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Full speaker list released for FREE SPEECH WEEK at UC Berkeley

Milo Yiannopoulos confirmed Thursday a full list of speakers scheduled to appear at UC Berkeley during Free Speech Week from Sept. 24-27.

Full speaker list released for Free Speech Week at UC Berkeley

The organization originally intended to release the list of confirmed speakers slowly over a period of two weeks, but decided to release the entire list of names at once because reactions to the announcement of former White House chief strategist and Breitbart editor Steve Bannon’s confirmation were “so huge,” according to a press release issued Thursday by Yiannopoulos. Free Speech Week, a joint effort between Yiannopoulos and a conservative campus publication, The Berkeley Patriot, will encompass a variety of themes.

“Berkeley Free Speech Week will be an amazing experience for people of all viewpoints to come together in a festival environment and freely exchange ideas,” Yiannopoulos said in the press release.

The Berkeley Patriot, however, has been having some trouble confirming every speaker on the list, according to Berkeley Patriot news editor Pranav Jandhyala.

Yiannopoulos is scheduled to appear every single day. Other prominent speakers include Bannon; Ann Coulter, whose planned appearance at UC Berkeley fell through two days before; and right-wing InfoWars radio show host Mike Cernovich.

James Damore, the former Google employee who was fired recently for an internal memo mocking the company’s diversity policies, is also scheduled to speak on the second day, “Zuck 2020.”

According to campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof, however, the campus administration is currently unable to confirm a list of speakers. Only three of the speakers have contacted the campus or UCPD to make security arrangements, which is required for all campus events.

Additionally, rental fees for available indoor venues have not been paid, and no venue contracts have been signed.

“To date a number of key deadlines have been missed,” Mogulof said in an email. “While campus officials and venue managers are working diligently to assist the Berkeley Patriot group with its proposed events, the group’s failure to meet important deadlines is making it increasingly difficult to ensure a safe and secure program.”

Below is the list of speakers confirmed to speak on each day of the four-day-long event.

Sept. 24: “Feminism Awareness Day”

  • Miss Elaine
  • Lucian Wintrich
  • Lisa DePasquale
  • Chadwick Moore
  • Milo Yiannopoulos

Sept. 25: “Zuck 2020”

  • Heather Mac Donald
  • Monica Crowley
  • SABO
  • Professor Jordan Peterson
  • James Damore

Sept. 26: “Islamic Peace and Tolerance Day”

  • Michael Malice
  • Raheem Kassam
  • Katie Hopkins
  • Erik Prince
  • Pamela Geller
  • David Horowitz
  • Milo Yiannopoulos

Sept. 27: “Mario Savio is Dead”

  • Mike Cernovich
  • Charles Murray
  • Ariana Rowlands
  • Stelion Onufrei
  • Alex Marlow
  • Milo Yiannopoulos
  • Steve Bannon
  • Ann Coulter

The time and location of these events will be released next week, according to Yiannopoulos’s press office.

Source:  DailyCal.org.  We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.

Free Speech is Necessary

The right to freedom of speech is the hallmark of the American democratic experiment. The United States was the first nation to guarantee an individual’s right to speak freely and openly about one’s thoughts and ideas. It was, and remains, a radical concept. Today, speech is constantly restricted — even in the most democratic of societies. And it appears as if the restrictions that chain free speech are beginning to wash upon our shores as well.

The events in Charlottesville, Va. were, quite clearly, an egregious and despicable act of hatred, bigotry and racism. Any sensible person would agree that the actions taken by the radical neo-Nazis and white nationalists that occupied Charlottesville’s streets represent all that is wrong and evil with our society. However, even these radicals have a right to free speech.

Obviously, I would rather that these deranged lunatics keep their mouths shut and mind their own business. It would be ideal if those who harbor the most deplorable of thoughts and philosophies were to just disappear and leave us all to live our lives in peace. Yet if we try to achieve this ideal by preventing freedom of expression, we risk running a very slippery slope.

If the government, or any body for that matter, has the ability to censor one group of people, a door is opened to future suppressions. The history of tyranny is laden with examples of governments removing freedoms of expression from fringe groups, and then using such removals as justification for steadily removing the freedoms of more and more groups. In essence, the protection of a white nationalist’s freedom of speech is the protection of our own right to speak freely. But there are issues that are boiling that extend well beyond the range of white nationalism.

Free Speech is Necessary

Condoleezza Rice

In 2014, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was scheduled to speak at Rutgers University. Yet this decision greatly angered students, who were upset at Rice’s involvement in the Iraq War. As a result, students launched a massive — and ultimately successful — effort to pressure Rice to rescind the convocation invitation. This event marks one of the most troubling and disturbing attacks on freedom of thought and speech.

