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31 August, 2020
Sasha White and the woke war on feminists
Imagine the horror of having a literary agent who might not want to use your preferred pronouns. To raise awareness of this burning issue, on 24 August, a ‘genderfluid’ writer called Madeline Pine organised a Twitter campaign with other gender-soggy activists to target literary assistant Sasha White. Pine tweeted: ‘My pronouns are they / them… Sasha White is a publishing agent who doesn’t believe in honouring my pronouns.’
Hundreds of social-justice warriors joined in, apparently feeling quite justified in publicly hounding a woman for doing nothing more than holding an unpopular point of view.
Earlier this week, Sasha White was still an employee at the Tobias Literary Agency (TLA). She was tweeting in a personal capacity from her own account @iamGrushenka, while she used @SashaSemonovna for more professional tweets. Along with expressions of support for disgraced author JK Rowling, White posted as @iamGrushenka: ‘The reason I think pronouns suck is because thinking of people as “they / them” and pretending they’re not male or female is like colour / race blindness for gender. It won’t help sexism or toxic masculinity. Men and women have unique and distinct experiences…’
Her observation is valid: the 23million female fetuses aborted due to the cultural preference for boys in India and China will not be able to identify out of their fate; the women imprisoned in Iran for protesting against forced veiling can’t declare themselves men and claim their freedom; and the victims of grooming gangs in Rochdale wouldn’t have been saved by declaring themselves ‘genderfluid’.
It is true that identity politics has become an all-consuming monster. Nonetheless, as with race and class, the sex you are born into does change how you experience life and it is important that language allows us to articulate these differences. That a minority of self-pitying, privileged brats demand the use of ‘they / them’ pronouns does nothing to alter the material reality of social inequality.
The fact that White’s comment was reasonable, evidenced-based and expressed as a personal opinion offered her no protection. Within an hour, TLA had issued a statement decrying her views as ‘anti-trans’. In the same afternoon, following trial by social media, White tweeted to announce: ‘It’s true: I was fired last night for my feminist stance. The Twitter mob came for me and my employer immediately terminated me.’
You’d think we’re living in a dystopian novel: news sites are blocked, politicians are prevented from reaching constituents, speech is arbitrarily labeled as “false,” and history is “forgotten.” But this isn’t Orwell’s Airstrip One in 1984. It’s America in 2020.
You don’t need to be a conspiracy theorist to see this in action. In late July, Breitbart and other websites that support the Trump administration mysteriously disappeared from Google's search results, leading some to believe that Google might maintain a “blacklist” of disfavored websites that it either buries or outright blocks from its search results. We wanted to see if this was true, so we conducted a search for the terms “Azar” and “Taiwan” on both Google and DuckDuckGo, a Google competitor focused on user privacy. For context, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar recently visited Taiwan.
The results were unsurprising, but still disappointing. A Breitbart story detailing the event ranked ninth in the DuckDuckGo search. On Google, the story didn’t even break the top 50. Keep in mind, Breitbart consistently drives traffic to its website and user engagement on social media, and ranks higher in Amazon’s Alexa website rankings than either NBC News or The Wall Street Journal.
If Google were a small search engine, this sort of bias in its results might not matter. But Google dominates online search. Globally, across all platforms, Google enjoys a 92% market share.
30 August, 2020
A recent case of attempted silencing and censorship has roiled the field of political science
Two gender studies professors, Allison Howell of Rutgers University and Melanie Richter-Montpetit of the University of Sussex in the UK, wrote an interdisciplinary paper titled “Is securitization theory racist? Civilizationism, methodological whiteness, and antiblack thought in the Copenhagen School,” published in the journal Security Dialogue.
Howell and Richter-Montpetit argued a predictable view in interdisciplinary scholarship: Securitization theory is Eurocentric and, therefore, structurally racist, promoting the usual sins of “civilizationism, methodological whiteness, and antiblack racism.” Broadly, securitization theory divides the world as “(white) ‘civilized politics’ against (racialized) ‘primal anarchy.’”
The paper, a direct attack against the Copenhagen School of Securitization theory, naturally drew a tough response from the theorists Barry Buzan of the London School of Economics and Ole Waever of the University of Copenhagen. But that is where the fun started.
First, they were refused space to respond to the libelous paper—which accused them of racism and Eurocentrism—and eventually offered some small space which was clearly inadequate. Buzan and Waever then wrote a short reply, while linking to a more thorough dissection of the original scholarship and its methodological flaws.
Howell and Richter-Montpetit then started, predictably, a Kafkaesque open letter campaign where they claimed that the critique of them amounted to intimidation against junior scholars, and therefore needed a public denouncement.
For the historical record, Buzan and Waever’s rebuttal is exemplary scholarship in picking apart scholarly libel and a shoddy, “at times, pernicious” methodology. Beyond their personal disappointment, they wrote that they are more concerned about the “implications for our discipline that an article of such poor academic quality and problematic political content can be published in one of our leading journals.”
The charges are toxic and unsupported, and the methodology is termed as “deep-fake;” it cherry-picks words and phrases to construct a grand narrative of racial theory-building without any sense of the concept being critiqued. “If H&RM deem various classical authors (Arendt, Schmitt, Hobbes, Durkheim, Foucault) as being racist, then we and ST are racist too for citing them,” Buzan and Waever write. “This destructive tactic is the main basis for their charge against us of civilizationism.”
Media Figures Smear Nick Sandmann as a ‘Snot-Nosed,’ ‘Smug,’ ‘Tiny Nazi’
On August 25, Sandmann, the Covington Catholic High School graduate who sued media outlets for defamation after their coverage of an interaction between him and Native American activist Nathan Phillips, spoke at the Republican National Convention. He drew attention to biased media and urged that journalists be held accountable. Following his comments, media figures and political activists called him everything from “snot-nosed” to a “tiny Nazi.”
Sandmann, a Kentucky native, sued outlets including the Washington Post, The New York Times, and CNN after he and his classmates, many of whom wore pro-Trump hats, were cast as racist instigators.
"I’m the teenager who was defamed by the media after an encounter with a group of protestors on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial last year," Sandmann introduced himself at the RNC.
After attending the March for Life in defense of the unborn, he said he purchased a Make America Great Again hat because President Trump “has distinguished himself as one of the most pro-life presidents.”
“Looking back now, how could I have possibly imagined that the simple act of putting on that red hat would unleash hate from the left and make myself the target of network and cable news networks nationwide?" he asked. “I found myself face-to-face with Nathan Phillips and other professional protestors looking to turn me into the latest poster child showing why Trump is bad.”
Even now, Sandmann is a media target. Following his speech, commentators and political figures personally attacked the teenager.
One of the most attention-grabbing comments came from CNN political analyst Joe Lockhart, who tweeted, “i don't have to watch this snot nose entitled kid from Kentucky.”
After a backlash, Lockhart ironically complained about the “personal attacks” that he himself had received for his earlier tweet.
28 August, 2020
EFF Sues Texas A&M University Once Again to End Censorship Against PETA on Facebook and YouTube
This week, EFF filed suit to stop Texas A&M University from censoring comments by PETA on the university’s Facebook and YouTube pages.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas A&M held its spring commencement ceremonies online, with broadcasts over Facebook and YouTube. Both the Facebook and YouTube pages had comment sections open to any member of the public—but administrators deleted comments that were associated with PETA’s high-profile campaign against the university’s muscular dystrophy experiments on golden retrievers and other dogs.
Where government entities such as Texas A&M open online forums to the public, the First Amendment prohibits them from censoring comments merely because they don’t like the content of the message or the viewpoint expressed. On top of that, censoring comments based on their message or viewpoint also violates the public’s First Amendment right to petition the government for redress of grievances.
Texas A&M knows this well, because this is not the first time we’ve sued them for censoring comments online. Back in 2018, EFF brought another First Amendment lawsuit against Texas A&M for deleting comments by PETA and its supporters about the university’s dog labs from the Texas A&M Facebook page. This year, in a big win for free speech, the school settled with PETA and agreed to stop deleting comments from its social media pages based on the comments’ messages.
We are disappointed that Texas A&M has continued to censor comments by PETA’s employees and supporters without regard for the legally binding settlement agreement that it signed just six months ago, and hope that the federal court will make clear to the university once and for all that its censorship cannot stand.
Most Americans think social media companies are censoring people
Because they are
Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and other social media companies are scrambling to take down and fact-check rampant misinformation about topics like Covid-19 and the 2020 election that spread on their platforms.
But complicating these companies’ efforts to moderate content is the fact that a majority of Americans — on both sides of the political aisle — believe that social media companies are censoring political viewpoints, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center.
About three in four Americans feel it is very likely or somewhat likely that social media sites “intentionally censor political viewpoints that they find objectionable,” according to the survey. It polled around 4,700 Americans across the political spectrum. While people from both parties thought that social media companies were likely censoring content for political reasons, Republicans were much more likely than Democrats — 90 percent of Republicans compared to 59 percent of Democrats — to hold this belief.
27 August, 2020
Australia: Cancel culture and push to rename Queensland’s ‘racist’ place names must end now, writes Michael Madigan
Today we in Queensland are pondering the (hopefully faint) possibility that we will have to rename a series of Queensland cities and towns because they are allegedly named after people connected to slavery.
A petition from 400 people lodged with the Queensland Parliament has requested the move start with Russell Island – named for Lord Russell who allegedly voted against slavery abolition
Townsville, Mackay and Gladstone are just some of the places named after figures who supported the blackbirding which often resulted in South Sea Islander forced to work in sugar cane paddocks under appalling conditions for meagre, or sometimes no, wages.
The Palaszczuk Government says it will consider changing names associated with British aristocrats and politicians who were in favour of slavery.
Yet if we start walking down this track we’ll find it has no end, no point of finality.
For, if we were to be logical and consistent, we would have to start by renaming the entire state of Queensland. The “Queen’s Land’’ is quite definitely named after the British Monarch generically even if the name originated in the time of Queen Victoria.
And it was a British Queen (Elizabeth 1) who in 1563 helped kick off the African slave trade when she rented out one of her old man’s (Henry VIII) boats (it was called ironically enough, Jesus of Lubeck) to a group of British businessman who collected African slaves.
So the institution that is the British Monarchy is tainted with slavery and the very name of this state, by association, also carries the stain.
Yet it was also members of the British Monarchy (notably Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, now a title owned by Prince Harry) who joined the abolitionists led by William Wilberforce in the 19th Century to bring an end to slavery.
Places named after slave traders and their supporters:
Townsville - named after Robert Towns - revived blackbirding in Queensland in the late 19th Century
Mackay - named after Captain John Mackay - conducted many blackbirding expeditions through the Pacific and China between 1865 and 1883
Gladstone - named after British prime minister William Gladstone - supported the slave trade
Town of McIlwraith, McIlwraith Range - named after three-time Queensland Premier between 1879 and 1893 - tried to annex New Guinea for Queensland to promote easy flow of slave labour, supported the trade
Federal division of Dickson - Brisbane northside seat named after Sir James Dickson, currently held federal MP Peter Dutton - supported the trade of slaves to Queensland
William Gladstone’s family may have owned slaves, and he may have been an apologist for slaves, but he also attempted to rein in some of the more brutal treatment of the Irish.
Captain John Mackay may have engaged in blackbirding but he also led an expedition up from what is now northern New South Wales to present day Mackay.
That opened up the district to the agriculture which played a major role in developing the economy of present day Queensland.
As for Russell Island, a reader of The Courier-Mail has already penned a letter to the editor saying the allegations of Lord John Russell supporting slavery are simply wrong.
That Lord Russell was apparently not even born when his father Lord Russell made a speech supporting the regulation of the slave trade.
We just can’t go on doing this. We can’t go on posturing as moral arbiters of people who lived in times we can’t possibly understand.
And we can’t go on attacking people connected with slavery when almost every society on planet earth, for thousands of years, thought slavery perfectly acceptable.
