Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Attacks On Rove: Reactions

Across the entire front-page and above the fold of this morning’s Durham Herald Sun are the headlines:

Rove’s critics let loose with loud, colorful protests

Hecklers at Duke call former Bush adviser a killer and traitor
The H-S story begins:
Karl Rove encountered hecklers and protesters at Duke University Monday night, some accusing him of being a fraud, a traitor and even a killer.

President Bush's former White House deputy chief of staff and senior adviser appeared in Page Auditorium for a "conversation" with Duke political science professor Peter Feaver.

But the situation intensified when the floor was opened to questions […]
The entire H-S story is here.

The H-S says "loud, colorful protests." From what I've heard from friends who were there and read in this morning's papers "angry, disruptive protests" would've better informed readers.

This morning’s Chronicle contains a very thoughtful letter from Daniel Simpson, Trinty ’11. It follows as do the two comments (one mine) on the comment thread as of 9 AM Eastern.

I end this post with a few further comments and a link to a Chronicle editorial concerning last night's events.

Now Simpson's letter ---

To the editor:

Upon walking into Page Auditorium last night, I, along with everyone else in attendance, was handed a green slip of paper stating that Duke University respected academic freedom and wanted to have a meaningful, respectful academic discussion with Karl Rove.

I was appalled by what ensued. Rove's attempt at discussion was interrupted at least a dozen times by hecklers screaming everything from "Liar!" to "Murderer!" At one point in the discussion, someone walked in front of me with a massive sign reading "Arrest Him!"

Now while I completely respect people's opinion and their ability to protest, shouting down Rove only infringes his right to speak-the very right being invoked by the protesters.

As the University had pledged to curb such malicious and slanderous statements, their lack of any response to these protesters was disconcerting at best.

Professor Peter Feaver was quoted yesterday as saying, "There should be ways for people to register their disagreements with him without breaking the law and without infringing on the rights of others... I'm confident that Duke administrators have taken steps so that everyone's free speech... will be preserved."

It is a shame that Professor Feaver was proven wrong last night.

Daniel Simpson

Trinity '11

And on the comment thread from Trinity '06 ---

As a recent grad, and a politically active member of my community, I am sad, yet unsurprised at the outcome of the conversation with Mr. Rove last night.

Somehow the tolerance for disruption seems to be oh so much greater if the speaker is on the right of the political spectrum.

Let's hypothesize briefly about the shoe being on the other foot, shall we?

I should think Prof. Diane Nelson should like it not at all if one were to march in to her class while she was teaching (using old videos of Captain Spock, no doubt) and shout "Hippie!", "you're a moonbat!" and "feminism is the Devil!".

This would be rude, unfouded, and highly conterproductive to the educational process. Not to mention, it would undoubtedly be met with strong responses from Ms. Nelson and the University.

Then again, that's simply my hypothesis. In my four years at Duke, I don't think I met anyone disrespectful enough to try such a thing, so I suppose we'll never know how Ms. Nelson would react?

Here's my comment ---

Dear Mr. Simpson:

Thank you for a very thoughtful letter.

It's both a shame and frightening that there are so many at Duke who want to interfere with other people's right to peacefully express opinions.

What I've heard from friends and what I've read in the papers this morning leaves me with the same disturbed feeling I had as I watched some faculty (the Group of 88, for instance) and students condemn the students on the lacrosse team while cheering on Mike Nifong and certain Durham Police officers' police-state conduct.

If the Leftist, as represented at Duke, ever come to dominate America, they'll put an end to democracy.

Again, thank you for your letter.

Sincerely,

John in Carolina
_______________________________________

Folks, Here's The Chroncile's editorial on last night's events.

I'll respond to it later today.

While I'm glad TC's editorial had some critical words for the worst of the protestors, I think TC obscured and/or avoided some important issues raised by last nights protests.

Example: The editorial speaks about the need to tolerate "controversial" speakers at Duke. But the issue really isn't about "controversial" speakers.

Duke has no problems with controversial speakers like Harry Belefonte who supports Hugo Chevez and call's America's President the world's greatest terrorist.

The problem Rove presented to Duke is he's a strong supporter of the Bush administration.

There's "a hearty welcome" at Duke for controversial speakers of a certain type but not for others.

I'll say more later today

32 comments:

just a thought said...