Surely most Americans agree that the Iraq War was an unmitigated disaster and a largely unnecessary conflict. And it is quite clear that as President Bush’s national security advisor, Rice played a role in facilitating American involvement in the region. Yet a poor policy decision does not discredit the ideas of an individual — especially an intellectual powerhouse such as Rice.

By forcing Rice to rescind Rutgers’s speaking invitation, the students at the university were essentially stating that anyone who does not align with their political views is not welcome to speak. And, unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. From Ann Coulter at Berkeley to Ben Shapiro at Cal State, college campuses across the nation are beginning to embrace these sorts of restrictions. If one does not possess the political views of the students, they are unwelcome to speak on their campus.

This philosophy is disturbing on a number of grounds. First of all, these refusals to listen to another person’s ideas and opinions carry a sort of medieval ignorance. Ostracizing those who do not adhere to the majority view is the sort of thinking that led to Galileo and Darwin’s rejection from society. Furthermore, refusing to listen to someone else’s ideas doesn’t make you principled — it makes you weak and insecure. Those who are truly grounded in their ideals and principles are those who truly understand the other side of the argument.

But perhaps the most concerning aspect of this philosophy is that further deepens the divide of this country. You may think that Ann Coulter and Ben Shapiro’s ideas are outlandish — but nearly half the country agrees with these people. By refusing to listen to their thoughts and ideas, you are effectively refusing to understand how the other half of this country thinks.

Yet this suppression of free speech is not just limited to college kids on liberal campuses — conservatives are just as guilty as liberals at silencing those they disagree with. Many conservatives seem to genuinely believe that American liberalism is a sort of disease. They believe that liberalism is an ideology whose sole purpose is to hurt hard-working Americans and benefit those who contribute nothing to society (think welfare recipients, college students and the unemployed). Because of this mentality, they too refuse to allow liberals to speak their mind.

As a moderate, I tend to see both sides of the argument. And as someone who personally knows a great deal of liberals and conservatives, I know for a fact that their hatred of one another is driven by their unwillingness to respect the other’s right to speak freely. Each side refuses to truly listen and understand the other side — and as a result, misinformation is spread and people get very, very angry. A fellow student in one of my classes once stated that people who are pro-life want to punish a woman for having sex; a conservative once tried to convince me that liberals want to let Muslims enter the country so that they can establish Sharia law. These utterly ridiculous, offensive and wrong claims are the product of a repression of a free and open dialogue. If civility is to return to our civic discourse, then freedom of speech — and the willingness to actually listen to others’ ideas — must reign as the core of our nation’s principles.

Michael Glanzel is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at mglanzel@cornellsun.com. Cornell Shrugged appears alternate Mondays this semester. 

Source:  CornellSun.com.  We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.

Americans Back Free Speech, Oppose SPLC Smears

A new public opinion survey conducted by McLaughlin and Associates reveals wide support among Americans for constitutional free speech over attempts to silence potentially “offensive” opinions. The revelation comes in the aftermath of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia in August, in which Antifa belligerents clashed with other extremists during a lawful protest, resulting in one woman’s murder.  Despite calls for censorship of what many on the Left consider “hate speech,” 85 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that “all Americans are entitled to free speech,” not “just some of us.” A nearly identical number (84.9 percent) regard “free speech as a fundamental right,” while only 9.3 percent hold that “it should be restricted if it offends some people.”

Americans Back Free Speech, Oppose SPLC Smears

But too many still support the violent hate group Antifa.

Worryingly, however, are the poll’s findings on Antifa, or “anti-fascist action”—a far-left network of anarchic terrorists responsible for attacks on conservative and mainstream groups across the country. While 63 percent of respondents oppose Antifa in the wake of the bloodshed in Charlottesville, 21 percent voiced their support for the group. Broken down demographically, support for Antifa was both strongest and most divided among self-identified liberals—42 percent in support, 44 percent opposed. Support was weakest among self-identified moderates (60 percent oppose) and conservatives (80 percent opposed).

Many prominent figures on the Left have refused to denounce Antifa – even after the Department of Homeland Security labeled their activities “domestic terrorist violence.” Some have even endorsed the movement, such as radical activist Shaun King, a vocal supporter of Black Lives Matter. As CRC’s Jake Klein notes,

“Mainstream figures endorsing AntiFa potentially represents a major turning point towards the acceptability of political violence. While it’s true that AntiFa fought against violent white supremacists in Charlottesville, most previous violence from them has been directed against much more moderate figures.”

Americans Back Free Speech, Oppose SPLC Smears

The survey also finds that a plurality of Americans (42.8 percent) oppose Internet companies’ use of a “hate group” list compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), compared to 31.8 percent who support it.

