GWU President Triggers Free Speech Fight After Declaring Posters Criticizing the Chinese Government Offensive

Mark Wrighton, the new president of George Washington University, triggered a national free speech controversy when he declared that he was “personally offended” by posters criticizing the Chinese government’s hosting of the Olympics. The posters attacked China for its human rights record, including allegations of genocide against the Uyghur Muslim minority. Wrighton not only declared his outrage at the political posters but suggested that an investigation would be launched. He later back-tracked and issued a statement Monday that the posters are political speech and would not be investigated. Wrighton admitted that “I should have taken more time to understand the entire situation before commenting.” The university came to the correct position but the initial response of President Wrighton was wrong and chilling for free speech on our campus.  The posters are jarring in their stark and violent images. Moreover, I do not think that President Wrighton is dismissive of the human rights allegations. However, the actions taken in this case were dismissive, initially, of the values of free speech.The posters were obvious political expression on an important controversy over human rights. However, the Chinese Cultural Association wrote online “In American society, freedom of political expression is everyone’s right, but inciting racial hatred and ethnic conflicts is not allowed regardless of national borders.” That claim of free speech as harmful is an all-too-common rationale today for shutting down speech on campuses. It is the very basis used by authoritarian countries like China to crush dissenters.The CCA added

“The school accepted the complaint from the students and stated that the school police would be instructed to investigate the incident. A person in charge of the school’s multicultural office expressed regret that this harmful and offensive poster was posted on the school. The principal also responded to the incident, saying that the content of these posters also offended him….The central ideas expressed are not based on indisputable opinions but, on the contrary, on highly controversial political disputes.”

The university should have responded that free speech does not have to be “indisputable” to be allowed. Indeed, it is most valuable in exercising dissenting views on controversies of our time. The CCA was wrong in my view to file the complaint to seek action to silence these views rather than responding with its own posters and viewpoints.

In his initial statement, Wrighton said that he was “personally offended by the posters” and said the school was “working to have all of these offensive posters removed as soon as possible.” He added that “I treasure the opportunity to work with talented people from all over the world, including China . . . I, too, am saddened by this terrible event, and we will undertake an effort to determine who is responsible.”

This was not a “terrible event.” It was an example of free and open debate at an institution of higher education.  The immediate impulse to tear down the posters (and launch an investigation) is alarming from any president of a major university. While Wrighton showed the integrity to admit his error, his initial inclination to shutdown free speech shocked many of us in the free speech community. It is the type of hair-triggered censorship that has eroded free speech on our campus and the comfort level of students in speaking out on issues.

We previously discussed a new study showing that sixty-five (65) percent agreed that people on campus today are prevented from speaking freely. The poll is additional evidence of the failure of administrators and faculty to maintain campuses as forums for free thought and intellectual engagement. This study shows that conservatives and Republicans on campus feel the loss of free speech most acutely. That is consistent with other studies. For example, an earlier poll at the University of North Carolina found that conservative students are 300 times more likely to self-censor themselves due to the intolerance of opposing views on our campuses.

(@badiucao/Twitter)

The posters in this case were obviously political speech even with the most cursory review. The 2022 Winter Games have been dubbed the “Genocide Olympics” by critics who believe the competition should not be held in the country. The posters featured drawings made by Badiucao, a dissident Chinese artist, who published a screenshot of Wrighton’s initial email and demanded “an explanation why exposing CCP’s abuse offends him.”

“It is misleading & ignorant to call my art ‘anti-China’ or ‘racist’ giving fact I am Chinese artist,” the artist wrote on Twitter. “The smear campaign from CCP affiliated groups like this directly harms #FreeSpeech in [universities] … [GWU] must protest & defend rights of its students to voice out for human rights.”

The Olympic face plant for the university in this controversy was due to the same censor-first-inquire-later approach that we have seen from other universities. Presidents are often eager to get ahead of controversies by yielding to demands to silence critics or dissenting voices. In some cases like the Smith controversy, university presidents have refused to admit error even after extensive changes were ordered and staff wrongly implicated.

In this case, President Wrighton on Monday stated:

“Last week, the university learned of posters on campus depicting images that alarmed some members of our community, and we began to receive a number of concerns through official university reporting channels that cited bias and racism against the Chinese community. I also received an email directly from a student who expressed concerns.

“At that time, and without more context on the origin or intent of the posters, I responded hastily to the student, writing that I, too, was concerned. University staff also responded to ensure the posters were removed. These responses were mistakes. Every member of the GW community should feel welcome and supported, but I should have taken more time to understand the entire situation before commenting.”

I remain concerned about the controversy and the statement that “University staff also responded to ensure the posters were removed.” Who made that decision?

Someone at the university decided to rip down political posters. The university should have some process of review before such an extraordinary act is ordered by any official or office. Indeed, it should have a committee that can be called upon to review such an emergency request and allow members to advise the President before the university censors speech.

Wrighton added “There is no university investigation underway, and the university will not take any action against the students who displayed the posters. I want to be very clear: I support freedom of speech—even when it offends people—and creative art is a valued way to communicate on important societal issues.”

Again, I am thankful to President Wrighton for admitting his error, but the university needs to recognize the lingering concerns over this incident. It is hard to assure people that you are a supporter of freedom of speech on the heels of an impulsive act of censorship. We need to explore reforms, including the suggested committee, to offer more than personal testimonials to support free speech at George Washington University.

George Washington once famously remarked that “If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” As an institution of higher education, we are dedicated to fighting ignorance and intolerance. Free speech and academic freedom are the values that are the essential elements in achieving that mission. In this instance, the university and its president failed in our commitment to the school and our students.

 

149 thoughts on “GWU President Triggers Free Speech Fight After Declaring Posters Criticizing the Chinese Government Offensive”

  1. It seems I hit a dead spot when replying to Jeff, so I will try again with a new post instead of at:

    Jeff said: “I make it a rule to ignore Anonymous comments.”

