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30 November, 2018
Google blocks gender pronouns including 'him' and 'her' from its AI tool that completes sentences over fears it might predict YOUR sex or gender identity incorrectly and offend you
Google is removing gender pronouns from the predictive text feature found in its Gmail platform.
The feature will no longer suggest pronouns that indicate a specific gender such as 'he', 'her', 'him' or 'she' for fear of suggesting the wrong one and causing offence.
Google staff have revealed the technology will not suggest gender-based pronouns because the risk is too high that its 'Smart Compose' technology might predict someone's sex or gender identity incorrectly.
Gmail product manager Paul Lambert said a company research scientist discovered the problem in January.
He wrote: 'I am meeting an investor next week and Smart Compose suggested a possible follow-up question: "Do you want to meet him?" instead of "her".'
Consumers have become accustomed to embarrassing gaffes from auto-correct on smartphones but Google is being cautious around such a sensitive topic.
Gender issues are reshaping politics and society, and critics are scrutinising potential biases in artificial intelligence like never before.
Mr Lambert said the Smart Compose team of about 15 engineers and designers tried several workarounds, but none proved bias-free or worthwhile.
They decided the best solution was to limit coverage and implement a gendered pronoun ban.
It affects fewer than one per cent of cases where Smart Compose would propose something.
'The only reliable technique we have is to be conservative,' said Prabhakar Raghavan, who oversaw engineering of Gmail and other services until a recent promotion.
The company apologised in 2015 when the image recognition feature of its photo service labelled a black couple as gorillas.
In 2016, Google altered its search engine's autocomplete function after it suggested the anti-Semitic query 'are jews evil' when users sought information about Jews.
Google has banned expletives and racial slurs from its predictive technologies, as well as mentions of its business rivals or tragic events.
The company's new policy banning gendered pronouns also affected the list of possible responses in Google's Smart Reply.
That service allow users to respond instantly to text messages and emails with short phrases such as 'sounds good.'
Google uses tests developed by its AI ethics team to uncover new biases. A spam and abuse team pokes at systems, trying to find 'juicy' gaffes by thinking as hackers or journalists might, Mr Lambert said.
Council slammed over N-word funeral post for former employee
A Queensland regional council this month posted a funeral notice on its Facebook page for a local Aboriginal man under the heading “John Hagan (N..... Rat)’’.
The November 8 post was only removed today from the Facebook page of the Paroo Shire Council, in the state’s southwest, after a complaint and threatened legal action from the three children and a cousin of Hagan.
A long-time employee of the council, Hagan, 67, was described in the funeral notice as being “known to all’’ by the racially offensive “N..... Rat’’, a claim disputed by his family.
Hagan’s son, Bruce, said he had never heard anyone refer to his father, who volunteered helping local Aboriginal youth, in the way purported by the council.
“I have never heard anyone call him by the N-word. It’s wrong, and it has been very, very hurtful to the family,’’ he said. “He worked for 45 years on the railway and then council, paid his taxes and I don’t want my dad remembered that way, it’s degrading.’’
Paroo Shire Council chief executive Oliver Simon today said he was “looking into the facts’’ behind the posting of Hagan’s funeral notice but that family were “usually consulted’’.
His three children, who are considering making formal complaints under state and commonwealth anti-discrimination laws, said they were not aware of any family member being consulted by the council.
29 November, 2018
Twitter Permanently Bans Feminist For Writing That ‘Men Aren’t Women’
Must not question Transgenderism
Months after Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey said his platform didn’t take sides, his platform is not only taking sides but becoming more progressive and Orwellian than ever.
Nicole Russell By Nicole Russell
Last week, the social media giant permanently banned Meghan Murphy, a writer based in British Columbia, for critiquing transgender ideology online. The platform repeatedly suspended her account for this then ultimately banned her last week, saying such behavior “violated [its] rules against hateful conduct"
What is insane to me, though, is that while Twitter knowingly permits graphic pornography and death threats on the platform (I have reported countless violent threats, the vast majority of which have gone unaddressed), they won’t allow me to state very basic facts, such as ‘men aren’t women.’ This is hardly an abhorrent thing to say, nor should it be considered ‘hateful’ to ask questions about the notion that people can change sex, or ask for explanations about transgender ideology. These are now, like it or not, public debates — debates that are impacting people’s lives, as legislation and policy are being imposed based on gender identity ideology…
Twitter also recently banned “deadnaming”—the practice of referring to a trans person by his or her legal name, or birth name. This also likely played a role in Murphy’s suspensions and ultimate ban.
Murphy said her account was locked again on November 15. She was told she must delete tweets that read: “Women aren’t men,” and “How are transwomen not men? What is the difference between a man and a transwoman?” Murphy deleted the tweets to regain access to her account. However, at this point, she was angry and tweeted:
“This is f—— bull—, @twitter. I’m not allowed to say that men aren’t women or ask questions about the notion of transgenderism at all anymore? That a multi-billion dollar company is censoring basic facts and silencing people who ask questions about this dogma is insane.”
This tweet went viral, garnering at least 20,000 likes. ThenTwitter locked her account again and demanded she conform—I mean, delete it. Following these suspensions, Murphy was then permanently banned. Her fans were disappointed, to say the least.
Of course, Twitter is a private company and can do whatever it likes. But they have billed themselves as an open platform, one that welcomes debate, ideas, and sharing. In an April article about how Twitter turned toxic, Fast Company reported that Alex Macgillivray, Twitter’s first general counsel, used to say, “Let the tweets flow.” Yet, Murphy writes, the platform has so persistently done the opposite in its treatment of her and other trans-critical feminists that she has started to think about the political right’s positions and be willing to dialogue with them:
While Murphy is outspoken, her tweets were far from hateful. It’s not just disappointing to see Twitter ban the social media account of a woman who was simply calling a spade a spade, but a clear example of Twitter saying one thing and effectively doing another. Instead of the “Thought Police” and “Big Brother,” now we have Jack Dorsey and Twitter.
Nooses Hung At Mississippi State Capitol Just Before Runoff Election
Almost certainly put up by Democrats
Nooses hanging from trees and signs about lynching were found at the Mississippi State Capitol early Monday morning, just a day before a runoff election to decide whether a black man will represent the state in the U.S. Senate for the first time since the 1880s.
Two nooses and six signs, including one referencing murdered black teen Emmett Till, were hung around the Capitol campus at about 7 a.m. on Monday, according to Chuck McIntosh, spokesman for the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration.
“We’re hanging nooses to remind people that times haven’t changed,” read one of the signs, NBC News reported Tuesday. Another sign referenced Mississippi’s history of lynchings.
The imagery was first obtained by a WLBT reporter, who received a call in the morning about the nooses and then notified Capitol Police.
McIntosh told HuffPost on Monday that it was unclear, based on the signs alone, whether the incident was related to Tuesday’s runoff election between Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and Democratic candidate Mike Espy, who is African-American. He described the signs as focusing on lynching and Till, a 14-year-old who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955 after being accused of interacting with a white woman.
“While I can’t speak to their mindset, it is notable that it was done the day before the special election,” McIntosh said.
However, a Capitol Police spokesman told NBC News that one of the signs referenced the election. The sign read: “On Tuesday Nov. 27, thousands of Mississippians will vote for a senator. We need someone who respects the lives of lynch victims,” NBC News reported, citing the spokesman.
Hyde-Smith made headlines and lost campaign funding after she joked about wanting to attend a “public hanging” earlier this month. She apologized, but the hits kept coming: a Rhodes scholar at the University of Mississippi called her a white supremacist; the NAACP and Espy himself called the comments “hurtful and harmful”; and her uncritical views of the Confederacy and Mississippi’s legacy of racism were made public.
So far, there are no suspects in the incident at the state Capitol, though police are looking at surveillance footage, McIntosh said. There are no immediate plans to beef up security at the building or elsewhere during Tuesday’s election.
Despite the attempt to frighten people, Hyde-Smith won
28 November, 2018
Fox News Apologizes After Guest Compares Hillary To Herpes
“She won’t go away. She’s like herpes,” said Anna Paulina, director of Hispanic engagement for right-wing organization Turning Points USA.
Paulina’s comment came during a panel discussion on President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s call for another probe into Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state.
“OK, that’s news that we’re breaking here. Er, not appropriate,” Leventhal responded to Paulina’s dig. He had earlier said he was “amazed” Clinton’s emails were still headline news given “everything going on in the world.”
Paulina was removed from the segment, which also featured political analyst Doug Schoen, per multiple media reports.
“We are going to wrap this segment a little bit early because of the language that was used in the segment, and we apologize to our viewers for that,” Leventhal later told Schoen.
Fellow Fox News anchor Arthel Neville later repeated the conservative network’s apology:
Feminists Said This Christmas Window Display In Britain Is Sexist
A Christmas display at a Marks & Spencer in Nottingham, Britain has feminists crying sexism for advertising a women's "must-have fancy little knickers" beside a men’s "must-have outfits to impress."
According to The Guardian, the original Christmas display featured the model "David Gandy wearing M&S suits with the tagline 'must-have outfits to impress' adjacent to red and black lingerie behind the tagline 'must-have fancy little knickers.'" Take a look:
Oh. My. Living. God. #MarksAndSpencer pic.twitter.com/f4skxoFc21
— Shelagh Fogarty (@ShelaghFogarty) November 20, 2018
Feminists did not take kindly to the ad, with many blasting it as "grotesque" and "vomit-inducing." After it went viral online, protesters defaced the women's underwear slogan to read "must have full human rights."
The Facebook group Feminist Friends Nottingham received an outpouring of complaints from several women shoppers.
"Ok, M&S Nottingham, have we really not learned anything in the last 35 years? Or am I alone in finding this, their major window display, completely vomit inducing?" said shopper Fran Bailey, who chastised the ad for both "normalization of damaging gender stereotypes through the juxtaposition of images of women apparently obsessed with ‘fancy little knickers’ with images of fully clothed men being ‘dressed to impress’ in suits," and also the slogan "must-have" when "huge numbers of Britons are struggling with poverty."
Mark & Spencer later covered up the ad, asserting in a statement that the Christmas display had been taken out of context.