Our own behaviour, which we might assume is perfectly acceptable, may be interpreted as utterly reprehensible by generations living a century on from today.
All we can hope is that future generations have the intelligence to understand that human beings are fallible, and the wisdom to know they share in that fallibility.
Brian Courtice is a former federal Labor politician from Bundaberg who knows more about the South Sea Islander blackbirding trade than most people in this state after studying it for decades.
His own property outside Bundaberg hosts the bodies of South Sea Islander who were often buried in the cane fields, where they fell.
Courtice, who has formally asked the British Government for an apology relating to the blackbirding trade which occurred under British rule, says changing a name or tearing down a statue resolves nothing.
“What we need is more statues, more place names,’’ he says.
“We need to own all of our history, not just part of it.’’
NBC Sports REMOVES analyst Mike Milbury for making 'insensitive' joke that NHL players were lucky they had 'no women to disrupt their concentration' in the playing bubble
Just a normal sort of joke you hear among men
NBC Sports have removed National Hockey League analyst Mike Milbury for making an 'insensitive' and 'insulting' comment about women.
On Thursday, the 68-year-old sparked furor for making the off-color remark during a live broadcast of a game between the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals.
After fellow commentator, Brian Bouche, mentioned the NHL's 'quarantine bubble', Milbury quipped: 'There's not even any woman here to disrupt your concentration'.
The comment caused a storm on Twitter, and Milbury was quickly blasted by the NHL.
In a statement released on Friday, the organization said: 'The National Hockey League condemns the insensitive and insulting comment that Mike Milbury made during last night's broadcast and we have communicated our feelings to NBC.
'The comment did not reflect the NHL's values and commitment to making our game more inclusive and welcoming to all'.
Milbury apologized for his comments in a statement released through NBC. 'It was not my intention to disrespect anyone. I was trying to be irreverent and took it a step too far. It was a regrettable mistake that I take seriously,' he said.
However, the apology didn't appear to be enough for the broadcaster, who booted the analyst from covering its Friday games.
Many social media users described Milbury's remarks as 'offensive' and 'outdated'.
However, others claimed it was simply a storm in a teacup.
26 August, 2020
BBC 'is considering dropping Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory from Last Night of the Proms in wake of BLM protests'
This is sacrilegious. These songs are immensely enjoyed and are undoubtedly the highlight of the Proms. But patriotism is "racist" if not "white supremacist" these days of course
British anthems: Rule, Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory could be axed from the BBC Proms amid the Black Lives Matter movement, an insider has claimed.
The broadcaster is considering dropping the patriotic songs from the Last Night concert due to fears of criticism because of their apparent links to colonialism and slavery, the Times reported.
Dalia Stasevska, who is conducting the Last Night on September 12, is said to believe 'a ceremony without an audience is the perfect moment to bring change.'
'Dalia is a big supporter of Black Lives Matter,' a source added.
Flag-waving crowds will be absent from London's Royal Albert Hall during the 125th annual Last Night of the Proms concert due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Jan Younghusband, head of BBC music TV commissioning, has confirmed the content of the Last Night concert is still under review.
She said: 'We have a lot of problems about how many instruments we can have. It is hard to know whether it is physically possible to do [Rule Britannia].
Its inclusion in the Last Night was previously criticised by BBC columnist Richard Morrison, who put out a call for Rule, Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory to be scrapped from the concert because they are 'crudely jingoistic'.
Last month, Mr Morrison used his column in the BBC Music Magazine to claim it would be 'insensitive, bordering on incendiary' to chant the 'nationalist' songs this year in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.
He took aim at the traditional patriotic pieces, and called for a 'toe-curling embarrassing anachronistic farrago of nationalistic songs' to be replaced with a 'more reflective' finale which doesn't 'provoke offence or ridicule' - but stopped short of proferring any suggestions.
BBC Proms director David Pickard said: 'These are challenging times for our nation and the rest of the world, but they show that we need music and the creative industries more than ever.
'This year it is not going to be the Proms as we know them, but the Proms as we need them.
Jokes not allowed
It's a play on the expression "shotgun wedding"
A hunting-themed wedding cake that shows a bride holding a rifle under her arm while dragging her groom's body is being slammed online, as critics call it 'trashy' and 'gross.'
A photo of the custom cake was posted on Reddit's Wedding Shaming forum, with the person who shared it writing: 'Immediately no. Immediately no.' While the design was beautifully executed, many agreed the theme was in poor taste.
'The hunt is over,' reads the sign on the front of the cake, which shows a bride in her wedding gown pulling her camouflage-wearing husband-to-be away with a hunting a rifle tucked under her arm.
The intricate cake by Graceful Cake Creations was decorated to look like a tree stump, with a deer, two large bullets, and fall leaves surrounding the bride and groom.
The backlash was directed at the couple who ordered the cake, with a number of commenters pointing out that the design itself was well-done.
'A trashy idea, but well-executed,' one person wrote. 'Can't say it's a graceful wedding cake though...'
'10/10 Bakers Points for the execution, but 0/10 What the French Fried F**ks for the content,' someone else wrote. 'This could be funny if Cupid had a compound bow and both bride and groom were struck by Arrows of Love or somesuch, but this "bride murders groom" thing is over the top gross.'
'At least the groom isn’t bloody?' another added.
25 August, 2020
Australian public servant condemns censorship after blogpost cost him his job
He would have had to sign a confidentiality agreement to get his job so the government has a clear right to enforce that agreement. But whether what he did does breach the agreement sounds moot. But in any case there is no "right" to a government job. And resigning was not forced on him. So I think he has scant grounds for complaint
When federal public servant Josh Krook sat down to pen a decidedly uncontroversial blogpost on how Covid-19 benefitted big tech, he didn’t imagine it would cost him his job.
In April, Krook published a post on a fledgling blog called the Oxford Political Review, arguing social isolation was good for big tech companies, because it made people increasingly dependent on online platforms for interaction.
Krook also worked as a policy officer with the industry department, working on tech policy.
His post talked only in generalities. It made no reference to any individual company and did not mention, let alone criticise, the Australian government or government policy.
In no way did Krook identify himself as a government employee or policy officer or seek to conflate his writing with his views as a public servant.
Three months after the post, Krook was invited to a meeting with his superior. In the meeting, Krook says he was given a choice: remove the blog post or face termination.
“[My boss] said that the problem was that in talking about the big tech companies, we risked damaging the relationship the government has with the big tech companies and that when we go and do public-private partnerships, they could Google my name, find my article and then refuse to work with us,” Krook told the Guardian.
“I was told that all future writing, all future public writing that I do would have to go through my boss or a senior colleague.
“I was also told that for the first article, it would have been fine to write it, had I been positive about the big tech companies.”
Krook did as he was asked, initially at least. He contacted the editor of the Oxford Political Review and asked that the post be removed.
But the more he reflected, the less he could stomach what he had been asked to do. He decided to quit government and speak out about the censorship, a decision that will almost certainly cruel any future career he has in the public service.
The case reignites the tension between freedom of speech and the public service code of conduct’s requirement that workers be apolitical.
He aired no criticism whatsoever of government or government policy. “I was very careful not to do that … the idea that you shouldn’t be able to criticise other companies, when you work with the government particularly, it doesn’t make sense to me,” he said.
“I don’t think there is a public interest case for that. Basically, I think I can criticise the big tech companies while remaining apolitical.”
Krook says he was also told to amend a second post containing an almost laughably benign reference to the Australian government’s competition with other governments for medical supplies.
He was, at the time, seconded within the industry department to a role in helping the government secure such supplies.
His post’s brief reference to the competition between Australia and other nations for medical supplies could in no way be conceived of as a criticism, but rather a reflection of fact, and a repetition of a statement previously made by the health minister, Greg Hunt, and the former chief medical officer Brendan Murphy.
“I was told that by saying that there’s competition between Australia and other countries, I make the government look chaotic in its response,” he said.
“I didn’t say that, I didn’t say the government was chaotic in its response. But he said that could be implied by what I had written somehow.”
The industry department was approached for comment but says it does not discuss staffing matters.
Krook was on a non-ongoing contract with the department, which was expected to be renewed.
Krook is now jobless at an extremely difficult time, leaving the relative comfort of the public service to enter the job market during an economic crisis.
He remains the law editor of the Oxford Political Review, where he occasionally edits writing, and plans to republish his blog post.
Krook is eyeing a future career in academia, but with that sector facing huge upheaval, his work prospects remain uncertain.
“It’s not the best time to leave a job, it’s not the best time to look for new work,” he said. “But there reaches a certain point where you have to stand by what you believe in, I guess, and in this I just completely disagreed with what they were saying and their decision.”
Full stop (period) is 'intimidating' to young people because they interpret it as sign of anger, linguists say
Good grammar is now under attack. It had to come
Full stops intimidate young people when used in social media communication as they are interpreted as a sign of anger, according to linguistic experts.
Teenagers and those in their early twenties, classified as Generation Z, have grown up with smartphones which they use to sent short messages without full stops.
And a study from Binghamton University in New York suggested that people who finish messages with full stops are perceived as insincere.
Linguistic experts are now investigating why teens interpret a correctly-punctuated text as a signal of irritation.
Full stops 'intimidate' young people when used in social media communication as they are interpreted as a sign of anger, according to linguistic experts +3
Full stops 'intimidate' young people when used in social media communication as they are interpreted as a sign of anger, according to linguistic experts
Some have said the full stop is redundant when used in texting because the message is ended just by sending it.
According to The Telegraph, Linguist Dr Lauren Fonteyn of Leiden University in Holland, tweeted: 'If you send a text message without a full stop, it's already obvious that you've concluded the message.
In 2015, a study from Binghamton University in New York suggested that people who finish messages with full stops are perceived as insincere.
The study involved 126 undergraduates and the researchers found that text messages ending in the most final of punctuation marks – eg 'lol.', 'let's go to Nando's.', 'send nudes.' – were perceived as being less sincere.
Unusually, texts ending in an exclamation point – 'lmao!', 'just a cheeky one!', 'what body part even is that? I hope it's your arm!' – are deemed heartfelt or more profound.
The authors concluded that punctuation 'is one cue used by senders, and understood by receivers, to convey pragmatic and social information' such as irritation.
24 August, 2020
Keir Starmer has committed the twin crimes of writing for the Mail on Sunday and calling for children to be educated
Keir Starmer is the relatively moderate leader of the British Labour party. He has the handicap of being unusually intelligent for a Labour leader
Twitter leftists have gone into meltdown after discovering Keir Starmer had the audacity to write an article for the Mail on Sunday.
Not only did Starmer write in a newspaper popular in Middle England, something that is anathema to Labour’s bourgeois activists. He also dared to state the obvious truth that kids should be back in schools as soon as possible.
Starmer said: ‘I don’t just want all children back at school next month, I expect them back at school. No ifs, no buts.’ Starmer’s call for the education of children was apparently so heinous that #StarmerOut started trending on Twitter.
Roald Dahl’s Matilda mug canceled after Twitter users say it promotes domestic violence
This is an example of what the Bible (Matthew 23:24) calls "straining at a gnat" -- bothering about minute problems
Celebrated British author Roald Dahl’s legacy has indirectly come under attack by Twitter activists who managed to scare a supermarket chain into removing mugs that featured a quote based on a line from his classic children’s book, “Matilda.”
Twitter campaigners who pressured Sainsbury’s into removing the mug with the words, “A brilliant idea hit her” printed on it – argued that it was “actively promoting domestic violence.”
Those offended by the mug and expressing their outrage could be reading too much into the whole thing, as they claim that the quote, and its design, including the use of typeface and capital letters, is dangerously ambiguous.
