The term “elephant in the room” has its own Wikipedia page (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elephant_in_the_room). Yesterday, however, the elephant really was in the room and it was still ignored (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Combatting Hate — October 3, 2017).
Ben Shapiro is a young, conservative, California resident who has an amazing intellect and an accomplished career. He also is genuine and sincere. And is interested in getting to the truth. But, he was ignored by the Chair of the Senate Judiciary and its staff, even after my office made repeated attempts to include him in the discussion for over ten days. And Senator Joel Anderson, without any prompting from me, made a polite request at the beginning of the hearing. The Sacramento Bee took note in their lead editorial in the first piece below.
This was a classic display of how the supermajority runs the Legislature and how tone deaf they truly are. A discussion on hate speech? Really? And a one-sided dialogue at that. We even had one speaker do a character assassination on a highly visible individual while opposing hate speech. Seriously? I kindly advised her that she should practice what she preaches.
The bottom line? I lamented that the hate speech was coming from the left in the amount of violence that was being displayed. It’s not the speakers. It’s the left wing anarchists that are the ones intimidating our state’s fine university systems and providing what Ben Shapiro refers to as “the heckler’s veto.”
Maybe the Democrats could gather these destructive groups together and provide a free showing of the movie “Gandhi”? There are other ways to exercise your frustrations. Sit ins are fine. Or do what the voters did in November by electing a Republican to serve in the White House. The Democrats have three years to get their proverbial acts together, or the hate displayed by anti-Trump agitators will ensure he is re-elected. And that, my friends, is the elephant in the room.
The LA Times Essential Politics online edition provides additional insights on the hearing in the second piece below. The hearing is the lead story in the FlashReport in the third piece below. And, it would only be fair to hear from The Daily Wire, which is the fourth and concluding piece below.
P.S. Watching my social media explode over the last 24 hours as we covered Ben’s 120-second public comment and media interview after the hearing on Facebook Live, I realized that we drilled into a frustrated reserve of people who are tired of this out-of-balance state, fiscally and ideologically. Sometimes we have to say things that aren’t popular, but that’s precisely the point of free speech.
California Democrats are all for free speech – just not conservative Ben Shapiro’s
BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD
The First Amendment can be so messy, as Senate Democrats surely must see.
Convening the first of multiple hearings into the rise of white supremacy in California, the Senate Judiciary Committee, controlled by Democrats like all of Sacramento, invited an august panel of speakers.
UC Berkeley Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky was the ideal speaker to describe the boundaries of the First Amendment. Joanna Mendelson, senior investigative researcher at the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, was the perfect person to discuss neo-Nazis in California and elsewhere.
But conservative writer and speaker Ben Shapiro, suggested by Sen. John Moorlach, vice chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a Republican from Orange County, would have had something to offer, too. The alt-right has vilified Shapiro, who quit the conservative online site Breitbart last year, and now dares to question Breitbart boss Steve Bannon, provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos and President Donald Trump.
Rather than invite Shapiro to join others at the table, Judiciary Committee Chair Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, cluelessly granted Shapiro 120 seconds during the public comment period at the end of the hearing, roughly three hours after it began.
Jackson told The Sacramento Bee’s Taryn Luna that she knew little about Shapiro and didn’t think he’d be someone “whose testimony today would be particularly helpful” at the hearing titled “Combating Hate While Protecting the Constitution.”
Shapiro can be divisive, particularly on issues of gender identity and Black Lives Matter. But while some people see his views as offensive, he has lived through the issue. UC Berkeley spent $600,000 to ensure he could safely deliver a speech last month, an absurd sum for someone who is not a head of state. Shapiro left with the ideal photo-op: tweeting to his 829,000 followers a picture of himself thanking Berkeley Police Chief Andrew Greenwood.
Perhaps Moorlach’s invitation to Shapiro was a stunt. If it was, so what? Politicians routinely pull stunts to illustrate points. On Tuesday, Senate Democrats unwittingly helped make the Republicans’ point. By not listening politely for 10 minutes, they gave Shapiro 120 seconds of fame and then some. Another hearing on the worthy topic is set for Oct. 18. Let’s hope Democrats seek differing perspectives, offensive though they might be.
