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It gives me no pleasure to admit here that my alma mater, Louisiana Tech, the institution where my great-great uncle served as the school’s third president, is so willing, under a weak president, to cave when a faculty member dares make a derogatory remark about the darling of the Louisiana neo-Nazi Repugnicans, one Donald J. Trump.

It was always my belief that institutions of higher learning were the havens for free speech and free thought. In fact, I was always led to believe they encouraged the development of ideas and philosophy unimpeded by the heavy hand of censorship and recriminations.

In fact, under the leadership of the progressive F. Jay Taylor, student journalism was encouraged and unfettered. Taylor was conservative politically but with the Vietnam War raging and with police cracking heads in Chicago outside the 1968 Democratic Convention, he never uttered a word about the student newspaper, The Tech Talk, publishing columns critical of the war and racial discrimination. I know. I was a conservative columnist for the paper and Reginald Owens, who would follow the late Wiley Hilburn as head of the Journalism Department, was the liberal voice of the paper during those times. Though we espoused political philosophies that were polar opposites, we managed to form a friendship back then that endures half-a-century later.

But now, when a faculty member suggests in a tweet that he would be happy if Donald J (for Genius) Trump were to spend the rest of his life in prison, all hell breaks loose on campus. Somehow, that observation, albeit controversial in some quarters, was interpreted as a threat on the life of the president.

How absurd. How stupid.

Such a sentiment has been expressed about someone by virtually every one of us, which leaves us all vulnerable to being chastised, harassed, and possibly even fired from our jobs. Who among us has not uttered similar words about someone at some time in our past? But to suggest that a criminal such as Trump deserves to spend the rest of his life incarcerated is suddenly considered a threat on his life that got the attention of some outfit called Campus Reform, a self-proclaimed news organization that seems to exist only to “outrage mobs (and to) provoke university administrators into knee-jerk defensive reactions like firing professors,” says Andrew C. McKevitt, an associate professor of history at Tech.

He is the one who posted the tweet that got the Tech administration’s collective drawers in a wad.

McKevitt’s biggest sin is posting anything on social media. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and whatever else is out there is good for nothing but spreading what Trump so affectionately calls “fake news” in the form of misinformation spread by Russia, China, Iran, and anyone else with an opinion. They’re good for nothing but getting people in trouble. I can do that easily enough on my own – which is why I abstain from any and all social media other than texting and email (and this blog). I know this makes me a technological dinosaur but it’s a choice I’ve made and one I’m content with.

“The meaning (of the tweet) was unambiguous,” McKevitt says. “President Trump should survive his illness so that he can be held accountable for his many documented crimes and spend the remainder of his days – may they be healthy and long – in prison. Of course, you may disagree with me,” he continues, “but my opinion on the president’s criminality could hardly be called radical in the current political climate.”

But Campus Reform just couldn’t let it go. “The group published an article claiming that I, along with several other academics across the country, had wished the worst upon the president during his illness—despite the fact that no sincere reading of my tweet could lead to that conclusion,” McKevitt writes.

And of course, Tech President Les Guice showed everyone his feet of clay with his own email on the subject:

“One of our faculty members recently posted a highly controversial – and viewed by many as threatening – statement on their personal Twitter account, which also connects this faculty member to Louisiana Tech through their profile page. This statement has received negative national attention for the University and this faculty member. (Take not of Guice’s admission that the post was on McKevitt’s personal twitter account.)

“…[T]his faculty member does not speak for our University,” Guice continued. “There are responsibilities associated with the right to free speech, and threatening, harassing, and bullying speech is never appropriate. It is not representative of our values and culture at Tech.”

Seriously? Threatening? Harassing? Bullying? You gotta be kidding me, Guice. You want to talk about threats and harassment? Try this on for size:

“One angry man wrote a lengthy screed in which he labeled me ‘Hitler personified’ and boasted that he knew my home address and how many ‘sex offenders’ lived nearby,” McKevitt says. “Others have speculated on the best ways to get me fired because they see Louisiana Tech overrun with ‘radical socialists.’ I’ve reported these incidents to the university, as have my harassed colleagues, yet the institution hasn’t uttered a word in our defense.”

In other words, post a derogatory comment about a deranged, dangerous POTUS and you face censorship. Become the victim of harassment and threats of violence and you’re on your own.

McKevitt said no one from the Tech administration even bothered to contact him. “Louisiana Tech’s failure to question who made these claims against me, and why they would make them, also represents an abandonment of our institution’s values. University leaders accepted the deliberate misrepresentation of my words without doing the sort of independent critical thinking we demand of first-year college students. Administrators failed a basic information literacy test. They got duped.”

Want another illustration of how bold and progressive Guice is?

“This was not the first time Louisiana Tech’s leaders failed to defend academic freedom and free speech,” McKevitt says. “Last December, they fired my colleague when a student’s parent complained that he was teaching about, among other things, racism (Michael Savage was subsequently reinstated when administrators realized how their action made them look like the ass clowns they were). The university quickly reversed course and reinstated him when students protested. Administrators promised to appoint a committee to review the university’s academic freedom standards, but that never materialized.

