ChrisWeigant.com

Archive of Articles in the "Free Speech" Category

You Are Not Facebook's Customer, You Are Their Product

[ Posted Monday, April 9th, 2018 – 16:19 PDT ]

There's an important distinction to make before Mark Zuckerberg sits down in front of Congress to answer questions about what Facebook is, what they do, and what they've been up to recently (that they really shouldn't have been). As more and more political scandals swirl around Facebook, and as Zuckerberg prepares to answer for his company's actions, both the congressmen who will be questioning him and the public at large need to understand something that has long been somewhat of a rule of thumb in Silicon Valley. Because anyone who uses an online service that is free should stop to consider this fact. You sign up for Facebook (or whatever other service or webpage) and you are not asked for any money. What this means is that you are not their customer, in the traditional sense, instead you are merely their product. You and your data are a commodity which the company monetizes and sells to whomever is willing to pony up some money to see it.

Read Complete Article »

Friday Talking Points [478] -- Seeking Lead Lawyer For Difficult Client

[ Posted Friday, March 30th, 2018 – 17:22 PDT ]

By Trumpian standards, this has been a relatively quiet week. After all, the president only fired a single cabinet secretary, and zero high-ranking aides! Plus, Trump hasn't attacked Stormy Daniels on Twitter even once, after her bombshell interview on 60 Minutes last Sunday. For Trump, this shows some newfound restraint.

Read Complete Article »

Schrödinger's Sex Scandal

[ Posted Thursday, March 29th, 2018 – 17:13 PDT ]

Today, we're going to take a trip down the rabbit hole with Schrödinger's (Cheshire?) cat. If that sounds like a mixed-up metaphor, that's because it is. Our fantastical journey starts off as a Charles Dodgson-style syllogism, but since it contains such circular logic it winds up being an Erwin Schrödinger-style thought experiment. Did they or didn't they? Well, until the wave function collapses into a single eigenstate, President Donald Trump's lawyer's lawyer would have us all believe that they both did and didn't, at the same time. The cat is both alive and dead, in other words. While this may be the most obscure and confusing lead paragraph I have ever personally written, such obscurity seems to be almost required these days, to talk about the growing sex scandal (or non-sex scandal) surrounding Trump and porn star Stormy Daniels.

Read Complete Article »

Two State Court Cases With National Political Impact

[ Posted Tuesday, March 20th, 2018 – 17:06 PDT ]

Two completely unrelated court actions are in the news today. There is no real common thread between the two, other than that they both involve state court actions and that both have rather large political overtones. So just to warn you up front, there won't be any sweeping conclusion at the end that ties the two cases together in any way (fair warning).

Read Complete Article »

Porn Star Sues President

[ Posted Thursday, March 8th, 2018 – 18:01 PST ]

When you sit back and think about it, that is a rather extraordinary headline. Or, at the very least, it should be. These days, though, not so much. In fact, the story of Donald Trump allegedly paying $130,000 hush money -- to a porn star weeks before the election so she would keep quiet about their alleged affair, which took place either while Trump's third wife was pregnant or just after the birth of the baby (or both) -- was largely ignored for the past few months, due to so many other chaotic crises taking place simultaneously within the White House. It will be hard for future historians to grasp, but the story of hush money paid off to a porn star actually struggled to gain traction in the national news. And that is even more extraordinary than the story itself. But then that's life in the Trump era, folks.

Read Complete Article »

Friday Talking Points [472] -- Infrastructure Week!

[ Posted Friday, February 16th, 2018 – 18:04 PST ]

Before we get to all the rest of the news, here's an interesting anniversary: it has been exactly one year since Trump's last solo press conference. In all the time he's been president, he has held a grand total of precisely one press conference, a month after he was sworn in. So what is he afraid of?

Read Complete Article »

Friday Talking Points [471] -- Trump's Kim Jong Un Envy

[ Posted Friday, February 9th, 2018 – 18:25 PST ]

There's an old joke in Washington that the press knows how to ask politicians questions that can't be answered in any acceptable way. The classic example, of course, is: "So, Senator, have you stopped beating your wife?" This week, however, the Trump White House has been getting a variant: "So, how long was a wife-beater who couldn't get a security clearance allowed to work for the president, and why?"

Read Complete Article »

Leader Time

[ Posted Wednesday, February 7th, 2018 – 17:39 PST ]

As I write this, Nancy Pelosi has been speaking for something like seven straight hours on the floor of the House of Representatives. Historians are scurrying to comb through the House archives, and some are already calling it the longest such speech ever delivered on the House floor. It's not technically a filibuster (which only happen in the Senate), instead Pelosi is exploiting a parliamentary loophole known as "leader time" -- which allows party leaders to speak uninterrupted. Minority Leader Pelosi has been doing so since 10:00 in the morning, Eastern time, and so far shows no signs of stepping down.

Read Complete Article »

Two Presidents, On Treason

[ Posted Tuesday, February 6th, 2018 – 17:42 PST ]

Senator Tammy Duckworth, a woman who lost her legs in service to her country (as a military helicopter pilot, in Iraq), just taught everyone an important history lesson.

Read Complete Article »

Friday Talking Points [469] -- A Crazed Definition Of Modern Womanhood

[ Posted Friday, January 26th, 2018 – 18:58 PST ]

American women were in the news this week in a big way, on both sides of the political aisle. Last weekend, millions of women took to the streets to protest, once again, Donald Trump sitting in the Oval Office. By the end of the week, a Republican Senate candidate in Missouri was making headlines for his rather Neanderthal views on, as he put it, "modern womanhood."

Read Complete Article »