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Princeton Professor of African American Studies Eddie Glaude took to MSNBC this week to comment on the announcement of President Donald Trump that his Administration will commence with widespread deportations in the coming week. Rather than address the merits of such a plan or the alternatives, Glaude showed how reasoned discourse has become little more than raw (and in this case unhinged) hyperbole. Glaude declared that the Trump announcement should be viewed as a “terroristic act.” I recently published an article on the trend from academics to advocacy on our campuses. This is Glaude declared just a week earlier that, with Trump, “we’ve moved beyond autocratic to almost monarchical.” It appears now that he has moved by the monarchical to the terroristic.

The scene on MSNBC has become all-too-familiar with the host first refuting Trump’s policy directly before asking Glaude a question. He then immediately declares that we should all just dismiss the arguments made by the Administration because it is obviously based not on deterrence but “cruelty.”

MSNBC Guest: Trump Is 'Enacting Terror On Families' - YouTube

Glaude notably warns that people should not take his words as hyperbole: “What Donald Trump did yesterday, what he announced via Twitter — and this might sound hyperbolic to some folk — it was a terroristic act.”

I have criticized Trump for his tweet and further questioned the ability to deter undocumented migrants without enforcing these same laws as vigorously against large-scale employers.

However, it is hard to see how an enforcement policy under federal law would be an act of terrorism when ICE is saying that it will focus on those people who have failed to appear for their hearings. President Obama also heavily increased such enforcement but I do not recall Glaude calling him a terrorist. Indeed, Obama set the record for deportations.

While calling the move “horrifying,” Gould also insists that it is meaningless in that it will not likely succeed. However, he insists that it is still an act of terrorism: “This was just a political ploy. But what is he doing? He’s terrorizing families in communities who think that they’re going to be snatched from their kids, who have to walk around daily wondering whether an ICE Agent is going to show up at work and snatch them.”

The exchange on MSNBC reflects perfectly our age of rage and the lack of any serious discussion of such policies. People simply tune into shows for echo-chamber media where they will hear an academic holding a prestigious academic chair assure them that the President is little more than a terrorist and they do not have to even discuss the stated rationale by ICE for this action.

As an academic, I feel an added burden to try to add value to the national debate by bringing in detached and substantive analysis. I cannot claim to have always been successful and many can have legitimate disagreements with my understanding of the law or history. However, I believe that professors have a deep duty to the academy, their schools, and themselves to rise above the hyperbolic and reckless rhetoric that reflects our age of rage. One can disagree with this policy without joining a race to the bottom on cable news to come up with the most extreme possible description. It certainly makes for thrilling television and no small degree of popularity. However, as tenured faculty, we have the ability to offer objective analysis, even when our conclusions are neither popular nor well-received by a particular audience. Otherwise, we are just little more than credentialed members of a mob.

Once again, I share Professor Glaude’s skepticism on the ultimate success of such a program. I particularly question how we are going to move from roughly 7,000 deportations a month to such a massive deportation effort. That is a debate that would be worthy and meaningful . . . if only one could find it on any cable or network program.


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Megachurch pastor Paula White has been described as Donald Trump’s Spiritual adviser. If so, one can understand the attraction. White’s prayers sound a lot like Trump’s tweets. White gave the opening prayer for Trump’s kickoff rally and called for the destruction of “Demonic networks” in the name of Jesus. The only thing White did not proclaim is that Trump is actually the Archangel Michael.

White proclaimed “Let every demonic network that has aligned itself against the purpose, against the calling of President Trump, let it be broken, let it be torn down in the name of Jesus.”

I did not think that it could get much worse than Trump calling reporters and networks “traitors” and the “enemy of the people.” However, White is actually praying to God to intervene with “Demonic” media. She also declared that Trump would overcome the hellish plans of his opponents who she described as “the enemy”: “I declare that President Trump will overcome every strategy from hell and every strategy from the enemy.” She finished by declaring that Trump’s victory would be a “victory in the name which is above every name … the name of Jesus Christ.”

