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SMU reverses decision to move 9/11 memorial after free speech … – USA TODAY

File Southern Methodist Universitys Dallas Hall, where the 9/11 memorial traditionally appears. (Photo: Hillsman S. Jackson, File)

Is a 9/11 memorial placed prominently on campus triggering and harmful, or an appropriate and respectful remembrance?

Thats been hotly debated at Southern Methodist University this summer. The university just reversed its decision to relegate a traditional 9/11 memorial and all other student displays to an out-of-the-way spot on campus.

According to Campus Reform, earlier this summer, the campus organization SMU Young Americans For Freedom filed their annual request for the public display of their 9/11 memorial, a part of the national 9/11 Never Forget Project.

In response, SMU officials requested the display appear not, as usual, on Dallas Hall Lawn, but instead at a park the university noted is larger but students argued is located in a less inconspicuous spot.

Critics accused the university of muting free speech.

According the Washington Post, the universitys new policy on student displays stated that, SMU respects the right of all members of the community to avoid messages that are triggering, harmful, or harassing. That wording has now been removed from the SMU website.

Some outlets seized on the situation with critical headlines like 9/11 memorial flags may be too much for some students.

It was disappointing to us when we first discovered the new policy because of SMUs decent track record in protecting free speech, said Grant Wolf, a senior at SMU and president of the SMU Young Americans for Freedom.

According the SMU student newspaper, the Daily Campus, These annual displays have been met with little resistance until several years ago, when a number of students spoke out against Mustangs for Lifes Memorial of Innocents cross display. In that incident, a campus pro-life group displayed more than 2,000 crosses also on the Dallas Hall Lawn, incidentally to memorialize the abortions performed daily in the U.S., sparking vandalism, threats and intense debate.

SMU Young Americans For Freedom published an open letter to the university president about the 9/11 memorial, signed by leaders of clubs from across the political spectrum.

The next day, SMU officials came out with a statement that reversed the sensitive language of the new policy but did not reverse its intentions. Meant to ease the chaos that ensued over freedom of speech, the letter walked the new policy back: That language regarding messages that are triggering or harmful was added earlier in July and had not gone through the appropriate approval process.

A week later, the university president came out with another letter that changes the policy and allows the organization to keep the original display.

I thank the students from across campus who came together in the spirit of mutual respect and civil discourse to achieve this outcome, SMU President R. Gerald Turner said in the statement.

We were very pleased, as a result of our discussions, that they agreed about the importance of free speech and understood our concerns, that they agreed to reinstate free expression on Dallas Hall Lawn, Wolf said. Our organization is on the front lines nationally trying to stand for free speech, so we saw this was an important opportunity for freedom of speech for all students.

Kalina Newman is a Boston University student and a USA TODAY digital producer.

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SMU reverses decision to move 9/11 memorial after free speech … – USA TODAY

Their view: Google memo is not a free speech issue – Wilkes Barre Times-Leader

Ive reached a very important conclusion about white men, and Ill get to that soon enough, but first, please repeat after me: Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences.

Say it again. And again. And if youre one of those aggrieved white guys out there harboring the odd misconception that your voice is being unfairly stifled by political correctness, say it 15 more times, because it just doesnt seem like this concept has sunk in.

Consider this weeks firing of a white, male Google employee who published a 10-page memo about diversity on an internal company forum. The software engineer used 3,000-or-so wholly unnecessary words to claim that there are fewer women in the tech industry because of biological causes and that diversity programs increase race and gender tensions.

The memo is riddled with sexist stereotypes poorly supported by scientific references that are, at best, dodgy. And it contains repeated statements that the author is all for diversity, is not sexist and eschews stereotypes statements proven false by the aforementioned poorly supported sexist stereotypes.

The engineers MANifesto also slams Google for not being a friendly place for conservatives, which is odd because conservatives spend a good bit of their time mocking the idea of safe spaces.

He writes: Alienating conservatives is both non-inclusive and generally bad business because conservatives tend to be higher in conscientiousness, which is require (sic) for much of the drudgery and maintenance work characteristic of a mature company.

So the dude who doesnt believe in stereotypes claims conservatives are more conscientious than everyone else. Perfect.

If you care to read the full memo, you can find it online, though youll likely sprain an ocular muscle rolling your eyes.

My take as a white, male who, for whatever reason, is not part of the aggrieved brommunity is that the Google engineers word barf is insufferable, unquestionably insulting to women (and pretty much any non-white person) and the epitome of white, male privilege. And with all that said, he absolutely, without question, had every right in the world to write what he wrote.

Just like Google had every right to fire his white, male butt for, I assume, violating all manner of company standards and for just being an all-around turd. (I wouldve fired him just for thinking anyone would want to read a 10-page memo in the first place.)

There will surely be legal action, and maybe hell wind up prevailing. But Google was right to can him, and that canning isnt an attempt to curtail his freedom of speech.

He can say or write whatever he wants. But the things he says and writes might come with consequences, particularly when hes sharing his words on an internal company forum.

This isnt a First Amendment issue. The government isnt interfering with anybodys right to free speech. Still, many white guys have rushed to the Google bros defense, crying about how put upon they are because theyre never allowed to speak their minds.

If you are a white guy in America, you are not put upon. And if you feel put upon, its because you cant be bothered to put yourself in another persons shoes for half a minute and try to understand what being put upon actually looks like.

If youre griping about political correctness, youre really saying youre annoyed because you cant be flip with your language and say things that might offend other people.

The pros and cons and the implementation of diversity programs can and should certainly be discussed openly, but a self-righteous screed thats blind to anyone elses point of view isnt a discussion. Its a white guy mansplaining to female and non-white coworkers how diversity should work, and the very existence of that kind of thinking is why companies need diversity training.

Its not a liberal or a conservative concept. Its a human concept, one that only requires the humility to acknowledge that you might not understand what its like to be another person.

Now let me get to the conclusion promised at the beginning of this column. This may prove controversial, but Im sure my fellow white men will agree that I have every right in the world to share this conclusion, because white-dude thoughts are always worth sharing: White men are not biologically suited to writing memos about diversity.

They are too neurotic and tend to perform better in bubbles in which their sense of dominance is reinforced by other neurotic white men. They also tend to be overly emotional, particularly when fired for writing diversity memos, and can become hysterical when held accountable.

This is not to say I am opposed to diversity in diversity memo writing. White men are capable of working in supporting roles, possibly supplying a companys more biologically qualified women or people of color with printer paper, or perhaps procuring coffee for them while they write sensible diversity memos.

But attempts to encourage white men to write diversity memos is clearly social engineering run amok. We must respect the differences in our DNA and the skill sets our biology have clearly predetermined.

Lets stay in our lanes, shall we?

http://timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/web1_Rex-Huppke.jpg

Rex Huppke is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Readers may email him at [emailprotected].

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Their view: Google memo is not a free speech issue – Wilkes Barre Times-Leader

Google Supports Freedom Of Speech For Child Sex Traffickers, But Not Conservatives – The Federalist

Google, the tech giant that recently fired one of its top engineers for penning a memo that stated men and women are different, has been funding organizations that are defending human traffickers rights to free speech.

Google engineer James Damore was fired Tuesday for perpetuating gender stereotypes in other words, saying something Google doesnt like after he wrote a 10-page memo that said the companys affirmative-action like hiring policies and programs werent helping the intended recipients.