Founded to combat true hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis, the George Soros-funded SPLC has since turned its focus on aggressively targeting mainstream charities which disagree with its extreme ideology. By labelling organizations such as the Family Research Council—a Christian pro-life nonprofit—“hate groups,” the SPLC smears and censors legitimate outlets.

The SPLC’s slurs even inspired a gunman to storm the Family Research Council’s Washington, D.C. headquarters in August 2012, where he opened fire on employees. During an interview with the FBI, the shooter, Floyd Lee Corkins, stated:

“I wanted to kill the people in the building and then smear a Chick-fil-A sandwich in their face … to kill as many people as I could.”

Social scientist Charles Murray has also been a victim of SPLC-inspired violence. Earlier this year, Murray was assaulted by leftist students during a speech he gave at Middlebury College. Murray, who has been accused by the SPLC of promoting “racist pseudoscience” and white supremacism, was attacked by mask-wearing terrorists who decried his political views on the white working class. The students went so far as to grab the hair and twist the neck of the liberal professor, Allison Stanger, who attempted to shield Murray. Stanger was sent to the hospital for a neck brace.

Insert:  Free speech is under attack and we must preserve it for many generations to come.

Source:  CapitalResearch.org.    We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.

 

Independence Banners on Hong Kong University Campuses Spark Free Speech Row

A pro-independence banner campaign on the campus of one of Hong Kong’s most prestigious universities has sparked warnings that public calls for the city’s secession from China may be “seditious.”  Executive councillor and barrister Ronny Tong said students who put up large black banners reading “Independence for Hong Kong” on the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) campus could have “broken the law.”

Independence Banners on Hong Kong University Campuses Spark Free Speech Row

A large black banner reading “Independence for Hong Kong” hangs at Culture Square on the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) campus, in undated photo.

“There were student activities on the site, distributing pamphlets and there were other posters put up advocating the independence of Hong Kong,” Tong told government broadcaster RTHK.

“Such action has the risk of infringing section 9 of the Crimes Ordinance, which provides that if any publication is published with seditious intent then it may well be an offense.”

The banners reappeared on Tuesday after authorities at the university’s main campus, which saw one of the biggest student demonstrations during the student strike that launched the Occupy Central movement in 2014, took them down on Monday.

The removal of banners on the CUHK campus sparked the appearance of similar banners and posters on campuses across the city, including the University of Hong Kong, the Education University, City University and the University of Science and Technology.

On Tuesday, university officials warned students by letter that public talk of independence was a breach of Hong Kong’s miniconstitution, the Basic Law, and university regulations.

Freedom of speech

The student union has rejected the criticisms, saying students will defend their right to exercise freedom of speech.

“We are still looking for people who can stand guard over these banners and posters in Culture Square,” union leader Justin Au told journalists.

“We will try to persuade them, and to question the rational basis for trying to remove the banners in a place where students congregate,” he said. “However, we will do our utmost to prevent physical clashes of any kind.”

Former Occupy Central student leader Tommy Cheung said Tong’s claims made no sense, however.

“What law has been broken; they will have to say what law has been broken,” Cheung said. “Nobody has been charged over this, for just talking about Hong Kong independence … when there has been no concrete action.”

“Just discussing something doesn’t break the law, but this attempt to move the goalposts is very problematic,” he said. “Freedom of speech and the autonomy of the students’ union are inviolable, regardless of their stance [on independence].”

Hong Kong University student union leader Wong Ching Tak said CUHK had overreacted.

“Regardless of whether or not you support the idea of Hong Kong independence, I think it was important to take this action based on our support for universal values,” Wong said.

Traditional freedoms seen eroding

Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam, has vowed to fight “pro-independence forces” in the city and begin fostering a sense of Chinese identity among very young children, sparking fears that she will try to brainwash them into loyalty to the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

Lam, who took office on the 20th anniversary of the July 1, 1997 handover to Chinese rule, said her administration would “strictly” enforce existing law, which she said bans “pro-independence behavior.”

Recent opinion polls by the University of Hong Kong found that 37 percent of respondents identified as Hongkongers, and 21 percent as Chinese, while others chose more ambiguous options like “Hongkongers in China” or “Chinese in Hong Kong.”

But only 3.1 percent of the 18-28 age group said they identified as Chinese, the lowest result since the poll began in 1997.

And a recent opinion poll commissioned by the pro-Beijing group Silent Majority for Hong Kong showed that while more than 70 percent of respondents overall strongly supported Beijing’s view that independence for the city will never be an option, only 51 percent of people aged 18-29 agreed with the Communist Party’s position.