White is a proponent of prosperity theology and has been called a heretic and charlatan by other religious figures. She held an early prayer vigil for Trump to support his candidacy, including another highly controversial “prosperity gospel” preacher, Kenneth Copeland, who we have previously discussed.

The prayer this week was unnerving in its mix of hyperbolic rhetoric with religious zealotry. It was hard to tell the difference between Trump hyperbolic tweets and White’s prayer to the Almighty.

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We have previously discussed studies showing an astonishing number of deaths linked the use of bunker fuel by container shipping — a cheap but remarkably dirty fuel source. The other industry that uses the intensely polluting fuel is the passenger cruise industry. Cruise ships have been routinely cited for poor environmental practices, particularly Carnival Corp which was hit recently with yet another massive fine. Now, a report by Transport & Environment has found that Carnival produced in 2017 nearly 10 times more sulphur oxide (SOx) around European coasts than all 260 million European cars.

Then there is Royal Caribbean Cruises, the world’s second largest crusie company, which was four times worse than the European car fleet. SOx emissions form sulphate (SO4) aerosols that increase human health risks and contribute to acidification in terrestrial and aquatic environments.

Due to their lax marine sulphur fuel standards , the worst hit countries are Spain, Italy and Greece. Those countries are followed by France and Norway.

The reason for this shocking level of pollution is that the cruise industry has been able to avoid serious regulation. Not only are these ships allowed to use this highly destructive fuel, but NOx standards currently exempt cruise shipping. There is also the possibility of using battery or electrical power while entering and leaving ports. The most ambitious proposals concern changing the fuel source entirely to hydrogen or other alternatives.

What is astonishing is that cruise lines sell a type of eco-tourism in going to pristine areas but constitute an intense pollution source. While Carnival’s slogan is  “Fun For All. All For Fun,” there is a darker reality to these cruises in terms of air pollution.

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In a tweet that reportedly took law enforcement by surprise, President Donald Trump disclosed that “next week” a national round up of undocumented persons would be launched. Obviously, ICE prefers not to inform potential arrestees that they are coming. Recently, it was reported that intelligence officials withheld details of their operations against Russia in fear that Trump might disclose the operation or compromise its purpose.

Trump tweeted Monday night that “Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in.”

In the past, the Trump Administration has charged that mayor (like the one in Oakland) are obstruction enforcement by telling people in advance of enforcement sweeps by ICE.

With over 11 million undocumented persons, it is highly unlikely that full-scale deportations would be able to remove a sizable percentage. However, regardless of the likely success, there is something odd about telling potential deportees that sweeps will be launched last week. Even if the President waited just after the first few days of sweeps (after which the word would have gotten out), ICE would have been in a better position.

I remain skeptical, as I discussed in a recent column, that serious deterrence can be established without showing equal vigor in prosecuting large-scale employers of undocumented workers. That is even more unlikely when workers and employers are told in advance of a new enforcement push.

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I have previously written about the growing intolerance of faculty and students for opposing views and speech. Recently, however, there has been a further erosion in long-standing principles of free speech and academic freedom in the targeting of law professors for representing unpopular clients. Harvard University has been widely denounced for its removal of Law Professor Ronald Sullivan and his wife Stephanie Robinson as “House Deans” after Sullivan agreed to represent former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in his criminal trial. Columbia effectively forced out Columbia University law professor Elizabeth Lederer due to her prior work as a prosecutor in the “Central Park Five” case. It appears that no speech or even the principle of the presumption of innocence is to be recognized in the new realities of higher education.

Sullivan this week publicly denounced his treatment in a video statement June 12 titled, “When Harvard Stumbles.” Students wee open in their demands for his removal because they simply disliked one of his clients.

petition calling for the dean’s removal stated in part

“For those of you who are members of Winthrop House, do you really want to one day accept your Diploma from someone who for whatever reason, professional or personal, believes it is okay to defend such a prominent figure at the centre of the #MeToo movement?”