27 November, 2018
Democrats Furious Over Trump’s Turkey Pardon Joke
President Trump didn’t hold anything back during this year’s annual Turkey Pardon. And, as expected, Democrats are absolutely furious about it.
From Washington Free Beacon:
President Donald Trump joked about the midterms, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Democrats during the annual presidential turkey pardon Tuesday.
Speaking from the Rose Garden, Trump delivered the annual address. “At this time of the year, we reflect on all of the many blessings in our lives,” he said.
Speaking alongside First Lady Melania Trump, the president explained that “the winner of this vote was decided by a fair and open election.” Trump announced that of the two turkeys, Peas and Carrots, Peas had won the popular vote for the pardon. Referencing the contentious midterm elections, Trump joked, “Unfortunately, Carrots refused to concede and demanded a recount, and we’re still fighting with Carrots,”Trump joked.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, Trump announced he would be pardoning them both. Unfortunately, “even though Peas and Carrots have received a presidential pardon,”Trump said, “I have warned them that House Democrats are likely to issue them both subpoenas.”
The president joked that his decision to pardon them both might not be final. “I can’t guarantee that your pardons won’t be enjoined by the Ninth Circuit. Always happens,” he said.
“All joking aside, this is a time for Americans to unite together in a spirit of love, understanding, unity and joy as one very proud American family. Our nation is doing well,”he said.
‘Racist’: Backlash After ABC aired ‘A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving’
ABC aired ‘A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving’ Wednesday evening, a classic cartoon many Americans tune into every year, but this year many viewers were triggered by a “racist” scene.
The ‘controversial’ scene shows Charlie Brown hosting a ‘Friendsgiving’ after Peppermint Patty invites herself and the gang over to his house.
The Gateway Pundit Reports:
The Peanuts gang eats their meal in the backyard and the seating arrangement of the characters lit social media ablaze with claims of racism.
Franklin, the only black friend is sitting alone on a folding chair which caused a huge backlash from viewers.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving first aired in 1973, nearly a decade after the 1964 civil rights act was signed.
Charlie Schulz added Franklin to the Peanuts gang in 1968 after a teacher wrote to Schulz requesting he add a black character to the comic strip to help ease racial tensions in America.
Reaction from upset viewers:
Damn Charlie Brown, 4 on one side and no one by Franklin. Did give him lotsa desserts for reparations i guess.
22 November, 2018
Neo-Nazi Harassment Is Not Free Speech, Judge Rules
Tweets are speech so this is a bit odd. Anglin did encourage tweets but nothing more
A federal judge’s decision to allow a lawsuit to proceed against the publisher of a neo-Nazi website is “dangerous for free speech,” the publisher’s attorney said Thursday.
Attorney Marc Randazza said he believes U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen made a legally flawed decision Wednesday in ruling the First Amendment does not shield Daily Stormer publisher Andrew Anglin from being sued for his followers’ anti-Semitic harassment of a Jewish woman and her family in Montana.
Randazza said he can “see the allure of not wanting to rule in favor of the Nazi,” but expressed concern that the decision could be used to curtail free speech in many other forums.
“The rule needs to be the same no matter what your view is,” he said.
Christensen’s decision allows Tanya Gersh to proceed with her claims that Anglin invaded her privacy, inflicted emotional distress on her and her family and violated Montana’s anti-intimidation law by calling on his followers to unleash a “troll storm” on her, her husband and her 12-year-old son.
Snowflake students demand university adopts 'trigger warnings' for lectures in case the contents upsets them
Students are demanding the University of Western Australia adopt 'trigger warnings' to prevent students from being upset by challenging topics.
UWA Guild president Conrad Hogg, who is leading the push, said at the September council meeting he wants to introduce alerts before lectures, Perth Now reported.
Trigger warnings, or content warnings, have become common in the United States, but so far, only Monash University has adopted the warning policy to date.
While advocates such as Mr Hogg say the alerts can help students deal with disturbing topics like suicide and sexual assault, critics claim they do the opposite.
The Institute of Public Affairs research fellow Matthew Lesh said the warnings may prevent teachers from tackling difficult concepts, and may cause additional stress.
He said by telling students something is going to be emotionally challenging in an 'over the top' way it may increase the chance of having a strong emotional reaction. 'So it is completely counterproductive for what you’re aiming to do which is help students with their mental health,' Mr Lesh said.
The warnings are already been used at the start of all Guild publications, including Damsel Magazine, which includes alerts for violence, rape, death and abuse topics.
In the latest issue of the magazine, it warns about articles that mention genitals, gendered slurs and 'ablesim' - discrimination in favour of able-bodied people.
Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan has appointed UWA Chancellor Robert French to lead an inquiry at the university to ensure freedom of speech is maintained.
'The French review is looking at ensuring free speech on campus because a university education should involve dealing with ideas and concepts that are challenging,' Mr Tehan said.
'Likewise, the introduction of trigger warnings should not be used as an excuse to avoid difficult topics, only as an aid to resilience.'
21 November, 2018
Leeds Trinity University staff told not to use ‘don’t’ or ‘frightening’ capitals
Earlier this year, clapping was banned at one university. Now, capital letters can’t be used to avoid upsetting “snowflake” students.
Journalism professors at Leeds Trinity University in the UK have been instructed not to use certain words — in case they frighten sensitive students.
According to UK media reports, the use of capital letters has been banned as well as the “overuse” of the words “do” and “don’t”.
In an internal staff memo obtained by the Express, staff are told students’ “anxiety” can lead to academic failure.
“Despite our best attempts to explain assessment tasks, any lack of clarity can generate anxiety and even discourage students from attempting the assessment at all,” it reads.
“Generally, avoid using capital letters for emphasis and the overuse of ‘do’, and, especially, ‘DON’T’.
It also urged staff to be “explicit about any inexplicitness” in assignment requirements and to be aware that “misconceptions or misunderstandings quickly spread” among students.
“This can lead to further confusion and students may even then decide that the assessment is too difficult and not attempt it,” the statement reads.
The story quickly spread across the UK media as well as on social media, with many members of the public slamming it as extreme “political correctness” pandering to the “snowflake generation”.
In a bizarre twist, Leeds Trinity University released a statement claiming it had not banned capital letters — but confirmed “it is best practice not to write in all capital letters”.
But many social media users pointed out there was little difference between “banning” words and capital letters and asking staff not to use them.
In a statement, vice-chancellor Margaret House said the university was committed to supporting students to be “the very best they can be”.
The public university is located near Leeds in England’s West Yorkshire.
It has a student population of more than 3625 and offers foundation, undergraduate, and postgraduate degrees in a range of humanities and social sciences.
In New Zealand "Trivial" is a bad word
Final-year high school students who sat a national history exam in New Zealand have launched a petition asking the exam be marked based on students’ own definition of an “unfamiliar” word.
The year 13 students were worried they might fail their New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) level 3 history test because they didn’t know what the word “trivial” meant.
According to Stuff.co.nz, the word appeared in the paper on Wednesday in a quote from Julius Caesar: “Events of importance are the result of trivial causes.”
The question asked students to analyse the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with Caesar, with reference to the causes and consequences of a historical event.
According to the Oxford Dictionary trivial means “of little value or importance”.
Students were quick to comment on the petition, which has already been signed more than 2400 times, expressing their frustration with the exam question.
Student Logan Stadnyk of Taieri College in Dunedin is one of those who sat the paper and signed the petition.
He said he was “lucky” to understand the word, but at least half of his class didn’t.
New Zealand History Teachers’ Association chairman Graeme Ball sided with the students, calling the exam a “little bit of a snafu” on the part of NZQA, and said the language used in questions should be “accessible to all”.
20 November, 2018
Conservative Entrepreneur Banned from Facebook Launches Competing Social Media Platform
According to a press release through MarketWatch, Addison Riddleberger said his “innovative new social networking platform geared toward conservatives, TrumpTown.com, has officially opened its virtual doors in an attempt to give users an alternative to Facebook.”
“After years of Trump supporters’ right to free speech being silenced by Silicon Valley — and ultimately culminating with my network of conservative followers being purged — I decided the far-left tech industry needed a real competitor. And thus, TrumpTown was born.”
Riddleberger — whose pages included Standing for Americans, Freedom Catalog and Patriotic Folks — says he was sent a vague warning letter by the social media giant saying that he was in violation of one of its terms of service, although the letter didn’t make it clear what term he was violating.
He told The Western Journal that he originally thought it had to do with a new firm they had partnered with to handle their advertisements, so he suspended them — and all advertisements on his websites — going forward. That apparently wasn’t it, however, since the pages were deleted along with Riddleberger’s personal account.
“TrumpTown has actually been in development for several months — once my account and pages were shut down, we went into overdrive getting the site into a position where all the basics were in place,” Riddleberger told The Western Journal. “The timing was pretty incredible the way it all came together.”
The idea of a conservative alternative to traditional social media platforms isn’t a particularly new one, although few examples have met with any sustained success. The most notable has been Gab, a Twitter-like platform that promised a policy of unfettered free speech in response to a spate of high-profile social media bans.
The problem for Gab was that while few mainstream conservatives established a presence there — instead deciding to stay on established platforms — the conversation quickly became dominated by either fringe figures or individuals whose speech had gotten them exiled elsewhere. The network came under the microscope because of the recent Pittsburgh synagogue shooting after it was revealed the alleged killer was a member and often posted his paranoid, anti-Semitic theories there.
“Gab is a great site in theory — and setting up your platform solely on the basis of free speech is fantastic — but the marketing and execution is where we differ,” he told The Western Journal. “We wanted to angle our site as being a conservative social media alternative first, not just a free speech platform. Our platform offers both characteristics, but leads with the healthy passion that 65 million Americans have toward President Trump and his conservative agenda.”
Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad says criticism of Jews is ‘free speech’
The Muslim hatred of Jews never fails
A war of words has intensified between Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Australian treasurer Josh Frydenberg, with the 93-year-old Dr Mahathir saying he should be able to criticise Jewish people “when they do something wrong” and defending as “fair comment” his warning that shifting Australia’s Israeli embassy to Jerusalem could encourage terrorism.
