Black student demands to erase history at the University of Oregon: just say no.

DeadyHall

The University of Oregon’s first building opened on Oct. 16, 1876. It was named Deady Hall for Judge Matthew Deady in 1893.

On November 17, 2015, the University of Oregon’s Black Student Task Force sent a list of twelve demands to four top university administrators.

The group asserted that “the historical structural violence and direct incidents of cultural insensitivity and racism” on campus create an environment that prevents black students from succeeding.

In order to create “a healthy and positive campus climate” for black students, the Black Student Task Force said:

“We…DEMAND that you work with us and implement the following list of programs:

  • Change the names of all of the KKK related buildings on campus. DEADY Hall will be the first building to be renamed.
  • We cannot and should not be subjugated to walk in any buildings that have been named after people that have vehemently worked against the Black plight, and plight of everyone working to achieve an equitable society.
  • Allowing buildings to be named after members who support these views is in direct conflict with the university’s goal to keep black students safe on campus.
  • We demand this change be implemented by Fall 2016”

University President Michael Schill appointed a committee of administrators, faculty, and students to develop criteria for evaluating whether to strip the names off Deady Hall and Dunn Hall, part of Hamilton residence hall, because of their association with racist actions in Oregon in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Once the criteria were established, Schill assembled a panel of three historians to research the history of Matthew P. Deady and Frederick S. Dunn to guide his decision-making.

The historians recently released an exhaustive, extensively footnoted 34-page report.

The report described the complex lives of both men, lives filled with negatives, positives, ambiguity and contradictions.

Deady, though a territorial legislator, constitutional convention delegate and presiding officer, and U.S. District Judge for thirty-four years, supported slavery.

Dunn, though he graduated from the University of Oregon, spent the vast majority of his career there and enjoyed a national reputation as a classics scholar, was also a prominent member of the Ku Klux Klan and led the Eugene chapter.

Based on the historians’ report, there is no question that both men held views and engaged in activities that would be considered loathsome today.

But that does that mean their names should be summarily erased from history at the University of Oregon.

To surrender to the Black Students Task Force’s demands would be to embrace presentism in all its intellectual weakness, to endorse interpreting historical events without any reference to the context or complexity of the time.

If there’s one thing students should learn in college, it’s that It makes no sense to see the world entirely in the present tense.

In looking at history, it is critical to acknowledge the degree to which our position and experiences color how we look at bygone days, places and people.

Presentism “…encourages a kind of moral complacency and self-congratulation,” said Lynn Hunt, president of the American Historical Association. “Interpreting the past in terms of present concerns usually leads us to find ourselves morally superior…,”

Many of our forbears espoused racial views that are today considered abhorrent, including people we still consider exemplars of the American experience.

In addition, somebody’s historical goodness and worth should not be based on just one criteria.

“…making race the only basis of judgment…does violence to the spirit of historical investigation, because it reduces complex individuals to game show contestants who must simply pass or fail a single test,” says David Greenberg, a professor of history and journalism and media studies at Rutgers University.

In April 2016, Schill and Vice President for Equity and Inclusion Yvette Alex-Assensoh published a letter to the campus community saying, “…we recognize that we can and must do more as an institution to meet the needs of Black students”, but made no commitments on the building renaming issue.

When Schill does make a decision, I earnestly hope he will just say no.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meg Whitman: how to betray your principles in one easy step

Meg Whitman, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise CEO, is campaigning for Hillary Clinton in Denver, CO today.

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“I will vote for Hillary, I will talk to my Republican friends about helping her, and I will donate to her campaign and ry to raise money for her.” Meg Whitman, August 2016.

This is a woman who, in her losing bid to become governor of California as a Republican in 2010, called for:

  • Eliminating burdensome business taxes
  • Eliminating a cap on charter schools
  • Barring illegal immigrants from state colleges and universities.
  • Ending “outrageous spending” on a growing state bureaucracy
  • Reducing overall state spending
  • No amnesty for people in the United States illegally, construction of a fence on the Mexican border,
  • Repealing Obamacare
  • Requiring minors to notify a guardian or parent prior to an abortion
  • Enforcing the Three Strikes law because it was “instrumental in keeping violent criminals out of our communities”
  • An end to the Dream Act because it wasn’t fair to legal residents.

I could go on and on, but it is abundantly clear that Whitman’s political views, based on her 2010 gubernatorial campaign, are diametrically opposed to those of Hillary Clinton.

Hillary, for example, wants to:

  • Increase federal spending by $1.8 trillion over the next decade.
  • Increase the national debt to 86% of GDP over the next decade.
  • Expand benefits under an already troubled Social Security program.
  • Expand Obamacare
  • Increase various business taxes
  • Impose new fees on financial institutions
  • Enact liberal immigration reforms

Whitman’s support for Clinton today, then, can only be seen as an abandonment of her principles and a cynical ploy to secure a position in a new Clinton administration.

