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[VIDEO] Katherine Timpf: Micro-Aggressions are on the Rise

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Wendy Kaminer: The Progressive Ideas Behind the Lack of Free Speech on Campus

campus-censorship

How did we get here? How did a verbal defense of free speech become tantamount to a hate crime and offensive words become the equivalent of physical assaults?

Wendy Kaminer writes: Is an academic discussion of free speech potentially traumatic? A recent panel for Smith College alumnae aimed at “challenging the ideological echo chamber” elicited this ominous “trigger/content warning” when a transcriptappeared in the campus newspaper: “Racism/racial slurs, ableist slurs, antisemitic language, anti-Muslim/Islamophobic language, anti-immigrant language, sexist/misogynistic slurs, references to race-based violence, references to antisemitic violence.”

No one on this panel, in which I participated, trafficked in slurs. So what prompted the warning?

“Self-appointed recovery experts promoted the belief that most of us are victims of abuse, in one form or another. They broadened the definition of abuse to include a range of common, normal childhood experiences, including being chastised or ignored by your parents on occasion….”

Smith President Kathleen McCartney had joked, “We’re just wild and crazy, aren’t we?” In the transcript, “crazy” was replaced by the notation: “[ableist slur].”

One of my fellow panelists mentioned that the State Department had for a time banned the words “jihad,” “Islamist” and “caliphate” — which the transcript flagged as “anti-Muslim/Islamophobic language.”

“From this perspective, we are all fragile and easily damaged by presumptively hurtful speech, and censorship looks like a moral necessity.”

I described the case of a Brandeis professor disciplined for saying “wetback” while explaining its use as a pejorative. The word was replaced in the transcript by “[anti-Latin@/anti-immigrant slur].” Discussing the teaching of “Huckleberry Finn,” I questioned the use of euphemisms such as “the n-word” and, in doing so, uttered that forbidden word. I described what I thought was the obvious difference between quoting a word in the context of discussing language, literature or prejudice and hurling it as an epithet.41dpsNZmcnL._SL250_

[Check out Wendy Kaminer’s book “Fearful Freedom: Women’s Flight from Equality” at Amazon]

Two of the panelists challenged me. The audience of 300 to 400 people listened to our spirited, friendly debate — and didn’t appear angry or shocked. But back on campus, I was quickly branded a racist, and I was charged in the Huffington Post with committing “an explicit act of racial violence.” McCartney subsequently apologized that “some students and faculty were hurt” and made to “feel unsafe” by my remarks.

Unsafe? These days, when students talk about threats to their safety and demand access to “safe spaces,” they’re often talking about the threat of unwelcome speech and Tall-censorship-campusdemanding protection from the emotional disturbances sparked by unsettling ideas. It’s not just rape that some women on campus fear: It’s discussions of rape. At Brown University, a scheduled debate between two feminists about rape culture was criticized for, as the Brown Daily Herald put it, undermining “the University’s mission to create a safe and supportive environment for survivors.” In a school-wide e-mail, Brown President Christina Paxon emphasized her belief in the existence of rape culture and invited students to an alternative lecture, to be given at the same time as the debate. And the Daily Herald reported that students who feared being “attacked by the viewpoints” offered at the debate could instead “find a safe space” among “sexual assault peer educators, women peer counselors and staff” during the same time slot. Presumably they all shared the same viewpoints and could be trusted not to “attack” anyone with their ideas.

How did we get here? How did a verbal defense of free speech become tantamount to a hate crime and offensive words become the equivalent of physical assaults?

You can credit — or blame — progressives for this enthusiastic embrace of censorship. It reflects, in part, the influence of three popular movements dating back decades: the feminist anti-porn crusades, the pop-psychology recovery movement and the emergence of multiculturalism on college campuses.

“You can credit — or blame — progressives for this enthusiastic embrace of censorship. It reflects, in part, the influence of three popular movements dating back decades: the feminist anti-porn crusades, the pop-psychology recovery movement and the emergence of multiculturalism on college campuses.”

