Feminist Author Dr. Naomi Wolf Weighs In on Events Leading Up to Her Permanent Twitter Ban

Feminist Author Dr. Naomi Wolf Weighs In on Events Leading Up to Her Permanent Twitter Ban

 

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 liberal, feminist, author, and freedom lover Dr. Naomi Wolf to the newsmakers line to discuss her permanent ban from Twitter after questioning COVID vaccines, citing current state legislation and Moderna website published content.

Leahy: And we are welcoming to our newsmaker line. Our good friend Dr. Naomi Wolf, the author of the 1991 feminist classic, The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women.

She was an advisor to Al Gore in 2000. And now the left doesn’t like her because she’s talking about some health freedom issues. Good morning, Naomi.

Wolf: Good morning to you. How are you?

Leahy: I’m glad to have you on. So Twitter has suspended you? Oh, my goodness. What did you do? (Laughs)

Wolf: (Chuckles) Well, that is a good question. I certainly didn’t violate any of the Twitter rules, and Twitter is set up so that there’s no way to know why you’re suspended. There’s no one to call and there’s no editor to challenge this decision about.

I know it’s widely reported that I was de-platformed for reporting on adverse reactions to the COVID vaccine. And it is true that I’ve broken some stories about that which were picked up in many other news outlets, and I’m proud of the reporting I did.

People deserve all the information about any medical process. But I don’t believe that’s the real reason I was actually de-platformed in the act of posting a two-minute video in which I literally read verbatim a press release from a state senator in Oregon named Kim Thatcher, who had introduced a bill to ban vaccine passports and mask mandates in the state of Oregon.

There were a couple of other things that I had posted that day that I also think were over the target, honestly. So that is my best guess about why I was de-platformed.

Leahy: The mainstream media has reported and they apparently know why you were de-platformed, right?

Wolf: Yeah. Which is such terrible reporting. A, nobody in the news media has called me for comment to find out from me why I think I was de-platformed or what I actually said. And a lot of tweets have been taken out of context.

But if Twitter won’t talk to me about why I was de-platformed then who’s talking to mainstream media? Right. It’s almost as if they’re just making it up or else Twitter is leaking to news outlets without giving me the courtesy of contacting me and saying, look we are de-platforming you for this reason.

It’s dangerous and scary, not just because of what happened to me and my 140,000 followers who now can’t talk to me. It’s really much more dangerous and scary for everybody else out there and for democracy because if indeed, the reason was that I was reporting a transparent civic process, a state bill, then that means Twitter and these big tech platforms have the power to silence one side of the aisle or one side of the political discussion even though I’m not a Republican.

Which is the irony. And only let people hear about bills on the Dem side. And we’ve seen the de-platforming of conservative voices across a range of voices and commentators. So that’s really, really scary.

That quickly becomes a one-party state in the Chinese Communist Party model. So that’s super terrifying. And it’s also super terrifying because this is the world that we’re living in now. It’s not going to stop just me.

If somebody says something about the administration that is not okay or reveals some flaw in a product then that industry has a lot of power, it’s really a way to suppress dissent and debate. And that’s just not American.

Leahy: Naomi, in studio with us this morning is our all-star panelist, Clint Brewer. Clint is a recovering journalist, and Clint has a question for you. (Wolf chuckles)

Brewer: I haven’t fully recovered, so I’m going to ask a question live on the air. Ms. Wolf, some of the language around medical freedom concerning the pandemic is not dissimilar to language around pro-choice arguments.

Wolf: Right.

Brewer: You’ve got a nuanced history on the issue of abortion. For the listeners reconcile your positions on medical freedom as it relates to COVID and on abortion. And do you think there’s a growing number of people who share that sentiment that I think you’ll explain?

Wolf: I’m not sure I fully understand your question. I think what you’re saying and I’ve made this point on Twitter is that liberal feminists like myself who are pro-choice, have always had a gospel of my body, my choice and that it is really dangerous and unethical when the state can say, you have to have this baby or you can’t have an abortion or any other kind of forced decision making by the state that gets between a woman and her doctor, a woman, and her body. Is that the analogy you’re looking for?

