RESTRICT Act Is Orwellian Censorship Grab Disguised As Anti-TikTok Legislation
The RESTRICT Act, introduced by Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tom Thune (R-SD), is aimed at blocking or disrupting transactions and financial holdings linked to foreign adversaries that pose a risk to national security, however the language of the bill could be used to give the US government enormous power to punish free speech.
Warner, a longtime opponent of free speech who, as Michael Krieger pointed out in 2018 (and confirmed in the Twitter Files) pushed for the ‘weaponization’ of big tech, crafted the RESTRICT act to “ake swift action against technology companies suspected of cavorting with foreign governments and spies, to effectively vanish their products from shelves and app stores when the threat they pose gets too big to ignore,” according to Wired.
Bad actors listed in the bill are; China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela.
In reality, the RESTRICT Act has very little to do with TikTok and everything to do with controlling online content.
In very specific terms a lot of U.S. websites would be impacted. Why? Because a lot of websites use third-party ‘plug-ins’ or ‘widgets’ or software created in foreign countries to support the content on their site. The “Restrict Act” gives the DNI the ability to tell a website using any “foreign content” or software; that might be engaged in platform communication the U.S Government views as against their interests; to shut down or face a criminal charge. In very direct terms, the passage of SB686 would give the Dept of Commerce, DNI and DHS the ability to shut down what you are reading right now. This is a big deal. –The Last Refuge
The RESTRICT Act can also be used to punish people using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) if they’re used to access banned websites, and directs the Secretary of Commerce to “identify, deter, disrupt, prevent, prohibit, investigate, or otherwise mitigate” that which is deemed a national security risk associated with technology linked to the above countries.
Penalties include fines of up to $1 million or 20 years in prison, or both.
More via Reason:
The language describing who the RESTRICT ACT applies to is confusing at best. The commerce secretary would be authorized to take steps to address risks posed by “any covered transaction by any person,” right? So what counts as a covered transaction? The bill states that this means “a transaction in which an entity described in subparagraph (B) has any interest.” Entities described in subparagraph B are a “foreign adversary; an entity subject to the jurisdiction of, or organized under the laws of, a foreign adversary; and an entity owned, directed, or controlled by” either of these. Foreign adversaries can be “any foreign government or regime” that the secretary deems a national security threat.
It’s a bit gobbledygooked, but this could be read to imply that “any person” using a VPN to access an app controlled by a “foreign adversary” or its alleged minions is subject to the secretary’s ire. Hence anyone using a VPN to access TikTok would be in trouble—specifically, subject to up to $1 million in fines, 20 years in prison, or both.
According to Warner’s office, however, the provisions only apply when someone is “engaged in ‘sabotage or subversion’ of communications technology in the U.S., causing ‘catastrophic effects’ on U.S. critical infrastructure, or ‘interfering in, or altering the result’ of a federal election in order for criminal penalties to apply,” and would target “companies like Kaspersky, Huawei and TikTok … not individual users.”
Except that the bill specifically says; “no person may cause or aid, abet, counsel, command, induce, procure, permit, or approve the doing of any act prohibited by, or the omission of any act required by any regulation, order, direction, mitigation measure, prohibition, or other authorization or directive issued under, this Act.”
So that was bullshit.
Tucker Carlson had a great recent segment on this featuring Glenn Greenwald.
Here are the Republicans supporting the RESTRICT Act.
- Sen. Thune, John [R-SD]
- Sen. Fischer, Deb [R-NE]
- Sen. Moran, Jerry [R-KS]
- Sen. Sullivan, Dan [R-AK]
- Sen. Collins, Susan M. [R-ME]
- Sen. Romney, Mitt [R-UT]
- Sen. Capito, Shelley Moore [R-WV]
- Sen. Cramer, Kevin [R-ND]
- Sen. Grassley, Chuck [R-IA]
- Sen. Tillis, Thomas [R-NC]
- Sen. Graham, Lindsey [R-SC]
And that’s really all you need to know…This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
Colorado Bans Court-Ordered “Brainwashing” Camps For Abused Minors
Colorado has become the first state in the nation to ban court-ordered camps where children are ‘reunified’ with a parent who has been accused of abusing them.
These reunification camps are used by family court judges to settle private custody disputes or divorces involving minors. As part of the order, camp workers are sometimes given temporary custody of the children so they can legally take them from their homes. While at the camp, children are forced into what some have described as a “brainwashing technique” that the camps call “reunification therapy.”
According to Tina Swithin, Founder of One Mom’s Battle, forcing children back into a relationship with an abusive parent is essentially “court-ordered child trafficking,” the Epoch Times reports.
Evita Tolu, an attorney in Missouri where she has represented children forced into reunification counseling with an abusive parent, called the practice “kafkaesque”—a term based on German novelist Franz Kafka who wrote stories about characters who were subject to severely bizarre bureaucratic powers.
