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Word Wednesday.

Götterdämmerung

Noun.

A collapse (as of a society or regime) marked by catastrophic violence and disorder; broadly, downfall.

[Origin: German, literally, twilight of the gods, from Götter (plural of Gott god) + Dämmerung twilight.]

(1909)

“The story he could have summarized if he had to. There was no need to read those last five chapters. The First Heaven was about the world before there were people in it. No people, no animals, and no birds, only sea creatures and insects, the whole ruled over by gods and goddesses, some with well-known names, some invented, but all with an Old Testament flavor. These deities behaved like human beings in that they loved and hated, committed crimes and performed heroic deeds, but were apparently immortal and therefore could watch the process of evolution, the gradual change of the tiny swimming things into land creatures and flying creatures. As the millennia passed, the gods foresaw the appearance on earth of man by a process of evolution but were powerless to stop it, though they knew it would mean an end to their immortality. It would mean a Götterdämmerung.” – Not in the Flesh, Ruth Rendell.

The Problem of Prettifying Trump for Children’s Books.

Michael Ian Black and Marc Rosenthal, A Child’s First Book of Trump.

Unfortunately, when it comes to history, there’s a long, ugly history in the U.S. of lying to children. Books are filled with euphemisms and omissions, desperate to find any way to praise past politicians and their acts. This is quite the problem with presidential bios, going all the way back. People were considered courageous to mention that the oh so holy Saint Jefferson was a slaveholder. They omitted the rapes, subsequent pregnancies, and those inconvenient little slaves Jefferson fathered. You don’t find sections or books on just how genocidal presidents were when it came to Indians, or how they spent time and money on being devious bastards, making promises they fully intended to break. Nothing about the rapes, murders, and stealing of children, no. There’s very little action across uStates to undo all the whitewash. That much has not changed, but even in an industry well practiced in the art of whitewash, Trump is presenting special problems.

…Rosman catches the Scholastic folks red-handed as they rewrite history to try to prettify Trump for their audience. In a prepublication draft of the book, under the heading “Troubling Statements,” its authors initially explained: “Some of Trump’s biggest supporters were white nationalists. Their comments and actions during and after the campaign were racist and often dangerous. Trump did little to speak against them.” But in the final version, we get, instead, a page called “Campaign Statements,” which explains that, “Some of Trump’s critics felt he did not speak out against prejudicial people and groups strongly enough.”

[…]

The problem with Trump is not that he did not denounce the racism, much less the fact that some people might have felt this way. It’s that he actively encouraged not merely racism but a particularly violent strain of it; one that helped create an atmosphere of menace toward almost all people of color among his most virulent supporters. What’s more, this racism, according to the best data we can find, was central to his appeal both in the Republican primaries and in the general election. The fact that he is now president of the United States presents an additional ideological problem for children’s book publishers. Not only must they find a way around the fact that their subject is a racist, sexist, ethnocentric, McCarthyite, lying con man, but also that nearly half the country’s voters knew all this and picked him anyway.

To be honest about Trump is to be honest about America, and right now, that is just not the kind of thing children’s publishers are set up to do. It’s not even the kind of thing The New York Times or The Washington Post is set up to do — at least not without blaming “both sides” for whatever crime against democracy, decency or common sense Trump has most recently committed. Joana Costa Knufinke, group editor for nonfiction books in Scholastic’s library publishing division, uses this time-honored excuse when she explains to Rosman, “We make an effort to show both points of view.”

[…]

The challenge regarding Trump, however, is not that he has flaws, as men and all presidents do. The problem is that he is all flaws and that it was these flaws that got him elected president. Without those flaws — the racism, sexism, jingoism, dishonesty, incompetence, ignorance and belligerence — there is nothing left to say about Trump… except perhaps to make fun of his hair. This puts the nice people in the children’s book business in the uncomfortable position of either ignoring the new president or running interference of his destructive qualities and teaching our children to, at best, ignore them, or at worst, emulate them.

An incisive look at how the children’s publishing industry is going to be very busy orange-washing and filtering all information about the current unpresident of uStates. Highly recommended reading.

