Poll: 71% of Americans Say Political Correctness Has Silenced Discussions Society Needs to Have, 58% Have Political Views They’re Afraid to SharePosted: November 1, 2017
Emily Ekins reports: The Cato 2017 Free Speech and Tolerance Survey, a new national poll of 2,300 U.S. adults, finds that 71% Americans believe that political correctness has silenced important discussions our society needs to have. The consequences are personal—58%
of Americans believe the political climate prevents them from sharing their own political beliefs.
Democrats are unique, however, in that a slim majority (53%) do not feel the need to self-censor. Conversely, strong majorities of Republicans (73%) and independents (58%) say they keep some political beliefs to themselves.
It follows that a solid majority (59%) of Americans think people should be allowed to express unpopular opinions in public, even those deeply offensive to others.
On the other hand, 40% think government should prevent hate speech. Despite this, the survey also found Americans willing to censor, regulate, or punish a wide variety of speech and expression they personally find offensive:
- 51% of staunch liberals say it’s “morally acceptable” to punch Nazis.
- 53% of Republicans favor stripping U.S. citizenship from people who burn the American flag.
- 51% of Democrats support a law that requires Americans use transgender people’s preferred gender pronouns.
- 65% of Republicans say NFL players should be fired if they refuse to stand for the anthem.
- 58% of Democrats say employers should punish employees for offensive Facebook posts.
- 47% of Republicans favor bans on building new mosques.
Americans also can’t agree what speech is hateful, offensive, or simply a political opinion:
- 59% of liberals say it’s hate speech to say transgender people have a mental disorder; only 17% of conservatives agree.
- 39% of conservatives believe it’s hate speech to say the police are racist; only 17% of liberals agree.
- 80% of liberals say it’s hateful or offensive to say illegal immigrants should be deported; only 36% of conservatives agree.
- 87% of liberals say it’s hateful or offensive to say women shouldn’t fight in military combat roles, while 47% of conservatives agree.
- 90% of liberals say it’s hateful or offensive to say homosexuality is a sin, while 47% of conservatives agree.
Americans Oppose Hate Speech Bans, But Say Hate Speech is Morally Unacceptable
Although Americans oppose (59%) outright bans on public hate speech, that doesn’t mean they think hate speech is acceptable. Read the rest of this entry »
Chance Miller reports: Earlier this year, Apple was forced to remove several VPN apps from the App Store in China due to regulatory reasons. At the time, Tim Cook explained that he would rather not remove them, but was forced to comply.
Now, United States Senators Ted Cruz and Patrick Leahy are pressing Apple for more information…
In a letter sent to Tim Cook, Cruz and Leahy say Apple may be “enabling the Chinese government’s censorship and surveillance of the Internet,” noting that China has an “abysmal human rights record.”
Specifically, Cruz and Leahy pointed to Cook’s acceptance of the Newseum’s 2017 Free Expression Award. While receiving the award, Cook remarked that Apple “enables people around the world to speak up.” The senators, however, argue that Apple’s removal of VPN apps in China do the exact opposite of that:
While Apple’s many contributions to the global exchange of information are admirable, removing VPN apps that allow individuals in China to evade the Great Firewall and access the Internet privately does not enable people in China to “speak up.” To the contrary, if Apple complies with such demands from the Chinese governments, it inhibits free expression for users across China, particularly in light of the Cyberspace Administration of China’s new regulations targeting online anonymity.
Cook and Leahy outline a list of questions they want Cook to answer. Read the rest of this entry »
Being a Journalist is Hard!
- New York Times Senior Home Page Editor, Des Shoe, Admits Company Culture of Blatant Bias at NYT is “widely understood to be liberal-leaning…”
- NYT Journalists: “if we write about him [Trump], and how insanely crazy he is…maybe people will read it and be like…we shouldn’t vote for him.”
- Calls Trump an “oblivious idiot” and Pence “f***ing horrible” Because of Religious Views
- Admits New York Times Report on “what the readers want”
- “They call it the Trump bump” Says Shoe, Regarding the Influx of Subscribers Since Trump’s Presidency Began
- Des Shoe: “The main objective is to grab subscribers. You do that any way that you can.”
(NEW YORK) – Project Veritas has released a video of the New York Times Homepage Editor Des Shoe, who was caught on hidden-camera admitting that the Times has a liberal bias and attacking President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. This is part three of their American Pravda NYT investigation.
