Category Archive 'Free Speech'
14 Feb 2019

Millennial Snowflakes at Yale Apparently Need a Professional “Cool Aunt/Uncle” Whom They Can Run to Whenever They Feel “Unsafe” or “Uncomfortable” on Campus

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Snowflakes at Wellesley reacting to 2016 Election returns.

My blood boiled this morning when I read this reply to a question on Quora:

TheFire.Org asked, rhetorically:

Is the reaction of Yale University students against professor Erika Christakis email the signal of the start of the steep and rapid decline of Yale and its motto of truth?

——————————————————-

Cathy Xue, Silliman ’19 replied:

During the 2015–2016 school year, I was a freshman in Silliman College, where Erika Christakis was Associate Master (the position of “Master” has since been re-titled as “Head of College” or “HoC”). *Mrs. Christakis’ decision to express her opinions on free speech and Halloween costumes in an email the students of Silliman College, **/where she occupied a position of authority/**, was inappropriate. *I do not doubt that if she instead published her statement in a more general forum, for example as an op-ed in the /Yale Daily News/, that the reaction would not be as intense.

Basically, *Erika Christakis failed her duty as Associate Master by sending that email*, and this upset a number of students in Silliman College and in the broader Yale community. At Yale, the role of (Associate) Master/HoC is one of social and community leadership and support — kind of like the cool aunt/uncle for the 400 or so students under their watch. Erika Christakis was supposed to be someone that Silliman students could feel comfortable approaching if they felt unsafe or uncomfortable on campus. Instead, she indicated to her charges that she valued the principle of free speech and intellectual discussion over the very real personal hurt that insensitive language or other expression (like Halloween costumes, for example) might cause.

Also, the negative reaction didn’t occur in a vacuum — other events had already fueled discussion and unrest about racism on campus.

And unconditional emotional support is more important to them than Free Speech.

I’d say: Yale made a huge mistake whenever it started admitting these kinds of spoiled, entitled, sensitive blooming plants.

The Master (Bugger that “Head of College” nonsense!) of a Yale Residential College, I have news for you, Snowflakes, was never intended to be the “Cool Aunt/Uncle” meant to be used as a crying towel at all.

College Masters, in my day, were older male faculty members of distinction whose role was approximately that of the British Viceroy of some minor Imperial Colony. He received a suitably impressive residence and an expense budget. His role was to preside as Master of Ceremonies over regular significant events, to represent the college officially, and to exist remotely, floating above the daily life of the college, as a benign tutelary deity, capable of dipping into that special budget under his control to bestow special favors, a celebratory dining-hall feast, a high-end table soccer game for the Common Room, special funding for the print shop or the wood shop.

The actual administrative work of the college, the disciplinary role, the shit work generally was all handled by the Dean, an humble graduate student type, only a bit older than the undergraduates, who was burnishing up his resume with an eye to future university administrative grandeur at some rinky dink institution far away from Yale.

The College Master could be relied upon to smile benevolently in your direction and to acknowledge you with a “Hullo!” or “Good Morning!” when passing by, but no one, in the pre-millennial Yale, would have dreamt of running crying to the College Master that his feelings had been hurt, Boo hoo!

Nobody, in the old days, old enough and smart enough to get into Yale could possibly have been imagined to consider himself “unsafe” or “uncomfortable” as the result of some other student or students wearing Halloween costumes.

In the old Yale, the natural response to some inadvertent insult, would have been to shrug it off. The natural response to a deliberate insult would have been to retort with a wittier and more devastating response.

15 Nov 2018

Snowflakes & SJWs Upset: Satirical Flyers Posted on Yale Cross Campus

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According to the Yale Daily News, mocking African-American group poses is “racially provocative.”

The Oldest (and seriously competing for Left-est) College Daily was outraged.

The Yale Police Department is investigating reports from Yale students who witnessed two masked people post racially provocative flyers on bulletin boards around Cross Campus on Tuesday night. …

Yale students took photos of the posters, removed them from the bulletin board, replaced them with messages of support for people of color and reported the incident to Yale student life staff and the YPD on Tuesday night. The flyers depicted the symbol of a “White Students’ Union of Yale” and quoted slavery advocate and class of 1804 graduate John Calhoun — the former namesake of what is now Grace Hopper College. The quote reads, “In looking back, I see nothing to regret, and little to correct.”

YPD officers are currently reviewing camera footage to identify the perpetrators, Goff-Crews told the News. … The department has also stepped up its patrols in “sensitive areas on campus,” including the center of Yale’s campus, where the incident occured [sic].

“I find the sentiments signified by these flyers deeply troubling, and I want to be clear: hate is not welcome on our campus,” Salovey wrote in a campuswide email. “As I have said in the past, the answer to speech one finds repugnant is more speech. [Flyers aren’t speech? Quotations from Calhoun aren’t speech? – JDZ] I have no doubt that the members of the Yale community will respond to expressions of hate, racism, and exclusion on this campus with even stronger affirmations of our values—and a renewed commitment to creating a diverse, inclusive community where all people are welcomed.”

