Friday, March 16, 2018

Go Away. Please, Go Away.

GLENN MCCOY © Belleville News-Democrat. Dist. By UNIVERSAL UCLICK. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Fiasco: Marquette Discussion of When Life Begins Has No Abortion Opponent

At any university, a discussion on “When Does Human Life Begin” would be an excellent idea. And at any university, at least somebody on the panel should espouse the view that life begins at conception.  This should be utterly obvious at a Catholic university.

But what happens when a pro-abortion feminist office at a “Catholic” university organizes the discussion? You can guess.

The discussion was sponsored by Marquette for Life, Empowerment (a feminist student organization), the Campus Ministry, and the Marquette University Center for Gender and Sexualities Studies. That latter one is just what it sounds like.

The discussants were Theology professor Conor Kelly and Monique Liston, who is an adjunct instructor of Gender and Sexualities Studies. One might expect a Marquette Theology professor to defend the Catholic position. But he did not. According to the Marquette Wire:
Because the Catholic Church is unable to pinpoint the exact moment personhood begins, Kelly said the church has developed an assumption that human life begins at the moment of conception. He said this is to protect all potential human life.

“In theology, there’s an ongoing conversation about how to identify exactly when personhood begins as a better way of describing not just life in the biological sense, but life in the moral sense,” Kelly said. “The Catholic Church says it doesn’t know when life begins in the sense of personhood.”
Liston, of course, played the race card, and talked about women making “choices.”
Liston said individuals should consider when a soul into enters the body and when a soul leaves the body at the time of death.

She said individuals should recognize the community contexts that contribute to individuals’ views on this topic. Members of the Marquette community are privileged to be given the opportunity to attend a panel like this, she said.

“We’re not on 30th and Wisconsin having this conversation,” Liston said. “We’re on 13th and Wisconsin having this conversation.”

Kelly added that historical implications of race and class continue to impact today’s populations.

“When we kind of see that reality, it very much complicates this picture and puts a lot of the onus, I would say, on our society to rethink what we’re doing and how we can be supportive, even if we want to affirm the autonomy of people to make choices,” Kelly said.
How the “historical implications of race and class” affect when life begins is something she did not explain. Does life begin at some different point for blacks and the poor? Or is blathering about race and class simply a way that the politically correct avoid discussing issues they don’t want to discuss?

As we shall see, Marquette for Life had to distance themselves from the whole affair.

Conor Kelly’s Views

We wondered if Kelly was actually as favorable toward abortion as he seemed, so we wrote him and asked him the following:
It appears you were supposed to “represent” Marquette for Life, and they weren’t happy with your “representation.” I understand that faculty aren’t lobbyists and neither you nor I would agree to “represent” a view other than one we actually hold.

But just a couple of simple questions: do you believe that “elective abortion” (leaving aside rape, incest, etc.) should be legal or illegal?

Do you in fact believe that life begins at conception, or at some other point?

I ask two simple questions because I don’t want to impose by expecting a long explanation of your views. If you’ve written on this, feel free to point me to what you have written.

On the record, unless you tell me otherwise.
Kelly did not respond to our e-mail, nor to a follow up phone call. The reader can infer what this means.

Some light on how Kelly actually feels is found in an article he wrote titled “The Role of the Moral Theologian in the Church: A Proposal in Light of Amoris Laetitia.” From the abstract:
Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia recast pastoral decisions in terms of conscience and discernment and asked moral theology to do the same. Such a request invites reforms for moral theology, requiring a shift from the traditional role of the moral theologian as an external judge to a more personalist role as a counselor for conscience. This change entails prioritizing the process of discernment ahead of the definition of rules, specifying the place of the ideal in Catholic morality, and attending to the ethics of ordinary life.
The word “discernment” has a synonym. That synonym is “rationalization.”

Once you decide to junk the rules and “discern” what should be done, it’s almost trivially easy to “discern” that you can have an abortion, or a sex change operation, or a homosexual relationship. “Discernment” is for those people who want to cast off all those nettlesome Catholic rules, and do what they want.

Kelly, of course, can believe what he wants. Dan Maguire has been around Marquette for decades supporting abortion, gay marriage, and all the rest. But nobody would pick Maguire to present a pro-life view on abortion.

Try to imagine, for a moment, how an environmentalist group would feel if they cosponsored a debate on global warming and all the participants hemmed and hawed and expressed all kinds of doubt, with nobody presenting a robust case that the earth faces a possible “climate change” catastrophe.

Marquette For Life Responds

Marquette for Life responded by, in effect, distancing the group from the entire affair. In a statement they noted that the event “seemed to cause more confusion than it did clarity.” They made it clear that “the faculty assigned to represent us” in fact did not. They insisted that “human life begins at conception.”

What Was Marquette for Life Thinking?

Good for Marquette for Life. But we have to ask, what were they thinking allowing people who flatly reject Catholic moral views to organize an event they co-sponsored?

