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Today Infowars, Tomorrow Booktalk? 
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Post Re: Today Infowars, Tomorrow Booktalk?
Harry Marks wrote:
Alex Jones has promoted a conspiracy theory that the shootings at Sandy Hook did not occur. I don't understand why anyone thinks this is what freedom of speech exists to protect.
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/al ... ok-n893841
Furthermore it is part of a pattern of paranoid propaganda which led to death threats against the parents.

We are not talking about unpopular opinions or worldviews, we are talking about mental illness on a social scale.



Right. And saying the Twin Towers were obliterated by the US government and not by terrorists is another wacky conspiracy theory that although as crazy as they are, still do not constitute a promotion of violence or physical harm to people, or groups of people. Forms of violent, hate speech are not, and should not be protected by law.

You may not like it, but conspiracy theories not promoting violence or hatred, however foolish, are protected under the law.

The Sandy Hook conspiracy claptrap likely hurt lots of people's feelings. The threats may or may not have been directly related. It has to be shown the alleged threats were the result of overt calls of violence. Can that be demonstrated?



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Post Re: Today Infowars, Tomorrow Booktalk?
Harry Marks wrote:
Alex Jones has promoted a conspiracy theory that the shootings at Sandy Hook did not occur. I don't understand why anyone thinks this is what freedom of speech exists to protect.
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/al ... ok-n893841
Furthermore it is part of a pattern of paranoid propaganda which led to death threats against the parents.

We are not talking about unpopular opinions or worldviews, we are talking about mental illness on a social scale.

Unfortunately, false information exists for those who wish to be misinformed. Those who want to believe the Sandy Hook shootings were staged can find that information somewhere on the internet.

But it's interesting to note that, as Harry alludes, InfoWars and other content from Alex Jones were removed from social media sites, not for being false and misleading, but for using speech that was hateful and/or dehumanizing. None of these things fall under the protection of the First Amendment because, again, these are private companies that have every right to police what kind of content they are hosting.

I just don't buy Ant's argument that social media sites have such a monopoly on online forums of open social discourse, "they no longer fit the definition of "private" companies." I would argue for one that people have an obligation to use their own brains and get their news from credible news sources. We are all free to get our news from YouTube or eat our meals from KFC, but these are probably not good decisions. Caveat Emptor. We all have every right to make bad decisions. That's the price of freedom.

Someone else pointed out that the NYT would never publish Alex Jones stuff. So why would Facebook be beholden to different rules? I don't see much of an argument there.


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Post Re: Today Infowars, Tomorrow Booktalk?
Quote:
But it's interesting to note that, as Harry alludes, InfoWars and other content from Alex Jones were removed from social media sites, not for being false and misleading, but for using speech that was hateful and/or dehumanizing. None of these things fall under the sphere of the First Amendment because, again, these are private companies.


It would be entirely content dependent. If the speech was intended to incite violence, it should not be allowed to remain online.
You might be blowing up the word to mean encouraging ACTS OF VIOLENCE, when in fact the particular expression is calling for no such thing. Your cognitive biases might be in play.

I don't believe the Sandy Hook example was a call for violence. It may be distasteful, but not a call for violence.

Do you know how many people and so called "news sources" regularly post hateful, dehumanizing items about the president and his cabinet, and have not been banned by social media sites like Facebook and Twitter?
I could post countless links as exemplars all day.

It's only a matter of time before someone brings this matter to the highest court(s) of the land.

It is more comfortable (and convenient) to apply the same old law to situations that are now much different than they have been pre-cyberspace.
Isn't it?
Laws are often reinterpreted. The courts will ultimately be involved.



Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:22 pm
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Post Re: Today Infowars, Tomorrow Booktalk?
So I operate a string of coffee shops, several of which are located in densely populated gay communities where people go to frequently discuss social, family, and political issues that directly impact the LGTBQ community. I instruct my managers to ask any customers to leave if they are heard speaking of related topics because it is contrary to my personal likes and ultimately my worldview.