In her case, Columbia University law professor Elizabeth Lederer was canned for work as a prosecutor decades earlier in the Central Park Five case. Nexflix recently released “When They See Us,” a series highlighting the experiences of the Central Park Five, who were wrongfully convicted of rape and sexual assault in the Central Park Jogger case of 1989. The film highlighted Lederer’s work in the case. Lederer has contested the film as historically inaccurate and has always maintained that a multimillion dollars settlement was the defendants was a mistake and that, even if they were not guilty of the rape, they were guilty of other serious crimes.

A petition to terminate Lederer garnered 10,000 signatures and in a letter published to the university, Columbia Law School dean Gillian Lester said that the miniseries “reignited a painful — and vital — national conversation about race, identity, and criminal justice.”

The merits of the case (like the merits of the Weinstein case) are immaterial to the underlying rights of free speech, academic freedom, and free association. The Deans at Harvard and Columbia trashed these rights in an effort to appease protesters. The cost of those decisions will only grow at these institutions — much like the costs recently imposed on Oberlin for its yielding to protesters in defaming a local grocery.

The failure of most faculty to oppose these moves shows how defining values of American higher education are being increasingly pushed aside in an age of rage.

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President Donald Trump blasted Fox News yesterday for simply reporting various polls showing him falling farther behind with voters across the country. Trump complained that “something weird going on at Fox.” This follows the firing of Trump pollsters (including long-standing campaign aides) after poll results were leaked showing Trump behind Biden in various key states. Trump denied any such polls existed and denounced the stories as “fake news”, but later the White House admitted that they did exist. There is nothing weird going on. Just reporting.

Fox News on Sunday released a new poll that showed Trump losing to various Democratic presidential candidates. Bernie Sanders was shown with a nine point lead. That tracks a number of polls, including the internal White House polls. A Quinnipiac poll released last week also showed Trump trailing a number of Democratic contenders, including Biden by 13 points. 

Trump has reacted angrily to such polls and suggested that it was “weird” for Fox to report polling that showed him losing ground in key states. He also took time to contest the extract amount of time spent with ABC:

Polls are always bad for me. They were against Crooked Hillary also. Something weird going on at Fox. Our polls show us leading in all 17 Swing States. For the record, I didn’t spend 30 hours with @abcnews, but rather a tiny fraction of that. More Fake News @BretBaier23.2K7:49 PM – Jun 17, 2019

I have spoken with members of Congress who are worried that Trump does not recognize that his approach is alienating key voters in the general election. The constant badgering of the media and others may play well with his base but 52 percent of voters now say that they are “very uncomfortable” voting for him. That is with a strong economy. What is strange is that the White House continues to step on its own lines, undermine its strongest claims, and push independents away with continual controversial tweets and missteps.

I have great respect for many people at Fox. Indeed, some of the toughest interviews faced by Trump have occurred with Fox hosts like Chris Wallace. Martha McCallum, and Bret Baier. Rather than acknowledge that Fox is the least hostile to Trump, these comments are deeply insulting to journalists who seek to inform their viewers on the current polling and trends in the election.

Yet, Trump has even objected to Fox holding town hall events with opposing candidates as  in May when Trump denounced Fox for “wasting airtime” and warned that “Fox is moving more and more to the losing (wrong) side in covering the Dems. They forgot the people who got them there.”

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Former Rep. Ed Pastor died in November of a heart attack at 75. Celia Contreras, a businesswoman from Phoenix, insists that he did not die of a heart attack but was rather struck down by God for his advocacy of the light rail. You read that well. There is nothing that God hates more than light rail.

Pastor was a long advocate of public transportation in Congress until his retirement in 2015. Celia Contreras, who operates a window tinting shop, warned city council members that God may strike them down if they get on the track for mass transit. She said that she was “coming in the name of Lord Jesus Christ” — and brought a flier that featured a photo of Pastor as an example of all those who test the anti-light rail teachings of the Almighty: “I weigh their acts on a balance for those who have done wrong in advancing this project and they shall receive their pay. For I am the Almighty.”