“Last year, when student journalists asked too many questions about the institution’s sexual assault reporting practices, administrators shuttered the campus newspaper. Two years ago, a resident assistant on campus threatened to shoot me and my students when we hosted a campus forum on gun-rights issues. Administrators dismissed it as a ‘boys will be boys’ incident.”

So, there you have it. Threatening to shoot a professor comes down to a “boys will be boys” shrug of the shoulders – despite the alarming number of on-campus mass shootings at elementary, middle and high schools, and colleges and universities. Just “boys will be boys.” Have we learned nothing from all the slaughter?

As for shutting The Tech Talk for addressing a serious issue? Well, if Guice had been around back when Reggie and I were churning out our columns about Vietnam and civil rights, we’d have been shut down in about a week.

“Could you imagine if I lose? My whole life – what am I going to do? I’m going to say I lost to the worst candidate in the history of politics.” —Donald Trump, speculating on what he might do if he loses the election. [I suppose it’s possible to say that you lost to yourself.]

“Maybe I have to leave the country, I don’t know.” —Further speculation by Trump. [You’ll need to go to a country that doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the U/S.]

“Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution – Title 18 US Code 1073: Trump suggests he’d leave the country if he loses to Biden.” —Tweet by Frank Figliuzzi.

“He’s so powerful right now. They know that they can’t indict him right now so there is an incentive to build their case and get ready. I think what happens if he loses and leaves office that things will move very quickly.” —CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Jennifer Rodgers, on Trump’s legal vulnerability once he leaves office.

In every regard, his leaving office makes it easier for prosecutors and plaintiffs in civil cases to pursue their cases against him. For example, he is claiming a higher protection from subpoenas in the criminal cases and also in the congressional subpoena cases, [and that] is based largely on the fact that he is President. —Former federal prosecutor in the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office Harry Sandick. [Can you say, “plea bargain”?]

“Hey guys:  Trump is inciting violence against a sitting governor. Your silence is complicity. Is this how you want to be remembered?” —Tweet by former Trump White House Communications Director to Republican leadership in Congress.

“Badgering Biden and Harris about “court-packing” is especially galling when you consider Mitch McConnell’s role in how we got to this hyper-partisan moment.” —Tweet by Jonathan Capehart.

NOT A TRUMP QUOTE, but it should be (with apologies to Cavin & Hobbes): “I don’t need to compromise my principles because they don’t have the slightest bearing on what happens to me anyway.”

“Most of the folks in the military are there voluntarily, they’re career, they’re not just there for during the term of one president. They have a good sense that they’ve dedicated themselves to a certain life and the president seems to be suggesting that, outside anything else, they’ve been fooled. It can’t help but shake the military’s judgement about his judgment” —National security expert Gary Schmitt, on Trump’s retweeting the QAnon conspiracy theory that bin Laden’s death was faked.

“This is exactly the rhetoric that has put me, my family, and other government officials’ lives in danger while we try to save the lives of our fellow Americans. It needs to stop.” —Tweet by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, on Trump’s rally cry of “Lock her up,” reminiscent of the same chant about Hillary Clinton four years ago.

“Every single time the President does this at a rally, the violent rhetoric towards (Gov. Whitmer) escalates on social media. It has to stop. It just has to.” —Tweet by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Deputy Digital Director Tori Saylor.

“The most powerful man in the world came after our family. But what happened to us can happen to anyone.” —Rachel Vindman, wife of Iraq war veteran Col. Alexander Vindman, in new Lincoln Project ad.

“Suburban women, will you please like me? Please. Please.” —Donald Trump, begging for the women’s vote to come back to him in 2020. [It’s a little late for that, chump.]

“I thought, ‘Oh, what’s the worst that could happen?’ I do feel guilty.” —Ohio suburban real estate agent Kate Rabinovitch, on her decision to vote for Donald Trump in 2016.

NOT A TRUMP QUOTE, but it should be (with apologies to Cavin & Hobbes):

“Of course, most everybody cheats some time or other. People always bend the rules if they think they can get away with it. Then again, that doesn’t justify my cheating. It just seems wrong to cheat on an ethics test.”

“Big, beautiful, Straight Orange Male with history of adultery seeks white housewives for Big Macs and friendship with political benefits. Enjoys QAnon pedophile conspiracies and armed intimidation of civil rights demonstrators. Turnoffs: science, fitness, manners. Prefers that women sign NDAs and answer to ‘pig,’ ‘dog,’ ‘monster’ and ‘nasty.’” Tongue-in-cheek (I think) online dating profile for Donald J. Trump, by Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank.

“Brace yourself while I paint a picture of a nightmarish future. It’s one in which every American gets to vote without impediment or inconvenience. Where the presidential candidate who gets the most votes actually moves into the Oval Office. Where bills in Congress are debated and then voted on, the side with more votes prevails, then those laws take effect and the public can judge the results. This is the terrifying political hellscape the Republican Party is determined to prevent. For a party with a dwindling base and a broadly unpopular agenda, there is no more profound threat than democracy.” —Columnist Paul Waldman, writing in the Washington Post.