Some 43 percent said they disagreed.

In June, Zhang Xiaoming, the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s envoy to the city, warned that young Hong Kong people would be unable to realize their life goals if they were “led astray” by such ideas.

Hong Kong was promised a “high degree of autonomy” and the continuation of its existing freedoms of speech, association and publication under the terms of the 1997 handover to China.

But a string of legal interpretations by China’s parliament of the Basic Law, as well as cross-border detentions of five Hong Kong booksellers, have left many fearing that the city’s traditional freedoms, and its judicial independence, have been seriously eroded.

Source:  Rfa.org.  We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.

James Madison’s Lesson on Free Speech

For the people to rule wisely, they must be free to think and speak without fear of reprisal.  Those that disagree with free speech and free thought should be fought with more free speech and free thought.
James Madisons Lessons on Free Speech
The broad middle of this country seems caught between a rock and a hard place. On the far left, the “Antifa” movement has taken to protesting — often quite violently — ideas that do not conform to their transitory notions of social justice. On the other extreme, the alt-right has become indistinguishable from white-supremacist and neo-Confederate movements that have their origins in the seedy underbelly of American political history.
In light of this, it is seductive to question the utility of free speech. After all, speech is not entirely free in Europe. There are certain views you are prohibited from publicly expressing there, and they seem to have well-functioning democracies. Why must we hold to such an absolutist view? Are we not giving aid and comfort to the opponents of the republic by allowing them to utter such vile words? Is it not wiser to leaven the First Amendment with a prudent disregard for the fringes?
If we understand free speech in purely liberal terms — i.e. as a self-evident right — then these questions seem to have merit. After all, we restrict other rights for the sake of the public welfare. Most of them can be taken away, so long as it is done so with “due process.” And the process that is due, in many respects, is conditioned by the political, social, and economic climate of the day. Why not speech?
But the First Amendment is not merely an expression of liberal freedom, but of republican freedom as well. The liberal conception of liberty defines it as absence of government interference from your life — or, in its 20th-century evolution, liberty means that the government provides for a certain standard of living. But the republican notion of liberty is different. A free republic is one in which people are governed by laws that they themselves have a hand in making. From this perspective, freedom of speech needs to remain nearly absolute.
To appreciate this, consider the efforts of the man most responsible for the Bill of Rights, James Madison.
Madison was not so much the author of the Bill of Rights, but its editor. He was initially opposed to the project; the structure of the Constitution offered sufficient protection for civil liberty, he thought, and he feared that an enumeration of rights would imply a limitation to them. But the ratifying conventions in many states had approved the Constitution, with suggested revisions. Madison, who viewed these conventions as tribunes of the popular will, took their recommendations seriously. As George Washington’s de facto prime minister during the first session of the First Congress, he refined the wide array of proposals into what ultimately became the Bill of Rights.
In The Federalist Papers, Madison can come across as deeply suspicious of popular government. In Federalist No. 10 he bemoaned the “violence of faction” and sought to design a government that can corral the inherently selfish passions of humanity. In Federalist No. 51, he added checks and balances as “auxiliary precautions” to further thwart misrule.
Yet this is only one side of the Madisonian coin. Admittedly, he wanted to slow the tempo of government down to a crawl, to prevent fractious majorities from railroading minority rights and undermining the public welfare. But he also hoped to promote a robust intercourse of sentiments, so that — in due course — public opinion would cohere around principles of justice and the general welfare. Government had to move slowly and cautiously, but public discourse should be vigorous and unfettered.
“Public opinion,” he wrote in the National Gazette, in December 1791, “sets bounds to every government, and is the real sovereign in every free one.” But in a large republic such as the United States, it is “less easy to be ascertained, and . . . less difficult to be counterfeited.” It was thus key, he argued, to facilitate “a general intercourse of sentiments,” which included roads and commerce, as well as “a free press, and particularly a circulation of newspapers through the entire body of the people.”
In Madison’s view, a free republic depends ultimately upon public opinion. A Constitution could divide power this way and that, but in the end it is the people, and only the people, who rule. And for the people to rule wisely, they have to be able to communicate with one another — freely, without fear of reprisal. Thus, freedom of speech and press were not, for Madison, merely God-given rights. They were preconditions for self-government.
Conversely, Madison believed that those who sought to restrict speech revealed themselves to be opponents of republicanism. They wished to prevent public opinion from cohering, thus making it easier to counterfeit. This is why Madison and Thomas Jefferson — Jefferson himself was a staunch republican — reacted so strongly to the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, which restricted immigration and made it a crime to print “libelous” comments about government officers. Madison and Jefferson’s Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions called for state intervention to correct the abuses of the government (for Madison this implied “interposition,” but for Jefferson it could include “nullification”). Decades later, their resolves would be repurposed for the cause of secession, but they were actually an effort to prevent the Federalist party under John Adams from undermining the very basis of the national republic itself.
Madison’s tenure as president — 1809 to 1817 — has come in for a good bit of criticism over the years. It was, in many respects, an unspectacular administration, in no small part because of the disappointments of the War of 1812. But it is easy to overlook that although Madison was managing a relatively unpopular and difficult conflict, he did not sanction the abridgement of civil liberties. On the other hand, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin Roosevelt — all of whom tend to score higher in historical rankings — did not show such restraint. This speaks well of Madison’s commitment to the importance of free speech.
None of this means that we should excuse the boorish and ignorant among us, those who seek to incite popular unrest for the sake of their small-minded prejudices. Instead, Madison’s commitment to free speech should serve as a reminder that, while people say things that we might find personally offensive, we should never wish the state to squash their right to do so. Our First Amendment freedoms combined — freedom of religion, of assembly and petition, of press and speech — give us the right to think what we like and say what we please. And if we the people are to govern ourselves, we must have these rights, even if they are misused by a minority.
As we confront those who use their right to free speech to abuse the norms of decency and civility, we should calmly recall Jefferson’s admonition from his first inaugural address. “If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.”
Source:  NationalReview.   We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.