Let’s begin with Empowerment. These are the students who vandalized an anti-abortion protest in the fall of 2016. Not only did they vandalize it, they were proud of the act, and demanded that Marquette refuse to allow such a display in the future. Marquette gave them a minor slap on the wrist for their vandalism.

They issued a bitter, intolerant screed, objecting to conservative Ben Shapiro speaking on campus.

The “Gender” Center

The Center for Gender and Sexualities Studies is another hotbed of political correctness. The first clue is obvious on their list of staff: each one lists her “preferred pronouns.”

The Director, one Angelique Harris, was a member of a study group of leftist feminists who supported cop-killer Assata Shakir, and planned to meet to discuss the deep thoughts of communist Angela Davis, and an essay on “The Whiteness of Police.”

Another staffer, one Chrissy Nelson, tried to undermine the talk of Ben Shapiro by advising people who disliked Shapiro to get a ticket, and not show up, depriving people who wanted to see him of an opportunity. This at the suggestion of an (unidentified) “director of diversity.”

How did Angelique Harris punish her when her plan was revealed? She was “repremanded” and remained on the staff.

And just who led the vandalizing of the anti-abortion display in the fall of 2016? Yet another Center staffer, Brianna Hawkins.

The Center is, quite simply, a center of politically correct intolerance.

A Lesson

Hopefully, Marquette for Life has learned a lesson. Don’t team up with people who despise all that you stand for, and probably hate you.

But at a genuinely Catholic university, an anti-abortion student group should not have to learn that lesson. Yes, there might be people who would disagree with them, and there might be debate and discussion. But in a genuinely Catholic university, they would have allies among the campus bureaucrats who would help see that their view was, at least, heard.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Democrats: Party of Elites (and Elitists)

From the Wall Street Journal:
Hillary Clinton is the only presidential candidate in recent history to lose popularity after a defeat, and she seems determined to keep it that way. Speaking in India over the weekend, she blamed Donald Trump’s election on voters who “didn’t like black people getting rights . . . don’t like women, you know, getting jobs . . . don’t wanna, you know, see that Indian-American succeeding more than you are.” She also claimed that “married white women” supported Mr. Trump in response to “pressure to vote the way that your husband, your boss, your son—whoever—believes you should.”

More interesting than this “basket of deplorables” redux, though, was Mrs. Clinton’s commentary on the role of economic concerns in the 2016 contest. “There’s all that red in the middle, where Trump won,” she said. “But what the map doesn’t show you is that I won the places that represent two-thirds of America’s gross domestic product.” To scattered applause, she continued: “So I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward.”

This is an unexpected twist in the debate over Mr. Trump’s rise. Analysts on the center and right have tended to emphasize the economic factors that made Mr. Trump’s victory possible, noting that voters in regions with stagnating incomes and diminishing job opportunities are likelier to be drawn to populism. Many on the left, meanwhile, have argued that economic concerns are simply an excuse for bigotry. “Economic anxiety” is even a running joke on progressive Twitter — a sarcastic response to reports of racism among Republicans.

But now Mrs. Clinton herself has endorsed the “economic anxiety” thesis, albeit in a backhanded way. She sees her electoral disappointment in economically downscale regions not as a political failure but a source of validation—and, apparently, an indication of those voters’ failings. Similarly, last September she told Vox that the Electoral College is “an anachronism” in part because “I won in counties that produce two-thirds of the economic output in the United States.” Should those voters have more of a say?

Since Andrew Jackson, the Democratic Party has usually been identified as the party of the “common man,” and its adversaries as defenders of wealth and economic privilege. Jackson earned that reputation for his party by reducing property qualifications for the franchise for white men. But the Democrats’ most recent standard-bearer sounds an awful lot like the 19th-century conservatives who thought political representation should be tied to wealth. This is a significant moment in America’s partisan realignment.
Not merely “significant” but stunning. But not new either. In the 60s, when leftist students and activists were marching against the Vietnam War — indeed, rooting for a communist victory — construction workers were marching in support of the war, and where demeaned as “hardhats” by the left.

And the conflict over social issues like abortion has long been one that pitted affluent liberals against working class conservatives such as the famous “Reagan Democrats.” Thomas Frank’s 2005 book What’s the Matter with Kansas? lamented how working class voters didn’t vote “their own interests,” but voted Republican because of social issues.

Hillary’s snobbish elitism is not new. But it’s not been so blatantly expressed by a presidential candidate until Hillary’s “basket of deplorables” speech. And now she has doubled down.

Political Correctness

Whatever their actual beliefs (and Obama probably pretty much thought the same way) no candidate has so blatantly and overtly embraced political correctness. The essence of political correctness is the view that there is no legitimate disagreement with the standard leftist agenda. Oppose Black Lives Matter and you are a racist. Oppose gay marriage and you are a homophobe. Oppose abortion and you are a sexist. No debate or discussion allowed.