Ironically, then, Google has also been backing efforts to protect websites like Backpage, a classified ad site commonly used by human traffickers to sell sexual encounters with children. A Google lobbyist has been reportedly blitzing members of Congress via email, urging them to oppose legislation that would amend section 230 of the1996 Communications Decency Act, which protects online forums and platforms from being liable for the content others write and publish on their websites,according to the National Center on Child Exploitation.

Lawmakers and activists have sought to amend section 230 to specifically state that speech that promotes or enables human trafficking should be excluded from such protections. But thesearch engine and its parent company Alphabet have supported the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Center for Democracy and Technology, and their fight against amending section 230 of the 1996 law.

We acknowledge fully that child sex trafficking is abhorrent and a serious problem, EFF attorney Aaron Mackey told The Observer. We are completely sympathetic to their concerns, but their proposed fix might undermine all speech platforms online, which are used overwhelmingly for good.

In other words, Google and its nonprofit allies are fighting efforts to amend a law to crack down on human trafficking because they say it would inhibit free speech, yet when one of Googles employees says something true yet outside the bounds of liberals comfort zone, he is immediately fired. Why is the tech giant more comfortable with protecting a shady classified ad sites right to free expression than one of its own employees who unlike child traffickers who use Backpage did nothing criminal? Perhaps because to a company with a crippling liberal bias, human traffickers are less icky than people who say things that challenge their political preferences.

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Google Supports Freedom Of Speech For Child Sex Traffickers, But Not Conservatives – The Federalist

Freedom Of Speech: Poland Plots Restrictions On Foreign Media And US Companies Could Be Hit – Newsweek

The Polish government, with whom Donald Trumpenjoysclose relations, is planning new laws restricting foreign ownership of media that would disproportionately harm U.S. companies.

The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) [party] will likely submit a bill setting limits to foreign ownership of media outlets in Poland at the autumn session of parliament, a research note from political analysts Teneo Intelligence said.

Ownership limitations would adversely impact German and U.S. media groups that currently dominate Polish media market, thus increasing the risk of a sharply negative international response, it continued. Otilia Dhand, senior vice president at Teneo, says Viacom and E.W. Scripps are both particularly active in Poland.

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Dhandtells Newsweek that the type and level of restrictions the government imposes will likely depend on the amount of outcry generated over its proposals.

According to Teneos note, the bill could set a limit as low as 15 percent on foreign ownership of media corporations. But other recent proposals have been scuppered or rowed back after international criticism.

For example, a recent attempt to pass three laws that would have cemented government control over the judiciary ended with the countrys presidenta usually submissive former member of PiSvetoing two of them. Dhand says U.S. pressure may have been partly behind the move.

Dhand says the push to take more control over the private media sector follows the governments early move to consolidate control over public media. At the start of 2016, the government passed legislation that allowed it to appoint the heads of state TV and radio outlets.

They do want to gain control, leverage, over the private media to avoid criticisms. So thats the sort of basic aim. It is a big question ofwhat form does this leverage [take], Dhand said.

Dhand cited the example of the Polish banking sector, where the state insurance company has been instructed to buy up stakes in banks as they come onto the market, as a model the government could follow in the media sector.

Polands government took office in late 2015 and has proved controversial on the world stage ever since. It is engaged in two rows with the European Commission in Brussels:one over its plans for the judiciaryand another over logging rights in a primeval forest.

Donald Trump visited Poland in July, and at a press conference where he faced difficult questions from U.S. reporters he jokingly asked President Andrzej Duda whether he struggled with a hostile media too.

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Freedom Of Speech: Poland Plots Restrictions On Foreign Media And US Companies Could Be Hit – Newsweek

Free-speech rights don’t apply in the American workplace, as Google demonstrates – Quartz

Americans believe deeply in their right to speak freely and will proudly cite the First Amendment of the US Constitution to support it. Theres often a fundamental misunderstanding about what kind of speech is protected precisely, and Americans tend to believe they are more free than they really are.

In fact, employers in the US can fire almost anyone for almost any reason or no reason at all, as long as the termination is not discriminatory or retaliatory. This means that James Damore, the Googler fired for writing an internal anti-diversity memo claiming women arent biologically suited to engineering, probably will not have a viable wrongful-termination suit against his former employer.

Constitutional protections apply to government action, not private entities. The First Amendment provides that Congress shall make no lawabridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. In other words, the government cant limit your speech. A company certainly can under most circumstances: Google and other companies can fire employees for saying things that displease the bosses, with limited exceptions.

Of course, Googles termination of Damore does seem retaliatory since it follows the release and broad discussion of his memo. Thats not necessarily a problem for the company from a legal perspective.

Unless Damore can somehow prove that conservative male technologists are a protected class and that the company retaliated against him for exercising his right to speak freely under federal or state anti-discrimination law, Google likely would be OK. Considering that Google is also facing a US Department of Labor lawsuit for discrimination in the pay and hiring of female employees, it seems highly unlikely Damore will succeed in any legal action, His memo only supports the discrimination clams made by women, which led to the US investigation, and undermines Googles arguments that it ensures equal treatment in the workplace.

Damore told Bloomberg News that hes exploring his legal options. His chances of winning are probably quite limitedor perhaps nonexistentgiven the context of his termination.

Federal law prohibits terminating employees because of their race, gender, national origin, disability, religion, genetic information, or age (if above 40 years old). It also prohibits most employers from firing someone for being pregnant or having a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth.

Employers cant legally retaliate against employees who speak up about discrimination, assist in a government investigation, or refuse to participate in or choose to expose a companys illegal actions. A terminated employee who can prove one of those things will succeed in a wrongful-termination retaliation claim. Still, thats not so easy. To advance such a claim, an employee must prove three findings:

As the fact appear to be known, it seems highly unlikely Damore will succeed in a wrongful-termination suit. Yet he has already succeeded in making his employment and termination more widely known in the media than the plight of the women who say they were underpaid or never hired at Google. And now he has a job offer from Julian Assange.

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Free-speech rights don’t apply in the American workplace, as Google demonstrates – Quartz

Google’s Free Speech & Diversity But | National Review – National Review

In his post on Googles diversity dust-up, Robert highlighted this quote from the companys VP for Diversity:

Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions. But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws [bold added in this quote and all the rest].

Notice the but. There is almost always a but or however or some other qualifier in these kinds of statements. The censors start by praising free and open discussion, then clarify that they do not support free and open discussion. The formulation has become so popular that a different Google VP used it in his own statement:

Questioning our assumptions and sharing different perspectives is an important part of our culture, and we want to continue fostering an environment where its safe to engage in challenging conversations in a thoughtful way. But…

It rarely matters what comes after the but, since it will just be some form of special pleading but this speech is harmful, but this speech is intimidating, but this speech is wrong, etc. In fact, once you see the qualifier, you can usually complete the rest of the sentence on your own. Remember when Charles Murray faced violent protesters at Middlebury College earlier this year? A letter signed by 450 alumni explained why he never should have been allowed to visit:

We think it is necessary to allow a diverse range of perspectives to be voiced at Middlebury. In college, we learned through thoughtful, compassionate and often difficult discussions inside the classroom and out conversations in which our beliefs were questioned and our assumptions challenged. We fully support the core liberal arts principle that contact with other intellectual viewpoints and life experiences than ones own is integral to a beneficial education. However…

This is how the faculty of the Africana Studies department at Virginia Tech denounced Murrays presence on their campus:

Academic freedom is a crucial value within any university. Indeed, given the critical nature of Africana Studies as a field, we are especially invested in upholding it as a core tenet. However…

During the 2016 election season, the mayor of West Hollywood declared that Donald Trump is not welcome to campaign in his city. When asked for specifics, the mayor responded:

As a city we have historically welcomed campaigns on both sides of the aisle to come to West Hollywood. Again, were not trying to shut down anyones speech. But…

Using chalk to write political messages is common on college campuses, but when people started chalking Trump 2016 around Emory University, the schools president became concerned:

As an academic community, we must value and encourage the expression of ideas, vigorous debate, speech, dissent, and protest. At the same time…

Last year a science conference disinvited Richard Dawkins because he retweeted something critical of feminism. The organizers helpfully explained:

We believe strongly in freedom of speech and freedom to express unpopular, and even offensive, views. However…

At the heart of all of these statements is the Orwellian notion that censors can be free-speech advocates. Thats why Mozilla gave this cryptic justification for firing Brendan Eich over his opposition to same-sex marriage:

Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard.

