Archive for the ‘Censorship’ Category
Every 4 years, the same people argue that we have to unite around the GOP presidential standard bearer. They’re doing it again this year. In the past, I’ve been guilty of uniting around the GOP standard bearer. I won’t be guilty of that this time.
Mitch Berg wrote this thoughtful piece explaining why he will support Trump. I’ve known Mitch to be a thoughtful, principled conservative with a strong libertarian streak in him for over a decade. That’s why this discussion deserves to be done in a respectful, point-counterpoint fashion.
I can relate to Mitch when he started with saying “I’m sick of holding my nose and voting for the lesser of two evils.” We’ve all heard that too often lately. We’ve been there, done that, especially in 2008. Mitch made a legitimate point when he self-replied “And I’m sick of people wishing things would get better on their own. They don’t. They won’t. They never will. Sack up. This is life. The best thing that happens is the conservative ‘movement’ will grow up and realize that it can’t win by speaking to the echo chamber any more than the Paulbots could.”
Honestly, I’m not into talking only to the echochamber. While I write posts for LFR, LFR isn’t the only tool I use to influence people. I write articles for Examiner. I frequently write LTEs and op-eds for the St. Cloud Times, the Duluth News Tribune and the Mesabi Daily News. Further, I don’t just pontificate on the latest political happenings. I write about important reports that highlight the things that happen when progressive/socialist policies are implemented.
Most importantly, I won’t vote for Trump because he’s a pathological liar who’s questioned John McCain’s patriotism, who’s accused Ted Cruz’s father of being part of the team that assassinated JFK and who’s bragged that a convicted rapist (Mike Tyson) had endorsed him. I won’t vote for someone that’s quite possibly the most immoral presidential candidate in my lifetime. And remember, I followed Nixon’s fall in Watergate and I watched Bill Clinton try explaining away a stained blue dress.
The difference between a leader and a bully is about the same as the difference between a bank robber and a police officer. They both carry guns but that’s where the similarities end. Trump’s bullying of the press is frightening for any First Amendment- and Constitution-loving person. Overlooking a person’s squishiness is one thing. Ignoring a tyrant’s actions are unforgivable. It’s the line I won’t cross. Period.
I’m not interested in being a loyal Republican if all I get from it is aggravation. If the GOP machine isn’t interested in my ideas, then it doesn’t get my vote or activism, either. As for the bad things that will happen if Hillary’s elected, I’ll simply say that that’s what needs to happen. An addict doesn’t turn their life around if they don’t hit rock bottom. A call to unity is a call to not let the GOP hit rock bottom.
Finally, Trump has bought into more conspiracy theories than Ron Paul. Remember that Dr. Paul once said during a debate that he didn’t want a wall built on the Tex-Mex border because he was afraid it would be used to keep people in the United States. Based on the things that Trump has said about Sen. Cruz’s father, Dr. Paul looks virtually sane compared with Trump.
What won’t change is that I’ll work hard to keep Republicans in control of the Minnesota House, the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate. I’ll work tirelessly to flip the Minnesota Senate, too.
As for my presidential vote, I’m wholeheartedly opposed to Hillary and Trump. It’s that simple. They can both go to hell.
Last night, #UniteCloud sent an email to St. Cloud City Councilman Jeff Johnson. It said “Shame on you. You were voted into office to represent all of Saint Cloud. Not just the ones who look like you. I will call you out every time I see you in the future. I will also be ready to inform all not to vote for you or your ignorance. I want my city to be nice and you are not helping at all. Shame on you. Sincerely,”
Apparently, #UniteCloud didn’t like the fact that Councilman Johnson testified in support of the resolution to direct the Office of Legislative Auditor, aka OLA, to audit the multitude of programs that support the refugee resettlement program. Councilman Johnson was quoted in the St. Cloud Times as saying the “taxpayers have a right to have a good and fair audit.” Johnson also said that he’s been concerned about the lack of transparency with the refugee resettlement program.
It’s stunning that any civic organization would criticize transparency in government but that’s what #UniteCloud apparently supports. Councilman Johnson replied to the email, saying “Call me out on what? Asking for an audit as to how much money is being spent on refugee resettlement? The taxpayers are paying for this program and we have a right to full transparency.”
