25 Sep

Episode 21 – Kneeling and Free Speech

It looks like we need to talk about the NFL Kneeling, college kids who don’t like Free Speech followed up by some typical nonsense from CA’s own Xavier Becerra.

USA Story – NFL Players Protest the National Anthem



  • During Sunday’s games, more than 200 NFL players knelt or sat during the national anthem in protest.
    • This was seemingly in response to President Trump’s tweets calling on NFL owners to suspend or fire players who sat or knelt during the anthem.
    • Several coaches and team owners joined in the protests, most notably the owners of Jaguars, Eagles, and Redskins.
    • All but two of the NFL’s 32 team owners and CEOs issued statements Saturday night and through Sunday in response to Trump’s crusade against protesting NFL players, which began in earnest during a rally Friday night in Alabama. After making a thinly veiled allusion to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who sparked a national debate by taking a knee before August 2016 preseason games to protest police violence against minorities, Trump called on NFL coaches to get the “son of a bitch” players off the field if they continued to kneel. The president repeated his call with no less intensity on Twitter on Saturday and Sunday morning.
  • Trump maintains that these protests show disrespect for both the country, the anthem, and the flag.
    • “NFL must respect this!” he wrote. “Many people booed the players who kneeled yesterday (which was a small percentage of total),” Trump wrote in a separate tweet. “These are fans who demand respect for our Flag!”
      • I get the feeling Trump is upset only because some in his base are upset. He’s made this entire thing way bigger than it would have been had he just ignored it. -Sean
    • NFL TV ratings and attendance at games has been declining in recent years. It isn’t explicitly known whether that has to do with the protests started by Colin Kaepernick or the changes to the rules to make the game safer, or some combination of the two.
  • Some fans at the games audibly booed the players and chanted for them to stand up.
  • Later in the day Sunday, Trump made more statements about the players and the protests.
    • “I think the owners should do something about it. It’s very disrespectful to our flag and our country.”
    • He bristled at the suggestion that his comments had inflamed racial tensions, saying: “I’ve never said anything about race. This has nothing to do with race or anything else. This has to do with respect for our country, and respect for our flag.”
    • He claims that he doesn’t want his supporters to boycott the NFL, but at this point how can we believe him?
  • The flag and the anthem are just symbols — symbols that represent our country but that aren’t our country. We already don’t treat the flag with the respect that the US Flag Code outlines, as highlighted by a Huffington Post writer on Twitter.
    • https://twitter.com/koopa_kinte/status/911715530503057408
    • The anthem was a poem written by Francis Scott Key with questionable racial tones (if some of the critics of Key’s poem are to be believed) set to an old British drinking song. It’s an incredibly difficult song to sing. There are several other songs in the American folk tradition that would better suit an official national anthem than the Star Spangled Banner, such as America the Beautiful or America (My Country, Tis of Thee).


USA Story – US College Students Don’t Like Free Speech


  • In a survey conducted by John Villasenor of the Brookings Institute, 1/5 of college undergraduates believe the use of physical force to silence a speaker is justified if the speaker is making “offensive and hurtful statements.”
  • The responses to some of the survey questions were really telling and highlighted a disconnect between the next generation of college graduates and their understanding of the First Amendment. -Sean

Women Over Men

Democrats Shout

One in Five

  • The move to respond to hateful or offensive speech with violence or something akin to a heckler’s veto serves no real purpose. All it does is normalize those kinds of behaviors in response to speech you or a group doesn’t approve of. What happens when the speech you cherish suddenly becomes taboo? What happens when the tables are turned and you are threatened with violence because of something you say? Is that the standard you want to set? -Sean
  • The results don’t necessarily paint a dichotomic picture of Republican vs. Democrat / Conservative vs. Liberal in terms of their response to perceived hate speech. It had more to say about a generational approach to hate speech than anything. It also shows that far too many college students don’t actually know why the First Amendment is so important to a free and civil society.


