We have previously discussed attacks on both faculty and students for expressing opposing views of the current protests or their underlying causes, including a recent case at Georgetown where a student was censured by the student senate. Now, over 1000 students and faculty members have signed a letter to the Dartmouth Board of Trustees to disassociate the school from the conservative student newspaper, the Dartmouth Review. The letter accuses the newspaper of “hateful ideologies” and “racist” columns, including one cited column objecting to the careless use of the word “racist.” There were two striking aspects to this story. First, the Dartmouth Review (which counts such conservative figures as filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza and Fox anchor Laura Ingraham among its alumni) has always been an independent newspaper. Second, the reason stated by the organizers to move against the newspaper in part because of a recent controversy involving an alumni who resigned from Fox News.
Months ago, I wrote about the potential of a type of immuno discrimination or pandemic passport. The flip side to that danger is whether the mandatory enforcement of the masks is actually a violation of the American Disability Act. That issue came to mind this week after officials in Edmonton (Canada) came under fire for issuing exemption cards for citizens under the exemptions in the city’s mandatory mask bylaw. The question is whether barring people with medical reasons for not wearing masks might violate federal law. The answer is that there is a basis for employees and customers to ask for “reasonable accommodations” but that likely does not include the right to go maskless as long as the government can maintain that the risk of spreading the virus is a public emergency. Continue reading “Does Mandatory Mask Enforcement Violate The American Disability Act?”
This week, former Vice President Joe Biden rekindled the debate over the killing of Michael Brown in 2014 with a tweet stating that his life was “taken” by police and represents the systemic racism in our society. The sixth anniversary of the killing is obviously notable as protests continue across the country over the killing of George Floyd. However, two of Biden’s leading candidates for vice president still maintain the police “murdered” Brown in Ferguson, Missouri — a claim that could become a contested campaign issue since it was the Obama Administration that found that shooting to be justified while Biden was vice president. Given the additional comments from Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, a brief recap of the multiple investigations into the shooting seems warranted. Continue reading “Biden Tweet Rekindles Debate Over Michael Brown Case”
Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on the effort of New York Attorney General Letitia James to forced the dissolution of the National Rifle Association (NRA). The decision of James to seek the clearly unwarranted dissolution of the nation’s largest gun rights organization is consistent with her past politicalization of office. The case itself is important and raises serious questions of excessive spending by officers of the NRA. While there are other organizations that have not received this level of attention over spending, the record of the NRA is worthy of scrutiny and possible injunctive relief. However, James undermined the credibility of the case by demanding dissolution to pander to Democratic voters. It is all too familiar to those of us who have criticized James in the past for her use of the office for political grandstanding.
I recently wrote a column concerning a pattern of willful blindness by the media as new evidence emerges of serious wrongdoing by the FBI in the origin and continuation of the Russian collusion investigation. The latest information comes from the Senate Intelligence Committee which released a declassified briefing report to the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2018 on the Steele dossier’s Primary Sub-source. It is hard to read the document linked below and not conclude that the FBI misled the Congress on the subject. This occurred after the FBI misled the FISA court, including the submission of falsified documents to continue the surveillance.
There is a new controversy over free speech this week. The Faculty of Advocates, which represents Scotland’s legal profession, has warned that new changes in the country’s hate speech laws could sweep too broadly to include even comedians who are viewed as insulting to a range of different groups. The new law would extend hate speech crimes to “offensive” statements concerning LGBT+ and intersex people, as well as adding provisions on age, disability and religion. It is a trend that concerns many free speech advocates as well as comedians. In the United States, six out of ten students now view offensive jokes to be hate speech.