When confronted with the notion that during the election, The Times‘ front page, for which she is responsible, was completely focused around Trump. She tells the undercover journalist that NYT reporters tried to influence the election with their reporting:
“I think one of the things that maybe journalists were thinking about is like…Oh, if we write about him, about how insanely crazy he is and how ludicrous his policies are, then maybe people will read it and be like, oh wow, we shouldn’t vote for him.”
She admits that the New York Times has a clearly defined liberal-leaning bias: “The New York Times is not…I mean, it’s widely understood to be liberal-leaning. But, American newspapers are not supposed to claim a bias, they’re supposed to be objective.”
“So the…ahh, but the New York Times is not left?” the Project Veritas journalist asked. Shoe clarified, “I’m not saying that they’re not. I’m saying it’s widely, widely understood to be left-leaning.”
She also tells the undercover journalist that reporting objectively is simply too difficult for the Times: “Our main stories are supposed to be objective. It’s very difficult in this day and age to do that.”
Shoe blames the business model for the New York Times‘ lack of fact-based reporting:
“This is what I was trying to say is like the last couple years it’s changed for the bad…
“I think the business model itself is just… there’s so much panic about what to do that, you know, what else is a company supposed to do?
“That’s the conundrum…is that a business model, in this time is built on what the readers want.”
The New York Times senior homepage editor goes on to explain the positive effect of Trump’s victory: “Since the election, like you know…Speaking on, you know, for The New York Times, our subscriptions have sky-rocketed since…I mean, they call it the Trump bump.”
This sentiment was echoed by Nick Dudich, who was featured in American Pravda Part 1 and Part 2. He explains, “I mean honestly, Trump has driven us more business than anybody else. Anytime he says failing, we add a boost of subscribers.”
The New York Times responded to Part I in a statement, calling Dudich “a recent hire in a junior position.” Later, Executive Editor of the NYT Dean Baquet described Dudich as “a kid…who just started his career in journalism.” The same cannot be said for Ms. Shoe, a senior-level employee who has been with The Times since January of 2009.
Des Shoe claims that the New York Times has to chase clicks in the current media environment, “The Washington Post, people who have paywalls up…The main objective is to grab subscribers. You do that any way that you can.”
When told the New York Times seems more like a ‘click-paper’, Shoe replies:
“I mean, you’re not wrong. Like, I would love to be able to speak my mind completely about…If I ever leave the Times I’ll go back to you guys and tell you exactly what I think. But, I mean, there’s stuff like…And this is what I was trying to say is like the last couple years it’s changed for the bad.”
Shoe finally goes on to explain her personal biases against President Trump, “I feel like Trump is…is just a…is sort of an idiot in a lot of ways. Just an oblivious idiot.” Read the rest of this entry »
Justin Caruso reports: CNN’s Brooke Baldwin ended a segment Friday after a panelist expressed his love for the “First Amendment and boobs.”
“I’m a first amendment absolutist and believe in two things completely — the First Amendment and boobs,” Fox Sports Radio’s Clay Travis said.
Baldwin asked the panelist what he meant, not sure if he said “boobs” or “booze.”
“You don’t love boobs, too?”
“I’m not talking about that on television because it’s irrelevant to the topic. It shouldn’t be brought up here,” former ESPN editor Keith Reed responded. Read the rest of this entry »
The state of the Fourth Estate—and who can save it.
Brittany Karford Rogers writes: If hashtags had been a thing, these would have been some #FakeNews whoppers.
The 32 BC Mark Antony takedown: it began with a fake-news campaign masterminded by Octavian, complete with Tweet-like proclamations on ancient coins.
The Simon of Trent humdinger: in 1475 a prince-bishop in Italy set off a story that local Jews murdered missing 2-year-old Simon—and used his blood for rituals. Fifteen Jews burned at the stake.
The Benjamin Franklin special edition: he concocted an entire 1782 newspaper, peddling a fake story about Native Americans scalping 700 men, women, children, and infants.
In short, fake news is old news.
For all the handwringing over fake news today, BYU journalism professor Joel J. Campbell’s (BA ’87) response is more “meh.” It’s another punch for a profession that’s been in the ring for the better part of a decade. Trust in news media is at an all-time low. Revenue models are upended. Reporters are exhausted. Readers are fragmented. And that’s just a short list of jabs.