Senate committee examines hate speech in California
The Senate Judiciary Committee conducts a hearing on hate speech Tuesday. (Mina Corpuz / Los Angeles Times)
Hate speech might be upsetting, but it is generally protected under the 1st Amendment, California legislators were told in Sacramento on Tuesday.
The Senate Judiciary Committee kicked off a series of hearings Tuesday to define hate speech and to find a way to address it while upholding the Constitution.
While the issue has been more prevalent in other states, California has had its share of activity from white supremacist groups, including skinheads and the Aryan Brotherhood.
Joanna Mendelson, a researcher from the Anti-Defamation League, said those groups have been involved in prison gangs and political rallies. They mostly are concentrated in areas such as San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino and along Highway 99 from Fresno to Sacramento, she said.
In June 2016, white nationalist skinheads rallied at the Capitol in Sacramento. Marchers clashed with protesters and seven people were stabbed.
The hearings are examining whether additional protections are needed. They are being held in response to a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in August that ended in violence. Senate leader Kevin de Léon called for the hearings on the first day the Legislature reconvened.
“California isn’t immune to hateful speech and actions,” said Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), who chairs the committee.
Legislators can condemn hateful speech and behavior and pass stronger hate crime legislation, Mendelson said.
Law enforcement and university counsel shared what strategies and policies have worked for them to support free speech and ensure safety.
Berkeley Police Chief Andrew Greenwood said separating groups of people at protests to create a space for peaceful expression has worked.
Ben Shapiro, a conservative speaker invited by committee member Sen. John Moorlach (R-Cost Mesa), briefly addressed legislators.
Shapiro spoke at UC Berkeley in September. Hundreds of protesters turned out and the university spent about $600,000 on security.
“This intent for some of the folks on the left to conflate speech they don’t like with hate speech and suggest there are legislative remedies is in violation of 1st Amendment ideals, and legislation to actually push that would be a violation of the 1st Amendment itself,” Shapiro told reporters after the hearing.
Hate speech can’t be protected if it incites illegal activity, causes someone to feel imminent fear for their safety or creates a hostile environment through harassment, said Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of UC Berkeley’s School of Law.
“The fact that we might have difficulty drawing the line with hate, doesn’t mean that there isn’t hate,”he said.
California Democrats Schooled
On Definition of ‘Hate Speech’
Posted by Katy Grimes
There is a rumor going around the California State Capitol that the Legislature is about to vote on a ban of humor in the state, because every time someone laughs at something funny, it is apparently at the expense of someone else’s feelings.
If this sounds silly, the Senate hearing held Tuesday, ostensibly on “hate speech,” was even more nonsensical.
“If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought, not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.”
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court
Or as some say, the best remedy for speech we don’t like is more speech. Fighting words with more words is a healthy exercise. It’s how most of us were raised, long ago in a far away land. But Democrats in California’s Legislature don’t agree.
Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee of the California State Legislature conducted an informational hearing on “Combatting Hate While Protecting the Constitution.” But the committee chaired by Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, didn’t present any balance – it was only speech with which she agreed that was allowed at the hearing.
Ben Shapiro, a Conservative journalist and speaker, was invited to the hearing by Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, Vice Chairman of the same committee. But Shapiro was not allowed to speak with the panelists, on the panels, or debate the two speakers. Shapiro was relegated to the public comment period at the end of the 3 ½ hour hearing, and allotted two minutes.
It’s a good thing that Shapiro speaks fast, and thinks even faster. His two minutes were more effective than the entire 3 ½ hours of pompous, self-congratulatory political grandstanding, and virtue signaling by all of the other speakers combined.
The takeaway from the hearing is that the California State Legislature doesn’t get to decide what speech is good and what speech is bad. But don’t tell Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson. Oops.
What Hate Speech?
In September, journalist Ben Shapiro visited the University of California, Berkeley to deliver a speech about personal responsibility and individualism. Shapiro had spoken on the Berkeley campus the year before, but this is 2017, and Donald J. Trump is President, and apparently this is a problem for the left.
UC Berkeley has been in the news frequently of late with images of black masked, and black clad Antifa thugs protesting and beating on students attempting to attend speeches by Conservative speakers. Given that liberal speakers are in abundance on the Berkeley campus, one would think that a little variety, and a little diversity of thought, would not be a threat.
Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter, and David Horowitz have all been invited to the campus to speak, and all been overruled by what Shapiro identified as the “hecklers veto,” a form of censorship, where a speaker’s event is canceled due to the actual or potential hostility of ideological opponents. In this case, the hecklers veto was leftists, thugs, and campus snowflakes fearful of this dangerous ‘diversity of thought’ concept.
This year, UC Berkeley charged the sponsor group of Shapiro’s appearance, Young America’s Foundation, a $15,000 security fee. “Then, the school blocked off the upper level of the auditorium, fearful that radicals from the violent far-left-leaning group Antifa would infiltrate the speech and begin hurling objects from the balcony onto the crowd below,” Shapiro explained in a recent article on The Daily Wire. “Finally, the school ended up spending some $600,000 on additional policing, including the creation of cement barriers and hiring of hundreds of armed police officers for a prospective riot.”
Last year Shapiro’s appearance cost the school nothing. This year it cost $600,000. But it wasn’t Shapiro’s appearance that cost so much; it was the violent thug protesters threatening to shut him down. And UC Berkely tried to present this as Ben Shapiro’s fault.
Why Have the Hearing?
Following the Charlottesville, VA protests in August, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, announced that the California Senate would investigate the rise in white supremacy in California… As if what happens in Charlottesville, 2,314 miles across the country, is relevant to California.
“I see the rising tide of hate and intolerance,” de León said in August. “I believe future generations will look back on this moment in time as a turning point because how we chose to respond will shape the character of this nation and this great state for years to come.”
At issue is Kevin de León’s inability to abide by the 2016 election and this duly elected president; consequently, the entire state must go through this pretentious parody of hate speech hearings.
“We’re seeing a huge rise in acts of hate,” said Sen. Jackson, Chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “That’s a very serious problem we need to address.”
But what this charade is really about is California Democrats and the left (including Sen. Jackson) conflating a spurious rise in “racial strife” to the 2016 presidential campaign and President Donald Trump. Every day the Senate and Assembly are in session, Democrat lawmakers rise to speak grouse and whimper and wail about Donald Trump and the 2016 election – at the expense of the actual governing of a state they all proclaim to care so much about.
Faux Panels Declare ‘Hate’
The panelists invited to the hearing were from the NAACP, CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations), Equality California (LGBT rights lobbying group), and the speakers were Erwin Chemerinsky, the new Dean at Berkeley Law School, and Joanna Mendelson with the ADL (Anti-Defamation League). While Chemerinsky was quite relevant as a legal defender of all speech, hateful or not, Mendelson presented an extremely biased analysis of hate groups, hate speech and included the “Alt-Right” in California’s hate group list.
But the price of admission to the hearing was worth it when Chemerinsky put Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, in his pious place when Chemerinsky corrected Monning on his assertion that hate speech wasn’t protected under the First Amendment. “Hate speech is protected speech,” Chemerinsky said. And Chemerinsky reminded Monning that it is illegal to try to prevent speech in advancement of the actual event. Monning is an attorney and surely knows better, but was caught advancing what he thought was a popular line of thinking with a traditionally liberal law professor. But Chemerinsky is intellectually honest on free speech issues, and schooled Senator prevaricator Monning.
Sen. John Moorlach took the ADL’s Joanna Mendelson to task on her biased description of Milo Yiannopoulos, when she described him as a “misogynistic, racist, xenophobic, transphobic troll.” Moorlach suggested that her name-calling was no different than the accused “haters” she referenced in her talk. Moorlach said she may want to refer to those accusations as “some say” Milo is those things.
“White supremacists deserve free speech, California lawmakers told” the Sacramento Bee online headline screamed shortly after the hearing. However, this headline makes it appear the legislature doesn’t understand free speech. How embarrassing.
As for Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson who denied she’d ever heard of Ben Shapiro until today’s hearing, either she lives in such a massive liberal echo chamber that she’s never heard of this outspoken, conservative Jewish prodigy from SoCal, or she’s a liar. Both scenarios are completely plausible. The irony of the hearing is that Shapiro’s name was invoked throughout the proceeding as if he was living in the heads of the lawmakers and speakers rent-free.
