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30 November, 2017
White "Aborigines" soaking up funds needed for blacks
Broadcaster Andrew Bolt got prosecuted and convicted for saying this. Good that someone now is allowed to say it. Under Australian law, someone with a small amount of Aboriginal ancestry can identify as Aboriginal and get special benefits designed for real Aborigines. So many visibly white people claim to be aborigines for the government gravy they get from it.
Cosseted urbanites who belatedly self-identify as indigenous are ripping much-needed funds from the pockets of their disadvantaged brethren in remote communities farther north, according to one of the nation’s highest-profile Aboriginal bodies.
The Yothu Yindi Foundation, which runs the annual Garma Festival in Arnhem Land, yesterday told the Productivity Commission that counting indigeneity in the formula used to allocate GST revenue might be hurting those in areas with the highest need.
YYF representatives said “exponential” growth in the indigenous-identifying populations of southern states — over and above that attributable to natural factors — was “draining away” money from the Northern Territory.
Bob Beadman, who previously chaired the local branch of the body responsible for implementing the GST formula, said YYF was also concerned about identity “fraud” and called for “greater efforts to distinguish degrees of need among the Aboriginal population”.
“We believe the self-identification provision in the census is encouraging people to come forward for reasons of their own. Some of those reasons might be to do with the work of genealogists … if there was an indigenous ancestor 200 years ago, suddenly an entirely new family appears on the census data as indigenous,” Mr Beadman said.
“We know from census data that 80 per cent of marriages interstate are to a non-indigenous partner, and the kids of that union then become indigenous … all of this growth in numbers is drawing money away from the Territory.”
Mr Beadman made the comments at a PC hearing into the horizontal fiscal equalisation formula, which governs the Commonwealth Grants Commission’s allocation of GST. Over half the Territory government’s annual budget typically consists of GST.
“A double university-degree, double-income family in their own house in Parramatta should have much lesser value in the weighting that the CGC would give to an indigenous family (as compared) with (a family consisting of) several intergenerational levels of welfare dependency, all unemployed and in a humpy in a remote community like Papunya,” he said.
Does free speech protect nutcase ravings?
A federal court case in West Palm Beach could set a new precedence for free speech. Wednesday morning, an attorney will use the first amendment to prove former Florida Atlantic University professor, James Tracy, was wrongfully terminated.
Tracy and his attorneys say his right to free speech was violated when he was fired because of what he wrote on a blog.
He said the Sandy Hook School Massacre, which killed 20 children, was staged by the government to gain support for tougher gun laws.
FAU countered that statement by saying he was fired simply because he failed to follow the rules applying to all faculty.
Lawyers for FAU explained Tracy, “was repeatedly warned that this failure to follow policy would result in disciplinary action, including possible termination," they added his, “belligerent, rebellious conduct was deliberate and intentional."
29 November, 2017
Justices take up free speech case of anti-police rap lyrics
If the video is held to constitute incitement to violence, it would lose free speech protections
Pennsylvania's highest court will decide whether a Pittsburgh man's anti-police rap lyrics are protected free expression or amount to witness intimidation and making terroristic threats.
The state Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Tuesday in the case of Jamal Knox, who served state prison time for the song he recorded after being arrested on drug charges.
Knox was charged after an officer found the YouTube video, performed by Knox under the name Mayhem Mal of the Ghetto Superstar Committee.
The video taunts by name two officers involved in the drug arrest and mentions Richard Poplawski, who's on death row for killing three Pittsburgh police officers in 2009.
Knox's lawyer says he wasn't trying to intimidate the officers and didn't intend the video to be posted online.
Use of Maori language in New Zealand criticized
"Te reo" is the name for the Maori languge in Maori. All New Zealand schoolchildren are taught bits of it. Very few Maori now use it much, however. It is in some danger of dying out. So in the usual politically correct way, the New Zealand establishment is pushing use of it on radio and TV. A writer who criticized use of it on TV and radio was therefore allegedly a "racist". It seems more likely, however, that he just wanted to understand all that he heard
An opinion page article published in this newspaper on Friday has whipped up outrage.
Expressions of horror and disgust have followed Dave Witherow's piece criticising the increasing use of te reo on national radio, RNZ, and in mainstream media.
Mr Witherow, who was once a regular ODT columnist, is not afraid of colourful language to make his points.
This newspaper has also been lambasted for printing ''racist'' rubbish and giving sustenance to such outlooks.
The article, however, was published on the ''opinion'' page, where we allow for the expression of a wide range of views. As we said on Saturday, that does not entail any form of endorsement. In fact, editorially we would disagree, sometimes vehemently, with many opinion articles.
28 November, 2017
Twitter has turned its back on free speech
The platform plans to exercise ideological control over its users
Twitter has set a deadline. In addition to the existing Terms of Service, from 18 December users will be subject to a more stringent set of rules regarding ‘targeted harrassment’, the promotion of ‘violence’, and ‘expressing hate’. And last week Twitter announced that it would no longer ‘verify’ accounts whose viewpoints are not in keeping with the company’s values.
For those of you who have somehow resisted the lure of social media – in other words, those with real lives – the implications of this will not immediately be apparent. A ‘verified’ account on Twitter is marked with a white checkmark on a blue badge. It enables users to distinguish between authentic accounts run by public figures and parodies created by mischief-makers. How else, for example, could one tell the difference between the anti-democratic fulminations of philosopher AC Grayling and that of his similarly petulant rival AC Wailing?
For some reason, Twitter has now decided that verification implies endorsement, and is therefore withdrawing blue badges from those who are perceived to be extremists, such as the alt-right figurehead Richard Spencer. It is likely that such individuals will be banned completely following the 18 December deadline, especially since the new guidelines make it clear that Twitter will no longer tolerate those with questionable affiliations ‘both on and off the platform’.
All well and good, you might say. As a private company, Twitter is perfectly entitled to withhold its services, and if this is to the detriment of white supremacists, who will complain? This is an understandable point of view, although I’ve always found that the best way to discredit bad ideas is to allow them to be aired. That’s why Gary Younge’s decision to interview Richard Spencer for Channel 4 recently was a sound tactic. Given the opportunity, Spencer exposed himself for what he is: a historically illiterate demagogue, impervious to reason.
Twitter once saw itself as ‘the free-speech wing of the free-speech party’, but a recent New York Times interview with the company’s co-founder Evan Williams suggests that this commendable ideal no longer applies. ‘I thought once everybody could speak freely and exchange information and ideas, the world is automatically going to be a better place’, Williams said. ‘I was wrong about that.’
Williams even went so far as to apologise for Donald Trump’s successful use of the platform as a key feature of his election campaign. In doing so, Williams is reflecting a sinister idea which has been gaining considerable momentum of late: that the electorate consists of unthinking automatons who will vote not on principle, but in accordance with the contents of their Twitterfeeds. How else might one explain the absurd and widely circulated argument that the Russian government swung the Brexit vote through the use of online trolls?
I don’t need Twitter to remove Richard Spencer’s verification badge for me to know that his views are not to be taken seriously. His own words do the job perfectly well. By extending its role from facilitator to arbiter of acceptable ideas, Twitter can no longer lay claim to be a supporter of free speech. More worryingly, it sets a precedent by which relatively innocuous views might be censored under the pretence of protecting users from harmful content. One need only read the statements of the Stop Funding Hate campaign to realise that many activists see little or no distinction between conservatism and fascism.
Twitter is similarly prone to this kind of concept creep. It has a track record of suspending or deleting accounts on spurious grounds (often without specifying the details of the transgression) and censoring accounts in response to politically motivated complaints. It has even appointed a specific group – the terrifyingly named Trust and Safety Council – to act as the platform’s official thoughtpolice. Twitter, we are assured, must take a firm stance against ‘hate speech’, but this is a hopelessly nebulous term which is typically deployed to stifle the free exchange of ideas.
So when Twitter’s new rules include a prohibition against organisations that ‘use or promote violence against civilians to further their causes’, are we to take that to mean violence in its traditional sense, or is Twitter adhering to an expanded definition that includes insults, robust criticism and ‘triggering’ language? Those who defend university No Platforming policies, for instance, often claim that they are preventing potential ‘injury’ to students. Lindsay Shepherd, a graduate teacher at Wilfrid Laurier University, was recently reprimanded for showing a video featuring Jordan Peterson, a professor now famous for his refusal to adopt gender-neutral pronouns. According to the authorities, Shepherd had violated the university’s ‘Gendered and Sexual Violence Policy’. Such redefinitions are ideological sleight of hand, and should be resisted by anybody who values personal liberty.
Given that all of the major social-media companies – Twitter, Facebook and Google – are unashamedly partisan in their political outlook, the migration of users to alternative platforms now seems inevitable. This explains the growing popularity of Gab, a social-networking service which prides itself on its commitment to free speech. Gab’s refusal to censor its users has led some to brand it an ‘alt-right’ website, but this is disingenuous. One need not necessarily agree with an individual to support his or her right to speak.
With Twitter on track to narrow its Overton window to the dimensions of a porthole, it isn’t too far-fetched to imagine a future in which all social-media sites are tailored to a specific political worldview. Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey insists that censorship is for our own good, that freedom of expression ‘starts with safety’. But the public is not best served by the cultivation of an increasingly hermetic online ‘echo chamber’ culture. As Eduard Bernstein so succinctly put it, ‘men have heads’. The last thing we need is for Twitter to do our thinking for us.
‘Brave spaces’ are no answer to safe spaces
Ghettoising free speech will make matters on campus worse
Americans are self-segregating along political lines, choosing to associate only with like-minded individuals. This should be troubling to anyone who values a society where a diversity of opinions are allowed to thrive and be discussed. Nowhere is the new hyper-politicisation more evident than on college campuses, where ‘safe spaces’ have become a way to shelter oneself from the ‘trauma’ of hearing different opinions.
Through the ideology of ‘safe spaces’, students divide themselves along racial, sexual and other identity-based lines. It’s gotten to the point where some students are even calling for safe spaces in campus housing, so they will only have to live with those who share the same identity politics as them.
A former Harvard professor and dean is currently touting his new idea to fix this safe-space hysteria. John Palfrey has proposed that colleges enact ‘brave spaces’. He envisions these as areas on campus – such as classrooms or lecture halls – where controversial ideas can be debated rigorously and no topic is off limits. He sees them as coexisting and competing with safe spaces. While well-intentioned, Palfrey’s proposal will likely perpetuate the inability and unwillingness of students to interact with views they find difficult.
Essentially, Palfrey’s idea is equivalent to the concept of a ‘free-speech zone’, which has drawn the ire of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for limiting freedom of expression. Controversial ideas should be allowed to be debated in public portions of campus without being quarantined to an arbitrarily decided spot. And yet, alarmingly, many seem to be fine with the concept of protecting students from difficult ideas. A recent study from the Cato Institute found that 34 per cent of Americans think it is more important for colleges to protect students’ sensibilities than to expose them to new views. That may be a minority, but it’s still a startlingly high proportion. Additionally, 53 per cent said colleges have a responsibility to protect students from views they find offensive.
Palfrey’s idea leaves many unanswered questions. For starters, who determines what kind of speech is offensive enough to be relegated to the brave space? You can imagine this question quickly becoming politicised. For example, on a liberal campus, discussion of LGBT issues or abortion would be welcome in a more public setting, whereas on a more conservative campus these ideas would only be allowed in designated ‘brave’ areas.
