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May 2017

What Free Speech Isn’t The government cannot punish you for offensive speech, but your boss can fire you. By Karol Markowicz

Two hundred and forty-one years since America’s birth and 226 years since the adoption of the Bill of Rights protecting our freedom of speech, Americans seem to be confused about what free speech actually means. We need a refresher course in what is not free speech, and what it is that speech is free from.

As a free society, we must protect speech in the public square. That’s why the Westboro Church lunatics are accompanied by a sizable police force when they protest military funerals. It is our job as a society to permit speech, even and especially speech we find repugnant, and to protect the speaker from violent reactions to that speech. Additionally, speakers must not face repercussions from the government for what they say. If Donald Trump doesn’t like it when Saturday Night Live makes fun of him, he can tweet about it. He can’t send a police force to arrest Alec Baldwin.

This does not, however, mean that speech comes without consequences. If Westboro Church leader Fred Phelps applied for a job at your company, you would be fully within your rights to turn him down because he is a vile, hateful person whom you do not wish to employ. This general distinction has been difficult for people to grasp in the wake of several recent high-profile incidents.

Last week, Tomi Lahren settled a lawsuit with her previous employer, the conservative network The Blaze. Lahren was fired after an appearance on The View in which she told the audience that she was pro-choice. She had previously proclaimed herself pro-life; her position on abortion is one that matters to both her audience and her (now former) employer. Speaking to Joy Behar and other View co-hosts, she explained:

I’m pro-choice, and here’s why: I am a constitutional — y’know, someone that loves the Constitution. . . . I can’t sit here and be a hypocrite and say I’m for limited government, but I think the government should decide what women do with their bodies.

Of course, her viewers at The Blaze also consider themselves “constitutionals” (if that were a real word), believe in limited government, and yet are pro-life. She called her own audience hypocrites — and then she was fired for it.

The Pre-Existing Lie We’re talking about a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the population. By Rich Lowry

If you’ve only followed coverage of the Republican health-care bill loosely in the media, you might believe that House Republicans, after much effort, passed legislation to deny people with pre-existing conditions health insurance.

The issue of pre-existing conditions has dominated the debate over the GOP health-care bill out of all proportion to the relatively modest provision in the legislation, which is being distorted — often willfully, sometimes ignorantly — into a threat to all that is good and true in America.

The perversity of it all is that the legislation is properly understood as doing more to preserve the Obamacare regulation on pre-existing conditions than to undermine it. The legislation maintains a federal baseline of protection in such cases, and says only that states can apply for a waiver from it, provided that they abide by certain conditions meant to ensure that no one is left out in the cold.

Since these provisions only involve the individual insurance market, a small slice of the overall insurance picture (about 18 million are on the individual market), and merely make possible state waivers, they are inherently limited.

You’re not affected if you get insurance through your employer (155 million people), or through Medicaid or Medicare. You’re not affected if you live in a state that doesn’t request the waiver, a category that will certainly include every blue state and most red states, too. Even if you buy insurance on the individual market and live in a state that gets a waiver, you’re not affected if you’ve maintained insurance coverage continuously and not had a gap in coverage longer than 63 days.

By this point, we’re talking about a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the population. If you do have a pre-existing condition in a waiver state and haven’t had continuous coverage, you can be charged more by your insurer only the first year. The state will have access to $8 billion in federal funds explicitly to ease the cost of your insurance, and the state must further have a high-risk pool or similar program to mitigate insurance costs for the sick.

Clearly, if Republicans set out to recklessly endanger the well-being of people with pre-existing conditions, they didn’t do a very good job of it. The purpose of these provisions isn’t to punish people who are sick, but to create an incentive for people to buy insurance while they are healthy. (The Obamacare exchanges are failing because the law’s tangle of regulations drove up costs and made insurance economically unappealing to the young and healthy.)

How to Blow an Election — in Five Easy Steps Counting the ways, and Comey is not among them. By Victor Davis Hanson

Hillary Clinton recently took “full responsibility” for her 2016 loss. Only she didn’t. Instead of explaining what the historian Thucydides once called the “truest causes” (aitiai), she went on to list at least three pretexts (prophases) for her defeat: sexism, FBI director James Comey, and the purported Russian hacking of her unsecured e-mail server and the John Podesta e-mail trove.

Clinton’s accusations also raise the larger question of why a presidential candidate wins or loses an election.

In general, there seem to be five hinges of fate: personality, positions on the issues, the general political atmosphere of the era, the quality of the campaign, and sudden and unforeseen outside events such as depression, scandal, or war. Even a biased media or lots of money pales in comparison.