Full article here.

Word Wednesday.

Fantod

Noun.

1. Plural a. A state of irritability and tension. b. Fidgets.

2. An emotional outburst: fit.

[Origin: perhaps alteration of English dialect fantique, fanteeg, perhaps blend of fantastic and fatigue.]

(1839)

That damn creek water had given Grim a serious case of the howling fantods, and every bit of reason that he could cling to was welcome indeed.” – Hex (U.S. Version), Thomas Olde Heuvelt.

New York: Tuition Free 4 Year College!

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says in New York we have rejected the politics of division.

New York will be the first state in the country to cover four-year college tuition for residents after the program was included in the budget package approved Sunday night.

The state’s Excelsior Scholarship program will be rolled out in tiers over the next three years, starting with full coverage of four-year college tuition this fall for students whose families make less than $100,000.

The income cap will increase to $110,000 in 2018 and $125,000 in 2019.

“With this budget, New York has the nation’s first accessible college program. It’s a different model,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo Saturday in a statement. “Today, college is what high school was—it should always be an option even if you can’t afford it.”

This is amazing and wonderful news. NYS has become a great model in these dark times, and it would be fantastic to see other states pick up this model as well, as our current regime would never do anything so positive and *gasp* socialist.

Via NBC and NY Daily News.

Word Wednesday.

Words1Chthonic

Adjective.

Also Chthonian.

Of or relating to the underworld.
Of or relating to the deities, spirits, and other beings dwelling under the earth.

[Origin: from Greek khthonios in or under the earth, from khthōn earth.]

1840-1850.

What’s bi-sub syndrome, anyway?” “Don’t know. I tried to look up some of Dr. Abraham’s work and found something titled ‘The Evolution of Hierarchical Behavior Expressed Through Chthonic Fetishization,’ and gave up after that. I don’t speak academic fluently enough.” – The Killer Wore Leather, Laura Antoniou.

Pres. Pussy Grabber Declares April To Be…

Hundreds of thousands of women marched on Washington to protest Donald Trump’s presidency. CREDIT: AP Photo/Alex Brandon.

Hundreds of thousands of women marched on Washington to protest Donald Trump’s presidency. CREDIT: AP Photo/Alex Brandon.

National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month! Yep, you read that one correctly. If the Tiny Tyrant was remotely intelligent, I’d be very suspicious. He isn’t remotely intelligent though, and apparently he’s untouchable when it comes to irony poisoning. He’s also not doing anything remotely new. April has been Sexual Assault Awareness month since 2001. So, we basically have a known bullshit move on the part of Donnie. He picks up something that’s already in place, ignores the decades of hard work put in, so he can pretend he’s oh so great, and lookit, I’m doing something presidential! Don’t swallow the shit. This is not Donnie doing something right, this is Donnie grabbing onto the coattails of others, for the sole purpose of feeding his monstrous ego.

Nearly six months after tapes were released of him bragging about sexually assaulting women, Donald Trump declared on Friday that April is officially National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.

Citing the 300,000 people who are sexually assaulted or raped every year, Trump also proclaimed that his administration — specifically the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice — is stepping up to assist victims and prevent future attacks.

The bulk of his proclamation is a series of platitudes rather than a substantive plan to address rampant sexual violence and rape culture. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has reportedly been told to establish a crime reduction and public safety task force to “develop strategies to reduce crime and propose new legislation to fill gaps in existing laws.” Trump also noted the importance of speaking out against sexual violence among peers, “mobilizing men and boys as allies in preventing sexual and relationship violence,” and showing women and children more respect.

:chokes, sputter: Excuse me? Nice talk there, to be sure, and as for standing up and doing the right thing, you’re going to turn yourself in over the rape and sexual assaults you committed, right?

“Together, we can and must protect our loved ones, families, campuses, and communities from the devastating and pervasive effects of sexual assault,” he said. “In the face of sexual violence, we must commit to providing meaningful support and services for victims and survivors in the United States and around the world.”