That leads to the next issue. The current problem on college campuses is that so many students are inclined to seek out safe spaces when they feel an idea is offensive. But they can still inadvertently stumble upon some ideas they find controversial, whether on a flier in a public venue or at a campus organisation’s booth during a public event. Brave spaces would make this kind of thing even less common. Palfrey seems to suggest that anything that could be deemed contentious should be kept to certain classrooms and lecture halls.
College students, like Americans as a whole, are unlikely to seek out views they dislike. So, while brave spaces would give divisive topics a place to be debated and discussed, the proposal doesn’t go nearly far enough. Sadly, right now, if students have a choice, they will choose coddled safe spaces over rigorous debate.
27 November, 2017
"Woman" is now a bad word
MOTHERHOOD, it used to be said, is sacred. But perhaps in these supposedly more enlightened times we should change that to “carer status is sacred”.
As reported yesterday, Australia’s national Nursing and Midwifery Board just almost passed a new code of conduct which, among other things, would have made midwives refer to their patients as “persons”, not “women”.
As in, “the person in Delivery Suite A has been in labour for four hours”.
Welcome to mother… er, make that parenthood.
The shift was proposed, apparently, to make a universal change so that the profession would be more inclusive of those “individual instances” of women who identify as men giving birth.
Now of course everyone knows that transgender people are part of the community and surely no one of good will wants to make life more difficult for them.
But couldn’t it be left up to midwives and patients to work this out when these “individual instances” occur?
In any case, thanks to strong opposition from the profession, the Board relented, but not for lack of trying.
If anything, the progressive push to re-engineer the entire English language to suit whatever the rules are about what we can and cannot say this week is stronger than ever.
Political correctness used to be defended on the grounds of politeness, but the current language wars go far beyond that, even if they follow a predictable pattern.
What starts out as attempts by progressives to burnish their own moral standing by finding something to be offended about on someone else’s behalf quickly morph into campaigns to so comprehensively divorce words from their meanings that the rest of us dare not open our mouths lest we say the wrong thing.
Bill against anti-free speech lawsuits in Ohio
A Lima legislator is promoting legislation to guard against lawsuits that stifle free speech.
Sen. Matt Huffman, R-Lima: Huffman is sponsoring the Ohio Citizen Participation Act, which aims to protect people against so-called “strategic lawsuits against public participation,” or SLAPP lawsuits. According to a statement from Huffman’s office, a SLAPP lawsuit is “a meritless lawsuit against someone for exercising his or her First Amendment rights, rights that are also guaranteed to Ohio citizens under our state’s constitution.”
Such lawsuits, Huffman said, are not filed necessarily with the aim to win, but rather to cause someone a great deal of stress from a prolonged legal process and mounting bills. This bill, modeled after similar legislation in Texas, would allow a judge to dismiss meritless lawsuits against people engaging in “protected communication,” which encompasses all First Amendment-related speech on matters of public concern. The bill would also protect anonymous digital commenters who would face litigation, giving them the ability to contest efforts to expose their identities. This would, however, not change the state’s libel and defamation standards.
26 November, 2017
God is gender-neutral: Church of Sweden urges clergy to stop referring to 'the Lord' and 'He'
This is theologically orthodox. God has always been said to be neither male nor female. It was always understood that "he" was simply the easist way to refer to him
The Church of Sweden is urging its clergy to use gender-neutral language when referring to the supreme deity.
The national church, which is Evangelical Lutheran, asks priests and other staff to refrain from using terms like 'Lord' and 'He' in favor of the less specific 'God.'
The Lord's Prayer, which in Swedish as in English is commonly called 'Our Father', shall continue to be referred to as such.
The decision was taken Thursday at the end of an eight-day meeting of the church's 251-member decision-making body, and takes effect May 20 on the Christian holiday of Pentecost.
A former state church, headquartered in Uppsala, some 37 miles north of the capital, has 6.1 million baptized members in a country of 10 million.
As of 2014 it is headed by a woman, Archbishop Antje Jackelen.
Australia: Must not disrespect Ganesha
Lamb may well be the meat to eat this Spring, but you won’t be watching any more of one particular ad about it.
The Meat and Livestock Corporation’s (MLA) latest offering, featuring a range of religious gods, deities and prophets has been has been banned.
The ad sang the praises of lamb as the food of the gods, with a message of unity and bringing people of diverse backgrounds together.
But the fact that it featured opposing divinities and prophets including Jesus, L. Ron Hubbard, Thor, Zeus, and Hindi god Ganesha proved its stumbling block, with the advertising watchdog ruling it discriminatory to those of the Hindu faith.
It’s a U-turn by the Advertising Standards Board, which originally sided with the view of the MLA that it was fine, despite a flurry of complaints when it first aired from Hindus seeing red.
But after an independent review the Board revised its decision, ruling the ad is discriminatory to those of Hindu faith.
The review rejected the board’s initial majority finding that the YouTube advert, which showed Lord Ganesha at a meal celebrating lamb as “the meat we can all eat”, was “lighthearted and humorous” and did not breach the advertising standards code.
At issue is the portrayal of Ganesha, with the board ruling Ganesh got “less favourable treatment” in the ad. The Hindu god is a vegetarian.
In the ad, amid lines like “it’s a nightmare catering for you lot with all your dietary requirements”, the agnostic host declaring a toast “to lamb — the meat we can all eat”, comes another line about “addressing the elephant in the room”.
It was the “elephant in the room’ reference which caused the problem, because the deity — who appears in elephant form — was the only one singled out for his physical characteristics.
The phrase “might sound cute and clever”, the Board noted, but to Hindus, Ganesha is “not just an elephant” but rather “the first deity in all Hindu services, and is considered the remover of obstacles”.
It ruled the MLA had not given adequate consideration to “how seriously some Australians take their religious views — and did not pay due attention to the level of offence about something important to those people”.
24 November, 2017
As it looks to end hate speech, Saucon Valley High School to ban five offensive words
There are plenty of other words that could be used abusively -- such as retard, spastic, moron, imbecile, parasite, no-hoper etc.
The Saucon Valley School District, facing a federal lawsuit over racist incidents, is developing a hate speech policy for the high school that would specifically ban five words if used in hateful and menacing ways.
The five words are “b----,” the N-word, “terrorist,” “retarded” and “gay.” A student caught using the words would first go through an intervention program. If the student continues to use the words, he or she could face detention or suspension.
The five words have been used in derogatory ways at the high school level, including a handful of times this year, Superintendent Craig Butler said Wednesday. The policy was reviewed but not voted on at Tuesday’s school board meeting.
“What we’re looking at specifically is that these words not be used in a malicious, hurtful manner,” Butler said. “We’re trying to reinforce with our young adults that we would expect them to speak respectfully.”
Witold Walczak, legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, said school districts have a right to prohibit offensive words.
“Schools can ban lewd and vulgar speech, regardless if there’s any disruption,” Walczak said.
Words such as “gay” and “terrorist” would not be grounds for punishment if used as part of a name such as Gay-Straight Alliance or on a lesson on terrorist attacks.
But the school can prohibit them if they are being used in a disruptive way, Walczak said.
In France, antisemitic speech is oppressive and dangerous
And French courts are slowly accepting that
Jewish groups have claimed that France's lack of judicial action against antisemites in the past amounted to a cover-up of hate crimes against Jews.
Amid vocal protests by leaders of French Jewry on the judiciary’s handling of antisemitic crimes, French courts made a series of tough rulings on inciters to hatred of Jews.
In three separate rulings last week, French judges rejected the appeal of the far-right Holocaust denier Alain Soral against his prison sentence, affirmed the eviction of his associate and career antisemite Dieudonne M’bala M’bala from his Paris headquarters and slapped a $1,700 fine on a teacher who inveighed against Israel and the Jews.
The rulings came amid unprecedented criticism by CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish communities, and other French Jewish groups on judicial actions and decision that it said were too soft on antisemites, encouraged terrorism or amounted to a cover-up of hate crimes against Jews.
The National Bureau for Vigilance Against Antisemitism, which earlier this month heavily criticized the acquittal from murder charges of an accomplice of the killer of four Jews in Toulouse in 2012, applauded the Nov. 9 verdict against Soral, who in 2012 co-founded the Anti-Zionist Party with Dieudonne, a comedian with multiple convictions for inciting hatred against Jews whom former Prime Minister Manuel Valls called “a professional antisemite.”
Soral, who also has multiple convictions — including for saying Adolf Hitler “should have finished the job” — was sentenced to three months in jail in March. He also was fined approximately $16,000. French courts rarely impose heavy fines for hate speech and seldom send individuals found guilty of this offense to prison.
Earlier this year, CRIF and the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Antisemitism mounted a vocal protest campaign over the absence of hate crime charges from an initial indictment against Kobili Traore, who confessed to killing his Jewish neighbor, Sarah Halimi. Traore, who reportedly had called Halimi’s daughter a “dirty Jew,” screamed about Allah and killing Satan while he pummeled Halimi in her Paris apartment in April.
In September, prosecutors included the hate crime charges in a revised indictment that followed intense lobbying and vocal protests by CRIF, including to President Emmanuel Macron.
The Nov. 8 sentence against Dieudonne comes two years after a lower court ordered him to leave the building that has housed his Main D’Or theater since 2002. The eviction order follows failed safety inspections and a motion to nullify the rental contract for the theater by the owners.
Dieudonne, whom tax authorities say is deliberately insolvent to avoid paying fines for his multiple hate speech convictions, on Nov. 8 also was ordered to pay nearly $6,000 to anti-racism groups that sued him for comparing on stage in 2014 the treatment of blacks by Jewish slave owners to how the Nazis treated Jews.
Separately, the Correctional Tribunal of Paris fined a former English teacher at the prestigious Janson-de-Sailly High School some $1,500 on Nov. 9, Le Parisien reported, over her posting on Facebook last year that “the American Jewish lobby” supports Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and that then-French President Francois Hollande “is a Jew who benefited from his belonging to that community to ascend in politics and who now denies this.”
23 November, 2017
VA: Hate Symbols on Bridge
A Leftist provocation, most likely
Neighbors living on Sangers Lane in Augusta County woke up to swastikas spray-painted on a bridge not far from their homes. There was spray paint there previously, which they had gotten used to, but swastikas and other hateful messages appeared overnight, and neighbors found them on Sunday morning.
Daniel Shifflett, a neighbor in the area, says it is a quiet, rural area, and neighbors were shocked to find such outright expressions of hate emblazoning their road.
"They're wondering why it's happening here, you know, and not somewhere where more people would see it. It's just kind of a rural area, so it just shocked people, because no one would ever really expect it here," said Shifflett.
Deputies with the Augusta County Sheriff's Office responded to calls about the paint, but say they have no leads on who did it.
Canada: Laurier university issues apology amid censorship controversy
Wilfrid Laurier University officials have offered one of their T.A.s an apology for the way they handled a complaint surrounding her tutorial.
The issue started when Lindsay Shepherd, a master’s student, played a controversial YouTube clip about gender-neutral pronouns in her tutorial for students in a communications class.
The clip featured Jordan Peterson, a University of Toronto professor who infamously refuses to use gender pronouns other than “he” or “she.” Shepherd said the video was meant to start a debate in her class, but university staff said it created a toxic environment for transgender students, and accused her of being transphobic.
After a recording of a meeting between Shepherd and officials was shared to Global News, the university’s president and vice chancellor issued an apology to her for the way the situation was handled.
“After listening to this recording, an apology is in order. The conversation I heard does not reflect the values and practices to which Laurier aspires,” the statement from Deborah MacLatchy reads.
The meeting, which Shepherd recorded in secret, took place at the beginning of November and the professor of the course, Nathan Rambukkana, was also present.
Shepherd said she presented the clip of the debate neutrally and without bias, but Rambukkana told her her approach to the clip was tantamount to remaining neutral on other objectionable views such as those of Adolf Hitler. She was told that she should have provided more background on Peterson’s views, including his connections to the alt-right and Canada’s Rebel Media, and condemned him.
Rambukkana also apologized in an open letter to Shepherd also posted online on Tuesday for those remarks.
“This was, obviously, a poorly chosen example. I meant to use it to drive home a point about context by saying here was material that would definitely need to be contextualized rather than presented neutrally, and instead I implied that Dr. Peterson is like Hitler, which is untrue and was never my intention,” he wrote.
He also apologized for having a panel of three people confront Shepherd in the “informal meeting,” which he admitted was intimidating, and for not providing Shepherd with mentorship during the process.
“In not also prioritizing my mentorship role as the course director and your supervisor, I didn’t do enough to try to support you in this meeting, which I deeply regret.”
The school is creating an independent task force to look into the situation along with a review of their processes.
22 November, 2017
Free Speech Isn't Free: Rioters are Costing College Campuses Millions
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
When Charles Murray or Milo Yiannopoulos visit a college campus, administrators don’t just worry about the effect that inflammatory speech might have on their students. They aren’t only concerned about being swept up in the higher education free speech debate, or playing host to a scandal that could taint their school’s reputation for months.
There’s also the cost — which can climb into the millions of dollars.
Colleges, especially public colleges, often shell out enormous amounts of money to provide additional layers of security when controversial speakers visit. If schools are lucky, contentious events will go smoothly. If they aren’t, there could be violent protests, injuries, campus damage and weeks of negative press coverage.
University of California at Berkeley, a historic flashpoint for the free speech debate rooted back to the 1960s, has spent at least $2.5 million on security surrounding controversial speakers since February, says Dan Mogulof, the school’s assistant vice chancellor for public affairs.
That’s $200,000 for Yiannopoulos in February, $600,000 for Ann Coulter (whose appearance was ultimately cancelled by the sponsoring student groups), and at least $600,000 for conservative commentator Ben Shapiro in September. Yiannopoulos’ latest appearance, part of Berkeley’s “Free Speech Week,”will cost upwards of a $1 million, Mogulof estimates.
The University California system even chipped in, covering at least $300,000 of the costs associated with Free Speech Week.
At Berkeley, preparing for a speaker event is a serious undertaking — the university police department painstakingly gathers intelligence before an event, then makes recommendations to the administration for what kind of security might be necessary. Minor considerations — like whether the event is scheduled for daytime or evening, and how many exits the venue has — play a key role in shaping the security plan.
“Universities like Berkeley — public universities, particularly with the demographics that we have and the kind of campus climates we foster — represent for many people on a certain part of the political spectrum everything that’s wrong with the country,” Mogulof says. “You spring that all together, and you’re going to get a lot of attention. And a lot of what these folks want more than anything is attention.”
CA: Compelled speech about abortion under challenge
Compelled speech is clearly not free speech
Abortion foes behind the clinics known as “crisis pregnancy centers” want the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a California law requiring the clinics to inform their patients about the availability of abortions. But if they win the California case, they could lose much more in 16 other states, where laws require doctors to tell patients that abortions could harm them.
The clinics, backed by nationwide groups opposing abortion, argue that the notification mandated by California — that the state makes abortion and reproductive care available at little or no cost — violates their freedom of speech by compelling them to “advertise” abortion and send a message with which they disagree.
21 November, 2017
Facebook is still struggling with the difference between hate speech and censorship
On Nov. 11, thousands of people marched in the streets of Warsaw, Poland, to celebrate the country’s Independence Day. The march attracted racist and neo-fascist groups as well as individuals from all over Europe emboldened by the global rise of the far right. International news was flooded with images of the more menacing attendees: young men bearing signs that proclaimed white supremacy, engulfed in a sea of red flares and smoke.
One collection of such images, published on Facebook by a renowned photojournalist in Poland, was taken down by the social media’s content moderators, once again raising questions about censorship and the platform’s confusing policies on hate speech.
Chris Niedenthal, a family friend of mine, attended the march to practice his craft, not to participate, and posted his photos on Nov. 12, the day after the march. Facebook took them down. He posted them again the next day. Facebook took them down again on Nov. 14.
Niedenthal himself was also blocked from Facebook for 24 hours. “I was, quite naturally, furious when Facebook first deleted my post, and censorship immediately came into mind,” he said. “More important, I felt it was censorship for the wrong reason: A legitimate professional journalist or photojournalist should not be ‘punished’ for doing his duty.”
The images’ disappearance spurred multiple news articles and outrage in Poland, where official censorship reigned for decades under Communist rule. Some Facebook users speculated that the platform was helping quash unflattering portrayals of the march.
Niedenthal’s images showed a young woman, a child, and an older person among the participants. But some of the most striking were those of young men covering their faces with masks and scarves that bore the insignia of nationalist organizations, soccer hooligan groups, and the Celtic sign, often a symbol of white supremacy. Gazes intense, fists raised.
Facebook told Quartz that the photos, because they contained hate speech symbols, were taken down for violating the platform’s “community standards” policy barring content that shows support for hate groups. The captions on the photos were “neutral,” so Facebook’s moderators could not tell if the person posting them supported, opposed, or was indifferent about hate groups, a spokesperson said. Content shared that condemns or merely documents events can remain up. But that which is interpreted to show support for hate groups is banned and will be removed.
Other users had flagged the album as undesirable content, and, each time that happened, a Facebook content moderator took down the photos. Facebook said it was likely a decision of two different members of its 7,500-member team, who are located all over the world and not necessarily in Poland, where they may have had more insight into events on the ground.
Eventually, after Niedenthal protested, Facebook allowed the photos to remain on the platform. Facebook apologized for the error, in a message, an
Big Brother is watching you
Twitter has become Orwell's "Big brother" -- monitoring you even when you are OFFLINE. The aim is reasonable enough but the method is obnoxious
Twitter has announced it will be monitoring its users’ behaviour “on and off” the social media platform, in a bid to tackle hate speech.
Anyone affiliated with extremist organisations will be suspended according to the new policy, which will come into force on 18 December.
The new rules state: “You also may not affiliate with organisations that - whether by their own statements or activity both on and off the platform - use or promote violence against civilians to further their causes.”
Twitter users will also be banned from using “hateful images or symbols” in their profile images of headers.
“You also may not use your username, display name, or profile bio to engage in abusive behaviour, such as targeted harassment or expressing hate towards a person, group, or protected category,” the rules state.
“You may not engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so. We consider abusive behaviour an attempt to harass, intimidate, or silence someone else’s voice.
“You may not direct abuse at someone by sending unwanted sexual content, objectifying them in a sexually explicit manner, or otherwise engaging in sexual misconduct.”
20 November, 2017
Boston free speech rally draws supporters, protesters
30 Stormtroopers arrested
A few dozen free speech advocates rallied peacefully Saturday on Boston Common but just like last summer's event, they were outnumbered by counterprotesters.
The "Rally for the Republic" event was held by conservative groups Resist Marxism and Boston Free Speech despite being denied a permit by the city. Police surrounded the gathering.
Rally speakers gathered at a bandstand on the Common warned that free speech was under threat and accused Antifa and Black Lives Matter groups of being terrorist organizations. White hats with the phrase, "RESIST MARXISM," were thrown into the crowd, many of whom wore pro-Trump apparel, and criticized the media and left-leaning groups for labeling them as hateful.
"I'm here because I support the ideas of free speech and the republic," said rally attendee Alex Moffett, 23, of Burlington, Massachusetts. "There are many people on the other side who believe their ideas are right and are perpetuating violence in the name of those rights." Moffett identifies as a Republican.
One of the speakers, Tammy Lee, said free speech needs to be "known, practiced and given to all."
"We, as a nation, are broken," Lee said. "We must begin to listen to each other, and not just look with our eyes and minds closed"
At least 100 counterprotesters showed up.
"It's really inspiring and awesome to be out here and to be with all these people who're rallying for a cause," said counterprotester Adrian Lee, 19, a sophomore at Boston University. "A lot of people label Antifa solely on their violence but don't realize that they're all out here for a good cause, too."
Resist Marxism has denounced white supremacism repeatedly and publicly. But the August rally came shortly after deadly violence erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia, and it drew thousands who said they feared white nationalists might show up anyway.
Some clashed with police, and more than 30 had been arrested.
Rallygoer Brandon Navom, who claims he was fired from his job before the last free speech rally because his employers found out he planned to speak, described the August event as a "travesty."
"The government suppressed our peaceful gathering," said Navom, 37, of Williamstown. "I believe that societies which engage in discourse and spread logic and reason are peaceful societies."
No injuries were reported at Saturday's rally and counterprotest, and a total of three people were arrested— two for disorderly conduct and the other for assaulting a police officer.
Court Rules Platforms Can Defend Users’ Free Speech Rights, But Fails to Follow Through on Protections for Anonymous Speech
A decision by a California appeals court on Monday recognized that online platforms can fight for their users’ First Amendment rights, though the decision also potentially makes it easier to unmask anonymous online speakers.
Yelp v. Superior Court grew out of a defamation case brought in 2016 by an accountant who claims that an anonymous Yelp reviewer defamed him and his business. When the accountant subpoenaed Yelp for the identity of the reviewer, Yelp refused and asked the trial court to toss the subpoena on grounds that the First Amendment protected the reviewer’s anonymity.
The trial court ruled that Yelp did not have the right to object on behalf of its users and assert their First Amendment rights. It next ruled that even if Yelp could assert its users’ rights, it would have to comply with the subpoena because the reviewer’s statements were defamatory. It then imposed almost $5,000 in sanctions on Yelp for opposing the subpoena.
The trial court’s decision was wrong and dangerous, as it would have prevented online platforms from standing up for their users’ rights in court. Worse, the sanctions sent a signal that platforms could be punished for doing so. When Yelp appealed the decision earlier this year, EFF filed a brief in support [.pdf].
The good news is that the Fourth Appellate District of the California Court of Appeal heard those concerns and reversed the trial court’s ruling regarding Yelp’s ability – known in legal jargon as “standing” – to assert its users’ First Amendment rights.
In upholding Yelp and other online platforms’ legal standing to defend their users’ anonymous speech, the court correctly recognized that the trial court’s ruling would have a chilling effect on anonymous speech and the platforms that allow it. The court also threw out the sanctions the trial court issued against Yelp.
We applaud Yelp for fighting a bad court decision and standing up for its users in the face of court sanctions. Although we’re glad that the court affirmed Yelp’s ability to fight for its users’ rights, another part of Monday’s ruling may ultimately make it easier for parties to unmask anonymous speakers.
After finding that Yelp could argue on behalf of its anonymous reviewer, the appeals court agreed with the trial court that Yelp nevertheless had to turn over information about its user on grounds that the review contained defamatory statements about the accountant.
In arriving at this conclusion, the court adopted a test that provides relatively weak protections for anonymous speakers. That test requires that plaintiffs seeking to unmask anonymous speakers make an initial showing that their legal claims have merit and that the platforms provide notice to the anonymous account being targeted by the subpoena. Once those prerequisites are met, the anonymous speaker has to be unmasked.
EFF does not believe that the California court’s test adequately protects the First Amendment rights of anonymous speakers, especially given that other state and federal courts have developed more protective tests. Anonymity is often a shield used by speakers to express controversial or unpopular views that allows the ensuing debate to focus on the substance of the speech rather than the identity of the speaker.
Courts more protective of the First Amendment right to anonymity typically require that before unmasking speakers, plaintiffs must show that they can prove their claims—similar to what they would need to show at a later stage in the case. And even when plaintiffs prove they have a legitimate case, these courts separately balance plaintiffs’ need to unmask the users against those speakers’ First Amendment rights to anonymity.
By not adopting a more protective test, the California court’s decision potentially makes it easier for civil litigants to pierce online speakers’ anonymity, even when their legal grievances aren’t legitimate. This could invite a fresh wave of lawsuits against anonymous speakers that are designed to harass or intimidate anonymous speakers rather than vindicate actual legal grievances.
19 November, 2017
Two words that may not be spoken in the same breath
Leftists hate everything that is normal in their own society -- which leads to them championing everything that is abnormal in their own society -- such as homosexuals and Muslims. They want to be on the side of both those groups. But what if Muslims despise homosexuals? A problem? Not for a Leftist. You have lots of Freudian defence mechanisms to use. A good one is compartmentalization. You just never mention or even think about the two in the same breath. Tim Blair mocks that below in his commentary on the people who voted "No" to homosexual marriage in Australia's recent plebiscite. You would never guess who they were: Excerpts only below:
“Why did western Sydney overwhelmingly vote no?” asks academic Andy Marks, who subsequently spends several hundred words avoiding the obvious answer.
The assistant vice-chancellor at Western Sydney University continues:
Here's the breakdown on the across western Sydney's 10 federal electorates. On the "no" side of the ledger: Blaxland 73.9 per cent, Chifley 58.7, Fowler 63.7, Greenway 53.6, McMahon 64.9, Mitchell 50.9 and Werriwa 63.7 per cent.
Barring Mitchell, "no" dominated in all Labor held seats. Longstanding MPs, Jason Clare, Ed Husic, Chris Hayes, Michelle Rowland and Chris Bowen might well be considering the implications with respect to the social dimension of the party's broader policies. Or not ....
Instead of "engaging with an incredibly complex debate on cultural values with the sophistication it deserves", we ask "who will think of the cake makers". It's time to recognise the consequences, political and otherwise, of the shifting epicentre of Australian conservative values.
Marks is right that Western Sydney, as a region, is no longer “a homogenous whole”. But he declines to join a “complex debate on cultural values” that recognises the massive Islamic homogeneity within certain Western Sydney suburbs.
Instead, ridiculously, he apparently includes the opinions of non-English speaking Muslims within the broader category of “Australian conservative values”. Similarly evasive is the ABC
Taylor Swift doesn’t need to condemn Trump
Taylor Swift sicced her lawyers on blogger Meghan Herning last month for her September PopFront article in which she alleged that Swift’s new single, ‘Look What You Made Me Do’, contains neo-Nazi imagery and a ‘defence of white privilege and white anger’.
The article began by questioning the claim made by neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer that Swift is a neo-Nazi sleeper agent, before nevertheless moving on to compare Swift to Hitler.
Swift’s lawyers pointed out that, no, she isn’t into the alt-right; she can’t control her height, blondeness or general Aryan looks; and she denies the tenuous links conspiracists have made between her lyrics and Hitler imagery – like Herning’s suggestion that in the ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ video, ‘Taylor lords over an army of models from a podium, akin to what Hitler did in Nazi Germany’.
On 6 November, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) swooped to Herning’s defence, saying it will be representing the blogger, and that Swift can’t sue Herning for defamation because opinions are ‘not capable of being proved true or false’.
Indeed, as ridiculous and incomprehensible as the article was, Swift is wrong to turn to legal action. Herning has the right to say idiotic things online. Swift and her legal team either have a shallow understanding of the First Amendment, or assume they can use money and power to intimidate bloggers.
Nevertheless, the obsession with Swift’s ‘hidden agenda’ is bizarre, and it isn’t just confined to the more crackpot sections of the internet. This week, Marie Claire demanded an explanation from Swift for her decision to remain apolitical during the 2016 presidential election. Apparently, as Swift doesn’t talk politics, feuds with the Kardashian-West clan, and writes from the perspective of someone wounded and vengeful, she must be wearing a MAGA hat at night, if not a swastika on weekends.
For the past 12 years, Swift has managed to channel the the homegrown charm of Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, with a dash of the Nashville country music scene, while gallivanting around New York with Lena Dunham and Karlie Kloss types. By sidestepping politics, she’s shown she doesn’t have to choose between past and present, or sever old ties as she laps up fame and money. She’s a pop star, and although she wields sizeable influence, she has no obligation to be political.
Essentially, the charge against her is that she hasn’t participated in the ‘denouncing Trump’ dog and pony show. This isn’t about her being apolitical, it’s about her failing to endorse socially acceptable liberal policies and candidates.
Worse still was Swift’s refusal to celebrate Hillary Clinton. The message is not so much chime in on politics, Taylor; it’s why weren’t you a #nastygal in #pantsuitnation? Why won’t you freak out about Trump along with the rest of us?
No matter how toxic politics becomes, it’s okay for artists to attempt to keep something sacred. Art can reflect headlines, or be fuelled by them, but it can still stay in a different realm, exempt from the mudslinging contests that make us all weary, miserable enemies. For us peevishly to demand otherwise shows that we want politics to permeate – and taint – every aspect of our lives.
By staying apolitical, Swift is making a shrewd business decision, and protecting herself from critics who are determined to find messages in her music that she never put there in the first place.
17 November, 2017
US opposes Nazi speech, but will vote no at UN to banning it
The United States government wants you to know: It really, truly doesn’t like Nazis.
At the United Nations this week, the U.S. plans to vote against a yearly resolution that condemns the glorification of Nazism, State Department officials said Wednesday. Although it may seem counterintuitive — who wouldn’t want to condemn Nazis? — officials said free speech protections and other problems with the resolution make it impossible for America to support.
Introduced by Russia, the resolution calls on all U.N. nations to ban pro-Nazi speech and organizations, and to implement other restrictions on speech and assembly. That’s a non-starter in the U.S., where First Amendment protections guarantee all the right to utter almost anything they want — even praise for Adolf Hitler’s followers.
The United States votes against the resolution every year, along with just a handful of others, while the European Union nations and some others typically abstain. The resolution always passes overwhelmingly, usually with little fanfare.
But this year, the “no” vote from the U.S. is likely to create more of a stir, given it’s the first rendition of the vote since President Donald Trump entered office. Trump adamantly denies any secret affinity for white supremacists. Yet his blame-on-both-sides response to violence in August at a white nationalist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, gave fodder to Trump critics who say he’s insufficiently critical of neo-Nazis.
So U.S. officials are working overtime this year to try to explain that no, America doesn’t support pro-Nazi speech — but can’t vote for a resolution that calls for outlawing it, either. The vote is scheduled for Thursday in the U.N. General Assembly’s human rights committee.
All resolutions in the General Assembly committees are nonbinding and don’t impose any legal requirements on member nations. But American support for resolutions that contradict domestic law could end up being used as arguments in U.S. federal court, and officials worry about undermining national law enforcement efforts.
Women's Boobs Are Not Free Speech, Says Federal Court
Because 'traditional moral norms' trump civil liberties
To protect public health, safety, and morals, the government has an important interest in preventing women from going topless, a federal appeals court has ruled. And the importance of keeping lady breasts out of public view overrules any First Amendment or equal protection issues that such a policy raises.
But at least one dissenting judge felt differently, describing our topless protagonist as having "engaged in the paradigm of First Amendment speech—a public protest on public land in which the participants sought to change a law that, on its face, treats women differently than men."
The case (Tagami v. City of Chicago) stems from the 2014 ticketing of Sonoko Tagami, who took to the Chicago streets with only opaque body paint over her bare breasts to celebrate "GoTopless Day" that year. Tagami was issued a $100 citation for violating the city's ban on public indecency, which prohibits the public display of female breasts and of all bare butts and genitals. After losing her challenge to the citation, Tagami filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Tagami's suit argued that banning women from going topless in public while allowing men to do so is a violation of the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause as well as her First Amendment rights. Neither the district nor appeals court agreed, dismissing Tagami's claims.
In a November 8 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit held 2–1 that the city's rules don't violate women's constitutional rights. "Chicago's public-nudity ordinance regulates conduct, not speech," wrote Judges Diane Sykes and Frank Easterbrook for the majority. And while "some forms of expressive conduct get First Amendment protection," this doesn't apply unless the conduct is inherently expressive.
16 November, 2017
Australia: Shoe advert that featured topless models wearing just their knickers with the slogan 'fancy a pair?' is banned for being 'degrading' to women
A shoe firm’s ad campaign - featuring female nudity alongside the phrase ‘fancy a pair?’ - has been banned for being ‘degrading’ to women.
Watchdogs ruled that the multimedia adverts for Goodwin Smith Shoes - accompanied by an image of three models wearing just knickers - ‘objectified’ women.
An investigation was launched after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received nine complaints about ads for the Lancashire-based firm.
The breasts of one of the women in the email were exposed, while the second covered her chest with her arm with her nipple exposed and the third posed in front of the others holding a pair of shoes over her chest.
The company’s website also included the claim ‘Fancy a pair?’ and was accompanied by an image of two women who were topless, wearing only knickers and covering their breasts with shoes.
Redfoot Shoes, trading as Goodwin Smith said that the campaign had attempted to portray a ‘fantasy concept’ in which the men were portrayed as being confident’, and was not meant to degrade women.
But the ASA found that the ads breached rules regarding social responsibility as well as harm and offence, and banned them from appearing again.
DePaul University officials scuttle ‘Free Speech Ball,’ citing possibility of hate speech
A private Catholic college in the Chicago area preemptively banned a “Free Speech Ball,” saying the conservative/libertarian demonstration was likely to get out of hand.
An administrator at DePaul University wrote the school’s Young Americans for Liberty chapter just four days prior to the date of the event, saying permission was denied for fear it could foster “an environment which invites hate,” according to Campus Reform.
Campus administrators apparently declined to elaborate on their reasoning and similarly failed to reply to a YAL official to elaborate on the school’s threat to hold rebellious students “accountable” should they go ahead with the planned event, Campus Reform reported.
“Administrators have accused us of ‘providing a platform for hate’ without providing anything to back up their claims,” DePaul YAL chapter president Thomas Barry said, Campus Reform reported. “What we’ve been trying to establish is a platform for free speech. Somehow it seems that those two ideas are seen as one and the same here at DePaul.”
DePaul has found itself in the crosshairs of free-speech advocacy groups before, with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education blasting the institution in September 2016 as perhaps the “worst” university in the U.S. when it comes to creating an environment hostile to free speech.
15 November, 2017
Plain truth can be hate-speech on Quora
I responded to the following question on Quora.com:
"Why has the free movement of people between Canada, Australia, New Zealand & the UK not been implemented? There are similar population sizes, common language, & social, political, economic, & educational systems are all based on the British model"
"Australia and NZ don’t want the blacks — too crime-prone"
Quora deleted my reply on the grounds that it violated their Be Nice, Be Respectful policy
I wrote in response to them:
"Since when is the truth simply expressed disrespectful? The alternative is BS"
On behalf of Quora, Amelia then replied:
"Thanks for your email. We'll be more than happy to clarify our moderation decision here.
Your content was in violation of our Be Nice, Be Respectful policy. This core Quora principle requires that people treat other people on the site with civility, respect, and consideration.
More specifically, your content contained what we consider to be hate speech:
Users are not allowed to post content or adopt a tone that would be interpreted by a reasonable observer as a form of hate speech, particularly toward a race, gender, religion, nationality, ethnicity, political group, sexual orientation or another similar characteristic. Questions and question details about generalizations in these topics should be phrased as neutrally and respectfully as possible.
Our decision is final, and your content will not be reinstated"
My closing comment: "I imagine Amelia is just an apparatchik at Quora so shares the current politically correct hysteria about any mention of blacks that fails to praise them -- but her action deprives their questioner of the answer to his question.
Is that what Quora is about? Is it a cover-up service or an information service? No American is in any doubt about the black crime-rate so why can it not be mentioned in an objective information context? I have had many articles published in the academic journals of the social sciences on questions about race and racism but such discussions must be kept from the general public, apparently. So I suppose that this episode is just another example of Leftists having big problems with the truth -- JR.
Do you have a problem with The Simpsons' Apu? This comedian does
Indians are the most highly paid ethnic group in America so any "stereotyping" has clearly not harmed them
"I hate Apu," the actor Kal Penn says in a new documentary about the penny-pinching, Squishee-slinging, thickly accented convenience store owner on one of the most celebrated TV shows in history. "And because of that, I dislike The Simpsons."
The feelings of South Asian-Americans toward the character and the show he inhabits are the focus of The Problem with Apu, a documentary debuting in the United States on November 19. The brainchild of the actor and stand-up comic Hari Kondabolu, a lifelong lover of The Simpsons, the film wrestles with how a show praised for its incisive humour – over the years, it has explored issues like homophobia and political corruption – could resort to such a charged stereotype. Making matters worse is the fact that the Indian character is voiced by a non-Indian (albeit an Emmy-winning) actor, Hank Azaria.
"Everything with Apu is like this running joke," Kondabolu, 35, said in a phone interview. "And the running joke is that he's Indian."
14 November, 2017
Stupid Leftist hysteria about Russia generates an attack on free speech
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that Russia would respond in kind to what he said were Washington’s measures to restrict the freedom of speech of Russian media organizations operating on U.S. soil.
Putin said however that possible plans to retaliate by declaring U.S. media operating in Russia as foreign agents may be “a little too harsh,” and that the Kremlin was still formulating its exact response.
Kremlin-backed broadcaster Russia Today has been told to register in the United States as a “foreign agent.” U.S. intelligence officials say the broadcaster tried to influence the U.S. presidential election on the Kremlin’s behalf, an allegation the broadcaster and the Kremlin deny.
Speaking to reporters at the end of an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Vietnam, Putin said: “An attack on our media in the United States is an attack on freedom of speech, without a doubt. We’re disappointed.”
“But we will have to formulate some kind of response and it will mirror,” the measures adopted by U.S. authorities towards Russian media in the United States, Putin said.
Facebook slaps 'adult content' ban on... a robin redbreast card: Artist stunned after social media giant brands innocent images as 'sexual'
Maybe the term "breast" in the name of the bird was the problem
It's been condemned for allowing users to post pornography and other vile videos – but now Facebook has bizarrely banned a traditional Christmas card of a robin redbreast and two other seasonal paintings of a stag and a squirrel.
Artist Jackie Charley was hoping sell them through her Facebook shop but a message popped up rejecting them owing to their possible ‘sexual’ and ‘adult’ content.
It read: ‘It looks like we didn’t approve your item because we don’t allow the sale of adult items or services (eg sexual enhancement items or adult videos).’
Facebook confirmed they are investigating the matter to see if there has been an error
As Ms Charley’s charming cards have no content even remotely of an adult nature, she is mystified by the decision.
Mrs Charley repeatedly contacted Facebook by email to ask them to overturn the ban but received no reply.
Facebook insiders yesterday suggested the ban was an error, but a spokesman would only say the firm was investigating the matter
13 November, 2017
I called a trans boy a girl by mistake... and it may cost me my job as a teacher: Maths tutor suspended after praising pupil using the wrong gender
A teacher has been suspended and could face the sack after he ‘accidentally’ called a transgender pupil a ‘girl’ in class when the student identifies as a boy.
Joshua Sutcliffe, 27, who teaches maths at a state secondary school in Oxfordshire, said ‘Well done girls’ to the teenager and a friend when he spotted them working hard.
He apologised when corrected by the pupil, but six weeks later he was suspended from teaching after the pupil’s mother lodged a complaint.
Following an investigation, he has been summoned to a formal disciplinary hearing this week to face misconduct charges for ‘misgendering’.
According to documents seen by The Mail on Sunday, he also faces claims that he is breaching equality policies by referring to the pupil by name rather than as ‘he’ or ‘him’.
The £30,000-a-year teacher said he was ‘distraught’ and had been reduced to tears as teaching was his life, and he branded the actions of the school as ‘political correctness gone mad’.
A sly assault on the freedom of the press in Britain
Some in the House of Lords want to muzzle reporters
It seems like aeons ago now, but at the beginning of this year there was a battle over press freedom in the UK. The government carried out a public consultation over whether or not to implement Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry and Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act – which would have effectively coerced publications into signing up for state-backed regulation. The conclusions were never revealed, but when the Conservative Party won the election (sort of) with a manifesto which pledged to drop Section 40 and Leveson 2, it seemed like the battle had been won.
However, those determined to undermine the free press will not be deterred. And this week a particularly sly attempt was made by peers in the House of Lords to limit the liberty of the press and impose state regulation.
An updated version of the Data Protection Bill is currently passing through parliament. It aims to give individuals more control over their personal data and penalise companies that misuse it – not unreasonable in this internet age we live in. But some peers have hijacked the bill and tabled amendments that would restrict journalists’ ability to investigate wrongdoing.
Historically, there have always been exceptions for journalists when it comes to laws concerning data protection. This basically meant journalists could gather and use personal information, so long as they did so in the public interest, to the end of a worthwhile investigation. The peers’ proposed amendments would undermine this by elevating privacy over public interest, making it easier for individuals to have investigations shut down before the results of them can be published.
Even worse, other amendments to the bill would mean publications would be protected by the public-interest exception only if they were signed up to the state-backed press regulator, Impress. Impress, which is backed by the tabloid-hating Max Mosley, is the only regulator approved by Royal Charter. Most publications adhere to the independent IPSO.
If approved, these amendments would have very serious consequences. As the National Media Association (NMA) said, it is the existing exemptions to data protection which ‘enable investigative journalism and protection of sources’. The NMA says: ‘The amendments would give powerful claimants with something to hide fresh ammunition to pursue legal claims and shut down legitimate public-interest investigation into their activities.
All UK news media operations – broadcast, print or online – would find themselves under incessant legal challenge. This would endanger all reporting of news, features and other editorial material and even the keeping of archives.’
The fact is that journalists cannot do their jobs unless they are free to dig and discover.
12 November, 2017
Congress’s end run around a pillar of online free speech
FREE-SPEECH ADVOCATES—including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology—are afraid that a bill currently making its way through Congress could significantly weaken existing protections for online speech.
In the United States, one of the most critical planks supporting free expression online is a section of the 1996 Communications Decency Act known as Section 230, often referred to as the “safe harbor” clause. The EFF describes it as “the most important law protecting internet speech.”
Section 230 states that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” In a nutshell, this clause gives any online service provider immunity from legal liability for the content that its members or users post (unless it involves either criminal activity or intellectual property).
This means that platforms like Facebook and Twitter and Amazon can’t be sued if one of their users publishes something that is libellous or offensive. But it also protects much smaller platforms and online communities from similar kinds of liability, and digital news companies and online publishers from being taken to court for the comments that readers post on articles.
The risk is that if those protections are weakened, publishers will decide it’s not worth it to host any user-generated content at all, which could significantly reduce the amount of reader interaction in the form of crowdsourced and collaborative journalism.
The bill that the EFF and others are so concerned about is called the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act or SESTA, which would amend Section 230. The bill was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee this week.
According to its main sponsor, Republican Senator Bob Portman from Ohio, the legislation will make it easier to crack down on sex trafficking, which is facilitated in some cases through online services like Backpage, a provider of adult classified-ad listings that is currently facing a potential grand jury indictment.
Most people would agree that bringing an end to sex trafficking is a noble goal—although there are those who disagree about whether SESTA will be able to do so (some experts believe it could actually expose sex trafficking victims to more harm, and make it more difficult to stop the practice by driving it underground). But in the process of reaching that goal, the proposed law could blast a large hole right through the free-speech protections of Section 230.
US free speech tracker aims to ‘calm things down’
This could be very useful but the devil will be in the detail. Will it only be events that the Left dislikes that will be catalogued? A fairly run catalogue would reveal the overwhelmingly Lefist presence behind censorship
Scores of masked individuals deliberately setting fires and throwing fireworks in the grounds of the University of California, Berkeley in protest against a planned speech by far-right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos. A Princeton University professor receiving death threats and going into hiding after videos of a commencement speech in which she criticised Donald Trump went viral. A Middlebury College faculty member suffering a neck injury and concussion after violence erupted at a talk by the controversial social scientist Charles Murray while she attempted to moderate.
Infringements of free speech on US university campuses are now being catalogued as part of a project from researchers at Georgetown University that aims to assess the condition of free speech in American higher education, civil society and state and local government.
So far 62 incidents, in which free speech has been challenged or compromised during or since 2016, are listed on the publicly available Free Speech Tracker. The majority of these took place on university campuses.
The project will also host public forums and interviews to collect views about the struggle to sustain First Amendment values.
Sanford J. Ungar, a journalist and former president of Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland, is director of the initiative. He said that the tracker already highlights an interesting trend: the same “lightning rods” are involved in many of the events.
“It is as though copycat crimes – copycat invasions of the First Amendment – are taking place around the country. I’m hoping that we’ll all be able to learn lessons from those and figure out what we have to do to prevent this from getting out of hand,” he told Times Higher Education.
Two such prominent lightning rods are Mr Yiannopoulos and Richard Spencer, president of white supremacist thinktank the National Policy Institute and one of the featured speakers at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this year that resulted in the killing of a protester opposing the far Right.
Mr Ungar said that part of the tracker’s value was to put instances involving such figures on campuses in a wider context so that people could see that free speech challenges are “a truly national phenomenon”.
“People always say that the reason that university students have to confront these issues is that they have to be ready to participate in civil society, they have to act like grown-ups. You look at what’s going on in civil society, as reflected by the tracker, and the grown-ups aren’t doing so well,” he said.
“I hope that my project will, in due course, have some concrete suggestions or proposals about how to organise our future dealings with free speech so as to calm things down a bit,” he added.
10 November, 2017
Air Force Academy Graffiti: Yup, It Was Another Hate Hoax
Remember in late September when Air Force Academy supremo Jay Silveria was a media sensation for denouncing racism following obviously Trump-inspired racist graffiti at the prep school the Academy runs for jocks and affirmative action cases? NPR wrote:
‘You Should Be Outraged,’ Air Force Academy Head Tells Cadets About Racism On Campus
Yeah, well, whaddaya know? It was another Hate Hoax.
From Denver 7 News:
One of the black cadets allegedly targeted by racial slurs scrawled on a whiteboard at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School was responsible for the incident, Air Force Academy officials announced Tuesday.
Officials say the cadet admitted to writing the messages on the whiteboard outside the dorm rooms of five black cadet candidates. The cadet is no longer at the school…
Furious vegans in Australia
A LIGHT-HEARTED sign above a Woolworths meat display has sparked online debate after one customer slammed it as “disrespectful”.
“What do you call a cow with no legs? Ground beef,” it reads.
Customer Lesley Millward shared a photo of the sign, taken at Woolworths in the Adelaide suburb of Glenelg, to the supermarket’s Facebook page on Sunday night. “What a disrespectful & insensitive bunch who work at Woolworths Glenelg,” she wrote.
The post was shared more than 1100 times and attracted more than 12,000 comments before being deleted, with some people agreeing with Ms Millward but many defending the supermarket and sharing their own animal jokes.
“What do you call a deer with no eyes? No idea,” wrote Melanie Smith, while Mara Henry asked, “What do you call a cow with three legs? Lean beef.”
?Simone Camilleri said she was “happy to see your staff have a great sense of humour”.
“Don’t worry about the ‘offended’ people,” she wrote. “I think a lot more people would be offended if you took it down! Can’t please everyone. This joke is a golden oldie and I support it.”
But John Smith argued that “people used to find jokes about black people funny too”. “Not in this day and age, time to move into the 21st century mate, this is distasteful at best,” he wrote.
Woolworths responded by saying it takes “all feedback on board”. “While we understand our team’s lighthearted touch with the display, we would never intentionally offend anyone,” the company wrote.
9 November, 2017
No Arrest in Kansas State Hate Hoax
A black Kansas man has admitted he put racist graffiti on his own car as a Halloween prank that got out of hand, police said Monday.
Photographs posted on social media Wednesday showed the car covered with racial slurs against blacks and messages that included “Go Home,” ”Date your own kind,” and “Die.”
The vehicle, covered in graffiti scrawled with washable paint, was parked Wednesday at an apartment complex near Kansas State University and the incident fueled racial tensions at the university and in the community.
An emergency meeting of the Black Student Union called that evening drew concerned administrators and community leaders as well as students. Kansas State held a Facebook Live event the next day with worried parents. The university stepped up patrols on campus. The FBI opened a civil rights investigation into a possible hate crime.
But on Monday the Riley County Police Department issued a news release saying the 21-year-old owner of the vehicle, Dauntarius Williams, had told investigators that he was responsible for the graffiti.
Authorities concluded that charging him for filing a false report would “not be in the best interests of the citizens" Meaning: "Because he is black"
Taylor Swift under fire after threatening to sue blogger over 'alt-right' article
Taylor Swift and the American Civil Liberties Union are butting heads.
The organisation sent Swift's legal team a strongly worded letter denouncing her threat to sue a California blogger who accused the singer of supporting the white supremacy movement. The ACLU made the letter public on Tuesday.
"This is a completely unsupported attempt to suppress constitutionally protected speech," ACLU of Northern California attorney Michael Risher told Entertainment Weekly.
The spat began when Meghan Herning wrote a piece on the obscure culture blog PopFront that accuses Swift of supporting racist eugenics and compares the singer to Adolf Hitler
The main takeaway is that some white supremacists may have embraced Swift's popular lyrics and music videos as supportive of their beliefs, and that Swift is racist for not publicly decrying them.
Herning specifically focused on Swift's new hit single Look What You Made Me Do, which Herning claimed seems to offer "subtle, quiet white support of a racial hierarchy." She wondered if the song serves "as indoctrination into white supremacy" for young girls.
In response, Swift's legal team sent a letter to Herning, who serves as the executive editor of PopFront, demanding a retraction of the story, which it called "provably false and defamatory." The letter said Swift is "prepared to proceed with litigation" if the story isn't retracted.
The letter, while menacing, didn't legally require anything of the blogger. It was the first step toward a defamation lawsuit, which would be hard for Swift to win. Given that she is a public figure, not a private person, she would have to show in court that the blogger made the statements with "actual malice" - in other words, knowing they were untrue and publishing them specifically to destroy the pop star's character.
People in Swift's position rarely prevail in defamation lawsuits, but it's not uncommon for celebrities to use cease-and-desist orders, which have no force of law, to suppress negative stories.
The ACLU fired back with a letter on Oct. 25, claiming neither Herning nor PopFront would remove the article and that Swift's arguments don't hold water.
"The blog post is a mix of core political speech and critical commentary; it discusses current politics in this country, the recent rise of white supremacy, and the fact that some white supremacists have apparently embraced Ms. Swift, along with a critical interpretation of some of Ms. Swift's music, lyrics, and videos," the letter stated.
8 November, 2017
US judge says “global de-indexing order” against Google threatens free speech
Canadian courts can't rule the Internet—at least not outside Canada.
A US federal judge has stopped a ruling from the Canadian Supreme Court from going into effect in the US. The Canadian order would have ordered Google to de-index all pages belonging to a company called Datalink, which was allegedly selling products that violated the IP of Vancouver-based Equustek.
When the order came down earlier this year, Google filed a lawsuit in US federal court seeking to render the Canadian order unenforceable stateside. Google called the Canadian order "repugnant" to the First Amendment, and it pointed out that the Canadian plaintiffs "never established any violation of their rights under US law."
Equustek never showed up to defend itself in the US court case, making a Google victory all but assured.
On Thursday, US District Judge Edward Davila made it official, granting a preliminary injunction that will stop Equustek's hard-won Canadian ruling from being enforced in the US. Davila held (PDF) that the order violated Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which prevents online platforms from being held responsible for content posted by others.
Elizabeth Warren supports "no censorship" on college campuses
She's pretty far Left so that is something of a surprise. She is the most probable Democrat Presidential candidate in 2014 so it is also reassuring. Whether she would translate words into actions is the doubt
THE U.S. SENATE waded into the debate about free speech on college campuses Thursday, as a panel of experts offered their views on what has emerged as an increasingly controversial issue on college campuses.
The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions convened the hearing amid a national debate on how to protect free speech on campuses, including by protecting the rights of those who may harbor hateful views.
Toward the end of the committee hearing, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, one of the signatories on that letter, said colleges should not prohibit speakers no matter how extreme their views are. She also condemned extremists on the right and the left who use violence against people they disagree with.
Warren, D-Mass., gave the example of right-wing intellectual Charles Murray, who she called an extremist who wears a “fancy suit and peddles racist junk science about how white men are biologically speaking intellectually superior to everyone else.” She encouraged people to challenge his views.
“As someone who worked as an academic researcher for decades, I think that spouting fake science is extremely corrosive to public policy and should be called out in public at every possible opportunity,” said Warren, who spent most of her life in academia, including many years teaching law at Harvard University.
Still, she rejected censorship.
“I think it’s dangerous to suppress speech. First, suppression can backfire. Instead of shutting up individuals with disgusting views it becomes a launching pad to national attention,” Warren said. “Bigots and white supremacists can make themselves out to be First Amendment martyrs and grow their audiences. And second, suppression suggests weakness, It makes us sound afraid, that we’re afraid we can’t defeat evil ideas with good ideas.”
Her comments on Prof. Murray do her no credit. They are just typical Leftist abuse. How relevant is it that he wears a fancy suit? And Murray does NOT claim that white men are superior intellectually to everyone else. Murray is well aware of the higher average IQ scores among Jews and East Asians. A quote from him: "I have always thought that the Chinese and Japanese civilizations had elements that represented the apex of human accomplishment in certain domains". His first wife was actually Asian. A pretty strange white racist!
7 November, 2017
Trump-supporting restaurant closed down by the Left
One wonders that they didn't realize how much hate they would attract
Nearly a month after closing the doors to their restaurant near the University of Arizona, the owners of Cup It Up American Grill are speaking out about what happened, while the community debates what free speech really means.
On Oct. 6, the Cup It Up store co-owners shared political views via its business’ Facebook account. The post began, “It’s time Cup it Up American Grill made a statement," and continued to list causes they believed in and supported, and those they did not.
The post declared support for President Donald Trump, drug screenings for welfare recipients, repealing Obamacare and more. The post also said the restaurant did not believe in kneeling for the national anthem, global warming, fake news and other issues.
It concluded with, “If you disagree with this post, please share it with 100 friends and we won’t be expecting you any time soon!” The restaurant’s university-area address was listed at the end of the statement.
The post incited a rapid response from the Tucson community. By the following Monday, Oct. 9, the three owners — Julian Alarcon, Jay Warren and Christopher Smith — had agreed to permanently close the restaurant.
According to Alarcon, who said he had no part in the post, the choice to close was in a large part over the backlash, but primarily out of concern for their employees' safety.
“Let's be perfectly clear, the restaurant is closed because the post that Chris and Jay made," Alarcon said. “The negative backlash, although some of it was really bad, it wouldn’t have been a major concern if they had just put maybe a few of those ideas on there... we alienated too many people.”
According to Warren, many of the employees had already chosen to quit out of disagreement with Warren and Smith’s beliefs.
When asked what motivated the post, Warren said it was a combination of things. He cited the shooting in Las Vegas and the gun-control discussion it invoked, the political climate in general and the feeling of being engulfed in all that was going on in the world at the time.
“The number one thing was the national anthem and the NFL kneeling," he said. “I’m not going to say it got out of control, but it grew. The post grew from what was going to be a simple few statements..."
The post, and the community’s negative reaction to it, prompted Ana Henderson of the Pima County Republican Party to respond via the party’s official Facebook page. Her statement, which began, “Take a stand Tucson!” called on people to “take action in support of their freedom," and rally in support of Cup It Up.
Chairman of the Pima County Republican Party, David Eppihimer, took issue with Cup it Up's closure. “It is just a tragedy that the place had to close because of the disrespect at the U of A community toward freedom of expression; of ideas not leftist,” he said.
My pro-free speech views made me the target of a smear campaign at Vassar College
William A. Jacobson
My lecture against squeezing out free speech from colleges got me smeared. The students who smeared me got a safe space complete with coloring books and markers.
I became the campus-wide object of hate at Vassar College for defending free speech
It will come no surprise that campuses face a free-speech crisis at many levels.
From speech codes to kangaroo campus courts to lack of faculty political diversity, non-progressive voices are being pushed off campus.
But there is an aspect of the free speech problem that gets most of the headlines because of the viral videos.
From UC Berkeley in the west to Middlebury College in the northeast, and at dozens of colleges and universities in between, we have seen speakers disrupted, shouted-down, shut-down and threatened. Almost all such speakers were right of center, and almost all of the perpetrators were progressive students.
At Cornell University, where I teach at the law school, former Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum was heckled and Tea Party activist Michael Johns was forced to hold his appearance at a secret location due to threats of disruption.
I have watched these anti-free speech mobs from a distance, and from a news perspective. At my website, Legal Insurrection, I’ve written about many dozens of such incidents which started with attacks on Israeli and pro-Israeli speakers going back almost a decade and now have migrated into the mainstream.
I have given many lectures on campuses, mostly focusing on opposing the academic boycott of Israel and on the subject of anti-Semitism.
