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"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press" -- 1st amendment

30 November, 2020

UK lawyers uneasy about plan to prosecute hate speech at home

Proposals to prosecute individuals for hate crimes based on what they discuss in their own homes need to be more widely debated, free speech organisations have said.

The suggestion to remove the “dwelling” privacy exemption from criminal legislation is buried in a few paragraphs of the Law Commission’s 544-page consultation on hate crime published in September.

The commission said on Wednesday that it was “not intending for private conversations at the dinner table to be prosecuted as hate speech”, although that appears to be one possible consequence of the proposed change.

Until 1986, the offence of using words or behaviour intended or likely to incite racial hatred could only be committed in a public place. The scope was later expanded, but an exception remains “where words or behaviour are used or written material displayed within a dwelling, provided that they cannot be seen or heard outside.”

The proposal was spotted by the organisation Fair Cop, which campaigns against what it says is misuse of legislation to curb free speech. Sarah Phillimore, a barrister and member of the organisation, said it would encourage “state surveillance or people to inform on their friends. How else would they get the evidence? It will be like the East German Stasi security service.”

A spokesperson for the Law Commission said: “We found that the current law on incitement of racial and other forms of hatred is inconsistent and poorly targeted. Our proposals aim to clarify and improve the laws. We look forward to hearing from members of the public on how we can improve our proposals.”

Controversially named racehorse makes its debut

A Queensland thoroughbred owner has been allowed to name a rookie racehorse "Black Suspect", despite concerns it could offend Indigenous people.

The three-year-old colt with the potentially provocative name is set to raise eyebrows when it makes its racing debut, with even its trainer admitting there could be questions.

Black Suspect was meant to have its first race in a maiden event at Toowoomba last weekend but was a late scratching.

Ipswich trainer Beau Gorman said the scratching had nothing to do with the name of the horse, owned by local racing enthusiast Colin Clark, but was because it simply wasn’t ready to go.

Mr Gorman said the horse was named because it was a big black colt and its sire was a US stallion called Unusual Suspect.

He said the name was chosen after other names, including Black American and Black Gold, were rejected by Racing Australia.




29 November, 2020

Starbucks Employee Claims She Was Fired for Not Wearing LGBT PRIDE Shirt

A Starbucks barista has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the company because she says she was fired for not wearing an LGBT PRIDE t-shirt.

Starbucks claims that her suit is “without merit,” that the company does not require employees to wear any item of clothing other than their trademark green apron.

But the woman, Betsy Fresse who worked at Starbucks in Hoboken, N.J., says the reason that was given for her termination was “her comportment was not in compliance with Starbucks’ core values.”

Fresse’s trouble with the company began when she transferred to another store in New Jersey.


In June 2019, she and other staffers attended a meeting in the store manager’s office where, she claims, she saw a box of Starbucks Pride T-shirts on the floor by his desk. After the room cleared out, Fresse asked the manager if she would be required to wear the shirt during her shifts. According to Fresse, he said she would not.

But, per her suit, which was filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, she was contacted by Starbucks’ ethics and compliance helpline several weeks later regarding her request to be exempt from wearing the Pride shirt. She explained to the ethics and compliance representative that she did not want to war the Pride shirt “because her religious beliefs prevented her from doing so,” the suit states.

Then, on Aug. 22, 2019, Fresse was notified she was being terminated because “her comportment was not in compliance with Starbucks’ core values.” According to her notice of separation, when she was handed a Pride shirt — which Starbucks maintains employees were not required to wear — Fresse said she didn’t want to wear it and that her co-workers “need Jesus.”

It appears that Fresse ran afoul of a terribly woke store manager and Starbucks corporate is trying to cover for him. They may not have a policy where an employee is “forced” to wear a PRIDE t-shirt. Most retail chains wouldn’t have a set policy stating something like that.

But corporate can strongly urge local managers to “encourage” employees to wear all sorts of garb. It would be up to the local manager how fanatical he wanted to be about getting employees to go along.

Being ordered to wear a Pride shirt as a condition of employment, the suit alleges, “would be tantamount to forced speech and inaccurately show her advocacy of a lifestyle in direct contradiction to her religious beliefs.”

GA: Rep. Bonner files college campus free speech legislation

State Representative Josh Bonner (R-Fayetteville) has pre-filed House Bill 1, which will be known as the Forming Open and Robust University Minds (FORUM) Act. The FORUM Act is a policy that seeks to protect free speech, while also respecting the principles of academic freedom.

“Free speech is a non-partisan issue,” said Rep. Bonner. “Our public universities are meant to be safe forums where ideas could be debated, but over the years, the ability of students to exercise their First Amendment rights has been greatly diminished. The FORUM Act would help protect and clarify those rights and hold our government accountable if they are suppressed. By implementing constitutional standards on free expression, schools can minimize the risk of costly litigation and create an environment where free speech and academic inquiry can thrive.”

The FORUM Act seeks to protect students’ First Amendment rights in three ways. First, it would effectively end “speech zones” by adding protections in the law for where and when students can speak on campus. Second, it would eliminate speech codes in Georgia’s laws by protecting what students can say. Finally, the bill would protect “freedom of association” by protecting with whom students can express ideas and how they choose to do so. House Bill 1 will be formally introduced during the upcoming 2021 legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly, which begins January 11, 2021.

Rep. Bonner decided to introduce the FORUM Act after learning of several students across the state, including Chike Uzuegbunam, who believe their First Amendment rights were inhibited on campuses.




