Monday Miscellany, 3/4/4

Monday Miscellany, 3/4/4 March 4, 2024

Who gets to have free speech?  Rejecting a church ad for “religious indoctrination.”  And the illegal immigrants from China.

Who Gets to Have Free Speech?

Supreme Court is hearing a case that could overthrow the laws of Florida and Texas that would prevent social media companies from censoring people’s speech on their platforms.  The question is whether such laws violate the social media companies’ free speech.

The Wall Street Journal editors believe they do, arguing that state governments should stay out of the business of regulating private companies’ editorial decisions.  But the paper also prints a contrary opinion, which brings up another aspect of the question:  the government pressuring social media to censor speech it doesn’t approve of.  The author of the op-ed piece, Philip Hamburger, says “only when common-carrier antidiscrimination rules are applied to the platforms will the federal government be fully precluded from imposing censorship through them.”  (The court will later take up another case, Murthy v. Missouri, which deals directly with that issue.)

He comments:

It’s only recently that Americans have needed a remedy against censorship. The government once couldn’t actually suppress speech; it could only punish the speaker, and for this it had to go to court. The government once had to go to court to charge a particular defendant with seditious libel or some other offense and prove its accusation. Now, the government can simply pressure or induce the dominant social-media platforms to suppress speech en masse. That approach doesn’t merely punish speakers; it snuffs out speech. And it places the onus of going to court on the censored individuals.

Part of the question is how to construe social media companies.  Are they a “common carrier,” like telephones?  No one censors what you are able to say on your phone.  Or are they a “publisher,” in which case the freedom of the press to publish or not publish what they want would kick in.

Rejecting a Church Ad for “Religious Indoctrination”

Hulen Street Church in Fort Worth wanted to publicize its new Thursday night service.  So it put together a 22 second ad and posted it on Facebook and Instagram.  The church took the next step of  deciding to advertise on the streaming service Hulu.

But Hulu turned down the ad, giving this explanation:

“[I]t was determined that your ad was rejected for failing to adhere to our advertising polices regarding religious advertising, specifically citing Religious Indoctrination due to asking viewers to attend Thursday services.”

Inviting people to attend a church service is defined as “religious indoctrination”–presumably because teaching and maybe even evangelism may occur–and so is out of bounds!

The Illegal Immigrants from China

When we think of the immigrants pouring across our southern border, we think of Mexicans and citizens of other Latin American countries.  But at the San Diego sector border, there are more Chinese nationals coming over than Mexican.

Since the new fiscal year started in October, some 21,000 Chinese citizens have been encountered by border control agents, second only to Colombia, with 28,000.  Mexicans are in third place with 18,000.  Then comes Brazil with 8,700, and Ecuador with 7,700.  Other immigrants have come from Turkey, Guinea, India, Guatemala and Peru.

Why are they coming?  To escape communism?  That would be a good reason, though the way to do that is to go through the legal channels as so many Chinese-Americans have done.  That it’s easier to go to Mexico and just cross our porous border is a testimony to our immigration crisis.

Are they coming to escape communism or are they sent by communism for some nefarious purpose?  I wonder if there is a connection to the Chinese involvement in the marijuana industry, both the legal and the illegal variety.  According to an article on the subject,

Much is still unknown about Chinese-funded cannabis cultivation — including whether the money is coming from groups with connections to the Communist Party, and how much of the cannabis produced through Chinese-funded grows stays within the U.S. or leaves the country. It’s also not clear how deeply involved Chinese organized crime syndicates are in American cannabis cultivation.

The article says that in Oklahoma, of the 7,000 growing operations, 3,000 have been flagged for suspicious activity.  Of those, 2,000 are owned and operated by Chinese nationals.

Oklahoma allows medical marijuana, though anyone can get a license by just claiming a need, with little regulation for growers and dispensaries, but the marijuana must be grown in the state and it’s illegal to send it elsewhere, but that is clearly happening.

When I lived in Oklahoma, just outside our small, rural community, marijuana-growing compounds were patrolled by Chinese guards carrying AK-47s.  The workers were Chinese, but they never appeared in the community.  They didn’t leave the compound to go to the grocery store, shop at Walmart, or anything else.  We suspected that they weren’t allowed to.  There has been at least one murder by a Chinese owner of one of his employees.  All of this has the hallmark of organized crime, the dreaded “triads,” which, however also have ties to the Communist Party.

Why does our government allow citizens of an adversarial nation to enter illegally and to set up these kinds of businesses?  The Chinese are also buying up farmland, including around American military bases.  Why are they doing that?  And why is our government letting them?

 

 

 

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