While many have condemned Antifa and similar groups for destroying Minneapolis and other cities, Minneapolis city council member for Ward 5 (and son of the Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison) Jeremiah Ellison tweeted Sunday that he is not among them. Indeed, he is declaring his support for Antifa. Some of us have long opposed Antifa as a vehemently anti-free speech group. Ellison does not seem to include free speech among his priorities for voters in Ward 5. While most Democratic members have correctly condemned Antifa attacks, Ellison is one of those who continue to support the controversial group.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is facing criticism for a curious distinction that he drew in a message to protesters about how they should treat the national guard versus the police. Ellison has been in a difficult spot over the rioting following the death of George Floyd in an arrest by the Minneapolis Police Department. I thought he did well in a recent interview in resisting pressure to declare the officers clearly guilty and cautioned that everyone should allow the system to work in the bringing of any criminal charges. On this occasion, however, he seemed to throw the police, including state police and other assisting jurisdictions, under the bus.
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
It seems the Trump 2020 campaign has successfully taken the cryptozoological demographic as evidenced by at least one prominent display in rural Washington State: “Bigfoot ‘Luvs’ Trump”.
The significance of this announcement cannot be understated, for it shows how even the most disaffected, and disinterested citizen of this state literally “came out of nowhere” and made it plainly clear that he was dissatisfied with the situation in the woods of Western Washington.
This dramatic shift should be a wake-up call for President Trump’s opponents in the race for the White House.
Late last night, Twitter doubled down on its controversial labeling of tweets from President Donald Trump to flag what it views as misleading or offensive material. Yesterday, I wrote a column on Twitter’s policy and a second column on President Trump’s response with an executive order. I have strongly opposed Twitter’s policy on censoring and labeling material, including the decision to correct a tweet from the President on the political debate over main-in voting. Undeterred, Twitter has issued a new warning that a tweet from the President on the rioting in Minneapolis was a violation of its rule for “glorifying violence.” Twitter is now making the case for government action to monitor and control social media. The loser will ultimately be free speech.
A police station in Minneapolis was torched last night as looting and rioting continued in that city. The escalating violence and looting has magnified controversies over how networks are describing the scenes. Earlier, Craig Melvin, an MSNBC host and co-anchor of “Today,” shed some light as to how his network is framing its reporting. Melvin tweeted a “guide” that the images “on the ground” are not to be described as rioting but rather “protests.” That framing has been used on other networks, including some segments where the reporting seems bizarrely out of sync with the scenes in the background. Update: CNN appears to be drawing a distinction in an even more curious way.
We have been discussing the struggle of Democratic members and various commentators in rejecting sexual assault allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden while also opposing any review of his papers for past allegations, including those at the University of Delaware. Some members and feminist figures, including most recently Iihan Omar, have declared that they believe that Biden did rape his Senate aide Tara Reade and is continuing to lie about it publicly. However, they still support him to be the next President of the United States. Now, former George Bush ethics lawyer Richard Painter has chastised Omar for publicly stating that she believes Reade because it could cost the Democrats the election. It is a curious ethical line to draw. If a member believes that Biden is not just a rapist but continuing to lie about the rape, one would hope that the member would publicly voice their view. Just as I find Omar’s position to be morally incomprehensible, I find Painter’s position to be ethically incomprehensible.
We have been discussing curious criminal charges linked to the pandemic but few are quite as bizarre as the charges facing Alexander Michael Sardinas, 37 Sardinas has been charged with kidnapping and false imprisonment. The reason for the alleged crimes is the truly bizarre element.
We have been discussing special dispensation granted to former Vice President Joe Biden by Democratic members and the media. Yesterday, Rep. Iihan Omar, D-Minn., became the latest member to declare that she believes that Biden did rape a Senate aide and is continuing to lie about the crime in public statements. However, Omar reaffirmed that she will do everything in her power to make him the next president of the United States.
Former Vice President Joe Biden had a bad day yesterday after his statement during an interview with Charlamagne tha God on the radio show “The Breakfast Club” that “if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.” To Biden’s credit, he came out an apologized. (Something President Donald Trump has consistently refused to do for comments like his statement that Jewish voters who voted for the Obama Administration “do not like Israel too much”). However, Atlantic staff writer Jemele Hill has kept the controversy brewing with her insistence that Biden’s statement that over a million such Black voters in recent polling are not really (as opposed to “technically”) black was “accurate.” The controversy raises some of the issues addressed recently in a column on the stereotyping of Trump supporters. [Biden is also facing a push back from the NAACP which said that, despite his repeated statements to the contrary, it has never endorsed Biden or anyone else.]
We have been discussing the hypocrisy in the response of Democratic politicians, media outlets, and many commentators in their response to the allegations of sexual assault by former Vice President Joe Biden as compared to their position against Justice Brett Kavanaugh. This has included an opposition to simply opening up the Biden papers for a search of any sexual harassment or assault allegations made against him. This has included statements from leading figures that they believe Biden did sexually assault Biden staffer Tara Reade but would still endorse him. None however have gone quite as far as Nation columnist Katha Pollitt who has declared that she would support Biden “if he boiled babies and ate them.” Biden has not issued any position on such infanticide but politicians have long opposed the practice since the demise of Cronus. Putting any humor aside, the statement does show how rigid and fanatical both sides have become in this election. While Democrats have long denounced Trump for saying he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, Biden supporters like Pollitt have said equally disturbing things about their blind loyalty. More importantly, this sense of a mission is manifested in much of the legal and media analysis that we have discussed on this blog on both sides of the political spectrum.
We have been discussing the rising intolerance for free speech and academic freedom at colleges and universities from course material to social media postings to political speech to jokes. As speech codes and microaggression rules are enforced, various groups are calling for the silencing or removal of those with opposing views. The latest is at my school where pro-Israeli students are calling on the university to reconsider the appointment of anthropology and history professor Ilana Feldman as the interim dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs. The sole reason is that they disagree with Feldman’s support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.