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Federal judge strikes down Parler’s attempt to force Amazon to host it

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A federal judge struck down an attempt by Parler to force Amazon Web Services (AWS) to reinstate it, ruling Thursday that AWS was within its rights to remove the conservative social media platform from its web-hosting service.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein in Seattle rejected the request by Parler for a preliminary injunction that aimed to force AWS to continue hosting the social media site, stating in her decision to deny the request that the evidence Parler “has submitted in support of the claim is both dwindlingly slight, and disputed by AWS”.

“The Court rejects any suggestion that the public interest favors requiring AWS to host the incendiary speech that the record shows some of Parler’s users have engaged in. At this stage, on the showing made thus far, neither the public interest nor the balance of equities favors granting an injunction in this case,” Rothstein also wrote on Thursday.

Thursday’s ruling is a major defeat for Parler as it continues to find a service to host it. The social media platform—created as a conservative alternative to Twitter and Facebook, which many conservatives have accused of censorship for ideological purposes—was removed by AWS a few days after the deadly January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, as well as from the Apple and Google app stores.

Parler’s suit claimed that AWS’s removal of Parler was “apparently motivated by political animus” and violated antitrust laws.

Amazon, on the other hand, argued that Parler breached their contract and that its removal was not motivated by political bias.

Right after Parler’s lawsuit was initially filed, an Amazon spokesperson told this reporter in a statement that “AWS provides technology and services to customers across the political spectrum, and we respect Parler’s right to determine for itself what content it will allow.”

Describing why AWS removed Parler, the spokesperson said that: “it is clear that there is significant content on Parler that encourages and incites violence against others, and that Parler is unable or unwilling to promptly identify and remove this content, which is a violation of our terms of service,” adding that they made their “concerns known to Parler over a number of weeks and during that time we saw a significant increase in this type of dangerous content, not a decrease, which led to our suspension of their services”.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Virginia Public Schools Reinstates Two Books Despite Complaints of Pedophilia and Pornography

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Fairfax County Public Schools has reinstated two books despite complaints from parents that the literature depicted and legitimized obscene and pedophilic material. Parents confronted the school board with the graphic images contained in the books beginning in September. Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) announced the books were restored to libraries after two committees reviewed them.

The books, “Lawn Boy” and “Gender Queer” have been determined by the District as helpful to the LGBTQ community. Fox News reports “Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Evison includes long sections of a boy reminiscing about explicit experiences he had at 10 years old. “Gender Queer: A Memoir” is by Maia Kobabe and includes photos of sexual acts between a boy and a man.

Virginia mother and president of Parents Defending Education, Nicole Nelly, told Fox News last week, “It’s appalling that Fairfax County’s response to parental feedback is to quibble over the definition of ‘pedophilia’ and to shame and denigrate families who are concerned about this material.”

“By attempting to normalize this content – and reinstating these books under cover of darkness right before Thanksgiving break – FCPS has demonstrated that in their eyes, parental input is a bug, not a feature, in the system” added Nelly.

In an interview with Fox News, Stacy Langton, one of the mothers who first confronted the school board, says “plenty” of Democrats and liberals are also calling her to say they “don’t want their kids exposed to this in school…this is FCPS coming out and explicitly saying they are in favor of porn in schools for your children.”

FCPS, however, claims that two committees comprised of school administrators, librarians, parents, and students determined that the books did not contain pedophilia, nor did they violate regulations by including obscene material.

“The decision reaffirms FCPS’s ongoing commitment to provide diverse reading materials that reflect on our student population, allowing every child an opportunity to see themselves reflected in literary characters” said FCPS in a released statement.

“Both reviews concluded that the books were valuable in their potential to reach marginalized youth who may struggle to find relatable literary characters that reflect their personal journeys” the statement continued.

Michael Sabbeth, Colorado attorney and author of “The Good, The Bad & The Difference: How to Talk With Children About Values” says “the Board’s assertion cleverly employs a logical fallacy—a strawman argument.”

While the board’s “refutation alleges the material affirms students with ‘marginalized identities’ and acknowledges the ‘difficulties nonbinary and asexual individuals may face’, their justification ignores and fails to negate allegations of obscenity, pornography and or pedophilia” states Sabbeth.

“Ironically, the Board’s justification demeans those it alleges to support. If, for example, pedophilia is in a book, arguing it helps youngsters is morally beneath contempt. To virtuously support those individuals, the Board need do no more than advance this unambiguous message: Treat all people respectfully” Sabbeth concludes.

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