Monday, April 24, 2017

Thoughts On Recent News Stories

1-Conservative columnist Ann Coulter and I don’t agree often, but I just knew –when I wrote last week about how today’s students do not understand free speech and what it means---and used the Berkeley campus at Cal as my main example, that she would be next. Sure enough, students there threatened a riot if she was allowed to speak. The university buckled, then relented and said she could talk at another time and place. Ms. Coulter demurred, and may sue...and UC still doesn’t understand what Free Speech or Academic Freedom means.
You may get a better idea from 2 recent books: "Free Speech: 10 Principles for a connected World," by Timothy Ash; Yale U press, and even more so from “The Soul of the First Amendment," Floyd Abrams, also Yale Press. Mr. Abrams, a long time Free Speech stalwart, was also the counsel for the big corporations who won the Citizens United case...a rare fall from grace—but that’s my opinion, and that’s what the First Amendment is all about.
2—America is not the only country having problems with these issues—the individual vs. Society. Australia, a country entirely descended from immigrants, (except of  course for the original inhabitants who the newcomers pushed out) is about to revise its test for new citizens in a way  designed to keep immigrants out, especially Muslims.
Vice-president Pence just visited Australia, as part of his Pacific tour, assuring the PM there of our support---on foreign policy matters, but given the President’s views on such things, maybe on immigration, too.
3—on that same official state tour, Mrs. Pence got off Air Force 2 in Seoul wearing leggings. Some of you may remember that  before United Airlines dragged a Kentucky doctor off a plane for Louisville, it had turned away two young ladies who showed up for boarding wearing leggings.  Somehow I think Mrs. Pence would not have had any trouble.
4—And, as some wiser person said years ago, “the Past is always with us.”  Western Kentucky University's student government voted for reparations due to slavery and for “full and free access for all black people” and other groups. Is this carrying Political Correctness too far??? President Gary Ransdell said WKU will not follow the student resolution, but then he’s retiring soon.  Look for this topic to come up again and elsewhere in Kentucky.
5—Speaking of Kentucky’s history, some Lexington tv newswriter last week wrote of “the fictitious” Colonel Sanders.” Dead he may be, but “fictitious,"no. ...but it got on the air. One wonders how?
I'm just sayin'...

Monday, April 17, 2017

Political Correctness Vs. The First Amendment - Or Whatever Happened To Free Speech?

Back in my college days, centuries ago, I was involved in a number of liberal activities...but none compared to those wild eyed radicals at Berkeley and the University of California.
They were truly wild, and they claimed credit for starting the “Free Speech” movement on college campuses.
I’m not sure that was right because ever since universities arose, about the 13th century, the entire idea was to investigate all things, discuss all things, wonder about all things...and not let political, social, or financial pressures from governments, churches, donors, or the schools themselves thwart free inquiry. One must hear from ALL sides of an issue before answers---“truth”—could be found.
What a turnaround recently!  At Berkeley, students rioted, yes rioted, in opposition to an avowed conservative speaker, and in the name of PC and free speech. What crap. And this has been followed at many schools across the nation, including UK and elsewhere in Kentucky. Now we hear such “liberal” schools as Berea and Centre may have opposition to graduation speakers on the same grounds...we don’t want to hear their views.  Hardly academic freedom.
And not very “politically correct” when one considers the views of our Founding Fathers.
I stand with Thomas Jefferson, founder of the University of Virginia who said in a case involving some people suspected of the serious crime of treason,"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.”
That is true “free speech;”that is true “political correctness.”
I'm just sayin'...

Monday, April 10, 2017

The President Is Wrong; Senator Paul Is Right

Suppose North Korea fired a missile at our navy ships in the Sea of Japan; suppose a Russian sub off the East Coast fired a misile at Fort Dedrick, Md, where we culture and make nerve gases and germ warfare agents.
Wouldn’t we consider those acts of war?
In the same way, our firing missiles at Syrian matter what our justifiable outrage over nerve gas attacks on civilians—is an act of war by the US against another nation.
And the Constitution clearly and emphatically spells out how we declare war...ONLY by an act of Congress, not by another executive order by a president...who, like every member of Congress took an oath to uphold the Constitution.
Congress has failed in its oath, and legal obligation here for years, but when will it stop and when will “law and order” be restored???
Mr. Trump’s illegal act could lead to much worse consequences...such as more US “boots on the ground.”  Do we really want that?
Besides, it didn’t considerable cost to the taxpayers.  $60 million in Tomahawk missiles fired off, and within 24 hours the same airfield was up and running with Syrian and Russian jets taking off and bombing more Syrian citizens opposed to Assad.
Our “feel good” action may well come back to haunt us. Surprisingly, Russia has objected in terms far less than warlike and should be given some credit---for now. And Senator Paul’s quixotic foreign policy ideas were  right again...and even more so his plea to observe the Constitution.
Support of our Constitution should never be partisan.  I hope many of you will object to Rep. Barr and Sen. McConnell before the President gets the idea he can go further with his illegal foreign policy ventures...and the specter of atomic war once again threatens the it truly did not so long ago.
I'm just sayin'...