The Big Talk tackles the Veep’s silence, Trump lawsuits, radar in PA and more…

CHAMBERSBURG – Every weekday morning on First News, the local – live morning radio information show with Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen features the big talk topics and opinion from local Attorney Clint Barkdoll.

On July 9, topics covered by the Big Talk on First News were fencing around the Capitol, a quiet Vice President, a media darling for the left headed to prison, Donald Trump’s lawsuits against the social media giants, non-compete clauses may be a thing of the past, the radar situation in PA and an alleged hate crime that has gone nowhere. 

Listen to the full audio here:

The fencing around the Capitol building should come down today

Despite the fact that Congressman John Joyce has heard nothing in terms of threats to the security surrounding the Capitol building in Washington, DC, security fencing has remained intact around the perimeter since January.

That is supposed to end today.

Barkdoll said, “Let’s hope it stays down. I was a little bit struck by when the General Services made that announcement, in the announcement they said that they can put it back up almost immediately, which gave me some pause. Are they already thinking that they want to put it back up? It’s been up way too long. That Capitol and the grounds, the campus, need to be accessible. This is the height of summer tourism season in Washington DC and I think it’s important for our public, for society. People need access to that building.”

Crickets are chirping when it comes to our Vice President

After a failed trip to the southern border, Vice President Kamala Harris has been decidedly quiet recently.

But is that really a surprise?

Barkdoll said, “You read a lot of these sort of left-wing commentators and even insiders – people that are elected officials in Congress and the Senate – there is growing concerns and unrest about her. They do not think she’s doing a good job. They don’t think she’s up for the job. A lot of people going into the Biden presidency thought she would be his presumptive successor. You’re seeing open discussion now, people on the record, Democrats saying they think they need to start looking for an alternate candidate that may be able to run for president in 2024. She’s had her chance and it just seems like week after week it’s been one misstep after another.”

The southern border visit didn’t go well. The trip to Central America didn’t go well. They also don’t think she’s performed well in press conferences or back-and-forth with reporters and even in some of her interactions with other elected officials.

“The Democrats have a problem there to the extent she clearly does, I think, want to run for president someday. They’re going to have to get this sorted out.”

Jansen added, “Then there’s the scandal of the 22 of her inner circle coming out and saying how horrendously she behaves and how they’re treated. Those stories have haunted her forever. That’s not new. The fact that they came out now. Those people are taking all kinds of slings and arrows because how dare you come out and leak anything about the Democratic side of the aisle? If she’s this miserable that even under these circumstance people are willing to come out and say yes, there’s a real problem there. Not to mention it doesn’t seem like she can handle the press, she can’t handle interviews. She makes the same mistakes over and over. She can’t seem to get rid of the cackle, nervous response that she has.”

Ryan said, “She’s a beautiful disaster.”

Barkdoll pointed out, “What’s kind of funny about all of this is you go back to late 2019 and into early 2020, she was a terrible presidential candidate. She was in that crowded field, dropped out of the race very quickly. Because as voters got to see her in action in those early debates…she got no traction and I think what’s happening is now that she’s in this high-profile office, people are again seeing her in action and the more they see her in action, the less excited they are, the less confident they are about her. It really feels almost identical to what she experienced when she ran for president.”

Jansen said, “Sadly, she is the poster child for when you put intersectionality at the top of your list for filling a position. It often can not work out well.”

Barkdoll said, “Agreed. The vice president can of course be not only a very key player in the presidential administration but often times they are the key liaison to people in Congress, to people in the Senate. The reporting is that she’s just not doing it effectively with both Republicans and Democrats. They are not turned on at all by her abilities.”

Michael Avenatti will serve more than two years in prison

Michael Avenatti, an American attorney who represented Stormy Daniels, has landed himself in prison for 2 ½ years for trying to extort $20 million from the Nike corporation.

Barkdoll said, “This guy was a media darling on the left for a while. He was even flirting with running for president. He went to Iowa and was on the ground and was doing interviews. He rose to prominence of course when he represented Stormy Daniels. That then fell apart as well. I think she eventually fired him.”

He will certainly lose his law license and there may be other cases pending against him.

Donald Trump’s lawsuits against Facebook, Twitter and YouTube could prove very interesting

Former President Donald Trump is suing social media giants in a claim that he and other conservatives have been unconstitutionally censored.

Barkdoll said, “In the court of public opinion, this is a slam dunk. People love this kind of a lawsuit and people can relate to it. I’m not sure in the court of law it’s going to get anywhere. I don’t think the odds are zero. The problem is though that we don’t have a first amendment free speech right to have a Facebook account. So for him to get over that hurdle, he’s going to have to show that these social media outlets are somehow government actors. The first amendment to free speech applies to government restrictions on free speech. All of these internet companies are private companies. They have shareholders. They have private boards.”