The Epoch Times reached out for comment from the three major court-ordered reunification camps: Family Bridges, Turning Points for Families, and Lynn Steinberg’s reunification camp. None responded.
Some children sent to the camps have described being dragged out of their homes by transport workers, being handcuffed, and transported to an unknown place. Some children have alleged undergoing degrading punishments if they don’t say they love the parent who allegedly abused them. -Epoch Times
“I was so terrified, I couldn’t stop shaking,” said one former ‘inmate’ of such camps, Allyson Bender, who recounted her experience in 2017 when she was 16-years-old.
More via the Epoch Times;
The Colorado law, which now bans judges from ordering children to attend reunification camps against their will came on the heels of a string of tragic murders of children within a month by Colorado parents awarded custodydespite having either convictions or pending allegations against them.
It also followed the results of a state audit that turned up evidence that at least one custody evaluator admitted he dismissed 90 percent of child abuse claims without investigating them.
The main trigger for ordering children to attend reunification camps is an allegation that they have made false allegations of child abuse against their parent as part of the other parent’s plot to alienate them from the accused parent.
As The Epoch Times and other media outlets have reported, family court judges have been found in a high number of cases to refuse to consider evidence of child abuse against a parent.
In some cases, the judges have ordered the suppression of criminal convictions of child abuse against a parent.Some parents who brought up past convictions have themselves been accused of parental alienation.
As part of the practice, the parent accused of “alienation” is often stripped of custody and children are ordered to undergo reunification therapy.
Court-ordered reunification has been denounced by several organizations including the American Psychiatric Association. Insurance companies will not insure the camps or the therapy administered. The therapy costs an average of $5,000 a day, according to bills shared with The Epoch Times by parents.
The length of the stay in the camps averages 90 days. But as one parent told The Epoch Times in March, his two girls were kept “indefinitely” at the reunification camp. They were forcibly transported by “transporters” in California under a family judge’s court order.
“Family court judges are basically doing whatever they want with our kids,” Riley, who says he went broke paying for the camps, told The Epoch Times.
In addition to the Colorado legislation, Swithin’s group has filed a class action lawsuit against the Turning Points for Families reunification camp and its owner Linda Gottlieb on behalf of several children who say there were abused at the camp.
Gottlieb did not respond to inquiries from The Epoch Times.
On its website, the camp, which operates nationwide, bills itself as “a therapeutic vacation” and refers to parental alienation as child abuse.
On its website, the caption under a picture of a child’s hand reaching out to an adult’s hand reads, “It is anti-instinctual to reject a parent—even an abusive parent.”
Other states are considering legislation similar to Colorado’s recently passed ban on courts ordering children to attend reunification camps.
Republican lawmakers in New Hampshire have tried repeatedly to pass legislation banning reunification therapy.
The lawmakers recently got the child and family law committee to form a special committee to study the state’s family court system.
The committee has so far held four hearings. Parents and advocates for court reform have been held to a strict five minutes to speak, while judges and other supporters of the court have been allowed to speak for up to an hour.This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
Man Convicted Of Nonviolent Crime Cannot Be Stripped Of Gun Rights: Appeals Court
A Philadelphia federal appeals court has ruled that a Pennsylvania man convicted of a nonviolent crime cannot be stripped of his 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.
Bryan Range was convicted in 1995 of one count of making a false statement to obtain food stamps amid a dire financial situation. He completed a three-year probation, made $2,500 in restitution, and has committed no crimes aside from minor traffic offenses and fishing without a license since then.
After he pleaded guilty in 1995, it was classified as a misdemeanor punishable by up to five years in jail – a conviction which technically made him ineligible to possess a firearm under federal law, which states that it is “unlawful for any person … who has been convicted in any court, of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year” to own guns or ammunition.
In 2021, a federal judge ruled against Range’s challenge. While his case was pending appeal, the US Supreme Court decided a landmark Second Amendment case which settled on a two-step test for the constitutionality of restrictions on firearms.
The two-step process, set forth by Supreme Court Justice Thomas Clarence, first requires the court to determine whether the Second Amendment’s “plain text” covers an individual’s conduct. If so, then that conduct is presumptively protected, and the government must prove that its law is “consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.” –Epoch Times
In applying the test to Range’s case, a majority of the judges agreed in an 11-4 ruling (pdf) delivered on June 6th that despite his criminal record, he remains one of “the people” protected by the 2nd Amendment, and therefore the burden fell on the US government to prove that disarming Range would conform to “historical tradition” dating to the nation’s founding.
“Yet the Government’s attempts to analogize those early laws to Range’s situation fall short,” wrote Circuit Judge Thomas Hardiman in the majority opinion.
The fact that people during the Early Republic era sometimes got executed for committing nonviolent crimes, according to Hardiman, doesn’t mean that the state, then or now, could constitutionally strip a felon of his Second Amendment rights if he was not executed, because “the greater does not necessarily include the lesser.”