My assessment is that Conservatives won the day. The left looked like the fools they are. As for the Sacramento Bee, their “reporter” didn’t interview any of the regular suspects – it was just another “he said, she said” boring article with a provocative title.
For that I offer a big “W” for “whatever.” (And this is me giving a big eye roll)
WATCH: Shapiro Testifies Before California Legislature, Blasts Them For Trying To Limit Free Speech
On Tuesday, the Democrat-dominated California legislature, conducting a hearing with the title, “Combating Hate While Protecting the Constitution,” limited Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro to two minutes to give a rarely-heard conservative viewpoint on free speech, but they still got an earful, as Shapiro admonished the legislature to do their jobs, ensure that all citizens’ First Amendment rights should be protected and the “heckler’s veto” should be stopped. Shapiro was invited to speak by GOP state senator John Moorlach.
The female moderator began, “Mr. Shapiro, your name has come up a few times; before today I didn’t know who you were. I heard from Mr. Moorlach. Nice to meet you.”
Shapiro, responded, “Nice to meet you as well.”
The moderator said, “The floor is yours. I would like, just to ask, you don’t have to, because this is free speech time, the subject matter is ‘Combating Hate While Protecting The Constitution,’ and if you have a couple minutes worth of ideas about that that would be great. If you’d rather not talk on that, that’s okay, too.
Shapiro grinned, “Oh, no, I’m perfectly happy to talk about that.”
Shapiro, in typical rapid-fire style, stated:
I appreciate the 120 seconds. Your job, obviously here at the legislature, is to ensure that our freedom of expression is maintained, that our First Amendment rights are maintained, and what that means, first and foremost, in my experiences at college campuses, is that the “heckler’s veto” must be stopped.
So, I was at Cal State Los Angeles, in February 2016, and there was almost a riot there, and the police were not allowed to do their jobs, and students were physically assaulted in the crowd. It is the job of this legislature to ensure that police can do their jobs, and when they do do their jobs, and they’re allowed to do that at places like UC Berkeley, everything goes fine.
And I’d like to make a point here about UC Berkeley: the reason it cost $600,000 to bring me to UC Berkeley was not because of me, okay? Everybody keeps suggesting that it was because I was coming; I’m so controversial; I’m so terrible. I came exactly one year before, and it cost this many dollars (Shapiro closed his hand and raised it), it cost zero dollars for security at UC Berkeley. The reason it cost $600,000 at UC Berkeley is because Antifa and violent groups had decided that Berkeley was their domain, and they were going to be able to ride roughshod over law enforcement there.
And this does bring up one final point I want to make in the long period of time I have to discuss, and that is the problem with a legislative body such as yours trying to draw lines specifically about what hate speech constitutes, because the fact is that one of the reasons groups like Antifa show up is not because they know who I am, it’s because they’ve been told by people that I am promulgating hate speech, which is utterly false and utterly untrue.
There are people who say vile things and with whom I disagree, among them people like Milo Yiannopoulos, who sent me a picture of a black baby on the day of my child’s birth, because I wasn’t sufficiently standing up for the white population, supposedly.
But that does not mean that the legislature gets to decide what hate speech is. I have been labeled a promulgator of hate speech when I was the number one target of hate speech, according to the ADL, among the journalistic community in 2016.
So let me suggest that as a legislature, your chief job is to ensure that my taxpayer dollars in this state go toward making sure that people like me and people with whom I disagree get to speak in places like college campuses, and not toward regulating what speech you find good and what speech you find bad, because it’s a really dangerous business. There’s speech I don’t like; there’s speech you don’t like, but if we can’t agree there’s a difference between speech and violence, we’re not going to be able to have a free state, let alone a free country.
Interviewed later by a reporter who asked why he had decided to come to Sacramento to testify, Shapiro responded, “I was asked by legislative Republicans to come here; they wanted to actually have me on one of the panels, but Democrats wouldn’t allow that sort of thing because that might be too much free speech … so I was glad to hear from all those people, but it would have been nice if they would have allowed one person from the Right to actually talk for more than 120 seconds.”
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