In the 1980s, law professor Catharine MacKinnon and writer Andrea Dworkin showed the way, popularizing a view of free speech as a barrier to equality. These two impassioned feminists framed pornography — its production, distribution and consumption — as an assault on women. Read the rest of this entry »


Lawmakers Will Hold Up Pencils at SOTU to Honor Charlie Hebdo

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TIME

Members of Congress will honor the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack during the State of the Union by holding up yellow pencils.

A spokeswoman for Democratic Rep. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin said that she will hold up a pencil and that they have confirmed that other lawmakers will do so as well.

“Rather than divide and intimidate us, these brazen and barbaric attacks have united the international community and prompted a global response in defense of the freedom of expression,” said Eric Harris, press secretary for Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI). Moore will participate in the tribute.

The pencil has become a symbol of remembrance and solidarity after the massacre at Charlie Hebdo, which many saw as an attack on free speech.

The advance text of Obama’s speech is not yet available, but it is widely expected that he will reference the attack.

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Generational Priorities: A Failing Grade

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Targeting Political Speech for the Next Election

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Mr. Rotunda is a law professor at Fowler Law School, Chapman University, the co-author, with John Nowak, of “Treatise on Constitutional Law” (Thomson Reuters, fifth edition, 2013), and a former commissioner of the California Fair Political Practices Commission (2009-13).

Ronald D. Rotunda writes: What Talleyrand once said of French royalty applies to Ann Ravel, the vice chairwoman of the Federal Election Commission: She has “learned nothing and forgotten nothing.” Ms. Ravel appears to be dreaming of imposing on the nation what she was unable to impose on California—the constitutional-lawregulation of political speech on the Internet.

“The First Amendment protects freedom of speech and of the press equally—and the government cannot constitutionally discriminate against some forms of speech in favor of others.”

[Check out Ronald D. Rotunda’s book “Constitutional Law: Principles and Policies, 4th Edition” from Amazon]

In April 2012, when Ms. Ravel was chairwoman of the California Fair Political Practices Commission (a state agency comparable to the FEC) and I was a commissioner, she announced that the commission would issue regulations governing political speech on the Internet. The rules, she said, would even govern bloggers outside the state. Californians raised a fuss and her efforts got nowhere.

“The Federal Election Commission exists solely to protect the public against potential corruption of public officials. It has no authority to regulate pure political speech, which is what the Web does: It disseminates pure political speech.”

Now she’s back, and in a more powerful position in Washington. The FEC already regulates paid Internet advertising, but free Internet posts are exempt from campaign-finance regulations. On Oct. 24 Ms. Ravel stated that in doing so “the Commission turned a blind eye to the Internet’s growing force in the political arena.” She said that a “re-examination of the Commission’s approach to the Internet and other emerging technologies is long overdue,” and vowed to hold hearings next year on the matter—a clear hint that the goal is to remove the regulatory exemption for free online political speech. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Ayaan Hirsi Ali Speaks at Yale

Womens-rights activist and Islamic critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali spoke at Yale University earlier this week, at the invitation of the university’s William F. Buckley Jr. Program for an event titled “Clash of Civilizations: Islam and the West.” Ryan Lovelace covers the event for NRO

 


D’Souzaism of the Day: ‘Progress’

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[PHOTO] Henry Miller with Anaïs Nin Brenda Venus

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[Check out the book Henry and June: From “A Journal of Love” – The Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin (1931-1932) at Amazon.com]

[Biographical outline of Brenda Venus at Wikipedia]

Orplid : Photo


Demsocrat’s Plan to Counter Criticism: Outlaw It

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For Commentary Magazine writes:  A common pattern in American political discourse is for conservatives to accuse liberals of some statist extremism, liberals to insist the complaint has no merit whatsoever, and then when it’s clear conservatives are on to something liberals lament, more in sorrow than in anger, that conservatives had a point but took it way too far. How vindicated conservatives then feel if information comes to light to back up their warnings about the slippery slope of state power.