Its also the stated reason that NYUs medical school disinvited James Watson from giving a lecture:

At NYU, we have a strong commitment to equality as well as freedom of speech, and the right balance between these is not always easy to determine. While we may have differences of opinion, we also have tolerance.

It would be more accurate and honest for these organizations to simply declare, We do not believe in free speech, period. So why dont they? Well, they strongly support accuracy and honesty, but…

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Google’s Free Speech & Diversity But | National Review – National Review

SMU Student Groups: Moving The 9/11 Memorial Restricts Freedom of Speech – Texas Monthly

By Doyin OyeniyiAugust 8, 2017

On August 1, the Southern Methodist University student group Young Americans for Freedom posted an open letter to their Facebook page. The letter, addressed to the universitys president, Robert Gerald Turner, criticized SMU for its response to the groups request to display a 9/11 memorial on Dallas Hall lawn, the same spot where the campus gathered after the attack in 2001. The memorial, a display of 2,977 American flags to represent the lives lost on 9/11, has been constructed on the lawn for the past two years.

This year, however, the memorial is barred from Dallas Hall lawn. The new location, designated for all lawn displays, is Morrison-McGinnis Park, or MoMac Park, which the YAF describes as far less prominent than the iconic Dallas Hall lawn, adding that thousands of students, faculty and local residents pass by [Dallas Hall lawn] every day and serves as the heart of our campus. But in addition to the location change, the organization particularly had a problem with the language used in the policy, which they received in July as a response to their request. The policy, titled Memorial Lawn Displays, read:

The University respects the right of all members of the SMU community to express their opinions. The University also respects the right of all members of the community to avoid messages that are triggering, harmful, or harassing. It is the policy of the University to protect the exercise of these rights. These rights come with the responsibility not to abuse or violate civil and property rights of others, or to interfere in the conduct of University business.

YAF criticized that language as an attack on freedom of speech and warned that the university was headed in the direction of indoctrination, not education if they continued to limit students right to share and express their beliefs. The open letter is signed by the chairman of Young Americans for Freedom, the president of College Republicans, the co-presidents of College Democrats, the president of Mustangs for Life, and the president of Feminist Equality Movement. The idea that a 9/11 memorial could be triggering, harmful, or harassing has drawn criticism online and even from Governor Greg Abbott.

In response to the backlash, SMU released a statement explaining that YAFs requests for displays have been approved in previous years, and SMU as a community has held 9/11 memorial events every five years since 2001, including a notable event last year in collaboration with area first responders. The university also apologized for the inappropriate wording in the policy sent to the students, explaining that the policy had not gone through the appropriate approval process. The updated policy, now titled Lawn Displays, reads:

The University respects the right of SMU community members to express their opinions as individuals with varying points of view and interests. The university also respects the right of all members of the academic community to be free from coercion and harassment. Reasonable limitations may be placed on the time, place and manner of such expression activities in order to serve the interest of health and safety, prevent interference in the conduct of University business, and protect against the infringement of the rights of others. Because we seek truth, we encourage the expression of ideas, accept challenges to our assumptions, and treat those whom we question as colleagues sharing a common purpose.

Kent Best, a spokesperson for SMU, said that the wording on triggering or harassing lawn displays was only to explain why certain requests might not be approved, but that the restriction would never have applied to the 9/11 memorial.The policy change was made in the July, Best said, just a few days before YAFs request was received.I can assure you 100 percent that their display was going to be approved, Best said.

What didnt change between the two versions of the policy was the new location. Best said that there were no specific incidents that led to no longer allowing displays at Dallas Hall lawn, but rather a need to keep that area available for students use and other university activities. Referencing a map of SMUs campus, Best explained that MoMac Park was more centrally located on campus and that though Dallas Hall lawn was bigger, displays had never been allowed to use the entire space on the lawn.

When asked if there were events that would have conflicted with this years 9/11 memorial, Best explained that a football game tailgate on September 9 would take place on the lawn. Since YAF might need to put up the flags for the memorial the day before 9/11, tents from the tailgate might not be removed in time, Best said, but he added that the decision to move lawn displays to MoMac Park was made before the were aware of any scheduling conflict. On the YAFs Facebook page, the group posted a screenshot of a tweet from SMU in 2015, which includes a picture with the flags from their memorial next to tailgating tents.

SMU cant hide the fact that they celebrated and supported our 9/11 Memorial on Dallas Hall lawn, despite it being surrounded by remnants of tailgating tents from the weekend before, the photo caption reads. This isnt a logistical problem. This is a freedom problem. Our pressure will continue until this policy is changed.

Although the university has not confirmed it, Daniel Rosa, president of Mustangs for Life, and Matthew Lucci, co-president of College Democrats, believe that the policy change was a response to a Mustangs for Life display. Rosa said that for the past four years, during the spring semester, the organization has displayed a Memorial for Innocents to signify the number of abortions that happen per day in America. For the past three years, the display has been about 2,000 crosses spread on the lawn.In recent years, there have been counter-protests and displays by pro-choice organizations such as Feminist Equality Movement and Mustangs for Unity (an organization created in response to Mustangs for Life). Rosa says people have sometimes kicked over crosses in his organizations display, and this year, a student responded to the display by raising money for Planned Parenthood. But the representatives from the groups, who might publicly disagree on many things, both want Dallas Hall lawn available for displays again.

Of the three displays that occur every single year, the 9/11 display has never been controversial, whereas the other two have, Lucci said. And the text of the original policy change hints at that.Lucci doesnt believe that SMU had malicious intent toward the 9/11 memorial, but he still considers the restriction of lawn displays to MoMac Park as a limitation. Because the park is mostly surrounded by dorms and receives less foot traffic than Dallas Hall lawn, which he describes as the academic center of the university, relegating them to an area where lawn displays are not likely to receive the attention and response theyve received in the past, Lucci believes the university is in a way restricting their freedom of speech.

Best could not confirm any plans to change the lawn display policy, but students are holding out hope. On Monday, student leaders who signed the open letter met with Kenechukwu Mmeje, SMUs new vice president for student affairs, to discuss the policy changes. Although details of the meeting, which included representatives from SMUs development and legal departments, were scarce, Lucci seemed hopeful. Student and administrative leaders are working together on a solution to the problem at hand, the details of which are still under consideration at this time, he said after the meeting. I am confident that the administration of Southern Methodist University and the students in attendance will be able to reach an agreement in the near future.

