The University Of California Berkeley: Will Not Tolerate ‘Free Speech’ If You Don’t Agree With Their Views?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

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Ann Coulter in February. After the cancellation was announced on Wednesday, Ms. Coulter posted a Twitter message that “no school accepting public funds can ban free speech.” CreditChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

SAN FRANCISCO — The University of California, Berkeley, on Wednesday canceled a scheduled speech by the conservative author Ann Coulter, in the latest blow to the institution’s legacy and reputation as a promoter and bastion of free speech.

University administrators said in a statement that they could not allow Ms. Coulter to speak because of active security threats. In a letter to the Berkeley College Republicans, which was sponsoring the speech, two university vice chancellors said the university had been “unable to find a safe and suitable venue for your planned April 27 event featuring Ann Coulter.”

The letter, written by Scott Biddy, the vice chancellor, and Stephen Sutton, the vice chancellor for student affairs, said it was “not possible to assure that the event could be held successfully — or that the safety of Ms. Coulter, the event sponsors, audience and bystanders could be adequately protected.”

After the cancellation was announced on Wednesday, Ms. Coulter posted on Twitter that “no school accepting public funds can ban free speech.”

With its reputation as one of the country’s most liberal universities, the campus and surrounding areas have become a target for small, militant and shadowy right-wing groups who in recent months have clashed with equally militant and shadowy anarchist groups based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

On Saturday, at the latest of these violent encounters, the police arrested more than 20 people. One video that went viral on social media showed a man identified as a member of a white supremacist group sucker-punching a woman who identified herself as an anarchist. These fight-club-type episodes, which have occurred both on campus and in the city of Berkeley, have escalated since the election of President Trump.

In February, a speech by the incendiary right-wing writer Milo Yiannopoulos, also sponsored by the College Republicans, was canceled after masked protesters smashed windows, set fires and pelted the police with rocks.

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Trump supporters clashed with protesters at a free speech rally in Berkeley, Calif., on Saturday.CreditElijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Dan Mogulof, a spokesman for the university, said the college regretted that it had become a magnet for militant groups. “It’s become an O.K. Corral of sorts for activists across the political spectrum,” Mr. Mogulof said.

The university, he said, was committed to having a diversity of voices on campus and was working with the police to reschedule Ms. Coulter’s appearance. “We are going to do whatever we can to make that happen at a time and a place when police can provide safety and security,” he said.

At a time of heightened polarization, Berkeley is not the only university struggling to balance free speech and security concerns. The police clashed with protesters on Tuesday outside an auditorium at Auburn University where the white nationalist leader Richard Spencer was speaking. The university had canceled the event on the grounds that it could turn violent, but a federal judge in Mongtomery, Ala., ruled that the speech should proceed because there was no evidence that Mr. Spencer advocated violence.

The episodes have become fodder for conservative critics. In February, after the cancellation of the event with Mr. Yiannopoulos, Mr. Trump posted on Twitter: “If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view — NO FEDERAL FUNDS?”

Both Ms. Coulter and the Young America’s Foundation, which books her college speeches, said they expected the event to proceed as planned. Spencer Brown, a spokesman for the Young America’s Foundation, which promotes conservative ideals, said in an email that Ms. Coulter’s lecture would proceed next week “whether Berkeley likes it or not.”

The violent clashes in Berkeley have presented a dilemma for the police, who say intervening has its own risks. Anarchist groups have for years appeared at protests in neighboring Oakland, punctuating peaceful demonstrations by smashing shop windows and attacking public buildings.

The Oakland police came under heavy criticism in 2011 after a protester, a former Army Ranger, was severely injured during a demonstration. The protester, Kayvan Sabeghi, said the police beat him with batons. He sued, and the City of Oakland agreed to pay $645,000 as part of a settlement.

The Berkeley campus gained national attention in 1964 as the center of a movement to expand political expression, which became known as the Free Speech Movement.

U.S. Government Targets Twitter User That Is Critical President Trump

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

The government is demanding to know who this Trump critic is. Twitter is suing to keep it a secret.