Hitting back at the Treasurer, who branded the Malaysian leader “anti-Semitic”, Dr Mahathir said his past comments about Jewish people were a matter of free speech. “People accept that some people, when they do something that is wrong, they need to be criticised and they need to be pointed out that what they do is wrong,” he told The Australian on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Port Moresby.
“But you can’t say anything you want about the Jewish people. Why are they so privileged? They do a lot of wrong things … You call me anti-Semitic. I am also called a dictator. I’m called all kinds of names, but it doesn’t matter.
“I have a right to speak. To say that I can talk about anything else except criticise the Jews is something quite unfair. We are talking about free speech.”
Mr Frydenberg, the deputy Liberal leader and a prominent Jewish MP, lashed Dr Mahathir last week, saying the Malaysian leader had “form” as an anti-Semite, making remarks about Jews being “hook-nosed”, questioning the Holocaust death toll, and banning the film Schindler’s List in Malaysia.
19 November, 2018
Dutch Leftists enraged by traditional blackface Christmas character
In Nederland, Father Christmas traditionally has black helpers
Protesters across the Netherlands have disrupted Christmas parades put on for young children, claiming the 'black-face' costumes of Santa's helpers are racist.
Children lined the streets to see parades of Saint Nicholas handing out gifts, and Santa's black-faced elves, known as 'Black Petes'.
But the day descended into chaos as the parades were mired by clashes between far-left protesters and far-right hooligans around the country.
Young children in towns and cities can watch the arrival of Saint Nicholas, along with his helpers, in celebrations held every November.
Protesters against Black Petes, known as Zwarte Piets in the Netherlands, have claimed their costumes are racist because the white actors involved 'black up'.
Those portraying Zwarte Piet put on blackface make-up and colourful attire, in addition to curly wigs and light red lipstick to depict African features.
In the Dutch city of Rotterdam, disappointed revellers went home because of the noisy anti-blackface protesters.
In the city of Maas, the protesters left their designated demonstration boxes and witnesses spoke of 'total choas', De Telegraaf reports.
But some of the violence was also caused by football hooligans. They confronted a Kick Out Black Pete demonstration in the Dutch town of Eindhoven. They threw eggs and cans of beer at the demonstrators, and six people were arrested.
White magazine shuts down after refusing to feature same-sex weddings
No freedom of religion for Christians
One of Australia's leading wedding magazines, White, is shutting down following its refusal to feature same-sex weddings.
Founders Luke and Carla Burrell, who are Christian, say the magazine became the target of a damaging campaign after Australia voted to legalise same-sex marriage last year, and a number of advertisers withdrew their support.
"White Magazine is no longer economically viable," they said in a blog post. "As much as we love what we do and are inspired by the positive impact it's had, we need to draw the curtain on this part of our lives."
Earlier this year, hundreds of wedding industry professionals boycotted the magazine over its lack of LGBTQI diversity.
18 November, 2018
CNN: One Of "Free Speech's Greatest Enemies"
Tucker Carlson delivered commentary on CNN and the news organization's record on free speech and journalism. Carlson called CNN one of "free speech's greatest enemies" and said it only defends the First Amendment when it's "their speech."
"We can’t help but notice that some of free speech’s greatest enemies are now posing as its defenders. Take CNN, for example," Carlson said Wednesday.
"Call CNN what you will, but don’t pretend their defenders of the First Amendment," Carlson added. From 'Tucker Carlson Tonight' on FOX News:
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: In the past couple of days you’ve heard a lot of huffing and puffing about free speech and freedom of the press, and how those threats are currently imperiled by the White House. To be clear: we are for free speech. Unfettered, absolute free speech, the kind guaranteed by the First Amendment and ratified consistently by the Supreme Court. We’ve defended that kind of speech almost every night here for the past two years. Many others, mostly on the left, have attacked it. We know who’s for it, and who’s against it. And we can’t help but notice that some of free speech’s greatest enemies are now posing as its defenders. Take CNN, for example.
It was CNN that almost single-handedly led the campaign to have broadcaster Alex Jones banished from the internet, on the grounds that they didn’t like what Jones had to say. CNN ultimately succeeded in that. The network convinced every major tech platform to ban Jones and his outlet, InfoWars. You don’t have to like Alex Jones to see that as a terrifying loss for free speech, because it was. But CNN wasn’t done trying to silence its critics. Last year, the cable network threatened an anonymous Reddit user for creating an anti-CNN meme. They threatened to expose his identity and ruin his life if he ever criticized them again. Now CNN is claiming to defend speech. Only when it’s their speech.
You’ll notice that CNN didn’t object when the government threatened to imprison employees of the cable channel RT if they didn’t register as foreign agents. Yes, RT is owned by a foreign government. So is the BBC. Until last year, much of the New York Times was owned by a foreign national. This is true of other news organizations, none of which have ever registered as a foreign agents. But because RT is owned by Russia, which the left believes got Donald Trump elected, it’s OK with CNN if they’re bullied and silenced.
Dangerous to joke about ‘Lingerie’
The International Studies Association has rejected the appeal of a professor who was found responsible for violating its code of conduct after he jokingly requested that an elevator in a conference hotel be stopped at the lingerie department.
Richard Ned Lebow, a professor of international political theory at King’s College London, responded by saying he would meet with his lawyer on Thursday and expects to file a defamation lawsuit. Lebow, who had threatened to sue the association unless it found in his favor, did not immediately respond to a question about who exactly he’d sue.
The association’s lawyer, in a letter dated Tuesday, relayed its decision that no steps would be taken against Lebow if he offered an "unequivocal apology" to Simona Sharoni, a professor of women’s and gender studies at Merrimack College who filed a complaint about the incident.
If he does not apologize, the letter said, the association will issue a formal, private letter of reprimand.
In an email to The Chronicle on Wednesday, Lebow made it clear he had no intention of apologizing.
The incident that sparked the uproar happened in April in a crowded elevator during the association’s annual conference at a Hilton in San Francisco. Sharoni said she had offered to press the buttons for the floors where the elevator’s occupants, who she said were mostly male conference attendees, wanted to get off.
Lebow asked for the women’s lingerie department, and others in the elevator laughed, she wrote in her complaint. Lebow has disputed details of her account, but conceded joking about being let off on the lingerie floor.
When he learned she was upset, he said, he tried to resolve the dispute informally, as he believes the association’s conduct code encourages. He wrote Sharoni an email saying he wasn’t trying to make her uncomfortable or to insult women. He suggested that Sharoni, who was born in Romania and raised in Israel, might have misconstrued his remark. And he said that it was a "standard gag line" when he was growing up, in the 1950s, to pretend to be in a department store and ask the elevator operator for the hardware or lingerie department.
In an email after the uproar began, he told The Chronicle that Sharoni was "trying to impose her definition on my words, take needless offense, and use it as an excuse to make a complaint and put a chill on free speech and humor."
16 November, 2018
CSU Adds ‘Long Time, No See,’ ‘You Guys,' ‘Freshman’ to Long List of Politically Incorrect Words
Students at Colorado State University (CSU), apparently, should no longer say “long time, no see,” “you guys” or “freshman,” because those terms are not considered “inclusive language.”
In an opinion piece for the Rocky Mountain Collegian, titled “CSU has gone too far with inclusive language,” CSU student Katrina Leibee said she was told to use “y’all” and “first-year” instead, in order to be “inclusive of all genders.”
“A countless amount of words and phrases have been marked with a big, red X and defined as non-inclusive,” Leibee wrote, describing her frustration with the university’s penchant for political correctness.. “It has gotten to the point where students should carry around a dictionary of words they cannot say.”
Inclusive language is language that “is free from words, phrases or tones that reflect prejudiced, stereotyped or discriminatory views of particular people or groups,” as well as language that “doesn’t deliberately or inadvertently exclude people from being seen as part of a group,” according to the U.S. Department of Education.
Leibee said she met with the CSU director of Diversity and Inclusion, Zahra Al-Saloom, who showed her an “entire packet” of words and phrases that are not considered “inclusive” at CSU. The common greeting “long time, no see,” for example, is verboten because it is apparently “derogatory towards those of Asian descent.”
“We have been asked to get rid of the language we have been using for as long as we have known the English language,” Leibee said.
A rising star in virtual-reality tech was ousted from Facebook because he supported the "wrong" guy
The Wall Street Journal reports that one of Facebook’s top executives and a rising star in the field of virtual-reality was essentially forced to resign in 2016 over his support of Donald Trump. The issue stemmed from a $10,000 donation Palmer Luckey made to an anti-Hillary Clinton group. While neither Facebook nor Luckey has ever publicly given a reason for why he left the company, CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress that his departure had nothing to do with politics.
It now appears that Zuckerberg’s testimony was not entirely honest, as a record of internal Facebook emails obtained by WSJ paints a different picture in which politics played a central role in Luckey’s ousting. The Journal notes, “Internal Facebook emails suggest the matter was discussed at the highest levels of the company. In the fall of 2016, as unhappiness over the donation simmered, Facebook executives including Mr. Zuckerberg pressured Mr. Luckey to publicly voice support for libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, despite Mr. Luckey’s yearslong support of Mr. Trump.”
Once again this latest news only goes to further expose the dangerous degree of massive leftist bias within the social media giants of Silicon Valley. Leftist bias is not new news, of course, but this story does undercut Zuckerberg’s claim that the admittedly “extremely left-leaning” environment of Silicon Valley does not impact Facebook’s policing of site content.
The story is a chilling one to those of us who are advocates of free speech. It also provides another example of what actual fascism looks like, similar to Google’s firing of programmer James Damore over his failure to fall in line with the company’s groupthink.
One final question: Did Zuckerberg lie under oath to Congress? It will be interesting to see if there is any congressional follow-up to this story.
15 November, 2018
GQ Woman of the Year cover sparks outrage as the magazine is slammed for using quotation marks around the word WOMAN
Serena Williams being named Woman of the Year by GQ should have led to nothing but celebration - but instead the tennis player has found herself at the center of a furious controversy after the publication released her cover with the word "woman" written in quotation marks.
The 37-year-old's cover shot was released on Monday alongside the three images for the Men of the Year - Michael B. Jordan, Henry Golding, and Jonah Hill - none of which featured quotation marks around the word men, a fact that has prompted serious upset online.
'Okay but why is woman in quotation marks?' one woman tweeted at GQ, while another person shared an image of last year's Woman of the Year cover - which featured Gal Gadot, and no quotation marks around the gender - alongside Serena's and simply wrote: 'Hmm.'
Another person blasted the move as 'inappropriate, dangerous, racist, and transphobic', while one person demanded that the publication issue an explanation for the controversial design decision.
Serena herself has not addressed the controversy, but nor has she shared the cover image on any of her social media accounts - which may well speak volumes in and of itself.
Some social media users rushed to defend GQ however, pointing out that the word woman was handwritten for Serena's cover by her close friend, Off-White designer Virgil Abloh, whose signature style is to use double quotation marks around basic words, something that he does on all of his clothing.
The designer was actually responsible for the Nike tutu dresses that Serena wore at this year's US Open - all of which featured the word "LOGO" in quotation marks above the signature Nike swoosh.
Should social media firms be prevented from censoring speech they dislike?
What makes it acceptable for Twitter to deplatform widely unpopular members, but wrong for the Department of Justice to jail those with dissident views? As it turns out, nothing makes it acceptable. As Princeton students grapple with questions of free speech, they should consider the effects of social media companies on that speech. Anyone who is committed to a substantive right to free speech against government intervention should support a similar principle in the context of corporations policing speech.
Think about why we limit the government’s ability to censor speech in the first place: the government is large, powerful, and has an interest in suppressing dissident opinions. If the government were so discerning and so inclined, it might manage to censor only the bad views. Yet, as much as you might trust an Obama to filter out only the hate speech, you wouldn’t want a Trump to be making the same sort of decision. The fact that we cannot know what political tides loom on the horizon compels us to deny government the power to censor, even if we would be comfortable with the present government having that power. In other words, government’s ability to police speech is limited in the good times to prevent abuse in the bad.
In all respects relevant to policing speech, social media giants are just like governments in that they are large and well-resourced relative to any individual. They have interests in suspending views critical of them. Worse, they are unaccountable, and certainly more so than governments. A government official trying to censor someone will likely be stopped by other members of government vested with the power and incentive to check their abuse. Indeed, this is as true of the President as it is of the lowest civil servant when it comes to free speech, which is codified in our laws and our Constitution. Our government is intentionally organized with a principle of decentralization and mutual checks on power.
When it comes to corporations, circumstances differ. Corporations are highly centralized, and there is no corporate governance principal of respecting free speech. If a handful of board members go rogue and decide they don’t like someone, that person can lose their right to speak on the only platforms that matter for being heard. What does Twitter have to compel your trust that the U.S government does not? A better vibe? A nicer logo?
Of course, corporations are accountable in certain ways: shareholders can relent, and no firm seeks a public relations disaster. But that is exactly the point. To the extent that they are accountable, corporations are accountable in the wrong way. Or, at the very least, they are accountable in a way that would never be accepted as a means of keeping governments in check when it comes to abrogating individual rights. Public relations incentives and shareholder votes are to corporations as voters in elections are to governments. But speech rights aren’t the sort of protection that can be voted away. That is the entire premise of rights. No majority can determine that a minority has ceded their rights. This is a central tenet of constitutional democracy. That a majority of shareholders or Twitter users don’t like someone cannot possibly be justification to strip them of their right to speak.
A right to speak without any chance of being heard renders that right nothing more than an empty promise. Appeals made to the fact that participation in social media is voluntary and that these companies are private hold little sway in light of this. Free speech is an outcome we strive to achieve rather than being regarded as mere adherence to some legal text. Free speech is central to having a free society, useful political discourse, and a feeling of inclusion in the political process. It helps us find truth as a society and participate in civic life as individuals. As a result, when corporations are allowed and encouraged to hollow out that promise, everyone suffers.
I don’t particularly like Alex Jones. But I worry more about what is to come if we rally behind his being banned from YouTube. The moral arc of a decade will often bend the wrong way (consider the 1980s in the U.S., or the 1930s in Germany). If today we allow Twitter to ban those who are despised, we may be building the guillotine for our own heads.
14 November, 2018
Photo of more than 60 boys in suits giving Nazi salute posted on social media
Hitler himelf gave a variety of salutes so identifying this one as Nazi may be risky. They could be just waving someone off
A school district in Wisconsin is investigating a photo of a group of high-school boys giving what appears to be a Nazi salute.
Baraboo’s superintendent, Lori Mueller, said she became aware of the photo on Monday, after it was posted on social media.
Baraboo is a town of about 12,000 residents, about 115 miles north-west of Milwaukee. The photo of more than 60 male students dressed in suits, some wearing boutonnieres, shows many with their right arm extended upward while posed on the steps of the Sauk county courthouse.
Mueller did not say what occasion might have brought the students together, but said the photo appear to have been taken in the spring and was not taken at a school-sponsored event.
“The school district is investigating this situation and is working with parents, staff and local authorities,” Mueller wrote in a letter to parents and guardians. “If the gesture is what it appears to be, the district will pursue any and all available and appropriate actions, including legal, to address the issue.
The photo spread on Twitter with the hashtag #barabooproud, which is often used by the district to promote its activities and athletic programs.
Gender hate law sparks free speech fear
The Tasmanian Labor party want to make it illegal to say that trannies are not female
There are fears debate on transgender issues may be shut down in Tasmania by a proposed extension of hate speech laws to protect gender identity, including “gender expression”.
A legal analysis of Anti-Discrimination Act amendments proposed by Labor suggests they could prevent some women’s groups continuing to argue that biological males who self-identify as women should be denied access to female-only services.
“Presenting the perspective from a women’s rights position, and not acknowledging that trans women are female, could be construed as inciting hatred (under the changes),” said Bronwyn Williams, a lawyer and spokeswoman for Women Speak Tasmania.
“It limits our ability to say: ‘Hang on a minute, you are a biological male, you’re not female.’
“They could say: ‘I am legally female, I have a female name, my personal preference is for a female personal pronoun, you can’t discuss this, and if you do you are inciting hatred and ridicule.’ ”
Labor’s amendments would extend hate speech protections to include “gender identity or variations of sex characteristics”.
The act’s gender identity definition would be expanded to include “gender expression”, described as “any personal physical expression, appearance, speech, mannerisms, behaviour patterns, names and personal references that manifest or express gender or gender identity”.
Ms Williams said the changes — likely to be supported by the Greens and to swing on the casting vote of the independent-minded Speaker — could see people accused of hate speech for referring to a trans person’s biological sex, former gender or previous honorific or name
The ALP, which backed down this week on the compulsory removal of sex from birth certificates, is standing firmly by its amendments.
Labor justice spokeswoman Ella Haddad said the changes were long overdue protections for transgender people, with no impact on free speech.
“In no way does the existing act or the changes I’m proposing seek to prevent people speaking about issues, debating issues in the public sphere,” Ms Haddad said.
“The gender identity definition … in the act deals with how somebody identifies, as male or female or some other way. The new definition we’re adding … deals with how you display that expression physically.
“They strengthen the act in terms of protecting people from discrimination, but it’s a furphy argument to say that this would stop people talking about those things.”
Liberal Attorney-General Elise Archer called on Labor to refer all its proposed amendments to the Tasmania Law Reform Institute for detailed analysis.
13 November, 2018
"It benefits the American right to characterise campus culture wars as debates over “free speech”, when often they are not"
Excerpts below from an essay by nicely presented and experienced Leftist journalist SOPHIE MCBAIN, writing in the hoary Leftist organ "The New Statesman". I repeat her sub-headline above.
She grudgingly admits below that a lot of student activism has inhibited the expression of conservative ideas on campus -- but her sympathy with the student censors is clear.
And her blinkered apology for them is that it is not really an issue of free speech. Of course it is not. It is a debate about political ideas, conservative ideas in particular. The mention of free speech arises only when the expression of conservative ideas is censored in some way. It is Leftists who force the debate into a debate over free speech. That is not the doing of conservatives. Conservatives invoke their right of free speech as a defensive strategy to protect themselves from the censors. The issues are POLITICAL. Issues of free speech are secondary to that.
She also says: "If students disagree with right-wing speakers, why should they not exercise their right to protest?" In saying that she mischaracterizes the issue. A right to peaceful public protest is well accepted. But it is when protest degenerates into coercion that objections rightfully arise
She also says: "When speakers are de-platformed at universities they are not forced into political obscurity." But, again, that is not the issue. The issue is the Leftist monoculture on campus that leaves students with distorted impressions of conservative ideas. The issue is educational. Conservatives simply want to have at least some say in what ideas are presented on campus.
Ms McBain is a fluent writer and is particularly fluent in evasion. She has to be. The inherent authoritarianism of Leftism cannot be admitted
In recent months, two of America’s most prestigious literary institutions have found themselves embroiled in heated debates over the boundaries of acceptable speech. In early September, the New Yorker announced that its editor David Remnick would interview Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, the far-right agitator Steve Bannon, on stage at the magazine’s annual festival. After facing harsh criticism from readers and several staff writers, Remnick quickly rescinded the invitation. A fortnight later, the editor of the New York Review of Books Ian Buruma was fired amid uproar over his publication of an essay by Jian Ghomeshi about how the former radio host’s career was destroyed by accusations of sexual harassment. Ghomeshi’s essay was an unedifying and unreflective exercise in self-pity in which he downplayed the nature of the accusations against him and mischaracterised his legal case.
It’s understandable that readers were perplexed by the editorial decisions made at both magazines. It was, after all, odd that of all the influential thinkers to headline its festival, the New Yorker chose Bannon, and that of all the under-represented voices that could write with intelligence and nuance about the #MeToo movement, the NYRB commissioned Ghomeshi. Yet both incidents also raised broader questions over how publications should respond to social media outrage over their coverage, and how America’s liberal establishment should handle politically unpalatable views. What is the best way to probe and challenge right-wing thinking, without over-amplifying marginal figures or normalising far-right rhetoric? How does the mainstream media determine what viewpoints are too extreme or offensive to be published? ...
There is evidence to suggest that younger people may be less tolerant than older generations of speech they consider offensive or otherwise harmful. In recent years, the number of speakers disinvited following campus protests has increased and critics say a culture of “safetyism” has emerged in academia, in which students angrily shut down the discussion of unsettling ideas.
If students disagree with right-wing speakers, why should they not exercise their right to protest? When speakers are de-platformed at universities they are not forced into political obscurity. Far from it. Figures such as Yiannopoulos like to portray themselves as free-speech warriors leading “dangerous” campaigns against a powerful liberal establishment, but they are hardly disempowered outsiders. America’s right-wing media and the white nationalist movement now have the ear of the White House, after all. One imagines it might entertain Bannon to watch the “globalist media” agonise over the best way to cover his nationalist populist perspective, when you can hardly imagine Breitbart or even Fox News worrying about whether they are giving liberal voices a fair hearing. Students are exposed to right-wing ideology, even if they do not welcome its proponents on campus.
Undoubtedly some of the case studies explored by Lukianoff and Haidt suggest that concepts such as microaggressions and trigger warnings are sometimes taken to ludicrous and damaging lengths by students. Some of the speakers who have recently been disinvited are hardly right-wing extremists: they include the IMF’s Christine Lagarde and a regional head of the American Civil Liberties Union. Despite this, I found myself admiring the confidence and fluency with which students are testing out arguments about power and privilege that I was merely dimly aware of as a student, only a decade ago.
Australian Attorney-General argues limits to public servant free speech justified
The Coalition government has fired the opening shots in a High Court clash over limits to free speech for public servants, telling judges that good government depends on bureaucrats keeping their political views private.
Attorney-General Christian Porter launched a defence of a government decision to sack an Immigration Department worker for anonymous tweets about Australia's asylum seeker policy, and sought to justify the burden it imposed on free expression.
In a case that could weaken or entrench the bureaucracy's limits on political commentary from public servants, lawyers for the Attorney-General told the court on Wednesday the restrictions protected and enhanced responsible and representative government.
The freedom of speech implied in Australia's constitution accommodated the need for an apolitical public service and rules enshrining the importance of the bureaucracy, Solicitor-General Stephen Donaghue, arguing for the government, said.
These combined to suggest that "burdens on political communication by public servants may be more readily justified than similar burdens on other groups," he said.
"The imposition of such burdens on public servants promotes the functioning of the system of government for which the constitution provides."
Public servants work under rules requiring them to uphold the bureaucracy's integrity, impartiality and good reputation, and governments have limited their free political expression in Australia since before federation.
An appeals tribunal decision in April threw into question the federal public service's ability to enforce limits to free speech, finding the Immigration Department's 2013 dismissal of former bureaucrat Michaela Banerji was unlawful because it intruded on her right to free political expression.
Mr Donaghue denied the Australian Public Service prohibited its staff from holding or expressing opinions, but said rules designed to promote a professional bureaucracy, willing to serve governments of different political views, put justified limits on their free speech.
Public servants had to work in a detached manner, unaffected by their political beliefs, but they could still hold views. The limits to their expression extended as far as required by a code designed to keep their workplaces impartial and professional.
"The burden upon political communication arising from the code is not correctly identified as a prohibition on APS members expressing political opinions. The code is more nuanced," Mr Donaghue said.
He also rejected an Administrative Appeals Tribunal finding that guidelines stopping public servants from publicly criticising the government should not be applied to anonymous comments.
"While a communication that is critical of the APS may have more weight if known to have been made by a member of the APS, such statements may damage the 'good reputation' of the APS even if it is not known who made the relevant communications," he said.
Exempting anonymous comments from rules limiting bureaucrats' free political speech would raise problems for the government by creating an "area of immunity" for misconduct.
Mr Porter intervened in the case after Ms Banerji won an appeal against the federal workplace insurer's refusal to compensate her for the psychological condition that developed after she was sacked over tweets from a pseudonymous Twitter account with the handle @LaLegale.
He removed the government's Federal Court appeal against the finding and sent it to the High Court, flagging the case's potential to undermine the government's policy stopping public servants from expressing their political views on social media.
Ms Banerji was working in the Immigration Department when co-workers learnt she was behind tweets railing against the government's treatment of asylum seekers.
She lost a high-profile attempt to stop her dismissal in the Federal Circuit Court in 2013, a decision seen as likely to curtail other bureaucrats' use of social media when judge Warwick Neville found Australians had no "unfettered implied right (or freedom) of political expression".
Her tweets did not disclose confidential departmental information, but an internal Immigration Department investigation in 2012 found she had breached the code of conduct for government employees.
Lawyers for Ms Banerji are expected to respond to the Attorney-General's arguments in early December.
12 November, 2018
Victoria's Secret boss apologizes for saying transgender models aren't cast in their show because it's based on 'fantasy' and claims they WOULD but none have been good enough
Victoria's Secret's 70-year-old senior creative has apologized for his 'insensitive' comments about transgender people.
Ed Razek – who is the chief marketing officer of Creative Services for parent company Limited Brands – was criticized after saying transgender models were not used in their annual show because the presentation is 'fantasy'.
The 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show was held Thursday on at Pier 94 in New York City and wasn't representative of the demographic or of plus-sized people.
Razek told Vogue about past criticism: 'It's like, why doesn't your show do this? Shouldn't you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don't think we should. 'Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It's a 42-minute entertainment special. That's what it is.'
Razek went on the boast of how the show - which features the likes Of Kendall Jenner, Gigi and Bella Hadid and this year saw Adriana Lima walk her final catwalk in the event - is the 'only branded special in the world'.
He declared how it's 'seen in 190 countries, by 1 billion 6 million people' after stating Victoria's Secret abandoned the idea of also targeting a plus-sized audience because a TV special pitch on the subject flopped 18 years ago.
Setting caps on political spending strikes at the heart of free speech
With more than $5 billion spent on all races, the 2018 midterms were the most expensive in history. This had many on the left up in arms and promising reform. A group of 100 Democratic candidates signed a pledge promising new limits on campaign spending by “big donors” and “special interests” if elected. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, the new darling of the left, went even further. She called for a constitutional amendment to restrict the First Amendment and counteract the 2010 Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission, which allowed large political action committees known as super PACs to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money on independent political speech.
Ocasio Cortez is in many ways a fringe candidate, but Democrats of all stripes share her animus against Citizens United and super PACs. In fact, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders promised to nominate Supreme Court justices who would overturn Citizens United if elected. The obsession by people on the left with clearing the airwaves of campaign advertisements funded by super PACs is misguided. Super PACs are simply associations of individuals who think alike and want to engage in political speech independent of candidates and political parties.
Those seeking to quash them ignore the clear connection between the freedom of speech and the freedom to reach an audience, which in the modern media world costs money. This also rests on the misguided assumption that political speech funded by one set of corporations and individuals (the ones who donate to super PACs) is perverse while political speech funded by another set of corporations and individuals (the ones who own television stations and newspapers) is fine.
The dichotomy is obviously synthetic. Why should a puff piece on Beto O’Rourke in the Washington Post, owned by Amazon chief executive officer Jeff Bezos, be considered journalism, so no campaign finance rules apply, while a television spot praising Ted Cruz paid for by Texans Are, a super PAC funded by Cinemark chief executive officer Lee Roy Mitchell, is deemed an electioneering communication subject to federal law?
Why should an interview of Ocasio Cortez, elected to represent the 14th District of New York, on MSNBC, owned by Comcast and General Electric, be treated differently than a commercial run by the Congressional Leadership Fund, partially funded by AT&T and Microsoft, in support of John Faso, who lost in his race for the 19th District of New York?
If super PACs were eliminated, nothing would stop wealthy individuals and companies and from following Amazon and Comcast and buying their own media outlets. They could even start their own. Instead of Club for Growth Action, we could have Club for Growth News. Instead of the National Association of Realtors Fund, we could have the Realtor Times.
As law professors Samuel Issacharoff and Pamela Karlan wrote, it does not take someone like Albert Einstein to discern a “first law of political thermodynamics” that the “desire for political power cannot be destroyed” but rather at most channeled into different forms.
11 November, 2018
Roger Scruton: thoughtcriminal?
Scruton has said there is an intolerance of conservative views – he’s just been proven right
Back in 1985, when Roger Scruton was caught smuggling blacklisted books into communist Czechoslovakia, he was expelled from the country and placed on the government’s Index of Undesirable Persons. In supposedly liberal Britain, in 2018, the renowned conservative philosopher has become ‘undesirable’ once more.
Buzzfeed News claims to have ‘uncovered’ comments which are ‘Islamophobic’, ‘homophobic’ and ‘anti-Semitic’ in Scruton’s articles, books and speeches. Theresa May is now under pressure to sack Scruton from his unpaid role as a chairman of the ‘Building Better, Building Beautiful’ commission, which advises the government on housing design.
Most of the comments deemed ‘controversial’ by Buzzfeed are simply an expression of his well-known conservative leanings. Those expecting a salacious Access Hollywood-style tape will be sorely disappointed. All are considered statements that he has made as a matter of public record. They include a Telegraph column from 2007 in which he opposed gay adoption; quotes from a Radio 4 programme, in which he disagreed that homosexuality is ‘innate and guiltless’; and a Spectator column in which he claimed that the authorities in Europe are ‘hiding the sexual crimes of Muslim immigrants’. He is also accused of being friends with Hungarian PM Viktor Orban.
One of his supposedly controversial comments unearthed by Buzzfeed is, ironically, about the marginalisation of conservative viewpoints. ‘In a society devoted to inclusion, the only “phobia” permitted is that of which conservatives are the target’, Scruton wrote, adding that conservatives are ‘frequently marginalised or even demonised as representatives of one of the forbidden “isms” or “phobias” of the day – racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, etc’.
Those calling for Scruton to be sacked are proving his point. You do not have to agree with a single thing he says to see that the intolerance towards his conservative views has been remarkable and alarming.
British police investigating alleged antisemitic hate crimes by Labour Party members
Police have launched an investigation into allegations of antisemitic hate crimes by Labour Party members.
The probe is understood to focus on an internal Labour dossier detailing 45 cases involving messages posted by members on social media.
The dossier, which was passed to the radio station LBC, was handed on to the Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick in September.
It has since been analysed by specialist officers who have concluded that a formal criminal investigation should be opened.
According to the broadcaster, the evidence in the dossier includes one entry that read: “We shall rid the Jews who are a cancer on us all.” Another referred to “a Zionist extremist MP . . . who hates civilised people, about to get a good kicking”.
9 November, 2018
Some REAL hate speech
The Palestinian Authority regularly demonizes Jews, Israelis, and those who they call “settlers” and accuse them of believing in precisely the hate ideologies the P.A. itself espouses to its own people.
While accusing Israelis of participating in a religious war, it is Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’s adviser who has called Israel “Satan’s project” and presented the war with Israel as a religious war to destroy Israel and Jews. The P.A. mufti, who is appointed by Abbas, has said extermination of Jews is a religious obligation and Islamic destiny.
In Israel, the isolated cases of Israeli terror against Palestinians are punished and condemned. It is the Palestinian Authority under direct instructions of Mahmoud Abbas that rewards murderers of Israelis with high salaries and calls terrorist murderers “stars in the sky of the Palestinian people.”
In this op-ed in the official P.A. daily, the writer projects the P.A.’s own hate ideologies onto what he refers to as Israeli “settlers.” They are demonized as inhuman murderers who kill Palestinians for their own pleasure and at the orders of the Israeli government.
Under the headline “The settlers are sacrificing the Palestinians’ blood as a sacrifice to Netanyahu,” regular columnist for the official P.A daily, Muwaffaq Matar, who is also a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council and hosts a TV program on Fatah-run Awdah TV, portrayed Israelis living beyond the Green Line as “mass murderers obsessed with bloodshed” who are “directed” and controlled by the Israeli army and government:
“Criminals, mass murderers, obsessed with bloodshed, wild unbridled foreigners, but also directed, these are the settlers, the colonialists, the pawns of the racist regime in Tel Aviv.”
Matar claimed that Israeli Jews believe that “murdering Palestinians” is a “religious ceremony” during which the “sacrifices” draw them “nearer to their great God: Netanyahu”:
“The occupiers and the settlers are criminals. They have gone beyond the natural bounds of wild animals, which kill only when they are hungry … while they [the occupiers and the settlers] kill only to satisfy their desires. According to their belief, by murdering Palestinians they are carrying out religious ceremonies, and through the sacrifices they are drawing nearer to their great God: Netanyahu.”
I am not a walking cervix or a menstruator. I am a W?O?M?A?N
Do you have a cervix? Are you, like me, a menstruator? I think you know what I’m getting at. There’s really no need for me to spell it out for you, though if I did it would be spelled: w-o-m-x-n.
It began so gradually that I hardly noticed it: the erasure of the word “woman”. But the final straw came last week when a Guardian article about how period pain affected working women cited a survey taken of “538 menstruators”. Needless to say, it didn’t go down too well with a large number of “menstruators” if Twitter is anything to go by. (And the word was later removed from the article.)
Yet this is simply the latest in a long line of incidents which have turned “woman” into a kind of swear word.
Earlier this month, the Wellcome Collection in London made a huge error of judgment when it used the word “womxn” in promotion of a new event. Initially the museum defended the decision, claiming it signalled inclusivity before eventually apologising after a huge backlash on social media.
During the summer, Cancer Research launched a cervical cancer awareness campaign highlighting the need for women of a certain age to go for smear tests. Tweets promoting the campaign omitted the word “women” and instead encouraged “everyone aged 25-64 with a cervix” to go for a screening.
This follows last year’s advice from the British Medical Association, which encouraged staff to avoid calling pregnant women “expectant mothers” and to use the term “pregnant people” instead.
All of this tiptoeing around the “woman” and desire for inclusivity is done so as not to offend transgender people. As such, the term “womxn” is used because it supposedly includes trans-women in its definition; while any reference to the medical needs of women must be altered to ensure trans-men, who may have the same medical needs, do not feel offended.
Well I’m offended. In fact, I’m appalled. Have any of these organisations casually erasing women thought about how long it took women to fight for a voice in public life? Have any of them spared a moment to consider that women spent years demanding the right to be recognised as women, as a distinct group from, but of equal importance to men? Women fought to not be reduced to their biology. Yet in 2018 we must once again be reduced to menstruation, a cervix, a pregnant person.
And it isn’t happening to the men. No-one is replacing the word “men” with “mxn” in publicity campaigns, no medical organisations are raising awareness for “people with prostates”.
And so we find ourselves in a situation where a billboard bearing the Google definition of woman as “adult human female” in Liverpool is removed after a complaint that it “makes transgender people feel unsafe”.
Transgender people are, of course, entitled to live free from discrimination and with dignity, as we all must be. But somehow the rights and feelings of this group have been elevated above those of other people.
Today, workplaces are encouraged to use a transgender person’s preferred pronouns and be sensitive to how they want to be addressed. Yet, at the same time, use of the word “woman” in a publicity campaign is considered too controversial.
I am not keen on today’s identity politics which seeks to sub-categorise people into smaller and smaller groups, usually based on criteria you can do nothing about: race, religion, sexuality etc. I prefer instead to think of people in a universal sense, as all in the same category of human.
As such, I had never thought that much about what it means to be a woman. Until the word itself became a bone of contention. The fact is, being a man or a woman is an integral part of how most people define themselves.
Language is important. We use it to define ourselves and to express ourselves. To have to fight to use the word woman in 2018 is a worrying sign of a society that has lost its way. Women get periods. Women get pregnant. These should not be controversial statements.
When the quest for inclusivity means the erasure of half of the population, something has gone terribly, terribly wrong.
I am not a walking cervix. I’m a woman, W-O-M-A-N.
8 November, 2018
‘Long Time, No See’ Is Considered Offensive, Non-Inclusive Language at Colorado State University
At Colorado State University (CSU), administrators have designated the common greeting "long time, no see" as non-inclusive language.
That's according to a student, Katrina Leibee, who writes for the campus paper, The Rocky Mountain Collegian. Leibee met with Zahra Al-Saloom, director of diversity and inclusion at CSU, who showed her a list of terms and phrases considered contrary to the university's mission of fostering inclusion.
"One of these phrases was 'long time, no see,' which is viewed as derogatory towards those of Asian descent," wrote Leibee.
Leibee also noted that administrators discouraged use of "you guys" in favor of "y'all," which is gender neutral (and ungrammatical, but this is apparently less of a concern). Her column does not claim that administrators force students to use the gender neutral terminology, just that such terminology is preferred.
The College Fix's Jennifer Kabbany sees this as an example of campus political correctness run amok, and I'm having a hard time disagreeing. I can't imagine anyone reading racial subtext into "long time, no see" unless they have already been instructed to look for it. The greeting's Wikipedia page raises the possibility that it is of Chinese or Native American origin, but an NPR article from 2014 says the phrase is so widespread that it's impossible to tell for sure.
Supreme Court Will Hear Case on Veterans’ Cross Memorial Atheists Oppose
The Supreme Court recently announced that it will hear an appeal for a case involving a memorial cross. This large cross stands in an open field in Bladensburg, Maryland, and commemorates the sacrifice of 49 local servicemen who gave their lives in World War I. We talk with Jeremy Dys of First Liberty, the organization that is defending the memorial against the American Humanist Association.
The following transcript has been edited for length and clarity. Jeremy Dys is the deputy general counsel for First Liberty, a law firm that defends religious freedom for all Americans, and is representing the American Legion in this veterans’ cross case.
Daniel Davis: Last year my colleague Jarrett and I went out to Bladensburg, Maryland, to see the memorial cross that your organization is now defending in court. And when we got there we saw a list of names on the monument, men who had given their lives in World War I, and it was sobering because we knew that if the court rules a certain way, it could soon be gone.
Can you give us some background here? Why is this memorial cross under threat?
Jeremy Dys: Well, a couple years ago the American Humanist Association decided that, for the first time in the 90-plus-year history of this memorial, it is violating the Constitution because it appears on public property. And the reason they say that it is violating the Constitution is that it is in the shape of a Celtic cross.
In fact, the Gold Star mothers who designed this memorial back in 1919, a hundred years ago now, they chose the shape that mimicked the markers that sat over the top of the graves of many of their sons over in Europe. Most of the men who died in World War I were buried under a Celtic cross. Teddy Roosevelt’s son, for instance, famously was buried under a Celtic cross in the European battlefields.
And so they knew that Americans would forget the sacrifice of their sons if they didn’t have something to visually remind them of that. So they decided to design this monument in the design of a Celtic cross. And then they built it.
The American Legion jumped in to help out, and by 1925 that monument was erected right there, right at the terminus of the National Defense Highway, which is itself a World War I memorial. It runs between D.C. and Annapolis, Maryland.
And it’s been standing there, perfectly innocently keeping watch over the memory of these 49 men from Prince George’s County, Maryland, just as their mothers had wanted nearly a hundred years now until the Humanist Association decided that they’d had enough, and that that could no longer be tolerated. And so they managed to get the 4th Circuit to agree and now we’re at the Supreme Court of the United States.
7 November, 2018
Laughable British "free" speech law
In his column for The Daily Telegraph, the former foreign secretary argues that the UK “needs a campaign for the right to make jokes and the right, within the law, to be satirical to the point of causing mild offence; because it is when you endlessly shush people up, and stifle debate, that extremism flourishes”.
What is the law on free speech?
Under Article 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998, “everyone has the right to freedom of expression” in the UK. But the law states that this freedom “may be subject to formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society”.
Those restrictions may be “in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary”.
Mosques want Geert Wilders banned from Twitter for hate speech
A federation representing more than 100 mosques in the Netherlands has called on Twitter to block the account of anti-Islam populist Geert Wilders. The group says it will take legal action if the platform fails to act.
The Turkish Islamic Cultural Federation (TICF) has sent a formal request to Twitter demanding that Dutch firebrand politician Geert Wilders be banned for inciting hatred.
Wilders, the leader of the far-right Freedom Party (PVV), has often courted controversy with his staunch anti-Islam views and derogatory statements about immigrants.
The TICF, which represents 144 Turkish mosques in the Netherlands, said some of Wilders' tweets breached the guidelines of the social media platform as well as laws in several countries, including Tunisia, Pakistan, Morocco and Indonesia.
"Twitter provides Wilders with a platform to spread his hatred worldwide," said Ejder Kose, TICF's lawyer. "This means that not only Wilders, but also Twitter, is punishable in those countries."
The TICF said it would launch legal action if the social network fails to respond within three weeks.
In a tweet in September 2017, Wilders called Prophet Muhammad a "pedophile, mass murderer, terrorist and madman."
The politician also attempted to organize a competition of cartoons depicting the prophet, before an outcry from Muslims around the world forced him to cancel it.
Physical depictions of the prophet are forbidden in Islam and are considered deeply offensive to Muslims.
Wilders took to Twitter on Monday to denounce the bid to block him from the platform, calling it "madness."
6 November, 2018
UK: Police revolt as senior officers defy push to focus on hate crime
Some sanity in Britain at last
Home Secretary Sajid Javid already faces increasing pressure over police funding
Sajid Javid is at the centre of a police revolt over moves to expand hate crimes as five chief constables warned it could prevent forces from solving violent crime and burglaries.
One revealed his force had decided against recording misogyny because of the danger of being swamped with bureaucracy. Another said forces were in crisis in face of rising crime and reduced resources.
The police chiefs weighed in behind a warning by Sara Thornton, head of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), that while logging and investigating complaints of misogynist abuse might be “desirable,” police did not have the time or resources.
Comedian mocks war veteran
SATURDAY Night Live comedian Pete Davidson is drawing fire for poking fun at an eye patch worn by a Republican war veteran running for congress.
“This guy’s kinda cool — Dan Crenshaw,” Davidson began during the show’s Weekend Update segment.
Apparently seeing where the bit was headed, show co-writer and segment host Michael Che groaned “Oh c’mon man” as Davidson continued.
“You may be surprised to learn he’s a congressional candidate from Texas and not a hitman in a porno movie,” Davidson said during the skit where he gave “first impressions” of electoral candidates.
“I’m sorry — I know he lost his eye in war or whatever,” he chuckled.
Conservatives pounced on the funnyman Sunday morning:
Totally cheap, disgusting and classless of SNL to have Pete Davidson mock Dan Crenshaw for wearing an eye patch...then giggle that he was injured in the line of duty.@DanCrenshawTX is a Navy SEAL and hero who lost his eye in an IED attack in Afghanistan.
“Good rule in life: I try hard not to offend; I try harder not to be offended. That being said, I hope @nbcsnl recognises that vets don’t deserve to see their wounds used as punchlines for bad jokes,” tweeted Crenshaw, a retired Navy SEAL who lost his right eye when he was hit by an IED in Afghanistan in 2012.
He later called the joke “absolutely disgusting.”
5 November, 2018
Sex vs gender: down the slippery linguistic slope
Public discourse is filled with euphemistic language that can make difficult topics more palatable. However, euphemisms can also create more confusion than clarity when the meanings of words become blurred. A clear example of this is in the discussion on gender and sex.
Next month, the Tasmanian parliament will debate the Justice and Related Legislation (Marriage Amendments) Bill 2018. Several media reports have stated the proposed bill will, among other things, remove gender from birth certificates. The bill began as a push to remove an old law that required transgender people to divorce before changing their gender on legal documents; but amendments by the Greens have added in the potential for gender to be removed from birth certificates.
There is just one problem — Tasmanian birth certificates do not currently record the gender of a child. They record the sex. That is, they record the biologically immutable characteristics of males and females, developed at conception from the XY chromosomal determination system.
Prior to the mid 1950s, the term ‘gender’ pertained to language — where some nouns were masculine or feminine. Then psychologist Dr John Money decided that gender applied to human beings and coined the term ‘gender identity’ — which refers to an individual’s personal view of their sex, without regard to their biological sex.
This is where things start to become a little tricky when we use gender and sex interchangeably. If gender is completely socially or personally constructed and does not bear any relationship to biological sex, what is recorded on a birth certificate should not matter because birth certificates record a biological fact — the sex of a child.
If sex and gender are interchangeable you can argue that gender is biologically determined and sex is social constructed or vice-versa — confusing, I know.
We would all be better served if people were strict in their use of the terms sex and gender and stopped using them interchangeably. This would at least help clarify debate around these issues, which are ill-served by muddying the dialogue.
Facebook censoring pro-life political ads, again
A pro-life group is crying foul after Facebook removed three of its paid campaign ads from the popular social media platform.
On Thursday, Facebook removed a pro-life ad supporting Tennessee Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn, the Susan B. Anthony List said in a statement. Prior to being pulled by Facebook, the ad had reached an estimated 90,000 voters, the national pro-life group added.
“After Twitter shamefully stifled Marsha Blackburn’s pro-life free speech last year, Sheryl Sandberg promised Facebook would never do the same, even if she personally disagreed with it. That’s proven to be an empty promise," said SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser.
She added, “SBA List has faced repeated censorship over the last few weeks and now our ad supporting Marsha Blackburn has been disapproved, even after more than 90,000 had viewed it. Facebook must immediately stop its censorship of pro-life speech. All the information presented in our ads has been factual, if surprising, to those unwilling to face the reality of pro-abortion extremism. Facebook is censoring the truth and political free speech.”
Blackburn’s campaign announcement video was indeed blocked in October 2017 by Twitter, which hid behind the farcical argument that her pro-life rhetoric was " inflammatory" and that it could "evoke a strong negative reaction." Last week, SBA List was told something very similar after Facebook removed two additional ads from its platform.
An ad titled “ Charlotte” was blocked last week by Facebook from running in Arizona. Another ad, titled “ Micah,” which was slated to run in Iowa, was also removed last week by Facebook. The social media giant explained in an email that it doesn’t allow ads “ that feature sensational or graphic content.” It's unclear how Facebook defines the words "graphic" and "sensational."
4 November, 2018
Unusual name sparks hatred
I know that shop. They sell good meat pies too
The owner of a fish and chip shop has hit back at 'abusive' anti-domestic violence campaigners who criticised her for calling her business The Battered Wife.
Ex-police officer Carolyn Kerr owns the shop in Wangan, a small town in far north Queensland, which carries the slogan 'The only battering anyone need know' on its window.
Ms Kerr has defended her business from critics, saying she is raising awareness of domestic violence by using the name.
'Originally it was suggested to me as a little bit of a joke, but it seemed like an interesting option with a bit of spark, something that could provoke questions, could provoke curiosity, but also the play on words for the shop itself, being a fish and chip shop,' she told The Today Show.
'I knew through my history there's a lot of things wrong with the system so to create such a controversial thing especially in today's sensitive world... I'm surprised it's got so much attention at all, that it's taken 15 months, really.'
Ms Kerr said in her former job she had dealt with the effects of domestic violence firsthand, and it was not something she condoned.
'There's a lot of beautiful, intelligent women out there in really bad situations, and to assume that I was making light of the subject, that I was promoting it... the way that it's been misconstrued, it's actually quite offensive.'
The shopowner said she has been subjected to threats and abuse since a photo of her business was shared 'like wildfire' on social media.
She refused to cave in to the pressure to change the shop's name.
'It's a fish and chip shop first and foremost, and I make good batter, and I'm married to my business ... (domestic violence) is a serious problem in our society and it needs help, no-one seems to be standing up for it, and this is my little way of digging my heels in and saying enough is enough.'
Comedian Hannah Gadsby's divides social media as she jokes she is 'dressing up as diabetes' for Halloween
She is known for her dry sense of humour. And Australian comedian was at it again this Halloween... but not everyone has agreed with her joke.
On Wednesday, the 40-year-old posted a picture of herself holding a giant red gummy bear to Instagram, joking in the caption, 'I'm dressing up as diabetes for Halloween.'
She also added the hashtags '#it'ssugar' and '#nos***', referring to the product label.
However, not everyone was impressed with Hannah's humour, with one social media user commenting: 'I'm a type 1 diabetic and "jokes" like this only create further confusion and make light of a disease that impacts every single second of my life. It's also incredibly insulting to people with type 2.'
Another added: ‘After 32 years as type 1 (Australian) diabetic I still don’t find diabetes jokes funny.’
Meanwhile, others who suffer from the disease saw the light in the post.
‘I’m T2 [type two diabetes] and thought your joke was sweet as could be,’ one user commented in defence of Hannah.
While another said: ‘As a type 1 diabetic I have myself thought of dressing up as diabetes in some form because there is this weird thing I enjoy doing of laughing at my own misfortune to help with the fact my pancreas died when I was eight.’
The Australian, who hails from Tasmania, recently shot to international fame following her comedy special Nanette airing on streaming service Netflix.
Diabetes mellitis is not necessarily a big deal. Most times all you need to do is to eat less. Some background here. Which foods and how much of each a diabetic should eat is quite controversial. Just cutting back generally seems to be as good a strategy as any.
2 November, 2018
Food magazine editor steps down after sarcastic comment about vegans
He made it TOO clear that he didn't like vegans
The editor of Waitrose Food magazine has stepped down over comments he made in an email to a freelance in which he proposed a series on “killing vegans” and force-feeding them meat.
Editor William Sitwell’s resignation comes a day after supermarket chain Waitrose said it would be “taking up” the comments with him.
Freelance food and travel writer Selene Nelson contacted Sitwell on 23 October with a pitch for a series on vegan cooking. Waitrose has recently expanded its range of vegan and vegetarian products.
Sitwell’s reply the same day, first reported by Buzzfeed News, read: “How about a series on killing vegans, one by one. Ways to trap them? How to interrogate them properly? “Exposing their hypocrisy? Force-feed them meat? Make them eat steak and drink red wine?”
Waitrose Food is a free monthly magazine with a distribution of just under 700,000 copies, according to ABC figures for the six months to the end of June this year. It is published by John Brown Media.
In a statement announcing Sitwell’s resignation, Waitrose said it had been informed by John Brown Media that he was “stepping down as editor of Waitrose and Partners Food magazine with immediate effect”.
It added: “In the light of William’s recent email remarks, we’ve told John Brown Media that we believe this is the right and proper move – we will be working with them to appoint a new editor for the magazine.