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SMU Student Groups: Moving The 9/11 Memorial Restricts Freedom of Speech – Texas Monthly

The War on Free Speech Turns Further Left – Capital Research Center – Capital Research Center

Anti-free speech demonstrators protesting in the name of social justice could cost The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington$3.8 million in legal payments.

In late May, fifty Evergreen students barragedlong-time biology professor Bret Weinstein for refusing to comply with radical Left-wing activists calls for a Day of Absence for white faculty and students. The leftist protesters, convinced Weinsteinis a white supremacist for daring to show up to work on their own racist segregation day, hurled vitriolic insults and demanded the college terminate the professors employment contract.Videos of Evergreen students verbally assailing the professor and school officials quickly went viral.

After being told by the college chief of police that he was not safe on campus, Weinstein wisely had his family live in hiding. In response, the beleaguered Weinstein has fileda $3.8 million tort claim against the college.

Weinstein himself is no card-carrying conservative, however.Weinstein,a self-professed liberal, has taught biology for fourteen years, is an outspoken Sen. Bernie Sanders supporter, and by all accounts is the kind of teacher that students at one of the most left-wing colleges in the country would admire, as the New York Timesglowingly put it in its June 1 article, When the Left Turns on Its Own.

Shutting down conservatives has become de rigueur. But now anti-free-speech activists are increasingly turning their ire on free-thinking progressives. Liberals shouldnt cede responsibility to defend free speech on college campuses to conservatives. After all, without free speech, whats liberalism about?

Ironically, when Weinstein was a student he penned anOctober 6, 1987 opinion piece to the Daily Pennsylvaniandecrying a fraternity for hiring strippers during a fraternity rush partyas sexist and abhorrent. Weinstein chose to voice his opinions peacefully; his students chose wanton chaos. In an op-ed tothe Wall Street Journal,Weinstein notes that the Evergreen faculty administrationhas donelittle to preserve order, free speech, and diversity of thought as the school has slipped into madness:

Equality of outcome is a discredited concept, failing on both logical and historical grounds, as anyone knows who has studied the misery of the 20th century.

[The college administrationsnew race-based hiring plan would] shift the college from a diversity agenda to an equity agenda by, among other things, requiring an equity justification for every faculty hire.

This presented traditional independent academic minds with a choice: Accept the plan and let the intellectual descendants of Critical Race Theory dictate the bounds of permissible thought to the sciences and the rest of the college, or insist on discussing the plans shortcomings and be branded as racists. Most of my colleagues chose the former, and the protesters are in the process of articulating the terms. I dissented and ended up teaching in the park.

The Day of Absence that led to the incident stems from a tradition at Evergreen in which black students and faculty leave campus to display the importance of their roles at the school, following the theme of Douglas Turner Wards play, Day of Absence.

Butin 2017, Reasonreports, the tradition was altered: a student group asked that their white peers and instructors take a Day of Absence from campus life to explore issues of race, equity, allyship, inclusion and privilege. A powerful tradition has been morphed into a campaign to snuff out free speech, and silence dissent. Unfortunately, Evergreen is not the only campus with such problems.

Freedom of speech on college campuses in America is under widespread attack. CRC has covered muchof the campus anti-free speech epidemicat Claremont McKenna College, where student activists weredisciplinedappropriately.

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The War on Free Speech Turns Further Left – Capital Research Center – Capital Research Center

‘A declaration of war on freedom of speech’ – Arutz Sheva

While the Communications Ministrys announcement Sunday of its plans to ban the Al Jazeera network from Israel won the backing of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the decision to shutter the Jerusalem offices of the Qatari-based media outlet accused of promoting Islamist extremism has at least one Israeli organization up in arms.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, a far-left organization which has often challenged Israeli security measures to defend citizens from Palestinian Authority terrorists, took aim Monday at Communications Minister Ayoub Karas announcement.

On Sunday, Kara said that his ministry would work to protect freedom of the press, but would not permit media outlets to threaten Israels security, noting Al Jazeeras role in promoting incitement against Israel following the July 14th terror attack which left two Israeli officers dead.

Freedom of expression is a basic value, and I will do everything I can to protect objective journalism and freedom of expression, which is very important to me, said Kara. But, continued Kara, the events on the Temple Mount have put me in a position where I need to think about how I can secure the safety of Israels citizens, and that is the most important.

Recently, weve noticed that some outlets are not being used for free expression, but for incitement against Israeli citizens. One of these outlets, the Al Jazeera network, is responsible for the loss of some of our finest sons.

Kara pledged to shut down Al Jazeeras Jerusalem offices, as well as revoke the press credentials of its journalists and even bar broadcasting of the Qatari network on Israeli satellite and cable services.

Not surprisingly, the move drew criticism from Al Jazeera, which took the opportunity to launch a scathing attack on Israeli democracy, referring to the Jewish state as a country that claims to be the only democracy in the Middle East.

On Monday, the ACRI joined the fray, accusing Israel of declaring war against freedom of expression.

Banning Al Jazeera over its anti-Israel incitement, the ACRI claimed, was tantamount to a declaration of war.

This joins a series of steps taken by the government against freedom of expression and against anybody that criticizes government policy.

Yet even many in the Arab world have pointed out Al Jazeeras promotion of anti-Jewish incitement and anti-Semitic canards.

While Al Jazeeras coverage of events in Israel has drawn accusations of anti-Semitism and pro-Islamist incitement, even Arab states hostile to Israel have slammed the Qatari-controlled network and its reporting.

Founded in 1996, the Arabic network and its English affiliate have acted as the de facto state mouthpiece of the Qatari government, promoting radical Islamist groups supported by Qatar, like the Muslim Brotherhood.

In June, four Arab states severed relations with Qatar, demanding the government end its support for radical Islamist groups and shut down the Al Jazeera network they claim has been used to promote extremist ideologies.

Last month, the United Arab Emirates went even further, accusing Al Jazeera of anti-Semitism and incitement.

In a letter to United Nations Human Rights chief Zeid Raad Al Hussein, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash wrote that Al Jazeera had “promoted anti-Semitic violence by broadcasting sermons by the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Yusuf al-Qaradawi”.

Gargash also noted that Al Jazeera programing had “praised Hitler, described the Holocaust as ‘divine punishment’, and called on Allah to ‘take this oppressive, Jewish, Zionist band of people… and kill them, down to the very last one'”.

In the past, other Arab states, and even Al Jazeera employees, have accused the network of promoting the agendas of radical organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood.

Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and his successor, Nouri Al-Maliki, both ripped Al Jazeera for its incitement of violence in Iraq, leading to temporary bans of the network.

In 2013, dozens of members of Al Jazeeras Cairo bureau quit, accusing the network of working on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood.

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‘A declaration of war on freedom of speech’ – Arutz Sheva

Yassmin Abdel-Magied: where were my free-speech defenders? – The Age

Andrew Bolt, are you up to the challenge?

Mechanical engineer, author and social justice activistYassmin Abdel-Magied has provoked the right-wing columnist:”If Andrew Bolt cares so much about freedom of speech as much as he reckons, he should have defended me.

“Where were all the defenders of freedom of speech in my case?”

Ms Abdel-Magied whodescribes herself the most “publicly hated Muslim in Australia” -made the comments after months of intense criticism following a Facebook post on Anzac Day, in which she suggested Australiansshould also rememberthe suffering on Manus Island, Nauru, and in Syria and Palestine.

Her post was criticised by Bolt, aconservative commentator.