Pastor’s daughter is a city council member and left the meeting after seeing it.

I would think that the Almighty would be entirely supporting of mass transit. Putting aside the need to reduce carbon emissions, the bible is filled with passages that show the desperate need for light jail. Consider the 100 mile trip of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem. It would have taken them 8-10 long days of walking. Yet, by rail, they could have made it in a few hours and might have even made it to the Inn before all of the rooms were taken. Likewise, Christ went into the desert for 40 days and 40 nights if he could have take a light jail back to his disciples. Then there was Ezra who “had begun the journey from Babylon on the first day of the first month, and he arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month.” Ezra could have been scribing for four months in Jerusalem if he took the rail.

Indeed, light jail could have answered many questions in the Bible. When Nehemiah was sent to Jerusalem the King asked him “How long will your journey take and when will you return?” Imagine if he could just take out a train schedule and give him a precise time and date.

I am equally sure that God does not look kindly on those who claim that he smites down people over light rail projects. Expanded meter parking, yes, but never light rail planning.

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Below is my column on the record defamation verdict against Oberlin College and its implications for higher education. Obviously, I am quite critical of the actions of the college. What is the most striking aspect of this story is how completely unapologetic the college remains. There is little evidence of objective reevaluation of its actions such as the alleged demand that this bakery give first-time shoplifters from Oberlin a pass. There are three thousand students at Oberlin. There would be little left on the shelves if the word got out of a one-time pass where students could use their free shoplifting trip at Gibson’s.

In the meantime, alumni will be asked to support a college that may have burned tens of millions of dollars in just one incident. How many scholarships could have been granted for $33-$44 million? The annual tuition is $55,000. That is over 750 students who could have received free scholarships. Instead, over a stolen bottle of wine, the college has dug itself into a massive hole . . . and it is still digging.

Here is the column:

For many who lament the shift from academics to activism across college campuses in the United States, Oberlin College in Ohio is the equivalent of the “China syndrome” during nuclear accidents, a point where chain reactions become impossible to stop or control. Oberlin students often find new issues to protest, even on one of the most liberal campuses in the world, like objections to serving sushi as cultural appropriation. As on other campuses across the country, these protests are encouraged by an array of faculty members and ever accommodating administrators.

This week, however, the bill came due for Oberlin when a jury awarded over $11 million in damages to a family bakery for being defamed as racist by its college students and officials. That motion was later followed by a whopping $33 million punitive award. It is only the latest example of how faculty members and officials are driving their institutions toward financial and intellectual bankruptcy, thanks to their advocacy or acquiescence.

The latest controversy began with a shoplifting case. In 2016, an African American student named Jonathan Aladin was caught trying to steal a bottle of wine from Gibson’s Bakery, which was established in 1885 and has been closely tied to the college for over a century. When the grandson of the owner tried to stop Aladin, a fight ensued and police were called. Aladin and two other students, Cecilia Whettstone and Endia Lawrence, were arrested. Students, professors, and administrators held protests, charging that the bakery was racist and profiled the three students.

Oberlin maintains in court filings that the son and grandson of the owners of Gibson’s Bakery “violently and unreasonably attacked” an unarmed student, but that is not how the police viewed it. Aladin was charged with robbery, which is a second degree felony, and Whettstone and Lawrence were charged with first degree misdemeanor assault. Police rejected claims of a racial motive and noted that, over a period of five years, 40 adults were arrested for shoplifting at Gibson’s Bakery, but only six were African American. It also is not how the court viewed it. When prosecutors cut a plea deal to reduce the charge to attempted theft, a local judge refused. He said the plea deal appeared to be the result of a permanent “economic sanction” by the college in which the victim had little choice but to relent. Ultimately, all three students pleaded guilty.

The merits of the case did not seem to bother Oberlin officials or student protesters. Dean of students Meredith Raimondo reportedly joined the massive protests and even handed out a flier denouncing the bakery as a racist business. When some people contacted Oberlin to object that the students admitted guilt, special assistant to the president for community and government relations Tita Reed wrote that it did not change a “damn thing” for her. Reed also reportedly participated in the campus protests.