Looming larger in Campbell’s eyes are analytics-driven newsrooms and disenfranchised readers, who, flooded with content, are living in information silos or, worse, opting out altogether.
So how does one make sense of the crowded, increasingly polarized news landscape? And what’s left of journalism as we knew it?
BYU faculty and alumni practitioners—their collective résumés spanning Fox News, C-SPAN, CNN, the Atlantic, and more—have some ideas.
Before you throw your hands up, consider the forces at play, take heart in journalists’ earnest self-searching, and look in the mirror—because the finger pointing goes all the way around.
It’s worth asking, “Is journalism still doing its job?” But as our panel of experts chimes, there’s an equally important question: “Do the citizens of this country have the will to save it?”
A Happy Accident
Journalism has a lofty goal—one epitomized by the career of R. John Hughes.
The emeritus BYU professor won the Pulitzer Prize in 1967 for his coverage of an attempted communist coup and its bloody aftermath in Indonesia. Over his career as a writer for and then editor of the Christian Science Monitor, he covered revolutions and interviewed world leaders.
“Journalism was almost like a religion to me, to get the story, and get it right, to help evince change,” Hughes says. “It’s a kind of love affair for most journalists, shining light in dark corners.”
Journalists call themselves the watchdogs, the truth seekers. The press is dubbed the Fourth Estate after all, the final check on all three branches of government. Democracy requires informed citizens; the press make up the informants. “Democracy Dies in Darkness” goes the new Washington Post tagline.
That’s the why of modern journalism.
The how—being objective, non-partisan—“is rather a new phenomenon in the history of news,” says Campbell.
It has always depended on who’s paying.
Wealthy traders and merchants underwrote the first news in the Americas, and it was all route intel. In the colonial period political parties footed the bill for most papers—party organs that were far more partisan and acrimonious than what we cry foul at today. It wasn’t until the penny-press era—the 1830s on—that a new funding model developed: scale up the circulation, then sell readers’ attention to advertisers. That advertising revenue could bring the cost of the paper down to something many could afford.
Writing to a mass audience, publishers began to recognize there was a market for real, honest news that could cross political divides and speak with a relatively neutral voice. This paved the way for professional journalism standards. And for most of the 20th century, it made newsrooms the information power brokers.
Then the internet smashed the model.
“For the last decade, we have seen a steady erosion of the advertising economy for newspapers,” says Campbell. That’s the nice way of saying it. Revenue streams have been gutted.
Department stores and auto malls, the go-to advertisers, cut back on ads, facing their own disruptions: e-commerce competition and recession. Craigslist happened to the classifieds. And reader eyeballs, once concentrated among a few media outlets, are now diverted to Facebook, YouTube, and that thing you just Googled—and the bulk of advertising has followed them.
As they say in the industry, the digital transition traded print dollars for digital dimes and, in turn, digital dimes for mobile pennies.
One thing is certain: it’s a fascinating time to study the news. Alum Seth C. Lewis (BA ’02) holds the Shirley Papé Chair in Emerging Media at the University of Oregon and is a leading scholar on the digital transformation of journalism.
“We’ve gone from media monopoly to media disruption and ubiquity,” says Lewis. And in ubiquity, no one gets a sizable piece of the economic pie.
Lewis suggests that maybe the last century of advertising-based news subsidy—which fostered these objective, non-partisan notions—“was just a happy accident. Maybe instead we’re returning to other forms of funding and thinking about the news.”
Beijing has been increasingly clamping down on use of VPNs in recent weeks. This has prompted concerns among various groups that it will stifle academic research and international trade.
Bradford Richardson reports: CNN has come under fire for suggesting it will publish the identity of a private citizen if he behaves in a way that displeases the network.
Andrew Kaczynski, senior editor of CNN’s KFile, discovered the identity of the Reddit user who made a short video of President Trump tackling a man with CNN’s logo superimposed on his face to the ground.
CNN is withholding the man’s identity “because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again,” Mr. Kaczynski wrote in an article published Tuesday night.
“CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change,” he continued.
Source: Washington Times
Lisa de Moraes reports: If you too guessed the Redditor who had boasted he originated the CNN-bashing GIF used by President Donald Trump suddenly apologized for same because he found out CNN knew who he was — congratulations!
And, if you also guessed “HanA**holeSolo” has pleaded with CNN not to reveal his identity because he’s scared for his personal safety, and because it would embarrass him to be outed as the person behind the GIF and various anti-Semitic and racist Reddit rants – go to the head of the class.