Telling the #UniteCloud person that he supports transparency didn’t sit well with #UniteCloud:
Wasting time where you could do some good for all and spreading hatred and ignorance. This email will be shared. SHAME ON YOU!
To his credit, Councilman Johnson didn’t reciprocate. He didn’t start calling the #UniteCloud person derogatory names. Instead, he finished the email exchange with this:
I don’t see how asking for an audit of a taxpayer funded program and spreading hated and ignorance is connected. Yes, you are free to send this email to whom ever you like.
It’s baffling how #UniteCloud can equate conducting an audit with “spreading hatred and ignorance.” According to this blog post, there’s an “Anti-Refugee Bill in MN House and Senate.” I’d love hearing Natalie Ringsmuth’s explanation for that. Rep. Steve Drazkowski’s legislation (HF3034) would direct the Legislative Auditor to “conduct financial audits of spending related to refugee resettlement costs, and money transferred.”
Here’s the text of Rep. Drazkowski’s bill:
Section 1. DIRECTION TO LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR; REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT COSTS.
(a) The legislative auditor shall conduct or contract with vendors to conduct independent third-party financial audits of federal, state, local, and nonprofit spending related to refugee resettlement costs and other services provided to refugees in Minnesota. The audits by the vendors shall be conducted as vendor resources permit and in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards issued by the United States Government Accountability Office.
(b) For purposes of this section, “independent third-party” means a vendor that is independent in accordance with government auditing standards issued by the United States Government Accountability Office.
(c) The legislative auditor shall report the results of the financial audits required under paragraph (a) to the chairs and ranking minority members of the legislative committees and divisions with jurisdiction over health and human services finance and policy by February 1, 2017.
(d) The commissioner of human services shall, in fiscal year 2017, transfer to the Office of the Legislative Auditor the amount necessary to conduct the financial audits under paragraph (a). The central office appropriation under Laws 2015, chapter 71, article 14, section 2, subdivision 3, is reduced accordingly.
#UniteCloud’s misleading headlines calls into question what their mission is. If their goal is to unite St. Cloud, then they’re failing. That’s because they’ve accused people who support transparency of “spreading hatred and ignorance.”
UPDATE: I was just contacted by Councilman Johnson. He said that he doesn’t know whether it was #UniteCloud that emailed him. Consider this a retraction of my statement that #UniteCloud threatened Councilman Johnson. That being said, whoever it was that sent the email used the same tone as was used in many of #UniteCloud’s public statements. There’s no need to retract my statement that #UniteCloud’s statement about “anti-refugee” legislation. #UniteCloud’s statement is highly deceptive, if not outright dishonest.
Further, I stand by my statement that #UniteCloud isn’t uniting St. Cloud behind their agenda. If anything, Natalie Ringsmuth’s statement have united St. Cloud against their agenda.
After Saturday night’s GOP debate, everyone is harping on the need to elect experienced leaders who have a steady hand in times of crisis. That’s essentially the pitch being made by the Establishment candidates. Earlier tonight, I wrote this article to highlight how insignificant experience is if you don’t share the right principles. Why would a constitutional conservative think about voting for Jeb Bush hours after he told CNN’s Dana Bash that he’d like to undo the Citizens United v. the FEC ruling?
The simple answer is they wouldn’t. That’s enough to disqualify Jeb from becoming the GOP nominee. That isn’t the only boneheaded thing he’s done lately, though. Rather than running the joyous campaign he promised when he got in, instead, he attacked almost everyone in the race. The only candidate he didn’t disparage is Gov. Christie.
Gov. Bush asked “We have the front-running candidate, it’s all about him,” Mr. Bush said. “And the two other gifted candidates, they’ve never had a chance to lead. Maybe they can do it, but why would we risk it?” The answer is simple. I don’t put much value on experienced people who think the Bill of Rights is antiquated. Freedom of speech isn’t granted by the government, Gov. Bush. It’s a right given to us by “Nature’s God.” In short, get your grubby progressive mitts off my right to criticize politicians.
Apparently, Gov. Bush didn’t learn that constitutional republics are messy things. They’re that way intentionally. The Founding Fathers didn’t want ‘efficient government’. Dictatorships are efficient but they don’t exactly listen to the people. Mob rule democracies aren’t significantly better. Mobs have a habit of not listening to thoughtful people in the minority. For examples of this, check out Pelosi’s iron-fisted rule of the House in 2009-2010 when shoving Obamacare down our throats.