April 6 at 8:37 PM

U.S. government targets critical Twitter user

Twitter filed a federal lawsuit on April 6 to block an order by the U.S. government demanding that it reveal who is behind an account opposed to President Trump’s tough immigration policies. (Reuters)

Update: The U.S. government has withdrawn its request ordering Twitter to identify a Trump critic 

Twitter filed a lawsuit Thursday to block an order from the Department of Homeland Security that seeks to reveal the user of an account who has been critical of the Trump administration’s immigration policies.

Tweets from the account — @ALT_uscis — indicate that it is run by someone who is an employee of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services division of Homeland Security.

Free speech advocates said the DHS order appeared to be the first time the government has attempted to use its powers to expose an anonymous critic — a development that, if successful, would have a “grave chilling effect on the speech of that account” as well as other accounts critical of the U.S. government, Twitter said.

DHS is “unlawfully abusing a limited-purpose investigatory tool” to find out who is behind the @ALT_uscis account, according to Twitter’s court filings.

DHS spokeswoman Jenny Burke declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.

The case sets up a potential showdown over free speech between Silicon Valley and Washington, which has tussled over whether tech firms can resist government orders seeking the identity or personal information from criminals and suspected terrorists.

Apple, for instance, declined in early 2016 to unlock the phone of the shooter in San Bernardino, Calif., and has refused to build “back doors” that would enable law enforcement to break into smartphones. The move sparked a pitched battle between the company and the FBI, which eventually paid a private expert to unlock the device.

But the Homeland Security case struck free speech advocates as more remarkable because the information request was about the identity of a government critic, rather than public safety.

“Twitter has a pretty strong argument,” said Andrew Crocker, a staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “It does look and smell like the government is going after a critic. There’s nothing in the summons that CBP [Customs and Border Protection] sent to Twitter that authorizes this request under the power that they have.”

The @ALT_uscis account, which was created in January, has not held back in firing attacks against the Trump administration.

In a Jan. 26 tweet, the @ALT_uscis account tweeted: “Fact: More than 40% of illegal aliens in the US are Visa overstays from other developed countries not sounding like MEXICO #TheResistance.”

The account has also called attention to mismanagement in agency operations. In a March 12 tweet, it said that “USCIS turns down regularly private companies who propose collaboration to streamline the intake process, reducing costs and processing time.”

The account’s description stresses that its views are “Not the views of DHS or USCIS.” As of the time of the court filing, the account had been active for two months and amassed more than 32,000 followers. By 8:15 p.m., that figure had grown to more than 86,000.

In its court filing with the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California, Twitter said that DHS officials delivered an administrative summons to the social-networking site on March 14, via a CBP agent, demanding that the company provide records that would “unmask or likely lead to the unmasking” of the person or people behind the account.

Twitter maintains that CBP does not have jurisdiction to demand such information, which includes “names, account login, phone numbers, mailing addresses, and I.P. addresses,” associated with the account.

But its primary objection, the company said, is that allowing the government to unmask Twitter critics violates the Constitution’s First Amendment right to free speech. Twitter has defended its users’ rights to free expression — a position it has held for years, notably during the widespread Arab Spring protests in 2011. That right, the company said, is particularly important when discussing political speech.

“First Amendment interests are at their zenith when, as here, the speech at issue touches on matters of public political life,” the filing said.

Twitter added that it feared the government wants to punish the person or people responsible for the account. The summons, Twitter said, “may reflect the very sort of official retaliation that can result from speech that criticizes government officials and agencies.”

The company also has a lot at stake for its business, which could see a huge hit if anonymous users could suddenly be unmasked by the government. Unlike other social networks, Twitter allows its users to create accounts without publicly revealing their true identity.

This isn’t the first time Twitter has tangled with officials over its users’ personal information.

The company in 2012 appealed an order from the state of New York to reveal the identity of Occupy Wall Street protester Malcolm Harris. It lost that appeal. Twitter sued the Justice Department in 2014 for the right to make federal information requests for user data public. And it has lent its support to other companies’ fights against the government, including Apple’s opposition to the FBI order.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the user in the DHS case, expressed concern that the order is an attempt to curb free speech. “To unmask an anonymous speaker online, the government must have a strong justification,” ACLU attorney Nathan Freed Wessler said in a statement. “But in this case the government has given no reason at all, leading to concerns that it is simply trying to stifle dissent.”