California Story – UC Berkeley’s “Free Speech Week” Officially Cancelled


  • The conservative student group who had organized the event officially called off the four-day program on Saturday.
  • Milo Yiannopoulos claimed he will still show up to speak at Berkeley, despite the event being cancelled.
    • He and two other speakers showed up Sunday to speak to a crowd of about 150 students.
      • This appearance allegedly cost Berkeley around $800,000 in security fees.
  • Preparation for the event had run into several issues, such as missed deadlines to secure venues and guest speakers.
    • It’s been claimed (probably rightfully so) that this entire event was just a publicity stunt by the conservative student organization.
      • Several of the advertised speakers (such as Steve Bannon and Ann Coulter) claim neither they nor their representatives were contacted to set anything up.
      • This is why people don’t take college conservative student organizations seriously.
  • Lucian Wintrich, of the rightwing site Gateway Pundit and a scheduled speaker, told the Guardian organizers knew as long as a week ago the event could not proceed. “The entire thing is a complete disaster and unfortunately makes us all look very unprofessional,” he said. “It was completely mismanaged and they should have told people earlier this week it wasn’t happening rather than waiting until the last minute. Obviously, if the organizers of an event don’t actually organize an event, then the event won’t happen.”
  • Campus officials, to their credit, claimed they were preparing everything necessary for the event to occur, spending both time and money to organize security to “support the First Amendment rights of the student organization.”
    • The fact that security is necessary for speakers at college campuses is more of an indictment of the current Free Speech climate in this country than anything else.
  • As news of the event’s official cancellation spread on Saturday, some 300 protest marchers — dozens of them masked and some wearing hats of the anarchist “antifa” group — made their way peacefully up Telegraph Avenue toward the southern edge of campus. They were followed by at least a half dozen police cars.


California Story – Atty General Xavier Becerra Sues Trump Admin over Border Wall


  • California has sued the Trump Administration over the construction of a border wall (a recurrent promise in Trump’s presidential campaign) in San Diego and Imperial Counties.
    • The border wall lawsuit filed in a San Diego federal court alleges that Trump’s wall violates federal environmental standards, as well as constitutional provisions regarding the separation of powers and states’ rights.
    • The lawsuit asks a judge to stop the administration from building the wall until it demonstrates compliance with environmental laws, and issue an order that the Department of Homeland Security cannot waive any federal guidelines in order to facilitate the project.
  • It’s just going to be 4 years of this. Trump tries to do something and California sues over it.
  • Speaking of Xavier Becerra…


California Story – Judge Rules Atty General’s Title and Summary of Car Tax Repeal Initiative is “Misleading”


  • At a hearing Friday, Sacramento County Superior Court judge Timothy Frawley reiterated the preliminary opinion he issued earlier in the week, finding it problematic that the words “tax” and “fee” don’t appear in the title of the gas-tax repeal effort.
  • There had been questions about the impartiality of Xavier Becerra, a Brown appointee (after Kamala Harris ran for and won Barbara Boxer’s senate seat), intentionally tried to mislead voters about a statewide initiative to rescind the gas and vehicle tax Jerry Brown campaigned so hard for.
    • “It is the constitutional mandate of the attorney general to write a true and impartial ballot title and summary that in no way prejudices voters toward the measure,” Allen said in an interview Friday. “It’s very clear that (Attorney General) Xavier Becerra has not lived up to the California constitution and did not prepare an honest title and summary and so the court is going to do his job for him.”
  • The title Becerra had penned for the initiative was “Eliminates recently enacted road repair and transportation funding by repealing revenues dedicated for those purposes.”
    • This title made no mention of the words “tax” or “fee,” which are honest and accurate descriptions of what SB-1 actually was.


Gatorade banned and fined $300k for bad-mouthing water


  • Gatorade has been banned from insulting its main competitor — water — and fined $300,000 after it slandered nature’s sports drink in a video game, California’s Attorney General announced Thursday.
  • “Gatorade portrayed its products positively while inaccurately and negatively depicting water as hindering athletic performance,” Becerra’s office said in a statement.
    • Who was the victim in this case? The people who downloaded a game from an App store, created by Gatorade, who thought it wouldn’t promote it’s own product?
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