Now while I completely respect people's opinion and their ability to protest, shouting down Rove only infringes his right to speak-the very right being invoked by the protesters.

I hate to be the one to point this out, but these are rights the government cannot take away. The constitution does not say you have the right to speak without others interrupting. If it did, only the mutes in our society would be free. There is no right being infringed by the protestors, whether you agree with them or not.

just a thought said...

It's both a shame and frightening that there are so many at Duke who want to interfere with other people's right to peacefully express opinions.

What I've heard from friends and what I've read in the papers this morning leaves me with the same disturbed feeling I had as I watched some faculty (the Group of 88, for instance) and students condemn the students on the lacrosse team while cheering on Mike Nifong and certain Durham Police officers' police-state conduct.

If the Leftist, as represented at Duke, ever come to dominate America, they'll put an end to democracy.


Seriously? Protestors are not infringing on anyone else's rights when they speak peacefully. And this is going to doom America? I realize you are using hyperbole, but your statements are ridiculous. Without a political discourse we would end up in a dictatorship, on this we can probably both agree? However, the recent record shows the Rightists as the ones who have arrested and detailed Americans on American soil without trial and sent them to foreign prisons. That doesn't sound like due process, which is actually a constitutionally granted right, as apposed to the right to not be interrupted (which I'm still looking for). Given the recent record, I would rather a Leftist state than a Rightist state anyday, at least I won't be tortured. And I'm glad the ACLU is around to help either of us should the government turn into a police state and infringe our real rights.

JWM said...

Dear just a thought,

Courts, including the Supreme Court, have held that government can regulate the time and place of speech. One reason for that is to protect the speech of citizens who might be shouted down and in other ways harressed by "activists."

Consider, for example, what the Communists' and Nazis' "activists" did to the German democratic center, center-right and center-left speakers and meetings during the late 20's and early 30s.

I'm sure other commentors will be along to further correct and inform you.

Now a caution ---

You are really "wondering" on the Plame matters.

Each time someone points out your errors, you shift terms and re-define the issues.

That's a sign of a troll.

I welcome thoughtful debate at JinC but ad hominems and babble have no place here, even if they're now welcome at many of our high-tuition universities.

And, of course, there are millions of other blogs. Ad hominems and babble are welcome at many of them, too.

I hope you can understand my desire to keep JinC a place where people can have reasoned, fact-based discussions with respect for diversity indicated by the care and respect shown for those who offer reasoned, fact-based contrary points of view.

John

Ralph Phelan said...

The constitution does not say you have the right to speak without others interrupting.
I'd like to hire someone to follow you around with an air horn and push the button every time you try to talk. By your reasoning it wouldn't violate any of your rights.

JWM said...

Dear Ralph,

That's such a brilliant comment that so perfectly makes the case for why we just can't give "activists" and "protestors" the right to shout down those they disagree with.

Do you mind if I use it sometime and don't give you credit?

John

just a thought said...

Each time someone points out your errors, you shift terms and re-define the issues.

That's a sign of a troll.

I welcome thoughtful debate at JinC but ad hominems and babble have no place here, even if they're now welcome at many of our high-tuition universities.

And, of course, there are millions of other blogs. Ad hominems and babble are welcome at many of them, too.

I hope you can understand my desire to keep JinC a place where people can have reasoned, fact-based discussions with respect for diversity indicated by the care and respect shown for those who offer reasoned, fact-based contrary points of view.


I'm not a troll. I actually found this board last night while I was searching for information about Mr. Rove's speach. I wanted to attend by didn't find out he was coming early enough to get a ticket.

I strongly desire a "reasoned fact-based discussion", but most of the responses to my posts have been on the order of "nu-uh". What you preceive as shifting I meant as expanding the discussion so people who would like to chime in would be able to do so (as happened in the other thread with another poster asking about Mr. Armitage). I was answering his question and comparing his response with that of Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby.

In fairness, I hope when I look I will see the comments of poster "Ruth" on that same board repudiated by you as well for not adhering to a "fact based discussion."

As for your the freedom of speech issues, you are correct there are limits. You cannot incite a riot or cause others harm (yelling fire in a crowded theatre for example). The examples in the 20's and 30's you correctly refer to were attempts (many successful) to incite riots, and therefore were not allowable free speech. Yelling comments to Mr. Rove and being rude (because really thats all it was) is not a violation of Mr. Rove's rights. If someone threatened him with violence, or something similar, then that would be a crime, but saying his pants are on fire is not a crime or violation of his rights.

just a thought said...