Ms Abdel-Magied said the experience taught her that freedom of speech was not shared equally by all Australians.

“The conversation is not on my terms, it’s not on the terms of any marginalised group,” Ms Abdel-Magied said.

Since her Anzac Day Facebook post, which she deleted, the woman who was named the 2015 Queensland Young Australian of the Year, became the victim of daily death threats, intense criticism from conservative Australian politicians, and her ABC show Australia Wide was axed.

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Last month, the severed head of a pig encased in a bag with a swastika was dumped at the gate of her old school in Brisbane.

Speakingon Monday evening at an Age subscriber event at Deakin Edge, hosted in partnership with the MelbourneWriters Festival, Ms Abdel-Magiedsaid the campaign waged against her has left her with a bitter view of Australia: “I don’t think I can hand on heart say that we are a country that isn’t racist. People themselves may not be racist, but structurally, I don’t think I can say that anymore.”

Ms Abdel-Magied made the commentson a panel convened by Age news director Michelle Griffin, which included Pakistani/Australian writer and comedian Sami Shah, libertarian author and commentator Chris Berg, and author and documentary maker John Safran.

The panel discussed free speech,equality and extremism in Australia.

Chris Bergsaid he was concerned thatAustralianswereshutting down views that did not reflect their own, and warned this behaviour could lead to extremism.

“I’m concerned about a segment of the population that is embracing and seeking the bubble … I’ve seen some data on this, that people who are using the technological capacity they have now, to grow into a narrower ideological frame.

“They identify a smaller community on the internet, and they choose to exclude information that violates the beliefs of that [community].

“You might be a far-right radical in country Victoria, now you are a far-right radical who can communicate with far-right radicals in Melbourne or Germany or wherever they may be.”

White nationalists, Aussie ISIS supporters and some “inflammatory Jewish people” have become friends of Mr Safran, who said he spent 18 months “hanging out with people on the fringe of the fringes” to research his new book, Depends What You Mean By Extremist.

Mr Safran said Islamophobia was beingco-opted by radical far-right and white nationalists who were looking for an “acceptable” platform to peddle fringe views, which included a desire to”upend the entire system of Western liberalism”.

“They saw this opening, they saw there was this anti-Islamic sentiment that was acceptable … they saw that you can get away with talking about that stuff without being taken off to the loony bin.”

In response, Ms Griffin suggested: “Isn’t that even more morally appalling than actually believing it?”

Mr Safran: “Oh yeah it was pretty annoying, but it was good for the book.”

Sami Shah, said he too found asurprising opportunity to boost sales of hisnew book, The Islamic Republic of Australia.It wasPauline Hanson.

The One Nation leaderposting a photo of the book cover on her Facebook page andasked: “How do you feel about Dymocks book range?”

Mr Shah said: “She’s very charitable … when she insults your book, the book sales go up.”

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Yassmin Abdel-Magied: where were my free-speech defenders? – The Age

Is the Israel Anti-Boycott Act an infringement of free speech? – The Jerusalem Post mobile website

Palestinian advocates use the language of free speech, human rights, social justice and international law to rationalize the irrational and immoral financially supporting terrorists while promoting economic discrimination against the State of Israel. This manipulative use of universalistic terms hides the boycotters real agenda: the elimination of the State of Israel.

Congress is now deliberating on whether to update 1970s-era legislation against boycotting Israel with the Israel Anti-Boycott Act that would target the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Some of the same misleading arguments raised against the act were also used to discredit the Taylor Force Act, a proposed piece of legislation that would punish the Palestinian Authority if it continues to financially support and incentivize terrorists and their families with American taxpayer dollars.

Today, there is bipartisan support in Congress for updating the 1979 Export Administration Act prohibiting American corporations from cooperating with boycotts against Israel by foreign nations, the EU or the UN. No American should be compelled to acquiesce to a boycott ordered by a foreign entity.

Enter Democratic Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, who introduced the updated legislation to combat the 21st-century boycotters of Israel.

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act is bipartisan legislation currently supported by 42 senators and 247 members of the House.

The ACLU, J Street and Moveon.org among other progressive groups are lobbying legislators to withdraw their support, claiming the legislation seeks to impose an unconstitutional restriction on free speech.

Senators Portman and Cardin responded to the ACLU, writing, Nothing in the bill restricts constitutionally protected free speech or limits criticism of Israel… it is narrowly targeted at commercial activity and is based on current law that has been constitutionally upheld.

Lets be clear: the right to express ones point of view, no matter how contentious or odious, is a constitutionally protected right.

However, the attempt to expand the meaning of speech to include commercial transactions is a transparent maneuver to stop this particular piece of legislation that would bar economic discrimination against Israel.

According to Scholars for Middle East Peace, Legal analysts have shown… the amendment only… prohibits actual commercial boycotts… The distinction between expression, which cannot be regulated, and commercial conduct, which can be, is vital.

Boycotts against the Jewish state began immediately with its creation in 1948. The Arab oil embargo and economic blackmailing of companies doing business with Israel motivated Congress to pass the Export Administration Act in an attempt to punish the boycotters of Israel and other American allies. The law barred economic discrimination against Israeli businesses, on pain of criminal and financial penalties.

Fast-forward to the 21st century, where the original boycott effort has mutated into the BDS movement, whose endgame is the destruction of Israel not the creation of two states for two peoples.

BDS is a serious and growing problem targeting investment funds, pensions funds and companies doing business in Israel.

Groups already supportive of BDS include various trade unions, municipalities, progressive mainstream churches, and academic organizations.

But the greatest potential threat from BDS may come from the halls of the United Nations and the European Union.

The ACLU claims the proposed legislation is an infringement of free speech. Yet many state legislatures have already passed anti-BDS legislation, going to great lengths not to restrict First Amendment rights.

Now that the legislation has reached the national level, the ACLU wants to include commercial transactions under the banner of speech.

It should be no surprise that the ACLU would be at the forefront in defending the rights of the anti-Israel movement. The ACLU is an advocate of intersectionality, whereby Zionism is stigmatized as being incompatible with everything from feminism to fighting racism. Progressive Zionists are demonized while even the most illiberal BDS supporters are celebrated.

Memo to the ACLU: fighting against Israels right to exist meets the State Department definition of antisemitism. Even the UN secretary general said that the denial of Israels right to exist is antisemitism.

The ACLU says it does not want to stifle efforts to protest Israels settlement policies by boycotting businesses in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Notice that it doesnt confine itself to the disputed territories but includes all of Israel, more proof this is not about a two-state solution but supporting the BDS goal of eliminating the Jewish state.

According to the pro-Palestinian website Electronic Intifada, WESPAC, Adalah-NY, Jewish Voice for Peace-Westchester and Peace Action NY successfully mobilized to make this bill a central issue at New York Senator Gillibrands town halls.

The intimidation is working, as Senator Kristin Gillibrand, a co-sponsor of the original legislation, has withdrawn her support, moving her into alignment with J Street.

Does Senator Gillibrand know these groups are vehemently anti-Israel and antisemitic, on the fringe of the left-wing extreme? J Street, a self-styled pro-Israel, propeace organization which reliably comes to the aid of BDS supporters, has expectedly lobbied Congress to oppose the Israel Anti-Boycott Act. Despite claiming that it is opposed to BDS, it is using its considerable voice not to explain the dangers of BDS to the State of Israel, but to support BDSs rights, advocating engagement through dialogue that lends legitimization to BDSs antisemitism.