The Reality of Social Class and Politics

The reality, of course, is that Trump voters were not at all the poor white trash that the elitist Democrats make them out to be, as the 2016 Exit Polls show. While Trump did particularly well with whites with no college degree, he carried a plurality of whites with a college degree.

Clinton did carry those with postgraduate degrees (by a 58% to 37% margin), but there is no reason to believe that people with postgraduate degrees are any more “enlightened” than other groups. All graduate education is vocational, and simply socializes students into a particular occupation   typically one whose interests are served by liberal policies.

As for income, if the richest people are the most productive (a notion that the left traditionally abhorred), then the most productive people split evenly between Trump and Clinton.

Hillary is using something called the “ecological fallacy” — confusing the aggregate characteristics of a unit with the characteristics of the individuals in it. So while affluent areas are indeed the quite liberal, it doesn’t follow that affluent people are. The same goes for education. Put another way, plenty of rich and well-educated conservatives live in those affluent areas, where they are unfortunately outnumbered by the liberals.

But more fundamentally: do you really want to assume that the rich and well-educated are the most enlightened? Or does wealth and education (which is often indoctrination) corrupt?

On that issue, the Democrats have come down on the side of the elitists.


What Hillary actually said is even worse than the journalistic descriptions of it. Watch the entire response to the question below:

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Sunday, March 11, 2018

Speech and the Progressive Utopia

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Two Way Traffic

Friday, March 09, 2018

The Arab World: The Politically Incorrect Truth

Amicus in Our Case: Foundation for Individual Rights in Education

Among several organizations what have filed amicus briefs in our case against Marquette University is the nation’s top organization protecting free expression on campus: the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

Their brief is here.

The whole thing is worth reading, but here are some highlights:
The lower court’s ruling threatens professors’ free speech and academic freedom rights. While this case may, at first blush, seem to present a relatively narrow contract dispute between a private religious university and a tenured member of its faculty, the core dispute between Professor John McAdams and Marquette University must be viewed in the broader context in which it arose. Around the country, the free speech and academic freedom rights of faculty are being eroded by students, administrators, and members of the general public demanding censorship and by administrations caving to those demands. This capitulation is to the serious detriment of American higher education and ultimately the health of our democracy.

If a faculty member is not free to criticize, even publicly, the pedagogy of a fellow instructor, or to respond in kind to his or her critics, important institutional dialogues about teaching, scholarship, politics, and more will be deeply chilled. Faculty already report being reluctant to speak out and even to teach about sensitive issues for fear of professional repercussions. If the lower court’s ruling stands, the increasing chill on faculty expression will only intrude further as administrators around the country seize on the decision to justify disciplining faculty for public dissent on topics both internal and external to the university.

. . .

Echoing this national commitment to academic freedom, Marquette vows to protect the “the full and free enjoyment of legitimate personal or academic freedoms of thought, doctrine, discourse, association, advocacy, or action” — a promise bolstered by the assurance that “dismissal will not be used to restrain faculty members in their exercise of academic freedom or other rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution.” Handbook for Full-Time Faculty, Marquette Univ. (Aug. 27, 2013), available at This Court should grant review to hold Marquette true to its word. [link in document updated]

The lower court’s ruling threatens free speech and academic freedom by sanctioning the termination of a tenured professor simply for publicly criticizing what he believed to be dangerous pedagogical practices. The lower court correctly recognizes that “[a]cademic freedom allows both faculty members and students to engage in intellectual debate without fear of censorship or retaliation and it establishes a faculty member’s right to remain true to his or her pedagogical philosophy and intellectual commitments.” McAdams v. Marquette Univ., No. 16-cv-003396, at 24 (Wis. Cir. Ct. May 4, 2017). But despite seeming to grasp academic freedom’s crucial importance, the court dramatically undermines its utility by finding that criticizing a graduate student instructor by name in extramural writing is “professional misconduct” — indeed, a violation of the “protection against harassment and criticism” from faculty members to which graduate students are “entitled.” Id. at 25.

This broad limitation upon what faculty may say, both professionally and as citizens, is flatly incompatible with the lower court’s own understanding of academic freedom. How may a faculty member “engage in intellectual debate without fear of censorship or retaliation” if, by naming the proponent of an opposing view, he or she risks sanction? How might a faculty member “remain true to his or her pedagogical philosophy and intellectual commitments” if he or she is prohibited from rebutting critics by name? If termination is an acceptable consequence of the heated debate and sharpelbowed public criticism that pedagogical dispute may spark, then academic freedom is a dead letter.

