30. But you’ve made a very good grounded legal argument.

Carmichael: Obviously you’ve stayed at a Holiday Inn Express. (Laughter)

Leahy: Just out of curiosity, what do you do for a living Colin?

Colin: I’ve been in the United States Marine Corps for the last 12 years.

Leahy: There you go. Are you still in the Marine Corps?

Carmichael: Thank you for your service.

Colin: I am currently on a program to the commission to become an officer. So I’m actually I’m studying political science at Tennessee State University.

Leahy: There you go.

Colin: I’m outnumbered.

Leahy: What are those classes like Colin? The Marine studying politics at Tennessee State University. How how does that go?

Colin: Oh, they’re interesting. But I fully understand my First Amendment rights and that being a student there I can’t express my opinion. And I have no issue at all arguing with whatever other opinions are brought up. So I have a whole lot of fun in every one of those classes.

Carmichael: And the state of Tennessee cannot tell Colin what he can and can’t say.

Colin: Exactly.

Carmichael: But nor can a company that has protections from the state or protections given to it by the state. Nor can it do the bidding of one particular party. That’s really what the issue is here. And whether or not they are what is defined by the courts as a state actor.

Leahy: Colin, call in again. And by the way, thank you for your service. And we wish you the best of luck in getting that officer’s commission in the Marine Corps.

Colin: Thank you. And I appreciate the support.

Listen to the full third hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Online Censorship” by Mike Mackenzie CC BY 2.0.