BDS is not about two states or the occupation, it is about the destruction of Israel.

The words of BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti say it all: Definitely, most definitely we [BDS] oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine, and no Palestinian Supports a Jewish state in Palestine.

Lets hope that the rest of Congress will rally in support of this important legislation against international BDS and will not be duped by the ACLUs dubious freedom of speech argument.

The author is director of MEPIN, the Middle East Political and Information Network. He regularly briefs members of Congress and think tanks on the Middle East. He is a regular contributor to The Jerusalem Post.

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Is the Israel Anti-Boycott Act an infringement of free speech? – The Jerusalem Post mobile website

Speaking free: Congress shall make no law on campus speech – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Speaking free: Congress shall make no law on campus speech
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Rep. Jim Jordan, a Republican from Ohio, recently led a hearing on Capitol Hill about free speech on American campuses. Freedom of speech and thought are at risk in colleges and universities. But congressional intervention is a nonstarter. At the

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Speaking free: Congress shall make no law on campus speech – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Liberals intent on eliminating free speech – New Castle News

Liberals intent on

eliminating free speech

Editor, The News:

The First Amendment has been under incessant attack by the left for many years, and political correctness is just their latest weapon.

Years ago, Saul Alinsky and Frank Marshall Davis, both leftists, attacked freedom of speech and advocated communism. Davis was Obamas admitted mentor while he was in college, and Alinsky was a hero to Hillary Clinton to the extent she wrote a very favorable paper about him while at Wellesley. Obama appears to have a thing for communists because he tried to put Van Jones, another admitted communist, in his Cabinet.

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Camille Paglia, a feminist, suggested that her Democrat Party has been seized by ruthless thought police who desire to destroy free speech, and we see this on college campuses.

When conservative speakers attempt to voice their opinions at a college or university, they are shouted down, threatened and physically attacked, and the school suffers thousands of dollars in damages, like what happened at Berkeley. If conservatives dont want to hear an alt-liberal speak, they just dont attend the speech. And we found out by Podesta emails that billionaire George Soros paid black-hooded anarchists to destroy Republican rallies. On the right, the Koch brothers donated $100 million to find a cure for cancer.

Alinsky and Davis both taught that control speech, and you can control a country. Throw in Rev. Wright and Bill Ayers and you have a gaggle of America-haters who have had free reign for eight years.

Paul Dici

Ellwood City

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Liberals intent on eliminating free speech – New Castle News

Vice-Chancellors urged to stop deterioration of free speech on campus – Telegraph.co.uk

Baroness Deech said the Oxford University failed to take public action over allegations of anti-Semitism at the student Labour Club, adding that other universities have rejected the international definition of anti-Semitism.

She praised the universities minister, Jo Johnson, for calling on universities to uphold the law on freedom of speech and to adopt the official definition of anti-Semitism, adding: It is time for the vice-chancellors to respond.

A spokesman for Oxford University said: The University does not tolerate any harassment on grounds of religious belief. When allegations of such harassment are made, they are always investigated thoroughly and equitably. Where offences are found to be committed, they will be considered grounds for serious disciplinary action.

The spokesman added that there is an ongoing programme of dialogue about anti-Semitism allegations at the Labour Club, adding that Oxford offers a welcoming environment for Jewish students.

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Vice-Chancellors urged to stop deterioration of free speech on campus – Telegraph.co.uk

North Carolina Campus Free Speech Act: Goldwater Proposal … – National Review

With Governor Roy Cooper (D) taking no action on the bill, the state of North Carolina has enacted the Restore Campus Free Speech Act, the first comprehensive campus free-speech legislation based on the Goldwater proposal. That proposal, which I co-authored along with Jim Manley and Jonathan Butcher of Arizonas Goldwater Institute, was released on January 31 and is now under consideration in several states. Its fitting that North Carolina should be the first state to enact a Goldwater-inspired law.

North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest has been the guiding force behind the Restore Campus Free Speech Act and deserves great credit for moving it through the legislature. Im particularly grateful to Forest, with whom Ive been working since shortly after I laid out A Plan to Restore Free Speech on Campus here at NRO in late 2015. Forest and his staff provided critical early encouragement and support for the approach that eventuated in the Goldwater model bill. With the passage of the first state law based on that model, Forest has established himself as a national leader on campus free speech.

The final version of the North Carolina Restore Campus Free Speech Act passed by a margin of 80 to 31 in the House, with 10 Democratic ayes (about a quarter of the Democrats present). The final version passed the Senate by a margin of 34 to 11 along strict party lines. Given the intense party polarization in North Carolina, the substantially bipartisan House vote was impressive. Governor Coopers decision to let the bill become law with no action is also interesting and instructive.

The North Carolina Restore Campus Free Speech Act achieves most of what the Goldwater proposal sets out to do. It ensures that University of North Carolina policy will strongly affirm the importance of free expression. It prevents administrators from disinviting speakers whom members of the campus community wish to hear from. It establishes a system of disciplinary sanctions for students and anyone else who interferes with the free-speech rights of others, and ensures that students will be informed of those sanctions at freshman orientation. It reaffirms the principle that universities, at the official institutional level, ought to remain neutral on issues of public controversy to encourage the widest possible range of opinion and dialogue within the university itself. And it authorizes a special committee created by the Board of Regents to issue a yearly report to the public, the regents, the governor, and the legislature on the administrative handling of free-speech issues.

Although the University managed to weaken the bill at points, with one significant exception that weakening amounts to less than meets the eye. Some of the bills language on institutional neutrality was struck, for example, yet the law still affirms the importance of administrative neutrality.

The dependence of campus freedom of speech on institutional neutrality was famously affirmed by the University of Chicagos Kalven Report of 1967. Likewise, the annual reports on campus free expression to be released in North Carolina will assess the universitys successes or failures at maintaining a posture of institutional neutrality. This will discourage the University from, say, joining the fossil fuel divestment campaign, or the campaign to boycott, divest, and sanction the state of Israel.

The University did manage to weaken the cause of action provision, which would have allowed anyone whose expressive rights under the new law were violated to recover reasonable court costs and attorneys fees. However, individuals whose rights under the new law are violated still have the option of suing, and can turn to any number of organizations (e.g. the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Center for Individual Rights, or the Goldwater Institute) for representation.

The university also succeeded in weakening the provision that designates public areas of the campus as public forums. Potentially, this would allow the university to cabin free speech to restricted zones. That is a serious concern and certainly bears watching. It should be noted, however, that the law also sets up a special committee within the UNC Board of Governors to issue an annual report on campus barriers to free expression. This provision draws the Board of Governors into more active oversight of campus free speech and serves as a check on administrative abuse on issues like free-speech zones.

In one area, however, the North Carolina bill is substantially weaker than the original Goldwater proposal. Although the North Carolina law will establish sanctions for students who shut down the speech of others, will protect the due-process rights of the accused, will inform students at freshman orientation of penalties for shout-downs, and will see that the administration of discipline is monitored by the Board of Governors, the provision that would have mandated suspension for students twice found responsible for silencing others was struck.

That provision is important for a number of reasons. First, the punishment is just. A student who twice silences visiting speakers or fellow students obviously hasnt learned a lesson from the initial punishment. Yales famous Woodward Report of 1974, the classic statement on campus free-expression, recommended suspension or expulsion after only a single shout-down. The Goldwater proposal is mild by comparison. Second, since universities regularly ignore shout-downs or hand out meaningless punishments, the mandatory suspension for a second offense is the only way to prevent schools from undermining the law by handing out wrists-slaps ad infinitum. Finally, when students learn at freshman orientation that state law requires a significant suspension for participation in a second shout-down, this will have a powerful deterrent effect.