The Pretexts

We can fairly dismiss Clinton’s pretexts.

Take sexism. Hillary Clinton found her sex an advantage in being elected to the U.S. Senate from New York. For a generation, among the most powerful and successful figures in U.S. politics were three progressive, multimillionaire, Bay Area women who, in a most non-diverse fashion, lived within 50 miles of one another: Barbara Boxer, Diane Feinstein, and Nancy Pelosi.

From 1997 to 2013 women of both parties were in charge of U.S. foreign policy as secretary of state, for twelve out of 16 years. One could make the argument that “the first female president” was an advantageous campaigning point, not a drawback; it was certainly designed to bookend Barack Obama’s successful trumpeting of being the first African-American president.

Blaming a deer-in-the-headlights FBI director James Comey is equally problematic. His passive-aggressive pronouncements irrationally first exonerated her, then did not, then did again. Faulting the FBI for her own likely felonious behavior of sending and receiving classified communications on an unsecured server (or of Bill Clinton’s trying to leverage Attorney General Loretta Lynch on an airport tarmac) is sort of like blaming the defeat at Pearl Harbor on the Japanese — true, but hardly the whole story given America’s responsibility for its own unpreparedness.

In similar fashion, had Donald Trump lost, he might have faulted the Washington Post for airing the decade-old Access Hollywood tape that nearly destroyed his campaign, as if the clear ill will and partisanship of Jeff Bezos’s Post were not empowered by Trump’s own private, hot-mic — but nonetheless crude — statements. The Germans claimed that harsh snows and the last-minute campaign in the Balkans had delayed and thus doomed their 1941 Russian offensive, as if the Red Army did not have a say or as if Germans were a tropical people.

A Slap in the Face to Democracy: Canada’s “Anti-Islamophobia” Motion by Ruthie Blum

“While the NCCM’s open letter does not directly call for Sharia law or the criminalization of criticism of Islam, it does advance the notion that the famously tolerant nation of Canada must set up anti-racism directorates in each province to track instances of Islamophobia, institute a mandatory course on systemic racism for Canadian high school students, and train its police officers to use bias-neutral policing.” — Josh Lieblein, The Daily Caller.

“Now that Islamophobia has been condemned, this is not the end, but rather the beginning… so that condemnation is followed by comprehensive policies,” wrote Samer Majzoub, a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate of the Canadian Muslim Forum — presumably meaning that the next steps are to make it binding.

“The objective of Jihad… warrants that one must struggle against Kufr (disbelief) and Shirk (polytheism) and the worship of falsehood in all its forms. Jihad has to continue until this objective is achieved.” — ICNA Canada website.

Growing concern in Canada over liberal policies benefitting Muslim extremists sheds light on why an “anti-Islamophobia” bill — proposed in the wake of the deadly January 17 Quebec City mosque attack and approved by parliament on March 23 — spurred such heated controversy there.

Motion 103, tabled by Liberal Party MP Iqra Khalid, a Muslim representing Mississauga-Erin Mills, calls on the Canadian government to “develop a whole-of-government approach to reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia.” Because the bill makes no mention of any other religious group targeted by bigots, it was opposed by most Conservative Party politicians and a majority of the public.

Ahead of what would turn out to be a 201-91 vote in favor of the motion, a petition was circulated asking MPs not to support it. According to the petition, Motion 103 would “lay the groundwork for imposing what is essentially a Sharia anti-blasphemy law on all of Canada.”

The petition further stated:

“…criticism of Islam would constitute a speech crime in Canada.

“This motion uses the term ‘islamophobia’ without defining it, and without substantiating that there is in fact any such widespread problem in Canada.

“This will lead to ideologically-driven overreach and enforcement against alternative points of view—including mature, reasoned criticisms of Islam.

“Criticism of the treatment of women in Islamic-majority Middle Eastern countries could be criminalized;
“It could be a punishable offense to speak out against the Mustlim Brotherhood, or to denounce radical Imams who want to enact Sharia law in Canada;
“Criticism or depiction of Muhammad could be punishable by law;
“Schools that teach the history of Islam’s violent conquests could be fined—or worse.

“That kind of content-based, viewpoint-discriminatory censorship is unacceptable in a Western liberal democracy.”

Erdogan’s Crimes against Humanity Turkey Bombs Yazidi Homeland by Uzay Bulut

While Yazidis are still suffering from these atrocities, Turkey, evidently still no friend of non-Muslims, has attacked them yet again.

