Tag Archives: First Amendment

Observations On A Nauseating Development

Ah, those were the good old days.

Ah, those were the good old days. Now we’re REALLY desperate.

Observation One: If you don’t see what’s nauseating about it, you are part of the problem. Here:

Top Obama administration  officials, including Denis McDonough, Obama’s chief of staff, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers, and White House Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith met in San Jose, California, with representatives of Twitter Inc., Apple Inc., Facebook Inc., and other Silicon Valley companies to seek ideas on how extremist content online can be identified and removed, as well as help creating alternative messages to counter terrorist recruitment methods using social media. You can be thoroughly nauseated by reading about the whole embarrassing fiasco here.

Other observations:

2. The incompetence this displays is staggering, and the apparent unawareness of the optics of incompetence is staggering:

“The gathering took place as Obama announced a new counterterrorism task force to thwart extremists and their use of social media after recent deadly attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California. The task force will organize federal efforts into several areas, including research and analysis, technical assistance, communications, and programs to help prevent radicalization, according to the Homeland Security Department.”

Translation: “We haven’t been taking this seriously at all and were caught with our pants down, big-time. Now we have to look like we’re doing something.” Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Leadership, Religion and Philosophy, Rights, Social Media

Believe It Or Not, There Is Good News On The Campus Speech Front

greenlighThe Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) reports that  less than half of America’s colleges maintain policies that severely restrict students’ right to free speech, an all time low since the campus speech defending non-profit started tracking the problem.

Spotlight on Speech Codes 2016: The State of Free Speech on Our Nation’s Campuses reports on policies at 440 of America’s largest and most prestigious colleges and universities.

The report tells us that…

  • The percentage of red light schools has declined from a high of 75 percent in 2007, while in the same time period the number of green light institutions has grown from just eight institutions (2 percent) to 22 this year (5 percent).

This welcome news is especially surprising given the explosion of administration capitulations to student demands for restrictions on campus expression deemed “offensive” or “hostile” to minorities. In fact, I wonder how much of the report was complete before Mizzou Madness. Continue reading

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Filed under Education, Research and Scholarship, Rights

A Merry Christmas For The Washington Redskins, “The Slants,” And The First Amendment

Yes, The Slants were apparently, disparaging. themselves.

Yes, The Slants were apparently disparaging. themselves.

The political-correctness obsessed Democratic component of our government has decided that forcing Dan Snyder to change the name of his football team due to its alleged offensiveness to people who don’t care about football is a legitimate government function, or so they would have us believe. Actually, they believe it is a legitimate political function to lick the moccasins of progressive activist groups who thrive on opportunities to tell others what they can safely say.

After Senate Democrats signed an unethical  missive threatening the Washington Redskins if the team wasn’t renamed something that an enterprising race-baiter wouldn’t find offensive—not as easy as it may seem— the Patent and Trademark Office canceled the registration of “Redskins” using the excuse that Federal trademark law excludes the registration of “scandalous, immoral, or disparaging marks” as well as trademarks that a “substantial composite of the referenced group” perceives as disparaging to a religion, nation, ethnic group, or  belief system. [ You can read my opinion on this ruling here. I’d quote from it, but it’s Christmas Eve.]

The ruling was upheld in the Fourth Circuit, despite the fact that it seem to be fairly blatant viewpoint-based restriction of speech, or in other words, unconstitutional. To his credit, Snyder is not allowing the Democrats to bully him or illegally try to control his speech either, and has the resources to fight. The betting is that the Supreme Court will tell the Trademark Office to stop playing politics.

The Patent and Trademark Office also barred the registration of “The Slants,” the trademarked name of Simon Tam’s Asian-American band. Now the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit just held, in the case of In re Tam, by a 9-to-3 vote, that this exclusion of “disparaging” trademarks, and, by extension, the Redskins ban as well, violates the First Amendment.  This means that the Redskins case is likely to go to the Supreme Court if the government doesn’t agree to let people trademark whatever the want to, regardless of who or what it might “disparage.” Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, Race, Rights, Sports

Ethics Quiz: The Fick Calls Loretta Lynch’s Bluff

bluffing

When I read that our Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, made this provocative statement—

“The fear that you have just mentioned is in fact my greatest fear as a prosecutor, as someone who is sworn to the protection of all of the American people, which is that the rhetoric will be accompanied by acts of violence. Now obviously this is a country that is based on free speech, but when it edges towards violence, when we see the potential for someone lifting that mantle of anti-Muslim rhetoric—or, as we saw after 9/11, violence directed at individuals who may not even be Muslims but perceived to be Muslims, and they will suffer just as much—when we see that we will take action…I think it’s important that as we again talk about the importance of free speech we make it clear that actions predicated on violent talk are not America. They are not who we are, they are not what we do, and they will be prosecuted.”

…my first thought was “oh-oh” and my second thought was, “Boy, Obama’s appointees are as careless with their rhetoric as he is, or Hillary.

For what really was she saying? It sounds like a threat, but is it?  What does “edges towards violence” mean? Violence? Calling for violence? Or rhetoric anti-gun progressives will blame if there is violence? What does…let me rephrase that…What the HELL does “the potential for someone lifting that mantle of anti-Muslim rhetoric” mean? For that matter, what are “actions predicated on violent talk”? Does an action that would not be a crime without violent talk become one based on the rhetoric that inspired it? You’re a lawyer, Ms Lynch, how about speaking precise English? What exactly are you trying to say?

