Eschewing euphemism, James Freeman looks at Biden’s Assault on Liberty. As always, you are encouraged to Peruse the Entire Article, but here are a few quoted paragraphs from the September 8 Appeals Court decision:
We find that the White House, acting in concert with the Surgeon General’s office, likely (1) coerced the platforms to make their moderation decisions by way of intimidating messages and threats of adverse consequences, and (2) significantly encouraged the platforms’ decisions by commandeering their decision-making processes, both in violation of the First Amendment...
On multiple occasions, the officials coerced the platforms into direct action via urgent, uncompromising demands to moderate content. Privately, the officials were not shy in their requests—they asked the platforms to remove posts “ASAP” and accounts “immediately,” and to “slow down” or “demote” content...
When the platforms did not comply, officials followed up by asking why posts were “still up,” stating (1) “how does something like [this] happen,” (2) “what good is” flagging if it did not result in content moderation, (3) “I don’t know why you guys can’t figure this out,” and (4) “you are hiding the ball,” while demanding “assurances” that posts were being taken down. And, more importantly, the officials threatened—both expressly and implicitly—to retaliate against inaction. Officials threw out the prospect of legal reforms and enforcement actions while subtly insinuating it would be in the platforms’ best interests to comply. As one official put it, “removing bad information” is “one of the easy, low-bar things you guys [can] do to make people like me”—that is, White House officials—“think you’re taking action.”
Also of note:
Some words from a victim. Specifically, Jay Bhattacharya, one of the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration. He reports victory: The Government Censored Me and Other Scientists. We Fought Back—and Won..
The Declaration endorsed a “focused protection” approach that called for strong measures to protect high-risk populations while allowing lower-risk individuals to return to normal life with reasonable precautions. Tens of thousands of doctors and public health scientists signed our statement.
With hindsight, it is clear that this strategy was the right one. Sweden, which in large part eschewed lockdown and, after early problems, embraced focused protection of older populations, had among the lowest age-adjusted all-cause excess deaths than nearly every other country in Europe and suffered none of the learning loss for its elementary school children. Similarly, Florida has seen lower cumulative age-adjusted all-cause excess deaths than lockdown-obsessed California since the start of the pandemic.
But at the time, our proposal was viewed by high government officials like Anthony Fauci and some in the Trump White House, including Deborah Birx, then-White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, as a kind of heresy.
Federal officials immediately targeted the Great Barrington Declaration for suppression because it contradicted the government’s preferred response to Covid. Four days after the Declaration’s publication, then-director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, emailed Fauci to organize a “devastating takedown” of it.
Vindication is better late than never, I suppose. And certainly everyone involved has learned their lesson that politicizing science is a bad idea, right? I mean, over and above the constitutional free speech issues?
"Science" continues its war on … its own credibility. Jerry Coyne, a scientist (who's a proud atheist liberal Democrat), bemoans: The National Science Foundation gives big money to circumvent the Supreme Court’s ban on affirmative action. After noting that one of the planks of the NSF charter is to "Advance the national health, prosperity and welfare.", Jerry gets into its recent activity:
If you conceive of “advancing the national welfare” as “promoting DEI initiatives,” then you might think it’s okay that the NSF handed out a $1.3 million grant designed to promote racial diversity in universities without violating the Supreme Court’s recent prohibition on race-based admissions. (That money, of course, came from the taxpayers, as the NSF is the biggest source of non-health-related science funding in America.)
Now the Court’s ban on race-based admissions applies to graduate schools as well as to undergraduate schools. Nevertheless, SFA v. Harvard , while prohibiting race as an explicit criterion for admitting students, still allows race to be used in a circuitous way. Wikipedia describes and quotes the majority decision (my emphasis):The majority opinion, written by Roberts, stated that the use of race was not a compelling interest, and the means by which the schools attempted to achieve diversity bore little or no relationship to the purported goals. It was noted however that this prohibition on the use of race in deciding who would be accepted did not stop universities from considering a student’s discussion of how their race has impacted their life “so long as that discussion is concretely tied to a quality of character or unique ability that the particular applicant can contribute to the university.“
Ergo we should expect to see a lot of admissions questions in which students can mention their race (especially if they’re members of minorities) in connection with their character or accomplishments, giving admissions officers an implicit lever to promote their applications. But you can also expect that this practice, too, will be monitored like Harvard’s “personality scores” to see if it leads to ethnic discrimination. That would lead to more court cases.