One of the reasons why Constitution-loving conservatives have rejected the Establishment candidates is because the Establishment candidates don’t properly respect the Constitution. Jeb Bush just reminded us that he doesn’t respect the Constitution.
Let’s hope our friends in South Carolina give him the beating he deserves for abandoning the Constitution.
Earlier this morning, I wrote this article with the intent of proving Donald Trump is a First Amendment-hating tyrant who hasn’t hesitated in intimidating reporters into not writing unflattering articles about him. It’s unforgivable when a politician attempts to chill free speech and limit the rights citizens have to gather information about their government.
This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. It isn’t right that a presidential candidate has banned reporters from public events because he didn’t like their coverage of him. That’s what fascists and third world dictators do. That’s unacceptable in the United States.
Chris Murphy is a Democratic senator from Connecticut and, as near as I can tell, a staunch advocate for censorship and a hater of religion. He can afford to be. He’s from Connecticut, which isn’t known for its deep religious roots.
Peggy Noonan is a former speechwriter for the greatest president of my lifetime, Ronald Reagan. She’s a gifted wordsmith and a lady of stature and dignity. Even when I disagree with her, which is occasionally, I still have immense respect for her. That’s because, at heart, she’s constantly cheering to see America at its best. She isn’t an ideologue. Instead, she’s a patriot. That’s why I couldn’t resist reading Ms. Noonan’s column about the fragile state of the First Amendment.
She noted that Sen. Murphy injected invective into the conversation about San Bernardino while it was happening, saying “Your ‘thoughts’ should be about steps to take to stop this carnage. Your ‘prayers’ should be for forgiveness if you do nothing—again.” Then Ms. Noonan made the observation that there’s “a real censorship movement backed by an ideology that is hostile to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
Twenty years ago, that statement would’ve been laughed at. Today, thoughtful people furrow their brow and worry that Ms. Noonan is right. Then Ms. Noonan offered this insight into winning debates:
If you really are for some new gun-control measure, if you are serious about it, you just might wait a while, until the blood has cooled, for instance, and then try to win people over to see it your way. You might offer information, argument, points of persuasion. Successful politics involves pulling people together. You don’t use a tragedy to shame and silence those who don’t see it your way; that only hardens sides.
I won’t assume that Sen. Murphy is interested in winning a debate. (Ms. Noonan didn’t either.) It’s quite possible that Sen. Murphy only wants to speak up and be heard.
Now that the blood has started cooling, it’d be easy to criticize Sen. Murphy. I won’t do that, though. I’ll just add some information and, hopefully, a little insight into this nightmare. First, the information flooding in is that this wasn’t a criminal action as much as it was a terrorist attack. Though President Obama and the FBI have tap-danced around that possibility, the truth is that that proverbial train left the station when the FBI found literally thousands of rounds of ammunition, a bomb-making factory in the Farooks’ apartment and an assortment of pipe bombs and IED in the Farooks’ SUV.
The insight I have for Sen. Murphy is to start talking about how President Obama, the FBI and our other intelligence agencies can connect the terrorist network dots faster. They clearly were caught flat-footed on San Bernardino. Couple that with their unwillingness to call it what it obviously is and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
This post is meant as a bit of a thank you to Ms. Noonan for writing something insightful on the subject of winning debate. Here’s hoping for more sanity to break out shortly.
Prof. Mark Jaede has a lengthy history of being a DFL activist/operative. I first came face-to-face with it during the state government shutdown in 2011 but I’d heard of Jaede’s activism before that. This year, Prof. Jaede has taken his activism to a new level when Prof. Jaede complained publicly about this LTE. Specifically, Prof. Jaede complained that the St. Cloud Times editorial started by asking “Why are Muslim leaders silent?” in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks. Later in the editorial, the writer got more specific, saying that there “has been no such response from Muslim leaders around the world to express their condemnation of terrorism and to let the global community know the difference between the religion of Islam and extremism.”
Yesterday, Prof. Jaede posted something to SCSU’s discuss listserv. In his post to the discuss listserv, Prof. Jaede admitted that he’d done “something I have never done before. I wrote to a newspaper asking them to take down a letter to the editor.” Here’s Prof. Jaede’s letter to the St. Cloud Times:
I am writing in regard to the above-referenced letter that appeared today in the online edition of the Times.