“Because the Government has not shown that our Republic has a longstanding history and tradition of depriving people like Range of their firearms, [the federal law] cannot constitutionally strip him of his Second Amendment rights,” Hardiman wrote.
The judges did note that the June 6 decision is limited to Range’s individual circumstances: he was banned from owning guns because the nonviolent crime he committed decades ago carried a relatively lengthy maximum prison sentence. -Epoch Times
“Our decision today is a narrow one,” read the majority opinion. “Bryan Range challenged the constitutionality of [the federal law] only as applied to him given his violation of [the Pennsylvania law].”
As the Epoch Times notes further;
Circuit Judge Thomas Ambro, a Bill Clinton appointee, wrote a concurring opinion, saying that even though the government failed to carry its burden in this case, the federal felon-in-possession ban still stands lawful.
“This is so because it fits within our Nation’s history and tradition of disarming those persons who legislatures believed would, if armed, pose a threat to the orderly functioning of society. That Range does not conceivably pose such a threat says nothing about those who do,” Ambro wrote. “And I join the majority opinion with the understanding that it speaks only to his situation, and not to those of murderers, thieves, sex offenders, domestic abusers, and the like.”
Ambro was joined by Judges Joseph Greenaway and Tamika Montgomery-Reeves, who were appointed by Barack Obama and Joe Biden, respectively.
In one of the three dissenting opinions, Circuit Judge Patty Shwartz pointed to now-unconstitutional firearm bans on groups such as Native Americans, African Americans, Catholics, Quakers, and Loyalists. She argued that these restrictions, no matter how repugnant and unlawful they are today, serve as an analogy good enough to justify disarming people such as Range.
“The founders [of the United States] categorically disarmed the members of these groups because the founders viewed them as disloyal to the sovereign. The felon designation similarly serves as a proxy for disloyalty and disrespect for the sovereign and its laws,” the Obama appointee wrote. “Such categorization is especially applicable here, where Range’s felony involved stealing from the government, a crime that directly undermines the sovereign.”
Shwartz also warned that even though her colleagues have clarified that their opinion is “narrow,” the analytical framework they have applied to reach the conclusion could render most, if not all, felon firearm bans unconstitutional.
“The ruling is not cabined in any way and, in fact, rejects all historical support for disarming any felon,” she wroted. “As a result, the Majority’s analytical framework leads to only one conclusion: there will be no, or virtually no, felony or felony-equivalent crime that will bar an individual from possessing a firearm.
“This is a broad ruling and, to me, is contrary to both the sentiments of the Supreme Court and our history.”This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
Report: Fox News Tells Tucker Carlson He Is In Breach Of Contract By Posting Twitter Show
The network is considering suing Carlson, according to a report
According to a report by Axios, Tucker Carlson was contacted by Fox News after posting the first episode of his new show on Twitter, with his former network charging that he is now in breach of contract, and could be sued.
Fox News Wednesday notified Tucker Carlson’s lawyers that the former prime-time anchor violated his contract with the network when he launched his own Twitter show on Tuesday, according to a copy of a letter obtained by Axios.
Why it matters: A breach of contract claim sets Fox News up to explore potential legal action against Carlson, a move that would intensify the already thorny public battle between the two parties.
Carlson’s lawyers told Axios that any legal action by Fox would violate his First Amendment rights.
Carlson’s lawyer, Bryan Freedman, stated “Fox defends its very existence on freedom of speech grounds. Now they want to take Tucker Carlson’s right to speak freely away from him because he took to social media to share his thoughts on current events.”
According to the report, Fox News general counsel Bernard Gugar told Carlson’s people that “Fox expressly reserves all rights and remedies which are available to it at law or equity.”
“This evening we were made aware of Mr. Tucker Carlson’s appearance on Twitter in a video that lasted over 10 minutes,” Gugar’s letter reads.
It further notes that Carlson’s “services shall be completely exclusive to Fox,” and claims the host is “prohibited from rendering services of any type whatsoever, whether ‘over the internet via streaming or similar distribution, or other digital distribution whether now known or hereafter devised.'”
The report suggests that Carlson’s representatives are set to argue that Twitter is not a direct competitor of Fox News, and posts on the platform do not constitute a breach of his contract terms with the network.
Here is the epode in question, which now has over 100 MILLION views since it was posted just two days ago:
As we previously highlighted, Carlson doesn’t have any deal with Twitter and is posting like any other regular person.
Fox News hasn’t technically fired Carlson, it has just taken him off the air, meaning he is still locked into a contract until January 2025.
That means the popular host would be completely frozen out of being able to actively cover the 2024 presidential election.
Carlson’s detractors have voiced concern that should he be free to keep producing his own content, he will not be ‘policed’ or censored at all.
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