In the email, Salovey confirmed that the perpetrators violated a University policy which only permits registered student organizations to post flyers on campus [Oh, my! that is an expulsion-worthy offense for sure. –JDZ].

Yale has notified the Southern Poverty Law Center — which monitors hate groups in the U.S. — and the Anti-Defamation League — a Jewish group that fights anti-Semitism and bigotry — about the incident, according to Salovey’s email. …

On Tuesday night, a student posted a photograph of the flyer on the popular Facebook group “Overheard at Yale,” prompting heavy backlash against the perpetrators among commenters.

Students and alumni interviewed by the News condemned the flyers. Prior to Salovey’s email, at least two individuals told the News that they contacted Salovey’s office calling for the University to respond to the incident.

On Wednesday morning, Gene Lyman ’92 also emailed Salovey’s office calling on the University to investigate the situation thoroughly, discipline any current students involved and “reassert Yale’s values as an inclusive and intellectually honest community.”

“Even if this should prove a hoax, or someone’s sick idea of a joke, I cannot emphasize enough how unacceptable the sentiment expressed in these flyers is,” Lyman wrote in the email to Salovey.

Lyman said he received a response from Joy McGrath, Salovey’s chief of staff, as well as Salovey’s email to the Yale community.

Sohum Pal ’20 sent an email about the incident to Salovey, Goff-Crews and Dean of Yale College Marvin Chun on Tuesday night. In his email, Pal called for the establishment of a Title VI office, which would enforce the federal law that prohibits discrimination based on race, ethnicity, color and national origin at educational institutions, and for a systematic change in University responses to grievances around racial discrimination. Pal said that the University should create a “mechanism for change” instead of releasing emails to “reaffirm its commitments.”

“Tonight, people put up these fliers around campus,” Pal wrote in his email. “I felt vulnerable — is it any surprise? My time at Yale has been many things — sometimes empowering, but more often I’ve been struck at how expendable students, faculty, and staff of color must be to the university.” Unlike Lyman, Pal said he received no direct response to his email.

Ashtan Towles ’19, a former peer liaison for the Afro-American Cultural Center, told the News that while the perpetrators remain unknown, the act was “done in cowardice,” comparing the masked individuals to Klu Klux Klan members who don masks to protect their identities.

“This incident is merely one of thousands through which white nationalists have attempted to stoke fear in Black communities, but I am always in awe of the resilience and pride that exists in the Black community at Yale,” Towles said in an email to the News.

According to Simon Ghebreyesus ’21, the sentiments of white pride in the flyers are a “sinister presence” for students of color to grapple with at Yale and across the country.

Epongue Ekille ’21 told the News that she had generally viewed Yale as a racially inclusive place but the flyer incident “negates it all.”

“It was both surprising and not at the same time. Although Yale is proud of its diversity, the matter of the fact is that the student population is majority white and wealthy,” Ekille said. “I’m not surprised that people who have these opinions exist at Yale, I’m just surprised that they would publicly advertise it.”

RTWT

Evidently, the answer to speech satirizing the rhetoric and poses of African-American Identity Group activists is not actually “more speech.” The answer is to publish hysterical news stories, to refer to the “repugnant speech” as “discrimination,” and “exclusion,” and “hate,” to suggest that it constitutes a possible violation of federal anti-discrimination law, and to treat it as a proper basis for investigation, notification of national left-wing speech and thought supervisory groups, and disciplinary sanctions.

How terribly cowardly it was of those right-wing students to conceal their identities!

17 Oct 2018

Chicago Prez Robert Zimmer Stands Foursquare for Free Speech

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Robert Zimmer, President of the University of Chicago.

Good news for a change from Campus Reform.

The University of Chicago president defended his school’s commitment to free speech in an address to the City Club of Cleveland.

University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer said during a speech on Oct. 3 that “challenging one’s assumptions inevitably creates discomfort, but a discomfort that is necessary for growth, understanding, and achievement.” Zimmer continued by describing what he believed to be three contributing causes of a decreased commitment to freedom of expression across U.S. universities.

“Privileging feelings, to the extent that a child feels they are always entitled to feel good and comfortable, and that the world should be organized around this, is not helpful in this regard.”

“Some people are trying to keep certain views unexpressed out of self-righteous, moral, or political indignation, an agenda driven by such moral or political views, and comfort, arrogating to themselves and those they agree with the right of speech, while denying it to others,” Zimmer said, outlining the first cause.

The second contributing cause, according to Zimmer, is that universities are suppressing free speech in the name of fighting against the exclusion of historically marginalized groups. He makes the case that freedom of expression is necessary for fostering an environment of inclusion.