    My reply is as follows. ”

    You are correct. You should “ignore Anonymous comments,” especially with your allergy to the truth. They are a waste of time, especially when you can’t defend yourself. Sometimes an anonymous comment rings true and upsets you, like the one below. You blew your mind and got all confused about who you were speaking to. At least you would have blown your mind if you hadn’t blown it long before coming to the blog.

    Your confusion caused you to blame everything on Meyer. He responded correctly and called you a weenie. I will add a weenie that wears short pants carrying a cap pistol. Second childhoods can be amusing, but yours is turning into a horror film.

    (I assigned myself an icon just for you.)


    “Calling Turley a “hypocrite” is NOT expressing any hatred for him.”

    However, you have used many words for Trump quite different than the one you chose to present to the group at this time. Do you feel that your other words for Trump might create questions about your word usage? Of course not, or so you will say.

    “So I am determined to hear their argument whatever their motivation.”

    Based on your words, day in and day out, don’t you think many might disagree with what you are determined to hear? Of course not, or so you will say.

    continued at: https://jonathanturley.org/2022/02/05/palin-v-nyt-new-evidence-suggests-the-new-york-times-ignored-internal-objections-to-palin-editorial/comment-page-2/#comment-2156838

  2. Why not give nuclear weapons to Ukraine and train Ukrainians on how to use them against Russian invasion forces?
    That way, Ukraine gets defended without America having to sacrifice any of its own soldiers.

  3. Putin is putting Europe into something akin to a surivival sex situation: “if you want me to feed and house you, then you must do someting for me (wink, wink)”. Anyone who puts you into such a situation is a villain who does not deserve to lead a country. If Putin does invade Ukraine, doing so should spell the end of his regime, just like Hitler’s shenanigans spelled the end of his regime. Counter argument: how is it in American interests to sit back and let Putin have a huge swath of territory like Ukraine?

    ***********************

    Youtubers and such, don’t flatter yourself with ideas that sound intriguing to you. Just because an idea seems interesting and intriguing to you does not mean it is true, practical, or right. It could crumble like a cookie when put under scrutiny or into practice.

    ***************************

    Putin has been acting more like Hitler than Trump ever has. It would make more sense for anti-Trumpers to focus their name-calling on Putin instead of Trump. But that’s the thing: they don’t do things that make sense. Despite this, they still want a lot of influence over things.

  4. On China: Thanks to Estovir’s research on Wrighton, I further looked up China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative (its name later modified). The initiative began during the Obama administration. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) describes it as a “China-centered and controlled global infrastructure, transportation, trade, and production” initiative (benefiting China), which now includes 100 countries. The initiative is scheduled to be completed in 2049, coincidentally the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.
    Congress, under the Trump administration (2018), enacted the BUILD Act, which created the U.S. Int’l Development Finance Corp. (DFC), which, among other things, reportedly agreed to help Ecuador repay its debt to China, “in return for Ecuador agreeing to exclude China firms from Ecuador’s 5G networks.”
    China continues to build land mass islands in the South China Sea, to the detriment of environment, and being used for military buildup.
    China’s goal of global dominance is clear. My biggest fear is that I (blue-eyed blond) will be forced to get one of those haircuts that would make me look like the sister of “Moe” (Larry, Moe and Curly) in the Three Stooges. Yours truly, lin

    1. Addendum: (p.s. I add that I am sometimes guilty of quickly running into one of the convenient and ubiquitous “Dollar Store”s running across America, which, as we know, have been feeding China’s starving belly for years.)

  5. The apology was necessary. Did they put the posters back up? Without replacing the posters the apology is hollow and doesn’t mean jack. What’s your guess? If it were posters against Russian imprisonment all hell would break loose to stop Russian genocide. Some communist nations are more equal than others. It must be nice to be a most favored communist nation.

  6. In what way does objecting to the CCP’s genocide against the Uighur, including forced sterilization, forced abortions, rape, torture, and the forced marriage of their women to ethnic Chinese men incite racial hatred against ethnic Chinese?

    Are Chinese Americans harming the Uighur? Nope. Japanese Americans? Nope. Taiwanese Americans? Nope. Any other Asian Americans? Nope. It’s the human rights abuses typical of the far Left. The Chinese Communist Party is abusive because it’s Communist. Communism and Socialism cannot exist in a framework of strong individual rights. It’s a form of slavery. Slavery leads to abuse.

    Wrighton has every right to object to objections to genocide. That’s free speech. Interfering with or intimidating students who object to the CCP’s genocide of the Uighur, and other human rights abuses, is censorship, harassment, and content bias.

    Will students be harassed for objecting to a Chinese official physically dragging that Dutch reporter off camera? How about for voicing concern over Peng Shuai? Is it permissible to voice concern over the athletes crying because the CCP is starving them in Covid quarantine? Did you see the photo of the meal of charred bones, 5 tiny potatoes, some sauce, and a piece of almost raw chicken? What about objections to the CCP lying about the origin of Covid in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, hiding the outbreak until it went global, and thus causing the deaths of millions and global economic crisis?

    Shame on the world for allowing the Chinese Communist Party to host the Olympics. It was predictable that athletes would suffer. What ever happened to “never again” about the Nazis? Yet here so many countries are, turning a blind eye.

    1. Karen—thank you for your thoughtful insights. What disturbs me most is this fact—the same fools who have fed us to the Bear and Dragon are again seated in Power. How pray tell can such weak minds now suggest that they can defend us from the very Dictatorship’s they helped give such treasures to build? The Winds of War are Rising.