ACLU said it plans to make its own filing in the court on behalf of the user in the next few days.

“It’s about the broader right to speak anonymously on the Internet,” said Esha Bhandari, an ACLU staff attorney.

The @ALT_uscis account is one of many “alternative government” accounts that have popped up since Donald Trump’s election. Accounts apparently run by employees (or former employees) of the National Park Service, the National Weather Service, the Labor Department and other agencies have appeared to question the Trump administration’s policies and fact-check its assertions
on a variety of topics.

The @ALT_uscis account didn’t respond to a tweet asking for comment on the suit, but was tweeting about the case and the account’s new followers.

Staff writer Craig Timberg contributed to this report

 

Freedom Of Religion: But What If A Religion Orderers It’s Followers To Kill All Politicians?

 

 

I used and extreme for the purpose of getting your attention, if you are reading this, it must have worked. No, I do not condone any violence except in the necessary need of self-defence.  But I am not most people, I’m just a broken down, old used to be Truck Driver. I can only comment on that which I know, or think that I know. For several decades I drove our Nation’s Interstates, Highways and back roads of the U.S. and Canada. You see people from all over Our Country as well as some visitors from other Countries. You see and you hear people in their own comfort zones. If you listen, you might get a pretty good idea on what people are thinking from all over our Country. Age, time, are they not supposed to give those of gray hair, wisdom, knowledge?

 

I got the idea for this article this evening from reading several news articles from around the World, some of those would be the BBC, CNN and Reuters. These articles were speaking of Free Speech and Freedom of Religion at the same time. Folks, is it possible for any country to have both at the same time? Somewhere there will become a boundary, a line that the human race must decide for itself that they will not allow to be crossed, in the name of Religion, or anything else. If a new Religion moved into your town, your State, your Country and they believed in eating small animals alive while they were being roasted on the fire, would that bother you? Would you join all of the local Animal Rights Groups? People would be outraged but would it continue to be allowed because it is being done in the name of a Religion?

 

O, wait, there is a compromise offer, the Religious Group agrees to quit eating all critters while they are still alive, if they will be allowed to have an open season on all Politicians, would you accept their offer? Are all things truly only able to be seen through the eyes of a true ‘Believer’? If in a Doctrine of a Religion, it’s very base fundamentals, teach, in fact they order, their followers to commit mass murder and to take the plunder. If you were a conscious observer would you not consider this ‘Group’ with its Charter, to be a ‘Terrorist Organization’? O, but wait, if this Organization says that they are protected, because they call it a Religion, when is it okay to arrest them if they are breaking lots of your other longstanding laws in the name of their religion?  There are a lot of  ‘Religions’ that are really nothing but Cults, some have only 20-30 members some have 5,000 members, some have a billion. Folks, countries like Germany and the Netherlands are fighting for their Nation’s Cultural Soul. When you load your house down with Rattlesnakes don’t act all shocked when you get yourself bit.

Voting For The Devil (Lucifer, i.e. Ted Cruz): No Free Speech Allowed Except Theirs

 

This week former Ohio Congressman and the Republican Speaker of The House of Representatives John Boehner referred to Texas Senator and Republican Presidential candidate ‘Lying Ted Cruz’ as “Lucifer in the flesh”. Late last year after the Pope visited America and Mr. Boehner whom is a Catholic got a few minutes with the Pope the next day announced that he was going to retire both from the Speaker-ship position and from the Congress. I believe that it was this same day that Mr. Boehner referred to Mr. Cruz as “the biggest asshole in the Congress”. It is in a sense the truth to say that they are from the same political party as Mr. Cruz is listed as a Republican as is Mr. Boehner yet that idea is really a fallacy because Mr. Cruz is really a member of ‘the Tea Party’ which constantly run their own candidates against sitting Republicans in the Republican primaries. I personally am a registered Independent voter who detest both of our country’s major political parties as being only self-serving and crooked to their core’s. During this Presidential election cycle both party’s have shown the world just how rigged both systems are toward any ‘outsider’ who would dare run for President against their party’s ‘establishment’ candidates.