But I’m not a household name. And I’m not particularly controversial, although I do stick out at Cornell as one of only a small number of openly politically conservative faculty members.
So despite my campus speeches and conservative politics, I never really thought the anti-free speech mob would come for me. Until they did, at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
I previously spoke at Vassar in 2014 about academic freedom and the Israel boycott, at the invitation of the Vassar Conservative Libertarian Union. That small group, numbering fewer than 20 students on a campus of 2400 students, invited me back to speak on Oct. 25, 2017, on the topic of “hate speech” and free speech on campus.
That topic was important to me, particularly after the Charlottesville torch march and subsequent riots and killing of a young woman. I feared that the normal tension between free speech on campus and the desire to create an atmosphere where all groups would feel welcome, would sway campus politics towards greater speech restrictions.
My speech was to be titled “Hate Speech” is Still Free Speech, Even After Charlottesville. That title, which is an accurate statement of the law, focused on the dilemma of constitutional rights versus campus inclusiveness goals. Through clerical error, VCLU filed for funding of the speech under a different name, An Examination of Hate Speech and Free Speech.
Regardless of title, the planned discussion of “hate speech” as protected speech set in motion a smear campaign against me and attempts to stop my speech that left me feeling like I was going through an out-of-body experience.
A student activist group at Vassar, with the help of Vassar student government, spread false claims to the entire student body that event information was shared by me “on multiple white nationalist websites,” that there was “active encouragement for other white nationalists to come to the event,” and that there was a need to “protect the people that this speaker has targeted in the past.” None of this was true.
Two forums were held attended by over 200 students, faculty and staff, for the purpose of planning how to prevent ME from harming students. The claim reportedly was made at that forum that the “speaker himself is trying to incite violence.” That was a lie without any factual basis.
The student activists put together a research team to pore though my thousands of blog posts in order to falsely portray me as the equivalent of a Richard Spencer-type character. Being mainstream right-of-center became the equivalent of being a neo-Nazi or White Supremacist.
So complete was the demonization that one event poster was defaced by putting horns on my head.
Students put together a safety plan for the day of my speech that reads like parody, but was real. It included the now-common “safe spaces,” but also safety and emotional support teams. The Library was designated one such safe space and “will provide coloring books, zine kits, markers, construction paper etc.,” per a campus email. In case students had trouble finding a safe space, “Safe(r) spaces will be occupied by designated Vassar students with glowsticks.”
This all was surreal.
And then the Vassar student government moved in to kill the event, demanding in a letter from the Executive Board that Vassar’s president prevent me from appearing:
“We strongly urge you, on account of students undergoing serious and real pain, to take our words and ideas seriously, and work towards breaching the contract, ultimately preventing him from coming to campus on Wednesday... We urge you to think critically about these things. Rather than just engaging the abstract, we urge you to understand how these ideas have physical implications for the safety and well-being of real students on this campus..."
I was permitted to appear, under heavy security.
The event itself was as wonderful as the demonization campaign was awful. The room was at capacity of 200 students, with an overflow crowd in the hallway. The students listened to me discuss constitutional principles of free speech, how those principles do and do not apply at private colleges and how we should aspire to make campuses the most free places, not the least free.
There were no disruptions, not even from the 2-3 dozen students dressed all in black as a protest. Almost all students stayed to the end of the 45 minute lecture and 120-minute Q&A.
This Vassar experience left me shaken.
Because I committed to discussing free speech and the constitutional protection of even hateful speech, I was made the object of hate by student activists who whipped the campus into a frenzy.
Why would any right-of-center student, faculty member or guest speaker want to endure what I had to go through? For that matter, why would any liberal defender of free speech want to undergo such a smear campaign?
And isn’t that the point? While I was permitted to speak, the message was sent that support for the 1st Amendment and freedom of speech is not welcome. To get to speak on these sensitive yet critical topics means you have to run the gauntlet of anti-free speech progressives.
The mob didn’t stop me from speaking. But the damage was done.
6 November, 2017
When Disagreement Is Evil
Many members of the political press are very liberal. Increasingly, in fact, left-wing blogs and commentary sites serve as a training ground for political reporters. Reporters float in and out of progressive institutions gaining the veneer of objectivity, but they never are. And with their increasingly strident progressivism fueled by being in a progressive hive, it becomes easier and easier to portray conservatives as not wrong but evil.
Consider the gubernatorial election in Virginia. Just last week, a Democratic member of the Virginia legislature was caught on tape calling Republicans “evil.” The crowd cheered. Concurrently, Democrats were running an ad not against Ed Gillespie, the Republicans’ gubernatorial nominee, but against his voters.
The ad featured a man in a Ford truck with a “Don’t Tread on Me” Gadsden flag license plate on the front. At the rear of the truck was a Confederate battle flag and a “Gillespie for Governor” bumper sticker. The man driving the truck was trying to run over Muslim, Hispanic, and black children. It was how Democrats see not just Gillespie voters but Trump voters.
The ad stands in stark contrast to the real world. There, where evil goes by the name “radical Islam” and not “Republican,” a Muslim man killed eight people driving up a pedestrian walkway in New York City. The contrast between the fever dreams of the Democrats and reality could not be more striking. In Democrat rhetoric and dreams, Republicans in general and Trump voters in particular are the racist, evil monsters who run over Muslim children. In reality, a Muslim terrorist ran over a diverse group of people in New York City.
The reaction of the press corps who knows not a truck driver was predictable and swift after the New York City attack happened. They openly worried about a backlash against Muslims. Then they congratulated themselves for noting that the white guy in Las Vegas had a bump stock, which Congress has yet to ban. But, they noted, at least the New York terrorist had no guns. Of course, had Congress banned the bump stock the American citizen in Las Vegas would still have had a constitutional right to guns. But had Democrats not created the diversity visa program, there would have been no terrorist running over people in New York City. That is the reality they choose to ignore.
In their mostly large cities, progressives and the press have isolated themselves from others. It is far easier for a progressive to avoid daily contact with a conservative than it is for a conservative to avoid progressives. It is also far more likely that a Republican will encounter more diverse voices in his party than a Democrat will. Democrats have made pro-life and traditional marriage supporters unwelcome in their party. Republicans have both pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage supporters among them.
Democrats talk a great game on tolerance and diversity, but they increasingly view anyone who thinks differently from them as evil. They can do so only because they have chosen the superficial diversity of color and gender over the more complex diversity of thought.
University Melts Down After A Sorority Girl Dressed As Pocahontas For Halloween
Pocahontas was a rather sympathetic character so one might have thought that this was praise for her people
The governing body of University of Oklahoma sorority’s system condemned one of its members on Thursday for dressing up as Pocahontas for Halloween.
Reagan West, a member of OU’s Pi Beta Phi chapter, decided to dress up as a “Pocahottie” for Halloween as a way to stick it to political correctness, according to a now-deleted tweet.
The backlash against this costume decision was overwhelming on social media, with many leftists encouraging harassment against the offending sorority member.
Here’s my SWEET Halloween costume that justifies I’m related to Pocahontas … who was raped as a young girl. Yay cultural appropriation !!! pic.twitter.com/6JG1JeU2Vd — Davan (@DavanRaby) November 2, 2017
One of the leaders of the harassment against West was that of an account with the handle @sydnerain, a Native American student at Oklahoma.
In an unhinged tweet thread now hidden behind a private account, @sydnerain told her followers to “drag” the sorority member for being a “white supremacist.”
“I’d like to kick off Native American Heritage Month with this drag because y’all need to know we are not playing with you. This has to stop,” sydnerain declared.
“Here we observe the settler [West] at her finest: aware of the harm she will commit to an entire community, she goes for it, like a bitch would,” another tweet read.
The thread earned hundreds of retweets and likes before she locked her account.
West herself issued an apology following the outrage against her costume. “I am truly sorry if I unintentionally offended anyone in the Native American community with my Pocahontas Halloween costume,” West said in her statement shared on Twitter. “It was never my intent to be disrespectful.”
5 November, 2017
Canadian holocaust memorial fails to mention Jews
by Dan Bilefsky
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, center, touring the newly inaugurated National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa last week. Credit Canadian Prime Minister's Office
The architecture of Canada’s new National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa is both symbolic and haunting, with six concrete triangles depicting the stars that Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany, and that marked millions of them for extermination during World War II.
But while the structure’s design embodies Jewish suffering during the Holocaust, a plaque placed outside it failed to mention Jews or anti-Semitism, an omission that has drawn furious criticism.
The plaque outside the memorial — the country’s first national Holocaust monument, 10 years in the making and inaugurated by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week — paid tribute to the “millions of men, women and children murdered during the Holocaust” and the “survivors who persevered and were able to make their way to Canada after one of the darkest chapters in history.”
The omission of any mention of Jews in the inscription was immediately seized upon by opposition politicians, rights advocates and the Israeli news media. Some groups turned to social media to express criticism. The plaque was removed.
The Times of Israel headline blared, “Canada Holocaust memorial omits any mention of Jews, anti-Semitism.”
David Sweet, a lawmaker from the opposition Conservative Party, asked Canada’s Parliament, “How could the prime minister permit such a glaring omission of reference to anti-Semitism and the fact that the millions of men, women and children who were murdered were overwhelmingly Jewish?” He added: “If we are going to stamp out hatred of Jews, it is important to get history right.”
British government orders civil servants to avoid calling taxpayers 'he' and 'she' or assuming a 'Mr' is male so transgender people are not offended
Civil servants should avoid using gendered pronouns like 'he' and 'she' or assuming someone with the title 'Mr' is male, according to the latest government directives.
The rules, which apply to all Whitehall departments, are intended to avoid causing offence to people whose chosen gender does not identify with their biological sex.
The Service Manual is produced by the Cabinet Office and used by government departments to design their websites.
In the section on gender it advises: ‘You should address the user as “you” where possible and avoid using gendered pronouns like “he” and “she”.’
Pronouns are allowed in some cases, the document states, but civil servants should never guess a person’s gender from their title.
Philip Davies, MP for Shipley, called the directives - which were last updated in December 2016 and remain current - 'politically-correct claptrap'.
3 November, 2017
Poll: 71% of Americans Say Political Correctness Has Silenced Discussions Society Needs to Have, 58% Have Political Views They’re Afraid to Share
The Cato 2017 Free Speech and Tolerance Survey, a new national poll of 2,300 U.S. adults, finds that 71% Americans believe that political correctness has silenced important discussions our society needs to have. The consequences are personal—58% of Americans believe the political climate prevents them from sharing their own political beliefs.
Democrats are unique, however, in that a slim majority (53%) do not feel the need to self-censor. Conversely, strong majorities of Republicans (73%) and independents (58%) say they keep some political beliefs to themselves.
It follows that a solid majority (59%) of Americans think people should be allowed to express unpopular opinions in public, even those deeply offensive to others. On the other hand, 40% think government should prevent hate speech. Despite this, the survey also found Americans willing to censor, regulate, or punish a wide variety of speech and expression they personally find offensive
PragerU Sues YouTube For Discriminating Against Conservative Videos
Anti-discrimination law probably applies
Those blackballed from social media platforms for sharing views dissenting from prevailing progressive Silicon Valley orthodoxy have to date had little recourse against the tech speech police. That is why PragerU’s newly filed suit against Google and Google-owned YouTube alleging unlawful censorship and free speech discrimination based on the educational video purveyor’s conservative political viewpoint has the potential to be groundbreaking.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in California, details upwards of 50 PragerU educational videos that YouTube has, in PragerU’s view, unjustifiably slapped with “restricted mode” or “demonetization” filters, violating its First Amendment right to free speech. These filters limit or otherwise prevent viewers, based on characteristics like age, from consuming content deemed “inappropriate.”
Basic Conservative Ideas Are Totally ‘Inappropriate’?
The videos in question cover a wide range of subjects from national security and foreign policy, to the Second Amendment and abortion—that is, the very political speech that our courts have argued is at the core of the First Amendment
Leaving aside the inherent subjectivity for a moment, if PragerU’s content is “appropriate,” and other publishers are able to upload similar content without being penalized, then what better explanation is there for YouTube’s censorship than viewpoint discrimination? PragerU’s dealings with YouTube over its content restrictions only strengthen the validity of this question.
2 November, 2017
Incorrect name for an Irish hospital
In Greek mythology, a phoenix is a long-lived bird. A phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor
Simon Harris has been urged to rename the Phoenix Children’s Hospital after medical chiefs warned it was insensitive to parents of deceased children whose organs were incinerated after being kept without permission.
The chosen name of the €1 billion national children’s hospital on the campus of St James’s Hospital in Dublin 8 was announced by the health minister last Monday.
It has since emerged that on October 12 the medical board of the three children’s hospitals in the capital warned Eilish Hardiman, chief executive of the body now known as Phoenix Children’s Health, that the name was unsuitable.
They said it would cause confusion at international meetings because there is already a Phoenix Children’s Hospital which is a well-known academic centre in the United States.
“Many also felt that the name was very insensitive to the families of the children whose organs were retained and subsequently incinerated, and would serve as a constant reminder to these families of their loss,” Shoana Quinn, chairwoman of the Joint Medical Board of Crumlin, Temple Street and Tallaght, wrote.
Dr Quinn said that the board had voted unanimously to reject the name.
In 1998 many bereaved Irish parents learnt that the organs of their dead children had been removed and retained by the hospitals where they died, in some cases being sold for research or incinerated with hospital waste. The discoveries led to the €20 million Dunne inquiry, whose report was never published, and a new national post-mortem policy.
Brendan Howlin, the Labour leader, said last night that Mr Harris should rename the hospital.
Feds: Racist graffiti, arson at south KC church were cover-up for theft by black employee
A maintenance man at a south Kansas City church spray-painted racist graffiti on the front entrance and set a fire inside — all to cover up his theft of money to buy crack cocaine, according to documents filed in federal court on Monday.
Nathaniel D. Nelson was charged in U.S. District Court with committing an arson inside the adjoining cultural center at the predominantly black Concord Fortress of Hope Church, where he was also a member.
Nelson, 48, had previously served time in prison for arson and burglary and was last released in 2011.
According to allegations in the affidavit filed in court to support the charges, Nelson admitted to stealing money from inside the church’s cultural center to buy crack cocaine. Nelson, who is black, said he had spray-painted the racist graffiti and set the fire in an attempt to throw off investigators, according to the affidavit.
Members of the church at 11050 W. Longview Parkway were greeted Sunday morning to the graffiti, which included a slur directed at black people, the letters “KKK” and what appeared to be an attempt at making a swastika.
The fire was set inside the adjoining Concord Cultural Center. Nelson allegedly said he used clothing and paper towels to set fire on a chair in an office. The building’s sprinkler system extinguished the blaze before it spread.
Nelson was captured on a video inside the building’s foyer just before he unplugged the surveillance system, according to documents. But he was unaware of a second system, which recorded video of him outside spray-painting the graffiti, according to the allegations.
He was identified on the video by Deputy Kansas City Police Chief Karl Oakman, who is a member of the church.
According to the allegations contained in the affidavit: Nelson told investigators that he smoked crack inside his office at the church before attempting to break into the finance office, which was the only room he did not have a key for.
When he was unable to break in, he rummaged through two other offices and stole about $230. He left to buy more crack, returned to the church and broke into two vending machines, but was able to get only a few dollars.
He left again to buy more crack, which he brought back to the church to smoke. He allegedly set the fire before leaving.
Nelson told investigators that he attempted to create an alibi by going to a hospital emergency room, but he left when hospital workers wanted him to take a drug test.
Nelson had been convicted of second-degree arson and financial crimes like forgery and passing a bad check, according to Jackson County court records.
On Monday, Nelson was charged with the arson in federal court because prosecutors allege that the building where the fire was set is used for interstate commerce. During a brief court appearance that afternoon, a federal magistrate judge ordered that Nelson remain in custody pending a detention hearing later in the week.
Federal prosecutors are asking that Nelson be held without bond while the case is pending.
1 November, 2017
Will Washington pressure Silicon Valley to quell free speech?
Conservatives have warned for years about the growing anti-speech sentiment in Washington, a trend finding all too much comfort in Silicon Valley.
Twitter recently blocked Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., from promoting a campaign ad. Her "crime?" Being pro-life and attacking Planned Parenthood. The congresswoman claimed she had "fought Planned Parenthood" and "stopped the sale of baby body parts," statements Twitter deemed too "inflammatory." The company worried Blackburn's pro-life stance would "evoke a strong negative reaction."
Is that now the barometer for acceptable speech? If I may offend you, I deserve to be silenced?
Blackburn was certainly not the first pro-life victim of censorship. Live Action President Lila Rose was blocked from advertising on Twitter because she dared to criticize Planned Parenthood. Her ad, which accurately claimed that Planned Parenthood performs over 320,000 abortions a year, was also labeled "inflammatory."
And of course, the abortion lobby's promotion of its services and criticism of Republicans are anything but inflammatory. A glance at Planned Parenthood's Twitter feed leaves you with the misleading message: "Stop the Trump administration's attack on birth control access," as if stores were preparing to stop selling contraception any day now. Apparently, only conservative speech is considered "inflammatory."
And who can forget Facebook's clampdown on conservative news? Company officials allegedly "filtered out stories on conservative topics from conservative sources," a blatant attempt to silence speech they oppose. Congress is now targeting Russian-bought Facebook ads in another effort to restrict purportedly undesirable speech and Facebook appears all too eager to help out.
In many ways, Silicon Valley's anti-speech activism is a betrayal of the simple idea that drove the explosive growth of the Internet as an alternative to traditional, heavily moderated platforms: More speech is in the public interest and everyone has a right to be heard. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media companies have given billions of people an unprecedented platform to speak their minds and listen (or not listen) to various perspectives — liberal or conservative. Between Facebook and Twitter, more than two billion users now use Silicon Valley's products to exercise their First Amendment rights and to freely associate with friend networks, business groups, and political organizations.
Free speech and free association are the foundation of American democracy. Silicon Valley's growing censorship of any speech is an attack on all speech — and a vibrant democracy. Whether you're a pro-life activist or a Planned Parenthood representative, the First Amendment enshrines the same right to free speech. It is not up to Facebook and Twitter officials to dictate which speech is acceptable and which isn't.
Naturally, private enterprises may control speech on their physical and digital premises. But kowtowing to the mob — whether establishment insiders or easily offended snowflakes — is the wrong approach. Such groupthink invites the very government interference the Internet should be free of.
Nor is it the government's responsibility to assume the role of George Orwell's "thinkpol." While Silicon Valley stifles public speech, elected officials increasingly abuse their power to restrict the flow of information. In the 115th Congress, dozens of bills have been introduced to expand federal intrusion into political speech. Some would grant the Federal Election Commission more expansive powers to regulate — and prosecute — campaign contributions and super PAC spending. They would intrude upon all Americans' right to choose whom they associate and speak with.
Others target the elusive specter of "foreign money" as an excuse to burden all political advertising, as if a few more TV ads endanger our democracy.
Democrats primarily lead the anti-speech brigade, but undermining the First Amendment has become bipartisan sport. The Restoring Integrity to America's Elections Act — co-sponsored by seven Republicans — would centralize the FEC's power in a single unelected political appointee. Democrat or Republican, the FEC appointee could weaponize the agency against speech he or she opposed — not unlike Facebook or Twitter.
It boils down to a simple question: Do you want someone else deciding if you get to speak? If you believe you're immune because your speech is "acceptable," while other speech is "unacceptable," then you're missing the point. No individual should ever have the right to silence another's speech with the heavy hand of Big Brother or Big Data.
In the end, the attack on free speech rests upon an inaccurate, insulting assumption: We Americans need to be coddled and shielded from "dangerous" speech. We need our government and corporate overseers to hand down approved speech, as if there is "right" or "wrong" speech. There is only speech. Agreeing or disagreeing with it is still up to us as individuals.
Without it, and without an unfettered freedom to speak even "offensively," our American democracy devolves into Orwellian authoritarianism — only with two thinkpols instead of one.
Australia: You can't say that -- unless you are a Leftist
The latest TV ad to be rolled out by the anti-same-sex marriage lobby has been deemed unacceptable for general viewing, with the commercial television body declaring passages attributed to the controversial Safe Schools sexuality education program can be aired late in the evening only.
Free TV has advised the Coalition For Marriage that its latest commercial warrants an ‘‘MA’’ classification due to “depictions of implied sexual activity and verbal sexual references” and can air only after 8.30pm, or 9.30pm during a sports program or a film classified as ‘‘G’’ or ‘‘PG’’.
The 30-second commercial, which is due to air tonight and features footage of Safe Schools founder Roz Ward speaking at a same-sex marriage rally, includes passages from the Safe School-endorsed OMG I’m Trans and OMG I’m Queer resources, which are available from the Victorian Department of Education and also appear on the websites of some South Australian schools.
The passages include “penis-in-vagina sex is not the only sex and certainly not the ultimate sex,” and “it’s a total lie that all guys have dicks, that all girls have vaginas”, which appear on the screen as text.
The Coalition for Marriage tried to point out to Free TV’s commercial advice arm that the passages had been lifted directly from learning materials approved by various state governments and taught to students from Years 7 upwards. However, it was told the organisation was independent of governments and under the definitions of the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice the material was not appropriate for viewing by minors.
Coalition for Marriage spokesman Lyle Shelton said he was disappointed by Free TV’s stance given the topical nature of the advertisement. “It beyond belief that taxpayer- funded LGBTIQ sex and gender education materials openly made available to students of all ages are given an MA rating for television,” Mr Shelton said. “The issue of these materials, of parents’ rights, and the direct relationship with changing the Marriage Act are there for all to see, and parents should beware.
While the Coalition for Marriage has been heavily criticised for arguing that legalising same-sex marriage would lead to an extensive rollout of Safe Schools-style “radical” sexuality and gender diversity education programs in schools, Mr Shelton said evidence was mounting to support the supposition. “Just this week we have seen footage of the British Prime Minister saying that after redefining marriage they would be pressing ahead with LGBTIQ and gender education in all British schools,” he said, referring to comments Theresa May made last week. “The idea that all of these issues are unrelated is actually laughable.”
Free TV, the industry body representing Australia’s commercial free-to-air television licensees, was embroiled in controversy earlier this year when an ad celebrating Father’s Day was deemed “political” ahead of the same-sex marriage plebiscite.
That was criticised as “political correctness gone mad” by politicians, but Free TV blamed the ad’s creator, not-for-profit group Dads4Kids, for the ad not running, saying they were asked to add an identification tag declaring political content and refused to do so.
This is Tongue-Tied 3
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The war on "cultural appropriation" is straightforward racism
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
"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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