  7. It isn’t just the American people that are fighting back against the flailing Biden regime and its failed leftist policies. States are fighting back too. In the face of the regime’s politically-driven, deliberate inaction, Arizona is standing tall to address the crisis at the southern border. And how are Americans finding out? Through the free, foreign press.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10489419/Arizonas-GOP-AG-calls-Bidens-border-crisis-INVASION-says-state-defend-itself.html

  8. Free Speech In The News:

    McConnell Defends Cheney And Kinzinger

    Calls January 6th A ‘Violent Insurrection’

    Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, pushed back hard on Tuesday on the Republican Party’s censure of Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger and its characterization of Jan. 6 as “legitimate political discourse,” saying the riot was a “violent insurrection.”

    The remarks from Mr. McConnell, the normally taciturn Kentucky Republican, added to a small but forceful chorus of G.O.P. lawmakers who have decried the action that the Republican National Committee took on Friday, when it officially rebuked Ms. Cheney and Mr. Kinzinger for participating in the House investigation of the Jan. 6 attack, accusing them of “persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.”

    Mr. McConnell repudiated that description, saying, “We saw it happen. It was a violent insurrection for the purpose of trying to prevent the peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election, from one administration to the next. That’s what it was.”

    Edited From:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/08/us/politics/republicans-censure-mcconnell.html
    ……………………………………………………………………

    Mitch McConnell has the guts to stand with Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger whose free speech rights have been attacked by the RNC. And unlike the gutless Professor Turley, McConnell comes right out and calls January 6th a ‘violent insurrection’.

    One should note that far-right forces are planning to bring the Canadian truckers siege to the U.S. with a national convoy from the Pacific coast to Washington. Today, Canadian truckers blockaded the bridge between Detroit and Windsor Ontario; a development that is sure to affect the auto industry.

    Like January 6th, the truckers siege draws from a range of rightwing forces; including Donald Trump and Q’Anon. Yet Professor Turley criticized Go-Fund-Me for siding with Canada’s government. Apparently Turley wants to see Canada whipsawed by the same rightwing forces that have sabotaged this country.

    1. “calls January 6th a ‘violent insurrection’”

      It was not. It was something else and many things. It was partly Edward Bernays meets reality tv.

      1. Depends on what actions he and you are referring to.

        It’s clear that there was considerable violence carried out by some of the people who broke into the Capitol on Jan. 6 and attempted to prevent the certification of the Electoral College vote. Many of those violent people have been identified and are facing criminal charges for their attacks on law enforcement that day. Attempting to prevent the peaceful transfer of power — the certification of the EC vote — can reasonably be called an insurrection (Lexico/Oxford: insurrection, noun, “a violent uprising against an authority or government”).

        Can you agree that there was violence that day, aiming to prevent the EC vote certification?

        1. “We follow The Science™!”
          Eric Garcetti: I held my breath.
          London Breed: The spirit moved me.
          Stacey Abrams: I had to take a picture.
          Gavin Newsom: My mask was on my hand.
          Lori Lightfoot: I needed a haircut.
          Nancy Pelosi: Same.
          Muriel Bowser: I had an election party.

        2. “It’s clear that there was considerable violence carried out by some of the people who broke into the Capitol on Jan 6”

          There has been violence before, but one party seldom gets the nerve to impose fascist-type actions on private citizens. There was violence, and violent people should be punished under the rule of law, something that is not happening. The rule of law has been suspended by Democrat leaders who are now invading the privacy of innocent people.

          To date, there is a blackout on much of the information regarding Jan 6. That information would reveal persons who broke the law, some of which were from the left and others were promoting activities that led to the violence. The most prominent of the latter seem to be associated with the FBI in one way or the other.

          The ones that died were protestors. One, in particular, Ashli Babbitt, was killed by an officer. The investigation into her death was initially non-existent and then poorly performed, seemingly with the intent to hide information rather than release it. At her murder, Ashli tried to control certain aspects to make events more peaceful.

          Those of us that want a proper investigation are waiting for instigators of the riot, thought to be FBI actors and those in power to release what parts they played. They are not releasing their existing involvement in what happened and refuse to permit complete accounting of what happened.

          ATS wants an agreement that violence occurred, and most everyone will agree along with punishment based on the rule of law. However, the left’s part and the part played by the FBI should also be part of the record, along with the correspondence of people like Nancy Pelosi. This event should never have happened, and Nancy Pelosi had a great deal of control over the events of that day.

          ATS is deflecting as usual. That is how fascists behave.

        3. There was violence, but I do not think what you suggest was the aim.

          I do not like the means by which the ship of state is being steered.

          Feeling squirrelly.

          1. Prairie Rose,

            Have you read any of the indictments for the most serious crimes charged so far? For example, here’s the multi-person indictment that includes a charge of seditious conspiracy:
            https://www.justice.gov/usao-dc/case-multi-defendant/file/1470551/download
            That indictment argues that the defendants conspired “to oppose by force the lawful transfer of presidential power.”

            If I’m understanding you correctly, you’re saying that you disagree that that was the aim of anyone who was violent that day, including those defendants. Am I understanding right? I’m open to changing my mind about what their aim was if there’s good evidence for it. What do you think the aim of those defendants was and what’s your evidence for your alternative?

    2. The RNC did not say the riot in the Capitol was political discourse. It said the Jan 6 Committee was abusing its power by accessing bank and other non-public information of private citizens who helped organise or participated in the peaceful demonstration at the Mall. That is the political discourse they meant. Glenn Greenwald has documented this abuse in one of his recent substack articles, comparing it to the conduct of the House Un-American Activities Committee of the McCarthy era.

      1. Not all “political discourse” is innocent.

        For example, according to Josh Dawsey (WaPo), RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel “said she was particularly upset when an elderly, recently widowed friend of hers was subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 committee after it was reported the friend was an alternate elector at the campaign’s behest.”