Other than idiocy, one possible explanation could be the campaigners’ poor grasp of English (“A brilliant idea hit her. She had a brilliant idea,” the head of the Institute for the Study of Civil Society explained in a tweet, urging the retailer not to bow to pressure.) But it could also be that as Twitter has proved time and again to be a very useful tool to those looking to weaponize it for their political and ideological goals – it’s becoming hard for a certain type of activist not to use it that way.
And given the current political and social climate, Sainsbury’s would not take a chance on resisting: it seems that the relentless waves of canceling and deplatforming have driven fear into celebrities and brands in particular. Not only is the supermarket chain removing the mugs, the company also apologized, and announced it was “working with the Roald Dahl team to remove the mug from sale and review the design.”
One of those putting pressure on Sainsbury’s was Dr. Miranda Horvath, who, in addition to demanding the removal of the mugs from the shelves and an apology, also wants “a huge donation” to be made to charities combating violence against women and girls.
The original quote from “Matilda” says, “The germ of a brilliant idea hit her.” At this point, it’s not entirely far-fetched to think that had that been used on the “problematic” mug – Sainsbury’s might have been accused of promoting coronavirus misinformation, in addition to domestic violence.
23 August, 2020
Twitter Ignores Its Own 'Civic Integrity Policy'
Yet another case of a social media giant applying a double standard to censorship.
Remember that time Twitter put a “fact-check” warning label on one of President Donald Trump’s tweets warning that expanded, nationwide mail-in voting would increase the risk of voter fraud? To quote the late Chris Farley, “That was awesome” — by which we mean not awesome.
Despite Twitter’s false claim that there is “no evidence” for Trump’s warning, there is plenty of evidence that mail-in voting is the “largest source of potential voter fraud.” That’s not our conclusion; it’s the conclusion of a 2005 report by the bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform, chaired by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker.
Undeterred by the facts, Twitter announced last week that it will expand its crackdown on mail-in voting “misinformation.”
When the shoe is on the other foot, however, and leftists are trafficking in actual crazy conspiracy theories, Twitter whistles and looks the other way.
With users sharing demonstrably false allegations about Trump supposedly preemptively cheating by making changes to the Postal Service, Twitter’s Thought Police have concluded that such tweets do not violate its “civic integrity policy” and no fact-checking is necessary. That same policy was cited by the censors in May for Trump’s tweet and for others it intends to censor.
Is it any wonder why conservatives have this sneaking and unshakeable suspicion that maybe — just maybe — social media giants aren’t exactly playing fair?
Make Goodyear Good Again
Goodyear recently forgot it was a tyre company and decided to enter the exciting new field of leftist virtue signalling. Sadly for them, the move did not pay off:
The Goodyear tyre company in the US was rocked after President Donald Trump called on Americans to boycott the firm after it reportedly banned workers from wearing red Make America Great Again caps.
Shares in Goodyear plunged 6 per cent after Mr Trump tweeted his call for a ban.
Reports in the US said employees were told they could wear Black Lives Matter apparel but not clothing with logos such as MAGA or Blue Lives Matter.
An attempted clarification wasn’t much help: According to CEO Rich Kramer, the slide presented during a diversity training session inside a Kansas Goodyear plant was created by an employee and not approved by Goodyear Corporate.
The slide in question indicated that attire promoting any type of political affiliation, as well as support for law enforcement, was not acceptable in the Goodyear workplaces.
Hmm. That statement is now under review:
Goodyear Tire Chief Executive Rich Kramer said Thursday the company had clarified its policy to make clear employees can wear apparel expressing support for law enforcement after it faced a boycott call from President Trump.
Before it went woke, Goodyear supported US troops:
"The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company will customize its iconic Goodyear Eagle race tires for the seventh consecutive year to support the U.S. Armed Forces"
21 August, 2020
'We are losing our rights over a virus with a 99% recovery rate': Defiant organiser of hippy drumming event at a Sydney beach vows to keep defying coronavirus restrictions
The organiser of a hippy drumming event has vowed to continue defying COVID-19 restrictions and labelled social distancing measures a 'totalitarian measure'.
Sydney Drummers founder, Curt Hannagan, organised a gathering that saw 200 people pack onto Mistral Point at Maroubra in the city's east on Sunday.
Mr Hannagan unleashed an explosive social media rant on Tuesday after he was fined $1,000 for breaching coronavirus restrictions.
'We are having our rights and freedoms taken away from us over a virus with a 99 per cent recovery rate,' Mr Hannagan wrote on Facebook.
Mr Hannagan, who also goes by Curt Alchemy, established a GoFundMe page to help pay for the event's fine and purchase new drumming equipment.
'Over 200 people gathered in Maroubra to collectively share their heart beat and connection to one another in a form of musical celebration for the human race and mother earth,' Mr Hannagan explained.
He also added a post on the Sydney Drumming page that said the group would 'not submit to the current totalitarian measures here in Australia'.
'These events are designed to heal ourselves, heal our trauma, and to create harmony within our body, mind and spirit,' Mr Hannagan said.
The drummer asked those who 'stand strong for you rights, for your freedoms' to 'donate any finances... so we can pay the fine and move forward.' He also shared plans to host another gathering and asked 'Who wants another secret location tribe fest in Sydney?' 'We will not submit, we will rise in community spirit,' Mr Hannagan said.
Maroubra residents called police after seeing the drumming party grow and officers arrived at about 6pm.
'Officers spoke with a 33-year-old man who was one of the organisers of the event.
'Police were able to disperse the crowd without incident,' a NSW Police spokeswoman told Daily Mail Australia.
NSW Police said they issued the 33-year-old man with a $1,000 fine on Monday for failing to comply with COVID-19 regulations.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the event organisers for comment.
According to New South Wales Health regulations no more than 20 people are allowed to gather outside in a public place.
The state recorded three new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases to 3,770.
One was a returned traveller in hotel quarantine, one has been linked to the funeral cluster in South Western Sydney and another case remains under investigation.
There were 13,736 tests undertaken in the most recent 24 hour period and 122 people are being treated for coronavirus.
Twitter Kicked Me Off for Saying This But I'm Going to Double Down
"What kind of person sues nuns," I asked in a fervent tone. The answer was Joe Biden.
"I can't stand this creep. Between the sniffing and the suing and deceit - there is nothing worthwhile. He's a completely worthless human being. Trash, decay, scum. He brings with him nothing but sorrow and theft," I ranted on Twitter. I minced no words. This election is not a time for niceties. These socialist sociopaths need to be exposed for what they are, and each of us who has a voice should be using it, loudly, to do so.
Twitter disagreed and decided to suppress my voice. Some leftist with a mute button working for corporate Twitter deemed me in violation of Twitter's "abuse and harassment" policy. Twitter claimed I committed "targeted harassment" by "wishing or hoping someone experiences physical harm." Certainly, Twitter's allegations are entirely inconsistent and completely removed from my words, but I'm not in control of that mute button, and my opinion is inconsequential to Twitter controllers. Twitter demanded I delete the comment and then benched me for seven days after I complied with their demand.
I immediately alerted my Parler followers. "Twitter suspended me for criticizing Biden for suing nuns," I posted.
Conservative heavy-hitters like Jack Posobiec, Michelle Malkin, Dan Backer, and Joel Fischer started alerting Twitter's conservative base that my criticism of Joe Biden's plans to sue nuns resulted in a suspension from the platform. The users weren't shocked. Many chimed in with their own stories of suspension on grounds that were entirely incongruent with their actions. My unsubstantiated suspension wasn't an anomaly; it was the norm.
Later that day, The Babylon Bee was suspended for "spamming," though reinstated a few hours later. Other conservative accounts like mine remained suspended. Twitter engaged in a conservative-cleanup effort these last few days, that is for sure.
So why do we stay on Twitter? The answer is simple: Trump. For as long as Donald Trump continues using Twitter, so will his supporters and the media. If and when Trump decides to shun Twitter and move over to Parler or another substitute, Twitter will fall. Until he makes his move, we're at Twitter's mercy. Twitter remains the judge, the jury, and the executioner.
20 August, 2020
Leftist Bullies Cause, Then Celebrate Mike Adams Suicide
The UNCW professor was exhausted by the vile hatred and vengeance of the Left.
Mike S. Adams, professor of sociology and criminology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, took his own life last week. At UNCW and in public speaking, as well as in columns for Townhall and The Daily Wire, Adams was a stalwart defender of free speech, the Second Amendment, and the sanctity of life, and he stood bravely — often alone in his position in academia — for conservative and Christian values. He was 55.
What makes Adams’s death all the more tragic and, frankly, outrageous is that he spent decades being bullied by hateful leftists at his university and elsewhere, only to be bullied even in death by celebrating leftists.
Adams fought a seven-year legal battle against UNCW to achieve the tenure he was initially denied — tenure that was granted to professors with far less in the way of accomplishment yet denied to Adams because of his political beliefs. Previously an atheist liberal, Adams converted to Christianity and later to conservatism. His friend and attorney David French wrote, “Prior to his religious and political conversion, his student and peer teaching evaluations were remarkably high (teaching evaluations were important for retention and promotion). After his conversion, his student evaluations remained sky-high (routinely among the best in the department), but his peer evaluations plunged.”
Adams frequently used acerbic wit and provocative rhetoric, but neither Adams nor conservatives in general are the aggressors in the culture war. The aggressors are the “social justice” warriors who want to fundamentally transform America.
But like the bullies they are, all leftists can do is scream that people like Adams dare to fight back.
Even after news broke that Adams had committed suicide, the bullies at NBC headlined, “Professor who announced retirement after racist and sexist tweets died by suicide.” NBC’s hack “journalist” David Li offered no evidence for those charges, other than linking to UNCW’s vacuous statement earlier this summer. That statement likewise offered no evidence of the charges, and administrators only grudgingly conceded that Adams was protected by free speech even while declaring they “stand firmly against” him.
Other Leftmedia stories — including one in 2016 by the “LGBT” activist division “NBC OUT” — derided Adams for such things as calling “transgenderism” a mental illness, rejecting same-sex marriage, and calling out a homosexual Muslim student for embracing a religion that demands her own execution.
These are, of course, mainstream conservative opinions, not “racist and sexist” language. But if there’s one thing you don’t do in Marxist-dominated academia, it’s challenge the Rainbow Mafia.
The last straw, however, was the “racist” one. Near the end of May, Adams took on North Carolina Governor Rory Cooper’s pandemic shutdown with his typical edgy humor, tweeting, “This evening I ate pizza and drank beer with six guys at a six seat table top. I almost felt like a free man who was not living in the slave state of North Carolina. Massa Cooper, let my people go!”
This time, he didn’t fight the predictable outrage; he negotiated his exit from UNCW on August 1.
Those of us who dare challenge the Left know how vengeful the radicals can be. As Mark Steyn lamented, “If you’re doing the heavy lifting on an otherwise abandoned front of the culture war, what you mostly hear, as Mike Adams did, is the silent majority’s silence.” Thus, we know that the will to fight can sometimes leave even the toughest and, in Adams’s case, the seemingly happiest warrior. For those of us in our humble shop who corresponded with Mike over the years, we also know that his blood is on the hands of the leftist bullies, including those in the UNCW administration, whose cruel hatred knows no bounds.
Yet they do not have ultimate victory. Finally, Mike, you can rest in peace.
Conservative Students have a big fight
Everywhere, assaults on freedom and free speech are going full blast. Violent True Believers are on the march as others, even if less overtly barbaric, provide cover, an excuse.
For example, the State University of New York at Binghamton has cooperated with left-wing thugs to suppress conservatives.
The mob stole or destroyed posters and the table students were using to promote an appearance by Arthur Laffer, the noted supply-side economist. The same mob also disrupted the lecture itself. A lawsuit brought by the victimized students accuses officials of failing “to take action to defend College Republicans’ constitutional rights” and supporting the “physically abusive actions of the College Progressives.”
Another student under attack is Austin Tong. Recently, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has been going to bat for Tong, a Fordham University student suspended for social media posts.
