The Left’s War on Free Speech
by Kimberley Strassel April 2017 • Imprimis Volume 46, Number 4
Kimberley Strassel writes the weekly “Potomac Watch” column for The Wall Street Journal, where she is also a member of the editorial board. She is the author of The Intimidation Game: How the Left Is Silencing Free Speech. The following is adapted from a speech delivered on April 26, 2017, at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C., as part of the AWC Family Foundation Lecture Series.
Anecdote about family begins this article . . . . then it continues with:
I realized that what we’ve experienced over the past eight years a profound shift in our political culture, a shift that has resulted in a significant portion of our body politic holding a five-year-old’s view of free speech. What makes this shift notable is that unlike most changes in politics, you can trace it back to one day: January 21, 2010, the day the Supreme Court issued its Citizens United ruling and restored free speech rights to millions of Americans.
For nearly 100 years up to that point, both sides of the political aisle had used campaign finance laws—I call them speech laws—to muzzle their political opponents. The Right used them to push unions out of elections. The Left used them to push corporations out of elections. These speech laws kept building and building until we got the mack daddy of them all—McCain-Feingold. It was at this point the Supreme Court said, “Enough.” A five-judge majority ruled that Congress had gone way too far in violating the Constitution’s free speech protections.
The Citizens United ruling was viewed as a blow for freedom by most on the Right, which had in recent years gotten some free speech religion, but as an unmitigated disaster by the Left. Over the decades, the Left had found it harder and harder to win policy arguments, and had come to rely more and more on these laws to muzzle political opponents. And here was the Supreme Court knocking back those laws, reopening the floodgates for non-profits and corporations to speak freely again in the public arena.
In the Left’s view, the ruling couldn’t have come at a worse time. Remember the political environment in 2010. Democrats were experiencing an enormous backlash against the policies and agenda of the Obama administration. There were revolts over auto bailouts, stimulus spending, and Obamacare. The Tea Party movement was in full swing and vowing to use the midterm elections to effect dramatic change. Democrats feared an electoral tidal wave would sweep them out of Congress.
WILL Press Release |Analysis on Campus Free Speech Legislation Pending in the Wisconsin Legislature
By Cameron Sholty May 15, 2017
WILL concludes that “Both bills are a good start in that they seek to reaffirm the UW’s historic commitment to free speech”
May 15, 2017 – Milwaukee, WI – Today the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty released an analysis titled “On Freedom of Expression in the University of Wisconsin System.” The report provides a history of freedom of expression in the UW system and analyzes current legislative proposals for reform that are pending before the Wisconsin Legislature.
In December 2015, the UW Board of Regents adopted a statement on “Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression.” In his proposed 2017-2019 budget, Governor Walker sought to have a similar statement enacted into statute, but his proposal (along with all other non-fiscal items) was stripped from the budget.
Following that, members of the legislature sought to enact protections on freedom of speech on campus through stand-alone bills. The WILL report analyzes bills introduced by Representative Jesse Kremer and Senator Leah Vukmir. WILL concludes that “Both bills are a good start in that they seek to reaffirm the UW’s historic commitment to free speech and address the disturbing trend of official censorship and student interference with and ‘shout downs’ of speech.” However, WILL also concludes that both bills must be improved and offers several suggestions for improvement.
“Freedom of speech on college and university campuses is under assault nationwide,” said WILL President and General Counsel Rick Esenberg. “With speakers shouted-down, disinvited, and unable to speak on campuses for fear of being prevented by protestors, the heckler’s veto has been effective. It is appropriate for state legislatures to consider and enact legislation that protects the rights of these speakers, allows for appropriate protest, and requires discipline of offenders. Too often those who disrupt others’ right to speak are not punished, and the protestors know that, which only ensures future speakers will also be disrupted. This legislation is necessary to ensure the institutions of higher learning in our state both protect speech and discipline those who inappropriately interfere with the rights of others to speak.” READ it HERE
Above, Student representative from FIRE.org presents in favor of free speech protection at hearing at State Capitol 5/15/17
FIRE - Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
Freedom of Speech Attacked, Defended During Public Hearing MacIver News Service | May 15, 2017
[Madison, Wisc...] Advocates and Opponents of campus free speech testified at an Assembly Hearing on a bill that would require the UW Regents to adopt policies to safeguard the First Amendment throughout the UW System.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Representative Jesse Kremer are co-authors of the bill. They cited an event at UW-Madison in November where protesters blocked a speech by conservative commentator Ben Shapiro for over a half-hour.