        This friend is likely Kathy Berden, one of the fake electors from MI who was subpoenaed. She and the other fake MI electors have been referred by the MI AG, Dana Nessel to the DOJ, which is investigating the fake electors / fake electoral certificates in multiple states. Recall that these fake electoral certifications were also part of John Eastman’s scheme attempting to convince Pence to act contrary to his oath of office. The Jan. 6 committee subpoenaed two Trump electors in each of the seven states that submitted fake certificates. The committee chair, Rep. Thompson, said “We believe the individuals we have subpoenaed today have information about how these so-called alternate electors met and who was behind that scheme.” Nessel described it as a “conspiracy that occurred between multiple states.”

        Arguably, those fake certificates are not “legitimate political discourse.” They were submitted to the National Archives via the US mail, purporting to be legal certificates. I won’t be surprised if some of the participants in this effort are indicted for federal crimes. Among the possible crimes: obstruction of an official proceeding (the certification of the Electoral College), conspiracy to commit fraud, forgery, and mail fraud.

        1. I see that ATS has neglected to express any desire to limit the Congressional investigation. By not dealing with those things similar to what was seen during the McCarthy era, he has expanded the inquiries into the realm of uncovering political crimes of private citizens.

          This includes silently gathering (without the knowledge of those whose records are being compiled) large amounts of email, internet records, banking, and other private things belonging to private citizens. The Jan 6 committee uses powers that do not exist for the FBI or anyone because such powers are those used by fascist governments to keep their people under control.

          ATS, you keep proving yourself to be a fascist of the worst type, and then you complain or blame another for your problems.

    3. “Like January 6th, the truckers siege . . .”

      Nice smear campaign (though not as sleazy’s as Trudeau’s).

      Smearing your opponents is a sure sign of intellectual bankruptcy and of abject fear.

  9. “I should have taken more time to understand the entire situation before commenting.”

    translation: I should have investigated without announcing it.

    1. Damn straight he should have. The content of his character was challenged. He would have been better served to pause, review and assess. An apology is not proportional to the insult his initial decision delivered. He should call for the Art to be reposted preferably in the new China Document Center opened with great fanfare in 2008. Be certain that the CCP Cell on campus will report all back to Party Central in Beijing.

  10. The images in the posters understate the level of violence that the Dictatorship in Beijing directs against its own citizens on a daily basis. That idealistic, young adults attending GW might initially find such images disturbing is understandable–they are ignorant of facts on the China’s blood stained ground (except for the fact, as noted below, that many such students are children of the CCP elite). President Wrighton has no such defense. Having personally witnessed the Chinese Courts, Police and Security Forces in action–from trials to very public executions–I can, again, confirm that such depictions very much understate the horrors that the Chinese State sets against Chinese Society-24/7.

    Rather than simply apologize and continue to accept funds from the Confucius Foundation, the Good President Wrighton ought to seek to learn who is the Head of the Chinese Communist Party Discipline Committee overseeing illegal CCP Cell intelligence ops on his campus. I suspect that the same individual is overseeing actions at Georgetown as well. Please do take offense, not to my words, but to the fact of their presence. Remember only the children of the privileged are allowed to study outside of China and within China only CCP members are truly privileged.

    That a nominally Free American Citizen, a President of one of America’s preeminent liberal arts institutions no less, would not hesitate to walk in step, via voice and words, with just such brutal jailers is a staggering indictment relative the state of moral conscience on many American University Campuses. I am ashamed, to have spent nearly $350,000.00 to support my son’s undergraduate tenure on GW’s grounds.

    1. Well said, something missed by the so-called elites that are nothing more than self-serving hypocrites.

      1. Thanks Seth. I find it reprehensible that the President of GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY cowered when first viewing these very apt descriptive images of life in China under CCP rule. Please refer to the image Prof. Turley attached. The top left image refers to “Curling with Covid”. The top right depicts the “execution of a Muslim from Xinjiang”. The middle left image depicts a Chinese beat down of a Tibetan Monk. The center middle depicts “China: The Great Surveillance State”, etc. Where be the UnTruth worthy of “denouncement and investigation” in this very powerful political Art? There be none. George Washington is rolling over in his grave.

        1. Mark, thank you for interpreting the posters that I had to enlarge to see. All represent the reprehensible actions of the CCP, not the Chinese people who the CCP treats as chattel. As free people, we should be applauding the artist. No freedom-loving person should have any objection to what the posters show. Our problem is that too many people, even on this blog, believe in freedom for me but not for thee.

        2. Mark Rustad, yes, thank you for the description of the posters.

          S. Meyer, I would put it as more “racist”, the Han people versus the minorities in the various hinterlands. Of course that doesn’t apply to the repression in Hong Kong where the PRC is violating its agreement with the United Kingdom.

            1. S. Meyer, as best as I can determine the vast majority of the Han people tolerate it in trade for enough food, decent clothing and housing, even now automobiles. Materialism; forget the dialectic.

              1. David–what be their choice? The People’s Liberation Army is the Party’s Army. The Local Police, The Secret Police, the Party Cell Discipline Committee permeate every aspect of neighbor life and are imbedded in neighborhood watch committee. There is a huge effort to capture every citizens image into a national facial recognition data base which is used with great effect to monitor the behavior of all citizens in major urban centers. No citizen can own a weapon. If even a bullet is discover to be in your possession that offense is punishable by death. Now please, lets all head over to the National Zoo and watch the pandas. I will pass and continue to reveal the CCP for what it is: A National Mafia Hated and Dreaded by the average Chinese citizen.

              2. Your point?

                People tolerate despotism all over the world. The Germans practiced genocide and the people tolerated it. Stalin and Mao killed millions and people tolerated it. What is your point?