The letter is not merely an opinion piece. It makes a claim of fact that is patently false. Muslims all over the world have denounced the terrorism of ISIS. Muslim leaders here in St. Cloud have denounced it, and the Times has printed their statements. Why would you print this letter when you know it to be both false and likely to further anti-Muslim bigotry in our area? And why have the comments been turned off? Responsible readers can’t even point out the falsehoods.
Much as I have disagreed with many opinion pieces in the Times, I have never before been moved to write to object to the publication of a piece. This letter crosses the line. It goes beyond free speech to libel against an entire religious community.
Please take it down, or at least publish a disclaimer pointing out the falsehood of its central claim.
It’s one thing to ask a newspaper to “at least publish a disclaimer” highlighting the inaccuracies of the LTE. It’s another to ask a newspaper to unpublish an article that’s been posted on their website. That’s called censorship, which is prohibited by the First Amendment. Prof. Jaede said that “this letter crosses the line” by going “beyond free speech to libel against an entire religious community.” The remedy for crossing that line isn’t to censor the writer. It’s to impeach them with your own LTE.
Methinks it’s time for Prof. Jaede to refresh his understanding of the First Amendment.
The good news is that we’re almost to the end of President Obama’s second term as Divider-in-Chief. The bad news is that we’ll have another divider-in-chief if we elect Donald Trump. David Drucker’s article is worth the reading.
Drucker notes that Trump is known for “his vow to ‘bomb the shit out of’ the Islamic State,” though his policies are “very much like Obama — and Sen. Rand Paul.” Think of Trump’s statements about letting Putin bomb ISIS. Anyone with a brain in their head knew that Putin wasn’t interested in ISIS. Putin intervened in Syria to protect Bashar al-Assad, not to obliterate ISIS. Trump the Alpha Male, however, couldn’t admit that. That’d require him to admit he didn’t know the world like he insists he knows the world.
Take his recent statements about bombing ISIS’s oil fields. That’s when he said “I’d blow up the pipes. I’d blow up the refineries. I’d blow up every single thing. There would be nothing left. And you know what? You’d get Exxon to come in there in 2 months. You ever see how good these guys are? They’ll rebuild that sucker and it will be beautiful. And I’d ring it and I’d take the oil.”
Destroying a pipeline shouldn’t take more than a single plane. (It isn’t like ISIS has an air force.) After that’s done, ISIS would still exist. It wouldn’t be irreparably damaged. The only thing that’d happen is that President Trump would thump is chest and declare that he’d made America great again.
The American people, apart from Trump’s true believers, would know that Trump’s rhetoric would outdistance his accomplishments by a country mile. If a reporter questioned whether he’d actually accomplished anything, it’s more likely that Trump would pull that reporter’s press pass than giving a thoughtful, detailed explanation to the reporter.
There’s no getting around this fact. A Trump presidency would be another term for another divider-in-chief. We’re trying to get rid of the divider-in-chief we’ve got. We certainly don’t need another narcissistic divider-in-chief.
It’s clear that the DSCC will do everything possible to defeat Ron Johnson, (R-WI). Unfortunately for them, Russ Feingold is known for just one thing: the BCRA, aka McCain-Feingold. Russ Feingold is half of the dimwitted duo that wanted to restrict people’s ability to voice their worries about politicians during an election cycle. Let’s highlight that.
Russ Feingold thinks that government should have the right to restrict what citizens say and when they can say things. That’s because Russ Feingold is one of those politicians that think they know what’s best and that citizens have to be told what to do for their own benefit.
That’s the epitome of elitism. It’s breathtaking that elitists want to protect us uppity peasants from ourselves.
We need straight shooters like Ron Johnson in the Senate. Follow this link to contribute to Sen. Johnson’s campaign. Re-electing Sen. Johnson should be one of the Republicans’ highest priorities in 2016.
When Wayne Lela and John McCartney wanted to distribute literature that contained their views on homosexuality and other sexual matters at Waubunsee Community College, the administration tried barring them from distributing their literature. Thankfully, Lela and McCartney fought back:
As FIRE reported last July, the pair filed their lawsuit after an administrator barred them from distributing literature on campus containing their views on homosexuality, religious liberty, and free speech rights because it was not “consistent with the philosophy, goals and mission of the college” and would be “disruptive of the college’s educational mission.” According to the complaint, a letter to Lela and McCartney from WCC’s attorney made clear that the literature’s criticism of homosexuality was the motivating factor behind the ban. Lela and McCartney are represented by the Rutherford Institute and Chicago attorneys Whitman Brisky and Noel Sterett of the law firm Mauck & Baker, LLC.