A Handful of Tech Companies Decide Who Has Free Speech Online. That’s Not Good.

Conservatives and others outside the Silicon Valley consensus are right to be paranoid.  On August 18, statistics professor and researcher Salil Mehta discovered his Google account had been shut down. Not only did he lose access to his email, but his popular blog Statistical Ideas was inaccessible — right after The New York Times had linked to it, directing a stream of readers his way. Google’s automated message told Mehta that he had violated the Terms of Service, but didn’t specify how and offered little recourse.  Insert:  The tech giants do not have to provide any reasons for shutting you down whether related to free speech or not.

A Handful of Tech Companies Decide Who Has Free Speech Online. That's Not Good.

Too Easy?

The incident came soon after Google fired software engineer James Damore for his outspoken views on diversity in the tech industry. In the tense atmosphere, Mehta assumed that writing he had done about electoral politics was the cause. “Apparently if you show [p]robability work like Hillary having lower election odds, then this is new definition of hate speech,” he tweeted in frustration. Mehta’s plight went semi-viral after Ricardo Blanco, a Tesla communications manager and himself a former Google executive, signal-boosted Mehta’s complaint, as did bombastic economics author Nicholas Nassim Taleb.

Like Damore, who saw himself as merely presenting scientific data showing differences between populations, Mehta did not think of himself as an ideological bomb-thrower. He told ZeroHedge, “I am not promoting any specific viewpoint. I teach probability math and that’s it.”

Mehta was lucky. The public outcry and press attention prompted Google to manually review his case. A Google spokesperson told Inc. that Mehta mistakenly marked some of his own email as spam, which confused the algorithm and triggered the shutdown. By August 21, the account had been fully restored.

It could have turned out differently. Without his impressive credentials and far-reaching network, Mehta never would have found out why his Google account was shut down. He wouldn’t have been able to access his correspondence or restore his blog, which he says has been read by the likes of Elon Musk and Warren Buffett.

After regaining access to his blog, Mehta published an out-of-character post. Instead of talking about math, Mehta discussed the societal danger posed by artificial intelligence. He pointed out that algorithms constructed by ideologically homogenous groups will reflect that homogeneity — an argument that is common among technology critics and activists of all political persuasions.

“Risk-taking off the backs of billions of citizens, an increasingly unstable segment of whom are fuming at the moment,” Mehta called the practice.

Mehta’s experience with Google illustrates just how little some of us trust our digital gatekeepers. Anyone who is right of center — or otherwise holds views that don’t jibe with the dominant Silicon Valley paradigm — can’t help but feel antsy in 2017. This anxiety exploded into public view last year after Facebook was rumored to be suppressing conservative articles in its “Trending Topics” module. People are worried about being no-platformed; about losing their ability to advocate for themselves and their communities.

“Despite their participatory rhetoric,” media critic John Herrmann wrote in The New York Times, “social platforms are closer to authoritarian spaces than democratic ones.” Users have no ability to vote in new CEOs, and the shareholders who do are more concerned with earnings and dividends than free speech rights. Your whole life could be tied up in an account, and then a fluke mistake could get you banned. There would be nearly nothing you could do about it. Unless you’re prominent enough for the media to care, you’ll be hard-pressed to get human eyes on your case.