Why would that be appropriate as long as these same customers were not yelling "FIRE" or causing direct bodiliy harm, physically endangering other customers, or inciting mob violence?
It wouldn't be appropriate.


Who are Facebook's "customers" and why do they all congregate in Facebook's cyberspace?
Shouldn't they be afforded the same protection under the law as my coffee shop customers?



Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:52 pm
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Post Re: Today Infowars, Tomorrow Booktalk?
Ant wrote:
If the speech was intended to incite violence, it should not be allowed to remain online.
...I don't believe the Sandy Hook example was a call for violence. It may be distasteful, but not a call for violence.

First, why do you insist that violence is the standard? Whether you're on Facebook or not, you've probably seen recent ads where they're attempting to bring FB back to earlier friendlier times, with fewer bots, fake news, and so on. You seem to be saying private corporations should not be allowed to make that determination, everything short of directly advocating violence must be published on all media sites (including broadcast television?). Who would write those Terms Of Service, the Government?

Second, as I recall you are a grief counselor or a consultant to that helping profession. So I'm surprised you don't have more empathy towards the Sandy Hook parents. Imagine your client's 5 year old child is shot up by a lunatic, then other lunatics call their phones and flood their social media accounts demanding to know where they have hidden their children, how much were they paid for their fake story, etc. On and on relentlessly for years. It has gotten so bad that some of those parents are suing Alex Jones. In response, Jones' lawyers are attempting to publish their home addresses etc. The freaks harassing Sandy Hook families electronically now will escalate once they know where the parents live and work. Facebook and other social media corporations must assist with that crap?

Third, not sure you are aware that what sparked these bans is Jones actually inciting violence. In a recent video he barks about "They are coming. So get your battle rifles ready!" (IIRC, Jones has also threatened to shoot Bob Mueller and others.)

Finally, most of these bans are temporary, from 7 to 30 days. As stated earlier, his web sites are not affected. It's not censorship, and wimpy at that.



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Post Re: Today Infowars, Tomorrow Booktalk?
KindaSkolarly wrote:
"I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."

It seems like that statement is from some alien culture now, but it used to be one of the guiding principles in American society.


ant wrote:
I like the argument that states these social media sites have such a monopoly on online forums of open social discourse, they no longer fit the definition of "private" companies. They become defacto public arenas.


After thinking about some of these comments, I've changed my position. Not full circle, but maybe half circle.

We are living in a world increasingly run by corporations. And the idea of corporations controlling what goes into the marketplace of ideas is scary. As KindaSkolarly said earlier, we may cheer when Alex Jones gets squelched, but ultimately we are shooting ourselves in the foot. What will they decide to squelch next? Alex Jones should be mocked and derided for the crap that is, but I don't want corporations making these kinds of decisions.

Not only does the removal of this content do no good—because it's still out there—but it actually makes Alex Jones a sort of a martyr and proves the Crazy-Far-Right's paranoid beliefs that the Left is a boogeyman out to get them.

I don't know what the answer is. I'm pretty sure that some of Alex Jones's content does cross that line into hate speech. And I still think Apple, Facebook and others made the right call. But it is not something anyone should cheer.

This CNN forum offers a mix of opinions on the subject.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/06/opinions ... index.html


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Post Re: Today Infowars, Tomorrow Booktalk?
Leftists in America want to destroy ALL thinking that doesn't coincide with theirs. Witness the Trump Derangement Syndrome exhibited by the Hollywoodheads. And the brownshirt Antifa attacks on prayer meetings. America's Left is itching to go full Khmer Rouge.