Turkish officials say they consider these groups “terrorists.” The general staff of the Turkish armed forces issued a statement concerning the airstrikes, saying that “operations will continue until the terrorists have completely been eliminated.”

“Denying the genocide is not only saying ‘we didn’t do it.’ It’s much, much worse…. It is declaring murderers as heroes. It is honoring the genocide’s perpetrators… [and] saying to the grandchildren of genocide victims, ‘Murderers of your grandfathers and grandmothers are our heroes; they did it well, God bless them. If necessary, we would do it again.'” — Istanbul Branch of the Human Rights Association, Commemoration of the 102nd Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, April 24, 2017.

Just a few hours after the commemoration of the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on April 24, 2017, Turkish warplanes dropped bombs on the Yazidi homeland of Sinjar (Shingal) on April 25, at around 2 AM local time, according to reports from the region.

The strikes reportedly killed at least 70 people in the area, with one bomb hitting a Kurdish peshmerga post in Sinjar, killing at least five and severely wounding several more.

Yazidis say they have been subjected to 72 genocidal massacres. The latest genocide, committed by ISIS, is the 73rd and is still going on. Tens of thousands of Yazidis have been displaced and are refugees in several countries. Hundreds of Yazidi girls and women are still bought, sold and raped by ISIS terrorists — the same men who murdered their husbands and fathers.

While Yazidis are still suffering from these atrocities, Turkey, evidently still no friend of non-Muslims, has attacked them yet again.

On August 3, 2014, Islamic State terrorists invaded Sinjar, the homeland of the Yazidis in Iraq, and started slaughtering the Yazidis; many survivors fled up Mount Sinjar.

In his speech to the U.S. Congress, Mirza Ismail, founder and chairman of the Yezidi Human Rights Organization-International, described the genocide in Sinjar and pled for help:

“The entire Yezidi population was displaced in less than one day on August 3, 2014! The Yezidis and Chaldo-Assyrian Christians face this genocide together. Why? Because we are not Muslims, and because our path is the path of peace. For this, we are being burned alive. For living as men and women of peace.”

Segregation at Harvard: Blacks-Only Grad Ceremony To combat the “legacy of slavery and colonization at Harvard.”

Black students at Harvard University are holding their own graduation ceremony away from white students in what BET says is “the first of its kind” and “took nearly a year to plan.”

One of the graduates who helped plan the blacks-only graduation, Michael Huggins, said, “This is an opportunity to celebrate Harvard’s Black excellence and Black brilliance. It’s an event where we can see each other and our parents and family can see us as a collective, whole group. A community.”

However, Huggins ensures this segregated event is anything but segregation:

“This is not about segregation. It’s about fellowship and building a community. This is a chance to reaffirm for each other that we enter the work world with a network of supporters standing with us. We are all partners.”

The BET notes that Harvard reports a 96% graduation rate for its black students “who remain in school for an average of six years.” This ceremony is modeled after blacks-only ceremonies held at Stanford, Temple, and Columbia.

Another black graduate, Courtney Woods, told The Root, “Harvard’s institutional foundation is in direct conflict with the needs of black students. There is a legacy of slavery, epistemic racism and colonization at Harvard, which was an institution founded to train rising imperialist leaders. This is a history that we are reclaiming.”

Over 125 graduate students are registered for the ceremony and were able to raise $27,000 to cover the costs and a reception. The Root notes:

The ceremony, which will focus on graduate students, comes at a time when the experiences of many black students, undergraduate and grad, on college campuses in America have been marked by incidents of overt racism, microaggressions, passive racist comments, and the marginalization of minority experiences in both reading assignments and learning materials.

Remember, kids, there is no “overt racism” in segregating as long as it’s not a whites-only ceremony.

Can College Students Learn to Disagree? The importance of contrasting ideology with prudence. Mitchell Langbert

Recently, conservative author Ann Coulter canceled a speech at UC Berkeley because of Berkeley’s ham-handed response to radical students’ threats. In February, Berkeley had been the scene of violent riots that prevented a Breitbart News editor, Milo Yiannopoulos, from speaking. Berkeley is the nation’s leading public university, according to US News, and ironically, it was the birthplace of the free-speech movement of the 1960s.

Berkeley professor and former secretary of labor Robert Reich has concocted a conspiracy theory that avers that Yiannopoulos himself was responsible for the riots. However, Reich needs to explain how the supposed conspiracy has traveled back and forth between Berkeley, California and Middlebury, Vermont, where in early March rioting students physically injured Professor Allison Stanger, who was accompanying IQ expert Charles Murray to his car after demonstrators prevented him from speaking.