“I’m not sure how many times the White House and Democratic congressional leadership can hope to get their party to vote for abusive federal power grabs that are openly hostile to public opinion and individual rights.”

The evolution of the Democrats’ deranged attacks on the Koch brothers and political participation in general has followed precisely this pattern. The trickle of mentions of the Kochs turned into a flood, as Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid became thoroughly incapable of discussing any topic–campaign finance, Ukraine, the minimum wage–without calling out the libertarian philanthropists. He called their participation in the political process “un-American” in an ever-escalating crusade to declare them former people and seek to pressure the judiciary into permitting limitations on free speech rights.

“Schumer has proposed a solution: no need to change the policies to adhere to public opinion if you can just restrict the public’s ability to express that opinion.”

Conservatives warned that high-profile Democrats’ hostility to the First Amendment was liable to result in the curbing of Americans’ constitutional rights. Liberals scoffed. Yet now, the Hill reports, Democrats–who haven’t exactly been models of subtlety, but who at least permitted liberals some plausible deniability–are through beating around the bush. Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer has announced his party’s newest midterm election strategy: amend the Constitution to rein in its free speech protections. Read the rest of this entry »


Congressional Hearings: Preparation Advice for Lois Lerner

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Free Speech Chill Zone: Climate Change Advocates Try to Silence Krauthammer

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Charles Krauthammer says it right up front in his Washington Post column: “I’m not a global warming believer. I’m not a global warming denier.”

“…a crude attempt to silence critics and delegitimize debate.”

He does, however, challenge the notion that the science on climate change is settled and says those who insist otherwise are engaged in “a crude attempt to silence critics and delegitimize debate.”

“The next step is book burning. So the question of the day is: Can you light a Kindle?”

How ironic, then, that some environmental activists launched a petition urging the Post not to publish Krauthammer’s column on Friday.

“Is there anything more anti-scientific than scientific truths being determined by petition and demonstration?”

Their response to opinions they disagree with is to suppress the speech.

Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: FCC Withdraws Big-Brother Newsroom Intimidation ‘Monitoring’ Project

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler

Intrusive media survey idea was doomed from the start

News Dump: Any surprise this withdrawal is announced on Friday, the customary day to bury unfavorable announcements? This Stalinist-progressive cuckoo-bananas Obama-era idea had no hope of lasting more than 48 hours in the spotlight before being abandoned, buried, disowned. Or is coming back? Do they really plan to ‘tweak’ it, revise it, reintroduce it quietly? Good luck with that.

In the meantime, the administration can enjoy a media transition that worked in their favor: the installation of a new asset on NBC.

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Over at Breitbart.com’s Big Government, Kerry Pickett has the headline story:

[FCC YANKS INVASIVE NEWSROOM QUESTIONNAIRE]

[See also: FCC Exploring Plans to Place ‘Government Monitors’ in Newsrooms]

National Review Online‘s Tim Cavanaugh reports:

The Federal Communications Commission has pulled the plug on its plan to conduct an intrusive probe of newsrooms as part of a “Critical Information Needs” survey of local media markets.

However, a revised version of the survey could raise new concerns: that it will trade its now-kiboshed news questions for a demographic survey that might justify new race-based media ownership rulemaking.

big-brother-half“[I]n the course of FCC review and public comment, concerns were raised that some of the questions may not have been appropriate,” the FCC announced in a statement Friday. “Chairman [Tom] Wheeler agreed that survey questions in the study directed toward media outlet managers, news directors, and reporters overstepped the bounds of what is required. Last week, Chairman Wheeler informed lawmakers that that Commission has no intention of regulating political or other speech of journalists or broadcasters and would be modifying the draft study. Yesterday, the Chairman directed that those questions be removed entirely.”