That might have warmed the black cockles of my heart, coming from anyone else. From the Tiny Tyrant? No, no. How in the fuck could anyone take that at face value from a man who views women as chattel, as a commodity, along with convenient holes just walking around, free for the grabbing? As for respecting women, oh please. The Tiny Tyrant has a long record of demeaning and disrespecting women.

But it’s difficult to take this proclamation seriously, coming from a man who was filmed suggesting celebrities “can do anything” to women — such as “grab them by the pussy” — and who has a long, documented history of the type of misogyny that allows sexual violence to thrive. He routinely reduces women’s worth to their looks, implying that women who have publicly accused him of assault are too unattractive for their stories to be true. “Believe me, she would not be my first choice, that I can tell you. Man, you don’t know, that would not be my first choice,” he said during a campaign rally. On the campaign trail, Trump also argued that women who are sexually harassed at work should quit, shortly before hiring serial sexual harasser Roger Ailes.

It’s also hard to treat seriously Trump’s plan to protect victims in the U.S. and worldwide. His proposed budget threatens funding to uphold the federal Violence Against Women Act and bolster support for survivors. One of his first acts as President was to reinstate the global gag rule, gutting foreign aid to much-needed health service providers if they offer abortions — the very types of providers who assist survivors of sexual violence.

Trump’s Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, also donated to FIRE, a group that purportedly fights for individual’s freedom on school campuses and allegations of sexual assault. The group once wrote:

“Unfortunately, much of the feminist ‘war on rape’ has conflated sexual assault with muddled, often alcohol-fueled, sexual encounters that involve miscommunication, perhaps bad behavior, but no criminal coercion. As a result, the drunken hookups all too common on today’s campuses can lead to devastating charges and penalties.

Full story at Think Progress.

Let’s [Not] Talk Gibberish.

gibberish-meaningful-blabber

Seeing as it’s Word Wednesday here at Affinity, what better day to review the atrocious mangling of language Trump indulges in? Todd Gitlin has an excellent article and review up of the Tiny Tyrant’s Art of the Non Sequitur, along with his working vocabulary, which is more suited to a toddler.

Once upon a time, there were presidents for whom English seemed their native language. Barack Obama most recently. He deliberated. At a press conference or in an interview — just about whenever he wasn’t speaking from a text — his pauses were as common as other people’s “uh’s.” He was not pausing because his vocabulary was impoverished. He was pausing to put words into sequence. He was putting phrases together with care, word by word, trying out words before uttering them, checking to feel out what they would sound like once uttered. It was important to him because he did not want to be misunderstood. President Obama valued precision, in no small part because he knew he lived in a world where every last presidential word was a speech act, a declaration with consequence, so that the very statement that the sky was blue, say, would be scoured for evidence that the president was declaring a policy on the nature of nature.

That was then. Now we have a president who, when he speaks, spatters the air with unfinished chunks, many of which do not qualify as sentences, and which do not follow from previous chunks. He does not release words into a stream of consciousness but into a heap. He heaps words on top of words, to overwhelm meaning with vague gestures. He does not think, he lurches.

Here are some examples from TIME’s transcript of their cover story made out of their phone interview with the president of the United States. I have italicized the non sequiturs, incomplete propositions, indefinite pronouns and other obscurities that amount to verbal mud.

I used to have sequential eyerolls over Bush Jr’s mangling of language: uninalienable, subliminabable, resignates, disregardered, impedent, misunderestimated, and so forth. Well, at least Bush tried for the big words. That’s better than a basic vocabulary of “bad, sad, bigly!”

Click on over for the full gibberish analysis!

And here’s a fine example of the Gibberish Takeover:

“I think the president is very well steeped in world affairs, especially Europe, NATO, all of the issues,” Spicer declared. “He was a leader in the effort to call Brexit, as you know.”

Spicer, however, did not explain how Trump led the “effort to call Brexit.”

“So, I think both on the EU and that, that’s that,” Spicer concluded.