  11. Lin asks me:

    “Yikes! The good professor has the courage and integrity to call out his own true employer, GWU, as “wrong” on a speech issue…. Do you need to apologetically rethink your incessant criticism of him for not calling out “his employer (sic)” FOX News?”

    Professor Turley has tenure at GWU; at Fox News, Turley is an at-will employee.
    ————————-——-

    “Immersion (Piss Christ) is deeply saturated, glossy, and at first glance it is impossible to discern that the central medium of the work’s creation could be a bodily fluid. Serrano himself has proclaimed that the work is not intended to be an overt political statement on religion, but rather that he prefers the work remains ambiguous. Despite this desire for ambiguity, Serrano has also alluded to being interested in the over-commercialisation and cheapening of Christian iconography in contemporary culture. As a lifelong Christian himself, he denounces the idea that he intended to create a blasphemous piece, but rather that it was a personal and serious work of art.”

    https://magazine.artland.com/immersion-piss-christ-stories-of-iconic-artworks/
    ————-—————

    “A person cannot really defame a religion or religious figures (indeed, you cannot defame the dead in the United States). The effort to redefine criticism of religion as hate speech or defamation is precisely what Charbonnier fought to resist. He once said that by lampooning Islam, he hoped to make it “as banal as Catholicism” for the purposes of social commentary and debate.”

    https://jonathanturley.org/2015/01/11/if-france-wants-to-stand-with-charlie-hebdo-it-must-stand-first-with-free-speech/
    ————————-

    Turley would defend “Piss Christ” as a matter of Free Speech.

      1. Ray,

        Just checking to make sure people of faith are consistent in applying their free speech ideals when it comes to expressions of speech which they consider blasphemous.

        1. Jeff,

          That’s what I thought, you were, as usual, trolling.

          Turley is a free speech advocate even in the case when the speech is abhorrent, blasphemous or false. He, like many conservatives, recognizes that the price of free speech is that, in addition to virtuous speech, we must accept abhorrent, blasphemous, and, in your case, trollish speech. There is no restriction against criticizing such speech, the restriction is against blocking such speech. You know, that thing that the left does.

          Turley states; “Like all sites, we attract trolls and juvenile posters who want to tear down the work of others. It is a sad reality of the Internet and the worst element of our species. Don’t feed the trolls. Ignore them. They are trolls and live under cyber bridges for a reason.”

          It is clear that Turley believes that, as the price for free speech, we must tolerate trolls as a necessary evil. So, we do and thus, you are here.

          Troll – Thy name is Jeff. If I say it three time will you crawl back under your bridge? Jeff…Jeff…Jeff…

          1. Ray,

            I won’t be persuaded by Turley’s arguments until he takes questions challenging his arguments. I hope that he will submit himself to a debate with someone worthy of his talents.

            Turley believes that it is wrong to *chill* free speech; he detests the idea that someone should self-censor for fear of suffering negative consequences as result of his speech. My question is- shouldn’t certain speech not be chilled? Turley called for Trump to be censored by Congress for his “reckless” 1/6 speech. Would not a historic Congressional censure of a president not chill Trump and future presidents from speaking freely before a mob? A censure is an implicit demand that a person should not express such censured speech, that is, to self-censor!

            Chilling speech is not tantamount to censoring speech. People are perfectly free to speak the same rhetoric which got them censured. If society cannot legitimately bad chill speech, how are we to reduce the “age of rage” which Turley rightly condemns?

            1. Jeff, once again cannot reply to Feb 7 3: 57
              Sorry it took me a whole day to rely. Super busy yesterday.
              I should not have used the word ” hate ” to describe your feelings for Trump. You do not appear to be a hateful person. Would the word ” despise” be more suitable? Certainly animus.
              And I never used the term TDS. I don’t know the specific symptoms, do you? So don’t accuse me of a cheap shot.
              I must admit not admitting something that if obvious to anyone with a functioning brain because of the lack of quid pro quo, seems to be beneath someone of your intelligence. What is next, ” my dad can beat up your dad”?
              So an EO is not autocratic?
              Please educate me on how Trump nakedly violated Presidential norms. You use the word nakedly. Interesting. I know he was V.P. at the time but, would you consider swimming NAKED in front of female Secret Service officers a violation of ” Presidential norms of conduct”?
              I won’t get into the touchy feely hair sniffing of children videos that I have seen.
              Time to move on from the Biden/ Trump lesser of two evils debate. The point is moot anyway. Dementia Joe will not be the Democratic candidate anyway.

              1. Paul,

                As far as not admitting that Biden has lost a few marbles, if a Trumpist can lie to me that Trump is not a chronic liar, I will treat him similarly and lie to him. No, an EO has the color of law. It can be found to be unconstitutional. Trump violated presidential norms. Most recently it was revealed he ripped up presidential papers in violation of law. The only corrective for that is prosecution under the law. I would say that is a naked violation.

                1. “Trump violated presidential norms.”

                  Your example matches your intellect. Looking back, one can see Biden and Obama doing more than ripping up mass produced paper (ie articles from newspapers) and that paper being put back together. I’ll skip the recent presidents so that your emotions don’t cloud the little intellect you have remaining.

                  I won’t even mention the President or party.

                  Gulf of Tonkin.

                2. Jeff,

                  Unsurprisingly, the 3:04pm insult comes from the S. Meyer. I’ll encourage you to do what you’ve encouraged others to do: ignore him per JT’s encouragement not to feed trolls.

                  1. I make it a rule to ignore Anonymous comments unless I can tell by their content that they have not been sourced by Meyer. I’ll encourage you as well to adopt some pseudonym because I don’t always bother to read anonymous comments when I skim this blog, and I would not like to overlook your contributions. I can’t understand why a pseudonym does not achieve the anonymity you desire.