One is a picture of Tong holding (not pointing) a legally owned rifle, intended to draw attention to the Tiananmen Square massacre. The other shows black police captain David Dorn, who was murdered by looters. Its caption chastises members of the Black Lives Matter movement for apparent indifference to Dorn’s fate.
Before suspending him for “bias” and “threats,” university personnel showed up at Tong’s house to interrogate him about the posts.
Tong is unapologetic, and FIRE says that Fordham has “acted more like the Chinese government than an American university, placing severe sanctions on a student solely because of off-campus political speech.”
19 August, 2020
Kamala Harris’s Former Press Secretary Is the Face of Twitter Censorship
When CNN hired Sarah Isgur, a former Jeff Sessions spokeswoman and now staff writer at The Dispatch, last year to be a political editor at its Washington bureau, left-wing media types put on a full-court press to smear her professionalism. The CNN newsroom — which, last I looked, included former Obama official Jim Sciutto — was reportedly “demoralized” by her very presence.
Conservatives, and it’s probably fair to say that Isgur is a pretty moderate one, aren’t welcome in mainstream journalism. We don’t need to go through all the numbers and polls to stress this point. Journalists have long jumped back and forth between Democratic Party politics and media gigs. The job is the same. The venue is different.
I bring this up because, as my former colleague Sean Davis points out, Nick Pacilio, Kamala Harris’s former press secretary, is now in charge of deciding/announcing what the president of the United States can and can’t say on Twitter to his 85 million followers. Twitter has already removed debatable contentions by the president — or, contentions no more misleading than any number of Joe Biden allegations. The point of removing tweets, I assume, has more to do with being able to call Trump a liar than worrying about his spreading misleading information.
But the optics are remarkably terrible for Twitter. It’s almost certainly true that whoever holds the job of senior communication manager at the social-media giant will be ideologically progressive like the company’s CEO. But could you imagine what the nightly reaction on CNN and MSNBC would be if Mike Pence’s former spokesperson was seen censoring Joe Biden’s tweets during a presidential election? I have no doubt Democrats would be calling for congressional hearings.
CENSORSHIP: Viral Shadowgate Documentary Deleted by Facebook and YouTube After Film Maker’s Arrest
The Shadowgate documentary, which went viral after one of its producers was arrested on Friday, has now been removed by both YouTube and Facebook.
Journalist Millie Weaver was charged with alleged “robbery, tampering with evidence, obstruction justice, and domestic violence” after police officers apparently from a local SWAT team showed up at her Ohio home Friday morning and took her to the Portage County Jail in Ravenna.
The Portage County Sheriff’s Office later confirmed that there was a “secret indictment” against Weaver but refused to give further details.
A woman claiming to be Weaver’s mother later commented that there had been a family dispute over a $50 cellphone on April 25, but that she had almost immediately dropped all charges against Weaver and expressed shock that her daughter had been arrested.
The arrest occurred on the eve of Weaver releasing Shadowgate, a documentary that purports to expose the “operational role the shadow government played behind the scenes carrying out the coup against President Trump.”
After the documentary received millions of views following its upload to Facebook and YouTube, both websites censored the film, with YouTube claiming the movie violated its rules against “hate speech.”
Weaver is expected to appear in front of a “tentative bond meeting” later today.
There is also a live protest against her arrest taking place in Ohio right now.
18 August, 2020
Watch Out for the New Censors
Until the Trump era, there was a pretty broad consensus in America around free speech. If you didn’t like something someone said, you could debate them and prove their point was not worthy. The solution to bad arguments was to use our free speech rights to win an argument.
The notion of censoring political debate does not have deep roots in our system. The Trump era changed all that. The left views President Donald Trump as an existential threat. Quaint notions such as free speech are no longer in vogue when compared to the broader moral calling to drive him from office.
Running a news company in this environment is, to say the least, challenging. The newest challenge we are facing at my company, The Daily Caller, is an attack on our fact-check site, CheckYourFact.com.
The Daily Caller has millions of readers, many of whom do not trust the traditional corporate media. Supplying these readers with reliable, accurate information to counter some of the bogus information on the web is a service we were excited to perform. Our goal on fact checks was simple: Tell the truth, no matter where it leads.
This means calling out politicians or other influencers when they get things wrong. We knew going in that addressing these misstatements with a fair, thorough, and nonpartisan approach was key to our success. It’s the only way we can develop a trusted relationship with our readers.
And that trusted relationship, the faith people have in your desire and ability to call it straight, is the only real asset of any news organization.
To do our job well, we committed to:
No. 1: Transparency in our fact checks so readers could see as much of the information we rely on as possible.
No. 2: A strong corrections policy so we can correct mistakes when we make them.
No. 3: Obtaining a commitment of fairness from each author, including an agreement to refrain from partisan political activity.
No. 4: Posting our methodology with details on our selection, writing, and research process.
With all this in place, we applied and were accepted to the International Fact-Checking Network operated by the Poynter Institute, the world’s leading organization for ethics in journalism.
Upon launching Check Your Fact, I fully expected to engage in debates about our work. Interestingly, though, our work has been nearly free of controversy. Nobody wants to debate us about our fact checks. That’s probably because they are consistently fair, thorough, and completely nonpartisan.
Instead, we have seen something much more insidious. Many on the political left are outraged by our mere existence, and they are trying to shut us down.
Their newest attack is that The Daily Caller can’t do fact checks because it has “taken tens of thousands of dollars to help Republican campaigns raise money.” As the site’s publisher, this came as a shock to me. We have never taken a single contribution from the Republican Party.
Then I realized they were talking about the advertising we sell. Almost every news company sells advertising. And, especially during election years, almost all news companies sell advertising to political candidates and committees.
It’s important to be very transparent when you do sell political advertising, so the ads we have been attacked for running all say “a message from our sponsor” right at the top.
When was the last time near any election that you watched a local or national news program and didn’t see a political ad? By the logic of the attacks against us, mindlessly parroted by numerous left-wing commentators, any news company that takes a political ad—meaning virtually every news company—is somehow disqualified.
This is, of course, preposterous. Running properly labeled political advertising has been a staple of the news business for decades.
So, why the controversy?
First, the Trump campaign is one of the advertisers in question. To many on the hard left, running ads for that campaign is akin to working with the devil. They want us to tip the scales and refuse to take ads from the Trump campaign.
There are two candidates for president. We are happy to run ads for either one; we have offered to do so for each and think it’s eminently reasonable for each to do so, considering our audience is politically engaged and covers a broad cross section of political America, from liberals to conservatives.
Ironically, if we refused to sell ads to one side, we would be tipping the scales in a partisan direction.
The second goal of the critics is to silence us altogether. To many on the left, the fact that The Daily Caller is running fact checks is just offensive. We have no right, in their minds.
In reality, if this group would bother to read the content they hope to censor, they should be celebrating our Check Your Fact operation and thanking us for the work we are doing.
Our site is popular with conservatives and Trump voters. Yet we regularly publish fact checks that point out misstatements by the president, correct some of the crazier right-wing disinformation on the web, and defend Democrats from unfair attacks.
With the trust our readers place in us, we are the perfect outlet to correct some of this information that conservatives otherwise may rely upon. In a rational world, this would be celebrated. In the real world, the partisans on the left who are coming after us have never even read our work.
They just want to censor us based on their preconceived notions. It’s not going to work.
Newsweek Caves to the Rage Mob After Publishing an OpEd About Harris
Newsweek decided to publish an opinion piece by Dr. John Eastman, a law professor at Chapman University and a Senior Fellow at the Claremont Institution. In his OpEd, Eastman makes the argument that Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) is ineligible to be vice president because she's not a "natural born citizen."
"Her father was (and is) a Jamaican national, her mother was from India, and neither was a naturalized U.S. citizen at the time of Harris' birth in 1964. That, according to these commentators, makes her not a 'natural born citizen'—and therefore ineligible for the office of the president and, hence, ineligible for the office of the vice president," Eastman wrote.
Of course, the cancel culture mob went after Newsweek editors, claiming that this was pushing the "birther" movement. Editors responded by defending Eastman's piece, saying it had nothing to do with the birther movement:
"Some of our readers have reacted strongly to the op-ed we published by Dr. John Eastman, assuming it to be an attempt to ignite a racist conspiracy theory around Kamala Harris' candidacy. Dr. Eastman was focusing on a long-standing, somewhat arcane legal debate about the precise meaning of the phrase "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" in the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment. His essay has no connection whatsoever to so-called "birther-ism," the racist 2008 conspiracy theory aimed at delegitimizing then-candidate Barack Obama by claiming, baselessly, that he was born not in Hawaii but in Kenya. We share our readers' revulsion at those vile lies:
The 14th Amendment is one of the most-studied areas of constitutional law, and questions were raised by the Constitution's Article II, Section 1 "natural born Citizen" requirement for presidential eligibility about both John McCain and Ted Cruz, at the time of their respective runs. The meaning of "natural born Citizen," and the relation of that Article II textual requirement to the 14th Amendment's Citizenship Clause, are issues of legal interpretation about which scholars and commentators can, and will, robustly disagree.
Debating the meaning of these constitutional provisions and, in the particular case of Dr. Eastman's piece, the meaning of the 14th Amendment's phrase "subject to the jurisdiction thereof," is not an attempt to deny facts or to make false claims. No one is questioning Harris' place of birth or the legitimacy of an obviously valid birth certificate.
After President Trump referenced the OpEd in his press conference on Friday, politicos took to Twitter to slam the so-called "birth strategy.
Newsweek ended up issuing an editor's note at the top of Eastman's OpEd, saying the piece was never meant "to spark or to take part in the racist lie of Birtherism."
It's ridiculous that Newsweek had to issue any kind of editor's note at all. Why can't we discuss the merits of someone's eligibility for office without it automatically being considered racist or xenophobic? Eastman laid out the scholarly debate surrounding the 14th Amendment. He brought up questions about Harris' eligibility for the office. The same questions have come up when John McCain and Ted Cruz both ran for president.
We need to get back to having intellectually honest conversations surrounding the Constitution. Not every question is risen with malice. For some people, like law professors and scholarly experts, are focused on the Constitutional aspect of things.
17 August, 2020
A defeat for the cancel culture
Trader Joe's pushes back against a gratuitous accusation of racism.
by Jeff Jacoby
IN THE ethnic food aisles at Trader Joe's last week, the cancel culture hit a speed bump.
The popular grocery chain, famous for its organic, gourmet, and imported foods, came in for some unwelcome notice recently when the New York Times, CNN, and other news outlets called attention to a petition condemning Trader Joe's for its "racist branding and packaging." The petition, launched on Change.org by a California high school student, declared that the company "perpetuates harmful stereotypes" by labeling some of its international foods with international names, such as Trader José's for its Mexican beer, Trader Jacques' for its ham-and-cheese croissants, Arabian Joe's for its Middle Eastern flatbread, and Trader Ming's for its Kung Pao chicken. The use of these familiar ethnic names amounts to racism, scolded 17-year-old Briones Bedell, "because they exoticize other cultures."
In reality, they do just the opposite: They familiarize other cultures. They present international foods as accessible and appealing. Far from portraying foreign peoples and their foods as weirdly exotic, the lighthearted branding helps make them as welcome and appetizing as traditional "American" foods. Trader Joe's ethnic packaging exemplifies the melting pot at its most engaging, lowering the barriers between consumers of different backgrounds and encouraging Americans to explore the variety and joys of other cuisines.
On social media, where Bedell tried to promote her petition (she tweeted that Trader Joe's "romanticizes imperialism, fetishizes native cultures, and casually misappropriates"), the reaction was overwhelmingly negative. The gusher of media attention she attracted didn't translate into many signatures — fewer than 6,000 as of Tuesday. And a counter-petition — "¡Salvemos a Trader José! / Let's save Trader José" — was started by another Californian, Mexican-American writer Carlos Allende.