How, exactly, does any of that answer the charge that the Tiny Tyrant is ignorant when it comes to world affairs? We are talking about the fucking idiot who presented Ms. Merkel with a bill, for fuck’s sake. He also didn’t have the slightest idea of what NATO is, or how it works. He was not a leader in the effort to call Brexit, although he did plenty of cheerleading for it. And what we get is: “So, I think both on the EU and that, that’s that.” WHAT IN THE FUCK DOES THAT MEAN? Is everyone getting so damn stupid that such shite gets a pass, or worse, knowing nods?

Word Wednesday.

Words1Atrocious

Adjective.

1 : extremely wicked, brutal, or cruel: Barbaric.

2: Appalling, horrifying.

3a: utterly revolting: abominable. b: of very poor quality.

– atrociously, adverb.

– atrociousness, noun.

[Origin: Latin atroc-, atrox gloomy, atrocious, from atr-, ater black + –oc, –ox.]

(1658)

“Robespierre had paused briefly to finger his jabot.

I tell you that anyone who is trembling at this moment is guilty. Because innocence never fears the public gaze.

‘That’s atrocious,’ Adamsberg whispered back. ‘The most terrible of all, in my view.'” – A Climate of Fear, Fred Vargas.

As our quote finds us in the time of Robespierre, a bonus phrase: Sneeze into the sack:

“‘Hébert was famous for writing “fuck this” and “fuck that”, ever two lines in the paper, and Gonzalez liked imitating him, they were stirring sessions. “Let those toads in the Plain go and sneeze into the sack,” he would say. Robespierre was very shocked by Hébert’s vulgar language.’

‘Sneeze into the sack?’ asked Adamsberg.

‘A contemporary expression for being sent to the guillotine.'”

Ugly America.

(Photo: Courtesy of Pleasant Run Elementary School).

(Photo: Courtesy of Pleasant Run Elementary School).

INDIANAPOLIS — The day should have been one of glory and celebration for five fourth-graders.

The Pleasant Run Elementary students had just won a robotics challenge at Plainfield High School, and the students — new to bot competition this year — were one step closer to the Vex IQ State Championship.

The team is made up of 9- and 10-year-olds. Two are African American and three are Latino.

As the group, called the Pleasant Run PantherBots, and their parents left the challenge last month in Plainfield, Ind., competing students from other Indianapolis-area schools and their parents were waiting for them in the parking lot.

“Go back to Mexico!” two or three kids screamed at their brown-skin peers and their parents, according to some who were there.

This verbal attack had spilled over from the gymnasium. While the children were competing, one or two parents disparaged the Pleasant Run kids with racist comments — and loud enough for the Pleasant Run families to hear.

“They were pointing at us and saying that ‘Oh my God, they are champions of the city all because they are Mexican. They are Mexican, and they are ruining our country,’ ” said Diocelina Herrera, the mother of PantherBot Angel Herrera-Sanchez.

These are minority students from the east side of the city, poor kids from a Title I school.

“For the most part, the robotics world is kind of a white world,” said Lisa Hopper, the team’s coach and a Pleasant Run second-grade teacher. “They’re just not used to seeing a team like our kids.

I have no doubt it’s true that they are not accustomed to seeing a team like the PantherBots, but how is that an excuse, in any way? That is disgusting behaviour, and I have no doubt if slurs were being slung at their milk white children, they would be beyond offended, and threaten to sue. This is the exact sort of shit that the Tiny Tyrant has enabled, and I have no doubt the bigots are all faithful Trumpholes. And I’m supposed to listen to their “side of things”? I don’t think so.

…Three weeks after the incident, the PantherBots won the Create Award — for best robot design and engineering — at the state championships, which qualified them for the Vex IQ World Championship next month in Louisville. They will compete there with students from all over the world.

And they say they’ll walk in with confidence.

“They yelled out rude comments, and I think that they can talk all they want because at the end we’re still going to Worlds,” said team leader Elijah Goodwin, 10. “It’s not going to affect us at all. I’m not surprised because I’m used to this kind of behavior.

The fact that any 10 year old child is accustomed to such vile behaviour should break the heart of any adult, it should certainly affect those who are parents, but this is not the case with Trumpholes, no. A brown child just couldn’t possibly be as smart as a white child. And they wonder why they are called racist and deplorable.