Zimmer cited “the privileging of feelings” as a third cause: “Privileging feelings, to the extent that a child feels they are always entitled to feel good and comfortable, and that the world should be organized around this, is not helpful in this regard. And what we are seeing in some cases within high schools and universities is an expectation, and then demands, for such privileging, and then the inappropriate acquiescence to such demands.”

The University of Chicago president concluded his speech by stating that “creating a sanctuary for comfort is not fulfilling our responsibility. It is only through an environment of intellectual challenge and the free expression and open discourse that provides this challenge, that we are fulfilling our obligations to students, their future, and the future of our society.”

The University of Chicago has been known for its embrace of freedom of speech. It released a policy report in 2015, known as the “Chicago Statement,” which expressed the school’s commitment to the ideal. Since then, at least 35 schools have adopted the same policy, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).

RTWT

HT: Glenn Reynolds.

Come on, Bonesmen, fire that weasel Salovey, double this guy’s salary and bring him to New Haven!

15 Oct 2018

No Free Speech in Scotland

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Count Dankula trains dog to be a Nazi video.

Making a supposedly humorous video showing you trying to get your dog to respond affirmatively to “Gas the Jews?” or to raise his paw when you say “Sieg heil!” is obviously very far from being in good taste, most people won’t even think this is funny, but should the government arrest and fine you for doing it? Most Americans would say no. If you agree, you’d better not move to Scotland.

Spiked reports:

In 1941, a dog in Finland sparked a three-month investigation by Germany’s Nazi government. Tor and Josephine Borg had allegedly trained their Dalmatian to raise its paw in response to the word ‘Hitler’. The German embassy dismissed Tor Borg’s claim that he had not intended to insult the Führer, perhaps due to his admission that ‘Hitler’ was now the dog’s nickname. In the absence of witnesses, the charges were eventually dropped.

It would seem that the present-day Scottish judiciary is more tenacious than the Third Reich. When Markus Meechan (aka Count Dankula) was arrested in May 2016 for uploading a video to YouTube in which he teaches his girlfriend’s pug to perform a Nazi salute, few imagined the case would reach a court of law. The story seemed too absurd. In any case, it was surely unfeasible that the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service would not intervene and prevent the Scottish legal system from becoming an international laughing stock.

Two years and thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money later, Meechan was convicted at Airdrie Sheriff Court and fined £800 for breaching Section 127 of the 2003 Communications Act. The guilty verdict was reached on the grounds that the video was ‘grossly offensive’, a wildly subjective formulation which could be applied to literally anything, depending on how and by whom it is interpreted. In this case, the determination was made by one po-faced judge alone, without a jury to make up for his lacking sense of humour. In such circumstances, a miscarriage of justice was always a possibility.

I visited Markus at his home in July of this year in order to make a documentary for spiked. I’ve long been fascinated by the case because it represents one of the more scandalous instances of the state’s ongoing adulteration of the principle of free speech. Prosecutions for jokes are not entirely new – an outrage in itself – but Markus’s case is so self-evidently preposterous that it merits particular consideration. Moreover, many in the media have made rash assumptions about his character and background, few of which, I was to discover, bear any relationship to reality. …

I asked various members of the public how they felt about the case. Virtually everyone I spoke to understood that the pug video was intended as a joke, irrespective of whether they found it funny or not. Of the roughly three million people who watched the video online, not one complained to the police – the investigation was only able to proceed because the authorities actively trawled for witnesses who would find the material offensive.

The subsequent trial has exposed a yawning gap between the general public and those who occupy influential positions in the media and the judiciary. It is a peculiarity of our time that policymakers and law enforcers apparently lack the basic nous to identify an attempt at humour when they see it, or, more worryingly, have such a degraded view of humanity that they believe that many will be drawn to fascism and criminality on the basis of a misinterpreted prank.

RTWT

HT: Jim Harberson.

22 Jun 2018

Leaked Memo Reveals ACLU Retreating on Free Speech

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Wendy Kaminer, in the Wall Street Journal, also reveals that the ACLU is now accepting the Hard Left notion that mere speech can inflict harm, even if one does not call someone pigeon pie and eat him up.

The American Civil Liberties Union has explicitly endorsed the view that free speech can harm “marginalized” groups by undermining their civil rights. “Speech that denigrates such groups can inflict serious harms and is intended to and often will impede progress toward equality,” the ACLU declares in new guidelines governing case selection and “Conflicts Between Competing Values or Priorities.”

This is presented as an explanation rather than a change of policy, and free-speech advocates know the ACLU has already lost its zeal for vigorously defending the speech it hates. ACLU leaders previously avoided acknowledging that retreat, however, in the apparent hope of preserving its reputation as the nation’s premier champion of the First Amendment.

