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I saw the DK story on my Facebook feed.  They asked DK and Facebook users to send an e-mail to the president of Georgetown, post on their FB page, and send out a tweet.

I did all three.  

This story was in response to an adjunct faculty member, Michael Scheuer,  basically calling for the assassination of President Obama.

There is academic freedom, and there is incitement to violence.

I got a blip on my FB feed that Georgetown U. has responded.

Many have commented on our wall over the past few days regarding comments made by Michael Scheuer, who has served as an adjunct faculty member at Georgetown. As a university we are committed to the free exchange of ideas. This is the essence of academic freedom. The views of members of our community, including our faculty, are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of the University. The answer to speech that one finds disagreeable or controversial is not censorship, but more speech and more dialogue. As such, we welcome everyone's right to disagree and to express their opinions openly.
I am at work on lunch, but I wanted to post this to see what the DK community thinks about this response.

I would quote the words of one Graham Howard, who said in reply -

Incitement to violence and assassination is not free speech. Scheuer is entitled to free speech, but he is not entitled to use his privileged position to incite violence and assassination on mass media.
I am fairly certain that the Secret Service may now have another "blip" on their radar to monitor, but also that it is likely that no direct action will be taken.

I am not sure that I would agree with this honoring of freedom of speech.

Given the amount of guns and attendant crazies with guns - (not all gun owners are crazy - but there has to be a certain percentage within this group) - coupled with he right-wing echo chamber, I think this message borders on a crime for its' potential to tip some person to the point of dangerous action.

Just my two cents.  Back to work.  Will reply to all comments when I get home - about 7 PM tonight.

Peace.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (14+ / 0-)

    "I think 2008 is going to be a good year." Senator Barack Obama - Des Moines, Iowa, January 1st, 2008

    by PoconoPCDoctor on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 11:51:51 AM PST

  •  Hmmm. Let's see. (5+ / 0-)

    Scheuer:  The patriotic thing to do is kill President Obama and England's Prime Minister David Cameron.

    How in God's name does that qualify as a 'free exchange of ideas'.

    •  Even if he had said exactly that, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      johnny wurster, Justanothernyer

      it would probably still be protected speech. However, he didn't say anything like that explicitly.

      Look, I tried to be reasonable...

      by campionrules on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 12:32:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You can't yell "fire" in a crowded theather (0+ / 0-)

        and expect that word to be protected speech.  Scheuer 's words are NOT protected speech by any stretch of the imagination.  Inciting violence, weather directly or indirectly, is not protected by our constitution, period.

        •  They are protected (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          johnny wurster, Justanothernyer

          By every standard of 1st Amendment jurisprudence they are clearly protected speech.

          Setting aside Brandenburg, SCOTUS has ruled numerous times that threats of violence must meet the measure of a 'true threat' in order to be actionable.

          Do you think parading a effigy of President Bush around by a noose is more or less of a threat than what this idiot said?

          Look, I tried to be reasonable...

          by campionrules on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 01:10:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The same (0+ / 0-)
            Do you think parading a effigy of President Bush around by a noose is more or less of a threat than what this idiot said?
            I would hope that a university would promote intelligent speech and not inflamatory mindless speech. How does one productively debate someone carring around an effigy of a president?
            •  With great difficulty (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Yoshimi

              and to no one's benefit - with great detriment to GU's reputation.  If I were in attendance or an alum, I'd be ashamed at the least.

              "I think 2008 is going to be a good year." Senator Barack Obama - Des Moines, Iowa, January 1st, 2008

              by PoconoPCDoctor on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 06:02:10 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Again - I do not dispute his right to speak (0+ / 0-)

            GU's response?  Less than acceptable.

            "I think 2008 is going to be a good year." Senator Barack Obama - Des Moines, Iowa, January 1st, 2008

            by PoconoPCDoctor on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 06:00:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  eh, it's a stretch to call that incitement. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Justanothernyer

          Incitement requires imminence and proximity. A column on a blog almost can't fit that by definition since the speaker is so far removed from the audience.

          •  The Secret Service does monitor these "events" (0+ / 0-)

            from afar.  Let's just say an invite to a White House function is probably not in the cards for Mr. Scheuer.

            "I think 2008 is going to be a good year." Senator Barack Obama - Des Moines, Iowa, January 1st, 2008

            by PoconoPCDoctor on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 06:03:54 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  remember this? (0+ / 0-)

            Remember this?