I'd like to hire someone to follow you around with an air horn and push the button every time you try to talk. By your reasoning it wouldn't violate any of your rights.

Causing me hearing damage would violate my rights, otherwise it would just be a waste of your money, you might as well pay me to not speak as a poor student I would probably humor you.

just a thought said...

You are really "wondering" on the Plame matters.

Each time someone points out your errors, you shift terms and re-define the issues.


I looked back at the previous post, and I havn't found errors in what I wrote. I also note that I gave a link to a news story (not an op-ed or commentary) from a publication as respected as "National Review" with further links and references, while the individuals pointing out my errors showed none.

Some of my statements require thought, such as:

Why would the DOJ investigate the matter at the CIA's request if Mr. Plame was not indeed covert? It would not have been a crime to say she was a CIA employee if she were not covert. Therefore, if the CIA requested an investigation into a crime (which it obviously did, because Mr. Fitzgerald came onto the scene), she must have been covert.

When you say:

And, of course, there are millions of other blogs. Ad hominems and babble are welcome at many of them, too.

you seem to be attempting to discredit me, and therefore what I'm saying. In a reasoned fact-based dialogue why don't we exchange facts and try to learn what each side has to say, instead of calling my posts "babble" and not commenting on their substance (a good example of such a fact based debate is when you called me out on the freedom of speech and I responded).

I have been respectful of all the posters here, I have tried to respond to their comments and continue the discussion. I understand this is your board, but I have legitimate criticisms of some of the statements made by you and some of your posters. Please don't silence me because you don't agree with what I'm saying, just show me my rational mistakes or other facts that contradict what I have to say (one of your posters is onto a good one with Armitage's role in the Plame matter). This may seem a "wondering" statement, but the poster is obviously quite intelligent and has found an issue I am still searching for an answer to. Learning and expansion of ideas are occurring, please don't stifle it with partisanship.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

"Yelling comments to Mr. Rove and being rude (because really thats all it was) is not a violation of Mr. Rove's rights."

And it's true in spades that the protestors, and various commenters here and in the Chronicle, don't care whatsoever about Mr. Rove's rights. As long as they can shout down a speaker they disagree with, their own sacred rights are deemed to trump all those of folks who wanted to hear what he had to say. The shouters deem their rights far equaler than those of the frustrated listeners.

The fault, as at Columbia University when the Minutemen were mobbed onstage, lies wholly with the University administration. If it purports to present a speaker in a civil-discussion format, it must enforce that civility. Failing that enforcement means defrauding those who play by the rules.

At best, that failure degenerates to a diversionary squabble about whose rights were or weren't violated, as with the Rove visit. At worst, it gives the mob a veto power over who's allowed to speak, as at Columbia.

In either case, the screeching from the floor is a form of thuggery and the thugs should be hauled out of the forum immediately.

just a thought said...

The fault, as at Columbia University when the Minutemen were mobbed onstage, lies wholly with the University administration. If it purports to present a speaker in a civil-discussion format, it must enforce that civility.

I agree, but don't feel too bad for the Minutmen. Their racism and xenophobia contributed to that riot.

The shouters deem their rights far equaler than those of the frustrated listeners.

I don't think this is true, they are escorted out for their actions while the frustrated listeners get to remain for the entirity:

the screeching from the floor is a form of thuggery and the thugs should be hauled out of the forum immediately.

Luckily nobody was tazed. The John Kerry incident (with its famous YouTube video) shows that it isn't only members of the Right that are called to account for their actions. To be fair with what I said about the Minitemen, John Kerry's impotence onstage contributed to that deterioration as well. If he were a more effective speaker not only would he have kept charge in that room, but he would probably have won the election.

Ralph Phelan said...

"Do you mind if I use it sometime and don't give you credit?"
Feel free.

Ralph Phelan said...

"I agree, but don't feel too bad for the Minutmen. Their racism and xenophobia contributed to that riot."

Ah, classic blaming the victim. It's pretty clear your definition of free speech is highly dependent on whether you agree with the speaker.

Ralph Phelan said...

Luckily nobody was tazed.
I'd have said "sadly" myself.

just a thought said...

Luckily nobody was tazed.
I'd have said "sadly" myself.


