The court ruled that the owner of the Bushmaster rifle brand wasn’t shielded by a 2005 federal law that gives firearm sellers and manufacturers protection from liability claims over gun violence.
The ruling allows the plaintiffs to move forward with their claims that Remington Outdoor Co. violated Connecticut’s law against unfair trade practices by allegedly promoting the rifle as a combat weapon intended for waging war and killing human beings.
The digital walls are closing in on Alex Jones, the social media shock jock whose penchant for right-wing conspiracy theories and viral misinformation set off a heated debate about the limits of free speech on internet platforms.
Facebook said on Friday that it had suspended Mr. Jones from posting on the site for 30 days because he had repeatedly violated its policies. The social network also took down four videos posted by Mr. Jones and Infowars, the website he oversees.
.. Mr. Jones appeared on a live-streamed Facebook video on his page on Friday, shortly after the suspension went into effect, in which he claimed that he was the victim of a media conspiracy to “de-platform” conservative voices.
“This is war,” Mr. Jones said in the video.
.. This week, Facebook determined that one of Mr. Jones’s recent videos — an inflammatory rant in which he accused Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, of supporting pedophilia and pantomimed shooting him — did not violate its policies.
.. This is not the first time that Mr. Jones’s videos have received a strike from YouTube. In February, YouTube levied a strike for a video claiming that David Hogg, one of the outspoken student survivors of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., was a “crisis actor.” YouTube said the video had violated its policies around harassment and bullying. But since there were no additional violations during the next 90 days, the strike was removed from the account.
.. Mr. Jones, who first gained notoriety by insisting that the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were an “inside job” by the United States government. Since then, he has questioned whether the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a hoax, promoted the so-called Pizzagate conspiracy theory and said fluoridated water was part of a government mind-control plot.
Despite these unsupported views, social media platforms have allowed him to gain a wide audience. Conservatives have accused Facebook, YouTube and other platforms of censoring right-wing views in the past, and have rallied behind him before.
.. This month, at a press event in New York about Facebook’s efforts to combat misinformation and false news, a reporter from CNN questionedcompany executives about why Infowars was still allowed to have a Facebook account. At the time, the company appeared unwilling to say Mr. Jones’s content violated its policies.
.. “Look, as abhorrent as some of this content can be, I do think that it gets down to this principle of giving people a voice,” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, said in a Recode podcast interview.
As an example, Mr. Zuckerberg cited Holocaust denial as a message that he found personally offensive but was wary of removing from Facebook, in order to protect users’ free-speech rights.
.. One group of Facebook workers, which included people of Jewish and Eastern European descent, raised Mr. Zuckerberg’s position on Holocaust denial with their superiors, saying they found it incomprehensible, according to the employee.
.. Facebook’s policies about misinformation have been vague and inconsistently applied, and the company has appeared flat-footed when dealing with popular purveyors of conspiracy theories and hyperpartisan content such as Mr. Jones and Infowars.
.. Facebook executives struggled to define the company’s policies regarding accounts that repeatedly post false or misleading news. The executives said that if third-party fact-checkers found roughly one-third of an account’s posts false, the account would be demoted, or “down-ranked,” in order to limit its visibility. The company has refused to reveal a list of accounts that have been down-ranked. Later, the company said it would remove, rather than down-rank, misinformation that could lead to physical violence.
In a remarkable meeting, the president veered wildly from the N.R.A. playbook in front of giddy Democrats and stone-faced Republicans. He called for comprehensive gun control legislation that would expand background checks to weapons purchased at gun shows and on the internet, keep guns from mentally ill people, secure schools and restrict gun sales from some young adults. He even suggested a conversation on an assault weapons ban.
.. At one point, Mr. Trump suggested that law enforcement authorities should have the power to seize guns from mentally ill people or others who could present a danger without first going to court. “I like taking the guns early,” he said, adding, “Take the guns first, go through due process second.”
.. “We’re not ditching any constitutional protections simply because the last person the president talked to today doesn’t like them,” Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska, said in a statement.
Democrats, too, said they were skeptical that Mr. Trump would follow through.