The company's initial response to reports of the petition was to surrender without a protest. A spokesman said Trader Joe's was "in the process of updating older labels." It allowed as how its ethnic brand names may have had the "opposite effect" from the lighthearted inclusiveness they were designed to convey.
Then something splendid happened: Trader Joe's got an earful from its customers — and reversed course.
"We want to be clear: we disagree that any of these labels are racist," the company announced on its website. "We do not make decisions based on petitions." Trader Joe's shoppers, it turned out, liked the playful "Trader José" and "Arabian Joe" names, and were unwilling to see them gratuitously smeared as racist or rushed down the memory hole because of one teenager's complaint.
"Recently we have heard from many customers reaffirming that these name variations are largely viewed in exactly the way they were intended—as an attempt to have fun with our product marketing," Trader Joe's noted. "Those products that resonate with our customers and sell well will remain on our shelves."
The cancel culture has been on a roll, toppling brand names and logos (to say nothing of statues and people) on the grounds of racial or social unacceptability. Some of the vanished trademarks, like the Aunt Jemima "mammy" emblem and the name of the Washington Redskins, were plainly overdue for retirement. But other names and products — like the Dixie Chicks, "Paw Patrol," and even the Coco Pops cereal emblem — have been assailed for no good reason at all.
"Trader Jose's" and other ethnic branding at Trader Joe's exemplifies the melting pot at its most engaging, encouraging Americans to explore the variety and joys of other cuisines.
These name-and-shame campaigns haven't encountered much corporate resistance lately. Businesses focused on their bottom lines may figure it's best to minimize any controversy and move on as quickly as possible. But there are dangers in letting groundswells of outrage proceed unimpeded, or in going along with the pretense that a random online petition is a legitimate news story because a reporter decides to play it up.
It is probably too much to hope that the unsuccessful assault on "Trader José's" and "Trader Ming's" represents some kind of turning point. There will be further examples of "woke" intolerance, and more efforts to denounce bigotry where none exists. All the same, Trader Joe's and its customers have provided a welcome reminder that the cancel crowd can be resisted, and common sense can prevail in the face of ludicrous demands. Here's hoping that the power of that good example resonates widely, and that unwarranted charges of racism stop getting attention they don't deserve.
N-word row ripping the BBC apart: Bitter battle rages between the old guard and the new 19 days after it was uttered
They are two men called David – but the contrast between them could hardly be more stark.
A BBC ‘lifer’ of more than 30 years, David Jordan is the Corporation’s chief trouble-shooter tasked with upholding its editorial standards and investigating when Auntie gets it wrong.
Meanwhile, Jamaican-born David Whitely – better known as Sideman – is the razor-sharp comedian and presenter who landed a BBC radio show on the back of his huge popularity as a social media ‘influencer’.
Their two very different worlds collided last week when Mr Whitely resigned from BBC 1Xtra in protest at the decision by Mr Jordan’s department to defend the use, in full, of the N-word in a news report.
As the BBC desperately struggles to woo a younger, more ethnically diverse audience, the episode has shone a light on a cultural and generational clash at the heart of the Corporation.
Insiders say Mr Jordan – who is paid £177,000 a year – is attempting to protect the independence of reporters and editors by not bowing to noisy campaign groups and Britain’s mounting ‘cancel culture’.
Others argue that the Corporation’s mainly white, middle-age managers remain impervious to change and are undermining their £100 million drive to produce ‘diverse and inclusive content’.
Last Sunday, BBC director-general Tony Hall overruled Mr Jordan and apologised for the use of the racist slur.
His intervention is understood to have been prompted by fears of further resignations by black and ethnic minority presenters. However, it has failed to end the row.
This weekend, a group of 100 black professional women said that Lord Hall’s apology – which came 12 days after the word was first broadcast – was ‘not enough’ and called for a 24-hour boycott of the BBC, starting at 9am on Wednesday.
Members of the InfluencHers campaign are also calling for the dismissal of Mr Jordan and the BBC’s director of news, Fran Unsworth, who is paid £340,000 a year. ‘The BBC’s gratuitous use of the N-word could constitute a race-hate crime,’ the group said.
BBC sources say that the Corporation remains gripped by confusion over whether or not there is now a blanket ban on the full use of the N-word.
Lord Hall accepted its use in a report about an attack on an NHS worker caused ‘distress’ and admitted the BBC ‘should have taken a different approach’.
Yet this newspaper has found eight examples of the word being used in full across five articles on the BBC News website. One, posted in 2016 about a BBC2 series called Black Is The New Black, used the word four times in just three paragraphs.
Another, posted in 2014 about a councillor using a racial slur live on BBC radio, contained the full N-word in its opening paragraph.
The latest controversy erupted after BBC social affairs correspondent Fiona Lamdin used the full N-word when reporting on a suspected race-hate attack against a musician known as K-Dogg.
The 21-year-old was left with a broken leg, nose and cheekbone after being hit by a car as he walked home from his job at Southmead Hospital in Bristol on July 22.
In her report – broadcast on local news programme BBC Points West on July 28 before being repeated on the BBC News Channel the next morning – Ms Lamdin said: ‘As the men ran away they hurled racial abuse, calling him a n*****.’
The BBC was soon under fire from viewers and the report was pulled.
16 August, 2020
Ornithologists Call For Allegedly Racist Bird Names To Be Changed
A Tuesday op-ed in The Washington Post by two ornithologists argued that bird names derived from problematic historical figures should be changed.
Gabriel Foley and Jordan Rutter, two ornithologists who started the website “Bird Names for Birds,” maintained that the many bird names that include eponymous references to such people “cast long, dark shadows over our beloved birds and represent colonialism, racism and inequality.”
“It is long overdue that we acknowledge the problem of such names, and it is long overdue that we should change them,” they added.
Foley and Rutter first criticized John James Audubon, after whom several birds were named and whose monumental 19th-century book “The Birds of America” is widely considered one of the most important ornithological works ever written. “Surely, most of us might think, this is an entirely fitting honor for someone who did so much for our understanding of the environment,” they wrote, but reminded readers that even “Audubon’s story has a dark side.”
Pinpointing how he once scoured the battlefield after the 1836 Battle of San Jacinto cutting the heads off of Mexicans to send to a phrenologist, they wrote, “For Audubon, this might have been just another way of practicing science — but his actions hardly align with modern values, and his scientific contributions do not excuse him from judgment.”
The two then go on to list other birds who were named for people they don’t like, such as Bachman’s sparrow, who was named for a pro-slavery reverend; McCown’s longspur, who shares a name with a Confederate general; Hammond’s flycatcher, who was named for a doctor that performed anatomical studies on Native Americans killed in battle; Bendire’s thrasher, named for a U.S. major who fought Native Americans; and Townsend’s warbler, a bird whose namesake dug up Native Americans to study their skulls.
Foley and Rutter conclude by likening such bird names to Confederate statues, writing:
The controversy over such names, which is now exciting passions within the bird community, mirrors similar conflicts over monuments to Confederates and colonialists now raging in the United States and elsewhere. Eponymous names serve as verbal statues: They are a memorial both to the colonial system that wove the fabric of systemic racism through every aspect of our lives — including the birds we see every day — and to the individuals who intentionally and directly perpetuated that system.
Australia: Queensland government backflips on plans to gag journalists reporting on corruption allegations against candidates in upcoming election
The Queensland government has backflipped on plans to prevent the publication of corruption allegations against candidates ahead of elections following a furious public backlash.
Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath introduced the amendments to parliament on Thursday, citing a report tabled by the Crime and Corruption Commission early in July.
Under the proposed changes, complaints about electoral candidates to the CCC would be kept under wraps until investigations became official, or three months had lapsed since the watchdog had been notified.
Breaching the law could land a person in jail for up to six months, or face thousands of dollars in fines.
The changes would have also allowed a candidate or the watchdog to seek an injunction to prevent further publication of allegations during the lead-up to elections.
However, in a brief statement on Friday the Queensland government dropped the proposal, citing time constraints.
'Given the limited time for the parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee to consider the law changes the CCC seeks... the bill introduced yesterday in state parliament is withdrawn,' Ms D'Ath said.
The backflip comes after criticism from unions and the Liberal National opposition, who accused the government of trying to silence whistleblowers before the October state election.
14 August, 2020
Facebook bans news outlets which are 'connected to political entities' from its News tab and forces them to undergo 'authorization process' to publish ads about social issues or the election
This could be OK if enforced impartially. I am betting that it will not be
Facebook is banning US news outlets, with ‘direct meaningful ties’ to political groups, from claiming news exemption when advertising.
These publishers are now required to undergo an authorization process and have a 'Paid for by' disclaimer when running ads about social issues, elections or politics.
Such organizations retain the privilege to register as a news organization and advertising, but will no longer be listed in Facebook’s News tab.
The move is to, according to the firm, ensure these outlets are held to the same standard as political groups.
‘As we head into election season in the U.S., we recognize that there are a growing number of news publications that are connected with different types of political entities, including political parties, PACs, politicians, and other organizations that can primarily engage in the influence of public policy or election,’ Facebook shared in the announcement.
The policy also eliminates these outlets’ access to news messaging on Facebook’s Messenger Business Platform and the WhatsApp business API.
Since the 2016 presidential election, more than 1,200 instances in which political groups masqueraded as a news site to push their views on Americans who believed it was straight news, according to AXIOS which first broke the news on the policy.
Now, without the ability to claim ‘news exemption’ these politically affiliated organizations will be labeled as such – allowing the public to see they are ingesting content paid for by a third-party.
Facebook notes identifying politically connected publishers is a new process for the firm, but has laid out what it feels meets the criteria. This includes being owned by a political group or individual, along with a political person who sits in an executive position at a company and state-controlled media.
However, news publishers can be completely banned from advertising if they repeatedly share misinformation.
Facebook follows after Twitter banned all political advertising earlier this year.
The Jack Dorsey owned firm recently added labels marking the tweets and accounts of 'state-backed media' as well as official government entities, in a move it says will 'increase transparency and accountability.'
The new steps to prevent the spread of content from state-affiliated media used to advance a government's political agenda -- a move affecting key outlets from Russia and China.
Official government accounts, such as the White House, and key government officials tasked with communicating foreign policy abroad will also receive the labels.
Kamala Harris’ Deep History Of Letting Facebook Off The Hook
Vice president candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) has gone easy on Facebook and tech giants for years, and in her 2020 presidential bid she was rewarded with many maxed-out contributions from Silicon Valley executives.
Senator Kamala Harris was heralded as a possible president from the day she arrived in Washington. The pundits and consultants of the Democratic establishment loved her youth, clear intelligence, and charisma. She was a prosecutor, and she wanted you to know it.
HuffPost’s Zach Carter revealed on Friday that Harris had a close relationship with Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Cheryl Sandberg as California attorney general. Harris participated in the marketing campaign for Sandberg’s paen to capitalistic feminism Lean In, even though at the time Harris was California’s law enforcement official most principally responsible for overseeing Facebook.
When Harris cracked down on revenge porn—an extremely admirable signature issue—she focused her legal cases on publishers of this painful material, but never the platforms without which it cannot spread. This meant that Facebook and other big platforms never faced consequences, or even any incentives to take the issue seriously. When the platforms’ role became simply too clear to ignore any longer, according to Carter, Harris held one meeting with company representatives at her office, then appeared next to Sandberg at a Facebook-sponsored lecture six days later.
13 August, 2020
Australia: Public mural sparks Shire censorship debate
It would certainly make me ill if I had to walk past it every day
It is the public mural that has divided opinion in Sydney's Sutherland Shire provoking two petitions, a social media debate and even a critique from the local mayor.
Critics have launched a campaign to remove the large mural, which is painted on a wall outside a retail shop in Miranda, claiming it is inappropriate and offensive. But the owner of the building says the mural was commissioned to prevent just that kind of content, and had succeeded in deterring graffiti and vandalism.
