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Trump refuses to join ‘unprecedented’ global effort to tackle racist extremism online

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The White House announced Wednesday it will not join a global initiative, launched in the wake of a massacre in New Zealand two months ago, to tackle racist and extremist online content.

“By not standing alongside other world leaders to fight hate,” said the Southern Poverty Law Center in response, “President Trump has shown once again that he doesn’t understand the importance of white supremacy in fueling terrorism.”

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The Christchurch Call—which has the backing of 17 countries plus the European Commission and eight major tech companies including Twitter, Google, and Facebook—was launched Wednesday by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron.

The initiative comes exactly two months after the terrorist attack on worshipers at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which a gunman who professed racist hatred against Muslims and immigrants livestreamed his slaughter of  51 people.

“This attack was part of a horrifying new trend that seems to be spreading around the world,” Ardern wrote in an op-ed at the New York Times last week. “It was designed to be broadcast on the internet.”

She denounced the “staggering” scale of the video’s reach:

Original footage of the livestream was viewed some 4,000 times before being removed from Facebook. Within the first 24 hours, 1.5 million copies of the video had been taken down from the platform. There was one upload per second to YouTube in the first 24 hours.”

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The right to free expression, she wrote, “does not include the freedom to broadcast mass murder.”

Ending that threat, she added, necessitates collaboration—thus the Christchurch Call.

It calls on “governments and private corporations to prevent the posting of terrorist content online, to remove it quickly when it does appear, and to prevent the use of live-streaming to broadcast violence,” as the Irish Times reported.

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The Trump administration gave the initiative a hard pass.

While saying it supported the call’s “overall goals,” the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy said in a release that “the best tool to defeat terrorist speech is productive speech, and thus we emphasize the importance of promoting credible, alternative narratives as the primary means by which we can defeat terrorist messaging.”

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In the wake the Christchurch attacks, Ardern’s government passed a ban on military-style semiautomatic weapons—a move praised by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

“Sandy Hook happened six years ago and we can’t even get the Senate to hold a vote on universal background checks w/ #HR8,” the freshman congresswoman tweeted at the time. “Christchurch happened, and within days New Zealand acted to get weapons of war out of the consumer market.”

The inaction has Ardern scratching her head.

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Speaking to CNN‘s Christiane Amanpour, Ardern said this week: “Australia experienced a massacre and changed their laws. New Zealand had its experience and changed its laws. To be honest, I do not understand the United States.”


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Tennessee Republican says he hasn’t ‘really studied’ whether the Civil War was about slavery

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On Thursday, The Tennessean's Natalie Allison reported that Tennessee state Rep. Mike Sparks, who makes a habit of complaining that "young people" and "journalists" don't bother to study history, could not answer a basic question about what the Civil War was fought over.

"Was the Civil War about slavery?" asked a reporter.

"I haven't really studied it," said Sparks.

"You said you know history!" said another reporter.

"I just think we need to all study history," said Sparks, still not answering the question. "There's different contexts."

This comes during a debate over whether to remove a bust of Confederate general and suspected Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest. Another lawmaker, state Sen. Joey Hensley, defended Forrest, arguing that "3,000 Blacks attended his funeral" — a common but unproven claim of Confederate sympathizers.

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Law professor schools Trump’s legal team on why their Supreme Court arguments failed

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Fordham Law Professor Jed Sugerman noted on Twitter, that Thursday's Supreme Court ruling should be a "teachable moment" for the lawyers at the Mazars firm, which fought the disclosure of President Donald Trump's financial information.

During the oral arguments with the High Court about the New York case, Trump attorney Jay Sekulow argued that as president Trump was above the law.

"In both cases, petitioners contended that the subpoenas lacked a legitimate legislative purpose and violated the separation of powers," the Supreme Court said in the decision. "The President did not, however, argue that any of the requested records were protected by executive privilege."

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Ted Cruz mocked for tantrum about Gorsuch siding with Native American rights: ‘Way to channel Andrew Jackson’

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In a surprise move on Thursday, Trump-appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch sided with Native American rights, ruling that Oklahoma must honor a treaty granting tribal sovereignty over much of the eastern portion of the state.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) took to Twitter to vent his outrage over the decision.

Neil Gorsuch & the four liberal Justices just gave away half of Oklahoma, literally.

Manhattan is next. https://t.co/Ic9gqqznJp

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