Brewer: Exactly. And it sounds like a similar argument to medical freedom around COVID. I mean, people should be able to make a choice about masks. They should be able to have a choice about vaccines and control their body in between them and their health care professionals.

Wolf: Yes. I mean, I do agree with you, and I would go further. I think with abortion, good people can reasonably make arguments in both directions. But when it comes to whether or not to wear masks, whether or not to accept an experimental medical procedure, which is still the COVID-19 vaccine that hasn’t completed its clinical trials.

I would go further and say, really, there are so many laws, including the Constitution, that make it unlawful to coerce people to have that vaccine. It’s unlawful. It violates HIPAA, for instance, to have a vaccine passport system.

It violates the Fourth Amendment and the Right to Privacy to ask whether someone’s vaccinated or not vaccinated before they can enter a business, which is what was happening to me when I was in New York City, where the signs like this all over the city.

It violates the Equality Act to say, and I’m hearing from people across the country, you can’t have a job unless you get vaccinated. Your child can’t go back to college unless he or she accepts this experimental vaccination.

I’m not an anti-vaxxer, but I absolutely believe in the rule of law and the Constitution and our human rights law that you need a convention. You can’t force a medical treatment on people.

It’s illegal to experiment on people. That’s the Nuremberg Code. We have a nexus laws in the free world that prevents us from being forced to accept medical treatment or from being experimented on.  My condition is not anti-vaccine, and I wouldn’t even call it medical freedom. It’s just Western democracy with its rule of law.

Leahy: Naomi, Yahoo News about 22 hours ago posted this story about you. I’ll read it and get your reaction. ‘Twitter has suspended author Naomi Wolf after she posted outlandish vaccine misinformation on the platform, including a claim that the shots were a ‘software platform that can receive uploads.’ Did Yahoo contact you before they wrote that story? And what’s your reaction to that?

Wolf: Well, they certainly did not. And this is such a gross example of big news outlets that really rely now, and I’m in the news business and I know your guest is there as well. They really rely on a kind of unholy partnership with Big Tech. The language in that Tweet is from the Moderna website.

And they were boasting on the website that their lipid nano-particle technology is like software that you can kind of upload or change in the future. And they were boasting about that as a revenue model, as opposed to a traditional vaccine where you just get it once.

After I reported on that, we did hear that there were going to be booster shots. There are going to be booster shots and it’s not just going to be one injection. I literally used the language off the Moderna website and their analogy.

And the trouble with Twitter, of course, is you can take these out of context. And certainly, Yahoo News has no excuse for taking that out of context.

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 “Dr. Naomi Wolf” by Dr. Naomi Wolf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TechLife: New York Attorney Akiva Cohen Weighs in on Section 230 Laws and Freedom of Speech

TechLife: New York Attorney Akiva Cohen Weighs in on Section 230 Laws and Freedom of Speech

 

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 New York City attorney Akiva Cohen to the newsmakers line to discuss the dynamics of the Section 230 law citing how it is constitutional in relation to the recently proposed state law by North Dakota legislators that would allow citizens to sue Facebook, Google, and Twitter.

Leahy: We are delighted to welcome you to our newsmakers line to joining myself and all-star panelist Crom Carmichael Mr. Akiva Cohen. He is an attorney in New York City and a graduate of Columbia Law School where he was a Harlan Fisk Stone Scholar. Pretty smart guy. And also drew my interest because Mr. Cohen has commented on a proposed North Dakota law that would allow residents to sue Facebook, Google, Twitter, and all those folks. Mr. Cohen welcome to the Tennessee Star Report.

Cohen: Thank you, Michael. Thank you for having me on. I appreciate you guys making me jealous right at the start of this.

Leahy: Why are we making you jealous?

Cohen: You had me holding on listening to the radio through your weather report. It’s not going to hit 64 degrees here in New York for another several months.

Leahy: Akiva, let me do this. Now I know you practice law in New York City but you are a smart guy. We have no state income tax here in Tennessee (Cohen chuckles) and we have lots of great law firms. You all should think about coming down sometime. Crom wants to say something to you.

Carmichael: But yeah, the first test is, you know when we get into the back and forth on the question at hand is you’re going to have to defend living in New York. (Laughter)

Cohen: This is by far the most pleasant place in the world to be a Jets fan and there are not really many places where it’s pleasant to be a Jets fan. So, you know.