Without the mandatory suspension for a second offense, the university could conceivably undermine the law through lax enforcement. Yet its not as simple as that. If the university refuses to discipline shout-downs in the wake of passage of this law, there will be consequences. For one thing, the annual report of the Board of Governors will either condemn the refusal to discipline, or the committee will itself be subject to public criticism. A negative report on the administrative handling of discipline would give the Board of Regents a reason to replace administrators, and legislators a reason to cut university funds.

A university that refuses to discipline students who silence others is also inviting a renewed campaign to pass the mandatory suspension for a second offense. This applies to other states as well. Tennessee, for example, has just passed a campus free-speech bill. While the Tennessee law is excellent in many respects, it does not systematically address the issue of discipline for shout-downs. Should the University of Tennessee refuse to discipline shout-downs in the coming years, the limitations of the new law will be evident and a campaign to add discipline provisions will ensue.

Right now only bills based on the Goldwater proposal systematically address the problem of shout-downs. If Goldwater-based bills are weakened or campus free-speech bills that dont deal with shout-downs are passed, universities that refuse to discipline shout-downs are sure to face further legislative campaigns. Knowing that laws can be revisited and that public scrutiny will now be high should encourage universities to take their enforcement responsibilities seriously.

The same applies to provisions regarding public forums and a legal cause of action. Campaigns to restore or strengthen these provisions can easily be launched should a state university system fail to protect free speech.

So we are at the beginning of a new state-legislative era, and that beginning is auspicious. The North Carolina Restore Campus Free Speech Act accomplishes the lions share of what the Goldwater model proposed, including important steps forward on discipline for shout-downs. Goldwater-based bills are under consideration in several states, with more likely to follow next year. And any state bill can be strengthened in a second legislative round if universities continue to abuse their powers. Campus free-speech legislation is now in play as never before. Administrators will have to take that into account when they decide how to handle free speech. In short, the public has awakened and is actively pushing back against the illiberal assault on speech. That is a silver lining in the current crisis.

Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He can be reached at [emailprotected]

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North Carolina Campus Free Speech Act: Goldwater Proposal … – National Review

Talking Campus Free Speech on Capitol Hill – FrontPage Magazine


FrontPage Magazine
Talking Campus Free Speech on Capitol Hill
FrontPage Magazine
On July 27, two House subcommittees held a joint hearing on Challenges to Freedom of Speech on College Campuses. Congressman James Raskin (D-MD) called it the most fascinating hearing he's attended during his his six months in office.
Adam Carolla Goes to Washington For Campus Free Speech: 'We Are the Adults, We Need to Act Like It'Mediaite
Adam Carolla Schools Congress on Campus Free SpeechIndependent Women’s Forum (blog)
Adam Carolla's Testimony to Congress on Free Speech Should Be Required Reading at Every CollegeIndependent Journal Review
OneNewsNow
all 7 news articles »

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Talking Campus Free Speech on Capitol Hill – FrontPage Magazine

Letter to the Editor: Johnson County Sheriff’s Office protects free speech – The Daily Iowan

An encounter at the Johnson County Fairgrounds with law enforcement made me thankful that the Sheriffs Office protects freedom of speech.

We often hear criticism about law enforcement, so I wanted people to hear my story.

I am a disabled Marine veteran. I was protesting with a friend last week at the Johnson County Fairgrounds; we opposed the childrens rodeo and were peacefully and legally expressing our views on public property near the entrance to the fair. We oppose the rodeo because concern about the treatment of the animals and because we believe that participating in these events teaches children to repress their natural sense of compassion and empathy for animals.

On the second day we were there, two teenage boys came out with a large 4H banner and began harassing me while standing directly in front of me. I am in a wheelchair and could not see over or around their banner, and the public could no longer see my sign. When I moved to a different position, the boys followed me and again blocked my view. This happened five or six times and was continuing, so I called the Sheriffs Office to request that a deputy come to clarify the legal bounds of our protest. Sgt. Brad Kunkel obtained a body camera and came over to talk to me as well as the boys and their friends who had gathered to support them.

Kunkel was very professional in explaining to them that I/we had a right to be there and that they needed to find a different place to stand.

Freedom of speech is a constitutional right that I defended as a Marine. I want to thank all of the staff from the Sheriffs Office who were present while we were at the fair, especially Kunkel. Its their continued service to our local communities that ensures our safety and constitutional freedoms in America.

Sincerely,

Lori Kendrick

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Letter to the Editor: Johnson County Sheriff’s Office protects free speech – The Daily Iowan

Merkel, Germany, the Media and Free Speech – National Review

From the Financial Timesearlier this week:

German media were too uncritical in their coverage of the 2015 refugee crisis, giving Angela Merkels open-door policy a free pass and failing to represent the legitimate concerns of ordinary people alarmed by the influx, a new study has found.The report, commissioned by the Otto Brenner Stiftung in Frankfurt, said the coverage was so one-sided that it ended up deepening the ideological rift in Germany between liberals on the one hand and nationalists and conservatives on the other.

Up until late autumn 2015 hardly any editorials dealt with the concerns, fears and also resistance of a growing part of the population, the report said. When they did, they adopted a didactic or in the case of east Germany [where anti-immigrant sentiment is strongest], a contemptuous tone.

The study, led by Michael Haller, a former senior editor at weekly newspaper Die Zeit, is the most comprehensive analysis of how the German media dealt with the migrant crisis

Newspapers were filled with articles about the new Willkommenskultur or welcome culture, epitomised by the crowds who gathered in Munich station in September 2015 to greet refugees arriving from Hungary and hand out sweets and toys.

The report said Willkommenskultur became a kind of magic word used by certain sections of the media to turn ordinary people into good Samaritans and encourage them to carry out acts of kindness towards newcomers.

And yet even this was not enough for Merkel, an authoritarian curiously now widely praised as a defender of liberal (in the accurate sense of that word) values.

Heres CNBC from September, 2015:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was overheard confronting Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg over incendiary posts on the social network, Bloomberg reported on Sunday, amid complaints from her government about anti-immigrant posts in the midst of Europes refugee crisis. On the sidelines of a United Nations luncheon on Saturday, Merkel was caught on a hot mic pressing Zuckerberg about social media posts about the wave of Syrian refugees entering Germany, the publication reported.The Facebook CEO was overheard responding that we need to do some work on curtailing anti-immigrant posts about the refugee crisis. Are you working on this? Merkel asked in English, to which Zuckerberg replied in the affirmative before the transmission was disrupted.

Could it have been that some people at least were turning to Facebook to express their views because there was nowhere else where they could get a hearing?

In the course of a post that September on the topic of the German governments attitude to (yes, sometimes ugly) dissent, I noted this from a Breitbart report:

An organisation run by a former Stasi agent has been recruited by the German government to patrol Facebook in a bid to stamp out xenophobic comments. Those caught posting material that the government disagrees with are likely to face criminal prosecution.Germany is set to welcome one million new immigrants this year, a move that has not been without controversy. Determined to see his fellow Germans embrace their new multicultural homeland, Justice Minister Heiko Maas has decided to crack down on those citizens who criticise the influx, especially those who take to their own private Facebook accounts to do so.Maas has recruited the help of an organisation Network Against Nazis (Netz Gegen Nazis, or NAN) to aid him in his crackdown. NAN was founded by, and according to its website works in partnership with, the Amaedu Antonio Foundation, run by Anetta Kahane, who between 1974 and 1982 worked for the Stasi under the code name Victoria [According to Wikipedia she was an “Inoffizieller Mitarbeiter”, an “unofficial collaborator” with the Stasi, no agent, but still…].