Tech companies that offer free consumer products get away with promising very little to their users. Due process is not part of the deal. Platforms like Google and Facebook go through the rigmarole of establishing official policies, but they can break them arbitrarily whenever they want. The backend infrastructure of the internet, made up of hosting companies and DNS registrars, is also governed by what boils down to whim.

Sometimes the affectation is broken. Cloudflare’s CEO Matthew Prince caused a stir when he reversed the company’s policy of content neutrality in order to ax a neo-Nazi site. In a sorry-not-sorry email to Cloudflare staff, Prince wrote, “Literally, I woke up in a bad mood and decided someone shouldn’t be allowed on the internet.”

To his credit, Prince recognized his exercise of power as problematic and attempted to use it as a teachable moment. “Firing a Nazi customer gets you glowing notes from around the world, thanking you for standing up to hate,” he subsequently noted in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. “But a week later, I continue to worry about this power and the potential precedent being set. The reality of today’s internet is that if you are publishing anything even remotely controversial, your site will get cyber-attacked. Without a massive global network similar to Cloudflare’s, it is nearly impossible to withstand the barrage.”

Prince added, “The upshot is that a few private companies have effectively become the gatekeepers to the public square — the blogs and social media that serve as today’s soapboxes and pamphlets. If a handful of tech executives decide to block you from their services, your content effectively can’t be on the internet.”

Conservative writer David French critiqued Prince’s decision in National Review, and came to the same conclusion:

“This was an ominous development for free speech — and not because there is anything at all valuable about The Daily Stormer’s message. It’s an evil site. Its message is vile. Instead, The Daily Stormer’s demise is a reminder that a few major corporations now have far more power than the government to regulate and restrict free speech, and they’re hardly neutral or unbiased actors. They have a point of view, and they’re under immense pressure to use that point of view to influence public debate.”

Everyone is on edge. Even rote decisions made by algorithms — like the one that booted Salil Mehta from his Google account — are easy to interpret as ideology-driven malice. In most cases, users are disenfranchised to the extent that they’ll never find out either way.  Talk about free speech rights being stompled by Big Tech.

Source:  Inc.  We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.

 

After melees, Berkeley mayor asks Cal to cancel right-wing Free Speech Week

In the aftermath of a right-wing rally Sunday that ended with anarchists chasing attendees from a downtown park, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin urged UC Berkeley on Monday to cancel conservatives’ plans for a Free Speech Week next month to avoid making the city the center of more violent unrest.

After melees, Berkeley mayor asks Cal to cancel right-wing Free Speech Week

 

“I don’t want Berkeley being used as a punching bag,” said Arreguin, whose city has been the site of several showdowns this year between, on the one hand, the left and its fringe anarchist wing, and on the other, supporters of President Trump who at times have included white nationalists.

“I am concerned about these groups using large protests to create mayhem,” Arreguin said. “It’s something we have seen in Oakland and in Berkeley.”

The mayor wants UC Berkeley to halt plans by a conservative campus group, the Berkeley Patriot, to host right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos during its scheduled Free Speech Week from Sept. 24-27. Berkeley’s right-vs.-left cage matches began with an appearance that Yiannopoulos was to have made in February at a campus hall, an event that was aborted when black-clad anarchists like those who broke up Sunday’s downtown rally stormed into Sproul Plaza, smashed windows and set bonfires.

Trump himself denounced UC Berkeley in a tweet the next day, and his supporters have since made a point of bringing their fight to the famously liberal college town.

There have been reports that the Berkeley Patriot is also trying to lure ousted White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and right-wing commentator Ann Coulter to appear on campus during its Free Speech Week. Bryce Kasamoto, a spokesman for the group, said Monday, “We are still working out the logistics of this event with the university and law enforcement. Once we have worked out final specifics, we will be able to confirm speakers for Free Speech Week.”

Arreguin is wary of the whole idea.

“I’m very concerned about Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter and some of these other right-wing speakers coming to the Berkeley campus, because it’s just a target for black bloc to come out and commit mayhem on the Berkeley campus and have that potentially spill out on the street,” Arreguin said, referring to militants who have also been called anti-fascists or antifa.

The anti-Yiannopoulos protesters inflicted $100,000 worth of damage to the school’s student union in February before taking to the streets of Berkeley, where several businesses’ windows were smashed. Arreguin said inviting the former Breitbart News editor and other right-wing speakers was setting up a possible repeat of that destruction.

“I obviously believe in freedom of speech, but there is a line between freedom of speech and then posing a risk to public safety,” the mayor said. “That is where we have to really be very careful — that while protecting people’s free-speech rights, we are not putting our citizens in a potentially dangerous situation and costing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars fixing the windows of businesses.”

UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said the university is working with the Berkeley Patriot to come up with a time and location for Yiannopoulos’ appearance. He emphasized that UC Berkeley wasn’t the one extending the invitation, but that “we have neither the legal right nor ability to interfere with or cancel (students groups’) invitations based on the perspectives and beliefs of the speakers.”

“Where we do have discretion is around everything that has to do with the safety of our communities, and the well-being of those who may feel threatened or harmed by what some of these speakers may espouse,” Mogulof said. “We can assure you that those priorities, along with our commitment to free speech, remain at the center of our planning and priorities.”

Also on tap for next month is a campus appearance by Ben Shapiro, another former Breitbart News editor, who is scheduled to speak Sept. 14 at the 1,900-capacity Zellerbach Hall. His appearance is sponsored by Berkeley College Republicans.

Shapiro told The Chronicle last week that he would welcome anyone who wanted to protest his appearance, but that “I’m actively telling people not to show up to defend my free speech. That’s the police’s job.”

UC Berkeley is charging the organizers of Shapiro’s appearance $15,000 for the campus’ security costs.

Source:  SFchronicle.  We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.

San Francisco shuts down ‘free speech’ group

Protesters opposing a right-wing gathering in liberal San Francisco claimed victory Saturday when the event was canceled after city officials walled off a city park — a move that the event’s organizer said was more about silencing his group’s free speech message than preventing a violent clash.

San Francisco shuts down 'free speech' group

Civic leaders in San Francisco — a cradle of the free speech movement that prides itself on its tolerance — repeatedly voiced concerns that the event organized by Patriot Prayer would lead to a clash with counter-demonstrators.

Joey Gibson, who is Japanese American and leads Patriot Prayer, said his group disavows racism and hatred and wanted to promote dialogue with people who may not share its views. He canceled a planned rally Saturday at a field under the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge after he said his members received anonymous threats on social media and feared civic leaders and law enforcement would fail to protect them.

He said Saturday in a phone interview that he felt like San Francisco’s Democratic leaders had shut him down.

Earlier in the week, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee raised concerns that Patriot Prayer would attract hate speech and potential violence.

Gibson and other scheduled speakers at the rally said at a news conference that Lee wrongly labeled them a hate group, needlessly raising tensions and stirring emotions in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Lee defended his characterization of the group and the city’s response, which included ordering all available police officers to duty.

He said that “certain voices” will find it difficult to be heard in San Francisco, and that people who want to speak need to have a message that “contributes to people’s lives rather than find ways to hurt them.”

U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, a fellow Democrat who represents San Francisco, called the planned rally a “white supremacist” event.

“They’re definitely doing a great job of trying to make sure my message doesn’t come out,” Gibson said.

San Francisco officials closed the park where Gibson had planned a news conference after cancelling the rally at Crissy Field. City officials surrounded Alamo Square park with a fence and sent scores of police officers — some in riot gear — to keep people out. Mayor Ed Lee defended the city’s response.

“If people want to have the stage in San Francisco, they better have a message that contributes to people’s lives rather than find ways to hurt them,” Lee said. “That’s why certain voices found it very difficult to have their voices heard today.”

Gibson later spoke in suburban Pacifica with a handful of supporters that included African Americans, a Latino and a Samoan American. Several said they support President Trump and want to join with moderates to promote understanding and free speech.

More than 1,000 demonstrators against Patriot Prayer still turned out around Alamo Square Park waving signs condemning white supremacists and chanting, “Whose streets? Our streets!” Hundreds of others took to the streets in the Castro neighborhood.

“San Francisco as a whole, we are a liberal city and this is not a place for hate or any sort of bigotry of any kind,” Bianca Harris said. “I think it’s a really powerful message that we’re sending to people who come here to try to spew messages of hate that it’s just not welcome in this city.”

Benjamin Sierra, who organized counter protesters, said the demonstration had become a “victory rally.”

Lee said Saturday’s protests against a right-wing “freedom rally” (insert:  free speech rally) that never happened were peaceful celebrations of love.

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said there was one arrest Saturday —for public intoxication.

The San Francisco Bay Area has nurtured freedom of speech, and police in San Francisco have traditionally given demonstrators a wide berth.

Student activism was born during the 1960s free-speech movement at Berkeley, when thousands of students at the university mobilized to demand that the school drop its ban on political activism.

However, the deadly confrontation in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 12 during a rally of white supremacists led San Francisco police and civil leaders to rethink their response to protests.

Gibson had said his followers would attend an anti-Marxist rally on Sunday in Berkeley. But a short time later, the organizer of that rally, a transgender woman named Amber Cummings, called it off. The left-wing group By Any Means Necessary, which has been involved in violent confrontations, had vowed to shut down the event at Civic Center Park.