Leahy: All right. Well look, so caught our attention because you know, one of the themes of this program is that right now there needs to be pushback from state governments against the usurpations of the national federal government. that’s our key theme of this program. And we saw an article about six state legislators in North Dakota who had introduced a state law that’s not under consideration that would allow residents of North Dakota to sue Facebook and Google and Twitter if they censor them. And you actually don’t think that that’s got much of a chance. Tell us your argument.

Cohen: So there are a couple of problems. The first problem is just a purely straightforward technical legal problem, which is the Constitution has a supremacy clause. The supremacy clause says that if the federal government steps in and regulates something in an area where it has authority state governments can’t vary from that.

So for example, if the federal government says look, for purposes of interstate commerce we want to make sure that money and goods can flow through freely and therefore no state can impose a tariff on steel. You can’t have a state that comes in and says, well, you know what federal government that’s very nice, we’d like to impose a tariff on steel. That won’t be allowed.

The immunity section that these North Dakota legislators are trying to override is Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which says that basically, internet companies can allow comments on their websites. And if they moderate user content on their website, they can’t be sued for what they do in moderating it. and in that section it expressly says and this preempts any contrary state law.

This is Congress making a policy decision that this is best for Interstate Commerce and no state law can vary from it. So right at the outset, you can’t have a state law that says well, we don’t care federal government, we’re going to create a state cause of action to sue for the very thing that you said nobody can be sued for and by the way, where pre-empting state law. So it’s dead in the water. the question then becomes aside from the fact that is dead in the water legally the straightforwardly, as a policy matter is this really something that we want? And to me, that’s the more interesting question.

Leahy: And Akiva, if you could hold with us. When we come back we’re going to push back…

Carmichael: On the part that he says is the most important policy matter. I like that. That would be a good discussion.

Leahy: Well just as a heads up. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Vivek Ramaswamy and Jed Rubenfeld, but they had a contrary view in The Wall Street Journal will talk to you about that after the break.

(Commercial break)

Leahy: I’m going to read an excerpt brief excerpt from an article in The Wall Street Journal. I don’t know if you read it by Vivek Ramaswamy and Jed Rubenfeld. Have you seen this article?

Cohen: I’ve seen bits and pieces of it. I’m looking forward to hearing.

Leahy: I’ll read the excerpt and get your reaction to it. Conventional wisdom holds that technology companies are free to regulate content because they are private and the first amendment protects only against government censorship. That view is wrong. Google, Facebook, and Twitter should be treated as state actors under existing legal doctrines using a combination of statutory inducements and regulatory threats Congress has co-opted Silicon Valley to do through the back door what government cannot directly accomplish under the Constitution.

It is axiomatic the Supreme Court held in Norwood versus Harrison in 1973 that the government ‘may not induce encourage or promote private persons to accomplish what is constitutionally forbidden to accomplish.’ That’s what Congress did by enacting section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. Well, there it is. What’s your reaction Akiva?

Cohen: So my reaction is it fundamentally misunderstands Section 230. So Section 230 was enacted not in an attempt to induce anybody to censor things but to protect decisions that tech companies had already made that there was certain content they didn’t want on their servers. And essentially what had happened was somebody sued CompuServe because on a CompuServe message board where one CompuServe user had posted something defamatory about another CompuServe user.

And CompuServe in that litigation basically said look, we don’t have anything to do with that. This is between two users. We didn’t post it. We didn’t write it. We didn’t review it. And what the court there said was, yeah, but when people post things that for example offered to sell cocaine or offer to sell drugs you delete that stuff. So you have the capacity to moderate and you didn’t moderate it here.

So we are going to hold you liable for the private defamation that one of your users committed against another user. And this was a pretty big problem. And it’s a big problem because people keep misunderstanding what the internet is because we write stuff on the internet. So people think about the internet the same way they think about books or newspapers.

But really the internet Michael is more like your talk radio show. Users post things on websites without the website being able to review them in advance and decide if this something I want to be published or not. And I assume you guys have a seven-second delay or something on here in case I lose my mind and start cursing. But I got to ask you. If you were in a situation where you didn’t have a seven-second delay and any time a caller called your radio show they could say something that would expose you to millions of dollars in liability and legal costs. How many callers do you think you would have on your radio show?

