Free speech

free speechLast week, President Trump “signed an executive order to authorize the denial of federal funds to colleges that suppress student free-speech rights,” F.H. Buckley writes in the New York Post. Students who express conservative views on college campuses have been routinely denounced across the country—but no more, says President Trump. “The federal government awards billions to our universities; top schools get a billion apiece. That’s going to stop, he said, if they don’t honor free-speech rights.”–White House email March 25, 2019

The Free Speech Movement (FSM) was a massive, long-lasting student protest which took place during the 1964–65 academic year on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley. The Movement was informally under the central leadership of Berkeley graduate student Mario Savio. Other student leaders include Jack Weinberg, Michael Rossman, George Barton, Brian Turner, Bettina Aptheker, Steve Weissman, Michael Teal, Art Goldberg, Jackie Goldberg, and others.

With the participation of thousands of students, the Free Speech Movement was the first mass act of civil disobedience on an American college campus in the 1960s. Students insisted that the university administration lift the ban of on-campus political activities and acknowledge the students’ right to free speech and academic freedom. The Free Speech Movement was influenced by the New Left, and was also related to the Civil Rights Movement and the Anti-Vietnam War Movement. To this day, the Movement’s legacy continues to shape American political dialogue both on college campuses and in broader society, impacting on the political views and values of college students and the general public.–Wikipedia

Trump’s concern is that divisive speech by right-wing zealots is suppressed, a dubious idea. What a change from a time when the New Left demanded to be heard.

There’s a story conservatives have been telling about the decline of free speech on campuses, and it goes like this: America has spiraled downward from a golden age, when the groves of academe were precincts of whole-hearted civil freedom, to today, when hypersensitive left-wing students, obsessed by race- and gender-based “microaggressions,” clamor for “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings.”–Todd Gitlin August 11, 2017

Read more in the WAPO article cited.


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We have seen this before

rmnI am not a crook–RMN

If Nixon goes free, no one should be found guilty of anything–prospective juror to Detroit Recorder’s Court judge shortly after Nixon resigned.

The Watergate scandal followed the arrest of burglars at the Democratic National Committee office in 1972. Subsequently, President Nixon resigned to avoid impeachment; 48 government officials were  found guilty, including:

  1. John N. Mitchell, Attorney General, later Director of “Committee to Re-elect the President”
  2. Richard Kleindienst, Attorney General
  3. Jeb Stuart Magruder, Deputy Director of “Committee to Re-elect the President”
  4. Frederick C. LaRue, Adviser to John Mitchell
  5. H. R. Haldeman, Chief of Staff for Nixon
  6. John Ehrlichman, Counsel to Nixon 
  7. Egil Krogh, aide to John Ehrlichman
  8. John W. Dean III, counsel to Nixon
  9. Dwight L. Chapin, deputy assistant to Nixon
  10. Maurice Stans, Finance Chairman of “Committee to Re-elect the President”
  11. Herbert W. Kalmbach, personal attorney to Nixon
  12. Charles W. Colson, special counsel to Nixon, 
  13. Herbert L. Porter, aide to the “Committee to Re-elect the President”
  14. G. Gordon Liddy, Special Investigations Group
  15. E. Howard Hunt, security consultant

President Nixon left Washington; Vice President Gerald Ford became President. Ford, who had been appointed VP by Nixon, later pardoned Nixon for his crimes. I understand why Nixon was pardoned, but the pardon left the impression that justice was not done–Nixon escaped conviction and possible punishment while 48 of his associates did not.

I have the same feeling today–in face of repeated lies, conviction of his associates, and multiple charges of wrongdoing, the “Summary of the Mueller Report” by Attorney General Barr, whom Trump appointed as AG, allows President Trump to claim vindication while scandal still rages, while his associates are convicted and punished.



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H.R. 8 — “To require a background check for every firearm sale.”

stray dog

Why laws with loopholes, one wonders?

H.R. 8 — “To require a background check for every firearm sale.”

Well, maybe not every one.

An amendment, offered by Mr. Van Drew, numbered 4 printed in Part A of House Report 116-14 to clarify that the exception for gifts and loans of firearms between parents and their children applies to step-parents and step-children.

The Van Drew Amendment was agreed to by voice vote, but why in the world should there be exceptions?

An amendment, offered by Mrs. Lesko, numbered 1 printed in Part A of House Report 116-14 to allow the transfer of firearms to individuals who participate in the TSA Pre-Check program of the Department of Homeland Security.

The Lesko Amendment failed by recorded vote 182-250. Tom Reed voted AYE as did most Republicans.

An amendment, offered by Ms. Dean, numbered 2 printed in Part A of House Report 116-14 to clarify that the exemption from the background check requirement in instances of imminent threats of death or great bodily harm would apply to someone who is at risk of committing suicide.

The Dean Amendment was agreed to by voice vote. I believe the intent is to allow a gun to be taken without a background check to prevent a crime or a suicide.

An amendment, offered by Ms. Horn, Kendra S., numbered 3 printed in Part A of House Report 116-14 to clarify that “great bodily harm” includes domestic violence, dating partner violence, sexual assault, stalking, and domestic abuse.