CNN reported Tuesday night it has agreed not to reveal the guy’s name, but reserves the right to do so should he ever repeat his “ugly behavior on social media.”
“HanA**holeSolo” initially boasted he originated the GIF behind Trump’s tweet in which Trump is seen pounding on the head of a man whose face has been swapped for the CNN logo.
HAS first shared the GIF last Wednesday; CNN reports it could find no earlier instance of the GIF that subsequently was edited to add sound before being tweeted by Trump on Sunday.
After Trump’s tweet, “HanA**holeSolo” took a victory lap, via Reddit:
“Holy s—!! I wake up and have my morning coffee and who retweets my s—post but the MAGA EMPORER himself!!! I am honored!!”
CNN reports its KFile identified the man, using information he had posted on Reddit and Facebook. On Monday, KFile reached out to the man by email and phone, but he did not respond. Read the rest of this entry »
Sociologist Frank Furedi on how to bring liberalism back to campus.
Nick Gillespie & Mark McDaniel: “For the first time, a growing number of young people actually think freedom isn’t a big deal,” says sociologist Frank Furedi, who’s an emeritus professor at the University of Kent and author of the new book, What Happened to the University: a sociological exploration of its infantilisation.
The university was once a place where students valued free speech and risk taking, but today “a very illiberal ethos has become institutionalized,” says Furedi. “In many respects, it’s easier to speak about controversial subjects outside the university…It’s a historic role reversal.” Read the rest of this entry »
The New York Times has crossed a moral line, writes James Taranto.
Jan. 11, 2011, James Taranto wrote: After the horrific shooting spree, the editorial board of New York Times offered a voice of reasoned circumspection: “In the aftermath of this unforgivable attack, it will be important to avoid drawing prejudicial conclusions . . .,” the paper counseled.
Here’s how the sentence continued: “. . . from the fact that Major Hasan is an American Muslim whose parents came from the Middle East.”
The Tucson Safeway massacre prompted exactly the opposite reaction. What was once known as the paper of record egged on its readers to draw invidious conclusions that are not only prejudicial but contrary to fact. In doing so, the Times has crossed a moral line.
Here is an excerpt from yesterday’s editorial:
It is facile and mistaken to attribute this particular madman’s act directly to Republicans or Tea Party members. But it is legitimate to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger that has produced the vast majority of these threats, setting the nation on edge. Many on the right have exploited the arguments of division, reaping political power by demonizing immigrants, or welfare recipients, or bureaucrats. They seem to have persuaded many Americans that the government is not just misguided, but the enemy of the people.
That whirlwind has touched down most forcefully in Arizona, which Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik described after the shooting as the capital of “the anger, the hatred and the bigotry that goes on in this country.” Anti-immigrant sentiment in the state, firmly opposed by Ms. Giffords, has reached the point where Latino studies programs that advocate ethnic solidarity have actually been made illegal. . . .
Now, having seen first hand the horror of political violence, Arizona should lead the nation in quieting the voices of intolerance, demanding an end to the temptations of bloodshed, and imposing sensible controls on its instruments.
Timing of hack occurred within days of the nuclear deal overcoming opposition in Congress.
Susan Crabtree writes: State Department officials determined that Iran hacked their emails and social media accounts during a particularly sensitive week for the nuclear deal in the fall of 2015, according to multiple sources familiar with the details of the cyber attack.
The attack took place within days of the deal overcoming opposition in Congress in late September that year. That same week, Iranian officials and negotiators for the United States and other world powers were beginning the process of hashing out a series of agreements allowing Tehran to meet previously determined implementation deadlines.
Critics regard these agreements as “secret side deals” and “loopholes” initially disclosed only to Congress.
Sources familiar with the details of the attack said it sent shockwaves through the State Department and the private-contractor community working on Iran-related issues.
It is unclear whether top officials at the State Department negotiating the Iran deal knew about the hack or if their personal or professional email accounts were compromised. Sources familiar with the attack believed top officials at State were deeply concerned about the hack and that those senior leaders did not have any of their email or social media accounts compromised in this particular incident.
Wendy Sherman, who served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs for several years during the Obama administration and was the lead U.S. negotiator of the nuclear deal with Iran, could not be reached for comment.