Fox News has reported that in anticipation of further riots, police from 40 schools have taken part in special response training.

Despite ongoing campus intolerance and violence, over the past few weeks I have participated in campus debates and discussions at Brooklyn College, where I teach, and at Lafayette College, where I gave an invited talk as part of the Wilson lecture series. Both institutions are dominated by left-oriented faculty and students, yet the interactions that I witnessed were respectful, collegial, and enlightening.

At Brooklyn College I have run a lecture series funded by the John Templeton Foundation and administered by the Institute for Humane Studies. My speakers have included Donald Trump’s executive vice president, George H. Ross, who was co-star of The Apprentice; Mark Mix, the president of the National Right to Work Committee; and two economists, Oren Levin-Waldman and William T. Alpert, respectively of Metropolitan College and the University of Connecticut, who took different positions on the minimum wage issue. Students who are critical of Trump, who are opposed to the activities of the National Right to Work Committee, and who are in favor of a minimum wage were able to debate vigorously, rationally, and respectfully both with the speakers and with each other.

At Lafayette, I discussed my research findings concerning the preponderance of Democratic and left-oriented faculty in elite universities. Both left-oriented and conservative students debated with me and each other in a lengthy question-and-answer session. All three of the Brooklyn College events as well as the Lafayette event went overtime, and the students expressed enthusiasm for ideas without rancor.

What’s the difference? Why are elite institutions like Berkeley and Middlebury ridden with intolerant extremism and violence, with a leading faculty member attempting to rationalize such violence with a conspiracy theory?

UCLA’s Crusade Against Professor Keith Fink Yet another progressive purge against a free-speech champion. Lloyd Billingsley

The University of California at Los Angeles boasts a winning tradition and student Keith Fink was something of an academic Johnny Wooden. Fink won three consecutive National Collegiate Debate championships, went on to complete law school, then returned to UCLA to teach in the same department as his college debate coach Thomas Miller.

Professor Fink, also a practicing attorney, began teaching at UCLA in 2008 and proved popular with students, particularly on the subject of free speech. The courses, on the other hand, did not earn respect from politically correct campus bosses who have restricted access to his classes and now, he says, seek to have him fired. As professor Fink told Frontpage:

“They are all afraid of a vocal, rational intelligent conservative who can provide a check on the progressive narrative they seek to indoctrinate the students with and empowers the students with knowledge of their rights on how to fight against the UC when their rights are being violated.”

The campaign against professor Fink is relatively recent and duly turned up in the student newspaper. In January, Evolet Chiu wrote in the Daily Bruin, “Dozens of UCLA students are frustrated with their inability to enroll in a communication studies class this quarter, despite receiving a permission-to-enroll number from their instructor.” The PTE numbers were not honored for Communication Studies 167: “Sex, Politics and Race: Free Speech on Campus.”

Professor Fink handed out 41 PTE numbers but the next day “received several emails from students who were unenrolled from the course by the UCLA Registrar’s Office.” It was the first time such a thing had happened “in a decade of teaching at UCLA.”

One of those unenrolled was fourth-year student Taryn Jacobson, who told the Daily Bruin “This class is of utmost importance to me, being that I want to go to law school and (Fink) has so much knowledge to offer.”

As Chiu noted, new department chair Kerri Johnson also restricted professor Fink’s class size for Communication Studies M172: “Free Speech in the Workplace.” Johnson construed it as an issue of class size to ensure a “productive learning environment.” For professor Fink, “This is a violation of academic freedom, a violation of (UCLA’s) own rules and students’ rights. Students are not being treated with equity here.”

Associate professor and new department chair Kerri Johnson is not an attorney. As she explains, her research includes: “How/why does the way that we move our bodies communicate whether we are a man or woman, gay/lesbian or heterosexual, angry or sad?” Johnson is also co-author of “Swagger, sway and sexuality: Judging sexual orientation from body motion and morphology.” Kerri Johnson is also listed in UCLA’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Studies department, not known for commitment to objective truth, intellectual diversity, freedom of speech and due process.

Clapper and Yates Grilled In Senate Subcommittee on Russian Probe When will Congress force Susan Rice to do the same? Joseph Klein

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, an Obama administration holdover, testified on Monday before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee in connection with the ongoing investigation into alleged Russian interference with last year’s presidential election. There were no major revelations during over three hours of testimony. The saga of General Michael Flynn, whom served briefly as President Trump’s national security adviser before being dismissed for misleading Trump administration officials about his Russian contacts, was a recurrent theme of the hearing. Another was the unmasking of the names of Trump associates on whom information was incidentally collected during the course of surveillance focused on foreign targets, and the leaks to the media that followed.