The lower court attempts to justify McAdams’ punishment by arguing that his blog post violated the graduate student’s rights. “In short,” the court argues, “academic freedom gives a professor, such as Dr. McAdams, the right to express his views in speeches, writings and on the internet, so long as he does not infringe on the rights of others.” McAdams, supra, at 25. But the court fails to explain exactly how publicly criticizing a graduate student’s performance as an instructor “infringe[s]” upon his or her rights. As FIRE explained to Marquette University President Michael R. Lovell:
If criticism of the ideas proposed, and pedagogical choices made, by fellow instructors in this context are not protected by Marquette’s seemingly robust promises of academic freedom, then it is not clear what is. While in its public statements Marquette professes that “all of our graduate student teaching assistants are students first,” the fact is that teaching and its associated public responsibilities are a pillar of doctoral studies and that they inevitably introduce the possibility of having one’s teaching methods critiqued, perhaps publicly. Of course, graduate instructors in such positions enjoy the same rights of free speech and academic freedom to defend their ideas and pedagogical choices against such criticisms as their faculty peers.
Like Marquette during its disciplinary proceedings, the lower court fails to satisfactorily explain why McAdams may be punished, and his academic freedom abridged, because of the actions of others over whom he had no control. McAdams’ criticism was not incitement; it was neither “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action” nor “likely to incite or produce such action.” Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444, 447 (1969). He cannot fairly be held responsible for whatever those who read his blog entry may have communicated to the graduate student. If others unlawfully threatened or harassed the graduate student McAdams criticized, any proper remedy lies against them. Holding otherwise leaves faculty in the impossible position of being professionally liable for the unlawful actions of independent and unknown third parties.
The brief then gives accounts of professors who have been fired because of controversial statements they made. Interestingly, most of the cases involve leftist professors. This smacks of an argument being made to leftists saying, in effect “if you don’t stand up for the rights of a conservative professor, some of your buddies could be next to be fired.”

Whether this has any resonance, or whether leftists are so confident in their power on a typical campus that they are unmoved, is an interesting question.

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Monday, March 05, 2018

Jimmy Kimmel: Advocate for Women

Yes, this is a satire site. But this particular article is spot on about the facts (except, perhaps, for “crazed, drunken, slobbering”). Those are only slight exaggerations.

One can get a good idea about the show here, and here.

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Thursday, March 01, 2018

Marquette: Encouraging Students to Skip School For Anti-Gun Protests

From Marquette University News:
Marquette issues statement on National School Walk Out Day

Marquette University reassured prospective students applying to Marquette they will not be held back from admission if they receive disciplinary action for taking part in National School Walk Out Day. “If a student receives disciplinary actions for peaceful protests, it will not affect your admission to Marquette,” the university said in a statement.

Story aired on WTMJ-TV (NBC 4), Feb. 27, 2018
This can only be read as encouraging students to participate in an anti-gun protest, which several school districts have said violates their rules.

Even if Marquette does not particularly wish to hold this bit of truancy against candidates for admission, explicitly saying that has to be viewed as a way of egging on participation in a controversial demonstration by violating school rules.

We wonder how Marquette would feel if a lot of employers announced that university disciplinary judgments against graduates would be ignored in hiring.

Broader Pattern

This fits a broader pattern of compulsive political correctness on the part of Marquette.

When a bunch of racial bullies at the University of Missouri concocted a variety of bogus racial grievances and essentially shut down that university, Marquette President Michael Lovell and Provost Dan Myers were right out on the street, with leftist Marquette students, demonstrating in support of the Missouri bullies.

And when a bunch of presidents of “Catholic” universities signed a statement demanding that the U.S. support the “climate change” agenda, Lovell’s signature was right there — among a dishonor roll of presidents of other universities that are Catholic in name only.

What is Lovell’s agenda? Does he wish to position Marquette as a leftist, politically correct institution where conservatives are marginalized? That’s not a good place for a “Catholic” (or Catholic) university to be. The competition is tough in that very crowded sector of the market.

Is he trying to pander to leftist faculty and student activists? If so, why is he doing things that are so gratuitous? Things were there is no perceptible pressure on him.

Is he an inept administrator, allowing leftist subordinates to set the agenda?

Or is he, himself, a leftist who can’t resist signing onto any leftist cause?

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Friday, February 23, 2018

Silly Drudge Headline: What Did Jesus Look Like?

Matt Drudge has some rather “interesting,” tabloidish headlines. Our all-time favorite was his link to a story, in the Houston Chronicle, about a woman who beat another woman with a frozen armadillo.

But for utter silliness, the headline and picture above take the cake.

It notes that Jesus may have been muscular, “with Middle Eastern appearance.”

Let’s see: he was from Galilee, north of Jerusalem, south of Lebanon. Smack in the middle of the Middle East. How would we expect him to look?

The “muscular” part is less obvious. We really don’t know, but if he helped his dad in his carpentry work, in that era before power tools, that’s plausible enough.

We do know his charisma was not due to any particular physical appearance. When you can do miracles, you can look any old way and still impress people.