Carmichael: Let me jump in. This is Crom Carmichael. I think you’re approaching it from one direction but that’s not what the issue is today. The issue today is not somebody posting something and then somebody else wanting to sue. The issue today is that these large companies are picking and choosing who they would like to be able to express themselves on their platforms.

And that’s an entirely different thing that is proactively telling Candace Owens a black female that she will not have a Twitter account. It’s telling Candace Owen, a Black female she cannot have a Facebook page. It is telling Brandon Straka a gay person that he cannot have a Twitter account because they don’t like what he is saying. So that’s the issue. The issue today is they are discriminating against particular points of view rather than doing what Section 230 is supposed to do. And that is to make them so that they can allow all parties to debate with each other and not be sued.

Cohen: Sure. But now you’re making a different argument than the argument in The Wall Street Journal. The Wall Street Journal piece said well, this is really state action because really what happened was Congress enacted Section 230 because it wanted private companies to have the ability, and to specifically they wanted them to engage in viewpoint discrimination.

So really when these private companies are engaging in viewpoint discrimination and saying we don’t want this type of topic or this type of commentary on our website it’s not really private. It’s really Congress doing it through other means and my point is it wasn’t Congress doing it through other means. That’s not what Section 230 was enacted to do.

As you said, what Section 230 was enacted to do was to provide a liability shield that enabled private companies to decide for themselves what type of content they want to have on their website. That to me is a core First Amendment right that anybody who cares about free speech should defend. One of my heroes from way before I ever became a lawyer was David Goldberger.

I don’t know if you guys know the story of David Goldberger, but he’s the Jewish ACLU lawyer who defended the Nazis marching through Skokie, Illinois in the 70s when Skokie, Illinois said look, we really don’t like Nazis. We don’t want them coming through. So we’re just going to ban them not because of any sort of neutral principle, but because they’re Nazis and we don’t like Nazi speech.

And it fell to a Jewish ACLU lawyer to say look, I don’t like their speech. But you the government have no right to say that they can’t engage in it just like any other group. And what that really comes down to is I may not like the moderation decisions that any particular private platform or website is making. They may not be the decisions that I personally would make. But it is critical from any First Amendment standpoint and from a free-speech standpoint that private parties get to make those decisions.

Carmichael: My argument is that members of Congress have threatened Big Tech with taking away their 230 protections if they don’t stifle speech that the members of Congress disagree with. And Big Tech has done exactly what those governments threateners demanded that they do. And so therefore that makes them a state actor.

Cohen: There the response to that isn’t to then say oh, well, then we should take away the 230 protection. It’s to reinforce that and to push back on the people who are saying you make your moderation decisions the way we want you to make moderation decisions, or if you don’t we’re going to open you up to all sorts of lawsuits. That would be the problem.

Carmichael: Does Candace Owens a Black person does she have a right to sue Big Tech for de-monetizing her?

Cohen: No, absolutely not. Not if she’s Black or if she’s White.

Carmichael: I thought we had federal anti-discrimination laws. And if we do and if she was being barred because of a protected characteristic, so if a tech company was barring somebody from their services because they were Black. Because they were gay. Because they were male. Because they were female. It doesn’t matter which one. If that was the basis for kicking them off the platform then that would be something that you could bring an anti-discrimination suit on.

Leahy: The basis is they don’t like what she’s saying.

Carmichael: So what you’re saying is these platforms are free to tell people who have a different point of view from the owners that the owners of these sites have a right to take away their first amendment rights?

Cohen: 100 percent.

Leahy: On that note Akiva. We have more to discuss. I think you’re also saying 230 is not unconstitutional?

Cohen: 100 percent.

Leahy: All right, we will continue the dialogue. Please come back because we’re going to load with more arguments of logic and perhaps law then and see what you have to say with them. Thanks, Akiva for joining us.

Cohen: My pleasure. Thank you, guys.

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 “Akiva Cohen” by Kamerman, Uncyk, Soniker & Klein

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Talks About His Letter to Governor Lee About Forced Investment to Companies that Censor

Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Talks About His Letter to Governor Lee About Forced Investment to Companies that Censor

 

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 Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles to the newsmakers line.