But traditional free-speech values do not appeal to the ACLU’s increasingly partisan progressive constituency—especially after the 2017 white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville. The Virginia ACLU affiliate rightly represented the rally’s organizers when the city attempted to deny them a permit to assemble. Responding to intense post-Charlottesville criticism, last year the ACLU reconsidered its obligation to represent white-supremacist protesters.

The 2018 guidelines claim that “the ACLU is committed to defending speech rights without regard to whether the views expressed are consistent with or opposed to the ACLU’s core values, priorities and goals.” But directly contradicting that assertion, they also cite as a reason to decline taking a free-speech case “the extent to which the speech may assist in advancing the goals of white supremacists or others whose views are contrary to our values.”

In selecting speech cases to defend, the ACLU will now balance the “impact of the proposed speech and the impact of its suppression.” Factors like the potential effect of the speech on “marginalized communities” and even on “the ACLU’s credibility” could militate against taking a case. Fundraising and communications officials helped formulate the new guidelines.

RTWT

08 May 2018

The Intellectual Dark Web

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Bari Weiss of The New York Times takes a fearful peek down the rabbit hole of the Intellectual Dark Web.

What is the I.D.W. and who is a member of it? It’s hard to explain, which is both its beauty and its danger.

Most simply, it is a collection of iconoclastic thinkers, academic renegades and media personalities who are having a rolling conversation — on podcasts, YouTube and Twitter, and in sold-out auditoriums — that sound unlike anything else happening, at least publicly, in the culture right now. Feeling largely locked out of legacy outlets, they are rapidly building their own mass media channels.

The closest thing to a phone book for the I.D.W. is a sleek website that lists the dramatis personae of the network, including Mr. Harris; Mr. Weinstein and his brother and sister-in-law, the evolutionary biologists Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying; Jordan Peterson, the psychologist and best-selling author; the conservative commentators Ben Shapiro and Douglas Murray; Maajid Nawaz, the former Islamist turned anti-extremist activist; and the feminists Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Christina Hoff Sommers. But in typical dark web fashion, no one knows who put the website up.

The core members have little in common politically. Bret and Eric Weinstein and Ms. Heying were Bernie Sanders supporters. Mr. Harris was an outspoken Hillary voter. Ben Shapiro is an anti-Trump conservative.

But they all share three distinct qualities. First, they are willing to disagree ferociously, but talk civilly, about nearly every meaningful subject: religion, abortion, immigration, the nature of consciousness. Second, in an age in which popular feelings about the way things ought to be often override facts about the way things actually are, each is determined to resist parroting what’s politically convenient. And third, some have paid for this commitment by being purged from institutions that have become increasingly hostile to unorthodox thought — and have found receptive audiences elsewhere.

RTWT

11 Apr 2018

“Free Speech” at Yale

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Woodbridge Hall, home of the Yale Administration.

How leftist exactly is Peter Salovey’s Yale Administration? So leftist that its representatives will strong-arm Yale students to prevent them from counter-demonstrating when a leftist pseudo-labor organization (i.e., a “union” of graduate students) stages a “strike” in order to shakedown the university.

Current undergraduate Esteban Elizondo describes “free speech at Yale” today in the Washington Examiner.

In April 2017, the Yale College Republicans and I organized a counter-protest against graduate students’ symbolic “hunger strike” for unionization. Our counter-protest was a barbecue right next to the grad students, but either a mistake was made or someone regretted sanctioning our event, because a few hours after the event was approved, I received an email from Holloway asking for me to call him. That is when he delivered his admonition to me.

During the barbecue, participants were actively forbidden by Director of Administrative Affairs Pilar Montalvo from engaging with the graduate student union, lest we be shut down. Montalvo’s office had a view of the protests, and when we disobeyed, she stormed out onto the plaza wildly, reiterating her threats. I later learned that it was Montalvo, who works in the Office of the President, who contacted multiple deans at Yale to pressure me to cancel the barbecue.

Regardless of who is ultimately right, it is important that campuses encourage controversial discourse. It is through these conversations that we seek out truth, and intellectual controversy should be an essential part of any university. Yale shamefully attempted to stifle a peaceful counter-protest at multiple levels and forbade two ideologically different groups from engaging with each other.

The larger message Yale intended to send us was clear: Certain discourse is forbidden on campus. Yale simply maintains the facade of free speech to pacify students and the press while intentionally fostering a campus with little ideological debate. Yale professors usually prefer classes without rigorous debate, and I noticed that, controlling for quality, students generally received higher marks when they conformed to the professor’s opinion.

RTWT

21 Oct 2017

Andrew Sullivan Gets One Right

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Andrew is a very mixed bag. He can be brilliantly perceptive, hitting the nail right on the head. And he can be an intellectually conformist sheep, swallowing the current leftist spin hook, line, and sinker. And Andrew can go both ways in the very same editorial.

For example, this week, Andrew correctly identifies the democrats’ huge political vulnerability.