“I was afraid they would let it get in their heads and wig them out,” Hopper said. “We sat down and talked to our kids, and obviously we let them share their feelings.

“They were on top of it already,” she said. “They said: ‘We know they are mean. We know they were jealous. We’re not going to let it bother us.’ One of our guys said ‘to take stuff like that and let it make you stronger.’ ”

Just a few months ago, the PantherBots knew nothing about robotics.

The low-income school was given a grant to develop a robotics program. Fourth-grade teachers were asked to identify 10 students who had potential and exhibited leadership qualities.

And yet, we have Trumpholes in the Regime who think that no poor people should be getting in on that education business, oh no.

A huge shout out to the PantherBots, for a job well done, a great attitude, and best of luck at the Worlds! These are the kids who would grow up to make America great, if they were allowed.

Via USA Today.

What Is It About Wisconsin?

Rep. Glenn Grothman (YouTube).

Rep. Glenn Grothman (YouTube).

Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, Glenn Grothman…is there some pool deep in the wilds of Wisconsin that tosses out empathy-devoid politicians? Grothman has decided that it is very necessary to cut federal aid to students because … goodies. Yep, goodies.

Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI) complained Tuesday during a congressional hearing that low-income students are spending their Pell Grant funds on commercial goods that he deems unnecessary, reported Inside Higher Ed.

“I know in many ways in this country we hate the middle class,” Grothman said. “We love the rich, we love the poor and we hate the middle class.

Wait, wait, wait, wait. “We” love the poor? Since when has anyone or anything rethuglican demonstrated a love for poor people? The constant efforts to strip every teensy safety net is love? Yeah, definitely Nineteen Eighty-Four here.

People wonder why — sometimes they use the Pell Grants, too, for goodies and electronics, and they resent the fact that by doing it right, their kids are penalized.”

Uh, most middle class kids have all the goodies and electronics, y’know. I realize it’s probably been a hundred or so years since Mr. Grothman has seen the inside of a classroom, but these days, it’s rather important to have those goodies and electronics. Things do change over the years, sir. I’m still a bit at a loss over just what constitutes “goodies”. Computers and phones are pretty much standard equipment these days, and quite necessary in pursuit of your education.

Grothman complained that poor students were given grant aid that he believes is largely subsidized by the middle class, and he said those taxpayers are resentful that their own children must take out loans to pay for their education.

He “believes”? How about some evidence? That would be good. You aren’t supposed to govern based on your opinion.

“People get tired of the American government hating the middle class, and they have to kick in for their kids’ programs, so their (own) kids have to take out loans,” Grothman said. “Well, the kids from some other families seem to get things for free.”

Oh gods. Yet another fucking idiot who doesn’t have the slightest idea of how things work, or just how damn difficult it is for kids in poverty to attain college, or how hard you have to work to get a grant in the first bloody place. No recognition of all those kids who don’t make the cut for a grant, either. Of course, if America was the kind of country that actually gave a shit about its citizens, an education wouldn’t cost much, if anything, at all. Other countries have such a system, and they have smart, happy, productive people. Oh, but that would be socialist, oh no! And yes, to fund such a system, you have to pay taxes, but it is to the benefit of everyone. Here in Amerikka, if the bloated military budget was brought down to be in line with most other countries, you wouldn’t even have to raise taxes by much. You could educate a whole lot of peoples with that money. This would also mean completely overhauling the fucked up college system here, too. Much better to just make sure poor kids can’t ever get in.

He suggested first-year students should be ineligible for Pell Grants so the government was not “wasting money” on students who won’t graduate.

“At least have, for your freshman year, have the kids who aren’t in the middle class take out loans like the kids in the middle class already have to,” Grothman said. “That way you could make sure that everybody was going to college after are more serious about college. Do you think that would be a fair thing to do?”

No, I don’t think that’s fair at all. No one should have to go into debt to get a fucking education. That is something a government should provide. Insisting poverty ridden students get into equal debt of their middle class peers is not fair. And why do I have this feeling that what you really mean by “students who won’t graduate” are women, who are only in college to husband hunt, because of course they don’t want an education, no.