Asked Saturday whether he had any plans to go to Berkeley, Gibson said he would “analyze the situation.”

Berkeley police were planning for a number of contingencies, police spokeswoman Jenn Coats said in an email.

The city has banned a long list of items from the park, including baseball bats, dogs and skate boards. People at the park are also not allowed to cover their faces with scarves or bandanas.

Source:  TribLive.  We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.

73% Say Freedom of Speech Worth Dying For

Americans agree freedom of speech is under assault but strongly insist that they are prepared to defend that freedom even at the cost of their lives if necessary.

73% Say Freedom of Speech Worth Dying ForA new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that an overwhelming 85% of American Adults think giving people the right to free speech is more important than making sure no one is offended by what others say. Just eight percent (8%) think it’s more important to make sure no one gets offended. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

This shows little change from past surveying.  Eighty-three percent (83%) think it is more important for the United States to guarantee freedom of speech than it is to make sure nothing is done to offend other nations and cultures.

Seventy-three percent (73%) agree with the famous line by the 18th century French author Voltaire: “I disapprove of what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it.” Only 10% disagree with that statement, but 17% are undecided.

Among Americans who agree with Voltaire, 93% rate freedom of speech as more important than making sure no one is offended. That compares to just 69% of those who disagree with the French author’s maxim.

The national survey of 1,000 American Adults was conducted on August 17 & 20, 2017 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Just 28% of Americans believe they have true freedom of speech today, and most think the country is too politically correct.

There is rare partisan agreement on freedom of speech. Most Americans regardless of political affiliation agree that they would defend someone’s right to say something even if they don’t agree with it, although Democrats are slightly less sure than Republicans and those not affiliated with either major party. The majority across the political spectrum also agree that free speech is more important than making sure no one’s offended.

Generally speaking, most adults across the demographic board agree. Blacks (65%) are just slightly less likely than whites (75%) and other minorities (73%) to say they’d defend to the death someone’s right to free speech if they don’t agree with them.

Men are more supportive of the statement that women are.

Voters rate freedom of speech as even more important than other basic constitutional rights such as religious freedom, freedom of the press and the right to bear arms.

After conservative pundit Ann Coulter was forced to cancel a planned speech at University of California, Berkeley, in the late spring following protests and threats of violence by some students. 44% of Americans said there is less freedom of speech on U.S. college campuses today than there has been in the past. Nearly half (47%) also believe most college administrators and professors are more interested in getting students to agree with certain politically correct points of view rather than in a free exchange of ideas.

In May, just 19% of voters felt that the United States should erase symbols of its past history that are out of line with current sentiments.

Despite calls by some politicians and the media for erasing those connected to slavery from U.S. history, voters strongly believe it’s better to learn from the past than erase it.

Just 20% of Americans say it is better for owners of social media like Facebook and Twitter to regulate what is posted to make sure some people are not offended.

Source:  RasmussenReports.   We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.

Free speech does not incite violence

The First Amendment is probably the most quoted and one of the most important amendments to many Americans. It includes freedom of religion, freedom of free assembly and freedom of speech (free speech). Unfortunately, we are discovering that a few people in this nation think that freedom of assembly and freedom of speech includes inciting actions of hate and violence.

Free speech does not incite violenceThe Daily Journal, Fergus Falls, Minnesota, under no circumstance, believes that with free speech comes violence. As a community newspaper, we hold the freedom of speech close and regard it with the utmost respect. Just this past Monday, along with over 200 Minnesota newspapers, The Daily Journal printed a blank front page. Without our readers and the content they provide us to cover, we wouldn’t have a paper. Without the freedom of speech, we would not be able to feature the stories that inform, influence and touch our audience.

Having the freedom of assembly, freedom of speech and freedom of press allow us to stand up for what we believe is right, keep ourselves informed and provides a check and balance for those who are in power. One great benefit of the First Amendment is that it allows for a marketplace of ideas, beliefs and values. It diversifies our cultures and our politics. It is when individuals take the privileges of the First Amendment beyond its definition and twist it’s meaning that people believe free speech; freedom of assembly justifies violent acts.

A strong community can be built upon various opinions, ideas and values. We do not believe that the differences found in each other should be grounds to use that speech to discriminate, demean or intentionally harm others. Protest for a change in your government or community, counter protest and send letter to the editors. But don’t vandalize, don’t maim or hurt one another.

The Daily Journal is proud and grateful for the community it serves. We hope that any other communities, who find themselves affected by those who believe violence and hatred is the answer, will find the strength and perseverance to stand in the face of that violence and let their voices and actions ring out for justice and respect.

Source:  FergusFallsJournal. We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.