This is a scary comment. Wishing physical attacks upon those you disagree with?

Ah, classic blaming the victim. It's pretty clear your definition of free speech is highly dependent on whether you agree with the speaker.

Really? I blamed John Kerry as well. They are about opposite in viewpoint so my definition of free speech must be INdependent of whether or not I agree with the speaker.

Ralph Phelan said...

"This is a scary comment. Wishing physical attacks upon those you disagree with?"

No, only on rude people who prevent others from listening to things they want to listen to.

And it doesn't just apply to leftists disrupting speeches, either, I'm content neutral: I think people who talk during movies should be tased too. If they give away the ending they should be tased, dragged out to the parking lot, and then tased again several more times.

Ralph Phelan said...

"Really? I blamed John Kerry as well. "

You blamed John Kerry for being a crappy speaker who can't control a crowd.

You blamed the Minutemen's content itself for inviting disruption.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

"I agree, but don't feel too bad for the Minutmen. Their racism and xenophobia contributed to that riot."

And the racism, sexism, homophobia and platitidinous filibuster of "just a thought" contribute to the subtraction of value from this discussion, as well as an egregious contribution to global warming by wasting of bandspace.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

To the sentient beings on this thread, what's doing with the Chronicle? Their pages are different than usual, and today there's no Kristin.

just a thought said...

Wow.

I don't think I said anything to deserve this:

And the racism, sexism, homophobia and platitidinous filibuster of "just a thought" contribute to the subtraction of value from this discussion, as well as an egregious contribution to global warming by wasting of bandspace.

Please explain where I said anything racist, sexist, homophobic. I am not trying to offend, I am trying to have a discussion.

just a thought said...

I accept the following criticism:

"Really? I blamed John Kerry as well. "

You blamed John Kerry for being a crappy speaker who can't control a crowd.

You blamed the Minutemen's content itself for inviting disruption.


The content of John Kerry's speech was being critisized by the kid who was tased. I didn't intend to make a distinction between Kerry's crappy speaking and the content of his speech. I did unintentionally and it resulted in the above false comparison. To clarify, the content of both are probably not worth listening to. Neither the Minutemen, nor Kerry, deserve to be attacked, as the Minitemen were.

If the Minutemen are not santioned by a law enforcement agency then they are vigilantes taking the law into their own hands. They should join a law enforcement agency so that they are held to the standards of professional conduct if they wish to perform law enforcement functions.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

"Please explain where I said anything racist, sexist, homophobic. I am not trying to offend, I am trying to have a discussion."

Uh, no, you're spewing unsupported assertions like "don't feel too bad for the Minutmen. Their racism and xenophobia contributed to that riot."

That's not a discussion, it's parroting mendacious talking points used by others to demonize a speaker at Columbia. I thought you'd have the intelligence to recognize such tactics as old friends when you, for once, became the target.

It's not hard to see those tactics in the spiteful vituperation directed at Karl Rove. However, those who dish it out must learn to take it.

just a thought said...

Enlighten me. Are they also protecting the border with Canada? Are they flying planes over between the US and Cuba to report these potential immigrants?

Really these questions are, how did they choose the border with Mexico to protect?

Who is this project attracting?

http://www.splcenter.org/center/splcreport/article.jsp?aid=150

This may not have been his intention, but if racist individuals are not screened out it will ruin any legitimacy the project has, and make it look racist.

He has does not stop violence used in the course of advancing his goals saying "I will not promote violence in resolving this, but I will not stop others who might pursue that"

http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/news/homepage/article_1078958.php

He also says "We're not controlling the outcome of Congress and we're livid about it - and so are millions of Americans," he said. "I'm willing to see my country go into battle if necessary for our sovereignty and to be governed by rule of law." He sounds afraid of these foreign elements, if he is willing to go to war against them. The fear of foreigners is defined as xenophobia.

So is he taking us to war with Mexico?

Ralph Phelan said...

"To clarify, the content of both are probably not worth listening to."
That is not for you or other student thugs to decide. If people want to waste their time listening to people you consider idiots, that's their right.

"Neither the Minutemen, nor Kerry, deserve to be attacked, as the Minitemen were."
But you said we shouldn't feel too badly about the Minutemen being attacked, as they deserve it because of their views.