He then goes on to describe the $1.3 million grant from the NSF to "researchers" at USC and Minnesota. The principal investigator is Julie Posselt, whose science credentials are … a Ph.D. in "Higher Education".
Look for "rubrics" to be the next weasel word to allow what Jerry terms "the deep hypocrisy, if not duplicity, of using “race neutral” tools to improve racial diversity."
Another minor problem: the fate of civilization. Gordon J. Fulks has a small request: could we get around to, at some point, Restoring the Scientific Method and Saving Civilization?
Scientists are worried, as well they should be.
The latest recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics, John Clauser warns that climate science has become pseudoscience. Meanwhile, Jim Skea, the new Chairman of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change criticizes climate hyperbole as his boss UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres promotes “Global Boiling.” Additionally, high profile billionaires from Bezos and Soros to Zuckerberg and Gates throw their wealth into climate alarm. Mainstream media outlets are recruiting highly politicized young journalists to promote hysteria.
The fate of science is at stake, and consequently the fate of the civilization it supports.
Promoting hysteria? Censorship? Ignorance? What could be wrong with that?
And then there are ideological litmus tests. Jeffrey Blehar notes that it's not just admissions, but also hiring: The Crushing Costs of DEI on University Campuses.
On Friday, the New York Times published a truly shocking piece that nevertheless slid by my transom unnoticed until last night. Entitled “D.E.I. Statements Stir Debate on College Campuses,” it begins with the depressing tale of University of Toronto psychology professor Yoel Inbar, who was recently denied a position at the University of California, Los Angeles despite having been already evaluated as highly qualified and mooted to join the faculty.
His crime? You have already guessed it’s related to the ever-escalating antics of university Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion administrators and activists, and you are not wrong. But it’s even more outrageous than the standard-issue story: Inbar happily submitted a “diversity statement” that used all the proper language and ticked every box as required, but was blocked from joining when a cadre of activist graduate students discovered that, once on his podcast years ago, he had opposed the idea of requiring them for academic hires. The activist mobs usually rule at California schools — Stanford recently had to send its entire law school class to mandatory remedial education on how to tolerate conservative viewpoints — and when over 50 graduate students signed a petition denouncing his potential hiring, Professor Inbar’s application was suddenly and summarily denied. He remains in Canada, a cruel fate for any man.
Blehar summarizes the NYT article, noting the UC system's process weeds out applicants in the first round based purely on their "diversity statements". Quoting that NYT story:
An applicant who discusses diversity in vague terms, such as “diversity is important for science,” or saying that an applicant wants to “treat everyone the same” will get a low score.
Likewise, an applicant should not oppose affinity groups divided by race, ethnicity and gender, as that would demonstrate that the candidate “seems not to be aware of, or understand the personal challenges that underrepresented individuals face in academia.”
What could go wrong? Or, more accurately: what else could go wrong?
Why not, indeed? Charles C. W. Cooke is still pretty incensed over recent actions by a wannabe tyrant: Why Not Arrest Governor Lujan Grisham?.
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico has an interesting take on her constitutional role. Elaborating upon her decision to “suspend” the state’s concealed- and open-carry laws in the service of a vaguely defined “emergency,” she explained that “no constitutional right, in my view, including my oath, is intended to be absolute. There are restrictions on free speech. There are restrictions on my freedoms.”
Okay, then. So why not arrest her?
The obvious rejoinder to this suggestion is “the law.” But, as she has made perfectly clear, Lujan Grisham doesn’t believe in all that nonsense. In defense of her executive order, she has provided nothing except the reiteration of her desire. She has cited no statute, invoked no constitutional provision, pointed to no court order or precedent or wrinkle. Hers is an assertion: I believe there is an emergency, therefore I must.
Governor Grisham is an easy punching bag, but let's save some blame for the 52% of New Mexico voters who reelected this empty pantsuit.