Other faculty members encouraged students who denounced the bakery. The chairman of Africana studies posted, “Very proud of our students!” Oberlin barred purchases from the bakery, pending its investigation into whether this was “a pattern and not an isolated incident.” Raimondo also pressured Bon Appetit, a major contractor with the college, to cease business with the bakery. Reed even suggested that “once charges are dropped, orders will resume” and added that she was “baffled by their combined audacity and arrogance to assume the position of victim.”

It would be a statement that came back to haunt the college, in seeking to avoid punitive damages by arguing that the financial loss was too great for a small school, a sentiment that escaped these officials in hammering a small bakery. Owner David Gibson had discussed the ruinous impact of the boycott with college president Marvin Krislov and Raimondo received little sympathy. He said the two officials demanded that the bakery not call police when students shoplifted for the first time. Gibson objected that his bakery loses a large amount of money to shoplifting and that the college was demanding the equivalent of a first time “shoplifter pass.”

Not all Oberlin faculty members were silent in opposition to the boycott and protests. Theater professor Roger Copeland spoke publicly against the treatment of the bakery, but a livid vice president for communications Ben Jones responded to colleagues in a text message with an expletive against Copeland. Raimondo replied saying she would “unleash the students” if she was not convinced “this needs to be put behind us.”

The Oberlin case creates a troubling precedent for other institutions in higher education. Students certainly have the right to protest, and their views of a business can be a matter of opinion. However, if colleges are subject to damages for protests, they could resume efforts to curtail free speech. But this case turned on the actions of key officials who were viewed by the jury as encouraging, if not leading, the attacks. The college will appeal and, at a minimum, the $33 million award will be reduced to a $22 million limit under state law. While this may have amounted to record punitive damages against a college for defamation, it is not that unique.

Across the country, academics have caused lasting damage to their institutions by failing to stand up to, or actively supporting, extreme demands for speech codes, limits on academic freedom, and tenure changes. In Washington, Evergreen State College faculty members supported students who mobbed biology professor Bret Weinstein in a disturbing confrontation outside his office. The result was a significant $500,000 settlement with Weinstein and a major decline in applications. The University of Missouri experienced a similar meltdown on campus after assistant professor Melissa Click led attacks on a student journalist during heated protests in 2015. The university sought to accommodate protesters as applications plummeted and entire dorms were closed.

Other colleges have been hit with damages from students denied basic due process rights after being accused of sexual assault or harassment. While such rulings are mounting across the country, officials continue to ignore them and refuse to allow minimal rights for accused students. An even greater cost of acquiescence can be seen in reduced academic quality. Students increasingly demand changes based solely on the race or gender of authors, like Yale University students objecting that a course on English classics only included white authors like William Shakespeare.

We are reaching a critical point in higher education in the United States where leaders are ceding control to a small group of activist students and faculty members. Too often, those challenges are met not with acts of conscience but with cowardice. Professors fear being labeled as either insensitive or racist for objecting to protests or changes on campus.

Meanwhile, the costs mount with no reflection from administrators. Even with $44 million in total damages, Raimondo remains dean of students, and the college remains unapologetic. Oberlin was founded in 1833 on the belief that it is “peculiar in that which is good.” What happened at Gibson’s Bakery was neither good for Oberlin nor for higher education.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

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We have previously discussed the removal university names, mascots, and symbols in recent years in response to student protests, including an effort to replace the GW “Colonial” mascot. I have previously expressed my concerns over the removal of long-held mascots and names in colleges from “the Cowboys” to “Shooter the Fox” to the Aztecs to the “Fighting Sioux” to “Chief Illini” to the “Prospectors.” Now, NPR Oregon reports, the University of Oregon is considering the removal of its iconic statue, “The Pioneer,” as its 100-year anniversary approaches. Students and faculty have denounced The Pioneers as, in the words on one students, “a monument to violence and white supremacy.”