It's good that you've recognized the need to backpedal from that, unfortunately for you our attention spans are long enough that you're not going to get away without an actual explicit retraction.

just a thought said...

I didn't say anyone deserved to be attacked. I was saying that they shouldn't be suprised that people would protest their views.

Being attacked is called assault, and it is a crime. Anyone committing a crime should be arrested and held accountable.

Ralph Phelan said...

"I didn't say anyone deserved to be attacked. I was saying that they shouldn't be suprised that people would protest their views."

And that I shouldn't feel bad about them being attacked because their views are so awful.

Anyway I don't think they were surprised by the fact that people protested them. I don't even think they were surprised by the fact that Columbia allowed them to be physically attacked for their views. Disappointed yes, surprised no.

just a thought said...

Columbia's president, Mr. Bollinger, repudiated the students for their actions and stated that their right to protest should never silence a speaker. This supports your opinion, so why would you bash Columbia?

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

"Columbia's president, Mr. Bollinger, repudiated the students for their actions and stated that their right to protest should never silence a speaker."

Bollinger did damn little other than to make feeble noises and limp-wristedly scold the thugs, long after the fact. If he had stood up on his hind legs and demanded that the Minutemen be given a second hearing with meaningful security, such as he provided for Mr. Ahmadinajad, he'd have standing to be cited as an authority in this discussion.

Of course, he did not. In fact, he presided as Columbia refused to honor a second invitation for that Minuteman talk. He is a viciously biased moral vacancy.

And welcome back from the troll's tour of Mexico.

just a thought said...

In fact, he presided as Columbia refused to honor a second invitation for that Minuteman talk.

Did he vote against it?

And welcome back from the troll's tour of Mexico.

I answered your concerns with references. Why am I still called a troll?

I'm sensing a lot of hate on this board. I have not called anyone here names or been disrespectful. I was trying to engage in a debate, not start a fight. I have tried to defend my positions with references (which may be disputed with counterreferences).

The ground rules John made, to which I have agreed, ask for a fact based debate. Refering to me as a "troll" does not dispute anything I have said. Please instead provide evidence to dispute what I have said, in the spirit of a well reasoned fact based debate.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

It's not hate. You're being held to account, maybe for the first time ever. You justified the thuggery against the Columbia Minuteman talks by demonizing them personally, calling them loaded names and using those names to declare the speaker deserving of the mob action agains him.

Then you did your best to hijack the discussion of verbal thuggery against Karl Rove by emitting a cloud of verbiage to 'prove' that others agreed with the names you called the Minutemen. Good tactics for a squid, disappearing behind that cloud, but the length of that filibuster is about as close as one can come to shouting someone down on the Internet. You lose your listeners by such verbosity.

just a thought said...

It's not hate. You're being held to account, maybe for the first time ever.

Hold me to account by proving my statemnets incorrect. I gave references supporting my claims regarding that group.

You justified the thuggery against the Columbia Minuteman talks by demonizing them personally, calling them loaded names and using those names to declare the speaker deserving of the mob action agains him.

I did call them loaded names, and then I showed you my references for calling them those loaded names and justified their use. Please attack my justifications. They are open to scrutiny.

Then you did your best to hijack the discussion of verbal thuggery against Karl Rove

The case involving Ms. Plame is complex and is an example of why some people choose to protest Mr. Rove. I have tried to clearly express my ideas. Ken has given counter points to my arguments, and we are discussioning those.

" a cloud of verbiage ", making me "a squid". I'll give you points for creative writing, but if you poke at a squid's cloud it disappates. Poke my cloud, find its weaknesses and use them to counter my arguments.

but the length of that filibuster is about as close as one can come to shouting someone down on the Internet.

So take my points one at a time. Divide them and conquer them with rational and referenced points.

You lose your listeners by such verbosity.

But I'm giving you all the more critical points to attack in my arguments. By just giving an opinion and not backing it up my words would be meaningless. Prove that they are meaningless instead by attacking the support I have given them.

Ralph Phelan said...

I'm sensing a lot of hate on this board.

Contempt, irritation, even frustration perhaps, but actual hate is more than you're worth.

You seem to be suffering for delusions of adequacy.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

You may be eager for us to dance to your tune note for note, point by point, but he who wishes to control the agenda has to buy the drinks at this bar.

To return to the original subject: why should Rove's interruption-interlocutors not have been ejected from the talk at the first screech?