Freedom of speech and academic freedom in the midst of government of fools

This article points to a problem of democracy that is made highly relevant by the current state of the American democracy and the discourse it spawns, it a problematic discourse in regard to its effectiveness at discovering truth or degrees of truth.  The issue of control of speech and control of ideas is not a left/right, liberal/conservative issue because for both sides and everywhere in-between there are those who want to limit speech and argue to do so in reference to freedom; freedom of speech must be limited so none are afraid to speak for fear that they may be attacked for what they say, this interpreted too often to mean hurt by what is said, this translated so that it actually means things cannot be said by which some  particular somebodies disagree and disagree with enough that negative emotions are aroused.

The article describes how the push against hurtful speech has come to be used to repress what some find to be disagreeable speech, the publication of ideas with which they disagree.  Hurt of some meaningful kind may result from the expression of certain ideas but the fact that some are hurt does not necessarily signify that the ideas are bad ideas.  In the case of the kind of speech that is the that of the Boycott Israel movement, the true motive for the speech is to help people, certain people.  That help, for the Palestinians, because of the circumstances in place, will affect others, non-Palestinians, the residents of Israel, most of whom are Jewish.  Right and wrong here are no so easy to determine, who should be supported and who should allowed to be harmed basic to the debate that is central to the issues of speech and academic freedom considered in the article.

Interestingly, the pursuit of truth and even its discovery can and, in this case, will cause hurt for some and so open and free discussion of the topics related will cause some to feel that the mere existence of such debate is hurtful, that things would be better if only the ideas that serve side be allowed expression.  The element of hurt, potential and real, is now used as an argument against argument and here it is the government that, at the behest of those hurt, who believe they will be hurt and those who do not want to allow for hurt, to determine which arguments can be presented.

The push to abolish what is thought to be hateful speech, hurtful speech, often by those who would argue strenuously for protection of speech, has created opportunity for those who are not necessarily much concerned with freedom of speech to use the argument of freedom of speech to curtail speech.  If “hurt” is a factor, can be used as a factor in determining the limits of speech, then, in cases such as that discussed in the story, the communication of ideas supporting the cause of the Palestinians, no matter how true and valid they may be, because they “do harm” to Israelis and, therefore, Jews, can be banned, antisemitism a powerful argument against criticism of Jewish people, even if their ideas and behavior do harm to others, in this case, Palestinians.

What a mess to untangle!  Here is the article:


Ain’t no party for the people unless they are wealthy people

Trump leads among small donors. Democrats now get plenty of support from the wealthy, with predictable consequences.

Opinion piece but loaded with respectable references.  In response to the friend who forwarded this article to me I wrote:Interesting.  The corporation friendly “left” is an interesting phenomenon, indeed, the neoliberal a most interesting animal, its dominance in the leadership of the democratic party having driven me out.  I have no party because the two parties are both capitalist parties, both doing what they can to protect a system that is inhumane.  The answers to the problems we face lie outside the current political system.  Sanders plays an interesting game of being outside but inside enough to count.  Money in politics has made viable democracy impossible, elections bought and sold, power purchased rather than gained by those with the best ideas.


Colleges and University: Lots of Money Available if You Teach What We Tell You to Teach

Universities and colleges, whether public or private, are ever so much now tools of the rich and powerful who figured out a long time ago (see Merchants of Doubt) that controlling higher education was important to control over a society made up of people who believed they had a right to participate in the societal decision making process.  Controlling what people can think and what they can know so that they will decide in ways favorable to a particular agenda is the passive way to gain ownership of the system, the vote available but made safe from the possibility that it might be used to bring about the kind of change that would redistribute wealth and power.

Two articles here that are not new but that both get at the university system, made poor by cutbacks in public funding, becoming dependent on the false generosity of the likes of the Koch brothers for staying solvent, sometimes rather flush.  That donor money does not influence decision making is something hardly anyone can believe anymore, particularly after the cash for admission scandal that the involvement of show biz people brought to the attention of the general public.

The cheating goes far beyond and far deeper to far darker places than revealed when these folk were caught out.  It goes to the heart of what universities are about, what the work of the university is—finding truths or, instead, giving prominence to lies and falsehoods donors prefer to have told.

List of Supported Colleges 

This is list colleges and universities to which the Charles Koch Foundation contributes money.  It is published by the Foundation.

Documents show group sought control over hiring at Florida State

This is an article published by the Center for Public Integrity in 2014 titled “Koch Foundation Proposal to College: Teach our Curriculum, Get Millions.  It was updated in 2018.

The system is about scams, its goodness a sham.


This is not an isolated case in the context of our capitalistic system but a normal aspect of its functioning, the con a respected member of the community if he or she can stay within the law that, because it is so well influence by the successful cons, works well to shield cons by legalizing the game.  Some do “game” the system but most of the successful  play the game by rules they have helped to write, their right to write a privilege of wealth.  These people are often contributing members of their communities, supporting the little league and hosting parties for those in or wanting to hold political office.  Their wealth buys them respectability and they become a part of that echelon of community that defines what is respectable.

And so goes the American democracy, a political system that the public is taught to respect even though it produces the scams that bilk them out of the pay they may be allowed to earn.  The confidence men are everywhere and children are taught to have confidence in them and the system they have co-opted.  It all works well, deception respected as clever and deceit as the path to success.