Tabloid Source

Drudge links to an article in the The Sun, a British tabloid, and the article contains some more stunning revelations. Such as:
  • “The Son of God may have looked very different to the actors that often portray him on screen”
  • “While she admits we will never know for certain, [Joan] Taylor surmises he would have had olive-brown skin, dark hair and brown eyes”
  • “Pointing to a computer-generated image by forensic anthropologist Richard Neave, she says his features would have been ‘Jewish.’”
So a Jewish guy probably looked “Jewish.”


Usually, tabloids titillate with stories the truth of which is questionable. But in this case, they have published something blazingly obvious, and pretended it is some sort of revelation.

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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Heather McDonald: The Victim Mentality on College Campuses

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Youth Against Gun Violence

GLENN MCCOY © Belleville News-Democrat. Dist. By UNIVERSAL UCLICK. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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Will an Assault Weapons Ban Save Lives?

In fact, the nation had an assault weapons ban between 1994 and 2004 (when a sunset provision allowed it to expire).

So now we have another school shooting, and gun control advocates are calling for a renewal of the ban.

But since we actually had a ban for ten years, it’s not necessary to merely speculate on the effects of such a policy. There is evidence.

And the evidence is negative.

The most specific and thorough evaluation of the ban comes from scholars at the University of Pennsylvania. Commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice, it was published in June 2004, evaluating the effects of the ban through 2003. It’s long and a bit complicated, but some quotes from the Executive Summary (Key Finding and Conclusions) tell the story:
Because the ban has not yet reduced the use of LCMs (large capacity magazines) in crime, we cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence.

Should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement. AWs were rarely used in gun crimes even before the ban. LCMs are involved in a more substantial share of gun crimes, but it is not clear how often the outcomes of gun attacks depend on the ability of offenders to fire more than ten shots (the current magazine capacity limit) without reloading.
Reading this report closely, if one wants to tease out the possibility of legislation to reduce gun violence, targeting large capacity magazines is a better idea that outlawing assault rifles. Of course, anybody with any shooting experience can quickly change a magazine, so it’s not clear this would help any. Especially since large capacity magazines will continue to be available in the black market, available for trade among gun buffs, and so on.

Other studies have found the same thing. In 2005 the National Research Council concluded that:
A recent evaluation of the short-term effects of the 1994 federal assault weapons ban did not reveal any clear impacts on gun violence outcomes (Koper and Roth, 2001b). Using state-level Uniform Crime Reports data on gun homicides, the authors of this study suggest that the potential impact of the law on gun violence was limited by the continuing availability of assault weapons through the ban’s grandfathering provision and the relative rarity with which the banned guns were used in crime before the ban. Indeed, as the authors concede and other critics suggest (e.g., Kleck, 2001), given the nature of the intervention, the maximum potential effect of the ban on gun violence outcomes would be very small and, if there were any observable effects, very difficult to disentangle from chance yearly variation and other state and local gun violence initiatives that took place simultaneously.
Finally, a 2003 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined “51 studies that evaluated the effects of selected firearms laws on violence“ and concluded:
Evidence was insufficient to determine the effectiveness of any of these laws . . .
The report went on the explain:
Results of studies of firearms and ammunition bans were inconsistent: certain studies indicated decreases in violence associated with bans, and others indicated increases. Several studies found that the number of banned guns retrieved after a crime declined when bans were enacted, but these studies did not assess violent consequences (16,17). Studies of the 1976 Washington, D.C. handgun ban yielded inconsistent results (18–20). Bans often include “grandfather” provisions, allowing ownership of an item if it is acquired before the ban, complicating an assessment of causality. Finally, evidence indicated that sales of firearms to be banned might increase in the period before implementation of the bans (e.g., the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994) (21).
In the wake of a mass shooting, the natural human reaction is to “do something.” That is a natural response. But there are two problems with it.

First, the moral panic may lead us to embrace policies that feel good, and not ask hard questions about whether we are making things better.

Second, the highly visible outrage over a school shooting may cause us to forget that the vast majority of children and youth killed in shootings are killed in very ordinary domestic disputes, robberies, gang shootouts, accidents, and so on.


Even the New York Times has published an article critical of an assault weapons ban:
OVER the past two decades, the majority of Americans in a country deeply divided over gun control have coalesced behind a single proposition: The sale of assault weapons should be banned.

That idea was one of the pillars of the Obama administration’s plan to curb gun violence, and it remains popular with the public. In a poll last December, 59 percent of likely voters said they favor a ban.

But in the 10 years since the previous ban lapsed, even gun control advocates acknowledge a larger truth: The law that barred the sale of assault weapons from 1994 to 2004 made little difference.

It turns out that big, scary military rifles don’t kill the vast majority of the 11,000 Americans murdered with guns each year. Little handguns do.

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Friday, February 16, 2018

Alan Dershowitz: Hard Left Biggest Danger

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Lying About Supposed Anti-Muslim “Hate Crimes”

From Daniel Greenfield in Frontpage Mag:
Yasmin Seweid, a Muslim college student, claimed that Trump supporters had tried to tear off her hijab on the New York City subway and shouted, “Look it’s a f______ terrorist” and “Go back to your country”.