At the top of the second hour, Ogles explained his recent proposal to Governor Bill Lee suggesting Tennessee discontinue doing business or any investing in support of companies that advocate for censorship. He continued to voice his concern noting that the United States is in a situation where non-governmental agencies and government tell you what you can and can’t say and when you can and cannot say it.

Leahy: And our guest on the newsmaker line Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles. Welcome, Andy.

Ogles: Good morning. How are you?

Leahy: I’m great. Yesterday you made some news and you sent a letter to Governor Bill Lee and Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally and Speaker of the House Cam Sexton. I’ll read from this and then just get your reaction. ‘Tennessee and should not be forced to invest in support the very companies that are conspiring to silence them.

Furthermore, the state of Tennessee should refrain from doing business with these companies by way of prohibition of advertising on Google, Facebook or Twitter. And a prohibition of Amazon Services until such time these companies admit their errors and remove said censorship and prohibitions from their respective platforms. Have you received any response to this proposal yet Andy?

Ogles: Not directly from leadership. But last night I had several members of both in the Senate and the House reach out to me thanking me for taking a bold stance and thought that it would be great and that they were going to work on legislation to try to get introduced. Now just to set expectations, you know, they convened for session. They are in their organizational phase but then next week they go into special session which will last three to five days. and then they’ll recess till probably March or April. So there’s not much going to be done from the legislature outside of education just because of the way it’s structured this year.

Leahy: Gotcha, so, What would be the very specific proposals? And has anybody said I’m going to sponsor such a proposal?

Ogles: Not yet. But you know, when you think about it and a lot of people realize that states across the country they have retirement plans and they have huge cash amounts dollars that they have to invest. They have budget surpluses etc. And so the state of Tennessee, the state of Florida, Utah, South Carolina, etc., they’re all huge institutional investors.

So, you know up there, you know in Nashville, you know, we’ve got 100 or 150 or so in a department and that’s all they do is invest Tennessee’s money. and so, you know these states have a lot of power. And look you can like Trump you can hate trump. It doesn’t matter. The fact that they have censored the president of the United States is incredibly concerning, period.

And that’s why you’re seeing the chancellor of Germany, the president of France, the president of Mexico and Brazil all saying hold on a minute. This is wrong. You can disagree with this man. and you know in France and Mexico their respective leaders don’t like President Trump, so it’s not like they’re in love with this man, but they understand we’re in a state where suddenly the President of the United States can be blocked, banned, censored and there’s no recourse.

They just have all the authority. And this is a scary time. We’re an Orwellian time today. I hate to be a conspiracy theorist, but now we’re in a situation where you have non-governmental agencies and the government telling you what you can and can’t say and when you can and cannot say it. And that’s the United States, I’m not talking about Venezuela. I’m talking about here in our country now.

Leahy: How big is this investment fund that the state of Tennessee has under its control? Is it like 100 million a 150 million? How big is it?

Ogles: Well, yeah, I don’t know the answer to that. We have a rainy day fund and we have budget surpluses. We have funded pension funds. So you’re talking upwards of a billion dollars.

Leahy: There’s a let’s say there are a billion dollars. And that billion dollars is typically invested in bonds and stocks. and a lot of that if it’s a typical stock portfolio, you would have a lot of investment I would think in Google and Facebook and Twitter, I would guess right?

Ogles: You would assume. And so once these states and it would only take a handful to suddenly pull out of Twitter to pull off some of these technology companies and hits them and punish them through their stock. The other thing that can be done is just simply not Google advertising. Don’t advertise it on Twitter or Facebook. And you know, what’s unfortunate is that you know, Facebook has become and Twitter has become a major form of communication.

So they have gone beyond just being a business being part of the media. And so they’re in a hybrid situation of where yes their company. You know, it’s one thing to let’s say you were I or on Twitter or on Facebook and we post something that’s inflammatory or shouldn’t be posted. I get it. They have the right to delete that particular post. But to blatantly block and then delete the President of the United States again, I don’t care if you’re a Republican or Democrat or Independent, that should concern you to a degree that you can’t sleep at night.

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