“Biden, who was the ranking Democrat on the committee from 1981 to 1987, and then chaired it until 1995, continued on this trajectory: shaping many of the laws that would in a sense recreate LEAA and institutionalize a federal drug war. A number of the priorities from the 1982 Biden-Thurmond bill would eventually become law. Biden shaped the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984, which curtailed access to bail; eliminated parole; created a sentencing commission; expanded civil asset forfeiture; and increased funding for states. Biden helped lead the push for the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which lengthened sentences for many offenses, created the infamous 100:1 crack versus cocaine sentencing disparity, and provided new funds for the escalating drug war. Eventually, with his co-sponsorship of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, his long-sought-after drug czar position was created. These and other laws lengthened sentences at the federal level and contributed to an explosion of federal imprisonment — from 24,000 people locked up in 1980 to almost 216,000 in 2013. In short, these laws increased the likelihood that more people would end up in cages and for longer.”


The cozy relationship with Strom Thurmond should not be over looked, nor the fact that the Biden backed crime crusade became a vehicle for locking up people of color, getting them off the streets so white people would feel more comfortable.  He could have been working to find solutions to the societal problems that were the cause of rising crime but those societal problems–a capitalist system in a racist society–actually benefited the system and those who benefitted from it.

Traitorous View but What of Hong Kong. Really

Hong Kong. Pro-democracy movement.  People there asking for Donald Trump’s support and singing American patriotic songs.  Months now of demonstrations.  Protesters stopping the operations at airport.  No massive action by Chinese government to put down the revolt. American press trying its best to put a positive spin on the demonstrators’ actions and insistence that what is being seen is a movement for democratic rule against a tyrannical and oppressive government that wants to control the people of Hong Kong as it does, repressively, those on the Chinese mainland.  Well Americans, China is not, intentionally, a western democracy—writ capitalist nation that advertises itself as democracy when is really a place where money buys policy, by the wealthy and for the wealthy at the expense of all others.  The Chinese government readily makes transparent the fact that it is one party that makes decisions for the state and that the good of the state is the most important factory in the decisions the one party makes.  The basic assumption is that a good state is good for the whole of the people and, for that good, individuals have to cede some degree of individual freedom.  People cannot do whatever they want and if they want to do things that are not in the best interests of the state and the people who are its beneficiaries, they will not be allowed to do what they want.

Indeed, the system that is the communist system of China limits individual freedom.  The system that is the “democratic” system of the United States of America allows some individuals to limit the freedom of other individuals and, it has to be obvious that a those with the power to influence policy most very often care not about the consequences of what they do for the great numbers of people affected by the decisions they are allowed to help make because wealth in America can buy power, the power to decide such things as the quality of life others will be allowed to live.

The American media, as is the American government, condemning the Chinese government for not allowing the Hong Kong demonstrators to have their way.  There is reporting that hints at—can only hint at—forceful response by the Chinese government.  What they are able to show is police on the streets and police using force—not deadly force—to restore order.  This is shown to be a brutal reaction to people whose only desire is to be free. I ask, how many hours would demonstrators in the USA be allowed to occupy a public airport or close down the core business area of a major American city?  Brutal reaction?

And what about the life the Chinese government, as authoritarian as it is made out to be, allowits people?  Has life gotten better or worse for the average Chinese citizen over the course of the last 25 years?  Talk to Chinese living in China and the answer will be a whole lot better.  Is it good enough?  Not really?  Why? Because there is room from improvement—not all works as well as people would like it to work.  But the direction things are going, this is being celebrated.  The direction things are going in the United States?  Consider what you would have to say if you were to be honest.

Lastly, that history of Hong Kong, the British Colony.  How should that figure into our assessments of what is going on in Hong Kong?  Another piece about this later.




The difference between B. Sanders and most other politicians IS his consistency and being consistently on the right side of things in regard to the major issues with which citizens should be concerned. The is consistent because he is principled and his principles are embedded in his humanism, a deep and abiding concern for the welfare of his fellow human beings. Such principles cause one to know what is and is not negotiable and such a one as he is open to being asked “why” and replying with answers made righteous by those principles. He IS very much unlike the too many others who FIND principles to suit their particulars and, often times, those particulars are not particularly principled…or humane. He is a profoundly different kind of candidate and, while he should be well loved by all, in our current American society, he is feared by most. Those who fear him should consult their principles.

Red flags flying. Severe danger. Who will heed the warnings?

Trump uses Sharpie to redraw weather map so that he can show that one of his false statements, a product of his profound ignorance regarding areas of knowledge with which a president should be familiar–with which he or she should become familiar as president–is not false.  Big deal, really, because it gets at how flawed a being the guy who is the nation’s leader really is, something most sane people already know.

But when, to satisfy this dangerous fool, government agencies screw with vital information and support his false claims, the danger is severe, the ability of sensible people to believe in what those agencies say undermined.  So where, then, do those who care to know the truth go.  What repository of fact is there to consult?  None!  And so those once trust worthy sources can be distrusted or trusted as much as other sources that are known to distort and lie.  NOAA and other government agencies are no better or worse than Fox News.

And with this, with fact and truth and deception and lies all being offered as possible truths, there is not truth and lies are as likely to guide decisions as the truth.

The pressure this administration is putting on government agencies to tell the public what it wants the public to believe true, no matter how false, no matter how dangerous, is great and the NOAA case shows that Trump and his people are succeeding in making agencies part of a presidential propaganda machine.  No checks and the nation is out of balance.  We are out of balance and ever closer to a devastating fall.