In January, my colleague Susan Kruth reported that U.S. District Court Judge Robert W. Gettleman issued a preliminary injunction ordering WCC to cease its viewpoint-based censorship and allow Lela and McCartney to resume distributing literature on campus, noting that “provocative speech is entitled to the same protection as speech promoting popular notions.” Today, the Rutherford Institute and Mauck & Baker announced that the parties have settled, with WCC paying $132,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees and agreeing to allow Lela and McCartney to distribute their literature outside the doors to the student center without having to sit behind a table.
I particularly appreciate this part of the judge’s opinion:
“provocative speech is entitled to the same protection as speech promoting popular notions.”
There’s no need to protect popular speech because nobody objects to it. The only speech that needs protection is controversial or upsetting speech. That’s the category of speech that people object to. This is what’s disappointing:
While we are pleased that WCC seems to have recognized the futility of continuing to seek the authority to censor views it disagrees with, it is unfortunate and unacceptable that it took nearly a year of litigation, a court order, and a $132,000 bill to get there. After decades of judicial opinions, it should not be news to any public college administrator that the First Amendment applies fully on campus. Sadly, as FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project proves, it appears that some administrators will have to be dragged kicking and screaming into compliance with the First Amendment.
FIRE has been kicking college administrators’ butts in court for quite a while. Universities’ attorneys know what the precedents are. They’re aware of the judges’ rulings. It shouldn’t have to be this way.
Glenn Reynolds’ column highlights just how oppressive campus progressives are:
Feminist professor Laura Kipnis of Northwestern University published an essay in The Chronicle of Higher Education in February, decrying “sexual paranoia” on campus and the way virtually any classroom mention of sex was being subjected to an odd sort of neo-Victorian prudery: “Students were being encouraged to regard themselves as such exquisitely sensitive creatures that an errant classroom remark could impede their education, as such hothouse flowers that an unfunny joke was likely to create lasting trauma. … In the post-Title IX landscape, sexual panic rules. Slippery slopes abound.”
This article sat poorly with campus activists, who in response reported her for sexual harassment, on the theory that this article (and a follow-up tweet — yes, that’s right, a tweet) somehow might have created a hostile environment for female students, which would violate Title IX as interpreted by the Education Department. Because, you see, female students, according to feminists, are too fragile to face disagreement. And they’ll demonstrate this fragility by subjecting you to Stalinist persecution if you challenge them, apparently.
It gets worse:
The university’s investigators wouldn’t tell her who made the charges or even, for some time, what the charges were, which is typical of these Kafkaesque proceedings. While Kipnis was allowed to bring a faculty “support person” to her hearing, “support person” was not allowed to speak. After the hearing, a Title IX complaint was filed against the speechless “support person.”
It’s clear that Northwestern doesn’t think professors are entitled to the rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights. It’s clear that they don’t think Professor Kipnis has the right to confront her accusers or the right to due process. What Northwestern is guilty of is conducting a kangaroo court, then pretending it’s rendered a real verdict.
Title IX, as its simple language provides, was intended to open up colleges to women, not to empower a Stalinist bureaucracy to torment people who don’t toe the feminist line. Congress needs to haul some Department of Education bureaucrats up for hearings, then rewrite Title IX to make clear that it doesn’t grant the kind of sweeping powers over academic expression that educrats have seized. Despite what they might think at the Department of Education, 1984 was written as a cautionary tale — not an instruction manual.
Simply put, 1970s feminists would bitch-slap 21st Century feminists. It’s apparent that 21st Century feminist ‘leaders’ think their followers would shrivel up and die if they heard anything that they disagree with. That’s quite the difference from the anthem of 1970s feminism. This chorus and verse highlights the difference between 21st Century feminism and 1970s feminism:
Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman
You can bend but never break me
‘Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
‘Cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul
Those aren’t the words of a delicate flower that’ll wilt the minute they hear anything controversial. They’re the lyrics of a battle-tested feminist.