A spokeswoman for Albright Stonebridge LLC, where Sherman now serves as a senior counselor, said Tuesday that Sherman is “unavailable at this time and cannot be reached for comment.”
Asked about the September 2015 cyber-attack, a State Department spokesman said, “For security reasons we cannot confirm whether any hacking incident took place.”
At least four State Department officials in the Bureau of Near East Affairs and a senior State Department adviser on digital media and cyber-security were involved in trying to contain the hack, according to an email dated September 24, 2015, and multiple interviews with sources familiar with the attack.
The Obama administration kept quiet about the cyber-attack and never publicly acknowledged concerns the attack created at State, related agencies, and within the private contractor community that supports their work.
Critics of the nuclear deal said the Obama administration did not publicly disclose the cyber-attack’s impact out of fear it could undermine support right after the pact had overcome political opposition and cleared a critical Congressional hurdle.
The hacking of email addresses belonging to the State Department officials and outside contractors began three days after the congressional review period for the deal ended Sept. 17, according to sources familiar with the details of the attack and the internal State Department email.
In the week leading up to that deadline, Senate Democrats blocked several attempts to pass a GOP-led resolution to disapprove of the nuclear deal. The resolution of disapproval needed 60 votes to pass but the most it garnered was 58.
President Trump, during his trip to the Middle East in late May, talked tough against Iran and its illicit ballistic missile program but has so far left the nuclear deal in place. A Trump State Department review of the deal is nearing completion, the Free Beaconrecently reported, and some senior Trump administration officials are pushing for the public release of the so-called “secret side deals.”
State Department alerts outside contractors of cyber-attack
State Department officials in the Office of Iranian Affairs on Sept. 24, 2015 sent an email to dozens of outside contractors. The email alerted the contractors that a cyber-attack had occurred and urged them not to open any email from a group of five State Department officials that did not come directly from their official state.gov accounts. Read the rest of this entry »
In the wake of the U.K.’s most recent terrorist attacks, its prime minister is talking tough on Internet regulation, but what she’s suggesting is impractical.
Tragically, there have been three major terrorist attacks in the U.K. in less than three months’ time. After the second, in Manchester, May and others said they would look into finding ways to compel tech companies to put cryptographic “back doors” into their services, so that law enforcement agencies could more easily access suspects’ user data.
May repeated her stance in broaders terms Sunday, following new attacks in London. “The Internet, and the big companies” are providing “safe spaces” for extremism, she said, and new regulations are needed to “regulate cyberspace.” She offered no specifics, but her party’s line, just days from the June 8 national election, is clear: a country that already grants its government some of the most sweeping digital surveillance powers of any democracy needs more and tougher laws to prevent terrorism (see “New U.K. Surveillance Law Will Have Worldwide Implications”).
The trouble is, this kind of talk ignores how the Internet and modern consumer technology works. As Cory Doctorow points out in a detailed look at how you would actually go about creating services with cryptographic holes, the practicalities of such a demand render it ludicrous bordering on impossible. Even if all of the necessary state-mandated technical steps were taken by purveyors of commercial software and devices—like Google or Apple, say—anyone who wanted to could easily skirt their restrictions by running open-source versions of the software, or unlocked phones.
That isn’t to say that May and the Conservatives’ general idea that the government should be able to probe user data as part of an investigation should be dismissed out of hand. The balancing act between national security and digital privacy has become one of the central themes of our digital lives (see “What If Apple Is Wrong?”). And while there are advocates aplenty on both sides, simple answers are hard to come by. Read the rest of this entry »
Ulrich Baer, the author and a New York University professor, writes Monday in favor of students who protest talks on campuses from more conservative voices like political scientist Charles Murray and provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. These students, unlike “liberal free-speech advocates,” understand that a more complex definition of free speech is needed, Baer argues.