                3. Jeff, don’t know why you would stoop to the level of a group , “Trumpists”, that you so clearly despise and attack at every opportunity.
                  Ok on the EO. I just think that unless there is an absolute emergency, it is a run around the legislative process. I think that Trump being prosecuted is a pipe dream. And if it is going to happen it better happen quickly. The Dems are most certainly going to lose the House. And maybe the Senate. I know that prosecuting Trump doesn’t ultimately come from the Legislative branch but, you and I both know it won’t happen without Congressional investigation.

                  1. Paul,

                    I’ve said time and again that I don’t hate Trump followers in spite of the fact that they are liars. I despise their sin, not the sinner. I pity Trumpists for being so gullible and taken in by a consummate “snake charmer” as Turley called him.

                    You may well be right that Trump will not be prosecuted. I’ll take that bet. What’s your pleasure?

                    1. Jeff, I have already apologized for inferring that you hate Trump supporters. But am I correct that there is at least animus towards them?
                      And my point was I think that it is below you to use the tactic arising out of ” If a Trumpist can lie to me that Trump is not a chronic liar, I will trat them similarly and lie to them”. Does the phrase ” two wrongs don’t make a right” ring any bells? And this is a first cousin to the absolute weakest of all arguments, WHATABOUTISM!
                      On the bet, you will have to lay me odds before the midterms because as of now given the current ” state of the union :” and polling numbers, Jan 6 is all the Dems have to hang their hat on. So attacking their chief nemesis is a preferred political tactic. ( See Virginia gubernatorial race). And I will lay you odds afterward. You name the terms.

                    2. Paul,

                      I feel pity for the Trumpists who at first swallowed Trump’s lies, but I resent Trumpists who knowingly lie when their claims of massive voter fraud have not been proven in the least. You are correct that 2 wrongs don’t make a right, but I will make an exception to that rule to give lying Trumpists a taste of their own medicine- an “in your face” lie to see how they like it.

                      The bet I was referring to was a Trump criminal indictment or a civil cause of action by the Feds or a state. Are you suggesting that a federal or state prosecutor will risk his job to file a bogus indictment or case against Trump as a means to help the Democrats in the upcoming Congressional elections? That is very unlikely. The bet is whether Trump is a fraudster or worse. I say he will be help accountable. You are confident that he has done nothing wrong. You wanna bet?

            2. “I won’t be persuaded by Turley’s arguments until he takes questions challenging his arguments.”

              Jeff, you are a bit thin in the head and too self-centered to recognize Turley has had those discussions. You weren’t invited, so hide in a corner.

            3. Jeff, in response to Feb 7 4:44
              The results of bail reform are simple not complicated. As with most things in life, it is virtually impossible to have a set of circumstances where one answer is 100% correct and the opposite is 100% wrong. You weigh the pros vs. the cons. The upside vs, the downside. This is where bail reform is. The pro is that sometimes a person of limited means can’t make bail. That is unfortunate. What is also true that most people that need bail commit a disproportionate amount of crimes. Poor people. Not many millionaires holding up liquor stores. Or carjacking. Or murdering. And as we have seen with the Waukesha driver and others too many to mention, most are career criminals. So we have to balance out having an unfortunate poor person not being able to bond out vs. unleashing a career criminal on society. For me that is an easy decision.
              On the Soros thing, my explanation is simple cause and effect. Occam’s razor. In the districts of the DA’s he has supported violent crime has gone up exponentially. All of them. I will ask you again, coincidence?
              And in the words of some of these DA’s, ” in the name of social justice”. And here we are again. Blurring the lines between the branches of government. It is not the job of the DA’s to see that social justice is done. Their domain is CRIMINAL JUSTICE.
              I don’t pretend to know Soros’ motivation. I do know the results of his actions.

              1. Paul,

                You don’t know Soros’ motivation? I thought those who oppose Soros believe that he is determined to undermine America by donating large sums to these “social Justice” warriors. I’m sure you must have your suspicions. Is he the largest donor to these DA’s? But for his donations none of them would have won? Has he gone on the record declaring his support for them?

                You make this link between Soros and rising crime. I don’t see enough evidence. What I fear is that people are using Soros as a scapegoat because he is a foreigner, a progressive, a billionaire and a Jew.

                1. Jeff, let’s try this one again.
                  One of the things I like best about our repartee is that we both make good faith efforts to answer questions that we pose to each other. So here are a few questions with answers mixed in.
                  Do you agree that the DA’s donated to by Soros have acted in the pursuit of ” social justice” by the way they administer their office? Bail reform being part of their effort. Some like Gascon and Boudin have advocated for the elimination of incarceration. If so, should they? I know that bail is intimately assigned by the judge, but the prosecutor plays a huge role in that it’s office asked for ” appropriate” bail.
                  In the examples that I have given,
                  yes Soros is the largest donor of these progressive DA’s Some examples are , $ 3, 625,000 to Gascon. ( facing recall) $ 1, 145, 000 to Krazner and $2, 000,000 to Foxx. Certainly can’t say that without his donations they would NOT have won. But you are not so naive to believe that money does not play a HUGE role in getting elected. All in all Soros has given over $28 million to ” progressive ” DA’s.
                  As far as going on record supporting them, I think that his donations speak for themselves.
                  As far as the link between Soros and rising crime I don’t know what other evidence is needed to convince you. I didn’t break down violent crime by category with the pertinent percentage but, it is a FACT that violent crime has gone up significantly in all of the districts where DA’s supported by Soros are in charge. What other type of evidence do you need? I ask you for the 4th time. Is this just coincidence?
                  I don’t know about other people , but Soros’ country of origin, his money nor his nationality or faith have anything to do with my disliking what he does. Do I think that his ” progressivism” plays a role? Yes.