History doctoral candidate Marc Carpenter told the Daily Emerald that there a statue celebrating European settlers is like a confederate monument in honoring “violence and white supremacy, and I don’t think those are values that we want to have as a community.”

Many critics are pointing to the dedication from May 1919 when the president of the Oregon Historical Society who “extolled the virtues of the Anglo-Saxon race” and hailed the settlers as part of a “race has large powers of assimilation, and its great ideas of liberty and of the rights of mankind caused other races to become a part of it, so it became a people as well as a race.”

There are indeed many such speeches of that period extolling the Anglo-Saxon race. However, that does not mean that the pioneers who ventured out West are unworthy of respect. These are people who faced extraordinary challenges and conditions to settle out West. That does not mean that the settlements were fair to Native American tribes or that there were not great injustices done to local tribes. Yet, these are often people fleeing their own desperation and seeking a new life on the frontier.

The University issued a statement that read:

“The Pioneer statue was unveiled 100 years ago to represent Oregon’s first European settlers. A century later, a more inclusive view of history recognizes that The Pioneer symbolizes just one part of the story. The UO fully appreciates that to many Oregonians, including those of Native American ancestry, it stands for something very different, the framing of history from only one culture’s perspective. We take those views very seriously.

Last winter, the UO established a presidential working group – led by Dean of Libraries Adriene Lim and Professor Dean Livelybrooks – to audit and review campus monuments, plaques and public art installations and recommend whether any changes need to be made to those features to recognize the diverse histories of our community. The Pioneer statue is part of that review, and the working group hopes to deliver a report, including recommendations, next fall. We are happy to share any research and information from outside organizations with that working group.”

The move at Oregon again raises the tendency to simply wipe away such symbols and references rather than to put them in context with both a degree of education and, yes, understanding. Indeed, the University is right that this is “just one part of the story” and that there is an entirely different (and equally compelling) Native American history. That is why statues to both histories can be found at Oregon and should be recognized as fundamental elements in the university’s history.

What do you think?

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I have previously criticized President Donald Trump for his relentless attacks on the media and his mantra of labeling such publications as the Washington Post and New York Times as “the enemy of the people.” He has also routinely called a couple dozen people and organizations “traitors,” as recently listed by Axios. This weekend Trump continued the attacks on the New York Times for a story that revealed attacks on Russia’s electric power grid. Trump declared that the publication of the article was a “virtual act of treason” — an act on a classic example of investigatory reporting.

Ironically, the story contradicted the common Democratic narrative that Trump is soft or even controlled by Russia. Here was a case where U.S. intelligence was allegedly shooting across the bow of Russia to show that it better stop probing our own electrical grid in a deterrent action. Trump however immediately wiped out that view by angrily denying the story as “fake news” and “treason.”

“Do you believe that the Failing New York Times just did a story stating that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia, This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country. . . .ALSO, NOT TRUE! Anything goes with our Corrupt News Media today They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence! These are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”

As Trump was denying the story, other coverage said that U.S. intelligence officials are hesitant to share the details of their operations from Trump. According to David E. Sanger and Nicole Periroth:

Two administration officials said they believed Mr. Trump had not been briefed in any detail about the steps to place “implants”—software code that can be used for surveillance or attack—inside the Russian grid.

Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction—and the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials, as he did in 2017 when he mentioned a sensitive operation in Syria to the Russian foreign minister.

Obviously, there is no need to defend the New York Times for such a piece of investigatory reporting. Nor is there a need to defend our commitment to the free press as on of the virtual pillars of democratic government and freedom. It is simply disheartening to hear an American President voice such attacks previously reserved to the world’s most authoritarian figures.

The New York Times spoke for many concerned citizens and journalists on Sunday that “Accusing the press of treason is dangerous.” It added that it followed a cautious and responsible course in vetting the story with the Trump Administration: “As our story notes, President Trump’s own national security officials said there were no concerns.”

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