Painted outside Ferrari Formalwear, on the corner of an intersection near Miranda train station and Westfield shopping centre, the mural depicts three figures in different poses, including one smoking and another holding a glass.
Shire resident Yvette Graf has been campaigning to have the artwork removed for almost a year. Her cause gained renewed traction at the end of July when another resident posted a photo of the mural to the Sutherland Shire Council's Facebook page and started an online petition, which in turn sparked debate and a counter-petition.
Ms Graf said the mural was inappropriate because it normalised drunkenness and promoted "degrading imagery of women".
"My gut instinct is it's not respectful to stereotype women with dog collars. The three women have either bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils, indicating they've been drinking or taking drugs. We don't need that as role-models for our children," Ms Graf said. "I'd like to see an image celebrating the Dharawal people - something that makes you inspired and makes you feel good."
By Tuesday afternoon, the petition to remove the mural had 452 signatures and the counter-petition in support of it had 585 signatures. The original Facebook post attracted nearly 500 comments.
The counter-petition claims the artwork adds "both culture and flavour to our streets" and should be protected to ensure "freedom of expression and or free speech".
Sutherland Shire Council mayor Carmelo Pesce said he understood both supporters and detractors of the mural.
"It's probably not the best piece of art you could put up, but people interpret art differently," Cr Pesce said. "I've had a couple of the older councillors think it promotes abuse. I don't see that. I interpret three women who have gone out and had a big night."
Cr Pesce said he wished the building owner had consulted the community before commissioning the mural but council was ultimately powerless to censor artwork on private property.
"If that art there was in Newtown would we be having this discussion? Look at the demographics of who's complaining. The youth aren't really complaining," Cr Pesce said.
The building owner, who also asked to remain anonymous due to the heated nature of the debate, said the mural was a "special commission" that had succeeded in deterring graffiti.
‘Philadelphia Statement’ Defends Free Speech From Cancel Culture
Asserting that cancel culture has put freedom of expression in crisis, a statement initially signed by 45 prominent individuals from universities, think tanks, and other organizations asserts that expressing “ideas we find offensive is not an act of ‘violence.’”
Called the Philadelphia Statement, the 845-word document says in part:
If we seek to change our country’s trajectory; if we desire unity rather than division; if we want a political life that is productive and inspiring; if we aspire to be a society that is pluralistic and free, one in which we can forge our own paths and live according to our own consciences, then we must renounce ideological blacklisting and recommit ourselves to steadfastly defending freedom of speech and passionately promoting robust civil discourse.
The statement’s top signatories include Alan Sears, former president of Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal aid group, and Adam J. White, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.
Organizers are inviting Americans to sign the document.
They named the statement after Philadelphia, where men of strongly differing viewpoints came together in 1776 to declare America’s independence from England.
The Philadelphia Statement underlines the freedom of Americans to openly disagree while respecting the viewpoints of others:
Our liberty and our happiness depend upon the maintenance of a public culture in which freedom and civility coexist—where people can disagree robustly, even fiercely, yet treat each other as human beings—and, indeed, as fellow citizens—not mortal enemies.
The Philadelphia Statement comes less than three weeks after a Cato Institute/YouGov poll found that 62% of Americans say they fear expressing their political opinions in the current political climate, up from 58% in 2017.
The same poll found that about one-third of liberals, moderates, and conservatives say that publicly stating their political views could get them fired or harm their career.
A poll by Politico also found that a plurality of Americans say that cancel culture goes too far.
Although the press, houses of worship, and academia are areas where the First Amendment traditionally has been expected to thrive, high-profile cases recently have surfaced of retaliation against a college professor, college students, and a church for expressing dissenting views. Opposition to other points of view also has arisen in newsrooms.
“As Americans, we desire a flourishing, open marketplace of ideas, knowing that it is the fairest and most effective way to separate falsehood from truth,” the Philadelphia Statement says. “Accordingly, dissenting and unpopular voices—be they of the Left or the Right—must be afforded the opportunity to be heard.”
Among the other signers is the Rev. Dean Nelson, chairman of the Frederick Douglass Foundation. Douglass, a former slave-turned-abolitionist who became a civil rights leader after the Civil War, is twice quoted in the statement.
Douglass once observed: “Liberty is meaningless where the right to utter one’s thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist.” He also said that freedom of speech is the “great moral renovator of society and government.”
Signers of the statement from academica include Robert P. George, the McCormick professor of jurisprudence and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University; Carol M. Swain, retired professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt University; Pete Peterson, a senior fellow at the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership at Pepperdine University; Peter Boghossian, assistant professor of philosophy at Portland State University; and Melissa Moschella, assistant professor of philosophy at Catholic University of America, who also is a visiting scholar at The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin J. Feulner Institute.
Signers from the public policy arena include Michael P. Farris, president of Alliance Defending Freedom; Michael B. Poliakoff, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni; Mike Gonzalez, a former journalist with The Wall Street Journal who is a senior fellow for foreign policy at The Heritage Foundation; Lisa B. Nelson, CEO of the American Legislative Exchange Council; Roger Ream, president of the Fund for American Studies; Thomas F. Farr, president of the Religious Freedom Institute; and Victor Riches, president of the Goldwater Institute.
The Philadelphia Statement affirms that signatories don’t support absolutist free speech that includes defamation, threats, and inciting violence.
It also warns advocates of cancel culture that such a system will not always be on their side:
What self-appointed speech arbiters, whether in the majority or in the minority, fail to grasp is that they will likely eventually become the targets. The winds inevitably shift, sometimes rapidly. The question is whether civility norms and free speech safeguards will remain in place to protect them, or whether they will become victims of the dangerous precedents they themselves have established and advanced.
12 August, 2020
The children's author CANCELLED by her publisher after backing J.K. Rowling
By GILLIAN PHILIP
The first sign of trouble was the unusually high number of new Twitter notifications that had pinged overnight on my mobile phone.
As a successful author with an established social media profile, I’m used to a steady stream of messages, but this ran to hundreds. And the tone of them was different – horribly so.
Instead of chat from book-lovers, there was an onslaught of abusive tweets – anonymous, of course – that contained among them threats of death and sexual violence.
In case that was too subtle, several contributors decorated their messages with images of guns. ‘I’m going to punch u in the throat’ declared one of those that are printable.
It was far from a pleasant start to my day but, if I’m honest, I had been expecting at least some negative reaction.
The reason? I had dared to offer support on Twitter for J.K. Rowling’s stand against allowing transgender people to self-identify as male or female.
What did surprise – and devastate – me was the cataclysmic fallout over the next 24 hours of posting the simple hashtag ‘#IStandWithJKRowling’. I couldn’t have dared to imagine the damage that it was possible for a faceless mob of trolls to inflict.
But much more of a shock was the spineless way that my publishers capitulated in the face of this foam-flecked online protest.
They summarily sacked me and, in doing so, destroyed my livelihood without making any attempt to hear my side of the story.
I’m not remotely transphobic, but the idea that a man can simply declare himself to be a woman, fully intact, without surgery or hormones, and be allowed into women’s prisons or hospital wards is a crazy situation that I sometimes want to shout about.
White House Weighs Bill in Response to Big Tech on Free Speech
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows says the Trump administration is contemplating some type of regulation for social media companies as part of the COVID-19 relief legislation being negotiated with Congress.
“As much as I’m a guy that says that the social media companies should be able to have their own—what I would call a wild, wild West way of doing things … I’m over it,” Meadows said Friday in a livestream interview with American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp.
“This censorship has gotten to the point where if they are going to censor, then I’m going to make sure they are regulated,” Meadows said, reflecting President Donald Trump’s thinking.
During the week, Twitter removed a post by Trump that correctly stated children are less likely to get COVID-19 than adults. In May, Twitter issued a questionable “fact check” on one of Trump’s tweets on problems with mail-in voting.
In addition to Trump, there have been other cases of technology companies’ censorship of conservatives, including YouTube’s blocking of The Heritage Foundation and Prager University.
Trump issued an executive order in April that lifted some of the protection the social media platforms enjoyed under the Communications Decency Act. However, an executive order lacks the power of legislation.
Meadows, who represented North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District from 2013 until becoming Trump’s chief of staff last March, wasn’t clear on the specifics of what any proposed legislation might involve.
11 August, 2020
Election Interference: Google Purges Breitbart from Search Results
A few days after the 2016 election, at an internal meeting later leaked to Breitbart News, top Google executives, including Sundar Pichai, Sergey Brin, and Kent Walker, lamented President Trump’s victory, comparing Trump voters to “extremists” and discussing their desire to make Trump’s election and the populist movement a “blip” in history.
True to their word, four years later, Google is deliberately working to interfere with the reelection of Trump in 2020.
There are several ways in which Google is interfering in the 2020 election, but this article will focus primarily on one of them: political search bias.
Google Has Been Purging Breitbart Content from Search Results Since the 2016 Election
Search visibility is a key industry measure of how findable a publisher’s content is in Google search. New data shows that Google has suppressed Breitbart’s search visibility by 99.7 percent since 2016.
On April 4, 2016, Breitbart ranked in the top ten search positions (i.e., on the first page of Google search results) for 355 key search terms; but now, as of July 20, 2020, Breitbart ranks in the top ten search positions for only one search term. And, on April 4, 2016, Breitbart ranked in the top 100 search positions for 16,820 key search terms; but now, as of July 20, 2020, Breitbart ranks in the top 100 search positions for only 55 search terms.
Moreover, organic Google search traffic to Breitbart (measured by unique visitors) is down 63 percent when comparing the first half of 2016 with the first half of 2020.
The following chart shows the visibility of Breitbart content in the Google search engine since 2011. It shows that Google has nearly eliminated Breitbart content from its search results.
Idaho teacher loses job after ‘racist, sexist’ comment about Boise mayor
A US music teacher is out of work after posting a sexual comment about the local mayor on social media.
Rita Soltesz, who was employed at Idaho Fine Arts Academy and Eagle Middle School, came under fire after parents and school officials spotted her July 18 Facebook post.
It referenced Mayor Lauren McLean’s recent criticism of white supremacists who attended a Black Lives Matter protest in the state capital Boise and attacked some attendees.
“Her white supremacist hater a** needs to get laid! … by BLM members,” Ms Soltesz’s post read. “Should be a group activity … and make it go viral! … I’m still deciding if they should wear masks during the activity,” Ms Soltesz wrote.
Her comments were in response to an article about the incident and a petition to recall the mayor over her comments.
Shocked social media users took screenshots of the post which were then shared on the school’s public Facebook page.
West Ada district spokesman Eric Exline said in a statement that Ms Soltesz was no longer employed at the school following a special meeting of the Board of Trustees on July 24.
10 August, 2020
It gets more ludicrous with every passing day – and more sinister. Take the case of Professor Patricia Simon, from Marymount Manhattan College in New York, who made the mistake of failing to be sufficiently enthusiastic in the course of a Zoom meeting.
Accused of daring to nod off during discussion of an 'anti-racist framework' – a social-media picture seemed to support the claim that she fell asleep – Prof Simon faced nearly 2,000 demands that her contract of employment be terminated and she lose her livelihood.
'I was not asleep as is implied at any point during the meeting,' she said in her defence. 'The photo was taken without permission when I was looking down or briefly resting my Zoom-weary eyes. I listened with my ears and heard the entire meeting.'
It's a response worthy of 1960s China and the grovelling apologies forced upon the victims of Mao's Cultural Revolution. But that would be appropriate, because a cultural revolution is exactly what is taking place in today's America, where the woke mob has surrounded the citadels of democracy – newspapers, magazines, television stations and, of course, universities.
Dissenters live in fear. Serious debate is all but silenced.
A recent survey published by the respected Cato Institute reveals that 62 per cent of Americans say today's political climate prevents them from saying things they believe because others might find their views offensive.