 

The Republican primary debacle started with 17 people trying for their nomination with the vast majority of them being people who the ‘establishment’ could get behind. Now we are down to three men trying for that nomination. These three men, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Governor John Kasich of Ohio. The Republican Party hates the front-runner Mr. Trump with a passion mainly because he is not part of their ‘establishment’. Ted Cruz is loathed by basically every member of the Congress because quite frankly he is a lying fraud and a complete ‘asshole’ of a human being who dares to call himself a Christian when he is nothing but a hypocrite and the poster boy for Jesus’ term in Revelation of “luke warm water”. He is the type of person that is a disease toward Christianity as he tries to convince people that he is a good Christian example and that could not be further from the truth. The third candidate Mr. Kasich only has a chance to win the Republican nomination is if there is a contested convention this summer where the ‘Party’ refuses to give the nomination to the obvious people’s choice ‘via their vote’, Mr. Trump. The ‘delegates’ are freed up to vote for whomever they wish after the first vote if they reject Mr. Trump. Ted Cruz is under the ignorant belief that he then would win the nomination being he is second in line on that totem-pole. Folks, that will not happen, pretty much everyone at that convention and all of the Republican brass will shun this hate-filled hypocrite. This would mean that either ‘the Party’ will give the nod to Governor Kasich or even drag up old meat like Mitt Romney whom most of the party insiders can’t stand either. Any which way you choose to look at the issue, this ‘convention’ is going to get very nasty this summer.

 

The last part of this post is going to be about issues involving the Donald Trump campaign. Mr. Trump who has never been a politician has said a lot of things that he would like to do that even if he became our President will never be able to do. This is because the Congress, the Supreme Court, and our Nations Constitution will never allow them to happen. So, I personally am not as worried as some people are about Mr. Trumps rhetoric because it will not come to pass.

 

This is where I am going to come down hard on the people (mostly democratic leaning folks) who feel they have the right to riot anywhere Mr. Trump is scheduled to speak. These people just like all people in America are supposed to have the right of ‘free speech’. But what they nor anyone else have the right to do is to physically try to shut down Mr. Trumps rallies/speeches. Even if they hate the man and or hate some of his ideas that will never happen like ‘the wall’ along our Nations southern border with Mexico, they do not have the ‘right’ to stop his or anyone else right to speak. The case here is by far mostly applauded by leading Democrats like the poster girl for habitual liars, Hillary Clinton. Our Country’s main stream media is always very bias against anyone who doesn’t tow the mark for the Democrats leaderships wishes. People like Ms. Clinton and these hypocrites and thugs that obviously endorse these actions of ‘uncivil disobedience’ only agree with the term ‘free speech’ when it is they whom are doing the talking.

Prince Charles, Free Speech, And Being Real

 

On my Google Homepage a day or so ago I read an article from USA Today that spoke of some letters that Prince Charles had written to various members of Government throughout the years. I am not from England and I have never been able to afford to travel there so I am not an expert on their Governments inner workings. For those of us who are not from the UK this is a case where evidently the Prince as a member of the Royal Family is not allowed to express his opinions on pretty much on any subject matter because in being who he is he must remain neutral on all subjects. People, how would this even be possible for a person, any person, to never express their opinion, especially if you are in constant media glare like a person like Prince Charles is?

 

Evidently a Media source in the UK had filed suit under the freedom of closure type of act years ago to have these 27 letters released to the public. Prince Charles had fought their release because they were private letters. Personally I disagree with the final Court decision to release the letters because I agree with Prince Charles, they were private. My point is this, why should every citizen in the UK have freedom of their own speech but Prince Charles because he is a member of the Royal Family should have none? Also, how does a person go through life with no opinion at all on anything? Briton, is that what you really want? Do you want the members of the Royal Family to be totally muted? Do you really not have and interest in these people as to who they really are as people? What they really think as individuals on different subject matter? Their family is not able to enforce their will on any of you so why should they not be allowed to express their opinions in the same legal manner that every other citizen of the UK are allowed to do?

 

If these people can not feel free to express their opinions in private with others then are you not then guilty of insisting they follow an impossible course that you yourself can not abide to? Do you really want all of the Royal Family to be nothing but a photo shoot with a bunch of empty suits? If you want that, go visit the inner DC Beltway there is enough of that phoniness there to drown a Duck.

 

 

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