For me, as regular readers know, few things seem as ominous as the fate of free speech in the West. In democratic countries without a First Amendment, writers and speakers are now routinely hauled into court for hurting someone’s feelings or violating some new PC edict. In Canada, it is now a crime to use pronouns that have served the English language well enough for centuries, if you are not careful. You are compelled by law to say “ze” or “xe” or “ve” or an endlessly proliferating litany of gobbledygook — “(f)aer,” “e/ey,” “perself” — invented out of thin air by postmodern transgenderists. Justin Trudeau doesn’t just want you to be criminalized for saying things he regards as “hate,” he wants to use the criminal law to force you to say things you don’t believe in and can’t even remember.

In Britain, meanwhile, it is now a criminal offense to post something on social media that “is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice.” “Hostility” is defined thus: “ill-will, spite, contempt, prejudice, unfriendliness, antagonism, resentment and dislike.” In other words, if you “dislike” some idea, and someone else asserts your view is driven by “unfriendliness” to a member of a minority, you are breaking the law. There is effectively no free speech left in the U.K. that isn’t subject to a criminal veto by someone seeking to make trouble or permanently primed to take offense. And that is not to speak of the chilling effect such laws have on others too intimidated to open their mouths at all.

In America, thanks to Thomas Jefferson et al., such policing of minds and thoughts by the government is forbidden. So the illiberal left and reactionary right find other ways. Our president believes “it’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write.” He also thinks he can coerce people into saying “Merry Christmas” or standing for the national anthem. (I’ve decided to reverse my previous custom and always say “Happy Holidays” and always kneel for the anthem.) The GOP candidate for the Senate from Alabama — supported by every other GOP senator — believes that NFL players are actually breaking the law by using their First Amendment rights, and that Muslims should be barred from public office. And then the worst news on this front all year: “Nearly half of voters, 46 percent, believe the news media fabricate news stories about President Donald Trump and his administration.” That rises to 76 percent of Republicans. Twenty-eight percent of all voters — and 46 percent of Republicans — believe that the government should be able to remove the licenses from outlets that criticize the president. The First Amendment lives; but the beliefs and practices and norms that buttress it are atrophying very fast.

Many now demand, for example, that young-adult fiction conform to their ideology … or they will destroy a book before it is even published and before they have even read it. That just happened to a book written by Laura Moriarty, called American Heart, which was subjected to a social-media version of book-burning. Kirkus originally gave the book a glowing review, and then retracted it under pressure, then got the reviewer to rewrite it. Vulture interviewed the editor of Kirkus Reviews about the flap. Money quote:

    “Obviously we don’t like having to make corrections after the publication of a review,” [Kirkus’s editor-in-chief Claiborne Smith] adds. “The plan is to beef up our editing of reviews in this section, to have further eyes before it goes to print.”

    In the future, I ask, is the goal that no problematic book will escape un-called-out?

    “That’s certainly the goal!” Smith says, with the caveat that Kirkus’s critics aren’t infallible. “I mean, we’re human beings.”

Or look at what happened to a speaker from the ACLU at the College of William & Mary in Virginia a couple of weeks back. She came to give a talk about — yes! — free speech, only to be shouted down by the usual mob, who were at least honest enough to chant: “Liberalism Is White Supremacy,” and “The Revolution Will Not Uphold Your Constitution.” They physically prevented the speaker from even talking one-on-one with those who were interested in a dialogue.

The unity of the far left and the Trump right on this is as striking as it is depressing. What they share is a contempt for liberal democracy. Truth to both of them is merely an instrument of power. Instead of relying on an open exchange of ideas in order to determine the always-provisional truth, both sides (yes, both sides) insist that they already know the truth and need simply to acquire the power to impose it on everyone else. Somewhere, Thomas Jefferson weeps.

And then Andrew proceeds to tell us just how wonderful and enlightening the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick Vietnam War Documentary is. (Sigh!)

Try Mackubin Thomas Owens on that subject.

27 Sep 2017

No, Kneeling During the Anthem Is Not a Free Speech Issue

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William Sullivan, at American Thinker, makes a good effort at dispelling the confusion.

[T]here are the stock defenders of [the NFL players’] actions invoking the First Amendment as an enshrined protection for their actions. Even some unlikelier defenders, such as National Review, have framed this as a free speech issue.

To be perfectly clear, doing so is an exercise in stupidity. The First Amendment provides Americans protection to enact displays of protest, certainly. The question that goes continually and aggravatingly unaddressed is, protection from whom?

It would be wishful thinking, I suppose, to imagine that Americans who support the NFL protesters might take the fifteen or twenty seconds necessary to google and read the First Amendment.

It reads:

    Congress shall make no law regarding an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

“Congress shall make no law.” The framers inscribed a document related to the powers and limitations of the federal government. Therefore, it is only logical to understand that this refers to the federal Congress. The federal Congress shall make no laws to infringe upon these rights.