“The president-elect just promotes this stuff and is very anti-Muslim, very Islamophobic, and he’s just condoning it,” she complained.

It was all a lie.

Yasmin was charged with filing a false police report on December 2016. On September 2017, she pleaded guilty to falsely reporting an incident and disorderly conduct.

An Islamophobia hoax doesn’t get any more discredited than the Seweid case. But Islamophobia hoaxes never die. They’re rolled into hate crime statistics and reports even when they are completely false.

“Reported anti-Muslim hate incidents, rhetoric rose in year after election, report finds,” NBC News claims. Like The Nation, Think Progress and a variety of other sites, it’s touting a report by South Asian Americans Leading Together or SAALT.

The SAALT report, “Communities on Fire,” fits into an annual media tradition. Every year, fake statistics are used to inflate the Islamophobia threat. And the media reports every year that Islamophobia is getting worse. The statistical gimmicks of Islamophobia inflation vary from the clever to the terrible.

The Southern Poverty Law Center hit a new low when it claimed that the “number of anti-Muslim hate groups increased almost three-fold in 2016” by counting 45 chapters of Act for America as separate organizations after counting them as one in 2015. Another report documented a 66% increase when 6 cases increased to 10. But the SAALT report’s listing of discredited hoaxes is even more outrageous.

Even though the report was issued now, its list of incidents includes the Seweid case. “Three drunk white men repeatedly screamed ‘Donald Trump!’ and hurled anti-Islam slurs at a Muslim Baruch College student, Yasmin Seweid, before trying to rip her hijab off on an East Side subway.”

And that’s far from the only hoax on the SAALT list.

In Lafayette, LA, its report claims, “Two men knocked a young Muslim student wearing hijab to the ground with something metal and verbally assaulted her with obscenities before making off with her wallet and hijab.”

The Muslim student claimed that she had been attacked by Trump supporters. She was charged with filing a false police report. “She made up the entire story about being attacked, about her hijab being taken. There was no truth to any of it,” the Lafayette Police Department spokesman said.

In Ann Arbor, MI, the SAALT report claims, “A man approached a Muslim student and threatened to set her on fire with a lighter unless she removed her hijab.”

That story was also a hoax.

“Following a thorough investigation, detectives have determined the incident in question did not occur,” the Ann Arbor Police Department stated.

These weren’t just hoaxes. They were hoaxes from over a year ago. And SAALT still included them.

“An anti-Muslim message was spray painted on a residence hall on the Beloit College campus,” the report claims.

The student confessed to having vandalized his own door with anti-Muslim graffiti. He was arrested and charged with criminal damage.

“Two men confronted a San Diego State University student wearing hijab in a parking structure, made comments about President-elect Donald Trump and the Muslim community, and then took her purse and backpack. The men also took the student’s car keys and ran off,” the SAALT report claims.

The car turned out not to be stolen. No evidence of the attack was found and the student refused to cooperate with police.

Incidents like these, which were reported after Trump’s victory, play a crucial role in SAALT’s efforts to connect the supposed rise in Islamophobic attacks to him. The SAALT report mentions Trump nearly 200 times. It claims that, “One in five perpetrators of hate violence incidents referenced President Trump, a Trump policy, or a Trump campaign slogan.” But quite a few of those Trump “incidents” were hoaxes.

The SAALT report lists violence that happened to Muslims without any evidence that it was motivated by their religion. It lists the drive by shooting of Mohamed Abdulkadir in Ohio, and the robbery and fatal beating of Ali Khan even though they appear to be ordinary crimes.

In Milwaukee, “A perpetrator beat a woman leaving morning prayers and pulled off her hijab,” the SAALT report claims. “She then pushed her to the ground, repeatedly stomped on her head, and took out a knife and slashed her clothing.”

The police report however quoted the victim as saying that she didn’t think it was a hate crime, that the man had not tried to take her hijab, but that the assault had to do with her lesbian daughter.

The SAALT report lists arson at the Islamic Center of Ypsilanti. But the police ruled that out as a hate crime. A Detroit mosque whose vandalism was also listed by SAALT was trashed by an African-American thief when he couldn’t find anything to steal.

The SAALT report lists the shooting of a 16-year-old Muslim in Ohio. The Muslim teenager claimed that his attacker had shouted racial slurs at him, but the attacker, Denzal Johnson, is African-American and his girlfriend appeared to be Muslim. Denzal’s religion is unknown.

The SAALT report claims that “Black Muslim girl, Nabra Hassanen” was killed after she and her group had “been at a late-night event at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society and were headed back to the mosque after a trip to a fast-food restaurant.” Nabra Hassanen wasn’t black and she was killed by an illegal alien gang member from El Salvador who got into a fight with her friends. There’s never been any evidence that her killer was motivated by her religion. And he was not charged with a hate crime.