Both Mr. Clapper and Ms. Yates said they had viewed classified documents in which the identities of Donald Trump or his associates had been unmasked, but declined to provide any details. Ms. Yates indicated that she herself had not asked for any such unmasking. Mr. Clapper said that he had at least on one occasion requested unmasking involving a Trump associate. Both denied having leaked any such information to the press. Moreover, neither was aware of any classified information relating to Mr. Trump or his associates being declassified and then shared with the media.

Mr. Clapper reaffirmed his conclusion that no evidence existed of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians. He also confirmed that during his investigation he did not find a situation where a Trump business interest in Russia gave him concern during the course of the preparation of the intelligence communities’ assessment.

Ms. Yates refused to state where she stood on the collusion issue in the public subcommittee setting, falling back on a justification she used repeatedly in not answering any questions that she claimed “would require me to reveal classified information.”

Despite getting no support from either Mr. Clapper or Ms. Yates on the existence of supposed collusion, Democrats on the subcommittee nevertheless kept hammering away on their speculative conspiracy theories without any evidence to support them. That is one reason why they kept coming back to the Flynn story, in an effort to draw broad but unsupportable inferences of something even more nefarious at work.

Ms. Yates claimed to have warned the White House, in particular White House Counsel Don McGahn, during the very early days of the Trump administration regarding Flynn’s misleading statements on his prior contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. “The Russians also knew what Gen. Flynn had done and that Gen. Flynn had misled the Vice President and others…that created a compromise situation — a situation where the national security advisor essentially could be blackmailed by the Russians,” Ms. Yates said. In addition to the concern that Flynn was compromised, she said “we felt like the Vice President was entitled to know that the information he had been given, and that he was relaying to the American public, wasn’t true.”

Mr. Clapper confirmed the role that British intelligence, along with other allies, played in sharing information they had with U.S. intelligence officials regarding purported links between Russians and Trump associates. He said the specifics were “quite sensitive.” Curiously, however, the former director of national intelligence claimed to have been in the dark about the FBI’s own investigation into the Russian-Trump campaign relationship.

Teaching Racism in K-12 Classrooms Leftist educators are corrupting the young. May 9, 2017 Matthew Vadum

Teachers at Highlands Elementary, a school in Edina, Minnesota, are indoctrinating five-year-olds in order to radicalize them and encourage them to become activists obsessed with race.

Public school teachers across America already saturate students with information about racial injustice in America in a nonstop barrage of historic facts and ahistorical nonsense. And in the culture at large, the media, politicians, and the entertainment industry can’t stop talking about race. The last thing any young student in America needs is to be taught about is race. Race matters only to radicals.

Leftists believe you have to get ’em while they’re young and impressionable.

Marxist theorist Paolo Freire advocated in Pedagogy of the Oppressed, that schools be used to inculcate radical values in students so they become agents of social change. Freire held that the so-called dominant pedagogy “silences” poor and minority children and that there is no such thing as a neutral educational system.

Joining Freire in his desire to use the educational system to level institutions is unrepentant communist terrorist and education theorist Bill Ayers, who has long advocated poisoning the minds of the young so they can agitate to fundamentally transform American society.

“If we want change to come, we would do well not to look at the sites of power we have no access to; the White House, the Congress, the Pentagon,” he said in 2012. “We have absolute access to the community, the school, the neighborhood, the street, the classroom, the workplace, the shop, the farm.”

This brings us to Highlands Elementary, which is located in one of the most affluent cities in Minnesota. Its school district is among the best in the state, Daniel Lattier reports at Intellectual Takeout. Highlands students do well in standardized testing: more than 85 percent of its students are proficient in reading and math.

But racial and social justice indoctrination have found their way onto the Highlands curriculum over the past year, according to Lattier. The phenomenon is not limited to Highlands, he adds. “[A] large percentage of students in public schools today are being trained to view the world primarily through the lenses of race, class, and gender.”

Katie Mahoney, who took over as principal of Highlands last fall, is proud of the school’s “Melanin Project.” She tweeted April 26: “Kindergarten tackles the Melanin project! @edinaschools @LeslieStageberg[.]” (Leslie Stageberg is a teacher.)

A poster made of construction paper is shown that reads, “Stop thinking your skin color is better than anyone elses[sic]! Everyone is Special!”