Conservative and Liberal students talked about the importance of free speech on campus. However, some students, like Savion Castro, also presented a unique interpretation of the First Amendment, where speech is considered a luxury and their right to not be offended takes precedence over other's constitutional rights. WATCH VIDEO CLIP from hearing.
Business-Friendliness, Location Fuel Wisconsin’s Rise
By Dale Buss May 4, 2017 Chief Executive.net
Wisconsin’s rise into the top 10 of Chief Executive’s “2017 Best States for Business” has been the steadiest ascension in the rankings over the past five years—and one of the most deliberate.
Since Gov. Scott Walker took office in 2010, he has pushed and deployed a laundry list of business-friendly policies in large part to persuade CEOs that Wisconsin would be a great place to site or expand their facilities and companies.
At the same time, the biggest boon to the state might not be of Walker’s creation: the accident of its location across borders from two of the Midwest’s most important population centers, Chicago and the Twin Cities.
He’s done a tremendous job of communicating to the world that Wisconsin is open for business.
In any event, Wisconsin has climbed the list to No. 10 this year from No. 41 in 2010, to No. 24 in 2011, to No. 20 in 2012, to No. 17 in 2013, to No. 14 in 2014, to No. 12 in 2015, and to No. 11 last year. And after the addition of thousands of jobs over that span, Wisconsin’s rate of workforce participation is nearly 69 percent, putting it in America’s top 10 states—and at an all-time high for the Badger State. READ it HERE
Religious belief predominates in former communist countries Eastern and central Europe 25 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain
by Carolyn Moynihan | MercatorNet May 12 2017
Roughly a quarter of a century after the fall of the Iron Curtain and subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union, a major new Pew Research Center survey finds that religion has reasserted itself as an important part of individual and national identity in many of the Central and Eastern European countries where communist regimes once repressed religious worship and promoted atheism.
Today, solid majorities of adults across much of the region say they believe in God, and most identify with a religion. Orthodox Christianity and Roman Catholicism are the most prevalent religious affiliations, much as they were more than 100 years ago in the twilight years of the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires.
So the Pew Research Center introduces a fascinating report: Religious Belief and National Belonging in Central and Eastern Europe.
After The Rwandan Genocide The UN Promised 'Never Again' - Now It's Time For Them To Take Action Against ISIS
UN peacekeeping soldiers from Rwanda patrol on December 09, 2014 in Bangui. The UN peacekeeping mission currently counts 8,600 people on the ground, and plans to increase this number to 12,000. AFP PHOTO / Pacome PABANDJI (Photo credit should read PACOME PABANDJI/AFP/Getty Images)
by Alexandra Tompson, Forbes.com Apr 20, 2017
They call it the Switzerland of Africa, with its high mountains, green valleys and beautiful lakes. Rwanda is a dream destination. It turned into a nightmare 23 years ago. April 7, 1994 marked the beginning of the unprecedented slaughter. Between April and June, 800,000 were killed in less than 100 days. The systematic massacre of Tutsis and moderate Hutus spread throughout the country with astounding speed and brutality. Ordinary citizens took up machetes, spears and knives against their neighbors. Blood and tears were all over the country. Hundreds of mass graves.