Grothman also claimed he had “anecdotal evidence” that Pell Grants, which are allocated based on financial need, discourage students from getting married so their income remained low enough to qualify for aid.

“If you don’t get married, of course, it’s easier to remain in poverty and not get Pell Grants,” he said. “I’ve heard it from several people.”

AAUUUUGGH NO NO NO. That’s it – it’s more than obvious Grothman had no fucking education whatsoever, and any fucking idiot who uses anecdotal evidence as if it means something – that should immediately disqualify you from the job. What. A. Fucking. Idiot.

Via Raw Story.

Word Wednesday.

Words1Glaucous

Adjective.

1 a: of a pale yellow-green color. b: of a light bluish-gray or bluish-white color.

2: having a powdery or waxy coating that gives a frosted appearance and tends to rub off.

– glaucousness, noun.

[Origin: Latin glaucus, from Greek glaukos gleaming, gray]

(1671)

Suddenly, a wave of very big rats, with glaucous eyes and lips drawn back from shining ridges of teeth, came boiling out of the darkness.” – The Wicked, Douglas Nicholas.

And, some other nifty color words:

Murrey / Perse / Cramoisy

 
Murrey, noun: a purplish black: Mulberry. [Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French muré, from Medieval Latin moratum, from neuter of moratus mulberry colored, from Latin morum, mulberry.] (15th Century).

Fastened to his surcoat was a brooch worn as a badge: a silver disk inlaid with murrey-colored enamel, against which the white fountain of Blanchefontaine stood out, rendered in raised silver.” – Something Red, Douglas Nicholas.

Perse, adjective: of a dark grayish blue resembling indigo. [Origin: Middle English pers, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin persus.] (15th Century)

Cramoisy: adjective: of a crimson colour. noun: crimson cloth.

[Origin: French cramoisi, from Spanish carmesi, from Arabic qirmzi, equivalent to kermes.] (1375 -1425)

She took the cramoisy gown from his hand and folded it, and then held the perse up against herself, looking down at it.” – Something Red, Douglas Nicholas.

A BIG Book!

bigbook_sp_top

big-book-gigantic-turnip-5

big-book-urashima-taro-4

Oh, if I had young sprogs, I’d get these books in a heartbeat, which puts a whole new spin on interactive books.

The Big Book is precisely that – a children’s story that unfolds into a gigantic single sheet, revealing a beautiful illustration of something central to the story. The redesigned children’s fairytale adds another dimension of interactivity to storytelling, allowing kids read a story with their eyes, ears and whole body.

It was originally designed by Japanese illustrator Mao Fujimoto in 2011 as a school project (we actually covered it back then, so we’re super happy it’s finally been turned into a product). Fujimoto came up with the idea by following a keen fascination about what it would be like to ride on the turtle, which carries the young fisherman to a sub-sea palace in Urashima Taro, one of Japan’s most beloved stories.

Now, Urashima Taro and The Giant Turnip have been turned into real books thanks to Seigensha Art Publishing. Each features Fujimoto’s beautiful illustrations accompanied by story text in both Japanese and English. So not only is it great for storytelling, it’s also useful for learning another language!

Because it’s designed to be spread out on the floor and walked/crawled on, the books are made from water-resistant, highly durable paper so it holds up to toddler abuse.

You can see, and read much more at Spoon & Tamago.

The Expressive Rights of Others.

The California Aggie, Jay Gelvezon/Courtesy.

The California Aggie, Jay Gelvezon/Courtesy.

“The expressive rights of others.” Quite the phrase, isn’t it? That’s the new free speech, at least applied to those with repugnant viewpoints. In the ongoing effort to quell dissent, this is the new rallying cry of the decidedly exclusive conservatives and lovers of fascism.

