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11 Years After Mandated By US Supreme Court, Alabama Court Strikes Down Anti-Sodomy Law

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On Friday an Alabama appeals court ruled the state’s ban on consensual same-sex intercourse unconstitutional. Prompted by the conviction of a man in 2010 and his subsequent yearlong incarceration, this decision (Dewayne Williams v. State of Alabama) comes 11 years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled all anti-sodomy laws in the United States unconstitutional in the case Lawrence v. Texas.

By the time of Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, all but 14 states had removed their bans through legislative or judicial action. Yet, despite the Supreme Court ruling, Alabama is only the third state whose statute was overturned with the case to actually remove the anti-sodomy law from the books, along with Montana and Virginia.

LOOK: What Did Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal Say About Baton Rouge Illegal Arrests Of Gay Men?

Last year, the arrest of 12 men in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, attracted national attention. The incident substantiated claims that police were using the existing statute to target gay men for persecution, despite it being a clear violation of federal law. The district attorney refused to prosecute the man, saying the law was unenforceable, and the case was dropped. Nonetheless, moves to formally repeal the ban have since beendefeated.

States that still retain their anti-sodomy laws are Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.

James McDonald is a Brooklyn-native currently based in Scotland. When not pouring through the letters of Mary, Queen of Scots in pursuit of an MLitt Scottish History degree at the University of Glasgow, you’ll find him typing away. To date, his writing has been featured in Haaretz, the Huffington Post, the Lambda Literary Review, Gayletter, Thought Catalog and The Outmost, with more (hopefully) on the way. Follow him@jamesian7 

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FIRST AMENDMENT? WHAT FIRST AMENDMENT?

Draft of Trump Executive Order Would Have Barr and White House Collect Information on Social Media Users: Reports

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A draft of President Donald Trump’s social media executive order shows it would create disturbing structures that could allow the President of the United States to personally target social media companies he feels are taking action against his supporters, enable his supporters to report that action directly to the White House, and empower the Attorney General of the United States to collect publicly available “watch-lists” of social media users that monitor not only their online activities but their offline activities as well.

The draft is not final, but both the speed with which it will be signed and reports show it likely has not gone through interagency review, as CNN’s Brian Fung, who calls it “hastily conceived,” notes.

Reuters has confirmed a draft of the executive order, which President Trump has promised he will sign today.  They report it “requires the Attorney General to establish a working group including state attorneys general that will examine the enforcement of state laws that prohibit online platforms from engaging in unfair and deceptive acts.”

The order directs the White House Office of Digital Strategy to turn back on the White House Tech Bias Reporting Tool, which the Trump administration created in 2019. It is currently dormant. The tool would be used to collect complaints of what social media users feel is online censorship by tech companies. Those complaints would be submitted by the White House to the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.

The White House Office of Digital Strategy was not designed for that purpose. It was created for the sole purpose of crafting and promoting the President’s agenda online, not for acting as a conduit to enable spying. The Office of Digital Strategy is headed by a former Heritage Foundation employee.

Reuters also reports Barr is to create “working group” that “will also monitor or create watch-lists of users based on their interactions with content or other users.” That reporting appears to be inaccurate, based on NCRM’s reading, and reporting by other outlets.

NBC News technology correspondent Jacob Ward reports the draft “directs the White House Office of Digital Strategy to collect publicly available information regarding ‘watch-lists’ of users based on their interaction with content or users’ and ‘monitoring users based on their activity off the platform.'”

An ABC News report appears to confirm that reading.

But Barr would be directed to create the group, which would include hand-picked state attorneys general.

The mere existence of any such lists, whether or not they are created by Barr or identified by the DOJ, can easily be politicized.

Stanford Cyber Policy Center’s Platform Regulation Director says this is a copy of the draft. She has annotated it as well:

 

 

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AMERICAN IDIOT

Trump Promises to Sign Executive Order Today to Punish Tech Firms After Twitter Fact-Checked Two of His Tweets

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President Donald Trump on Thursday will sign an executive order in retribution for Twitter appending a “get the facts” label on two of his tweets that were not only false but designed to suppress the vote. On Wednesday Trump responded to the new labels by tweeting, “Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices,” which is false, and promising tech companies he would “strongly regulate, or close them down.”

That seeds of that promise will be sown today with an executive order that would lay the groundwork to make tech companies like Twitter, Facebook, and Google legally liable for content posted to them by users. The Washington Post reports the order “could roll back the immunity that tech giants have for the content on their sites.”

Ironically, if implemented, it would force Twitter to delete many of the President’s own tweets. For example, he is currently engaged in an online smear campaign against Joe Scarborough, accusing the MSNBC host of murdering an intern who died of natural causes in 2001.

Just last night Trump posted a link to a video from a supporter that begins, “I’ve come to the conclusion that the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.” The speaker is reportedly an Otero County, New Mexico Commissioner and the head of Cowboys for Trump. President Trump tweeted his thanks:

Trump’s executive order would direct the federal government to reinterpret a law called Section 230, which “spares tech companies from being held liable for the comments, videos and other content posted by users on their platforms.”

The President’s intended changes “could mean potentially dramatic free-speech implications and wide-ranging consequences.”

Trump gleefully hinted at the executive order Thursday morning.

 

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‘Minneapolis Is Burning’: Shocking Videos Emerge as Protesters Seek Justice for George Floyd

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Protesters and police clashed for a second night in Minneapolis as the former cop who killed George Floyd remains a free man.

Photos and video from the scene show at least one business burning.

Here are some of the images from the protest:

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