Image

That's a picture of Antifa at a protest in Washington DC last weekend. No one, except inforwars, is reporting on how Antifa is now openly threatening to shoot people.

infowars.com/antifa-vows-bullets-for-po ... es-threat/

And there is no hate speech in America. That's a scourge of countries where citizens don't have individual rights. The First Amendment gives me the right to say anything I want. I may be negatively impacted, but still it's my constitutionally-protected right to speak freely. Courts have ruled that the freedom doesn't extend to incitement to injure (yelling fire in a theater), but the rest is fine.

It was obvious when the EU passed their legislation a while back about hate speech on the internet that America would be affected. The US Bill of Rights is the stumbling block to world tyranny, and we see that with the EU situation. Google, Apple and the rest have been pressured by the new laws over there to do something over here, and the fascists chose to violate our Bill of Rights.

Noam Chomsky has gone on record saying that de-platforming Alex Jones is a bad idea, and Chomsky's no fan of his. But he knows that what can be done to right-wingers can be done to left-wingers. The other day Facebook banned Telesur, a media outlet with a membership of commie Latin American countries:

'Deeply Disturbing': For Second Time This Year, Facebook Suspends Left-Leaning teleSUR English Without Explanation
commondreams.org/news/2018/08/14/deeply ... ur-english

Earlier I was doing some research on art and ran into some sites that have been taken down. An inforwars article mentioned Tony Podesta's pedophile artwork, and I was looking into that. And I ran across this site: jaysanalysis.wordpress.com. It's been up for years, but now it's gone. Wordpress is jumping on the book burning bandwagon. Here's an article about that blog and some others being banned:

http://memoryholeblog.org/tag/jaysanalysis/

But back to Tony Podesta, brother of John Podesta, former Hillary Clinton leech. John was implicated in pedophilia, but his brother Tony seems to be the real connoisseur. The pictures below are from Tony Podesta's collection. He's a power broker in Washington DC, and he hangs this crap on the walls of his house. Where Leftist politicians come to wheel and deal. Look at that picture and then tell me that Alex Jones is the one who deserves your censure:

Image

I was going to post a couple more pics but that's just too depressing. The link below goes to more of Podesta's "artwork." This crap sells for tens and sometimes hundreds of millions of dollars. The art world is often a money laundering front for things like child sex slavery.

google.com/search?q=tony+podesta%27s+ar ... mp;bih=796

What else? The other day I read that the censoring search engine that Google is building for the butchering ChiComs will make heavy usage of artificial intelligence. And AI can't understand sarcasm. It takes things literally. Sarcasm is usually a prime component of memes, so that's why the Left has waged war on memes--so that the ChiCom overlords can build a better AI censoring system. Like with the memes below, how would AI interpret them?

Image


Image

If you want to throw a wrench into the ChiComs war against memes, use the site below:

https://imgflip.com/memegenerator

In fairness to Leftists, they don't understand the dynamics of the Jones banning. He's a test case. Not only have the powers that be taken him off of social media, but they're launching attacks against his servers and removing him from electronic payment services. They apparently want a model they can use against any dissenter in the future. And by 'they' I mean the Deep State establishment in America. They serve transnational corporations...

Here, I'll upload a couple of clips of Alex Jones talking about it. One is from 1997 and one's from yesterday I think. 2 minutes & 1 minute long.

1997 mikesheedy.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/ ... s-1997.mp4 "Solace of a fool." Anyone know if that's a Biblical quote? He used to quote the Bible quite a bit.

2018 mikesheedy.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/ ... s-2018.mp4


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Post Re: Today Infowars, Tomorrow Booktalk?
ant wrote:
Right. And saying the Twin Towers were obliterated by the US government and not by terrorists is another wacky conspiracy theory that although as crazy as they are, still do not constitute a promotion of violence or physical harm to people, or groups of people. Forms of violent, hate speech are not, and should not be protected by law.
We protect freedom of expression for a purpose. We want to make sure that all opinions, all points of view, and all ideas can be aired. We more importantly want to protect people who disagree with the government from it's urges to take revenge. I understand that.