Sometimes SAALT’s spin is deliberately dishonest. For example, it claims that, “a Somali Muslim woman, Rahma Warsame, who intervened to protect another Muslim woman from harassment by a white male perpetrator was beaten unconscious, resulting in facial fractures and the loss of several teeth. The attacker screamed, ‘You all will be shipped back to Africa’ prior to beating her.”

Rahma Warsame had actually gotten into a fight with Samantha Morales, a Latino woman. Morales claimed that a Somali woman had hit a little boy with a shoe. According to the police, another member of the Warsame family, had tased Morales. The only white male in the story is Morales’ boyfriend. The police couldn’t decide what really happened.

The SAALT report tries to attribute violent attacks on Muslims to “white supremacists”, but many of its more violent incidents are actually the work of African-American and Latino attackers. The Victoria mosque fire was set by a mentally unstable Latino man. The Islamic Center of Eastside fire was set by a schizophrenic African-American homeless man who may have previously tried to pray in the mosque and had smashed a window at NikeTown. Not exactly your typical Trump supporter.

A number of the acts in the SAALT report were actually committed by mentally unstable homeless people with a violent history. But SAALT has its own curious definition of white supremacist.

According to the report, Act for America 9/11 commemoration illustrated a growth in white supremacist Islamophobia. But Act for America was founded by Brigitte Gabriel, a Lebanese Arab immigrant.

The SAALT report lists the Freedom Center’s campaign against hate groups. “Palestinian rights activists at California universities were targeted with posters calling them terrorists.” The posters called out SJP and other hate groups that have expressed support for terrorists.

Many of the activists who were called out in these Freedom Center campaigns weren’t even Muslims.

The first name on the poster that SAALT is complaining about is that of Daniel Alvarez. The second name is Mohammed Hammad who was investigated by terrorism officials and the FBI for posting violent threats. These included, “I think about killing a lot/and some of you are usually the targets of my daydreams.” Instead of condemning Hammad’s threats, SAALT instead attacks the Freedom Center.

The SAALT report leaves out key pieces of information that might provide alternative explanations.

It mentions that Vibert White, was “forced to resign” from the University of Central Florida and sued the college. It neglects to mention that he had been arrested three times on domestic violence charges involving two ex-wives. It mentions the vandalism at the Ahram Halal Market in Maine, but not that a few weeks earlier its owners had been charged with fraud.

The multiple hoaxes that never happened and other incidents that were not hate crimes ought to be enough to raise serious questions about the credibility of the SAALT report. Unfortunately the media unthinkingly passes along Islamophobia inflation reports without ever fact checking them.

The SAALT report and the media stories about it exist to push the narrative is that President Trump is causing anti-Muslim violence. And the narrative is too good to bother checking the facts.

And that not only destroys the media’s own credibility, but hurts the people it claims to be trying to protect. When hoaxes, ordinary crimes and attacks by mentally ill homeless people are all treated the same way, then even real attacks will be drowned out by the torrent of fake incidents.
Yes, activist groups, and indeed the media, report things that fit a favored narrative, and don’t bother too much with fact checking.

But what drives the narrative? Quite simply, the intolerance of liberals and leftists, who can’t imagine that the Trump victory was driven by legitimate (or at least understandable) resentment toward elites. No, in their little world, only bigotry could explain who so many people did not vote as they did.

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Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Party Motto

Friday, February 09, 2018

Journal-Sentinel on McAdams v. Marquette

Appearing today, a very good article in the local paper by columnist Christian Schneider titled “In the case of professor John McAdams, Marquette lost its way.”

Schneider gives some history:
In 1853, the Rev. Anthony Urbanek of the newly minted Catholic Diocese of Milwaukee reported back to Vienna on the state of Catholics in the fledgling city. Urbanek expressed optimism at how quickly Catholicism had taken root in Milwaukee, especially among its German and Irish settlers.

“What an encouraging sight it is to witness crowds of young and old on Sundays, coming from all sides out of the woods, as though they arose out of the ground,” Urbanek wrote, noting many churches weren’t large enough to hold all the people who wanted to attend services.

Not so with schools. If parents wanted to send their children to Catholic schools to “preserve their children from Yankee-ism,” he said, they would have to pay for the schools themselves. Trying to educate Catholic children in public schools, he said, “soon deteriorates into heathenism.”

And so, led by Archbishop John M. Henni and funded with a $16,000 gift from a rich Belgian, the diocese founded a small Jesuit college. The purpose of Marquette was to allow for academic freedom, distinct from the pressures of the secular world.
Schneider then outlines the basics of Marquette’s attempt to fire us, and concludes:
Marquette’s contract with faculty contains the promise that they will not be disciplined for “legitimate personal or academic freedoms of thought, doctrine, discourse, association, advocacy, or action.” It vows not to “restrain…rights guaranteed (faculty) by the United States Constitution.”