            School Talent Show Draws Secret Service

            Parents and students say they are outraged and offended by a proposed band name and song scheduled for a high school talent show in Boulder this evening, but members of the band, named Coalition of the Willing, said the whole thing is being blown out of proportion.

            The students told ABC News affiliate KMGH-TV in Denver they are performing Bob Dylan's song "Masters of War" during the Boulder High School Talent Exposé because they are Dylan fans. They said they want to express their views and show off their musical abilities.

            But some students and adults who heard the band rehearse called a radio talk show Thursday morning, saying the song the band sang ended with a call for President Bush to die.

            Threatening the president is a federal crime, so the Secret Service was called to the school to investigate.

            Students in the band said they're just singing the lyrics and not inciting anyone to do anything.

            Democrats are going to get nowhere until they understand and accept the Republicans' true nature.
        •  Kind of what I thought.... (0+ / 0-)

          Too many people with short fuses and access to weapons.  Not helpful.  Not at all.

          "I think 2008 is going to be a good year." Senator Barack Obama - Des Moines, Iowa, January 1st, 2008

          by PoconoPCDoctor on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 05:59:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  You are right. He didn't directly say it. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ichibon

        He used the words of

        the great 17th century English republican Algernon Sidney, a man who was revered on both sides of the Atlantic, who greatly influenced America’s founders, and who was executed by the British Crown for what it described as sedition.
        to say it.

        I'm not sure if you read the diatribe the preceded his Fox interview but you can find out more about it here.

        •  I read it, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          johnny wurster, Justanothernyer

          It was hyperbolic and stupid but not anywhere near 'inciting violence' as understood by our current justice system or 1st Amendment jurisprudence.

          Look, I tried to be reasonable...

          by campionrules on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 01:02:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That may be. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ichibon

            But I'm not talking about him being brought up on legal charges. Georgetown claiming that such rhetoric is an exchange of 'ideas' that should be supported at the university level is repellent to me.

            •  True, (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              johnny wurster, Justanothernyer

              But University systems often strive to hold a higher, even less restrictive definition of free speech than the government.

              Would you support Georgetown firing a professor who burned President Bush in effigy or wrote a play fantasizing about his assassination?

              Look, I tried to be reasonable...

              by campionrules on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 01:19:29 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I might. (0+ / 0-)

                Depending on the context and the venue. Although I'm not even calling for him to be fired. The tepid neutrality of the Georgetown statement gives legitimacy to the idea that assassination is a viable option when you don't like a democratically elected President.

                That said, I don't think the scenario you paint is an apt comparison. Bush was hated for real reasons including the fact that he genuinely terrorized America to manipulate for a bloody war based on a lie. Obama is largely hated because he is black. Scheuer makes that element clear when he says

                That Eric Holder and Barack Obama have not been impeached, moreover, suggests that the impeachment provisions of the Constitution are a dead letter; that they apply only to individuals named Nixon; or that they do not apply to Black Americans supported by such towering giants of fatuousness as Oprah, Chris Matthews, Fareed Zakaria, Piers Morgan, and Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, and their band of American-killing Viragos.
                •  so its ok to use violent imagery and (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  campionrules, Justanothernyer

                  language as long as you have the right reasons.

                  how very principled.

                  •  That isn't what I said. (0+ / 0-)
                    •  No, but you can't (0+ / 0-)

                      differentiate based on whether you agree with someone's political beliefs or not. Speech is protected regardless of whether or not you are on the 'right' side(which is everybody, since most people act out of a sense that they are in the right)  

                      Just because you believe President Bush was a warmongering criminal doesn't mean someone calling for him to be assassinated wouldn't warrant the same response, or in this case, the same no-response as the current situation.

                      Remember, hate speech is protected speech so even if the attack is coming from a place of racism rather than a place of speaking truth to power it holds the same protections.

                      If the Secret Service thinks a threat is worth investigating they will, and they do. If Georgetown thinks it was a clear call to violence then they, as a private organization, can do what they think is best - including no longer giving Scheurer a platform in which to speak.

                      I remember a World Studies professor of mine, and avowed Marxist, stating that the U.S. would be a much better place if then President Bush had gotten to experience a cluster bomb up close. Made some people angry but the University would never, ever have fired him. Hell, it's likely that a large faction would have agreed with him.

                      Look, I tried to be reasonable...

                      by campionrules on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 02:21:39 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

              •  yes (0+ / 0-)

                Severely Socialist 47283

                by ichibon on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 02:14:38 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Right. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ExpatGirl, ichibon

              How do you "exchange" when one is a bomb thrower?