              2. Paul,

                As a lawyer, I need to see hard evidence. I grant you that crime has increased, but there may just be a correlation with the new DA’s not a causation. Are the DA’s advocating that violent criminals go free without bail or rather minor felonies? Are accused racists and murderers being let off in the “name of social justice?” Your accusations need backing up. DA’s have a lot of discretion. We expect them to maintain a sense of fairness, that is, treating likes alike, and and a sense of justice, that is, determining who gets prosecuted. I can’t say without know specifics whether a particular DA is being unfair or unjust.

                As for Soros, if you don’t know his motivation, then you can’t blame him for a rising crime rate. You don’t honestly believe these DA’s want crime rates to increase do you?

                1. Jeff, your correlation ” a mutual relationship or connection between two or more things” vs. causation ” the relationship between cause and effect” is a neat word game in order for you not to admit that these things are not coincidences . You are really splitting hairs.
                  ” Are the DA’s advocating that violent criminals go free without bail”? Maybe not without bail but minimal bail, not appropriate bail, usually with ankle monitors as opposed to being bound over.
                  And the DA’s have discretion. But that is to determine whether the case presented to them by law enforcement meets the criteria of a crime. If there is evidence that a crime has been committed it is their DUTY to take it to trial. It has nothing to do with a ” sense of justice”. Justice will be provided by a jury of their peers.
                  ” Are accused racists and murderers being let off in the name of ” social Justice”? By ‘”Let off “I am assuming you mean acquitted. That is the result of a trial not a DA’s decision.
                  Again what specifics do you need? You admit that crime in these jurisdictions has gone up relative to these DA’s being elected. Gascon and Boudin are being recalled. You referred to a wager in another one of our exchanges. You want to bet on their recall? Even in the most liberal state in the union I predict these two Democratic DA’s will be recalled. Which is a difficult thing to do. Will the voice of the people be specific enough?

                  As far as Soros, I can’t interview him so I can’t determine his motivation. I am not going to fall for the ” are you a mind reader?” trick. But I was not even alive when Hitler was in power but I have a pretty good idea was his motivation was. No I am not comparing Soros to Hitler.

                  Do I honestly believe that the DA’s want crime rates to increase? I can tell that you are a trained lawyer. That is not the question. The question is will these DA’s allow for an increased rate in crime in order to right past wrongs? And prosecute from the perspective of social justice rather than criminal justice?
                  The answer to both questions is YES!!

                  I know this makes for a long post but I can’t reply to Feb 10 4:44
                  ” Am I suggesting that a federal or state prosecutor will risk his job ( very sexist the prosecutor could be a woman) to file a bogus indictment or case against Trump
                  as a means to help the Dems in the upcoming Congressional election”?
                  I am not confident that he has done nothing wrong. I don’t have access to all of the evidence. Either damaging or exculpatory. The odds of a prosecutor losing his or her job over a ” bogus” indictment are miniscule. I think that even with the flimsiest of evidence the Dems will try to implicate the Great Satan in some crime. Because the clock is ticking as I said before. Now do I think that they have enough time before the midterms. No.
                  But to answer your question, yes I do think that if possible the Dems will try to implicate Trump in a crime for political purposes. And I am not saying that it could not be a justifiable accusation. But as I said before, as far as I can tell, the American people by majority don’t like this Administration. Just yesterday CNN had to admit that nearly 6 out of 10 Americans when polled said that the Biden Administration had NOT DONE ONE THING that they approve of. That will be hard to overcome by the midterms. So in the absence of any accomplishments to hang your hat on, you are forced to demonize the other side. And as many see Trump as the face of the Republican Party ( I don’t) he is the target.

                  Ok I get the ” taste of their own medicine ” response.

                  And finally I never said that ” I am confident that he has done nothing wrong”. I honestly don’t know where you got that from.

                  1. Paul,

                    I am not up to date on this whole area of Soros funded DA’s, but I did search “Soros” on Turley’s blog and found one article on point:

                    “For those of us who have long argued for new approaches to crime prevention, including greater youth programs, these prosecutors are hurting rather than helping the cause. George Soros seems to be funding the most extreme figures for local prosecution offices. There is a need for alternatives to incarceration but there is also a need for deterrence in policing and prosecution. We have seen the removal of the threat of arrest for crimes like shoplifting and the result predictably has been a sharp rise of such crimes in cities like San Francisco.”

                    https://jonathanturley.org/2021/12/23/exodus-261-philadelphia-prosecutors-quit-under-larry-krasner/

                    1. Turley himself advocates crime prevention reform; he is not a “Lock ‘em up and throw away the key” Trumpist;

                    2. While these prosecutors are hurting his cause, he does NOT claim they are acting in bad faith as you do; perhaps, their policies are simply misguided but well-intentioned;

                    3. He only says that Soros is SEEMINGLY funding the most extreme DA’s; he is not claiming certain knowledge of his malevolent motivation as you presume;

                    Turley’s opinion on the matter raises questions that he can’t definitively answer. It is wise to be circumspect until more evidence is accumulated.

                    You want me to believe that these “Soros” DA’s are violating their oaths of office by refusing to prosecute serious crimes for social justice reasons. It’s certainly possible, but I would guess their decisions fall within the margins of prosecutorial judgment and are not a flagrant abuse of power. If they are acting in bad faith, I hope they will be held accountable.

                    I presume that prosecutors investigating Trump will not indict him unless they have him dead to rights. They know the uproar which will result in his indictment, and they will not risk the inevitable blowback unless they have amassed nearly smoking gun evidence.

                    You downplay the ethical obligations to which all lawyers are held- even as prosecutors! If they violate those legal norms, they can lose their licenses; look at Giuliani and other Trump lawyers who stand to lose their licenses for acting in bad faith promoting the Big Lie.