So where is the federal law that outlaws kneeling during the National Anthem at a pro football game? If there were such a law, it would run afoul of the First Amendment. But there is no such law.

Also, I’m not aloof to the fact that judicial precedent in case law evidences a much broader interpretation of the First Amendment, suggesting that it applies to the state and local governments as well. Even considering that broader scope raises another question: who is rushing to arrest the kneeling sports star for his violation of any such standing law at the state level? No one.

So what has the First Amendment to do with any of this?

Nothing. Not one single thing. Anyone with half a brain and thirty seconds to digest the meaning of the First Amendment should be able to understand that without difficulty.

Now let’s move on and consider what these National Anthem protests actually mean.

The kneelers argue that they do not mean to disrespect the flag, or those who have fought and died for this country, or America as a whole. Of course, their actions certainly disrespect all of those things, and suggesting otherwise should be ridiculous on its face.

So why, exactly, are they kneeling?

Those kneeling assert that there is an epidemic of white police officers who work their beat every night with the explicit intention to murder innocent black people. They are suggesting that there is an epidemic of institutional white racism in this country going unaddressed, and that the only way to draw attention to this, the Black Lives Matter narrative, is to kneel during the National Anthem at pro football games.

There is no convincing evidence that either claim is true, and it is a malicious narrative that has arguably already led to a death toll among police officers being targeted for their presumably widespread racism and brutality.

The left argues that the players’ demonstrations force me to recognize that this narrative exists, as if I’m not forced to recognize the existence of this narrative with the myriad protests and riots infused with this Black Lives Matter-inspired rhetoric and impetus. They imagine that I and millions of other Americans don’t accept this narrative only because it’s not being adequately thrown in our faces.

I, among millions of other Americans, refuse to accept that. I therefore find those kneeling during the National Anthem in order to advance that narrative despicable, entitled babies for whom I have no respect and who are undeserving of my financial support.

http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2017/09/can_we_please_stop_pretending_the_nfl.htmlRTWT

25 Sep 2017

The NFL Will Live to Regret This

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Baltimore Ravens

The Washington Times quotes a poll indicating that one-third of the country is considering stopping watching the NFL.

The Left has suddenly converted to being on favor of Free Speech. Free Speech is good when it takes the form of black athletes performing a gesture of disrespect toward the country and the rest of us.

Of course, they have a political right to express hostility toward, and contempt for, the United States. No one is going to arrest them or prosecute them in any court of law either. But, parri passu, the right of free speech, as we all know, does not mean that your employer has to tolerate your views. Mozilla and Google made national news throwing out employees who took politically incorrect positions frowned upon by those companies.

And what goes for giant Silicon Valley companies certainly goes for the great America football viewing audience.

Yesterday, one single Pittsburgh Steeler, West Point graduate & Army veteran offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva, appeared outside the locker room to stand for the National Anthem.

Coach Mike Tomlin was reported to have been “disappointed” that there was not “100% participation” in boycotting the Anthem out of respect for the football team.

Coach Tomlin obviously believes that respect for African-American racial chauvinism and respect for team solidarity come before respect for America and national solidarity.

This particular point of view, I can tell you, is not going to be a hit in Appalachian Steeler Country. Boycotts, Mike Tomlin, Roger Goodall, and all those aggrieved and oppressed multi-millionaire black players are going to find out can go both ways.

02 Sep 2017

We’re All “Serfs on Google’s Farm”

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Josh Marshall, at leftist Talking Points Memo,

[W]e at TPM – and some version of this is the case for the vast majority of publishers – are connected to Google at almost every turn. … Running TPM absent Google’s various services is almost unthinkable. Like I literally would need to give it a lot of thought how we’d do without all of them. Some of them are critical and I wouldn’t know where to start for replacing them. In many cases, alternatives don’t exist because no business can get a footing with a product Google lets people use for free.

But here’s where the rubber really meets the road. The publishers use DoubleClick. The big advertisers use DoubleClick. The big global advertising holding companies use Doubleclick. Everybody at every point in the industry is wired into DoubleClick. Here’s how they all play together. The adserving (Doubleclick) is like the road. (Adexchange) is the biggest car on the road. But only AdExchange gets full visibility into what’s available. (There’s lot of details here and argument about just what Google does and doesn’t know. But trust me on this. They keep the key information to themselves. This isn’t a suspicion. It’s the model.) So Google owns the road and gets first look at what’s on the road. So not only does Google own the road and makes the rules for the road, it has special privileges on the road. One of the ways it has special privileges is that it has all the data it gets from search, Google Analytics and Gmail. It also gets to make the first bid on every bit of inventory. Of course that’s critical. First dibs with more information than anyone else has access to. (Some exceptions to this. But that’s the big picture.) It’s good to be the king. It’s good to be a Google.