I don't necessarily see censorship as a good option for dealing with society-level paranoia. For one thing, raising the issue increases the paranoia. Like telling a schizophrenic that they are thinking delusionally causes them to imagine ever more elaborate threats.

But that certainly does not obligate society to spread these delusions. If there are answers to most of the bizarre questions being raised, we should certainly label the people involved clearly, and refuse to give them further attention. Maybe post the answers somewhere as well, though it is futile to suppose that those who follow people like Alex Jones will care one little bit what the actual truth is.

This is not government action, it is people acting as people should.

ant wrote:
It has to be shown the alleged threats were the result of overt calls of violence. Can that be demonstrated?
I don't really know. I think the lawsuits by the victims of his slanderous accusations will probably raise the red flags that should be raised, even if they don't result in substantial damages.



Thu Aug 16, 2018 2:51 am
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Post Re: Today Infowars, Tomorrow Booktalk?
geo wrote:
ant wrote:
I like the argument that states these social media sites have such a monopoly on online forums of open social discourse, they no longer fit the definition of "private" companies. They become defacto public arenas.


After thinking about some of these comments, I've changed my position. Not full circle, but maybe half circle.

We are living in a world increasingly run by corporations. And the idea of corporations controlling what goes into the marketplace of ideas is scary. As KindaSkolarly said earlier, we may cheer when Alex Jones gets squelched, but ultimately we are shooting ourselves in the foot. What will they decide to squelch next?

I have also been thinking about this. There are network advantages to Facebook and Google, and even, to some extent, Amazon. That is, in many situations the largest network of a given type has an advantage over smaller networks, either in cost (Google, Amazon) or in attractiveness to join (FB, MS Office). As a result, if they don't bungle it completely, they will outcompete smaller competitors.

But would it really be so bad if Facebook decided not to have any content concerning political issues? Sort of like the traditional banning of "politics and religion" from parlor discussion topics. The notion that FB is "the marketplace of ideas" is pretty laughable. Heck, they could ban anything remotely unpleasant and it would not damage "the marketplace of ideas."

Limited bandwidth was the reason for the (much criticized, and now much lamented) Fairness Doctrine. There was not room for new TV channels to come on line, so the networks were held responsible for giving "equal time" to contrasting points of view. When cable came along, and Turner demonstrated that cable news was viable commercially, Rupert Murdoch took advantage of it to sell a fact-free, accountability-free "infotainment" to an audience that resented being criticized, being laughed at, being told God did not create the heavens and the earth, being told that driving cars and eating beef was heating up the climate, etc., etc.

And yet, even though such stellar minds are determined to get away with all the convenient fiction they can, they still know what the truth is and who abides by its strictures. So when there is enough publicity put on Scott Pruitt's shenanigans, all his prayers do not save him.

There is some real "social mental illness" in a portion of the population today. If we believe in democracy, we need to protect the right to express one's views without censorship. But we also need to talk a certain portion of society down from the ledge.
geo wrote:
Alex Jones should be mocked and derided for the crap that is, but I don't want corporations making these kinds of decisions.
You may rest assured that corporations would rather not be making any of these decisions. They would rather provide any information to anyone who pays, including Vladimir Putin, and not decide about anything except how to sell more ads. I think the rest of us should think long and hard about what kind of world is being created.

geo wrote:
And I still think Apple, Facebook and others made the right call. But it is not something anyone should cheer.
I certainly agree about the cheering. There is not much to cheer about in learning that Brexit and Trump were created by Putin and the KGB manipulating our social fragility. We thought the adversarial system would be vindicated by rational judgment, and learned that we have to care about each other after all. It's discouraging.

geo wrote:
This CNN forum offers a mix of opinions on the subject.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/06/opinions ... index.html
I'm trying to imagine Fox providing a fair mix of opinions on anything controversial.