So forget about all the kudos for Republicans like Whitman who say they’ll vote for Hillary.

As Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor said, “There is indeed something deeply wrong with a person who lacks principles, who has no moral core.”

 

 

 

Lies, damn lies and statistics: SEIU’s campaign for Measure 97

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“Those who lie, twist life so that it looks tasty to the lazy, brilliant to the ignorant, and powerful to the weak,” said José N. Harris, an American author.

Based on pro-Measure 97 arguments being put out there by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the union knows all about twisting life.

A flyer just mailed to Oregon households by SEIU says 0.25% of Oregon’s 400,000 businesses would pay more under measure 97. Not so fast.

An analysis by the Oregon Legislative Revenue Office on the potential impacts of Measure 97 (when it was still referred to as Initiative Petition 28) made clear that the actual number of businesses that will pay the new taxes is unknown and trying to pin down an exact number is “particularly risky”. That’s because it’s not known how many businesses will take steps to reduce or eliminate the increased tax triggered by the measure.

Potential tax avoidance strategies, according to the Legislative Revenue Office, include:

o Shifting from a C-Corporation to an S-Corporation or non-corporation status.

o Spinning off subsidiaries into separate businesses to reduce Oregon sales below $25 million on the combined state corporate tax return.

o Using mergers and acquisitions or other methods to adjust where the plurality of services are performed under the cost of performance apportionment methodology.

o Vertically integrating with intermediate suppliers in order to reduce taxable transactions.

o Converting to a benefit company, which would not be subject to the new tax.

The risk of setting a firm number for tax revenue under Measure 97 is heightened further by the fact the direct effect of the measure would be “…so heavily concentrated on a relatively few large corporations, thereby giving them a powerful incentive to develop tax planning strategies,” the Revenue Office concluded.

To the extent businesses do take steps to minimize or avoid the new tax, the predicted revenue may not flow into the state’s coffers, forcing more tough choices.

The SEIU is also guilty of peddling dishonest information when it says in its flyer” “Fact: funding can only be spent to improve education, health care and senior services.” SEIU knows full well that Measure 97 would not limit how the resulting tax revenue could be spent by the legislature.

Measure 97’s spending requirements are meaningless Legislative Counsel Dexter Johnson said in an Aug. 1 letter to Rep. John Davis, R-Wilsonville, a member of the House Committee on Revenue.

If Measure 97 is approved by voters, the Legislature can appropriate its revenues “in any way it chooses,” Johnson said. Not only are Legislators “not bound by the spending requirements” of Measure 97, they can “simply ignore” them,” Johnson added.

And even if Gov. Kate Brown has said, “…I will make sure the funds the measure yields go ­toward schools, health care and seniors, as the voters expect,” she is not bound to that commitment, nor are future governors or legislators.

In its purposeful deceit, the SEIU is revealing its true opinion of Oregonians. As John-Paul Sartre said, “the worst part about being lied to is knowing you weren’t worth the truth.”

 

Troubling questions: media donations to the Clinton Foundation

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While listening to Oregon Public Broadcasting the other day I heard an interviewer mention that Public Radio International (PRI) had given money to the Clinton Foundation.

A review of the Clinton Foundation’s records reveals that PRI has, in fact, donated $10,000 – $25,000 to the Foundation. The purpose of the donation is not given.

Talk about bizarre. A major non-profit media organization that relies on donations itself, turns right around and gives some of its limited resources to another non-profit, the Clinton Foundation.

I asked PRI to explain, but they didn’t respond.

In the process of researching the issue, I learned something even more disturbing. PRI is one of dozens of media organizations that have donated to the Clinton Foundation, creating or maintaining questionable symbiotic relationships.

One of the other media donors is Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), a non-profit provider of programs to public television stations that relies on donations itself.

Media, which harp on their commitment to ethical behavior, clearly have a problem here. How can they not see it?

Last week the Clinton Foundation said it won’t accept donations from corporations or foreign entities if Hillary Clinton is elected president. A halt to accepting media donations should be adopted, too.

Other media-related donors to the Clinton Foundation include:

$1,000,000-$5,000,000

 Carlos Slim, Telecom magnate and largest shareholder of The New York Times Company

 James Murdoch, Chief Operating Officer of 21st Century Fox

 Newsman Media, Florida-based conservative media network

 Thomson Reuters, Reuters news service owner

 

$500,000-$1,000,000

 Google

 News Corporation Foundation

 

$250,000-$500,000

 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Publisher

 Richard Mellon Scaife, Owner of Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

 

$100,000-$250,000

 Bloomberg Philanthropies

 Howard Stringer, Former CBS, CBS News and Sony executive

 Intermountain West Communications Company, Local television affiliate owner (formerly Sunbelt Communications)

 

$50,000-$100,000

 Bloomberg L.P.