…The intent of these bills isn’t to protect student speech; it’s actually to suppress it in favor of guest speakers who, at times, support white nationalism, LGBTQ discrimination and other hateful worldviews. By funding the Phoenix-based Goldwater Institute, wealthy conservatives are enabling the promotion of hate speech while stifling student dissent. Whether or not Koch, for example, agrees with the hate speech he indirectly sponsors, he certainly benefits from a more friendly academic environment for far-right ideologues who often deny climate change and praise his extreme brand of tax- and regulation-free capitalism.

The Goldwater Institute’s model bill allegedly ensures “the fullest degree of…free expression,” but it explicitly states that “protests and demonstrations that infringe upon the rights of others to engage in or listen to expressive activity shall not be permitted and shall be subject to sanction.”

It goes on to say, “Any student who has twice been found responsible for infringing the expressive rights of others will be suspended for a minimum of one year, or expelled.”

Under this code, imagine that a student protests a climate change denier and gets a brief suspension. Then the College Republicans group brings in a full-on white nationalist. Will this student do what she thinks is right and protest a racist who’s given a platform at a respected university, or stay home because she’s risking expulsion? This campus “free speech” legislation is essentially an attack on student speech and an elevation of ultra-conservative ideas that many people in university communities think have no place in American society.

“These laws would create a chilling effect on students who reject the idea that white supremacists or climate deniers are simply representing an ‘opposing viewpoint’ that should be tolerated, and who are rightfully relying on their first amendment freedoms to stop the rise of fascism and prevent global climate catastrophe,” Wilson, UnKoch’s senior researcher, told AlterNet. The group has been conducting research into Charles Koch’s considerable ideological donations to higher education, most of which goes toward free-market programs.

Charles Koch Foundation representatives say that conservative views are underrepresented in higher education, and the foundation’s massive university donations—which fund free-market academic centers, professorships, grad students and lecture series—are necessary for academic freedom. This view is shared by other conservative billionaires and higher ed donors including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who recently said to the crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference, “The education establishment [tells you] what to think…the real threat is silencing the First Amendment rights of people with whom you disagree.”

the real threat is silencing the First Amendment rights of people with whom you disagree.” Okay, then why are you doing just that? Oh, because you don’t mean that at all, no. You’re fully in favour of free speech, er, expressive rights, as long as those expressive rights are extolling the virtues of white supremacy and fascism. Anything else, not so much. It’s of minor interest to note how much the cons have jumped on the branding wagon. “Different words will make it great!” No, they won’t. To paraphrase Shakespeare, fascism by any other name would still stink.

Legislators in some states including Illinois and Tennessee have introduced bills in 2017 that explicitly mention sanctions on student protesters. Illinois’ bill, proposed by two Republicans, lifts this language, and additional passages, nearly verbatim from the Goldwater model. Also sponsored by Republicans, the bill in Tennessee—nicknamed the “Milo Bill” after an event at the University of California at Berkeley featuring the racist “alt-right” icon Milo Yiannopolous was canceled due to protests—directs universities to enact free speech policies that include “sanctions for anyone under the jurisdiction of the institution who interferes with the free expression of others,” and it gives faculty “the right to regulate class speech.”

In North Carolina, Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest intends to work with legislators on a Restore Campus Free Speech Act, which would create “a discipline policy that would punish students who shout down visiting speakers or deprive others of their right to free expression, a tactic commonly known as the ‘hecklers’ veto.'”

Last year, Forest floated a measure calling on the University of North Carolina’s board of governors to create a system-wide policy that would impose harsh penalties, including expulsion, on students, staff and faculty members who disrupt classes, public meetings or events. The Koch-funded Generation Opportunity lauded the effort at the time. Forest has said that yelling at a guest speaker “has never been free speech,” and he’s called campus protest methods “terrorist tactics.” No one introduced a free speech bill that year.

Other proposed laws, like North Dakota’s, which was introduced by six Republicans, omit sanctions provisions but state that a university may restrict student speech if it blocks entrances to buildings, obstructs traffic or interferes with events. Much of the North Dakota bill comes directly from the text of the Goldwater model legislation.

That’s by no means the end of it, either. Alternet has a good, in-depth look at the “new” expressive rights of others, and how it will strip a great many people of their expressive rights. Recommended reading.

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