There’s more I’ll get to in a moment but the interplay between DoubleClick and Adexchange is so vastly important to the entirety of the web, digital publishing and the entire ad industry that it is almost impossible to overstate. Again. They own the road. They make the rules for the road. They get special privileges on the road with every new iteration of rules.

In recent years, the big new things are various kinds of private deals and private markets you can set up to do business in different ways with advertisers. That uses Google architecture and they take a percentage. How much of a percentage does Google take on what I was referring to above – the so-called open auction? No one knows.

Now Google can say – and they are absolutely right – that every month they send checks for thousands and millions of dollars to countless publishers that make their journalism possible. And in general Google tends to be a relatively benign overlord. But as someone who a) knows the industry inside and out – down to the most nuts and bolts mechanics – b) someone who understands at least the rudiments of anti-trust law and monopoly economics and c) can write for a sizable audience, I can tell you this.: Google’s monopoly control is almost comically great. It’s a monopoly at every conceivable turn and consistently uses that market power to deepen its hold and increase its profits. Just the interplay between DoubleClick and Adexchange is textbook anti-competitive practices.

There’s one way that Google is better than Facebook. When Facebook is getting a bigger and bigger share of the advertising pie, that money is almost all going to Facebook. There are some small exceptions but that’s basically the case. When Google is making insane amounts of money on advertising, it’s not really the same since a huge amount of that advertising is running on websites which are getting a cut. Still, the big story is that Google and Facebook now have a dominant position in the entirety of the advertising ecosystem and are using their monopoly power to take more and more of the money for themselves.

We’re basically too small for Google to care about. So I wouldn’t say we’ve had any bad experiences with Google in the sense of Google trying to injure us or use its power against us. What we’ve experienced is a little different. Google is so big and so powerful that even when it’s trying to do something good, it can be dangerous and frightening.

Here’s an example.

With the events of recent months and years, Google is apparently now trying to weed out publishers that are using its money streams and architecture to publish hate speech. Certainly you’d probably be unhappy to hear that Stormfront was funded by ads run through Google. I’m not saying that’s happening. I’m just giving you a sense of what they are apparently trying to combat. Over the last several months we’ve gotten a few notifications from Google telling us that certain pages of ours were penalized for ‘violations’ of their ban for hate speech. When we looked at the pages they were talking about they were articles about white supremacist incidents. Most were tied to Dylann Roof’s mass murder in Charleston.

Now in practice all this meant was that two or three old stories about Dylann Roof could no longer run ads purchased through Google. I’d say it’s unlikely that loss to TPM amounted to even a cent a month. Totally meaningless. But here’s the catch. The way these warnings work and the way these particular warnings were worded, you get penalized enough times and then you’re blacklisted.

Now, certainly you’re figuring we could contact someone at Google and explain that we’re not publishing hate speech and racist violence. We’re reporting on it. Not really. We tried that. We got back a message from our rep not really understanding the distinction and cheerily telling us to try to operate within the no hate speech rules. And how many warnings until we’re blacklisted? Who knows?

If we were cut off, would that be Adexchange (the ads) or DoubleClick for Publishers (the road) or both? Who knows?

If the first stopped we’d lose a big chunk of money that wouldn’t put us out of business but would likely force us to retrench. If we were kicked off the road more than half of our total revenue would disappear instantly and would stay disappeared until we found a new road – i.e., a new ad serving service or technology. At a minimum that would be a devastating blow that would require us to find a totally different ad serving system, make major technical changes to the site to accommodate the new system and likely not be able to make as much from ads ever again. That’s not including some unknown period of time – certainly weeks at least – in which we went with literally no ad revenue.

Needless to say, the impact of this would be cataclysmic and could easily drive us out of business.

Now it’s never happened. And this whole scenario stems from what is at least a well-intentioned effort not to subsidize hate speech and racist groups. Again, it hasn’t happened. So in some sense the cataclysmic scenario I’m describing is as much a product of my paranoia as something Google could or might do. But when an outside player has that much power, often acts arbitrarily (even when well-intentioned) and is almost impossible to communicate with, a significant amount of paranoia is healthy and inevitable.

I give this example only to illustrate the way that Google is so powerful and so all-encompassing that it can actually do great damage unintentionally.

RTWT

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

————————————-

NYM is obviously a lot smaller than TPM, and unlike TPM, tries to operate without outside funding. This is undoubtedly severely limiting. I pay for expenses out of pocket, and can’t afford subscriptions to costly research services. I have no interns or assistants. I don’t make anything more than pocket change, and therefore blogging is just a small avocation and minor duty for me. A more serious blog, making a real income, would contain a lot more original writing and research.