              •  And what exactly is the 'exchange'? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                PoconoPCDoctor, Yoshimi

                "No! I don't think it is patriotic to murder the sitting President just because you can't impeach him or defeat him in an election."?

                That isn't exactly the level of discussion I expect from Georgetown. An institution that holds political science, history and legal departments and offers a Maters program on global 'Conflict Resolution' knows full well the dangers legitimizing the rhetoric of political violence.

            •  Any academic institution (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ExpatGirl

              saying anything that supports the academic freedom of any  faculty member in this day and age is remarkable.  I just don't get why Georgetown decided to go with this example.

              Unless -- oh, wait!  What better way to call into question the honored tradition of academic freedom?

            •  Ideas can be debated (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ExpatGirl

              Clear expressions of hate are not ideas.  These can only be condemned - not censored, but condemned.

              "I think 2008 is going to be a good year." Senator Barack Obama - Des Moines, Iowa, January 1st, 2008

              by PoconoPCDoctor on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 06:05:39 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly n/t (0+ / 0-)

          "I think 2008 is going to be a good year." Senator Barack Obama - Des Moines, Iowa, January 1st, 2008

          by PoconoPCDoctor on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 06:04:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Absolutely defend his right to say this garbage (0+ / 0-)

        But wanted a bit more than the pablum response.

        "I think 2008 is going to be a good year." Senator Barack Obama - Des Moines, Iowa, January 1st, 2008

        by PoconoPCDoctor on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 05:58:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Have to agree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ExpatGirl

      I know that universities have a more accepting version of what constitutes freedom of speech.

      But the bland response of GU without any acknowledgement of the content leaves me cold.

      "I think 2008 is going to be a good year." Senator Barack Obama - Des Moines, Iowa, January 1st, 2008

      by PoconoPCDoctor on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 05:57:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I left them a post asking (5+ / 0-)

    whether they would take punitive action against a faculty member who suggested that university President John DeGioia or Board of Directors Chairman Paul Tagliabue be killed.  I'll let you know if they respond.

    I'm a Christian, therefore I'm a liberal.

    by VirginiaJeff on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 12:39:09 PM PST

  •  Suggest you send this to Father James Martin, SJ (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ExpatGirl

    In addition to being the Chaplain for the Colbert Report, he's on the editorial staff of America, the Jesuit magazine. He might have some observations.

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 01:00:24 PM PST

  •  Michael Schauer seems very childish on his blog (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trumpeter

    what on earth does he teach?   It is certainly neither logic nor history.   As far as I can tell from his rambling screed, he seems to be afraid of  Muslims and Jews.

    •  And blacks and women. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mark Lippman
      •  A diary on the same topic was posted a few days (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ExpatGirl

        ago and the comments were much the same as here.

        There's a federal law against threatening the President.
        Title 18 USC 871. It covers the line of succession too.

        It's surprising to see comments on a liberal progressive site defending speech without seeing how they and millions of others could be disenfranchised by a political assassin. It's almost comical.

        Free speech isn't ignored. If it was, with a subject like Scheuer, there are lawyers who'd love to represent him and make a name for themselves. The Secret Service gains nothing from a situation like that.  It doesn't need to see or hear very explicit language either. Meaning and intent can be communicated in lots of ways. They know how to recognize red flags. A mistake or omission could be a disaster.

        If agents decide to conduct an interview it's not a shock, Almost everyone has answered cop questions during a routine traffic stop once or twice.

        There's plenty of reason to consider Scheuer with suspicion. 4 individuals with similar views were arrested, tried and convicted in a ricin plot. They were inspired by someone like Scheuer.

        It's worth knowing a little about the dangerous nutjobs In the world.  Scheuer appeared on Fox by the way. About the free exchange of ideas, there's a rule or test that applies. He's a professional speaker and writer. He knows how to use words to put his ideas across. Couldn't he express his opinions on any given topic with complete freedom and without the reference to violence?  If free expression is to be defended, then references to violence are superfluous. This is actually the basis for a law against bigoted speech in France. Some kinds of expression don't communicate real ideas which come from the intellect and rely on logic.

        It's amazing that Georgetown Univ. doesn't get that. I'm going to send them an edited version of this comment for dual purpose.

        There is no existence without doubt.

        by Mark Lippman on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 07:24:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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