 Discovery Communications Inc.

 Mort Zuckerman, Owner of New York Daily News and U.S. News & World Report

 Time Warner Inc., Owner of CNN parent company Turner Broadcasting

George Stephanopoulos, Communications director and senior adviser for policy and strategy to President Clinton

 

$25,000-$50,000

 AOL

 HBO

 Hollywood Foreign Press Association

 Viacom

 

$10,000-$25,000

 Knight Foundation

Turner Broadcasting, Parent company of CNN

 Twitter

 

$5,000-$10,000

 Comcast, Parent company of NBCUniversal

 NBC Universal, Parent company of NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC

 Public Broadcasting Service

 

$1,000-$5,000

 Robert Allbritton, Owner of POLITICO

 

$250-$1,000

 AOL Huffington Post Media Group

 Hearst Corporation

 Judy Woodruff, PBS Newshour co-anchor and managing editor

 The Washington Post Company

 

Are you liberal or conservative? Facebook thinks it knows.

liberalconservativeThe New York Times reported today on Facebook’s efforts to classify you so it can sell that info to advertisers.
According to the NYT, if you want to know how Facebook categorizes you, just go to facebook.com/ads/preferences on your browser. (You may have to log in to Facebook first.)
 
Under the “Interests” header, click the “Lifestyle and Culture” tab.
 
Then look for a box titled “US Politics.” In parentheses, it will describe how Facebook has categorized you, such as liberal, moderate or conservative.
 
The NYT says Facebook makes a deduction about your political views based on the pages that you like — or on your political preference, if you stated one, on your profile page.
 
Even if you don’t like any candidates’ pages, if most of the people who like the same pages that you do — such as Ben and Jerry’s ice cream — identify as liberal, then Facebook might classify you as one, too.
 
But the system isn’t foolproof. I checked and it said I’m a liberal. Anybody who knows me knows that couldn’t be further from the truth. So much for data analysis.

Politico and arbitration: do as I say, not as I do

arbitration

I was thrilled, just thrilled, when I got an e-mail from Politico on Aug. 18 inviting me to be a “Politico Insider”. I mean, I love reading, writing and talking about politics.

“We are creating an exclusive online community of plugged-in politicos to share their opinions — off the record, of course! As a political influencer, we greatly value your input,” the message said.

The Politico message really pumped me up:

“When you become a POLITICO Insider, you’ll get to:

  • Join an exclusive community of influencers who are passionate about the intersection of politics, policy, and power
  • Participate in surveys to share your ideas and opinions with us
  • Compare your opinions to those of other influencers

But then, well into the sign-up process, I reviewed the “Terms and Conditions” section.

That’s when these items caught my eye:

THIS TERMS OF SERVICE AGREEMENT INCLUDES A CLASS ACTION WAIVER AND A WAIVER OF JURY TRIALS, AND REQUIRES BINDING ARBITRATION ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS TO RESOLVE MOST DISPUTES.

Scope of Arbitration Agreement. You agree that any dispute or claim against POLITICO LLC, or its affiliates, subsidiaries, owners, officers, directors, employees, agents or represenatives relating in any way to your access or use of the Site, to any products or services sold or distributed through the Site, or to any other aspect of your relationship with POLITICO LLC will be resolved by binding arbitration, rather than in court…”

The arbitration section’s legalese went on for 1055 words, emphasizing: “Waiver of Jury Trial. YOU AND POLITICO LLC WAIVE ANY CONSTITUTIONAL AND STATUTORY RIGHTS TO SUE IN COURT AND RECEIVE A JUDGE OR JURY TRIAL..

Binding arbitration? I can’t sue Politico in court? I can’t get a judge or jury trial for a dispute? I can’t sue Politico as part of a class-action lawsuit with other aggrieved Politico Insiders. Wait just a damn minute!

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) last year issued a detailed report on arbitration clauses and has proposed a rule covering many financial products and services.

The CFPB noted that class-action suits tend to provide greater renumeration than other routes of seeking restitution, and that “larger numbers of consumers are eligible for financial redress through class-action settlements than through arbitration or individual lawsuits.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which asserts it is focused on defending civil liberties in the digital world, calls binding arbitratin clauses “…appalling…unfair, one-sided contracts.”

“For most customers, trading litigation for arbitration is a bad deal,” the Foundation says. “When the customer has no negotiating power, arbitration is inherently biased in favor of the vendor.”

