Below is my column on the call by Democratic members for censorship of political ads by Facebook. The overwhelming support for the call by members like Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez shows the erosion in our values of free speech. Democrats and the media were once the defenders of free speech and critics of censorship. They are now demanding that corporations police political ads and remove ads viewed as false or misleading. It is a standard that many of these members would quickly denounce if applied to some of their own past comments.
There is an interesting defamation lawsuit filed this week by Major League Baseball Umpire Joe West. According to USA Today, West is suing former catcher Paul Lo Duca after Lo Duca suggested that West took loans of a hot car in exchange for a more generous strike zone. This could be a new meaning to the term “strike suit.”
Emory University University is now the focus of the national debate over the conflict between academic freedom and university rules against the use of racial slurs, even as part of academic work. Professor Paul Zwier is currently on suspension over he was accused of using the “n-word” in the course of a class and later in a meeting about the controversy. He first used the word to discuss who the word “negro” was likely used in a case as a sanitized version of the slur. Students complained and charges were brought, including an allegation that Zwier used the word again in an office discussion with a student on the incident. This month, a report from the Office of Equity and Inclusion that recommended Zwier be suspended for up to two more years due to his usage of the racial slur.
A man in Loxley, Alabama was run over by his own dog after the canine released the throttle while the owner was in front of the all-terrain vehicle. The case raises an interesting (if tongue-in-cheek) question of liability under Alabama’s hybrid dog liability statute.
As apparel company Dhvani displays huge images of Trump being assaulted in Times Square, Barbra Streisand has added her own violent commentary with an image showing Trump impaled on the heel of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Streisand considered the violent bloody image to be worth sharing. For those who have long objected to Trump’s rhetoric as violent or inciteful, there seems a tolerance for violent imagery targeting Trump or conservatives.
There has been legitimate criticism (including on this blog) of President Donald Trump retweeting images of his killing or beating media figures. However, there is often less coverage of such violent images from the left. One shocking example appeared this week in advertisements in New York for the athletic apparel company Dhvani showing a model assaulting Trump. The company did not back down from its violent display, though Planned Parenthood denounced the ads after Dhvani named it as a collaborating partner in the campaign design. The campaign titled #StandForSomething seems to mean stand for something tasteless and brutal.
I have previously written about my dismay over verbal and even physical attacks on politicians, particularly conservatives, in restaurants. Liberal couples and activists believe that they have license to scream and disrupt meals of those with whom they disagree politically. The latest such abuse occurred when Sen. Rand Paul was trying to have lunch at a California restaurant with his staff when a couple began to shout profanities at them.
Below is my column on the ABC interview with Hunter Biden. The interview preceded his father’s debate that day, but former Vice President Joe Biden awkwardly declined to address the issue. As I discussed in another column, there remains a media mantra that there is “no evidence of wrongdoing by Joe or Hunter Biden.” That dismisses the long objections by many of us that these lucrative jobs and contracts for spouses and children are part of an unethical and corrupt practice. Most of us view what Hunter did as clearly “wrong” but the media has adopted a narrow focus on whether criminal charges have been brought as opposed to whether the Ukraine deal was a raw and obvious form of influence peddling.
There is another poll showing a significant increase in support for the impeachment and removal of President Donald Trump. What should worry the White House is that among the 52 percent of Americans now supporting impeachment in the Gallup poll is a rising number of key independent voters. These various polls reflect, in my view, a continuing failure of the White House to reframe its impeachment strategy and narrative. It is not working. In the end, impeachment could end with a simple party muscle vote but that is not going to win over key voters like independents. There is clearly damage below the water line for the White House and the control of the Senate could rest in the balance.
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the media treatment of the Hunter Biden controversy in Ukraine. I continue to marvel at the non sequitur in the mantra that there is “no evidence of wrongdoing” in the contract. What does that mean? Is the sole measure whether the Ukrainians (or even the U.S.) would prosecute a contract as a crime? Wrongdoing would seem to cover any form of corruption or influence peddling — whether or not it constitutes a crime. The fact is that the payment of sweetheart deals to the spouses and siblings is common in both the Ukraine and the United States. Does that make it right? The suggestion is that there is nothing wrong with this contract. Wrongdoing would seemingly include ethical violations and not just what Ukraine would prosecute as a crime (a curious standard for one of the most corrupt countries on Earth). Indeed, many of us have criticized Trump for sometimes suggesting that the criminal code as the measure of presidential conduct. With Biden, Democrats seem to be doing the same thing in dismissing any objections since “it is all perfectly legal.” If that is the case, then most of the criticism of Trump’s conduct can be dismissed as devoid of “evidence of wrongdoing.”
The fact is that there is a great deal wrong with this contract and no one has actually put forward evidence to suggest that the Ukrainians seriously selected Hunter Biden for his energy or business experience. What is left is a raw effort to curry favor with his father with an unjustified and lucrative contract.
Why do we as a people accept and permit one occupational group to initiate killings of other human beings on a national scale but nearly all other occupational group members, who might carry animosity against others, are penalized up to the death penalty should they kill only one person? It might sound preposterous, yet that is exactly the duality we accept as normal–that politicians at national levels especially may lay waste to others and that is simply part and parcel of “diplomacy” and the “laws of war”. Yet if an ordinary citizen dislikes his neighbor so bitterly the act of stepping on his property alone may send the citizen to jail. The animosity and will to retaliate is the same, but the domain and system of accountability could not be more vastly divergent.
The stem of this license to instigate homicide at a permissible level by national leadership has been endemic in human history to such a perverse degree, people today have come to regard the killing of others by these leaders as normal human interaction, that wars are inevitable, and that lives and societies will be upheaved.
I recently wrote about the effort of the Biden campaign to get networks to bar Trump allies from the air who wanted to talk about the controversy surrounding Hunter Biden’s business dealings in the Ukraine. Now, Kate Bedingfield, the deputy manager of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, has denounced the New York Times for publishing an opinion editorial by author Peter Schweizer on the matter. The hubris of the Biden campaign to demand that the media silence its critics would be laughable if it were not for the failure of many outlets to cover the story. I have previously written that, while I do not see the evidence that Biden sought to fire the Ukrainian prosecutor to protect his son, the Hunter Biden dealings seem a flagrant example of profiteering on his father’s work as the lead official on Ukraine as vice president.
Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on the late addition of the Louisiana abortion case to an already impactful Supreme Court docket. The most interesting aspect of June Medical however may be what it will ultimately say about the doctrine of Stare Decisis and the respect for precedent.
We have previously discussed the trend of students and faculty preventing speakers from being heard on campus without any disciplinary action taken by universities. The latest example occur at Georgetown University Law School where students and faculty opposed an invitation of Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan to speak on campus. It was a wonderful opportunity for an exchange of views but both students and faculty wanted opposing views to be silenced. When the school went forward with the event, protesters immediately stopped the event. CREDO Action – the advocacy arm of the progressive nonprofit group CREDO — has admitted that Georgetown students participated in the action and videotapes clearly show those responsible. However, Georgetown would not commit to taking disciplinary action despite repeated inquiries.
It a tremendous show of courage, Polish Gay Pride marchers refused to be deterred by a hostile city government in Lublin and a violent crowd of counter protesters to hold their first parade. Notably, a court rejected the claim of the mayor that he was cancelling the parade because of security concerns. That is the excuse used by universities like DePaul to cancel conservative speakers, but the court found that it was just an excuse to bar the controversial parade.