“Universities invited speakers not chiefly to present otherwise unavailable discoveries but to present to the public views they have presented elsewhere. When those views invalidate the humanity of some people, they restrict speech as a public good,” Baer writes. Read the rest of this entry »
We have been discussing how the left has fallen out of love with free speech and how free speech is now being treated not as the defining right of liberty but the very threat to liberty. Indeed, the most existential threats to free speech around the world are now coming from the left, which has embraced speech codes and the criminalization of speech with a passion. There are exceptions like Bernie Sanders who recently declared that Ann Coulter should be allowed to speak at Berkeley — a position that I obviously have shared on this blog. However, that principled position was countered by the most common response of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean who declared that hate speech is not protected by the Constitution. He is obviously wrong but his inclination — even eagerness — to limit free speech is now a mainstream idea among liberals who once were…
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Wellesley Students Editors Endorse Silencing Opposing Speakers And Declare ‘Hostility May Be Warranted’Posted: April 17, 2017
We have been discussing the erosion of free speech on our campuses across the country. Much of that trend is the result of faculty members who have taught that free speech itself is a threat to students. The erosion of free speech has come in stages. First, schools began to declare speech to be hate speech while creating “safe zones” from the exercise of free speech. Second, schools began to enforce the ill-defined “microaggressions” to punish speech that is deemed as contributing to hostile environments or fostering stereotypes. Now, faculty and students are increasing declaring opposing views as simply outside of the definition of free speech. That extreme argument was advanced this week by the editors of The Wellesley News who published a column entitled “Free Speech Is Not Violated At Wellesley.” It is chilling message from the Editorial Board composed of Co-Editors in Chief Sharvari Johari and Michele…
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What is the least diverse place in America? It’s the institution that most actively seeks racial, ethnic, gender, and cultural diversity: the college campus! Colleges want students to look different, but think the same. Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA, explains.
This video with Charlie Kirk is part of an exciting partnership between PragerU and Turning Point USA that will include videos with other young conservatives like Ben Shapiro, Antonia Okafor, Matt Walsh, and more. Visit here to learn more.
Clarion’s Raheel Raza is unhappy with what she sees as a challenge to free speech, something enshrined in Canadian law.
Mollie Z. Hemingway writes:
… Yesterday, the news broke at multiple outlets that the unmasking wasn’t done by a low-level official at an intelligence agency, but by Susan Rice herself. She was President Barack Obama’s National Security Advisor. All of a sudden people began admitting that Nunes was right that information on political opponents had been collected, unmasked, and disseminated, but they turned to downplaying this as significant news.
This is a media-wide problem, but no one has been more shameless about this than CNN, which formerly at least attempted to position itself as politically neutral. CNN has decided to declare the news story “fake” because of this report from former Obama political appointee Jim Sciutto (who was a colleague of Susan Rice at the Obama State Department), who now covers the Republican administration:
Wait, wait, wait, wait. Slow down here. A person close to Rice said she did nothing wrong? Well this changes … oh wow, this changes … nothing. I mean, people close to Mike Flynn said he did nothing wrong, and they even had quite the case, but I don’t recall Sciutto either running with that angle, or believing such an angle “debunked” the coordinated leak campaign against Trump he was recipient of.
Of course Susan Rice’s family and friends will rush to her defense. That’s what friends are for. But that doesn’t “debunk” a story. The idea that you wouldn’t pursue this story and all of the interesting questions raised by it is an affront to journalism. But that seems to be the road CNN has chosen to go down. A few examples:
Eugene Volokh has a few things to say about things that aren’t supposed to be said. Volokh, a professor of free speech law at U.C.L.A., has seen books banned, professors censored, and the ordinary expression of students stifled on university campuses across the nation.
Volokh believes free speech and open inquiry, once paramount values of higher education, are increasingly jeopardized by restrictive university speech codes. Instead of formally banning speech, speech codes discourage broad categories of human expression. “Hate speech. Harassment. Micro-aggressions,” Volokh says. “Often they’re not defined. They’re just assumed to be bad, assumed they’re something we need to ban.”
Volokh spoke at Reason Weekend, the annual event held by Reason Foundation.
A National Security Council review of the government’s policy on “unmasking” the identities of Americans caught up in incidental surveillance revealed Rice’s requests, Bloomberg reported.
The identities of citizens collected are normally redacted from the intelligence reports and are designated as something like “US Person One,” Bloomberg reported.
— Bret Baier (@BretBaier) April 3, 2017
Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the NSC’s senior director for intelligence, uncovered Rice’s multiple requests related to the Trump transition in February while conducting the review and alerted the White House General Counsel’s Office, which undertook another review of Rice and told him to stop his investigation into the unmasking, the website reported.
The intelligence documents contained summaries of conversations monitored between foreign officials talking about the Trump transition. They also contained some instances of communication between Trump associates and foreign officials, the report said.
— James Rosen (@JamesRosenFNC) April 3, 2017
The data, according to a US official, included sensitive information about whom the Trump associates were meeting and their views on foreign policy issues.