Interestingly, Politico itself has railed against binding arbitration in its “The Agenda” section in an article headlined:

“End forced arbitration. Big business has been exploiting consumers for too long. It’s time for regulators to crack down.”

“For more than a quarter century, Big Business has engaged in a stealth campaign to block consumers, employees and small businesses harmed by corporate lawbreakers from finding justice in a court of law,” Politico said. “Buried in the fine print of countless contracts for everyday goods and services is language that bars people from holding corporations accountable in court for illegal, and sometimes dangerous, conduct. Instead, individuals are forced to take on companies in an unfair, privatized system of arbitration — a process that tilts heavily in favor of the arbitrator’s corporate benefactors.”

It’s time for Politico to be hoisted with its own petard.

Hold the applause: Republicans for Hillary are abandoning their principles too

Like termites, they’re coming out of the woodwork, Republicans who say they going to vote for Hillary Clinton.

“I don’t agree with her on many issues, but she would be  a much better president than Donald Trump, said Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

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Meg Whitman

The latest publicity-hungry Republican to go public with an announcement that he’ll vote for Hillary is Richard J. Cross III. For your edification, he’s a speechwriter who worked at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

“The reality is, I cannot vote for Donald Trump. I could never vote for Donald Trump,” Cross said in an op-ed published Wednesday in The Baltimore Sun.

Pumping up his bona fides, Cross said he “personally drafted the speech of the ‘Benghazi mom,’ Patricia Smith,” which was “…something of a home run moment for me.”

Comparing himself to civil rights heroes, Cross said “This is a time to stand up and be counted…”

But Cross also wrote in the Benghazi speech, “If Hillary Clinton can’t give us the truth, why should we give her the presidency?”

Now, barely four weeks later, like a chameleon, he’s changed his colors. “Despite what I wrote in that nationally televised speech about Hillary Clinton, I may yet have to vote for her because of the epic deficiencies of my own party’s nominee,” he said in his op-ed.

For somebody who said he’s “…always been GOP to the core,” Cross’s commitment to Republican values sure is feeble.

Are all these Republican defectors to Hillary saying they are prepared to support a candidate who is on the wrong side of just about everything Republicans say they hold dear.

Are they now willing to back up Hillary’s likely claim of a mandate and endorse her proposals to grow big government even bigger?

Will they keep their mouths shut if Hillary wins and tries to push through laws that will do things such as:

  • Increase federal spending by $1.8 trillion over the next decade.
  • Increase the national debt to 86% of GDP over the next decade.
  • Expand benefits under an already troubled Social Security program.
  • Expand the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)
  • Spend $60 billion more on clean energy
  • Provide free community college
  • End student borrowing for 4-year state colleges
  • Increase various business taxes
  • Impose new fees on financial institutions
  • Enact liberal immigration reforms

Good grief!

And do Republicans endorsing Hillary want a damaged president that 69 percent of prospective voters consider dishonest and untrustworthy.

In an August 2015 Quinnipiac University poll, “liar” was the first word that came to mind more than others in an open-ended question when voters were asked what they think of Hillary Clinton, followed by “dishonest” and “untrustworthy”. (“Arrogant” was the first word that came to mind for Trump, but that doesn’t seem quite as toxic)

But Hillary’s problems as a candidate go even deeper.

“Voters see her as an extraordinarily cynical, power-hungry insider,” James Poulos said in The Week . “She is out for herself, not out for Americans. Voters know it.”

This ties in with a long-held and widespread perception that Hillary and her family are just plain greedy, what with them hauling off $190,000 worth of china, flatware, rugs, televisions, sofas and other gifts when they moved out of the White House, taking money from all sorts of unsavory people and foreign countries for their Foundation, and charging exorbitant amounts for speeches.

David Axelrod, a political consultant who helped steer Obama to the presidency, noted in his book, “Believer”, that Hillary has two other main weaknesses: she’s a polarizing rather than a “healing figure,” and she has a hard time selling herself as the “candidate of the future” given her checkered past and long political resume.

Given all this, what I don’t get about all these “principled” Republicans saying they are going to abandon Trump and vote for Clinton is why they don’t, instead, pledge to vote for Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson.

Pew Research defines a libertarian as “someone whose political views emphasize individual freedom by limiting the role of government.” For a Republican, what’s not to like about that?

Johnson is a thoughtful, honest, politically-experienced candidate whose views align with many of those espoused by the Republican Party.

Yes, there are differences. Libertarians generally oppose U.S. military interventionism, want to slash defense spending, and favor limiting the extent to which the federal tax code is manipulated to achieve social policy goals.

But I expect the Republican Party would find a Libertarian president easier to work with and more accommodating than Hillary Clinton.

So forget about all those kudos for Republicans who say they’ll dump Trump and vote for Hillary. They don’t deserve them.