NASA to Reexamine Nicknames for Cosmic Objects
Distant cosmic objects such as planets, galaxies, and nebulae are sometimes referred to by the scientific community with unofficial nicknames. As the scientific community works to identify and address systemic discrimination and inequality in all aspects of the field, it has become clear that certain cosmic nicknames are not only insensitive, but can be actively harmful. NASA is examining its use of unofficial terminology for cosmic objects as part of its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
As an initial step, NASA will no longer refer to planetary nebula NGC 2392, the glowing remains of a Sun-like star that is blowing off its outer layers at the end of its life, as the “Eskimo Nebula.” “Eskimo” is widely viewed as a colonial term with a racist history, imposed on the indigenous people of Arctic regions. Most official documents have moved away from its use. NASA will also no longer use the term “Siamese Twins Galaxy” to refer to NGC 4567 and NGC 4568, a pair of spiral galaxies found in the Virgo Galaxy Cluster. Moving forward, NASA will use only the official, International Astronomical Union designations in cases where nicknames are inappropriate.
“I support our ongoing reevaluation of the names by which we refer to astronomical objects,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at Headquarters, Washington. “Our goal is that all names are aligned with our values of diversity and inclusion, and we’ll proactively work with the scientific community to help ensure that. Science is for everyone, and every facet of our work needs to reflect that value.”
Nicknames are often more approachable and public-friendly than official names for cosmic objects, such as Barnard 33, whose nickname "the Horsehead Nebula" invokes its appearance. But often seemingly innocuous nicknames can be harmful and detract from the science.
The Agency will be working with diversity, inclusion, and equity experts in the astronomical and physical sciences to provide guidance and recommendations for other nicknames and terms for review.
"These nicknames and terms may have historical or culture connotations that are objectionable or unwelcoming, and NASA is strongly committed to addressing them," said Stephen T. Shih, Associate Administrator for Diversity and Equal Opportunity at NASA Headquarters. "Science depends on diverse contributions, and benefits everyone, so this means we must make it inclusive.”
9 August, 2020
Facebook bans pro-Trump super PAC from advertising on its platform
Blatant political censorship
Facebook announced Thursday that it will ban pro-Trump super PAC, The Committee to Defend The President, from buying ads on its platform.
“As a result of the Committee to Defend the President’s repeated sharing of content determined by third-party fact-checkers to be false, they will not be permitted to advertise for a period of time on our platform,” Facebook Policy communications director Andy Stone told FOX Business in a statement.
The page will lose advertising privileges for a minimum of 90 days. The advertising ban will take effect on August 10, and would end around November 1.
Committee chairman Ted Harvey told FOX Business in a statement that Facebook is "determined to restrict free speech and attack those who dare to support President Trump."
The move comes a day after the platform removed a video of President Trump which it said "includes false claims that a group of people is immune from COVID-19 which is a violation of our policies around harmful COVID misinformation."
In the removed video, the president told Fox & Friends that schools should remain open.
"My view is that schools should be open," Trump said. “If you look at children, children are almost — and I would almost say definitely — but almost immune from this disease.”
Black Alabama high school cheerleader quits squad after white members pose with 'racist' Confederate flag T-shirt that says 'I love Redneck Boys'
Not allowed to like people similar to yourselves
A group of Alabama cheerleaders have come under fire for posing with a T-shirt bearing the image of the Confederate flag that said 'I love Redneck Boys'.
The white members of the squad were slammed by Reagan Coleman, a black cheerleader on the team who has since quit.
The controversial photo shows six white girls, four of whom are Daphne High School cheerleaders.
It was posted on July 4 and was met with outrage over the symbol, which is associated with racism and oppression. 'I immediately see hate,' Reagan said to WKRG.
The photo was posted by one of the cheerleaders on Instagram but it was immediately taken down following backlash in the comments section.
Latitah said she spoke with school officials about the photo – but claims there has been no punishment for the photo.
Two weeks later everyone showed up for the first day of cheerleading practice as if nothing happened, prompting Reagan to quit the team.
A petition demanded the girls be removed from the team has racked up over 1,500 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon.
7 August, 2020
Google CEO Dodges Question On Blacklisting Of Conservative Websites
Google CEO Sundar Pichai brushed off questions Wednesday before the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust related to the tech giant’s apparent blacklisting of conservative groups last week when about a dozen major websites were temporarily de-platformed.
“I will have to look into it,” Pichai said in response to a question from Republican Congressman Gregory Steube over the episode, going on to claim there are “more conservative voices than ever before” on the platform.
“Can I expect a response from you, say in the next two weeks, as to why that occurred?” Steube pushed.
“Congressman, we’ll do our best to follow up and I’ll engage with your office,” Pichai said.
The websites targeted in last week’s blacklisting, according to NewsBusters which itself was temporarily de-platformed last week, included the Washington Free Beacon, The Blaze, Townhall, The Daily Wire, PragerU, LifeNews, Project Veritas, Judicial Watch, The Resurgent, Breitbart, the Media Research Center, and CNSNews among others.
Chuck Ross, a journalist with the Daily Caller News Foundation, observed that his employer’s website was also included in the blackout when searches for stories related to Stefan Halper, an FBI informant who spied on the Trump campaign in Crossfire Hurricane was unmasked by his reporting came up blank.
NewsBusters reported that the websites impacted by the Google blackout were still organically available on Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo.
In a statement to The Federalist last week, Google claimed the recent blacklisting of conservative websites were a simple technical error, and not a deliberate attempt to censor certain content or sites. It is not possible to independently confirm whether Google’s offered explanation is accurate.
COVID-19 kills Australia's sense of humour: Lottery ad is pulled for 'mocking social distancing guidelines' after complaints were made to watchdog
A lottery advert has been pulled from TV after a complaint made to the industry watchdog said it mocked social distancing guidelines.
The advertisement for a $25million jackpot first aired in November 2019 and showed a man exiting a bathroom stall after winning the lotto before he hugs a stranger without washing his hands.
A new version of the advert aired between July 5 and 7 and featured a re-done voiceover that said: 'There's Frank. Little does he know he's about to be hugged by a stranger in the toilet.
'There he is, enter stranger. He's won Oz Lotto. Forget the elbow taps, he's gone all in. Oz Lotto. Tuesday.'
A complaint made to Ad Standards said the advert mocked social distancing and hygiene regulations.
The watchdog found it to be in breach of the AANA's Code of Ethics which forced Lotterywest to pull it down.
6 August, 2020
Is this a joke?
Wormageddon! Scientist provokes ire of Twitter users and is accused of sexism, racism and privilege after saying roundworms are 'overhyped'
The editor of science journal eLife has enraged fellow scientists on Twitter by saying that the roundworm was 'overhyped'.
In a debate designed to spark friendly banter, podcast host Ellen Weatherford tweeted on July 18 to her 3,500 followers from @JustTheZooOfUs: 'What is the most overhyped animal?'
Michael Eisen, the editor of eLife and an expert in fruit flies, replied a day later that the roundworm was, in his opinion, overhyped.
'They wiggle forward. They wiggle backwards. And occasionally they f*** themselves. That's it,' he tweeted.
Social media then erupted with outrage at his slight of the roundworms, with the criticism escalating into accusations of racism, sexism and white privilege.
Facebook Bans Rabbi for ‘Misinformation’ in Coronavirus-Themed Torah Message
Chabad is very religious
Last month, Uriel Vigler, the rabbi at Chabad Israel Center of the Upper East Side in Manhattan, posted a video on Facebook entitled, “The cure for COVID-19 is to be found in this week’s Torah portion.” In the video, he argues that the ultimate cure for all diseases, including the coronavirus pandemic, is the unconditional love that will usher in G-d’s messiah. Facebook suspended Vigler’s account for 24 hours, claiming he had violated the company’s Community Standards.
Facebook and other social media platforms have cracked down on what they claim to be coronavirus misinformation, arguing that misinformation about the pandemic is dangerous. Yet Rabbi Vigler was not arguing against taking social distancing precautions or suggesting a miracle-cure drug — he was making a theological and spiritual point.
“The ultimate cure for COVID-19 and all ailments and all diseases is for the Temple to be rebuilt and the coming of Messiah,” Vigler told PJ Media, explaining the point of his video. “When this happens all diseases will be cured and there will be world peace. How do we make this happen? By loving one another — unconditional love.”
“This is not misinformation at all — it’s one of the basic beliefs of our holy Torah — and so Facebook was absolutely wrong to ban me even for a minute,” Vigler insisted.
After Vigler posted the video to the synagogue’s Facebook page, Facebook removed it, giving this message: “Your post goes against our Community Standards.”
After 24 hours, Facebook lifted the restrictions, warning him “not to do anything like this again” for a full week.
5 August, 2020
Australia: Indigenous activist who forced Coon cheese from the shelves now wants Pauls to scrap 'Smarter White' milk brand - because it's offensive to Aborigines
An indigenous rights activist who succeeded in having the Coon cheese brand scrapped will now campaign for Pauls to rename its 'Smarter White' milk.
In July, Dr Stephen Hagan convinced Canadian dairy giant Saputo to axe an 85-year-old moniker, named after American cheese ripening pioneer Edward William Coon, because of its racist connotations.
The former diplomat and academic, who now works as a social justice consultant, has now called on Pauls's French parent company Lactalis to replace the 'Smarter White' label, which has been used to sell low-fat milk since 2002.
'Aboriginal people are saying that there's an inference that it's for smart, white people, not for smart, black people,' Dr Hagan told Daily Mail Australia.
'There's a lot of Aboriginal people who take offence, who don't drink that milk because of the interference that it's 'smarter white'.'
Dr Hagan said 'these enlightened times' of the Black Lives Matter movement meant a name change was 'worthy of consideration'.
The soy milk drinker said lots of Aboriginal people had raised the matter with him. 'I recall having conversations with people who don't buy that because of the connotation 'white people are smart',' he said.
Indigenous Alice Springs town councillor Jacinta Price described the call to rename Smarter White milk as 'utter nonsense'.
'I don't know a single Indigenous Australian who is offended at all by milk being called 'Smarter White',' she told Daily Mail Australia.
'Indigenous Australian have far greater issues to be concerned with than the name of a brand of cheese named after its founder or what's written on a carton of milk.'
Ms Price, who ran as a Country Liberal Party candidate at last year's federal election, said affluent activists 'whose lives are easy' were inventing issues to feel like victims instead of addressing family violence and sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities.
UK: Academic freedom under threat as pro-Brexit professors face discrimination
Pro-Brexit and right-wing professors face discrimination and are self censoring, a think tank has warned, amid fears that academic freedom is under threat.
The Policy Exchange think tank has released a report claiming that higher education institutions and the Government must do much more to ensure that all lawful speech is protected on university campuses across the country.
The paper, entitled Academic freedom in the UK, suggests there is a "structural discriminatory effect" against the minority of academics at British universities who identify as being on the right.
Researchers warned that: "Hostile or just uncomfortable attitudes signal to those subject to such discrimination that they should conceal their views and narrow their research questions to conform to prevailing norms, if they wish to progress and enjoy a positive workplace experience," it warns.
4 August, 2020
Silenced Frontline Doctors Hold another Capitol Hill Press Conference to Challenge Big Tech
The Frontline Doctors that were Deleted by Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are back to respond their being silenced. Be sure to stay till the end to see the full show
Australia: UNSW under fire for deleting social media posts critical of China over Hong Kong
The University of New South Wales is facing criticism over the deletion of social media posts seen to be critical of Beijing, after an online backlash and coverage by Chinese state media.
The official UNSW account on Friday tweeted an article that quoted Human Rights Watch's Australia director and adjunct law lecturer Elaine Pearson as saying: "Now is a pivotal moment to bring attention to the rapidly deteriorating situation in Hong Kong".