Rice did not respond to an email seeking comment, the website said.
During an appearance on “PBS NewsHour” on March 22, Rice was asked about whether Trump transition officials were swept up in incidental monitoring.
“I know nothing about this,” she said.
House and Senate committees are investigating Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump associates had any contact with the Kremlin during that time. … (read more)
Posted: March 8, 2017
Wiretapped Data Used In Intercepted Russian Communications Part of Inquiry Into Trump Associates
Andrew C. McCarthy writes: Now that the media-Democrat complex has been caught in its own web, there is some serious skullduggery underway. It’s revisionist history, Soviet style. You know, the kind where the bad stuff gets “disappeared.” The New York Times is disappearing its claim that Obama investigated Trump.
For four months, the mainstream press was very content to have Americans believe — indeed, they encouraged Americans to believe — that a vigorous national-security investigation of the Trump presidential campaign was ongoing. “A counterintelligence investigation,” the New York Times called it.
— Chris Farrell (@cjtfarrell) March 8, 2017
… As I contended in a column this weekend, it was essential for the media and Democrats to promote the perception of an investigation because the scandalous narrative they were peddling — namely, that Trump-campaign operatives conspired with the Putin regime to “hack the election” — required it.
Russia obviously did not hack the election. Russian intelligence services may have hacked e-mail accounts of prominent Democrats, although even that has not been proved. And there is even less evidence of collusion by the Trump campaign in that effort — as one would expect, in light of the intelligence agencies’ conclusion that the Russians sought to hack accounts of both major parties.
So, for this fatally flawed storyline to pass the laugh test, the Left needed the FBI. Even if the election-hacking conspiracy story sounded far-fetched, the public might be induced to believe there must be something to it if the Bureau was investigating it.
But when the election-hacking narrative went on too long without proof, the risk the Democrats were running became clear. If the FBI had been investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded in purported “Russian hacking of the election,” that meant the incumbent Obama administration must have been investigating the campaign of the opposition party’s presidential candidate.
Moreover, if such an investigation had involved national-security wiretaps under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), that would suggest that the Obama Justice Department had alleged, in court, that Trump associates had acted as “agents of a foreign power” — in this case, Russia. Read the rest of this entry »
Charles Murray writes: A few months ago, AEI’s student group at Middlebury College invited me to speak on the themes in Coming Apart and how they relate to the recent presidential election. Professor Allison Stanger of the Political Science Department agreed to serve as moderator of the Q&A and to ask the first three questions herself.
“Middlebury tried to negotiate such an agreement with the protesters, but, for the first time in my experience, the protesters would not accept any time limits. If this becomes the new normal, the number of colleges willing to let themselves in for an experience like Middlebury’s will plunge to near zero.”
About a week before the event, plans for protests began to emerge, encouraged by several faculty members. Their logic was that since I am a racist, a white supremacist, a white nationalist, a pseudoscientist whose work has been discredited, a sexist, a eugenicist, and (this is a new one) anti-gay, I did not deserve a platform for my hate speech, and hence it was appropriate to keep me from speaking.
“Academia is already largely sequestered in an ideological bubble, but at least it’s translucent. That bubble will become opaque. Worse yet, the intellectual thugs will take over many campuses.”
Last Wednesday, the day before the lecture was to occur, I got an email from Bill Burger, Vice President for Communications at Middlebury. The size and potential ferocity of the planned protests had escalated. We agreed to meet at the Middlebury Inn an hour before the lecture so that we could go over a contingency plan: In the event that the protesters in the lecture hall did not cease and desist after a reasonable period, Professor Stanger and I would repair to a room near the lecture hall where a video studio had been set up that would enable us to live-stream the lecture and take questions via Twitter.
Here’s how it played out.
The lecture hall was at capacity, somewhere around 400. There were lots of signs with lots of slogans (see the list of allegations above), liberally sprinkled with the f-word. A brave member of the AEI student group, Ivan Valladares, gave an eloquent description of what the group was about. Middlebury’s president, Laurie Patton, gave a statement about the importance of free speech even though she disagrees with much of my work. A second brave member of the AEI club, Alexander Khan, introduced me. All this was accompanied by occasional catcalls and outbursts, but not enough to keep the speakers from getting through their material. Then I went onstage, got halfway through my first sentence, and the uproar began.
“The people in the audience who wanted to hear me speak were completely cowed. That cannot be allowed to stand.”