“The metadata in the PDF files published by the Post, which supposedly contain (Hunter) Biden’s emails, show that the files were created in September and October of 2019 — months after MacIsaac said the laptops were dropped off and a full year before the Post story dropped. Disinformation experts warned that the timing of emails’ release, the way they became public, and the lack of forensic evidence are all signs that the material could be the result of forgery, a hack, or a combination of the two. The Russian GRU unit responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee in 2016 hacked Burisma, The New York Times reported earlier this year, prompting fears that material from the hack would be leaked near the election in an effort to hurt Biden’s campaign.” —Writers Jesselyn Cook, Jessica Schulberg and Nick Robins-Early, pointing out major flaws in Hunter Biden laptop story. [Twitter has banned New York Post articles about Hunter Biden because of the obvious inconsistencies.]

“Nice job on that one. How could NY Post miss that? A profound embarrassment to a paper founded by Alexander Hamilton.” —Tweet by L. Steven Goldblatt.

“Er, pdfs of emails? That would be deliberate conversion of the original data, wouldn’t it? —Tweet by Stephen A. Loeb.

“We certainly have seen very active, very active efforts by the Russians to influence our election in 2020 through what I would call more the maligned foreign influence side of things ― social media, use of proxies, state media, online journals, etc. ― in an effort to both sow divisiveness and discord and … primarily to denigrate Vice President Biden and what the Russians see as kind of an anti-Russian establishment.”FBI Director Christopher Wray, testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee on Thursday. [Another FBI Director bites the dust.]

“Watching Joe Biden for a few minutes while I’ve been watching this Trump town Hall is like taking a cool drink of water after standing in front of a fan blowing a blast furnace in my face. The only good thing about these two competing town hall events is that they show how much Biden is held to a different standard as an actual rational human being while Trump just has to get through an hour without lighting a bucket of mice on fire.” —Tweet by Tom Nichols, on the contrast between the town hall meetings of Biden and Trump on Thursday.

“Flipping back and forth, you see a decent, compassionate, knowledgeable public servant and a psychopath. —Tweet by Richard Stengel.

“Watching Biden inspires calm and lowers blood pressure. Watching psycho Trump inspires asking how did this mental patient abscond the asylum?” —Tweet by Genuine Ersatz.

NOT A TRUMP QUOTE, but it should be (with apologies to Cavin & Hobbes)

Trump: I just read this great science-fiction story. It’s about how machines take control of humans and turn them into zombie slaves.”
McConnell: So instead of us controlling machines, they control us? Pretty scary idea.”
Trump: I’ll say…HEY, what time is it? Fox and Friends is on.”

“I have long said that I may release Financial Statements. It is a very IMPRESSIVE Statement.”—Trump tweet, Sept. 28, 2020. [Now, if we just knew what he meant…]

“I know nothing about QAnon. I know very little. “You told me but what you tell me doesn’t necessarily make it fact. I just don’t know about QAnon.”—Donald Trump, when asked by Thursday’s Town Hall hostess Savannah Guthrie to disavow QAnon.

“You do know.”—Guthrie.

“I don’t know.”—Trump. [That went well for Trump, who has welcomed endorsements from QAnon.]

“You go to places like The Villages [retirement community] and mostly they’re going to vote for Biden. That additional 10 to 20% may be enough for Biden to win the I-4 corridor (Interstate 4, the highway that cuts across Florida from Tampa Bay to Daytona Beach, could just as easily be called “The Road to the White House”). You win the I-4 corridor, you win Florida. You win Florida, effectively Biden has won the election.”—Charles Zelden, professor of history and politics at Nova Southeastern University.

“They’re turned off by him (Trump). They’re concerned for their Medicare, their social security, of course. But they can’t stand the hate, the vitriol. They’re considering Biden because of the way Trump behaves.”—Chris Stanley, president of the Democratic Club of the Villages.

“If you’re not hiring me because I’m a conservative, shame on you. If there’s a civil war, then don’t forget who has all the guns.”—Actor Scott Baio, a Trump supporter.

“If that’s the case, I’m very disappointed. I think it’s a terrible thing, and I will say it to [Barr’s] face.”—Trump, to Rush Limbaugh, in criticizing his Department of Justice investigation which found…um, no evidence to support no criminal charges against Hillary, Barack Obama or Joe Biden. [Hmm. The “no collusion” shoe is on the other foot, right Donnie?]

“I don’t know what’s going on out there, but I can tell you there’s a lot of money being raised in this campaign. I’d like to know where the hell some of it is coming from,”—Lindsey Graham, whining about opponent Jaime Harrison’s fundraising success. [A better question: why are so many supporting your opponent, Trump Toady Boy?]

NOT A TRUMP QUOTE, but it should be (with apologies to Cavin & Hobbes):

Trump: What do you think is the secret to happiness? Is it money, power or fame?”
Mitch McConnell: “I’d choose money. If you have enough money, you can buy fame and power. That way you have it all and be really happy. Happiness is being famous for your financial ability to indulge in every kind of excess.”
William Barr: I suppose that’s one way to define it.”
Trump: The part I think I’d like best is crushing people who get in my way.”

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