Several hours later, a further tweet was posted by UNSW reading: "The opinions expressed by our academics do not always represent the views of UNSW."
"We have a long & valued relationship with Greater China going back 60 years. "UNSW provides a welcome & inclusive environment & is proud to welcome students from over 100 countries."
Both tweets were later deleted.
The article posted to the UNSW Law website, entitled China needs international pressure to end Hong Kong wrongs, extensively quoted Ms Pearson.
Ms Pearson told the ABC the article was removed from the UNSW website on Saturday, but is now able to be accessed.
Chinese students reportedly wrote to the Chinese embassy calling for it to pressure the university into deleting the article and associated posts.
Ms Pearson said she was seeking clarification from UNSW about what happened.
"I did not write the article … I have my views on recent developments in Hong Kong and what the international community should do," Ms Pearson said.
"Clearly that hit a nerve for some pro-Chinese Communist Party supporters who aggressively and collectively pressured the university to remove the story."
University of Sydney sociologist Salvatore Babones has estimated that UNSW derives 22 per cent of revenue from Chinese international students' course fees.
3 August, 2020
It takes little to provoke the woke mob leading America's cultural revolution
You might never have come across Bon Appetit, a glossy monthly magazine which serves up a cosy mix of gourmet recipes, wine reviews and lifestyle tips to its 1.5 million readers.
It is hard to imagine a less controversial publication, or one that's more quintessentially American with its aspirational blend of self-improvement and conspicuous consumption – and it has been attracting record digital subscriptions thanks to lockdown tips for banana bread and avocado toast.
But popularity counted for nothing when a picture appeared online showing its editor of ten years, Adam Rapoport, dressed as a Puerto Rican at a Halloween fancy dress party. At a stroke he was out, branded a racist.
Then, in a grovelling mea culpa, he confessed: 'From an extremely ill-conceived Halloween costume 16 years ago to my blind spots as an editor, I've not championed an inclusive vision.' He added he was stepping down 'to reflect on the work that I need to do as a human being and to allow Bon Appetit to get to a better place.'
Never mind his successful record as an editor. Or that the picture was taken in 2004, a full six years before he joined the magazine. Or that Mr Rapoport denies applying make-up. Or that he is actually married to the Puerto Rican woman pictured alongside him in the photograph.
Doctors asked not to be 'judgemental' or 'threatening' if treating obese patients
Doctors have been urged to avoid using 'judgemental', 'threatening' or non-medical terms such as 'chunky' when treating obese patients.
A new language guide from the charity Obesity UK says the way clinicians talk to obese or overweight patients can have a profound impact, leading to stigma and discrimination.
In the report, one patient describes their humiliating experience of a doctor grabbing their belly fat and 'jiggling' it during an appointment.
The patient, who was at the doctor’s to discuss suspected endometriosis, was being examined on the table and was stripped naked from the waist down.
They recalled how, 'the doctor grabbed a handful of my belly fat, jiggled it about and announced to the nurse, "she needs to get rid of THIS first".'
Another patient who went to the doctor with chest pains was told to ‘go home and look in the mirror as that was what was wrong with [them]’ - instead of being treated.
Later that night, they were rushed to hospital as they couldn't breathe and were diagnosed with bronchitis.
The charity, Obesity UK, says they hear on a daily basis how badly people living with obesity are spoken to and treated.
Their guide, Language Matters: Obesity, is aimed at doctors to help them use more appropriate and helpful language when interacting with patients with obesity.
It outlines examples to doctors of what to avoid saying, and what to try instead.
The guidance says doctors should avoid using 'threatening' phrases such as telling patients: 'If you don't lose weight you will end up with your leg chopped off, or just plain dead.'
2 August, 2020
Michigan B&B Owners Forced to Take Down Norwegian Flag That Looks Like (?) Confederate Flag
Greg and Kjersten Offenbecker are proud owners of The Nordic Pineapple B&B, a small inn in St. Johns, Michigan. The Offenbeckers are also proud of their Norwegian heritage and made a point of flying the Norwegian flag in front of their establishment.
Unfortunately for them, some local residents thought the Norwegian flag looked like the Stars and Bars — the famous/infamous Confederate battle flag. Or, at least, those in the mob who are color blind and were dropped on their heads as babies thought that.
“We hang the Norwegian flag because I am a 4th generation Norwegian-American,” Kjersten told the Daily Caller. “I am very proud of that heritage and wanted to share a piece of it with the people who come to visit our bed and breakfast.”
“The Norwegians are a peaceful people who love family and that is what our inn really is all about,” she said. “We just want people to come stay with us and experience a wonderful getaway.”
And doesn’t she know that white people cannot be “proud of their heritage”? That’s disgustingly racist! Surely there were at least one or two Norwegians who owned slaves. And don’t forget all those whales murdered by Norwegian whalers.
What the hell does she have to be “proud” about?
Kjersten said that it was a difficult decision to take down the flag. The couple had received around “2 dozen hateful emails” from people who thought she was flying the Confederate flag, but they had gotten more hateful recently. “We have 4-5 really nasty ones that are much more hurtful,” she said.
Greg Offenbecker served in the Navy during Desert Storm, and the couple has 2 adopted black children.
This isn’t a case of mistaken identity. The Norwegian flag looks absolutely nothing like the Confederate battle flag. But it proves that if you try hard enough, and are radical enough, you can cow people into submission just by the threat of branding them a “racist.”
ER Doctor Fired For Speaking At DC ‘White Coat Summit’
Dr. Simone Gold, who joined doctors from across the US at a “White Coat Summit” on Monday in Washington DC to dispel the misinformation and myths surrounding the coronavirus has now been fired by her hospital employer.
The doctors are very concerned with the disinformation campaign being played out in the biased American media today.
From their website: “If Americans continue to let so-called experts and media personalities make their decisions, the great American experiment of a Constitutional Republic with Representative Democracy, will cease.”
Dr. Simone Gold, a board certified emergency physician, spoke this week at the White Coat Summit. After over 18 million views of their conference on Monday Google, YouTube and Facebook removed their videos.
On Thursday night Dr. Gold told Tucker Carlson that she was fired from her position after 20 years as an emergency room physician because she appeared at the White Coat Summit this week.
This is Tongue-Tied 3. Posts by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.)
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Is the American national anthem politically incorrect From the 4th verse:
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
The truth can be offensive to some but it must be said
The war on "cultural appropriation" is straightforward racism
"HATE SPEECH" is free speech: The U.S. Supreme Court stated the general rule regarding protected speech in Texas v. Johnson (109 S.Ct. at 2544), when it held: "The government may not prohibit the verbal or nonverbal expression of an idea merely because society finds the idea offensive or disagreeable." Federal courts have consistently followed this. Said Virginia federal district judge Claude Hilton: "The First Amendment does not recognize exceptions for bigotry, racism, and religious intolerance or ideas or matters some may deem trivial, vulgar or profane."
Even some advocacy of violence is protected by the 1st Amendment. In Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969), the U.S. Supreme Court held unanimously that speech advocating violent illegal actions to bring about social change is protected by the First Amendment "except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action."
The double standard: Atheists can put up signs and billboards saying that Christianity is wrong and that is hunky dory. But if a Christian says that homosexuality is wrong, that is attacked as "hate speech"
One for the militant atheists to consider: "...it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg" -- Thomas Jefferson
"I think no subject should be off-limits, and I regard the laws in many Continental countries criminalizing Holocaust denial as philosophically repugnant and practically useless – in that they confirm to Jew-haters that the Jews control everything (otherwise why aren’t we allowed to talk about it)" -- Mark Steyn
A prophetic comment on Norwegian hate speech laws: As Justice Brandeis once noted, repressive censorship “breeds hate” and “that hate menaces stable government,” rather than promoting safety; “the path of safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed grievances and proposed remedies.”
Voltaire's most famous saying was actually a summary of Voltaire's thinking by one of his biographers rather than something Voltaire said himself. Nonetheless it is a wholly admirable sentiment: "I disagree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it". I am of a similar mind.
The traditional advice about derogatory speech: "Sticks and stones will break your bones but names will never hurt you". Apparently people today are not as emotionally robust as their ancestors were.
The KKK were members of the DEMOCRATIC party. Google "Klanbake" if you doubt it
A phobia is an irrational fear, so the terms "Islamophobic" and "homophobic" embody a claim that the people so described are mentally ill. There is no evidence for either claim. Both terms are simply abuse masquerading as diagnoses and suggest that the person using them is engaged in propaganda rather than in any form of rational or objective discourse.
Leftists often pretend that any mention of race is "racist" -- unless they mention it, of course. But leaving such irrational propaganda aside, which statements really are racist Can statements of fact about race be "racist" Such statements are simply either true or false. The most sweeping possible definition of racism is that a racist statement is a statement that includes a negative value judgment of some race. Absent that, a statement is not racist, for all that Leftists might howl that it is. Facts cannot be racist so nor is the simple statement of them racist. Here is a statement that cannot therefore be racist by itself, though it could be false: "Blacks are on average much less intelligent than whites". If it is false and someone utters it, he could simply be mistaken or misinformed.
Categorization is a basic human survival skill so racism as the Left define it (i.e. any awareness of race) is in fact neither right nor wrong. It is simply human
Whatever your definition of racism, however, a statement that simply mentions race is not thereby racist -- though one would think otherwise from American Presidential election campaigns. Is a statement that mentions dogs, "doggist" or a statement that mentions cats, "cattist"
If any mention of racial differences is racist then all Leftists are racist too -- as "affirmative action" is an explicit reference to racial differences
Was Abraham Lincoln a racist "You and we are different races. We have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any other two races. Whether it is right or wrong I need not discuss, but this physical difference is a great disadvantage to us both, as I think your race suffer very greatly, many of them by living among us, while ours suffer from your presence. In a word, we suffer on each side. If this be admitted, it affords a reason at least why we should be separated. It is better for both, therefore, to be separated." -- Spoken at the White House to a group of black community leaders, August 14th, 1862
Gimlet-eyed Leftist haters sometimes pounce on the word "white" as racist. Will the time come when we have to refer to the White House as the "Full spectrum of light" House
The spirit of liberty is "the spirit which is not too sure that it is right." and "Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it. While it lies there it needs no constitution, no law, no court to save it." -- Judge Learned Hand
Mostly, a gaffe is just truth slipping out
Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor" "right" "freedom" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)
First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean
It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were.
It seems a pity that the wisdom of the ancient Greek philosopher Epictetus is now little known. Remember, wrote the Stoic thinker, "that foul words or blows in themselves are no outrage, but your judgment that they are so. So when any one makes you angry, know that it is your own thought that has angered you. Wherefore make it your endeavour not to let your impressions carry you away."
"Since therefore the knowledge and survey of vice is in this world so necessary to the constituting of human virtue, and the scanning of error to the confirmation of truth, how can we more safely, and with less danger, scout into the regions of sin and falsity than by reading all manner of tractates, and hearing all manner of reason" -- English poet John Milton (1608-1674) in Areopagitica
Hate speech is verbal communication that induces anger due to the listener's inability to offer an intelligent response
Leftists can try to get you fired from your job over something that you said and that's not an attack on free speech. But if you just criticize something that they say, then that IS an attack on free speech
"Negro" is a forbidden word -- unless a Democrat uses it
"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper
Why are Leftists always talking about hate Because it fills their own hearts
Leftists don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong" All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt
When you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.
The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.
The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) could have been speaking of much that goes on today when he said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."
I despair of the ADL. Jews have enough problems already and yet in the ADL one has a prominent Jewish organization that does its best to make itself offensive to Christians. Their Leftism is more important to them than the welfare of Jewry -- which is the exact opposite of what they ostensibly stand for! Jewish cleverness seems to vanish when politics are involved. Fortunately, Christians are true to their saviour and have loving hearts. Jewish dissatisfaction with the myopia of the ADL is outlined here. Note that Foxy was too grand to reply to it.
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