The international community closed its eyes. Unlike other atrocities of the 20th century, the Rwandan genocide unfolded before the public eye. Journalists, radio broadcasters and TV news reporters covered the events live from the ground. The world’s largest peacekeeping force did not intervene. UN troops stood by and did nothing. They were ordered to withdraw when most needed. READ it HERE
Above: Hillsdale President Larry Arnn filming the new Intro to Constitution Class
“Hillsdale College is the authority on teaching the Constitution.” Mark Levin
On May 15th, Hillsdale College will launch “Introduction to the Constitution.” This FREE online course is filmed in an entirely new format that represents the style of teaching students on campus. Watch the sneak preview HERE and pre-register for this new course.
by Chelsea Schilling, WND.com
Just hours after President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey – and the left went ballistic – talk-radio superstar Rush Limbaugh warned Republicans: “The last thing you should do is find anything in common with the Democrats on this.”
Resist the urge to join the left in piling on Trump, Limbaugh advised, because Democrats “are ripe for being smoked for generations.” In fact, the Comey hysteria is just a symptom of a life-threatening ailment infecting the party, he explained.
And Republicans have a chance to deal the final blow.
“This is the time to move in politically and wipe them out,” Limbaugh said during his Wednesday show. “[T]he Republican Party has a golden opportunity here to continue to nail into the coffin of the Democrat Party.”
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He revealed the real reason Democrats are clinging to their allegations of Trump-Russia collusion:
The last thing you should do is feel sorry, simpatico. Do not fall for the temptation to join the Democrats in their rants against Trump on [Comey’s firing]. Here’s the deal, folks. There is no collusion. The Russians did not hack, did not tamper, did not impact the outcome of our election. It’s been established for over nine months, if not longer. READ the REST HERE
Laura Ingraham Radio Show May 9, 2017
Start at 52.10 minutes. GREAT Interview! Laura Ingraham interviews Pat Buchanan on nationalism, the growth of populism from Reagan to Trump. She describes him as the first "Trumpist." He talks about conservatives versus populists and how Reagan conservatives were rooted in traditionalism. He talks about the root sources of the conservative movement.
Emmanuel Macron (left)
by Tyler Durden Zero Hedge May 8, 2017
The confetti were still littering Paris from Macron's celebration event on Sunday night when the 39-year-old Frenchman became the youngest president in French history, and already he met with one of the biggest challenges facing his new administration: a population, mostly among the local labor unions, that is unwilling to accept any if not all of the proposed economic reforms, and made this abundantly clear on Monday by clashing in violent protests across Paris with the local riot police.
That's not the only reason why Emmanuel Macron may find the hangover of his bitter fight with Marine Le Pen unpleasant. As The Local writes, while Macron's supporters were jumping for joy at the Louvre and commentators all over the world were hailing Emmanuel Macron's victory as a triumph for liberal and centrist values, a majority of French people won't have seen it as a cause for celebration. And although Macron should be relieved, there are a few major reasons why he should stay off the Champagne this week.
Below, according to the French publication, are eight reasons why Macron has little reason for celebration as he prepares to replace Francois Hollande as the next French president.
1. He didn't win over the majority of French people
In the second round, 56 percent of French people either abstained, cast a blank vote or voted for Le Pen. He may have won a majority of the vote, but that doesn't make for a majority of French people. Even in first round vote, when French people "vote with their hearts" and choose the candidate they really want, Macron didn't do spectacularly.
On April 23rd some 8.6 million people voted for Macron, out of a possible 47 million, so in reality, you could argue that only a 6th of French voters would have Macron as their first choice. But even in the first round he benefited from tactical voting.
2. Many of those who voted for him aren't really behind him
Of those who did vote for him, many said were doing so simply because he wasn't Marine Le Pen. Some 33 percent of respondents in an Ipsos poll said they voted Macron because they were won over by the political renewal they saw in him. Sixteen percent put his policies top of the list, while 8 percent said his personality was the main reason they voted for him.
However the largest chunk, 43 percent, said they were mostly voting against Le Pen. READ it HERE