McAdams’ treatment vaporizes those promises; in this case, freedom of speech ended when an offended graduate student and sympathetic faculty advisers said it did. And the university capitulated to the very outside forces it was founded to resist.

Biased Reporting

Schneider’s column is in stark contrast to the slanted reporting the Journal-Sentinel usually provides, courtesy of Karen Herzog. In an absurdly biased story back on January 23, she pretty much acted as a mouthpiece for Marquette, suppressing information and giving a biased version of events.

The story, as it now exists online, is slightly sanitized relative to the one originally posted (but Google cache is the friend of people wanting to document embarrassing things posted and then changed).

In the original story, Herzog wrote “McAdams argued that he could say anything he wanted on his blog because of academic freedom protections.” This is nonsense, since we never claimed we could say anything we wanted. We never claimed the right to libel anybody, for example. Herzog changed that to “McAdams argued what he writes on his blog has academic freedom protections,” which is correct.

Much worse is Herzog’s description of what our original post was about. She said: “McAdams said he did it because he felt the graduate student was trying to impose her liberal views on students she taught.” In fact, we blogged about a graduate instructor (Cheryl Abbate) who told at student who wanted to argue against gay marriage (which had come up in class) that he could not do so, since he was not allowed to say “homophobic” things, and any such argument would “offend” any gay students in class.

Herzog apparently believed that an accurate account of what Abbate did would leave readers much less sympathetic to her, and would make it obvious that a serious issue of campus political correctness was involved.

Naming Wrongdoers

Herzog repeats Marquette’s claim that we should not have named Abbate. But Herzog knows perfectly well that the Journal-Sentinel (or any other news outlet) will name people accused of misconduct. This would apply to (say) an athletic coach accused of sexually molesting athletes or a county employee accused of embezzling funds. But Marquette wants to claim that a graduate instructor, who was 27 years old and had been in the military, and was the “instructor of record” in the course, should be exempt.

Herzog uncritically accepts Marquette’s claim that “the graduate student instructor reportedly started receiving threats as a result of the blog post.” Had Herzog simply bothered to read what was at the time the most current post on our blog, she would have known this was flatly untrue.

Herzog, without bothering to check, repeated Marquette President Michael Lovell’s claim that I had “expos[ed] her [Abbate’s] personal contact information as recently as last month.” I was puzzled reading this, until it was brought to my attention that a link to an Abbate page was included in a column by George Will in the Washington Post, which I republished on my blog. It seems Lovell’s real beef is with the Washington Post. Herzog could have checked this out.

Read Only One Side

Finally, at the very bottom of the story as it first appeared, was the notation “While in the national spotlight over the case, Marquette posted a list of frequently asked questions and answers about the case on its website.” This is linked to a Marquette “FAQ.”

An unbiased story would also refer readers to the website of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, to get the other side of the issue. But Herzog has chosen to be, essentially, a sock puppet for Marquette.

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Saturday, February 03, 2018

Stone Faced

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Epic Rant: Grammy Hypocrites

Monday, January 29, 2018

Again: Wall Street Journal on Marquette v. Warrior Blogger

The paper chimes in again:
Marquette and the First Amendment
Wisconsin’s Supreme Court will judge a promise of academic freedom.

A political-science professor who says Marquette University violated his employment contract’s guarantee of academic freedom will get his day in court. Though a judge for a lower state court earlier ruled for the university, last week the Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed to John McAdams’s request that it bypass the appeals courts and take up his suit directly.

Professor McAdams is now in his seventh semester outside the classroom because of a November 2014 post on his Marquette Warrior blog. The post criticized a graduate instructor, Cheryl Abbate, for telling a student with more traditional views that she would tolerate no dissent on same-sex marriage in her class on ethics.

After the post Ms. Abbate received several ugly emails. Mr. McAdams was blamed and punished, though he had nothing to do with those messages. The university contends that Mr. McAdams’s offense is having identified a student by name—Ms. Abbate. The characterization is telling, because though Ms. Abbate was indeed a grad student she was also a paid employee of the university teaching a course. If any student was harmed here, it was the Marquette undergraduate who was told there was no room for his views in Ms. Abbate’s classroom.

No one forced Marquette to enter into an employment contract with Mr. McAdams. But it did. And that contract says he cannot be fired for exercising a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. By any reasonable standard that would include the First Amendment—even at a Jesuit university.
The First Amendment is relevant here since, although Marquette is a private university, faculty have a contractual guarantee of the free speech rights embodied in the U.S. Constitution. This most certainly includes the First Amendment.

Since we did absolutely nothing that would not be protected speech under the First Amendment, Marquette is trying to weasel out of this promise by claiming that we violated some “expectations” that bind faculty. But those “expectations” are not written down anywhere, not supported by any precedent, and were in fact merely concocted because Marquette (under pressure from leftist faculty) wanted to get rid of us.

If Marquette can get away with that, faculty at public universities (who are protected under the First Amendment even without any explicit contractual language) are vulnerable to the same tactic.

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