Sometime back, I used to make something like $150-200 a couple of times a year from Google Adsense. One day Google’s Ads disappeared. It took me six months or so to notice (sigh!). And when I looked into what had happened, this was roughly four years ago, I found I had been given an ultimatum from Google. I had to remove a posting and beg to be forgiven, and then I might have my ads restored.

I sent the Google Adsense team a foreign language literary reference, “Ich heisse Götz von Berlichingen,” inviting them to kiss my ass. I have since done without Google Adsense.

Here’s the posting describing all that.

Josh Marshall is right, I think, to be concerned with the power wielded these days by a handful of corporations which have arrived at positions of control over speech and communications incidentally in the course of the more conventional corporate drive for profit and market control.

Companies like Google are demonstrably not above applying Planetary-sized corporate muscle to enforce standards not only of speech, but of opinion, reflecting the mere prejudices and whims of corporate chieftains applied robotically by lesser imps deep in the depths of their own bureaucracy.

Libertarians like myself would normally be found arguing that Google isn’t really a monopoly, you can use Duck Duck Go or Bing instead, and contending that corporations have a right to make their own terms. Today, however, we have corporations possessed, ephemerally perhaps, of dominant position gate-keeping kinds of power, appointing themselves as universal censors of speech and political opinion they do not like. They are literally able to silence people they look upon unfavorably, and they are therefore, in reality, exercising governmental powers without anybody ever having voted and elected them.

The Civil Rights Bill of 1964 applied an older Common Law doctrine of Public Accommodations being required to serve everyone. There is no reason that the same doctrine shouldn’t be applied to the likes of Google, Yahoo, and Go Daddy.

08 Aug 2017

Google SJWs Have Wrongthink Blacklists

, ,


Two Minutes of Hate

Breitbart:

Numerous individuals alleged to be members of Google’s management team have been caught bragging about forming blacklists to impact the careers of colleagues with different political beliefs.

In a series of screenshots from 2015 onwards provided to Breitbart News by a verified Google employee, individuals described as left-wing Google management employees can be seen discussing the ways they punish their colleagues both inside and out of the company. …

“One of the great things about Google’s internal communication mechanisms (G+, mailing lists, etc), is that, as a manager, I can easily go find out if I really want to work with you,” wrote another individual described on social media as a Google manager, Collin Winter. “I keep a written blacklist of people whom I will never allow on or near my team, based on how they view and treat their coworkers. That blacklist got a little longer today.”

In the comments, one Google employee can be seen asking, “Are such blacklists allowed at Google?” before another added, “I would talk to legal before assembling a list of people who are possibly creating a hostile workplace.”

“And now I know that if I ever sue Google for harassment I should demand to see all manager’s shit-lists to see if this was something management already knew and thus let happen (my tormentor could be on there and not dealt with). It would probably increase the settlement aware considerably,” he continued. “I would encourage anyone else getting mistreated at Google to do the same.”

This week, a Google employee’s ten-page document went viral, after he called for more ideological diversity at the company. …

The employee’s manifesto quickly prompted extreme responses from left-wing users, including one SJW, Emily Gorcenski, who claimed she would “beat the sh*t out of him.”

Gorcenski frequently retweets and expresses support for It’s Going Down, an extremist far-left Antifa organization, who have previously doxed and harassed college students, and encouraged violence against Trump supporters.

Alon Altman, who according to social media posts is a senior software engineer at Google and who describes himself as an “intersectional feminist” and uses “they/them/their” pronouns, was also seen in leaked screenshots urging Google management to fire employees who agreed with the anti-political correctness manifesto that was revealed this week.

In leaked screenshots, Altman added that should the employee behind the manifesto not be fired by the end of the month, he would hand in his resignation notice.

In another post, alleged Site Reliability Manager Paul Cowan warned to employees that “freedom of speech is the right to freely express an opinion. It is most assuredly not the right to express an opinion with freedom from the consequences.”

Cowan continued to reference a post from Google dissidents, who were discussing the blacklists being created by an “SJW cabal” at the company, before defending the concept of punishing anti-SJW employees.

“To be clear: this is, in my opinion, perfectly acceptable,” he declared. “Quoting this as if it were some egregious abuse of power, or of your rights, is laughable… My life, happiness, and mental health, are worth too much to me to burn my precious happy-fu working with people I find contemptible, unpleasant, or even in some cases merely irritating.”

After being warned that keeping blacklists could result in him being reported to Human Resources, Cowan then bragged on Twitter that they were “threats I ignored, naturally, and which ironically grew the list substantially.”

In older posts, Kim Burchett, a now ex-Google employee and Antifa supporter, also discussed blacklists in a post on Internal Plus.

“I am considering creating a public-inside-google document of ‘people who make diversity difficult’,” claimed Burchett. “I am thinking of something like google doc that accepts comments, and which calls out those googlers who repeatedly made public statements that are unsupportive of diversity, with links to those statements so that readers can decide for themselves.”

RTWT

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