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Post Re: Today Infowars, Tomorrow Booktalk?
LanDroid wrote:
It has gotten so bad that some of those parents are suing Alex Jones. In response, Jones' lawyers are attempting to publish their home addresses etc. The freaks harassing Sandy Hook families electronically now will escalate once they know where the parents live and work.
As far as I'm concerned, that's organized crime.



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Post Re: Today Infowars, Tomorrow Booktalk?
LanDroid wrote:
Ant wrote:
If the speech was intended to incite violence, it should not be allowed to remain online.
...I don't believe the Sandy Hook example was a call for violence. It may be distasteful, but not a call for violence.

First, why do you insist that violence is the standard? Whether you're on Facebook or not, you've probably seen recent ads where they're attempting to bring FB back to earlier friendlier times, with fewer bots, fake news, and so on. You seem to be saying private corporations should not be allowed to make that determination, everything short of directly advocating violence must be published on all media sites (including broadcast television?). Who would write those Terms Of Service, the Government?

Second, as I recall you are a grief counselor or a consultant to that helping profession. So I'm surprised you don't have more empathy towards the Sandy Hook parents. Imagine your client's 5 year old child is shot up by a lunatic, then other lunatics call their phones and flood their social media accounts demanding to know where they have hidden their children, how much were they paid for their fake story, etc. On and on relentlessly for years. It has gotten so bad that some of those parents are suing Alex Jones. In response, Jones' lawyers are attempting to publish their home addresses etc. The freaks harassing Sandy Hook families electronically now will escalate once they know where the parents live and work. Facebook and other social media corporations must assist with that crap?

Third, not sure you are aware that what sparked these bans is Jones actually inciting violence. In a recent video he barks about "They are coming. So get your battle rifles ready!" (IIRC, Jones has also threatened to shoot Bob Mueller and others.)

Finally, most of these bans are temporary, from 7 to 30 days. As stated earlier, his web sites are not affected. It's not censorship, and wimpy at that.


Quote:
Freedom of speech includes the right:

Not to speak (specifically, the right not to salute the flag).
West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943).
Of students to wear black armbands to school to protest a war (“Students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate.”).
Tinker v. Des Moines, 393 U.S. 503 (1969).

To use certain offensive words and phrases to convey political messages.
Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 (1971).


To contribute money (under certain circumstances) to political campaigns.
Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976).
To advertise commercial products and professional services (with some restrictions).
Virginia Board of Pharmacy v. Virginia Consumer Council, 425 U.S. 748 (1976); Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, 433 U.S. 350 (1977).
To engage in symbolic speech, (e.g., burning the flag in protest).
Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989); United States v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310 (1990).



Quote:
Freedom of speech does not include the right:


To incite actions that would harm others (e.g., “[S]hout[ing] ‘fire’ in a crowded theater.”).
Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47 (1919).

To make or distribute obscene materials.
Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476 (1957).


To burn draft cards as an anti-war protest.

United States v. O’Brien, 391 U.S. 367 (1968).

To permit students to print articles in a school newspaper over the objections of the school administration.
Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260 (1988).

Of students to make an obscene speech at a school-sponsored event.
Bethel School District #43 v. Fraser, 478 U.S. 675 (1986).

Of students to advocate illegal drug use at a school-sponsored event.
Morse v. Frederick, __ U.S. __ (2007).


http://www.uscourts.gov/about-federal-c ... /what-does

Both sides have been guilty of speech that has incited harm, or worse.

Both sides have been guilty of distributing obscene materials in this political climate. The Left has been doing this with regularity every since Trump took office.
There aren't any innocents in this political climate. I'd have to say the biggest hypocrites in this entire mess are the loonie left.

I'm not familiar with the daily content of this Alex Jones person, and I don't know if one, or two posts from the Jones source warrant a complete ban of their news and commentary.
I do know his right to OFFEND people of a different political persuasion is protected under free speech. The left are marksmen at offending.