The Horn Amendment was agreed to by recorded vote 310-119. Tom Reed voted AYE.

Mr. Collins (GA) moved to recommit with instructions to the Committee on the Judiciary. The instructions contained in the motion seek to require the bill to be reported back to the House with an amendment to add new text to the bill related to regulations that may be implemented by the Attorney General.

The Collins motion was agreed to by recorded vote 220-209. Tom Reed voted AYE.

On passage, H.R.8 was agreed to 240-190. Tom Reed voted NAY.


Posted in Gun Violence, Reed's Views | Tagged , | 1 Comment



We’re in no rush whatsoever. — DJT on prospective Korean denuclearization

Prior to 5 May 1968, Nixon spoke of seeking a “victorious peace” in Vietnam. But on that day, speaking in New Hampshire, the nation’s first primary state, he used the term “honorable peace” for the first time. 

“Face saving,” said to be important to Asians, seems equally important to American Presidents.

Kim Jong-un has reportedly again purged his government of political opponents. That’s interesting–while we don’t commonly use that word, Kim may have taken a cue from DJT.

American officials purged by the Trump Administration:

Some of those purged held important positions:

  • Michael Flynn –National Security Adviser
  • Rex Tillerson — Secretary of State
  • Jeff Sessions — Attorney General
  • James Mattis — Secretary of Defense
  • Michael Kelly — Chief of Staff

One reason the American President and the North Korean President are said to be friendly is that they have much in common, one notable thing being insecurity.

Posted in Trump, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Political Glossary


“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”–Lewis Carroll


  • That’s a conversation we need to have.I don’t want to talk about it.
  • I will take these concerns from constituents back to Washington D.C.constituents’ concerns will be forgotten before Tom leaves the room.
  • Your opinions are important to me.Why should I care what you think?
  • I’ll get back to you on that.—I don’t want to talk about it.
  • We need to agree to disagree.--forget you!
  • national emergencyCongress won’t cooperate.
  • taxpayer moneyany government spending.
  • bipartisan bill-any bill which one approves with at least one sponsor from each party.
  • reintroduce a billit previously died in committee and likely will again.
  • harmful, unnecessary regulationsthey cost you or your business time and money.
  • Breaking newsnews.
  • Fake newsanything found disagreeable.
  • TDSthe idea that Trump’s blather makes responsible people crazy; there may be some truth to that.
  • The leftanything but the far right.
  • The other side-the left.


Posted in Congress, Political, Reed's Views | Tagged | 4 Comments

Smart border technology

wallIf we build it, we will lose our security and our humanity.–Beto O’Rorke in El Paso

In an article which appeared in The Hill, the authors argue that “Democrats’ ‘smart border’ technology is not a ‘humane’ alternative to Trump’s wall.” The argument is persuasive, but more interesting observations are found at the end of the article. The authors note:

Based on these findings there is a need to reconsider the premise that surveillance technology and infrastructure can provide a “humane” alternative to Trump’s border wall (a proposal we also consider to be wasteful and destructive). Instead, we’d like to see a shift in U.S. border policy that genuinely prioritizes the protection of human life, regardless of a person’s citizenship or immigration status. 

This kind of shift, of course, would require reforms not just to the Border Patrol and its enforcement strategy, but to U.S. immigration policy overall, allowing people to seek safety or reunite with family and loved ones without risking their lives crossing through the desert. 

Democrats were pushed to define an alternative to a border wall to deflect charges that they were weak on “border security,” that they favored “open borders.” Better that the debate had turned to defining a humane immigration policy, a border policy that genuinely prioritizes the protection of human life, regardless of a person’s citizenship or immigration status.

Posted in 2020, Campaigning, Immigration | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Border Issues

tijuna-river-map“There is a crisis here but it has nothing to do with immigration.”--Gilbert Rebollar, a board member of the Brawley Elementary School District who is also an analyst at the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District.

Jose A. Del Real, in an article published in the NY Times on Feb. 10, 2019, “A California border town swept up in Mexico’s waste,” explains that pollution from Mexico affects communities in California. He writes:

Noxious sewage filled with feces, industrial chemicals and other raw waste regularly comes in through the New River, and through Calexico, leaving neighborhoods along the waterway engulfed in pungent fumes.

In 2017 I wrote an article titled “Bad bills have smelly consequences,”which noted Tom Reed’s indifference to the problem of cross-border pollution.

In 2011, Tom Reed opposed funding needed sewers because the work was on the Mexican side of the border. The consequences affect the California side–now sewage in the Tijuana River is a problem in Southern California.

Not all border problems can be solved by a wall. Violence and poverty in Central America and demand for illegal drugs North of the border are examples. Communities on both sides of the border have interests that need to be addressed with cooperative action. Del Real writes:

As Washington debates spending billions to shore up barriers along the 2,000-mile southwest border, many residents in California’s Imperial Valley feel at least some of that money could be spent to address the region’s public health threats.

When we spend, we ought to spend wisely.


  1. Calexico is 100 miles East of Tijuana.
  2. Some links in the 2017 New NY 23rd article are no longer valid. Tom’s 2011 press release can no longer be found on his web site.

Posted in Congress, Environmental, Political, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment