"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press"
This document is part of an archive of postings on Tongue Tied, a blog hosted by Blogspot who are in turn owned by Google. The index to the archive is available here or here. Indexes to my other blogs can be located here or here. Archives do accompany my original postings but, given the animus towards conservative writing on Google and other internet institutions, their permanence is uncertain. These alternative archives help ensure a more permanent record of what I have written. My Home Page. My Recipes. My alternative Wikipedia. My Blogroll. Email me (John Ray) here. NOTE: The short comments that I have in the side column of the primary site for this blog are now given at the foot of this document.
31 July, 2019
UK: Atheist parents take primary school to court as they say assembly prayers breach children’s human rights
Atheist parents are taking their children's primary school to the High Court, claiming that biblical re-enactments and praying in assembly are a breach of their human rights.
Lee Harris and his wife Lizanne have won permission to bring a judicial review against Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust (ODST) after arguing that Burford Primary School is acting “unlawfully”.
They allege that since ODST took over the running of the community school in 2015, they noticed “harmful aspects of evangelism spreading into assembly” and other parts of their pupils' education.
In the first case of its kind, the parents are arguing that this interferes with their children's right to receive an education “free from religious interference”.
ODST is a multi-academy trust that runs 33 schools, all of which are Church of England bar four, including Burford Primary, which are designated as non-religious “community schools”.
The trust says on its website that it “operates within the family of the Diocese of Oxford” adding: “We are motivated by our Christian values to serve our local communities, but we do not impose those values”.
Humanists UK, which is supporting Mr and Mrs Harris, believe this will be a test case to challenge schools which hold a daily act of Christian worship without providing a suitable alternative for non-Christians.
All church and community schools are required, by law, to provide a “daily act of collective worship”. Burford Primary holds a daily assembly for children which features “exclusively Christian prayer”, Mr and Mrs Harris say.
Anne Davey, chief executive of ODST, said it is “not appropriate” to comment on legal proceedings while the case is ongoing.
“ODST is confident that Burford Primary School has acted entirely appropriately, and has followed statute in ways that are similar to all local or indeed national schools,” she said.
“It has provided exactly what the law requires, which includes provision for children to be withdrawn if parents so request.”
Burford Primary was judged to be “Good” in its most recent Ofsted report. Inspectors said that pupils “speak with confidence about different faiths and cultures”, and added that pupils “have a keen sense of equalities and their work demonstrates a deep understanding of British Values”.
Missouri law says fake meat should be labeled. How is that a free speech issue?
Will meat by any other name still appeal to consumers? A battle over whether fake meat must be labeled as such for consumers’ sake is intensifying, and a Missouri law sits squarely at the heart of the debate.
Last year, the state became the first in the nation to make it a criminal offense for businesses to misrepresent as meat a product that is not derived from livestock or poultry.
The law aims to limit confusion as consumers navigate grocery store aisles filled with a growing number of plant-based products and other meat alternatives that look a whole lot like traditional burgers, hot dogs, turkey and more. Violators face up to a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail.
Tofurky, a vegetarian food company, advocacy group Good Food Institute, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri have filed suit, arguing that the First Amendment allows companies to label products as they see fit.
Free speech is not a license to mislead consumers. Missouri’s truth-in-advertising laws exists for a reason. If food is plant-based, companies should label it accordingly. No one should be left wondering what they’re consuming.
After months of negotiations, a settlement in the case appeared to be within reach earlier this year. Those talks stalled this month when attorneys from both sides told U.S. District Senior Judge Fernando Gaitan that they were unable to reach a final agreement.
The plaintiffs, citing a right to compete in the free market, had previously asked Gaitan to deem the law unconstitutional.
The impasse sets the stage for a lengthy legal fight, one that could have ramifications nationwide. Several states have followed Missouri’s lead in regulating packaging for meat alternatives
30 July, 2019
A red state is plastering `In God We Trust' on the walls of public schools. It's mandatory
It is difficult to see how anybody is hurt by signage
South Dakota's Republican lawmakers said it was about history - the motto appears on money, on license plates, and in the fourth stanza of the Star-Spangled Banner. It's also likely discussed in the classroom, where historical inquiry is a key part of the state's social studies curriculum.
But legislators said they wanted to make it more clear; they wanted to ``reaffirm'' it. So this fall, when students return to school, a new and compulsory message will greet them: ``In God We Trust.'' It'll be the first new academic year since South Dakota's GOP leadership passed a law requiring every public school to display the American maxim ``in a prominent location'' and in font no smaller than 12-by-12 inches.
``Our national motto and founding documents are the cornerstone of freedom and we should teach our children about these things,'' Senator Phil Jensen, the controversial Rapid City politician who sponsored the bill, said at a hearing on the legislation.
South Dakota joins a growing list of states that force their schools to display the motto. At least half a dozen states passed ``In God We Trust'' bills last year, and another 10 have introduced or passed the legislation so far in 2019. Similar signage is going up in Kentucky schools this summer, and Missouri could be next.
Scholars for free speech: A manifesto
How should the discipline of philosophy respond to current discussions of sex and gender identity?
Recent conversations among academic philosophers have given traction to proposals to censure or silence colleagues who advocate certain positions in these discussions, such as skepticism about the concept of gender identity or opposition to replacing biological sex with gender identity in institutional policy making. Those who support such sanctioning have appealed to various considerations, among them the contention that these positions call into question the identities of trans people, thereby making our discipline less open and welcoming to all.
We, all scholars in philosophy at universities in Europe, North America and Australia, oppose such sanctioning. The proposed measures, such as censuring philosophers who defend these controversial positions or preventing those positions from being advanced at professional conferences and in scholarly journals, violate the fundamental academic commitment to free inquiry. Moreover, the consequent narrowing of discussion would set a dangerous precedent, threatening the ability of philosophers to engage with the issues of the day.
We acknowledge that philosophical arguments can lead to pain, anxiety and frustration when they challenge deeply held commitments -- whether pertaining to gender identity, religious conviction, political ideology or the rights and moral status of fetuses or nonhuman animals. Moreover, some of us believe that certain extreme conditions can warrant restrictions of academic speech, such as when it expresses false and hateful attitudes or incites violence or harassment.
Yet none of the arguments recently made by our colleagues can reasonably be regarded as incitement or hate speech. Policy makers and citizens are currently confronting such metaphysical questions about sex and gender as What is a man? What is a lesbian? What makes someone female? Society at large is deliberating over the resolution of conflicting interests in contexts as varied as competitive sport, changing rooms, workplaces and prisons. These discussions are of great importance, and philosophers can make an essential contribution to them, in part through academic debate. Philosophers who engage in this debate should wish for it to be pursued through rational dialogue, and should refuse to accept narrow constraints on the range of views receiving serious consideration.
Academic freedom, like freedom of thought more broadly, should be restricted only with the greatest caution, if ever. While the respect due to all people -- regardless of sex, gender, race, class, religion, professional status and so on -- should never be compromised, we believe that contemporary disputes over sex and gender force no hard choice between these commitments.
We affirm the right of transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals to live free of harassment and abuse, and we welcome them enthusiastically as fellow participants in the profession of philosophy.
We reject calls for censuring or deplatforming any of our colleagues on the basis of their philosophical arguments about sex and gender identity, or their social and political advocacy for sex-based rights.
We condemn the too frequently cruel and abusive rhetoric, including accusations of hatred or transphobia, directed at these philosophers in response to their arguments and advocacy.
We urge that the philosophical discussion of sex, gender and related social and political issues be carried out in a collegial and mutually respectful manner, reflecting the full range of interests at stake and presuming the good faith of all parties.
It is only on these grounds that philosophy can continue to play its essential role in society as a discipline in which sensitive and controversial issues are investigated with patience, care and insight.
José Luis Bermudez, Texas A&M University
Clare Chambers, University of Cambridge
Cordelia Fine, University of Melbourne
Edward J. Hall, Harvard University
Benj Hellie, University of Toronto
Thomas Kelly, Princeton University
Jeff McMahan, University of Oxford
Francesca Minerva, University of Ghent
John Schwenkler, Florida State University
Peter Singer, Princeton University and University of Melbourne
Nicole A. Vincent, University of Technology Sydney
Jessica Wilson, University of Toronto
29 July, 2019
When just standing is wrong
Three students at the University of Mississippi were suspended by their fraternity on Wednesday after an Instagram photo surfaced of them brandishing guns in front of a bullet-riddled memorial sign for Emmett Till, whose brutal murder in 1955 served as a catalyst for the civil rights movement.
The photo of the smiling Kappa Alpha members was the subject of a bias complaint filed with the university in March, according to Rod Guajardo, a spokesman for the university. He said he did not have a copy of the complaint and was unsure if it was a public record.
Guajardo said in an email on Thursday that the photo was referred to campus police and the FBI, which declined to investigate the matter further because it did not pose a specific threat. The university said it took no disciplinary action because the students did not violate the school's code of conduct.
But the school's chapter of Kappa Alpha, which the three students are members of, said in a statement on Thursday that it took swift action after it learned of the photo.
Black rag dolls designed to be slammed against walls to make owners 'feel better' are pulled from stores in New Jersey amid complaints they are racist
Black rag dolls that came with instructions to slam the toy against a wall were pulled from three stores following complaints that they were racist and offensive.
The president of One Dollar Zone said roughly 1,000 dolls were pulled this week from its store in Bayonne and two others also in New Jersey.
The Feel Better Dolls featured instructions saying: 'Whenever things don’t go well and you want to hit the wall and yell, here’s a little "feel better doll"', the instructions read.
'Just grab it firmly by the legs and find a wall to slam the doll, and as you whack the "feel good doll" do not forget to yell
The dolls were made of black fabric with yarn hair of red, green, black and yellow in the style of dreadlocks, and featured large white eyes and a white smile.
State Assemblywoman Angela McKnight, a Democrat whose district includes Bayonne, called the dolls offensive and inappropriate.
McKnight, who represents Bayonne and other areas of Jersey City, told News 12 New Jersey: 'It tells a little kid to in order to feel well you take this and you throw it against a wall.
New Jersey State Senator Sandra Cunningham said that the doll is offensive. She explained: 'It brings back the thoughts of slavery. That is not what you can do.
'So it's not censorship, not if you do something that purposefully hurts other people.'
28 July, 2019
Anti-abortion billboard removed from Australian highway following backlash
A billboard on a NSW highway featuring an anti-abortion advertisement has been taken down following major community backlash.
The billboard, which was created by pro-life group Emily’s Voice, was recently installed on the side of the Pacific Highway at Lake Macquarie as part of the group’s “notbornyet” campaign.
It showed a pregnant woman holding her belly and featured the words: “A heart beats at four weeks.”
There was swift backlash from the community after the sign was put up, with many people calling for it to be torn down.
Local woman Shaynie Croese started an online petition, calling on the mayor of Lake Macquarie to have the billboard removed.
“If you’re pro women being entitled to safe and stigma free termination services, or even if you’ve ever been in a situation where you (or your partner) has ever needed to use abortion services before please spread the word on this petition,” Ms Croese wrote.
“I will be contacting the Lake Macquarie Mayor (Kay Fraser) and express all concerns about the ‘advertisement’ and eventually result in its removal.”
The company that owns the billboard spot, oOh!media, told news.com.au the sign was accepted earlier this year after it was found not to be in breach of any advertising codes.
However, following the backlash the company has since revised its decision.
Complaint lodged against judge who made 'offensive', 'discriminatory' comments to Aboriginal defendants
He was simply describing Aboriginal reality
A previously-reprimanded Northern Territory judge's comments to Indigenous defendants were "disparaging, discriminatory and offensive, insulting and humiliating to Indigenous Australians based solely on their race", the president of the Law Council of Australia has said.
Comments made by Alice Springs Judge Greg Borchers will now be the subject of a formal complaint.
Court transcripts from the past year show Judge Borchers — who was sanctioned in 2017 for "harsh" and "gratuitous" commentary and "inappropriate judicial conduct" — accusing one Aboriginal woman, who appeared before him after breaching a court order, of failing her children.
"Yesterday probably was pension day, so you got your money from the Government, abandoned your kids in that great Indigenous fashion of abrogating your parental responsibility to another member of your family, and went off and got drunk," the judge told her. "Got the money from the Government, straight down, buy grog, pour it down your throat."
He told another defendant's lawyer that "anthropologists" might one day study "what's called Indigenous laissez-faire parenting" to shed light on "why it is that people abandon their children on such a regular basis".
In another transcript from March, Judge Borchers told an Indigenous defendant who had "dragged" his partner "though the house by her hair" that he was "just like a primitive person".
The comments appeared in the media last week.
"There is no doubt that these comments are racist," said Arthur Moses SC, president of the Law Council of Australia. "These comments are racist because they are disparaging, discriminatory and offensive, insulting and humiliating to Indigenous Australians based solely on their race.
"Those type of comments are not appropriate for anybody to make, let alone a judicial officer within a courtroom. "Engaging in racist stereotypes or making racist remarks is not upholding the rule of law on behalf of the community, and no individual worthy of the name of a judge ought be making such remarks."
26 July, 2019
ADL Calls on Sen. Hawley to Apologize for Using Words 'Cosmopolitan,' 'Globalist'
Amusingly, Hitler himself used the word "cosmopolitan" in "Mein Kampf" to mean tolerant
The Missouri chapter of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has called on conservative Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) to apologize for using certain words in a recent speech that many Jews view as anti-Semitic, words such as "cosmopolitan," "cosmopolitan elite," "globalist," and "rootless." Hawley dismissed the criticism, tweeting that, "the liberal language police have lost their minds," and that he is an "ardent advocate of the state of Israel and the Jewish people."
In his July 18 speech at the National Conservatism Conference, Sen. Hawley spoke about contemporary politics and the "growing divide between cosmopolitan elites and the rest of America."
"For years the politics of both Left and Right have been informed by a political consensus that reflects the interests not of the American middle, but of a powerful upper class and their cosmopolitan priorities," said the senator. "This class lives in the United States, but they identify as 'citizens of the world.' They run businesses or oversee universities here, but their primary loyalty is to the global community.... Call it the cosmopolitan consensus."
"On economics, this consensus favors globalization," he said. "According to the cosmopolitan consensus, globalization is a moral imperative. That’s because our elites distrust patriotism and dislike the common culture left to us by our forbearers. The nation’s leading academics will gladly say this for the record. MIT Professor Emeritus Leo Marx has said that the 'planet would be a better place to live if more people gave [their] primary allegiance to the community of human beings in the entire world.’”
"Just about any American worker without a four-year college degree will have a hard time in the cosmopolitan economy," said the 39-year-old senator. "Maybe that’s one reason why marriage rates among working class Americans are falling, why birth rates are falling, why life expectancy is falling."
Hawley then emphasized the importance of Christianity in history and especially among America's founders.
"We are a unique nation with a unique history and a unique purpose in the world," he said. "That history began 2,000 years ago, when the proud traditions of the self-governing city-states met the radical claims of a Jewish rabbi, who taught that the call of God comes to every person, and the power of God can work through each, so that every human being has dignity, and standing, and can change the world."
"And so the idea of the individual was born," said Hawley. "And our first forbearers brought that radical conviction to these shores and reshaped the republican tradition."
Senator Hawley has a pretty solid record on defending Israel and the Jewish people, his office told the Kansas City Star. Also, on July 20, following the criticism, Hawley tweeted, "You’ll have to carry me out on a slab before I compromise my defense of the Jewish people, their greatness, their history, their safety, and the state of Israel."
"The liberal elites hate this speech because it calls out their failure," he tweeted. "It calls out their pretentiousness, their arrogance, their fake 'meritocracy,' their disdain for the middle of our society."
DOJ Opens Antitrust Probe of Big Tech
Social-media giants are on notice as government opens second antitrust investigation. This is a warning that Trump can get at them if they don't mend their bigoted ways
On Tuesday, the Justice Department announced that it is opening an antitrust probe into America’s biggest tech companies. Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, who heads the DOJ’s Antitrust Division, explained that the broad and sweeping investigation would seek to determine whether tech giants have engaged in monopolistic practices that have “reduced competition, stifled innovation, or otherwise harmed consumers.” This latest DOJ probe is now the second investigation launched by the government into Big Tech, as the Federal Trade Commission is currently conducting a smaller investigation into potential abuses by Facebook and Amazon.
Back in January, Attorney General William Barr expressed concerns over Big Tech’s rapid growth when he told lawmakers, “I don’t think big is necessarily bad, but I think a lot of people wonder how such huge behemoths that now exist in Silicon Valley have taken shape under the nose of the antitrust enforcers. You can win that place in the marketplace without violating the antitrust laws, but I want to find out more about that dynamic.” It now appears that Barr is seeking to answer these questions.
Criticism of Big Tech has become a uniquely bipartisan issue in this era of heightened partisanship. However, the reasoning behind that criticism is not uniform. Conservatives accuse Big Tech of free-speech infringement specifically related to the censorship practices against conservative social-media figures. Leftists like anti-corporate socialist Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), on the other hand, call for tech giants like Facebook, Amazon, and Google to be broken up simply for being too big.
News of the DOJ’s new antitrust probe sent shares of the four top tech companies down, as Apple, Alphabet Inc. (Google’s and YouTube’s parent company), Amazon, and Facebook combined to lose an estimated $33 billion in premarket trading Wednesday morning. As Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives observed, this investigation is a “shot across the bow.”
25 July, 2019
Williams College Kowtows to Students Saying 'Free Speech Harms'
At Williams College in Massachusetts, biology professor Dr. Luana Maroja wrote online last year that she was concerned about student and administrator attitudes regarding free speech.
She gathered more than 100 faculty signatures on a petition calling for the school to adopt what is known as the “Chicago Principles,” a statement in favor of free expression developed by the University of Chicago.
More than 60 schools have endorsed this statement, a welcome response to the disrupted events and other nonsense that have plagued universities around the country.
Some Williams students will have none of it. Maroja says that more than a dozen of them barged into a faculty meeting last November holding signs such as “free speech harms” and saying faculty were trying to “kill” the students.
After that, tensions escalated. The College Fix reports that a professor subsequently “threatened violence” if Williams adopted the Chicago statement. All this because Maroja dared to promote the idea that Williams should maintain a “climate of mutual respect.”
Williams is a private school, so the First Amendment doesn’t automatically apply to institutional activity there as it does on public college campuses. Still, students should expect that the school would want to promote the civil exchange of ideas.
And when discussions devolve into threats of violence, it’s small wonder that students opt to pursue truth via hysterical rhetoric and physical confrontation rather than through discussion and debate.
If you expected the college administration to stand up for free speech and mutual respect, think again. Earlier this week, Williams’ officials waved a white flag and announced the school will not adopt the Chicago statement but draft “speaker invitation guidelines.”
Turning away from principles protecting free speech adds to suspicions that there is a free speech crisis—or worse—at Williams.
Last month, the U.S. Department of Education launched an investigation of the college after its student government denied a pro-Israel student group official status.
Popular department store slammed for 'fat-shaming' plates
American department megastore Macy’s has apologised after being accused of “promoting fat-shaming and food guilt” with its dinnerware set that appeared to guilt people into eating less to fit into smaller jeans.
In a picture shared to social media, the plates are marked into three segments, with smallest portion labeled “skinny jeans,” the next “favourite jeans” and the largest called “mom jeans.”
US Podcast host Alie Ward tweeted the picture, prompting backlash from hundreds of people calling Macy’s out for the design, which they said propagates the idea that people must eat less to be “skinny”.
Many responded to her post claiming the retail chain was insensitive about “eating disorders” and “body issues,” and called for the plates to be removed immediately.
Body positivity activist Jameela Jamil joined in the conversation, tweeting: “F*** these plates. “F*** these plates to hell Macy’s.”
One person wrote that the illustration on the plate wasn’t indicative of anything other than “body shaming”.
Their tweet describes how the small portions wouldn’t be able to fit a healthy amount of food — or even “hold like two chicken nuggets”.
24 July, 2019
Conservative Actor Chris Pratt Accused Of Being A Racist For Wearing Gadsden Flag T-Shirt
The purveyors of high morally-minded political correctness have called out Chris Pratt for wearing a t-shirt with a symbol that dates back to before the Revolutionary War.
Yes, you read that right. The Christian actor was slammed for wearing a historic symbol known as the Gadsden flag on his shirt.
Pratt and new wife Katherine Schwarzenegger were spotted on a Los Angeles street earlier this week when a photo was taken. In the image, the actor is wearing a blue t-shirt with the Gadsden symbol of a rattlesnake over a US flag with the words “Don’t Tread On Me” at the bottom.
Several social media users criticized Pratt for wearing the symbol. But they only found this out after Yahoo UK took a giant leap, calling Pratt’s choice of wardrobe a “white supremacist” shirt in their story.
So in this case, you do have to consider the source – a British news website calling Pratt’s t-shirt a “white supremacist” shirt because of the symbol on the front. That very symbol was used on a flag to rally unity when the American colonies were trying to win their independence from Britain during the Revolutionary War.
The flag of a coiled rattlesnake with thirteen rattles on a yellow background was designed by Christopher Gadsden, a Charleston-born brigadier general in the Continental Army. It’s first recorded use was in October of 1775.
Benjamin Franklin even used the rattlesnake as a symbol in his publications dating as far back as 1751. Franklin was commenting on the British crown’s policy of sending convicted criminals to America and suggested the colonies should send rattlesnakes to thank the British government.
The Gadsden flag is still flown in Charleston, SC, the city where Gen. Gadsden first presented the flag.
It has also been used as the symbol of the Libertarian Party and then later, the Tea Party and other conservative causes.
Liar, Liar: Georgia House Minority Leader Caught In A Hate Hoax
Georgia State Rep. and Minority Leader Erica Thomas (D) took to Twitter on Saturday, saying a white man called her "a lazy SOB" and that she needed to go back to where she came from because she had too many items in the express lane at the local Publix.
"Today I was verbally assaulted in the grocery store by a white man who told me I was a lazy SOB and to go back to where I came from bc I had to many items in the express lane. My husband wasn’t there to defend me because he is on Active Duty serving the country I came from USA!"
Thomas explained her experiences further in a Facebook live video.
"People are getting really out of control with this white privilege stuff," a crying Thomas said in the video. "I'm at the grocery store and I'm in the 10 aisle, the aisle that says '10 items or less.' Yes, I have 15 items but I'm nine months pregnant and I can't stand up for long."
"This white man comes up to me and says, 'You lazy son of b**ch. You need to go back where you came from. And I said, 'Sir, you don't even know me. I'm not lazy. I'm nine months pregnant. He says, 'You're ignorant,'" Thomas explained.
To make things even more interesting, the man Thomas accused of making the comments, Eric Sparkes, showed up at her press conference to challenge her story.
"I walked into Publix, I bought my three items. There were three checkout lanes. One was express, the other two were empty. I kept my tongue shut. I went to pay for my items in one of the empty lanes. This lady, I noticed, had about 20 items on the conveyer," Sparkes explained. "I walked up to the two customer service associates from Publix, asked them what can be done in a nice manner and they said corporate policy [says] we cant do anything but you as a customer can say something."
Sparkes said he stepped outside the store, thought about what took place, walked back in and confronted Thomas.
"I said, 'Ma'am, not to be rude,' my exact first words, point at the sign, which shows it in the surveillance camera, which I've seen already, point at the sign, '10 items or less.' She berates me after that. I don't remember exactly what she said, but on camera, she approached me, came towards me as I took a couple steps back. I said, 'You're selfish.' She mentioned she was nine months pregnant and I told it didn't matter in this case. It has no point on this case. There's two empty lines. You don't need to be in the express line."
According to Sparkes, the two exchanged words, at which point he said, "You're a selfish little b**ch." He said after he made the comment he walked out of the grocery store.
"Her words stating on Twitter and her Facebook video saying I told she needs to go back to where she came from are untrue," he said. "I'm Cuban. I'm not white."
But here's where things get even more interesting. Sparkes said he's a Democrat and the only reason Thomas is doing this is for political gains.
"This woman is playing the victim for political purposes because she is a state legislator," Sparkes said. "I'm a Democrat and will vote Democrat for the rest of my life, so call me whatever you want to believe. For her political purposes, make it black, white, brown or whatever. It is so untrue."
Recent Facebook posts show Sparkes is anti-Trump Democrat.
23 July, 2019
Sued For Religious Discrimination: City Of Boston Permits 284 Flags But Bans Christian Flag
The city of Boston, Mass. is being sued for religious discrimination for banning the Christian flag while permitting 284 others, according to a federal lawsuit filed last week.
Hal Shurtleff, the director and co-founder of Camp Constitution, asked the city to fly the Christian flag, an inter-denominational symbol, as part of Constitution Day on Sep. 17, 2017, for a one-hour event. But the city banned its appearance, saying no non-secular flags could be flown.
Fox News Reports:
“There’s no question that it is an unconstitutional act and originally said it was a violation of the First Amendment, which I find ironic,” Shurtleff told Fox News. “I’m optimistic the lawsuit will go our way.”
Shurtleff said the city would have accepted it if they had called it the Camp Constitution flag instead of the Christian flag. The group was planning an event with pastors encouraging racial reconciliation, freedom in the United States, and celebrating the link between Christianity and the United States, ending with the presentation of the Christian flag. But after the city’s rejection, the event was canceled.
Matthew Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, a religious freedom law firm representing Shurtleff, slammed the city for the decision, which they made again in 2018.
“Censoring religious viewpoints in a public forum where secular viewpoints are permitted violates the First Amendment,” Staver said in a statement. “Boston city officials may not ban the Christian flag as part of a privately-sponsored event when they allow any other flag by numerous private organizations. It’s time for the court to stop the city’s unconstitutional censorship.”
A federal court and appeals court previously ruled against Shurtleff, but the new lawsuit has new “key facts” that Liberty Counsel believes will “compel a result in Camp Constitution’s favor.”
One is that the city allowed the Turkish flag — with its Islamic star and crescent — to be raised on city hall flagpoles 13 times since 2005, according to the suit. The city has also allowed the Communist Chinese flag to commemorate the anniversary of the Chinese Communist revolution, Cuban, and Vatican flags to fly along with transgender and LGBTQ flags, which were not mentioned in the lawsuit.
Amazon Now Gets to Decide Which Information You’re Allowed to Consume
You don’t know what’s good for you. But Amazon does. At least, that’s the latest message Amazon seems to be sending its customers with its decision to remove books with a certain viewpoint from its online shelves.
And what viewpoint might that be? That there is hope for people struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion.
For Amazon, this sort of message is no longer welcome on its platform. Included in this ban are books written by Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, Sr. – a psychologist who has helped many people struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction – and books by people who have left homosexuality.
Apparently, Amazon doesn’t trust adults to determine what books they would like to purchase on their own.
And while I am tempted to buy more stuff when I get free two-day shipping, no one has ever forced me to put a book into my online shopping cart and then click “purchase.” Just because Amazon has something available on its site doesn’t mean I’m going to buy it. I’m an adult capable of making those decisions on my own.
It’s the same in this situation.
Whether Amazon likes it or not, there are people who struggle with same-sex attraction and gender confusion. And they are looking for hope and help to change that – for a variety of reasons.
Just look at the clients that psychotherapist Dr. Dovid Schwartz serves.
Dr. Schwartz lives and works in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in New York City. People come to him for help on a variety of issues, including unwanted same-sex attraction. Often, the clients he sees share his faith, and they are looking for help to live lives consistent with those beliefs. They are looking for hope.
Dr. Schwartz meets with them, listens to them, and offers suggestions for how they might think differently about themselves, others, and relationships.
There’s nothing sinister about that. Just as there is nothing sinister about these books that Amazon has removed from its site.
22 July, 2019
Presidential Candidates Include Preferred Gender Pronouns In Their Twitter Bios
In the choose-your-own-gender era, it’s not politically correct to exclusively utilize pronouns that match an individual’s biological gender. Instead, according to the proponents of LGBT ideology, you should use each person’s preferred pronouns and ask people if you’re not sure of their preferences.
And in the midst of the crowded Democratic presidential primary, some candidates are abiding by this insanity and including gender pronouns in their Twitter bios.
The Hill reported that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has included the pronouns “She/her” in her @ewarren account bio. Her @SenWarren Twitter account does not currently include any pronouns.
And she’s not alone.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio includes “He/him” on his @BilldeBlasio bio. The @NYCMayor bio does not include pronouns.
And Obama-era Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro has pronouns in both English and Spanish (“He/Him/Él”) in his bio.
Currently, in the RealClearPolitics poll average, Sen. Warren is in third place behind Biden and less than one percent away from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Bill de Blasio and Julián Castro are both polling below one percent.
'America' and 'American' Listed Among Words to Avoid at Colorado State University
Colorado State University has included the words “American” and “America” on its list of language to avoid because they are not inclusive.
The school’s Inclusive Communications Task Force compiled a list of words in its Inclusive Language Guide that serve to help those on campus foster “inclusion, respect, and social justice.”
The guide states that it is not about being politically correct but instead is there to help “communicators practice inclusive language” and make everyone on campus “feel welcomed, respected, and valued.”
CSU lists both “American” and “America” as non-inclusive words "to avoid," due to the fact that America encompasses more than just the U.S. By referring to the U.S. as America, the guide claims that one “erases other cultures and depicts the United States as the dominant American country.” The school suggests using “U.S. citizen” or “person from the U.S.” as substitutes.
Among other words on the list are normal person, straight, gendered words, hip hip hooray, hold down the fort, war, starving, etc.
The guide does note, however, that the recommendations are not official policy.
21 July, 2019
Belgian firefighters in fury over 'soft' new logo
Macho Belgian firefighters are furious at a Brussels-wide rebranding exercise that could ditch their tough badge, which boasts twin axes, helmet and flames, in favour of a heart-shaped flower.
The new logo is consistent with Brussels in-house style and uses the city’s Iris motif, which is picked out with two stylised flames on one side.
“The men think it is too soft,” said Dirk Van der Ougstraete, of the ACV trade union.
Trade unionists said that the Brussels fire brigade was ready to mutiny against the new image, declared it looked more like a bottom than a badge and said it could lead to them being mistaken for postmen.
“Everyone is really furious. Our identity is completely lost with this,” said Eric Labourdette of the trade union VSOA. “If this comes through we will flex our muscles."
“They can put it on their envelopes and letters, but not on our uniforms or on our vehicles," he said, “With this logo, people might as well think that we are postmen.”
“This has nothing to do with our profession and our traditions. It is very bad for our people,” he told the Het Laatste Nieuws newspaper. “I already visited three stations today,” he added, “and they are very angry about everything.”
City ditches gender-specific words like ‘manhole’ and ‘policeman’
A US city has voted to ban a list of common words like “manhole” in a move opponents say is political correctness gone mad. Berkeley City Council voted in favour of the controversial ban during a council meeting this week.
It means shortly, the Californian city’s municipal code will be changed, with around 35 words replaced with “gender-neutral language”.
On the hit list are masculine and feminine pronouns, which means “he” and “she” will be switched to “they” and “them” in an effort to “promote equality”.
Other gendered terms will change to specific nouns such as the teacher or the council member.
“Manhole” will be replaced with “maintenance hole”, “manpower” with “human effort” and “fraternal” with “social”.
Moving forward, “heirs” will change to “beneficiaries” and “maiden” name to “family”.
The move was put forward by Berkeley City Council member Rigel Robinson and colleagues Cheryl Davila, Ben Bartlett and Lori Drost, and it was passed on Tuesday night without any comment or controversy among council members.
19 July, 2019
Minnesota city reinstates Pledge of Allegiance after overwhelming protests
A Minnesota city council that voted last month to stop reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at meetings reversed that decision Monday night after protests began to take a toll on city staff, according to the Star Tribune.
Last month, St. Louis Park, Minnesota's city council voted to stop reciting the pledge at meetings in the name of diversity and inclusiveness.
After numerous protests at subsequent council meetings, the council unanimously voted to reinstate the pledge in order to move on to other issues and relieve pressure on city workers from protesters both in the city and nationally.
"There are many from outside of St. Louis Park who are abusing and harassing our city staff, making it very difficult for them to serve the residents and businesses in our city, which is the very reason our local government exists," councilman Thom Miller said Monday.
The council apparently believed initially that removing the Pledge of Allegiance from council meetings would allow "more diverse communities" to feel comfortable participating in local government. It's unclear why the pledge, which is a saying of unity, would make St. Louis Park residents uncomfortable.
Sen. Cruz: DOJ ‘Should Be Investigating’ Google for ‘Fraud,’ ‘Breach of Contract’
Google isn’t just “abusing its monopoly powers,” it’s also potentially perpetrating “fraud” and “breach of contract,” Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said Tuesday morning prior to his subcommittee’s hearing on Big Tech companies’ censorship of conservatives.
Appearing on Fox News, Cruz, who chairs the Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on The Constitution, compared Big Tech’s censorship practices to those of Big Brother in the novel, “1984”:
“You know, in George Orwell’s famous book, “1984,” the way Big Brother controlled its power, the way the state controlled its power, is it controlled information. So, we’re at war with Eurasia, we’ve always been at war with Eurasia. And, if that changes, the information simply disappears.
“We see, in the Big Tech media companies, that same, exact power.”
“Google is abusing its monopoly powers. We have antitrust laws to deal with that,” Cruz said, suggesting the company should be broken up and should have its immunity from liability revoked.
The third way to deal with Google’s censorship practices, Cruz said, is to investigate it for fraud and breach of contract:
“The Department of Justice can, and should, be investigating along the lines of fraud and or breach of contract.”
“When you sign up, say with a Facebook or Twitter, you assume that, if you follow someone, you’ll see their tweets, you’ll see their posts. Likewise, you assume if someone follows you, they’ll see what you tweet and what you post.
“That’s not, in fact, what's happening. What's happening is the social media sites are censoring, they're shadow banning. If they don't like what you're saying, they just hide what you're saying.
“That is, essentially, a fraud on the consumer, and they're deceiving the consumer, because they’ve got a political agenda.”
18 July, 2019
Jordan Peterson to launch free-speech website
Jordan Peterson is close to completing his own free-speech website to counter censorship.
Expected to launch next month, Thinkspot is inviting people to take part in beta testing. The beta website’s home page declares “ideas live here” and describes Thinkspot as “a collaborative community where individuals can explore and exchange ideas in a thoughtful and respectful manner. The platform is an intellectual playground for censorship-free discourse.”
Peterson is toying with ideas such as a minimum comment length of 50 words to force Thinkspot users to weigh their posts.
“I really got hooked on Twitter and it wasn’t good for me,” Peterson confesses in the interview.
“I don’t tweet so much now. I have two million Twitter subscribers and I felt morally obligated to stay on top of it, but I found the general milieu so toxic that it was not psychologically tolerable.”
That said, he is a supporter of social media in all its untrammelled temerity. His loathing of censorship is held at a deep and theoretical level, but he can take it to extremes.
Thinkspot was partly inspired when the subscription content service Patreon banned anti-feminist British YouTuber Carl Benjamin
After British Labour MP Jess Phillips said she had received rape threats in 2016, Benjamin tweeted: “I wouldn’t even rape you.”
Asked if Benjamin — an unsuccessful UK Independence Party candidate for the European Parliament in the May election — is an indefensible character, Peterson makes a half-hearted defence: remarks can be taken out of context; we all say things we regret.
His real worry, however, is that the main social media platforms are acting as censors and will prove untrustworthy ones. But when it comes to free speech and social media, he admits: “I could be wrong. It’s a tough problem to crack.”
Twitter permanently silences Canadian free speech activist Lindsay Shepherd
One of Canada’s most outspoken free speech advocates, Lindsay Shepherd, has been permanently suspended from Twitter. The suspension comes after a jousting match with a notorious trans woman named JY who has been accused of predatory behaviour toward children and making frivolous human rights complaints.
The Post Millennial reached out to Shepherd who said, “I got suspended for two tweets (although they didn’t tell me exactly which tweets were the problem so I am giving my best guess): last night, JY tweeted that I have a loose vagina from pushing a 10 pound baby out, but he still has a “tight pussy” (in reality, JY still has male genitalia according to the proceedings of the current human rights tribunals he’s been testifying in; and in reality I had a C-section and a 6 pound 10 oz baby).”
“I replied that this is something a man who has no functional romantic relationships with women would say, but that, I guess that describes him pretty well. Then, Yaniv mocked a reproductive abnormality I have (a septate uterus), and so I replied saying ‘at least I have a uterus, you fat ugly man.’ I thought, ‘I can’t allow him to make these misogynistic remarks about me and not fight back.’ I deleted the comments I made this morning but found out was suspended in the afternoon.”
Shepherd, who is also a columnist for The Post Millennial, told us that she is concerned about her inability to respond to mistruths now that she is banned from the platform. “Well, I am most concerned about the lies that can now be spread that I cannot counteract via Twitter. For instance, I saw an account tweeted that I have ‘sock puppet’ accounts. No, I do not have any accounts other than @NewWorldHominin. But I can’t correct that misinformation anymore.”
Shepherd first came to the public’s attention as a young teaching assistant at Wilfrid Laurier University. She stood up for free speech when her former professors subjected her to an extra-legal star chamber for the thought crime of showing a television clip featuring Dr. Jordan Peterson’s views on compelled speech.
Shepherd’s saga continued with a $3.6 million lawsuit against Laurier. The two professors who originally falsely accused and bullied Shepherd have launched a countersuit.
More recently, Shepherd testified in front of Parliament’s Justice Committee, claiming that, “Individuals who shouldn’t be caught up in online hate legislation will inevitably get caught up in it.”
17 July, 2019
Facebook bans Saint Augustine quote as ‘hate speech’
A decision by Facebook to ban a peace-loving quote by St. Augustine of Hippo, a Catholic theologian and philosopher from the 5th century, has one Catholic writer scratching his head.
Noticing that two priest-friends had been censored by the social media giant for posting the saint’s pastoral advice, Massachusetts pro-lifer Dominic Bettinelli published the same words to his Facebook wall on Friday. Then he, too, got a warning that the post went against Facebook’s “Community Standards on hate speech.”
The quote Facebook deemed so offensive is as follows:
"Let us never assume that if we live good lives we will be without sin; our lives should be praised only when we continue to beg for pardon. But men are hopeless creatures, and the less they concentrate on their own sins, the more interested they become in the sins of others. They seek to criticize, not to correct. Unable to excuse themselves, they are ready to accuse others."
The quote, Bettinelli explained in a spirited post on the “hate speech” accusation, is from a homily of the saint included in the Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Hours, also known as the Divine Office.
“Hate speech?” Bettinelli asked. “It’s the opposite of hate speech. It’s calling for people to stop focusing on others’ sins and concentrate on their own. Augustine is just re-formulating Jesus’ own words from the Gospel: 'Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?' (Matthew 7:3).”
The author believed that the posting had been rejected by a computer algorithm. However, when he was offered the option of a human review, Bettinelli took it and discovered that even a human supervisor at Facebook deemed that the quote violated “Community Standards.”
Facebook invited Bettinelli to respond to its rejection of his appeal. He wrote the following:
"I still don’t understand why this is hate speech. It’s a quote from a Catholic saint who expresses the opposite of hate speech. He is essentially restating the words of Jesus Christ in the Gospels to stop worrying about what the other guy is or isn’t doing and worry about your own flaws. Is Facebook saying that the Gospel is hate speech? But what’s worse is that I have no more understanding now of what is a violation of your community standards than I did before. I cannot for the life of me figure out why you label this hate speech."
Bettinelli is now concerned that Facebook users will end up in “Facebook jail”, i.e. not be able to post on Facebook, just for quoting the Bible or sharing a “word of encouragement from a saint.”
Bettinelli told LifeSiteNews that he may have found the crux of the problem.
“A friend posted just ‘men are hopeless creatures’ and that got banned, so that seems to be the relevant part that is hate speech,” he said.
This is censorship by morons
Misleading claims of Islamophobia
The Muslim Council of Britain’s new report on the media is highly questionable.
What do the Daily Mail Australia, Joanna Lumley and the BBC’s Bodyguard drama have in common? Well, according to a new report by the Muslim Council of Britain, they have all misrepresented, generalised about or otherwise showed bias towards Muslims and / or Islam.
The MCB’s new Centre for Media Monitoring has analysed almost 11,000 articles, news clips and TV shows this quarter, and the prognosis doesn’t look good. Apparently, 59 per cent of the content assessed associated Muslims with negative behaviours, and one third misrepresented or generalised about Muslims. When you get beyond the summary pages, however, a different picture begins to appear.
I was expecting to see example after example of dangerous misinformation or clear-cut anti-Muslim bias. Such as when, in 2015, a Mail Online article by Katie Hopkins wrongly suggested that an east London family were extremists linked to al-Qaeda. Though the MCB wasn’t involved in that case, one of the organisation’s spokespeople, Miqdaad Versi, has been focusing on correcting stories about Muslims in recent years, and gaining a lot of coverage himself.
But in this report, such cases are largely conspicuous by their absence. The worst examples cited here amount to questionable sensationalism. One headline described a woman who converted to Islam to be with her toyboy as ‘brainwashed’, without making clear this was a quote from her jilted husband. Another headline misleadingly implied there was a problem of ‘Muslim-only pools’ in Sydney. Many more of the articles cited, however, are barely problematic at all.
Several examples amount to relatively minor errors. A Mail headline said a London mosque was linked to ‘terrorists’, when they were actually ‘terror suspects’. A Mirror headline said that during an Islamist knife attack in Melbourne, the attacker shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ (eyewitnesses had claimed this, but police later disputed it). These are not wilful distortions to the end of pushing some dodgy agenda.
Many examples are, frankly, ridiculous. Joanna Lumley is criticised for saying, in an ITV travel show, that Kyrgyzstan has a ‘less strict Islamic feel’ than other Muslim countries she has visited. Bodyguard gets called out for suggesting women who wear the hijab are ‘oppressed or subservient’, seemingly because a character in the show, a would-be suicide bomber, fits that description.
At the back of the report, an academic who ‘contributed to the oversight’ of the project, has a short essay deconstructing a story in the Express about Ramadan advent calendars being sold in Morrisons. She says the article is ‘inoffensive’ and ‘could be described as an example of fair reporting’. But because it features in ‘a conservative newspaper that regularly features articles with negative representations of Muslims’, it nevertheless ‘feeds into an idea of Muslims as a cultural threat’.
There is no available archive of the stories assessed, and the BBC write-up of the report notes that it was ‘not open to academic scrutiny’. We can only really go on the examples cited in the report itself, and assume these were among the most shocking the authors had at hand. On that basis, we should be highly critical of the claims being made here.
Indeed, such claims could chill discussion and reporting of serious stories and issues. At one point, the report criticises a number of outlets for publishing a picture of Westminster Bridge attacker Khalid Masood in Mecca. The MCB says the photo ‘subconsciously links Muslim practice to terror and terrorism’. But Masood was, in his demented, muderous head, doing God’s work. His beliefs are not an irrelevant little detail, not least because Islamists have been responsible for the vast majority of terrorist murders in Britain in recent years.
Stories about Muslim anti-Semitism are another focus of the report. ‘A common theme amongst Jewish Publications is of the “anti-Semitic Muslim”’, says the MCB, quoting pieces from the Jewish Chronicle about cases of Muslim anti-Semitism in Europe. ‘However’, it goes on, ‘several reports show that anti-Semitic attacks have risen across Europe, not due to Muslims but due to a rise in far-right activity’.
For an organisation apparently so committed to accuracy, this line is pretty misleading. The implication is that Muslim anti-Semitism is a marginal concern. It isn’t. A 2018 EU survey asked people the most serious incident of anti-Semitic harassment they had experienced, and who it had been perpetrated by. Thirty per cent of respondents said it was ‘someone with an extremist Muslim view’, while 13 per cent said it was the work of ‘someone with a right-wing political view’.
No one should use such stats to smear all Muslims. But the MCB’s evident touchiness about any discussion of these issues ironically does precisely what it is accusing others of doing – that is, generalising about Muslims or lumping them in with extremists. The message you take away from this report is that criticising the actions of the latter can’t help but offend or otherwise impact on the former.
This can only chill discussion of regressive attitudes and practices, which is particularly bad news for ex-Muslim and reformist voices. Indeed, at one point in the report, a BBC video is singled out for giving a ‘one sided view on the hijab’. It is an interview with Shaparak Shajarizadeh, an Iranian woman who took part in the recent anti-hijab protests – one of the ‘Girls of Revolution Street’. She was arrested, interrogated and forced to flee for removing her headscarf. The MCB laments that the ‘counterbalancing view’ is not provided.
We should be vigilant against anti-Muslim bigotry, in our press or anywhere else. But that noble concern cannot come at the cost of chilling discussion about and reporting on Islam and Islamism. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press were built on the freedom to blaspheme and to criticise religion. And the MCB cannot claim to be campaigning for a truthful, accurate media while pushing its own dubious claims.
16 July, 2019
Boris Johnson leads the condemnation of Scotland Yard's threat to PROSECUTE the Mail over Washington Files: Fury at commissioner Neil Basu's 'ill-advised' and 'stupid' infringement of the free press
Conservative leadership rivals Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt are leading the condemnation against Scotland Yard after a senior officer threatened to prosecute the Mail on Sunday for publishing leaked cables written by British ambassador Sir Kim Darroch.
The leaked documents revealed how Sir Kim, the UK's man in Washington, called US president Donald Trump 'inept', 'insecure' and 'incompetent'.
The Metropolitan Police launched a criminal probe into the leak of the memo with Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu [a Hindu] saying publication could be a 'criminal matter'.
His comments triggered an extraordinary row over the freedom of the press this weekend, with Mr Johnson and Jeremy Hunt leading the condemnation.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock called on the police to withdraw Mr Basu's statement while former Chancellor George Osborne branded the comments 'very stupid and ill-advised.'
Conservative leadership rival Jeremy Hunt joined Mr Johnson and said he would 'defend to the hilt the right of the press to publish those leaks if they receive them and judge them to be in the public interest'
Mr Johnson said prosecution 'would amount to an infringement on press freedom and have a chilling effect on public debate'.
Mr Hunt said that he would 'defend to the hilt the right of the press to publish those leaks if they receive them and judge them to be in the public interest'.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock goes further today by calling on the police to withdraw Mr Basu's statement. Writing in this newspaper, he says: 'The press must be free to publish what it believes to be in the public interest.
Christian doctor lost his job after refusing to identify a six-foot-tall bearded man as ‘madam’, tribunal hears
A Christian doctor lost his job in a government department after he refused to refer to “a six-foot-tall bearded man” as ‘madam’, a tribunal heard.
Dr David Mackereth, 56, claims he was sacked as a disability benefits assessor by the Department of Work and Pensions over his religious beliefs.
The father-of-four alleges he was asked in a conversation with a line manager: “If you have a man six foot tall with a beard who says he wants to be addressed as ‘she’ and ‘Mrs’, would you do that?”
Dr Mackereth, an evangelist who now works as an emergency doctor in Shropshire, claims his contract was then terminated over his refusal to use transgendered pronouns.
He argues that he was dismissed “not because of any realistic concerns over the rights and sensitivities of transgender individuals, but because of my refusal to make an abstract ideological pledge”.
The doctor is now suing the government at an employment tribunal for discrimination on the grounds of his religious belief.
A hearing in Birmingham was told how Dr Mackereth believes transgenderism is a “delusional belief” and an ideology “which I disbelieve and detest”.
15 July, 2019
Our Free Speech Crisis
Walter E. Williams
The First Amendment to our Constitution was proposed by the 1788 Virginia Ratification Convention during its narrow 89-to-79 vote to ratify the Constitution.
Virginia’s resolution held that the free exercise of religion, right to assembly, and free speech could not be canceled, abridged, or restrained. These Madisonian principles were eventually ratified by the states on March 1, 1792.
It wasn’t until 1919, in the case of Abrams v. United States, when the U.S. Supreme Court finally and unambiguously prohibited any kind of censorship.
Today, there is growing contempt for free speech, most of which is found on the nation’s college and university campuses.
Guelzo cites the free speech vision of Princeton University professor Carolyn Rouse, who is chairperson of the department of anthropology.
Rouse shared her vision on speech during last year’s Constitution Day lecture. She called free speech a political illusion, a baseless ruse to enable people to “say whatever they want, in any context, with no social, economic, legal or political repercussions.”
As an example, she says that a climate change skeptic has no right to make “claims about climate change, as if all the science discovered over the last X-number of centuries were irrelevant.”
Rouse is by no means unique in her contempt for our First Amendment rights.
Faculty leaders of the University of California consider certain statements racist microaggressions: “America is a melting pot”; “America is the land of opportunity”; “Everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough”; and “There is only one race, the human race.” The latter statement is seen as denying the individual as a racial/cultural being.
Then there’s “I believe the most qualified person should get the job.” That’s “racist” speech because it gives the impression that “people of color are given extra unfair benefits because of their race.”
Other seemingly innocuous statements deemed unacceptable are: “When I look at you, I don’t see color,” or “Affirmative action is racist.” Perhaps worst of all is, “Where are you from, or where were you born?”
We should reject any restriction on free speech. We might ask ourselves, “What’s the true test of one’s commitment to free speech?”
It does not come when people permit others to say or publish ideas with which they agree. The true test of one’s commitment to free speech comes when others are permitted to say and publish ideas they deem offensive.
The test for one’s commitment to freedom of association is similar. Christian Americans have been hounded for their refusal to cater same-sex weddings.
For those who support such attacks, we might ask them whether they would seek prosecution of the owner of a Jewish delicatessen who refused to provide services for a neo-Nazi affair.
Should a black catering company be forced to cater a Ku Klux Klan affair? Should the NAACP be forced to open its membership to racist skinheads? Should the Congressional Black Caucus be forced to open its membership to white members of Congress?
The true test of a person’s commitment to freedom of association does not come when he permits people to associate in ways he finds acceptable. It comes when he permits people to voluntarily associate in ways he deems offensive.
I am afraid that too many of my fellow Americans are hostile to the principles of liberty. Most people want liberty for themselves. I differ. I want liberty for me and liberty for my fellow man.
Battle Lines Are Drawn, Skirmishes Fought and a War Is Being Waged on Speech in America Today
Two little words found in the Pledge of Allegiance seem to be coming under heavy enemy fire of late: not just “liberty and justice,” but the words “for all.” The Founders intended a nation designed to foster opposing points of view in these United States be they majority or minority views. In a culture where progressives parse out everyone and everything into an intersectional society occupied by separates which are not equal, perhaps it is time to acknowledge that battle lines are drawn, skirmishes are being fought, and a digital war is being waged in America today to limit and ultimately remove political speech from the public square.
The Road to Hell
As the Democratic Party careens down a minacious road to marginalize and regulate political speech, it is vital to recognize the conflict that is being played out in the body politic. Do we fully comprehend that we are traversing a highway to hell fraught with dangerous assaults to one of our most sacred and foundational constitutional liberties?
This road was initially carved out and paved when Congress passed laws designed to restrict campaign contributions. But the Supreme Court came along with a bulldozer and thwarted these efforts in a landmark decision known as Citizens United. In this ruling, the majority maintained that corporations should be able to use political donations to voice their opinions. Looking back, this decision may represent a pyrrhic victory that signaled the beginning of a great and ugly crusade by the left to ratchet up the war on independent political speech.
Today, more than a dozen Democratic presidential primary candidates support overturning Citizens United. Several promote the concept of fully-funded government campaigns – no personal or corporate donations allowed. Such a contrivance would have been anathema to those who wrote our founding documents.
The Battle of Gettysburg Looms
Having lost that skirmish, the left has moved into the digital information arena and have largely been gaining ground in their efforts to limit political speech. If you are not part of the progressive machine, you can expect to undergo some form of having your opinions and thoughts quarantined, throttled-back, shadow-banned, demonetized, or ultimately removed from the digital airspace. There are so many ways to shut up those with whom you don’t agree and such little time. With a dominant media largely sharing the political views of the Democratic Party, those with a conservative political outlook have had to scrap and wrestle against the insidious algorithms of media mega-platforms who aim to remove their voices from the national political dialogue.
This battle of digital liberty for all represents the Gettysburg in the fight for equality. That is, the bloodiest conflagration with the most casualties looms in the not-too-distant future. Few options are left for conservatives to beat back this insidious trend.
Should we continue to play what has thus far proven to be a losing game? Perhaps we need to establish new modes of digital platforms that will allow for freedom of expression? Could we be hopelessly too late to stage an assault against these mammoth cyberspace entities with new ones? Or do we lobby for government intervention a la the Standard Oil breakup of 1911?
As the political right tries to find its footing on this new and perilous battlefield, one wonders if those of us who often lobby against government intrusion are left with little option but to call in the National Guard. Liberty Nation’s Chief Political Correspondent, Graham J Noble, made this point when he wrote: “Liberty and equality go hand in hand – neither can exist without the other. A fundamental American value is the government’s solemn duty to protect and promote both ideals. As the 17th-century English philosopher John Locke said: ‘The [purpose] of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom.’”
As citizens of a free society, we must recognize the most precious of rights — that of political speech — isn’t merely eroding but rather under vicious attack. Indeed, we are engaged in a costly conflict and cannot wait to be rescued.
The time is now to rally the troops. For as the great World War II general George S. Patton once said, “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”
14 July, 2019
Trump to Lean on Social Media Giants to Curb Censorship
President Donald Trump, during a free-wheeling speech Thursday, said he would be bringing top social media executives to the White House to push them to stop censoring conservatives and try to ensure free speech for everyone’s opinion.
“On behalf of the nation, it’s very important what you’re doing,” Trump said.
He praised them for going around the media “gatekeepers” and “getting the honest word out.”
Trump spoke in the East Room to digital media journalists, commentators, talk show hosts, and activists.
In calling for the giant social media platforms to be more transparent, Trump talked about how his own tweets seem to have been diminished by Twitter. “It goes up and then they take it down,” Trump said.
“It was like a rocket ship when I put out a beauty,” he said. “Remember when I said someone was spying on me? I turned out to be right.”
Trump referred to “stone cold crazy MSNBC,” speaking of the liberal cable network that has numerous programs critical of him. He also made familiar references to the “fake news.”
“I don’t think the mainstream media is free speech either,” Trump said. “To me, that’s dangerous speech.”
Amazon bans reparative therapist's books
Amazon, the world's largest online retailer, has banned the books of the late reparative therapist, Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, under pressure from homosexual activists.
Linda Nicolosi, the late psychologist's wife, told Virtueonline that Amazon had bowed to long term pressure from gay activists and Amazon agreed to stop offering Dr. Joseph Nicolosi's books for sale.
"If this ban stands, it will effectively amount to a stranglehold on the free flow of information for conservatives and people of traditional faith, because Amazon holds a virtual monopoly on book sales, the public will be unable to access information on the causes of homosexuality, and of any hope for change."
"Of course, this is what gay activists want --- to control the free flow of information. Their activism was never about tolerance-- it was about the marginalization and shaming of anyone with a different viewpoint."
Dr. Nicolosi's books--including a new book about to be published, "The Best of Joseph Nicolosi"--- will soon be available directly on his web site, www.josephnicolosi.com.
Conservative columnist Rod Dreher wrote and said while Nicolosi's books were now banned, you can still buy Mein Kampf, by Adolf Hitler. He said the pro-Stalin works of Stalin apologist Grover Furr, an American academic who argues in books and in lectures that Stalin killed nobody and committed no crimes. (Between 7-10 million Ukrainians and other Soviet citizens died in the Stalin-engineered famine called the Holodomor alone). A history of Communism by the white supremacist David Duke and The SS Leadership Guide, translated from the original German, were still available from Amazon.
"You can buy a highly influential text by the Islamist radical Sayyid Qutb, Milestones, which calls on Muslims to wage relentless global jihad against non-Muslims and insufficiently radical Muslims, until the entire world is under radical Islamic rule."
Nicolosi has been described as "the father of conversion therapy" and was founder of the now-shuttered Thomas Aquinas Psychological Clinic, as well as the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). He authored 4 books on the causes and treatment of unwanted homosexuality, only one was about parenting, and several to guides directed to parents of LGBTQ youth, including "A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality."
Again, you don't have to agree with the theories of Joseph Nicolosi to recognize that an important line has been crossed here. In the eyes of the world's largest bookseller, Joseph Nicolosi is more dangerous than Hitler, Lenin, Mao and Marx, because the Homintern says so
12 July, 2019
Britons abandon Facebook as usage plummets by more than a third
The amount Brits are using Facebook has plunged by more than a third over the past 12 months, new research indicates, in sharp contrast to the company’s official statistics.
The number of online interactions made on Facebook’s mobile app in the UK plummeted by 38pc between June 2018 and June 2019, according to the analytics firm Mixpanel.
Interactions, which occur when users click on a web link or advert inside the Facebook app, declined in seven of the last 12 months, with an average monthly fall of 2.6pc. That paints a very different picture from Facebook’s own numbers, which report a slow but steady rise in monthly active users across Europe.
Mark Zuckerberg Brags: We Didn't Allow Pro-Life Groups to Advertise Before Ireland's Abortion Vote
During this year's Aspen Ideas Festival, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained that Facebook is increasingly trying to work with governments to determine what political speech it does and does not allow. Oh sorry, I mean: what kind of political ads it is willing to approve.
In the particular example Zuckerberg cited, in 2018, American pro-life groups wanted to run advertisements for Facebook users in Ireland. This is because the Irish were about to vote in a referendum on whether abortion should be legalized.
When Facebook saw the ad requests, the company contacted the Irish government asking whether this should or should not be allowed. "Their response at the time was, 'we don't currently have a law, so you need to make whatever decision you want to make.'"
In other words, Facebook could do as it pleased. There was no legal reason to disallow the ads. But what did Facebook do? You guessed it:
"We ended up not allowing the ads."
This is extremely disturbing, but it's very expected. Facebook's top managers have a long history of leftist activism, and it's clear from the company's policies that they're pushing their authoritarian leftist views on the company itself.
As abortion activist Lila Rose explains on Twitter, for example, "FB COO Sheryl Sandberg donated $2 million to Planned Parenthood."
Facebook has truly become a force for authoritarian progressivism -- and it's downright frightening.
11 July, 2019
Flag controversies flare on independence day
Conservatives were outraged when tennis shoe maker Nike pulled a patriotic shoe, featuring the Betsy Ross American flag, from a planned Independence Day promotion. The shift occurred because former pro-footballer Colin Kaepernink convinced the company the flag was offensive to blacks, because the Betsy Ross flag was designed while slavery was still intact in America.
The “politically correct” move by Nike has an obvious backlash, as millions of Americans are stunned that one downright ridiculous complaint from a former 3rd rate athlete could be taken seriously.
The Nike controversy was accompanied by other flag related issues – such as Facebook subsidiary Instagram’s removal of a flag photo because the subject, alternative media figure Kaitlyn Bennett, was wearing an Infowars Tshirt while standing in front of an American flag. The photo had been online for 6 months, and Instagram claimed it was removed to “keep Instagram a safe place for everyone.”
Simultaneously, anger surfaced over the Kaeperninck stupidity as desperate Democratic hopefuls sought to spin the story in their favor by saying they fully support Nike’s move.
Meanwhile, American Communists clashed with a couple of Patriots for burning the flag in Washington DC – even as reality TV figure Don Lemonis, who is the chairman of a major RV Retailer, is currently being fined $50 per day by Statesville NC officials for flying a flag they consider to be too large.
The defiant Lemonis says he’ll got to jail for old glory as it honors our military and veterans. Let’s see: People going to jail for flying the American flag, and a washed up sports figure offended by that same flag others have died for. In America?
Charlie Daniels Blasts Decision to Cancel ‘Confederate Railroad’ Band
Country music legend Charlie Daniels criticized a decision to drop the scheduled appearance of the band Confederate Railroad at an Illinois fair because of alleged “racial sensitivity concerns,” stating that “political correctness” is “out of control” and is “giving in to fascism.”
“This political correctness thing is totally out of control,” tweeted Daniels on July 5. “When a fair cancels the Confederate Railroad band because of their name it’s giving in to fascism, plain and simple and our freedom disappears piece by piece. Sick of it.”
The country rock band Confederate Railroad was scheduled to perform at the Du Quoin State Fair in Du Quoin, Ill., on Aug. 27. However, reportedly after blogger Rich Miller raised a question about the band’s name, the Illinois Department of Agriculture cancelled the band, reported Taste of Country.
“While every artist has a right to expression, we believe this decision is in the best interest of serving all of the people in our state,” said Du Quoin State Fair Manager Josh Gross.
The Pinckneyville Press reported that the decision "appears to reflect racial sensitivity concerns.”
Oak Ridge Boys singer Joe Bonsall tweeted, "I have played the @DuQuoinFair many times over the decades ... however, I must say that canceling @ConfederateRR JUST because their name is CONFEDERATE RAILROAD is a crock of crap!!! These are good men singing good songs... God please help us all ..."
10 July, 2019
The Blonde in the Belly of the Beast is under heavy attack on YouTube
On 8th I put up a brilliant antifeminist video by Rebecca Hargraves of Seattle who goes by the screen name of The Blonde in the Belly of the Beast.
It looks like I was just in time as YouTube has now heavily censored her. You now get a warning when you try to log on and all images of her are suppressed. Only the audio of what she says is given. See below:
Will We Ban “Hate Speech”? Lessons from Europe and the Threat of Big Tech
The demand to outlaw so-called “hate speech” continues to grow in America. Too few citizens, however, understand the radical theory behind “hate speech” criminalization, how our nation will change should it be banned, and the tech world’s involvement in ushering in this future.
By turning to Europe, which actively criminalizes “hate speech,” we see that politicians, priests, political commentators, and private citizens have been censored, fined, arrested, investigated, and prosecuted for violating speech laws, which have had a devastating effect on the capacity of citizens to rule themselves.
In America, the tech world is working hard to ensure our nation looks more like Europe. Should “hate speech” be banned in America, the tech world will help bring forth this revolution. Please join us to discuss the different dimensions of this important debate.
9 July, 2019
Proud Boys’ Free-Speech Rally in Washington, D.C.?
Far-right groups including the Proud Boys and their allies rallied in downtown Washington, D.C., on Saturday, but were vastly outnumbered by counter-protesters
Many of the pro-Trump personalities who spoke to a few hundred people at the so-called “Demand Free Speech” rally at D.C’.s Freedom Plaza complained about social media bans that have cratered their careers and left them marginalized within the conservative movement. But that message was often overshadowed by threats of violence from the rally’s other speakers and a booming rival demonstration nearby.
Social media giants like Twitter and Facebook were name-checked often during the speeches, but some speakers veered off on tangents.
Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes took the stage in fake handcuffs meant to symbolize the effect of online censorship on his politics. He then attempted to wrench the handcuffs off himself to prove that he could overcome his social media bans—but could not manage it and had to be helped by someone else on stage. After the rally, McInnes claimed that was all part of his plan.
McInnes went on to praise the fighting prowess of the all-men’s Proud Boys group that he founded but claims to no longer lead. McInnes compared the Proud Boys to German soldiers fighting waves of Soviet troops in World War II.
“That’s how it feels to fight antifa,” McInnes said, referring to left-wing antifascist demonstrators participating in the counterprotest.
The event often seemed to be as much about reminding Trump supporters about the fading right-wing stars’ new endeavors as it was about making a coherent point about social media bans.
Anti-Muslim activist Laura Loomer, who has been kicked off of Twitter, Facebook, and even food delivery service Uber Eats, urged the dwindling audience to subscribe to her newsletter. McInnes, meanwhile, wore a shirt promoting his new video site. Milo Yiannopoulos, an anti-Muslim British activist, took the stage in a wig to perform an unflattering impression of Loomer, and used much of his speech to insult right-wing personalities who had bailed on the rally.
At the counterprotest across the street, hundreds of people listened to speakers critical of the right-wing rally and danced to go-go music.
The right-wing rally came a week after contentious dueling rallies in Portland, in which conservative journalist Andy Ngo was injured by antifa activists. The Portland events had ratcheted up tensions for the D.C. rally, and groups of Proud Boys in their yellow and black polo-shirt uniforms patrolled the event’s edges. But D.C. police mostly managed to keep the two sides apart. As of 3 p.m., an hour after the Proud Boys rally had ended, police said they had not made any arrests.
'Proud black' mother slams school for forcing son, 14, to read literary classic To Kill A Mockingbird with teachers ignoring his plea to stop using 'n-word'
That novel is a famous ANTI-racist story
A black mother has hit out at her son's school after teachers allegedly refused to stop saying 'n****r' while reading 'To Kill A Mockingbird' in class.
The parent, who describes herself as a 'proud black woman', claims teachers are ignoring her 14-year-old son's pleas not to read the racial slur in lessons.
She said her son finds the word 'offensive' and 'upsetting', and she has been racially abused with it in the past year where she lives in Tuffley, Gloucestershire.
The mother said: 'My son is of colour and he has been upset by it. It is a word which is offensive to black people and in 2019 we should not be using that word. 'He has had to tell the teachers not to say it because he finds it offensive but the teachers keep saying it.'
The mother, whose son is a pupil at Holmleigh Park High School in Tuffley, added: 'The book has a negative depiction of black people.
'I'm worried it might have an impact and normalise that word for the children. I don't believe it should be being read without explanation. 'The word, the book makes him feel uncomfortable. There were two other pupils in the class of colour and when they heard the word they just looked at each other in shock.
'I feel that this will have a negative impact. It is not sensitive to the children that are of colour and have to sit there and take that word in.'
The book is currently being studied during 25-minute long daily reading time sessions at Holmleigh Park, a former academy which is undergoing changes.
The new leadership team has already insisted pupils uphold strict new uniform rules and sent dozens of them home or into detention within days of its official rebrand.
8 July, 2019
UK: Black Christian student kicked off university course over gay marriage views wins court of appeal fight
A Christian student kicked off a university course over his views on gay marriage has celebrated his latest legal battle as “great news" for anyone who cares about free speech.
Felix Ngole, 41, said that he was expressing a traditional religious view when he was accused of posting derogatory comments about homosexuals and bisexuals on Facebook.
As a result of was thrown off the Sheffield University course where he was completing a postgraduate degree in social work. University bosses said Mr Ngole showed "no insight" and the decision to remove him from the course was fair.
They said he had been studying for a professional qualification and they had to consider his fitness to practise.
However the devout Christian, of Barnsley, south Yorkshire, said his rights to freedom of speech and thought, enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, were breached when he was thrown out.
Deputy High Court Judge Rowena Collins Rice ruled against Mr Ngole following a trial in London in 2017, but today three Court of Appeal judges overturned that ruling and said that university bosses should reconsider.
Mr Ngole posted comments in 2015 when taking part in a debate on a Facebook page about Kim Davis, a state official in the US state of Kentucky, who refused to register same-sex marriages, judges heard
He had said Mrs Davis's position was based on the "Biblical view of same-sex marriage as a sin", said he was making a "genuine contribution" to an important public debate, and he was "entitled to express his religious views".
University bosses said that he had posted comments on a publicly accessible Facebook page which were "derogatory of gay men and bisexuals" and Judge Collins Rice ruled that university bosses acted within the law, however appeal judges said the university's disciplinary proceedings were flawed.
The three judges said that university bosses adopted an untenable position - thinking that any expression of disapproval of same-sex relations, however "mildly expressed", on a public social media platform was a breach of profession guidelines and that a university fitness to practise committee should stage another hearing and reconsider Mr Ngole's case.
Nivea is being binned after allegations of homophobia by employees
Nivea has been around for a heck of a long time (over a century) so I think it will survive this little burst of hysteria. Ladies tend to be pretty devoted to the gunk they put on their faces
Nivea has been spectacularly dumped by its own advertising agency and accused of homophobia after a company executive allegedly rejected an ad pitch saying, “We don’t do gay”.
The offensive remarks have prompted a boycott movement, with angry consumers posting videos and photos of themselves binning their Nivea products in an attempt to “cancel” the skincare brand.
Boycotting efforts began after the contents of a phone call, between Nivea executives and creatives from the New York-based ad agency, Foote, Cone & Belding (FCB), were leaked.
During the conference call, an FCB representative reportedly pitched a commercial in which two men would be filmed touching hands.
The pitch was flatly rejected, with an executive from the beauty brand allegedly saying: “We don’t do gay at Nivea.”
Among those looped in on the conference call was a gay advertising executive who had been behind the pitch.
FCB released a statement with its CEO Carter Murray explaining the decision to sever the century-long partnership came after “much reflection and discussion on our creative ambitions”.
The company executive’s remarks have caused a social media frenzy, as people around the world film and photograph themselves dumping their Nivea products in the bin.
7 July, 2019
Australian biscuit king, Arnott’s, cops it over ‘poor taste’ biscuit ad from 2005
Arnott’s is copping it over a “poor taste” biscuit ad that “size-shames” women, despite it being from 2005
A biscuit advertisement printed 13 years ago has come back to haunt Arnott’s after it appeared online this week and caused a fury.
The advertisement for the fruit-filled biscuit Snack Right Fruit Slice, takes up an entire page of a magazine that someone dug up, photographed, and posted on Facebook.
The advertisement — which is understood to have run in a New Idea magazine in New Zealand in 2005 — features two pairs of pale pink underwear, hanging from a clothesline, one small and one slightly larger.
The larger pair of frilly undies is captioned, “SNACK WRONG”, while the smaller sized undies are captioned, “SNACK RIGHT”.
Beneath the two pairs is a packet of Snack Right Fruit Slice with the slogan: “The healthier biscuit made with delicious fruit.”
The post on the Nope Sisters Facebook page slammed the food giant for “size shaming marketing” and said the company was attempting to humiliate women of different sizes into purchasing their product.
“This size shaming marketing for Arnott’s Biscuits Limited in a mag is ABSOLUTELY WRONG,” the post read. “How dare they try to sell high sugar biscuits in this disgraceful way.”
The post also accused Arnott’s of targeting women who wear “pink frilly undies as well, just to really ensure a MASSIVE marketing FAIL”.
“When will they get it? That any size is right for you, as long as you are healthy and happy.”
Nope Sisters called on people to boycott Arnott’s and not eat its products “ever again”.
But some attempted to keep a level head, reminding people the advertisement was more than a decade old and that dredging up old mistakes wasn’t productive.
An Arnott’s spokeswoman told news.com.au the old campaign was only run in New Zealand but its contents were “in poor taste and does not reflect Arnott’s brand values”.
“While this advertisement was printed in 2005, it should not have run in the first place and we apologise for any offence cause,” the spokeswoman said.
They still make great biscuits.
Alitalia forced to withdraw ad after row over 'blackface' actor portraying Barack Obama
Italy’s national airline has been forced to pull an online advertisement which featured an actor blacked up to look like former US president Barack Obama, after accusations that it was racist.
Alitalia apologised for the advert, one of four launched under the hashtag #WhereIsWashington to publicise a new route between Rome and the American capital.
The offending ad featured an actor, believed to be Tunisian, wearing heavy make-up to resemble Mr Obama.
Three other ads from the same campaign depicted actors dressed as Donald Trump, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.
Alitalia initially defended the Obama ad, saying the actor was not Caucasian so that accusations that he had worn “blackface” were unjustified.
But after further attacks on social media, the company announced that it was withdrawing the advertisement.
5 July, 2019
Facebook Move Gives ACLU, 90 Left-Wing Groups ‘Power Over Every Post a Conservative Makes’
On Sunday, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg announced the company's latest efforts to institutionalize the demands of 90 left-wing organizations into the company's operations, including disturbing efforts geared toward the 2020 elections.
Media Research Center President (MRC) Brent Bozell issued the following statement Tuesday on behalf of The Free Speech Alliance, a coalition of more than 50 conservative organizations committed to combating online bias and censorship.
"Sheryl Sandberg just announced that she is allowing the ACLU and 90 left-wing organizations to dictate nearly every aspect of Facebook’s policies. This will let the left dominate the most powerful social media platform on the face of the earth. That raises significant legal and statutory issues that should worry both left and right.
“Facebook hasn’t released the names of these groups, but the crux of their plans is clear – the influence of everything Facebook does from hiring more liberals to control of all content. That goes so far as to include advertising, partnerships and control of the product itself. Now these left-wing groups have the power over every post a conservative makes. Facebook can’t be a free marketplace of ideas with the left controlling everything and the firm’s No. 2 overseeing and embracing all they are doing.
“The company getting in bed with these liberal organizations – especially in its efforts to prepare for the 2020 elections – should be deeply alarming to the conservative movement, Congress, potentially the FEC, and indeed all Americans. This was a big mistake on Facebook's part. We hope they will rethink the decisions they have made.”
Obama Inauguration Photo Shows The Crass Idiocy Of Kaepernick’s Nike Betsy Ross Objection
It seems that those criticizing Nike for attempting to have a Betsy Ross flag on a pair of their shoes in celebration of Fourth of July forgot about former President Barack Obama using the same flags at his inauguration in 2013.
Nike stirred up controversy when they tried to have the earlier American flag, that displays 13 stars in a circle, on their Air Max 1 USA shoes but reportedly nixed the shoes after former National Football League player Colin Kaepernick called them offensive.
“Attention Nike: The flag Colin Kaepernick told you was unacceptable on your shoes was displayed rather prominently at Barack Obama’s inauguration,” the Washington Examiner’s Bryon York tweeted.
4 July, 2019
‘Anti American Kaepernick Strikes Again’: Nike Caves… Withdraws New Patriot Sneakers
Nike Inc. is yanking a U.S.A.-themed sneaker featuring an early American flag after former NFL star-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick told the company it shouldn’t sell a shoe with a symbol that he and others consider offensive, according to people familiar with the matter.
The sneaker giant created the Air Max 1 USA in celebration of the July Fourth holiday, and it was slated to go on sale this week. The heel of the shoe featured a U.S. flag with 13 white stars in a circle, a design created during the American Revolution and commonly referred to as the Betsy Ross flag.
After shipping the shoes to retailers, Nike asked for them to be returned without explaining why, the people said. The shoes aren’t available on Nike’s own apps and websites.
“Nike has chosen not to release the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July as it featured the old version of the American flag,” a Nike spokeswoman said.
After images of the shoe were posted online, Mr. Kaepernick, a Nike endorser, reached out to company officials saying that he and others felt the Betsy Ross flag is an offensive symbol because of its connection to an era of slavery, the people said. Some users on social media responded to posts about the shoe with similar concerns. Mr. Kaepernick declined to comment.
The design was created in the 1770s to represent the 13 original colonies, though there were many early versions of the America flag, according to the Smithsonian. In 1795, stars were added to reflect the addition of Vermont and Kentucky as states.
In 2016, the superintendent of a Michigan school district apologized after students waved the Betsy Ross flag at a high-school football game, saying that for some it is a symbol of white supremacy and nationalism, according to Mlive.com, a local news outlet. While the flag’s use isn’t widespread, the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said at the time that it has been appropriated by some extremist groups opposed to America’s increasing diversity.
Cambridge University accused of racism for allowing non-black lecturer to say N-word in class
She was probably finding her course too hard
Cambridge University has been accused of racism for allowing a non-black lecturer to read aloud the N-word from a passage in class, as a PhD student quits in protest.
The 800-year-old institution was criticised by 26-year-old Indiana Seresin who said that as a white student, she had “benefited from the structural racism” of the university.
In a “withdrawal statement” that she published online, Ms Seresin explained that she felt she had an “imperative” to leave Cambridge where she had been working on a Government funded doctorate about contemporary American artists and writers.
She said she has witnessed an “accumulation” of racist incidents during her time at the university, and went on to describe an incident where an English lecturer “repeatedly read aloud the n-word during our class discussions”.
Ms Seresin said that a black friend had emailed the lecturer to explain that she did not feel comfortable hearing non-black lecturers saying this word aloud.
But she told how rather than receiving an apology, the friend was “patronisingly told that she did not understand the context in which the word was being used”.
Ms Seresin explains that the disagreement escalated and a group of students, including herself, had “multiple meetings” with the chair of the English faculty about it.
They were also invited to raise the issue at the Teaching Forum, where academics and students meet to exchange views. Ms Seresin and her peers found the experience of speaking in front of senior faculty members “intimidating”, adding that they felt as though they were on trial.
“Many of those present seemed simply unable to comprehend the difference between a black writer reclaiming the n-word and a nonblack Cambridge lecturer or student saying it aloud in class,” she said.
“We also faced hostility regarding the idea that different rules applied to black and nonblack lecturers, even though beyond Cambridge this is a widely accepted principle and for obvious reasons does not constitute a double standard.”
3 July, 2019
Google information suppression
In doing some research recently, I found that I could no longer quickly locate items on Google that were at the top of the first page in the past year or so. These topics, such as the Obama administration keeping children separate from adults, are almost impossible to locate now. Articles “debunking” Obama’s policies being similar to Trump’s are everywhere.
And when looking for a current news item, I got a litany of first-tier and second-tier news and commentary outlets, all on the left, such as CNN (frequently the first option on news) the New York Times, Slate, Salon, BBC, London Guardian and so on — page after page and some repeated several times, before getting to even one on the right, usually Fox News.
I’m a reasonably advanced searcher. I was using the concept of Boolean string searches before Google. So I understand at 30,000 feet how their algorithm works. And yet I cannot find items at all that I previously found quickly.
There’s a good reason for this and you probably know what it is: They have changed their algorithm to emphasize “trusted” sources, by which they mean left-wing sources that reflect Google’s leftwing worldview.
There was last week’s news from Veritas interviewing whistleblowers at Google and leaking documents showing that Google is intent on not letting another Trump ever happen again. We know they’ve been placing their thumbs the scales for awhile, but this is a whole new level.
If you search “google whistleblower” you get all the appropriate results. Today. But what will be the results in six months or a year? Will you get the Daily Wire, Newsmax, the Spectator? Will you find Dave Rubin’s take? Or will it be Slate and Salon and CNN spinning Veritas as acting illegally and using controversial methods? Methinks think the latter.
And I realized with sudden clarity that here sat before me what we all have been reading about, but in an entirely new light: This is the algorithmic version of the Memory Hole made infamous in George Orwell’s dystopian 1984 novel. This is the modern step in how you erase history and alter people’s opinions in real time. Eventually, many things will just never have happened.
“The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became the truth.” George Orwell, 1984
Google employees become a little army of Winston Smiths coding away to fill up the memory hole.
They are not alone, of course. The social media giants of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (owned by Facebook) Pinterest and Youtube (owned by Google) have all been squeezing out conservatives through shadow-banning, demonetizing, de-platforming and outright banning. It’s not just whackadoodles like Alex Jones. When it gets to comedians like Steven Crowder who was actually trying to follow all of Youtube’s rules and the mainstream pro-life outfit Live Action, you know the digital noose is tightening.
Banks and credit card companies have begun closing the accounts of people based on those people’s opinion. It starts with the awful Proud Boys group and the neo-Nazi Stormfront site, but it never stops there.
Here’s my prediction on the final step, which may start before 2020 or after, but it sure feels as though it will eventually happen.
Once the noose has been tightened around conservatives, forcing them off social media and onto only their own websites, WordPress, Godaddy and other web hosting sites will eventually just start pulling the plug because of offensive this and offensive that.
And then they will have totally shut up conservative voices, and we will have a totalitarian leftist country.
In the end, as in 1984, liberals and progressives will also become the victims, because only the state will matter. They think that is what they want. They don’t.
Recent leaked emails from Google show that labeling mainstream conservative media as Nazis is a premise upon which Google operates
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) interviews Derek Slater, Google Global Director of Information Policy:
Crenshaw: It’s not even a question, according to those emails, the emails say, given that Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson and Dennis Prager are Nazis, given that that’s a premise, what do we do about it? Two of three of these people are Jewish, very religious Jews. And yet you think they are Nazis. It begs the question: what kind of education people at Google have so that they think that religious Jews are Nazis. Three of three of these people had family members killed in the Holocaust, Ben Shapiro is the number one target of the alt-right. And yet you people operate off the premise that he’s a Nazi. It’s pretty disturbing and it gets to the question, do you believe in hate speech? How do you define that or do you, can you give me a quick definition right now? Is it written down somewhere? Google, can you give me a definition of hate speech?
Google Global Director of Information Policy: Yes. So hate speech again, as updated in our guidelines now extends to, uh, uh, superiority over protected groups to justify discrimination, violence, and so on based on, uh, a number of defining characteristics, whether that’s a race, sexual orientation, veteran status.
Crenshaw: Do you have an example of Ben Shapiro or Jordan Peterson, Dennis Prager engaging in hate speech? Give one example off the top of your head.
Slater: So, congressman, we evaluate individual piece of content based on that content rather than based on the speaker.
Crenshaw: Okay, let’s, let’s get to the next question. Do you believe speech can be violence? All right, though there’s, there’s not, not can you incite violence; that is very clearly not protected, but can speech just be violence? Do you believe that speech that isn’t specifically calling for violence can be labeled violence and therefore harmful to people? Is that possible?
Slater: Congressman, I’m not sure I fully understand the distinction you’re drawing. Certainly, again, incitement to violence or things that aren’t urgent, dangerous behavior, those are things that would be against our policies.
Crenshaw: Here’s, here’s, here’s the thing. When you call somebody a Nazi or you can make the argument that you’re inciting violence and here’s how, as a country, we all agree that Nazis are bad. We actually invaded an entire continent to defeat the Nazis. It’s normal to say Hashtag punch a Nazi because there’s this common thread among this in this country that they’re bad and that they’re evil and that they should be destroyed.
So when you’re operating off of that premise and it’s frankly, it’s a, good premise to operate on, well, what you’re implying then is that it’s okay to use violence against them. When you label them — when one of the most powerful social media companies in the world labels people as Nazis, you could make the argument that’s inciting violence. What you’re doing is wholly irresponsible.
2 July, 2019
NBA using 'Governor' in place of 'owner' title
As NBA teams make some major moves over the offseason, a potentially less-noticeable change is already occurring throughout the league.
According to commissioner Adam Silver, the NBA is continuing to move away from the use of the term "owner" to describe those with controlling interest of teams in favor of the terms "Governor of the team" and "alternate Governor."
The change was made due to concerns that the term "owner" can be viewed as racially insensitive in a league where the vast majority of players are African-American and the majority of owners are Caucasian. While the league itself stopped using the term years ago, individual teams are now starting to follow suit; something Silver was asked about.
"I don't want to overreact to the term because, as I said earlier, people end up twisting themselves into knots avoiding the use of the word 'owner,'" Silver said, via TMZ Sports. "But we moved away from that term years ago with the league. We call our team owners 'Governors' of the team and 'alternate Governors. So I think it makes sense.
End of the naughty step as nurseries say they no longer use the term due to 'negative connotations'
It was once a popular way for nursery teachers to discipline misbehaving toddlers. But the “naughty step” is becoming a thing of the past, with nurseries saying that they no longer use the term due to its “negative connotations”.
The majority (60 per cent) of nurseries said they do not agree with having a “naughty step”, according to a poll of 1,000 owners, managers and staff conducted by the review sit daynurseries.co.uk.
The survey found that 74 per cent rejected the use of the“naughty step” – where children are asked to sit in a particular place and reflect on their actions - as a method for controlling bad behaviour.
Almost all (95 per cent) of nursery teachers said they are not even allowed to call a child “naughty” in their nursery.
Danielle Butler, a director at Tommies Childcare which runs nurseries in Coventry, Derby, Kenilworth and Nuneaton, said they adopt a “holistic” approach to managing behaviour.
“The term ‘naughty’ is one that has held negative connotations particularly in an Early Years context,” she said.
“There is the potential for children to be labelled with this term, without them being able to understand why their behaviour is unacceptable.”
Ms Butler said that word “naughty” is not used her nursery, adding that she discourages any words “that label children’s behaviour in a negative way”.
Matthew Byrne, director of Crafty Wizards pre-School in south-east London, said that they do not call children “naughty” on the basis that “it can negatively impact on how others see that child, from their peers to the adults around them”.
1 July, 2019
Excluding to include. Welcome to opposite world
This week, Ravelry.com, one of the internet’s most popular gathering sites for crocheters and with a reported 8.5 million users, publicly smeared and ejected conservative members who support President Donald Trump—all in the name of protecting its preciously “inclusive” safe space.
Excluding to include. Welcome to opposite world. On Sunday (there’s no rest for vengeful social justice warriors), Ravelry’s founders announced:
"We are banning support of Donald Trump and his administration on Ravelry. This includes support in the form of forum posts, projects, patterns, profiles, and all other content"
The progressive operators at Ravelry declared that every right-winger on the fiber arts forum who supports our commander in chief is really just a KKK domestic terrorist wielding sharp needles instead of flaming crosses and nooses.
It doesn’t matter whether you support the White House because you are pro-borders, pro-life, pro-entrepreneur, pro-limited government, anti-collectivist, or anti-socialist.
“We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy,” Ravelry management declared.
In case you weren’t clear on Ravelry equating all Trump support with virulent racism, the defamers decried: “Support of the Trump administration is undeniably support for white supremacy.”
Ravelry accused the conservative crafters of a “culture of anger and “us versus them” stance.
Meanwhile, rabid leftists who promoted misogynist sweaters slamming Sarah Palin as “c—-” went unpunished. A forum titled “What Would You Do To Sarah Palin” inviting liberal members to post physical threats was allowed to thrive.
University bans mention of how long Aborigines have been in Autralia
Science lecturers at the University of New South Wales have been told to stop telling students that Indigenous people's arrived in Australia 40,000 years ago.
In a letter sent to staff the lecturers were told that it is 'inappropriate' to teach dates and they should say Aboriginals have been here 'since the beginning of the Dreamings' because that is what indigenous people believe.
A set of classroom guidelines were circulated in the science faculty this month which alerted the scientists to the existing language advice, according to The Weekend Australian.
Aboriginal people are thought to have arrived in Australia via land bridges from the north about 50,000 years ago.
It is generally accepted among scientists, however, that Indigenous people, like the rest of the world's human population, migrated from the African continent.
In 2018, a UNSW research centre in the science faculty said Indigenous Australians 'arrived soon after 50,000 years ago, effectively forever, given that modern human populations only moved out of Africa 50,000-55,000 years ago.'
The inclusivity language guidelines were approved by a working group involving dean Emma Johnston.
The guidelines say teaching a date for the arrival of Indigenous people 'tends to lend support to migration theories and anthropological assumptions.'
Many indigenous Australians see this sort of measurement as inappropriate the guidelines claim.
'The Aboriginal people I've worked with are enormously interested in the scientific evidence,' University of Wollongong archaeologist Richard Fullagar told the publication.
He did, however, also say that Aboriginal people he has worked with have sometimes told him that it is their cultural belief they have been here forever.
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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