Tuesday, July 25, 2017


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An Arizona State University (ASU) black history professor who “authored” a book on black history and landed a $268,800 consulting contract to bring “cultural consciousness training” to the Phoenix police department, has been exposed as a plagiarist by his academic peers who accused him of “borrowing’ heavily from Wikipedia, other websites like Infoplease and published books by other authors.

The finding, which was reported by the Daily Caller News Foundation, said that despite the evidence, Professor Matthew Whitaker will face nominal “slap on the wrist” punishment for academic dishonesty.

His title will change from professor to associate professor, his salary will be reduced $10,000 to $153,800 and he will be forced to accept a co-director at the university’s Center for the Study of Race and Democracy – a department he founded as a professor.

The scandal did not hit critical mass until this past week when complaints from Whitaker’s fellow academics and an anonymous blog forced the school to investigate one of his textbooks, “Peace Be Still: Modern Black America From World War II to Barack Obama”.

Upon inspection, the university discovered “significant issues” with the book including passages from other books and websites like Infoplease.

The website Inside Higher Ed compared passages in Whitaker’s book to uncited outside sources when accusations surfaced is 2014 including this from the Infoplease website:

“Fueled by ‘angry white men,’ a backlash against affirmative action began to mount. To conservatives, the system was a zero-sum game that opened the door for jobs, promotions, or education to minorities while it shut the door on whites.

In a country that prized the values of self-reliance and pulling oneself up by one’s bootstraps, conservatives resented the idea that some unqualified minorities were getting a free ride on the American system.

‘Preferential treatment’ and ‘quotas’ became expressions of contempt. Even more contentious was the accusation that some minorities enjoyed playing the role of professional victim.”

Compare this with an uncredited passage in Whitaker’s book, “Peace Be Still”:

“Fueled by ‘angry white men’ as well as by white women, an all-out battle for the life of the policy emerged. For Conservatives, the system was a zero-sum game that opened the door for jobs, promotions, or education to people of color while it shut the door on whites.

In a nation that has celebrated the values of independence and ‘pulling oneself up by one bootstraps,’ conservatives soon argued that ‘unqualified’ racial minorities were getting a ‘free ride’ in American schools and in the workplace because of affirmative action policies.

They referred to affirmative action incorrectly and contemptuously as a system of ‘preferential treatment’ and ‘quotas.’ Some even claimed that many people of color enjoyed playing the role of ‘professional victim’ to exploit the policy for their own benefit.”

Examples like these and other major problems with Whitaker’s book would have led to the suspension or academic dismissal of a student.

The biggest financial hit Whitaker will take won’t be the reduction in rank and salary as a professor but rather the loss of a consulting contract worth nearly $300,009 that he landed with the city of Phoenix to give police officers “cultural consciousness training”.

Sensing a greater scandal with greater consequences, Whitaker withdrew the contract after the city’s police department expressed concerns that the professor could credibly teach police on how to improve “trust, accountability and mutual respect” on the job.

Despite the substantial evidence against him, Whitaker blamed the attacks on racism within ASU ranks.

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Online free encyclopedia, Wikipedia–one of the most visited websites in the world–is suing the NSA over violating the First and Fourth Amendments.

Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales, announced the lawsuit in a scathing op-ed in The New York Times earlier this week.

“Today, we’re filing a lawsuit against the National Security Agency to protect the rights of the 500 million people who use Wikipedia every month,” said Wales. “We’re doing so because a fundamental pillar of democracy is at stake: the free exchange of knowledge and ideas.”

Wales alleges that the NSA’s mass surveillance of the Internet–as exposed last year by former NSA contractor and whistleblower, Edward Snowden–violate the right to privacy in the Fourth Amendment, as well as freedom of expression in the First Amendment.

Wikipedia is a collaborative encyclopedia–meaning that tens of thousands of volunteers online, mostly anonymous, are the ones who write and edit Wikipedia entries. Wales feels that, because of interference from the NSA, the U.S. Government is dramatically curtailing constitutionally-protected freedom.

Wales cites a specific example of the NSA’s “chilling effect” on free speech:

“During the 2011 Arab uprisings, Wikipedia users collaborated to create articles that helped educate the world about what was happening. Continuing cooperation between American and Egyptian intelligence services is well established; the director of Egypt’s main spy agency under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi boasted in 2013 that he was ‘in constant contact’ with the Central Intelligence Agency.

So imagine, now, a Wikipedia user in Egypt who wants to edit a page about government opposition or discuss it with fellow editors. If that user knows the NSA is routinely combing through her contributions to Wikipedia, and possibly sharing information with her government, she will surely be less likely to add her knowledge or have that conversation, for fear of reprisal.
And then imagine this decision playing out in the minds of thousands of would-be contributors in other countries. That represents a loss for everyone who uses Wikipedia and the Internet — not just fellow editors, but hundreds of millions of readers in the United States and around the world.”

So far, the U.S. Department of Justice has little to say. A spokeswoman, Nicole Navas, said via email that the department is “reviewing the complaint,” but did not elaborate.

This kind of lawsuit by a major online player–if it manages to get traction–could have a dramatic impact on the future of free speech on the Internet, as well as the future of the NSA’s spying efforts here in America.

If anything, it reveals just how impactful Edward Snowden’s leaks have been–and how willing the American people are to stand up to government intrusions of freedom.
sorry, got cut off there.


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