The Critical Information Needs (CIN) survey has been a slow-burning controversy since ever since this reporter first revealed its existence in October 2013.

First Amendment supporters objected that the design of the survey would have had FCC representatives interrogating newsroom staffers about how they make coverage decisions and select (or spike) story ideas. Many commentators objected to the potential intimidation involved in such a survey.

The original plan of the survey would also have taken the FCC out of its traditional purview of regulating supposedly scarce airwaves. Because the CIN sought to discover “underserved” consumers in a variety of “media ecologies,” the survey would have included not only broadcast media but newspapers, blogs and online news.

However, there have been consistent doubts that the survey was ever going to happen. In a December followup article I found that none of the major broadcast, print or online media in Columbia, South Carolina – the market selected for the Critical Information Needs pilot study – had heard from either the FCC or Silver Spring, Maryland-based Social Solutions International (SSI) the FCC’s contractor on the project.

Read the rest of this entry »


National Media, Slow to Report on Epidemic of Race Crimes, Dismisses Relevance with Breathtaking Ignorance: “Is it Really a Trend”?

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Knockout Trend Among Teenagers: Is It Real?

Imagine if roving gangs of violent young white hoodlums were preying on unsuspecting black people in the streets, knocking them unconscious at random- think the headlines would read like this?

Or would it be immediately treated as a National Crisis, worthy of 24-hour-a-day coverage?

TIME asks: “Local media outlets are reporting a supposed ‘Knockout’ game among teenagers: total strangers have to be knocked out with just one punch. But is it really a trend?”

Knockout Trend Among Teenagers: Is It Real? | TIME.com


How to Get Censored on China’s Twitter

Pictures that an Internet poster on China's Weibo microblogging site went viral when it was suggested they were of officials in Lujiang County.

ProPublica has launched an interactive feature of tens of thousands of images that have been censored from Weibo, in an effort to show what topics are likely to be targeted:

How  censors its users is as revealing as the content that appears on the site, and for the past five months, we’ve been watching the watchers. We’ve created an interactive feature, launching today, that allows readers to see and understand the images that censors considered too sensitive for Chinese eyes.

[…] For five months, our software has been quietly checking 100 Weibo accounts, keeping track of every post containing an image and returning repeatedly to see if those posts were deleted. Our collection has grown to nearly 80,000 posts, of which at least 4,200 — more than 5 percent — were deleted by censors.

Read the rest of this entry »


Praetorian Guard

via Twitter 


Academics Launch Fake Social Network to Get an Inside Look at Chinese Censorship

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New research shows China’s online censorship relies on a competitive market where companies vie to offer the best speech-suppressing technology and services.

Fascinating item from Tom Simonite MIT Technology Review: Nine years after Mark Zuckerberg quit Harvard to build Facebook, one of the university’s political science professors, Gary King, decided this year it was time to launch his own social media site. But King didn’t set up his Chinese social network to make money; instead, he wanted to get an insider’s view of Chinese censorship, which relies on Internet providers censoring their own sites in line with government guidelines. King won’t disclose his site’s URL, to protect people involved with his project. Read the rest of this entry »


China State TV Broadcasts Chilling Confession of Celebrated Blogger Charles Xue

CHINA STRINGER NETWORK/REUTERS - Chinese-American businessman and blogger Charles Xue appeared on Chinese state television and discussed the dangers of the Internet.

CHINA STRINGER NETWORK/REUTERS – Chinese-American businessman and blogger Charles Xue appeared on Chinese state television and discussed the dangers of the Internet.

BEIJINGWilliam Wan writes: Chinese state television on Sunday broadcast a startling video of a famous blogger in handcuffs, renouncing his Web posts and saying how dangerous the Internet would be if left uncontrolled by the government. The 10-minute news report featuring Charles Xue — a Chinese American businessman and one of China’s most popular bloggers — was the latest step in what appears to be a systematic campaign to intimidate online opinion leaders against speaking too freely or critically of the government. Read the rest of this entry »