There have been more than 60 cases like this filed over the years. Every one of them has been dismissed.

Barkdoll continued, “But the reason I say the odds aren’t necessarily zero is if his attorneys could prove that Facebook and Google and Twitter, if they somehow coordinated things with government officials, then I think the argument gets a little more interesting because a court may say even though these are private companies, they were acting in concert with government officials, which then would trigger a first amendment free speech issue.

There’s another interesting aspect to this case that doesn’t seem to be getting a lot of attention.

Barkdoll explained, “I think the case is going to get dismissed initially on jurisdictional grounds. This was filed in Florida. All of those boiler plate terms of service for Facebook, Twitter, when you set up these accounts, any dispute, any lawsuit has to be filed in California. So I wouldn’t be surprised next week if you see the court just punt this. They won’t even get into the merits of the case, but they’ll dismiss it on grounds that we can’t hear it. You need to refile it in California which will delay it several more weeks.”

Jansen said, “Public Square I think is one argument that can be made. You’re talking monopoly and you’re talking collusion which would support that whole monopoly business even more. Couldn’t that be the argument eventually that this is our only access to this social media, this technological Public Square and if you’re being cut out because of your politics from the Public Square, there’s a problem.”

Barkdoll said, “That is definitely an argument. This section 230 which is the federal law that gives these internet, social media platforms immunity – people cannot sue them for comments and content that are on those platforms. That’s what has insulated them. That’s what a lot of economists say has made the US so robust in the internet world. But this is a really complicated issue because the reality is Facebook, Google, Twitter, they have openly said they may support a repeal of 230 and if people think why in the world would they want to do away with that? The thinking is if 230 is eliminated it will even further consolidate the power into these five or six companies. No small player is going to want to operate some kind of a website if they don’t have that protection. There’s where this gets really complicated because Trump’s arguments are valid, but in an odd way if he’s successful in his arguments, it may actually be boosting these five or six companies even further because the industry will need to consolidate even more. It’s a really complicated issue.”

Non-compete clauses could become illegal if Biden has his way

President Biden is working on an executive order that would make non-compete agreements illegal.

Barkdoll said, “The argument is that employees need to be more mobile and moving about from job to job.”

The plan is as early as this afternoon he’s going to roll out executive orders that include the non-compete clause as well as no more early termination fees if you want to switch internet providers. Also more protections on privacy if you’re surfing various websites.

Barkdoll said, “This non-compete issue could really have an effect on Main Street USA. A lot of employers use non-compete agreements as part of a condition of employment. We’ll see what the scope of this order is today and it would probably take several months until it goes into effect but if it’s legal and if it’s very expansive, this may change the way a lot of small businesses operate.”

Is it really true that the borough leadership needs to invite the state police to use radar downtown?

When Barkdoll mentioned yesterday the need for an invitation before Pennsylvania State Police could set up radar detection in downtown Chambersburg, a number of listeners wondered if that could possibly be for real.

Barkdoll said, “It is true. Now whether it needs to be a council-level vote, I don’t know if it’s simply a resolution. There would need to be some kind of an MoU, a Memorandum of Understanding, an inter-agency agreement. If the borough would make that invitation, state police would also have to accept it and there’s no guarantee that would happen. State police have general jurisdiction of the townships, places that do not have their own local police coverage. They will not go into a borough that already has its own coverage unless they’re asked to do so or unless there’s some kind of an inter-agency agreement. It’s not clear if the borough would reach out. It’s not clear if the state police would accept it. Chambersburg barracks by the way is always one of the first or second busiest barracks in the entire state of Pennsylvania. They (state police) likely would not be real keen on using manpower to go in and supplement a borough that already has its own police force, but if they realize the problem is bad enough, under the right circumstances, they may do it.”

What ever happened to that alleged hate crime in Gettysburg?

It’s been two weeks and two days since the Harrisburg/Lancaster/York media were all up in arms about the spray painting of derogatory words at a counseling service outside of Gettysburg that simply HAD to be a hate crime.

It’s been a whole lot of silence since.

Barkdoll said he’s heard “not a word. And you would think something like this would have been cracked by now, but you’ve not heard a word about it. As we said when it happened, it’s a terrible incident, but keep an open mind. We know around the country sometimes these spray painting incidents aren’t what they appear to be when they’re initially reported. The press immediately said there’s a hate crime here, but it is odd that here we are several weeks later and you’re not hearing a word about it.”