Hong Kong’s new tourism ad slammed as ‘creepy’ amid calls for it to be removed
Advertising industry creatives sure come up with some odd stuff
A new tourism ad for Hong Kong featuring a young couple on an adventure of sorts has backfired, with viewers calling the romantic portrayal abusive.
The video titled “Treasures of the Heart” was directed by Chan Chi-fat and shared to Hong Kong’s official Twitter account earlier this month, Fox News reported.
The ad features a young couple in Hong Kong.
The ad features a young couple in Hong Kong.Source:Twitter
In it, a young woman is seen frantically searching for her passport a few hours before her scheduled flight.
She discovers a note left by her boyfriend saying that he took it because he doesn’t want her to leave.
He then sends her on a scavenger hunt around the city to locate the missing document.
Since being posted on October 10, the ad has received dozens of comments from angry viewers calling out the “terrible message,” pointing to the abusive and controlling nature of the couple’s relationship.
Many called for the ad to be removed, but it is still on the Hong Kong Twitter account.
Fox News has reached out to Discover Hong Kong, which runs the Twitter account, for comment.
1 November, 2018
Leftist demonstrations to be restricted
If anti-abortion pickets are regarded as a nuisance to be kept out of the way, why not similar treatment for Leftist causes?
The National Mall in D.C. and the sidewalk in front of the White House have long been hallowed public forums. The mall has hosted some of the country’s most iconic protests, such as the Women’s March and the 1963 March for Jobs and Freedom, while demonstrations have been taking place in front of the White House at least since the Suffragette parades of the early 20th century. But if Trump’s National Park Service gets its way, demonstrations in the nation’s capital could get a lot more complicated—and, potentially, a lot more expensive.
In August, the National Park Service released proposed rules that would limit the ability of citizens to enact their First Amendment rights in the capital, including proposals to close most of the White House sidewalk to demonstration, remove the current regulation that requires park officials to respond to demonstration permit requests within 24 hours, establish new limits on how long permits can be held, and charge for demonstration permits. The rule closed for public comment October 15, at which point the Interior Department had received over 70,000 comments on the proposals.
Civil liberties watchdogs and other public interest organizations warn that the new rules, if finalized, would hamper the ability of citizens to stage political protests in the nation’s capital. “We are concerned about this because Washington is a prime location, if not the prime location for people to exercise First Amendment rights in this country,” said Arthur Spitzer, legal director of the ACLU of the District of Columbia, who warned about the speed with which the proposal has been developed. “This isn’t something that the National Park Service was working on before the Trump administration. This wasn’t something with a long gestation period.”
Censorship that is invisible to the Left
In August, Vox cited data from Georgetown University and said that to call the state of free speech on campus a “crisis” is “more than a little overblown.” Others have expressed doubts, too. But to embrace that stance, one must ignore the last three raucous years’ worth of free speech-related incidents on campuses — ranging from the University of Missouri to Middlebury, Vermont, to Berkeley, the birthplace of the 1960s free-speech-on-campus movement.
Students and faculty across the ideological spectrum have found themselves at the center of various events involving campus censorship lately. Last October, just two hours down Interstate 64 at William & Mary, Black Lives Matter protesters shouted down Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, an ACLU representative.
Officials at Evergreen State College in Washington State closed school and moved the 2017 graduation ceremonies after the avowedly progressive school splintered into factions. Students drove out a progressive professor who objected to a proposal that white students and professors stay off campus for a day. Ultimately, fear for his own safety and that of his family led them to go into hiding.
The lack of civil behavior on campus is turning heads, reducing applications for admission and closing alumni checkbooks. At an alumni event this April, students at Duke forced the school president off the stage and proceeded to issue a list of demands via bullhorn. It did not play well with the alums, who had come to pledge class gifts to the school. Undergrads at the University of Oregon’s gave their school president a similar treatment last fall.
Rutgers’ recent disinvitation of journalist Lisa Daftari is another more recent example. By caving in to the loudest group of “not-offended-yet-but-planning-to-be-hurt” petitioners, Rutgers’ administrators managed to deprive students of an extraordinary learning opportunity, to hear ideas that might challenge their assumptions. The university issued an apology for any “confusion” and suggested new dates, but the damage was done.
Ideas are powerful, and choosing to fear an idea instead of learning to understand it or overcome it with a better one is a poor life strategy. Things we disagree with won’t go away if we pretend they don’t exist.
North Carolina, Georgia, and Arizona are among the states that in recent years have enacted legislation to protect free speech on campus, and others are considering similar proposals.
This is Tongue-Tied 3
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Is the American national anthem politically incorrect? From the 4th verse:
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
The truth can be offensive to some but it must be said
The war on "cultural appropriation" is straightforward racism
"HATE SPEECH" is free speech: The U.S. Supreme Court stated the general rule regarding protected speech in Texas v. Johnson (109 S.Ct. at 2544), when it held: "The government may not prohibit the verbal or nonverbal expression of an idea merely because society finds the idea offensive or disagreeable." Federal courts have consistently followed this. Said Virginia federal district judge Claude Hilton: "The First Amendment does not recognize exceptions for bigotry, racism, and religious intolerance or ideas or matters some may deem trivial, vulgar or profane."
Even some advocacy of violence is protected by the 1st Amendment. In Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969), the U.S. Supreme Court held unanimously that speech advocating violent illegal actions to bring about social change is protected by the First Amendment "except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action."
The double standard: Atheists can put up signs and billboards saying that Christianity is wrong and that is hunky dory. But if a Christian says that homosexuality is wrong, that is attacked as "hate speech"
One for the militant atheists to consider: "...it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg" -- Thomas Jefferson
"I think no subject should be off-limits, and I regard the laws in many Continental countries criminalizing Holocaust denial as philosophically repugnant and practically useless – in that they confirm to Jew-haters that the Jews control everything (otherwise why aren’t we allowed to talk about it?)" -- Mark Steyn
A prophetic comment on Norwegian hate speech laws: As Justice Brandeis once noted, repressive censorship “breeds hate” and “that hate menaces stable government,” rather than promoting safety; “the path of safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed grievances and proposed remedies.”
Voltaire's most famous saying was actually a summary of Voltaire's thinking by one of his biographers rather than something Voltaire said himself. Nonetheless it is a wholly admirable sentiment: "I disagree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it". I am of a similar mind.
The traditional advice about derogatory speech: "Sticks and stones will break your bones but names will never hurt you". Apparently people today are not as emotionally robust as their ancestors were.
The KKK were members of the DEMOCRATIC party. Google "Klanbake" if you doubt it
A phobia is an irrational fear, so the terms "Islamophobic" and "homophobic" embody a claim that the people so described are mentally ill. There is no evidence for either claim. Both terms are simply abuse masquerading as diagnoses and suggest that the person using them is engaged in propaganda rather than in any form of rational or objective discourse.
Leftists often pretend that any mention of race is "racist" -- unless they mention it, of course. But leaving such irrational propaganda aside, which statements really are racist? Can statements of fact about race be "racist"? Such statements are simply either true or false. The most sweeping possible definition of racism is that a racist statement is a statement that includes a negative value judgment of some race. Absent that, a statement is not racist, for all that Leftists might howl that it is. Facts cannot be racist so nor is the simple statement of them racist. Here is a statement that cannot therefore be racist by itself, though it could be false: "Blacks are on average much less intelligent than whites". If it is false and someone utters it, he could simply be mistaken or misinformed.
Categorization is a basic human survival skill so racism as the Left define it (i.e. any awareness of race) is in fact neither right nor wrong. It is simply human
Whatever your definition of racism, however, a statement that simply mentions race is not thereby racist -- though one would think otherwise from American Presidential election campaigns. Is a statement that mentions dogs, "doggist" or a statement that mentions cats, "cattist"?
If any mention of racial differences is racist then all Leftists are racist too -- as "affirmative action" is an explicit reference to racial differences
Was Abraham Lincoln a racist? "You and we are different races. We have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any other two races. Whether it is right or wrong I need not discuss, but this physical difference is a great disadvantage to us both, as I think your race suffer very greatly, many of them by living among us, while ours suffer from your presence. In a word, we suffer on each side. If this be admitted, it affords a reason at least why we should be separated. It is better for both, therefore, to be separated." -- Spoken at the White House to a group of black community leaders, August 14th, 1862
Gimlet-eyed Leftist haters sometimes pounce on the word "white" as racist. Will the time come when we have to refer to the White House as the "Full spectrum of light" House?
The spirit of liberty is "the spirit which is not too sure that it is right." and "Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it. While it lies there it needs no constitution, no law, no court to save it." -- Judge Learned Hand
Mostly, a gaffe is just truth slipping out
Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)
First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean
It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were.
It seems a pity that the wisdom of the ancient Greek philosopher Epictetus is now little known. Remember, wrote the Stoic thinker, "that foul words or blows in themselves are no outrage, but your judgment that they are so. So when any one makes you angry, know that it is your own thought that has angered you. Wherefore make it your endeavour not to let your impressions carry you away."
"Since therefore the knowledge and survey of vice is in this world so necessary to the constituting of human virtue, and the scanning of error to the confirmation of truth, how can we more safely, and with less danger, scout into the regions of sin and falsity than by reading all manner of tractates, and hearing all manner of reason?" -- English poet John Milton (1608-1674) in Areopagitica
Hate speech is verbal communication that induces anger due to the listener's inability to offer an intelligent response
Leftists can try to get you fired from your job over something that you said and that's not an attack on free speech. But if you just criticize something that they say, then that IS an attack on free speech
"Negro" is a forbidden word -- unless a Democrat uses it
"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper
Why are Leftists always talking about hate? Because it fills their own hearts
Leftists don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt
When you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.
The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.
The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) could have been speaking of much that goes on today when he said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."
I despair of the ADL. Jews have enough problems already and yet in the ADL one has a prominent Jewish organization that does its best to make itself offensive to Christians. Their Leftism is more important to them than the welfare of Jewry -- which is the exact opposite of what they ostensibly stand for! Jewish cleverness seems to vanish when politics are involved. Fortunately, Christians are true to their saviour and have loving hearts. Jewish dissatisfaction with the myopia of the ADL is outlined here. Note that Foxy was too grand to reply to it.
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