Another professor is under fire this week for rabidly anti-Republican views. Clemson School of Computing Assistant Professor Bart Knijnenburg called not just Trump but all Republicans “xenophobic and racist.” He previously called all Republicans “racist scum.” Despite his hateful and intolerant views, I still believe that he has a free speech right to express those views in social media and would oppose efforts to terminate him. Unfortunately, such views are not uncommon among faculty. What made this story stand out is that Knijnenburg appeared to encourage others to find the home address of someone who published an open letter calling for schools to stop admitting Chinese students. It has become a standard practice of some groups to harass and threaten people at home if they express opposing views or contradict a new orthodoxy on our campuses. Continue reading ““Living Hell”: Clemson Professor Under Fire After Prompting Others To Find The Home Address Of Public Letter Author”
This week I testified in the Senate about the erosion of free speech and academic freedom in our universities where professors are being punished or even fired for expressing viewpoints that challenge a new orthodoxy on our campuses, particularly with regard to racial and political issues. The latest example can be found this week at the University of Pittsburgh, which has removed Associate Professor of Medicine Norman Wang was removed from his position as Program Director of the Electrophysiology Fellowship. The removal was in direct response to Wang publishing an article in a peer-reviewed journal that questioned the use of affirmative action in medical schools admissions. The action raises serious concerns over both free speech and academic freedom. The only thing more unsettling than the actions of the university was the relative silence of his colleagues throughout the University of Pittsburgh as he was punished for expressing his academic views.
For many years, I have written columns denouncing faith-based politics of both Republican and Democratic Presidents. None however have gone quite as far as President Donald Trump yesterday when he declared that Joe Biden is “against God.” It sounds a bit like a constructive divine endorsement. It is certainly the ultimate expression of the faith-based politics that I have long opposed. Continue reading “Got God? Trump Claims Biden Opposes The Almighty”
Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on yesterday’s hearing in the Senate, which ended abruptly with Sen. Hirono walking out after a confrontation with Sen. Cruz over his objection that the Democrats were avoiding direct criticism of Antifa. In roughly 50 hearings as a witness in Congress, that was a first for me. I have been in a hearing with a lock down but I have never been in hearing with a walk out. I was not sure if I was expected to turn off the lights after both senators left.
The dramatic ending of the hearing however quickly supplanted the underlying issue. As I stated in my testimony, I am less concerned with Antifa’s role in the protests as its role in the growing anti-free speech movement in the United States.
Here is the column: Continue reading “Why Antifa Is The Keyser Söze of Social Unrest”
Another professor is under fire for a tweet this week. In a now-deleted post on Twitter, Auburn University professor Jesse Goldberg declared “f*ck every cop. Every single one.” He then added, “the only ethical choice for any cop to make at this point is to refuse to do their job and quit.” The university is reportedly considering actions against Goldberg. As will likely come as no surprise to many on this blog, I do not agree that Goldberg should be subject to termination for the tweet which was the expression of his social and political views outside of the classroom. As I stated in my testimony in the Senate this week, faculty across the country are being subjected to campaigns for their termination due to controversial statements on the current protests and their underlying causes. While most of these cases involve professors who question the Black Lives Matter organizations or claims of systemic racism, it does not matter from a free speech perspective.
For years, we have been discussing the rapid loss of objectivity and neutrality in the media where most viewers no longer trust what they read or hear. Various cable networks and newspapers have openly embraced the echo-journalist model, including the shocking actions of the New York Times recently to apologize for publishing a dissenting view of the protests by the U.S. Senator. Figures like CNN’s Jeff Zucker have openly abandoned any semblance of objectivity to seek ratings from viewers who only want to see and hear news that confirms their political preferences. This week, a leading producer at MSNBC became the latest journalist to quit due to the pressure to shape coverage to such bias. I testified in the Senate yesterday of this trend as part of the erosion of free speech in the United States. Now a Gallup poll has confirmed what these owners and editors have done to journalism in the United States. Almost half of those polled said that they viewed media as “very biased.” Continue reading “Gallup: Almost Three-Fourths Of Americans View Media As Too Biased”
We recently discussed the case of the McCloskeys in St. Louis where they were charged with felony crimes after displaying weapons outside of their home in response to protesters. I have raised serious concerns over the viability of those charges. Now, however, we have a similar case brought against the husband of Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey. The Lacey home has been targeted by Black Lives Matter protesters in what is becoming a common practice. While the first black District Attorney in Los Angeles, Black Lives Matter protesters have been calling for her ouster and said that they would be holding a community meeting in front of her home. Politicians have responded to the BLM protests and some, like Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), have rescinded their endorsements of Lacey recently, Lacy’s husband, David Lacey appeared at the door waiving a gun and warning “I will shoot you. Get off of my porch.” What is interesting is the comparison in the charges in the McCloskey and Lacey cases. Continue reading “Husband of LA DA Charged For Pointing Gun At Protesters”