Regarding grief and your comment about me lacking empathy here:

I don't make it a practice to exploit people's grief as a means to make a political point, or convince anyone my political worldview is the best. My work has focused on grief itself, its impact on the bereaved, and integrating it into their lives. Much of these cause célèbre tragedies and the people who have suffered loss are used as props to advance a political party's agenda. The Left does this shamelessly each and every the news sensationalizes a tragedy.
So spare me your finger-wagging moral bullshit lecture. You don't have a clue about my personal life and are no one to cast judgement on me.



Last edited by ant on Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:24 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: Today Infowars, Tomorrow Booktalk?
Quote:
Noam Chomsky has gone on record saying that de-platforming Alex Jones is a bad idea, and Chomsky's no fan of his. But he knows that what can be done to right-wingers can be done to left-wingers. The other day Facebook banned Telesur, a media outlet with a membership of commie Latin American countries:


Twitter took the video of Chomsky commenting on Alex Jones.
I agree with Chomsky, who has been refereed to as The Einstein of Linguistics.



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Post Re: Today Infowars, Tomorrow Booktalk?
Arstechnica.com wrote:
According to a report by The New York Times, Jones tweeted a link to a Periscope live broadcast video (which can be viewed in part in a Media Matters tweet) in which he urged his supporters to ready their weapons against the media and other groups. Twitter issued the seven-day suspension after a user flagged the tweet and the company determined that it violated its rules against inciting violence.


Source: https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/08 ... -violence/

What kind of idiot, sorry, jerk, sorry, thug makes a call like that? Well, the kind whose lawyers want to give out plaintiff's home addresses. Actually, the kind who get elected President these days.

I am so ashamed of my country.

This is long past anything about left or right. I have been calling out antifa jerks as well. It's not acceptable.



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Post Re: Today Infowars, Tomorrow Booktalk?
ant wrote:
So I operate a string of coffee shops, several of which are located in densely populated gay communities where people go to frequently discuss social, family, and political issues that directly impact the LGTBQ community. I instruct my managers to ask any customers to leave if they are heard speaking of related topics because it is contrary to my personal likes and ultimately my worldview.

Well, I would hope you would have the decency to ask customers to leave who are in the face of customers they disagree with. I don't think you would be either outside your rights or likely to lose community support if you ushered out someone proclaiming paranoid nonsense, left or right.

ant wrote:
Why would that be appropriate as long as these same customers were not yelling "FIRE" or causing direct bodiliy harm, physically endangering other customers, or inciting mob violence?
It wouldn't be appropriate.
Don't forget slander and libel. The social media platforms claim they don't have the responsibility to vet the factuality of content that a real publisher or media outlet has. But if any fool can tell that slander and libel is going on, then publishing it shows "reckless disregard for truth," which is the libel standard that applies to speech about public figures.

I might give them a pass for not catching all the crap people put up, but if the stuff is flagged for them, then they have the full responsibility of the press. They are publishing, and damaging.



Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:15 am
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Post Re: Today Infowars, Tomorrow Booktalk?
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Well, I would hope you would have the decency to ask customers to leave who are in the face of customers they disagree with. I don't think you would be either outside your rights or likely to lose community support if you ushered out someone proclaiming paranoid nonsense, left or right.


As it translates to cyberspace, no content existing within cyberspace need be "in your face" including comments from extremists who are often doing little more than offending certain people's political values. But, what offends you might not offend me.

Selectively banning content that clearly violates free speech protection should always be the exception. A complete ban of the source seems extreme in this case. I suspect Infowars was doing more offending than inciting all these years.

Freedom of speech includes the right:

To use certain offensive words and phrases to convey political messages.
Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 (1971).



I want the government to protect and enforce my free speech rights.
I DON'T want privately owned mega corporate behemoths like Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook deciding what speech is acceptable and what speech is not.
Cyberspace will continue to introduce issues that have never been addressed by case law.



Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:29 pm
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