.. At the core of Mr. Trump’s suggestion was the revival of a bipartisan bill drafted in 2013 by Senators Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, and Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Despite a concerted push by President Barack Obama and the personal appeals of Sandy Hook parents, the bill fell to a largely Republican filibuster.
.. Democrats tried to turn sometimes muddled presidential musings into firm policy: “You saw the president clearly saying not once, not twice, not three times, but like 10 times, that he wanted to see a strong universal background check bill,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota. “He didn’t mince words about it. So I do not understand how then he could back away from that.”
.. Just what the performance means, and whether Mr. Trump will aggressively push for new gun restrictions, remain uncertain given his history of taking erratic positions on policy issues
The gun control performance on Wednesday was reminiscent of a similar televised discussion with lawmakers about immigration in January during which the president appeared to back bipartisan legislation to help young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children — only to reverse himself and push a hard-line approach that helped scuttle consensus in the Senate.
.. Mr. Trump’s comments during the hourlong meeting were at odds with his history as a candidate and president who has repeatedly declared his love for the Second Amendment and the N.R.A.
.. But at the meeting, the president repeatedly rejected the N.R.A.’s top legislative priority, a bill known as concealed-carry reciprocity
.. Mr. Trump also flatly insisted that legislation should raise the minimum age for buying rifles to 21 from 18
.. When Mr. Toomey pushed back on an increase in the minimum age for rifles, the president accused him of fearing the N.R.A. — a remarkable slap since the association withdrew its support for Mr. Toomey over his background check bill.
.. The president did return several times to a proposal that conservatives like: arming teachers in schools and ending the so-called gun-free zones around schools
The Soros-was-a-Nazi story is a staple of talk radio and the less responsible conservative corners of the Internet. The facts are rather different: Soros was a three-year-old Jew living in Budapest when Adolf Hitler came to power. He was still a child when the war ended. During the Nazi occupation of Hungary, he was ordered to report to the local Jewish registry, where he was given the job of delivering deportation notices to Jewish families, something his father prevented him from doing. The Soros family was well-to-do, and his father was able to purchase fraudulent documents identifying the Soroses as Christian. Toward the end of the war, Soros was under the care of a government official who helped protect Soros — and his own Jewish wife — even as he went about his official task of inventorying the estates of dispossessed Hungarian Jews. From this comes the spate of libels about Soros — that he was a member of the SS, that the origin of his vast fortune was property stolen from victims of the Holocaust, etc.
Soros is a genuinely nasty guy, and his influence extends into some of the worst crevices of the Left. But he is not a Nazi.
.. When people get used to hearing prominent conservatives lying about their opponents, it makes it easier for honest and fair-minded people to dismiss conservative arguments and conservative claims out of hand.
.. Scott Baio suggested on Twitter that the woman presented as Charlottesville murder victim Heather Heyer was the same woman presented as Sandy Hook mother Vicki Soto. He posted pictures of them side by side, with the oh-so-innocent remark “Thoughts?” The implication — that the events in Sandy Hook and Charlottesville were some sort of hoax pulled off by a powerful and far-reaching conspiracy of wily political operators who could not be bothered to hire an extra actress to fortify their schemes — is poisonous, lunatic conspiracy-theory stuff.
.. the fact, inconvenient for conservatives, that the president of these United States, who is in the habit of denouncing “fake news” from the bully pulpit, spent years trafficking in a daft conspiracy theory about Barack Obama: that he is a Kenyan and possibly (as Baio has suggested) a Muslim, possibly a closet radical Muslim (call him “The Meccan Candidate”) sympathetic to the aims of al-Qaeda et al.
- .. If Mrs. Clinton had had a good and true explanation for her email shenanigans, no one would have believed her.
- If Trump has a genuine “win” to talk about, all thinking adults will treat his claims with skepticism.
- Even his allies and members of his staff know better than to take him at his word.
.. we should be ashamed of ourselves if we come to accept this kind of dishonesty in the service of political expediency. If conservative ideas cannot prevail in the marketplace of ideas without lies, they do not deserve to prevail at all.