First came a shouted recitation in unison of what I am told is a piece by James Baldwin. I couldn’t follow the words. That took a few minutes. Then came the chanting. The protesters had prepared several couplets that they chanted in rotations—“hey, hey, ho, ho, white supremacy has to go,” and the like. It was very loud, and stayed loud. It’s hard for me estimate, but perhaps half the audience were protesters and half had come to hear the lecture.
It was very loud, and stayed loud. It’s hard for me estimate, but perhaps half the audience were protesters and half had come to hear the lecture.
I stood at the podium. I didn’t make any attempt to speak—no point in it—but I did make eye contact with students. I remember one in particular, from whom I couldn’t look away for a long time. She reminded me of my daughter Anna (Middlebury ’07) — partly physically, but also in her sweet earnestness. She looked at me reproachfully and a little defiantly, her mouth moving in whatever the current chant was. I’m probably projecting, but I imagined her to be a student who wasn’t particularly political but had learned that this guy Murray was truly evil. So she found herself in the unfamiliar position of activist, not really enjoying it, but doing her civic duty.
“In the mid-1990s, I could count on students who had wanted to listen to start yelling at the protesters after a certain point, ‘Sit down and shut up, we want to hear what he has to say.’ That kind of pushback had an effect. It reminded the protesters that they were a minority. I am assured by people at Middlebury that their protesters are a minority as well. But they are a minority that has intimidated the majority.”
The others…. Wow. Some were just having a snarky good time as college undergrads have been known to do, dancing in the aisle to the rhythm of the chants. But many looked like they had come straight out of casting for a film of brownshirt rallies. In some cases, I can only describe their eyes as crazed and their expressions as snarls. Melodramatic, I know. But that’s what they looked like.
This went on for about twenty minutes. My mindset at that point was to wait them out if it took until midnight (which, I was later to realize, probably wouldn’t have been long enough). But finally Bill Burger came on stage and decided, correctly, that the people who had come to hear the lecture deserved a chance to do so. Professor Stanger and I were led out of the hall to the improvised studio.
I started to give an abbreviated version of my standard Coming Apart lecture, speaking into the camera. Then there was the sound of shouting outside, followed by loud banging on the wall of the building. Professor Stanger and I were equipped with lavalier microphones, which are highly directional. The cameraman-cum-sound-technician indicated that we could continue to speak and the noise from outside would not drown us out. Then a fire alarm went off, which was harder to compete with. And so it went through the lecture and during my back and forth conversation with Professor Stanger—a conversation so interesting that minutes sometimes went by while I debated some point with her and completely forgot about the din. But the din never stopped.
“I didn’t see it happen, but someone grabbed Allison’s hair just as someone else shoved her from another direction, damaging muscles, tendons, and fascia in her neck. I was stumbling because of the shoving. If it hadn’t been for Allison and Bill keeping hold of me and the security guards pulling people off me, I would have been pushed to the ground. That much is sure.”
We finished around 6:45 and prepared to leave the building to attend a campus dinner with a dozen students and some faculty members. Allison, Bill, and I (by this point I saw both of them as dear friends and still do) were accompanied by two large and capable security guards. (As I write, I still don’t have their names. My gratitude to them is profound.) We walked out the door and into the middle of a mob. I have read that they numbered about twenty. It seemed like a lot more than that to me, maybe fifty or so, but I was not in a position to get a good count. I registered that several of them were wearing ski masks. That was disquieting. Read the rest of this entry »
A court in Austria has heard that nine Iraqi immigrants gang raped a teacher during New Year’s Eve celebrations in Vienna.
The defendants in the case are aged 22 to 45 and are all related to each other. At the time of the alleged attack, which is said to have taken place on January 1, 2016, five of the men had refugee status while the asylum applications of the other four were pending.
After the alleged incident, one of the men led the woman – who is German – to a bathroom in the apartment and with his phone took a photo featuring both of them. She was later taken to a tram stop in central Vienna and subsequently hospitalized.
One defendant has pleaded guilty to rape. The others deny assaulting the woman. The court was told they feel “no guilt” despite the existence of DNA evidence. One claimed the woman had been “offered” to them by relatives while another said she was willing.
At about 3am the woman and her friend were drinking in a bar called Cactus when the victim disappeared. A witness in the bar reportedly said some men she had been talking with had “taken her away”. Read the rest of this entry »