Fast forward to the end of last month.

Newsweek:

Social media companies in Germany that dont do enough to prevent the spread of hate speech and fake news could face fines, the countrys parliament ruled Friday.

What could go wrong?

Newsweek:

Networks that do not remove content that is obviously illegal within 24 hours, or one week in less clear-cut cases, face fines beginning at 5 million ($5.7 million) and rising to 50 million ($57 million) depending on the severity of the offense concerned.Facebook immediately slammed the decision in a statement. The company said it shared the aspiration to fight hate speech in a statement to the BBC, but: We believe the best solutions will be found when government, civil society and industry work together and that this law as it stands now will not improve efforts to tackle this important societal problem.

The new law has even gone too far for the UN

But the U.N. has criticized the bill. Many of the violations covered by the bill are highly dependent on context, context which platforms are in no position to assess, the U.N. Special Rapporteur to the High Commissioner for Human Rights David Kaye wrote of the law in the run up to its passage.

At the beginning of 2016 (as I noted in a post here), Angela Merkel was awarded the Roosevelt Foundations Four Freedoms Award for, amongst other achievements, her moral leadership of Germany and Europe during the refugee crisis.

Handelsblatt:

The Roosevelt Foundation in Middelburg, the Netherlands, and the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in New York present the annual Four Freedoms Award which is named after the four freedoms President Franklin D. Roosevelt named in a speech in 1941 and which all people should enjoy. They are freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

Top of the list: Freedom of speech.

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Merkel, Germany, the Media and Free Speech – National Review

Hassan should support freedom of speech – Seacoastonline.com

July 28 To the Editor:

Sen. Maggie Hassan spoke at the 35th annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration in Manchester last Jan. 16. I heard her and was impressed by her firm commitment to civil rights and inclusion in our state and country.

So I am shocked that she has co-sponsored the Israel Anti Boycott Act (Senate Bill 720). This bill imposes fines and criminal penalties, up to 20 years in prison, on those supporting the movement to boycott Israeli goods and divest in Israeli investments. The purpose of the boycott is to pressure the Israeli government to change its settlement policy, which many believe is illegal and also immoral.

I oppose hate speech in any form: anti-Semitic as well as anti-Muslim speech. I condemn acts of hate directed at others. However, American citizens have a First Amendment right to speak and act in favor of boycott and divestment. Whether or not I agree with the point of view of the boycott is beside the point. I must support any American who chooses to exercise this right peacefully.

So, I believe, should Senator Hassan.

Sincerely,

David Blair

Harrisville

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Hassan should support freedom of speech – Seacoastonline.com

Soy milk is at the epicenter of a global free-speech debate – Quartz

Its not just an unassuming carton in the supermarket dairy aisle. At least, not anymore.

Soy milk has been available since 1947 and is currently in high demand, bringing in about $300 million per year. Despite its popularityor perhaps because of itthe beverage has also found itself at the center of a global debate over freedom of speech.

Traditional dairy companies are arguing that the soy industry has inappropriately coopted terminologies such as milk to sell products, and that in doing so, its confusing consumers. The debate is reaching a fever pitch as cow-milk peddlersespecially in the USfind themselves in the sales doldrums while simultaneously having to fight off consumer interest in vegan, plant-based food companies looking to take more of their market share.

As a result of sour dairy-company profits, the soyfood industryworth about $5 billionis increasingly finding itself in courtrooms around the world. At its core, these cases boil down to the issue of free speech, and whether a beverage made by a commercial enterprisesuch as a soy milk companycan legally describe itself as milk.

Whether a soy company can market its liquid product as milk depends on where you are in the world. Thats because its one thing to consider individual peoples freedom of speech, but when it comes to businesses, governments take different positions globally. Those differences have created a legal minefield for soy milk.

In the US, the right to free speech includes protections for commercial speech, which is speech done on behalf of a company for the intent of making a profit. In places such as Canada and the European Union, it is generally upheld as the freedom of expression, which includes the right to hold opinions and impart ideas without interference by the government. When it comes to how that applies to corporations, the European Commission, the EUs ruling body, commits to promoting best practices by companies.

In Europe, this sort of language leaves a lot of wiggle room in the grey area of commercial speech. I think the American acceptance of commercial speech as a form of speech differentiates us from other countries, says Roy Gutterman, the director of Syracuse Universitys Tully Center for Free Speech. Other countries have way more room to regulate. We leave less room for the government to decide when it comes to speech issues.

The different legal attitudes toward freedom of speech mean that in the US, courts generally side with plant-based food companies, and in Europe, courts are ruling against them.

In June, the European Court of Justice heard a case in which a company called TofuTown was challenged by a German consumer-protection group. The court ultimately ruled that plant-based foods in the EU cannot be sold as milk, butter, and cheese because their chief ingredient isnt derived from an animal. Consumers could be confused, the court said. This ruling stands even if those products are clearly marketed as animal-free, such as TofuTowns products soyatoo tofu butter and veggie cheese.

In the same month, a US court heard a similar case against WhiteWave Foods, which produces Silk and So Delicious soy, almond, coconut, and cashew products, such as non-dairy milk, creamer, yoghurt, and ice-cream alternatives. The federal district court in California dismissed the issue outright, saying there was no consumer confusion. The court added that the challengers essentially allege that a reasonable consumer would view the terms soy milk and almond milk, disregard the first words in the names, and assume that the beverages came from cows. One month before, another federal court in California ruled in favor of almond-milk maker Blue Diamond Growers, concluding that the challenger failed to plausibly allege that a reasonable consumer is likely to be deceived.

Still, the laws in Europe arent totally cut-and-dry. In 2010, the European Commission (pdf) oddly included coconut milk, ice cream, cocoa butter, and peanut butter on a list of products that are protected. This patchwork of different rules across the globe makes it especially difficult for companies looking to expand business, as discrepancies across borders can cause prickly problems for food companies looking to get their products in more supermarkets.

For an American soy-milk maker that wants to expand into Europe, this would present a serious policy challenge, says Jessica Almy, director of policy at the Good Food Institute (GFI), a Washington-based group that supports and lobbies on behalf of vegan and vegetarian food companies. Where theres no consumer confusion, they cant be restricting what goes on the label. For that reason, GFI is looking for ways to try and reshape regulations in Europe to clear a path for products such as soy milk.

The results of these legal skirmishes will stock the fridge for a food-production future that might be less reliant on animal-based agriculture. For example, new food-technology companies perfecting lab-made meats and acellular milk will be watching these battles closely to see how they will be able to market their products. In the global marketplace, these kinds of companies are still currently tiny players with big ambitions. But if they cant jump the freedom-of-speech hurdle, there will be serious roadblocks to cracking into big markets around the world.

This sounds like its a cutting edge issue thats going to be gaining some publicity and notoriety as it develops, Gutterman says.

Read this next: How the vegan movement broke out of its echo chamber and finally started disrupting things

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Soy milk is at the epicenter of a global free-speech debate – Quartz


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