                    1. Jeff, the impetus for the Turley blog post that you cite, not me, was Krazner having to eat his own words publicly. It does have a tangential reference to Soros. But in the post that you cite, by non Trumpist Turley he says ” THE CAUSE AND EFFECT SEEM OBVIOUS” referring to Soros funded DA’s. Maybe I am missing something but doesn’t that prove my point? That is the ” causation” rather than the” correlation” that you seek.
                      And their policies in their minds ” misguided but well intended”. I guess well intended is in the mind of the beholder. But their well intended desire, Social justice, does not fall under their purview. That is the point that I made in my last post. And if their ” well intended ” policies are hurting society, ( increased crime) they need to be halted immediately. Wouldn’t you agree?
                      Non Trumpist Turley says Soros ” Seems ” to be funding the most extreme DA”S. In my estimation he uses ” seems” because either he has not done significant research or I am sure that crime has gone up in some non Soros DA funded districts. That does not disprove my hypothesis. Crime, most significantly violent crime, has gone up in ALL of the districts of Soros funded DA’s. You asked whether Soros was the major donor in all of the districts that I have named and the answer was yes. I even gave you dollar amounts for some.
                      You say ” it is wise to be circumspect until more evidence is accumulated. Ok, what other type of evidence do you need? You admit that the crime has gone up in these districts. I have shown you that Soros was the major donor in all of the districts. The rate of increased crime directly mirrors these DA’s taking office. Please let me know what other type of ” evidence ” you would require.

                      As much as I love Burrow, as of right now 61% of the wagers are on the Bengals. If that stays consistent , I will have no other choice other than to bet the Rams. And that is particularly difficult for me. I usually root for any team in any sport that is playing against a team that is from a state that borders the Pacific Ocean. But when I gamble, and that is only on football, I sometimes make exceptions.

                    2. Paul,

                      “Seeming” means “appearing to be real or true, but not necessarily being so; apparent.”

                      That is a far cry from your assertion that it IS true. I remain skeptical but my mind is open to further proof.

                      You ask:

                      “And if their ” well intended ” policies are hurting society, ( increased crime) they need to be halted immediately. Wouldn’t you agree?”

                      Indubitably, but have you any links to their defense and justification of their social Justice policy. All you have provided for my consideration is one side of the story. There is almost always two sides. Even Turley provides arguments on both sides as a matter of fairness. Arguing “social justice” is not an argument; it’s a conclusion. Have any of these DA’s gone on the record to explain their policies?

  12. The first place I would look is how much funding does GWU get from China or the CCP? Maybe none. Maybe some? Are there any conflict of interest relationships of any form with decision makers of the educational institution (research funding, faculty, alumni donors, cooperative relationships with Chinese institutions, etc.)? Many on Wall Street, Big Tech, Higher Education, former politicians and political staff and arguably family and friends of politicians benefit financially from a relationship with CCP.

    What one sees on the surface is often different from the primary motivation for repression of speech. If one can voice an opinion or bring up a cogent argument to protest and they are suppressed, is it because they are getting too close to the heart of a matter? Too close to the truth?

    When the government or an institution resists transparency, there is a good chance that they are hiding something.

  13. “I should have taken more time to understand the entire situation before commenting.”

    – Mark Wrighton
    _____________

    While he’s at it, the illustrious and newly cognizant President Mark Wrighton of George Washington University “…should have taken more time to understand the entire situation…” and explained to America why its K-12 public “education” and a large portion of its national treasure is controlled by unelected communist union thugs. Is the extremely lucrative higher “education” industry supported by the burglarized and exploited taxpayer from the “bottom up?”

    How and why has inefficacious and defective American education been so skewed and corrupted into a redistribution of wealth, social engineering, affirmative action, and jobs program, operated solely for the benefit of striking communist union thugs? How and why did the “help” take over the nation? Why are rabid teachers unions leaders slavering and pontificating in the press and on electronic media – who exactly are these usurpacious malefactors? Why are elected officials not exclusively hiring, firing, directing and constraining the pay of teachers, rather than placing them on a pedestal and worshiping them as delicate little prima donnas of the realm. American 15 year-olds are 38th in math globally? Ineffective public education should be affordable for taxpayers, while more productive and expensive models are available for private purchase on free markets by capable students.

    There are people-less factories. Why aren’t there remote, virtual, automated, digitized, and teacher-less public schools? What happened, America?

    What happend, Mr. Wrighton?
    _______________________

    “We throw more money at our schools than just about any other country, and what do we get? For our K-12 school system, an honorary membership in the Third World,” writes Professor F. H. Buckley in a Fox News opinion column. Buckley, who teaches at George Mason University, added, “Not long ago, we had a superb public school system, but now we trail most countries. In math, we’re 38th in the world among developed countries in terms of how 15 year-olds perform. And it’s getting worse, not better.”

    – Observer

  14. 1. He was not “personally offended” but spoke as the university president.
    2. It’s not “racist” to criticize the government of the PRC.
    3. It must be hard to balance a university budget without those rich Chinese students paying full fare.

    1. Well said William. “3. It must be hard to balance a university budget without those rich Chinese students paying full fare”. Buyer beware.

  15. A little note on the expression: “fighting ignorance and intolerance”. “Fighting” does not come as ideally chosen to me. I feel that another expression would better represent an educational mission.

  16. In another case: troops with rifles and bayonets showed up at citizen’s homes, forced the families into trucks at gunpoint and sent them to prison camps for several years. Most of the victims lost their jobs and homes after being kidnapped and imprisoned. About 3 years later after the victims were released, authorities gave them $25 cash and a bus ticket.

    This was the USA during World War Two and we still haven’t made these native born U.S. citizens whole again. In fact in 2001, we kidnapped more people (using the same illegal practice) and some are still in prison today in 2022 – without charge, without judge or jury and without an official guilty verdict.

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