So my third thought was, “Well, we better find out, since is this our top law enforcement official talking and if she is really saying, as one might reasonably interpret her vague and convoluted statement to mean, that she’ll be arresting anyone who dares to venture a harsh judgment of Muslims, it would be good to know.

Donald Trump, I’m sure, would like to know.

And  lo and behold, here comes former GOP tea party congressman turned radio talk show host Joe Walsh to settle the issue! He provides a rant on his Facebook page: Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Quizzes, Religion and Philosophy, Rights

Unethical Judge Of The Month: Florida Circuit Judge Jack Schramm Cox; Runner Up: Wisconsin Judge Philip Kirk

JudgeFor a judge, you just can’t get any more incompetent than this.

In Florida, Circuit Judge Jack Schramm Cox ordered the Palm Beach Post to scrub a previously published story from its website. This is prior restraint, or the government preventing publication based on content. The order violates the First Amendment; it isn’t merely unconstitutional, it is incredibly unconstitutional. Concluded Constitutional Law professor and blogger Jonathan Turley in his usual restrained manner,  “The utter lack of legal judgment (and knowledge) shown by Cox in this order is deeply troubling.”

It’s not troubling. It’s ridiculous. Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, Rights

Your Ethics Alarms Cognitive Dissonance Guide To The Planned Parenthood Shooter Spin Game

 

Robert Dear

Cognitive DissonanceTo the left is a simplified version of Leon Festinger’s Cognitive Dissonance Scale. Most of the people and institutions who use the scale to mislead and manipulate public opinion neither know this diagram nor have heard of Dr. Festinger, but it is what they are employing in the daily wars to win ideological political converts by distorting the significance of current events.

Robert Dear’s as yet unexplained shooting rampage within a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood facility has immediately created an opportunity for cognitive dissonance manipulation. Festinger’s research showed that our minds will always try to resolve dissonance when something with a high, or positive score—say, “Free Speech,” appears to be closely associated with something else that is low on the scale, such as “hateful speech.” How the dissonance is resolved will depend on the scores of the two dissonant objects or beliefs.

If you want the public to decide that something it approves of is less worthy of approval, attaching it to something the public believes is reprehensible will do the job by creating cognitive dissonance and pulling the well-regarded object down the scale. If you want the public to move its opinion of a person, organization or concept from negative territory into positive, identifying someone or something the public regards far more negatively who opposes the person, organization or concept will tend to move the object of the negative entity’s opposition upward on the scale. In these situations, the mind seeks distance from the reviled entity. I hate broccoli; I learn that Donald Trump hates broccoli; I don’t want to have anything in common with Donald Trump. Pass the broccoli, please.

The latter is the process repeatedly applied by the protesters of police shootings when African Americans are the victims. The public correctly opposes abuse of power and wrongful violence by law enforcement officials; it is far below the mid-point on the scale. It also a opposes criminal activity and resisting legitimate law enforcement. With rare exceptions, every black victim of a questionable police shooting was engaging in or had engaged in criminal activity, and had resisted arrest. These have been criminals, but because the alleged misconduct of the police is far lower on the scale than the criminal activity involved, the criminal victims are propelled by cognitive dissonance into the scale’s positive territory. (The media assists the process by publicizing the most benign images of the victims they can find. The most frequently used photo of Laquan McDonald, who was executed by a Chicago cop, shows him in his high school graduation gown, for example. The cop didn’t shoot a criminal who refused to stop when ordered to, he shot a smiling young man with a bright future. The police officer is thus a monster; the victim a martyr and a hero.)

Now let’s look at the current use of cognitive dissonance in the wake of the shooting by Robert Dear. Continue reading

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Filed under Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights

Ethics Quiz: Ann Rice O’Hanlon’s Fresco

Fresco

In 1934, under the auspices of the New Deal’s Public Works of Art program, artist Ann Rice O’Hanlon painted a fresco (the largest ever painted by a woman up to that time) in the University of Kentucky’s Memorial Hall. It has become famous and is much admired by art historians, and thousands of Kentucky students have walked past it through the decades. The large, six section artwork depicts many events, industries, traditions and activities that were significant to the state, invented in Kentucky or by Kentuckians, as well as historical events. Among the scenes shown are black slaves picking tobacco and black musicians serenading whites.

Ann Rice O’Hanlon’s masterpiece became the target of choice at Kentucky as the University ‘s black students were seeking to emulate the power plays by their equivalents at the University of Missouri, Yale, Amherst, Harvard Law, Dartmouth and other institutions. The Kentucky students held a meeting with president Eli Capilouto and argued that the fresco was offensive, as it relegated black people to roles as slaves or servants, and did not portray the cruelty of slavery and the later Jim Crow culture that existed in the state.  Capilouto capitulated, agreeing to move the work to “a more appropriate location.” In the meantime, Kentucky will cover up the 45-by-8-foot fresco while adding a sign explaining why the mural is obscured.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is this:

Should a university remove works of art on campus because particular groups of students or individual members of such groups find the artwork upsetting, offensive, or a negative influence on their experience?

Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, History, Leadership, Race, U.S. Society