27 November, 2020

YouTube suspends and demonetizes Trump's favored network One America News

COVID orthodoxy must be preserved at all costs. There has in fact been some medical acceptance that hydroxychloroquine is useful. The big mark against it is that Trump favored it

YouTube has barred the right-wing One America News Network from posting new content for a week after it shared a video promoting a fake cure for COVID-19.

The Google-owned social media giant also temporarily blocked OANN - a favorite channel of President Donald Trump - from making money off of existing videos, YouTube spokesperson Ivy Choi said Tuesday.

'After careful review, we removed a video from OANN and issued a strike on the channel for violating our COVID-19 misinformation policy, which prohibits content claiming there's a guaranteed cure,' Choi said in a statement.

She said the video that was taken down claimed that hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug touted by Trump despite a lack of scientific evidence, could cure COVID-19.

Several Twitter users posted links to a video believed to be the one cited by YouTube, in which a California doctor said he'd 'cured' 1,700 patients with hydroxychloroquine in early October.

According to YouTube policy, OANN has two more strikes before being kicked off the social media platform.

OANN responded to the suspension by saying it would abide by YouTube's policies going forward but added that it 'will not let YouTube's arbitrary rules infringe upon our First Amendment editorial rights to inform the public'.

'However, these are actual, practicing doctors who went to medical school and are highly qualified to make medical decisions — much more so than the moderators at YouTube.'

McDonald's is accused of 'cultural appropriation over its new Jerk Chicken Sandwich

The chain announced a new Jerk Chicken Sandwich for its festive menu, which also features a double Big Mac and a Celebrations McFlurry.

But it is the Jerk Chicken Sandwich which has caused the biggest stir - and not all for the right reasons.

While some have taken to social media to praise the burger, others have hit out at McDonald's accusing them of 'cultural appropriation'.

Cultural appropriation is the adoption of an element or elements of one culture or identity by members of another culture or identity.

It is particularly controversial when members of a dominant culture appropriate from disadvantaged minority cultures.

Jerk chicken originates from Jamaica and is believed by historians to come from indigenous Taino people and Maroons - descendants of Africans who were enslaved in the Caribbean islands.

One person tweeted: 'The more I think about it the more I'm bothered by the McDonald's 'jerk chicken' attempt.




26 November, 2020

Australian broadcaster in hot water over ‘racist’ kids’ show

Racism against the Chinese is OK for the Left, apparently

China is demanding a formal apology from the ABC over a “racist” show that implies eating rats is an everyday part of Chinese cuisine.

The diplomatic row over the Horrible Histories episode centres on the story of ancient China Empress Wu Zetian, the only woman to ever rule China.

In an article in the state-controlled Global Times, the newspaper has claimed the ABC’s Horrible Histories program had “drawn outrage and condemnation from Chinese-Australians for “broadcasting a children’s television series with controversial content suggesting insects, rats and hair are used in normal Chinese recipes, which they believe is racism and demand for an apology.”

“In an episode of the series, ancient China Empress Wu Zetian, who is played by a white actress, is eating insects, rats, jellyfish and hair, and invites two modern visitors, the program’s hosts, to join the meal,’’ the article states.

“As the visitors act disgusted, “Wu” explained it was “perfectly normal” to eat insects in China in the Tang Dynasty (618-907).”

But a spokesman for the ABC denied that the episode represented an example a white people masquerading as Asian noting the actress, Sophie Wu, in British-born but has Chinese heritage.

“The ABC has received some complaints, which will be considered by ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs as is our usual practice,’’ an ABC spokesman told

The Global Times said the episode was a disgrace. “This kind of racist behaviour is indeed too narrow-minded for a country,” a netizen (a citizen) wrote on China’s Twitter-like social networking platform Weibo.

“It’s uncanny how they are always talking about anti-racism and they are actually the meanest racists,” another one commented.

The episode is not new but from the sixth season of Horrible Histories, a sketch comedy released five years ago, that aired again in Australia recently.

Some Chinese-Australians have launched an online petition protesting warning it could cause Chinese children to be ridiculed and bullied at school.

Parler, the “free speech” Twitter alternative

In recent weeks, you may have been hearing more about a site called Parler, which conservatives are touting as an alternative to Twitter and Facebook. From Ivanka Trump to the governor of Nebraska, right-wing influencers are asking those frustrated with alleged Big Tech censorship to join them on Parler, a two-year-old app and website that promises free speech online. It’s social media — minus the curation algorithms and content moderation.

Parler, which has been around since 2018, looks at first glance a lot like Twitter and Facebook. Open the app, there are profiles pushing doubt about the 2020 election’s results and declarations that the mainstream tech platforms are targeting free speech. With just a few clicks, it’s easy to find even more extreme right-wing voices and hate speech.

In the final days of the 2020 election, Parler’s popularity exploded. Searches for “Parler” have surged since late October, and the app saw a spike in downloads after Joe Biden won the White House. Currently, Parler is No. 4 in the news category on the Apple App Store. (At one point in November, the app actually reached the top slot in the App Store, though it’s since fallen significantly in the rankings.) The Washington Post reports that the site now has more than 10 million users, and the company’s COO has said that the user base is continuing to grow by the millions.

These numbers are still small compared to platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, which collectively boast billions of users. But Parler is becoming a topic of conversation on those platforms, too. Between November 10 and 16, Parler reached its highest number of mentions ever on Twitter (1.5 million) according to data collected by Zignal Labs. In the past month, posts mentioning Parler have racked up hundreds of thousands of “Likes” on Facebook.

The burgeoning influence of Parler is part of a broader trend of fringe outlets like One America News and Newsmax hoping to reel in an audience of Trump loyalists, especially after he leaves office.

This flurry of post-election attention is not the first time Parler has made the news. Over the summer, Parler started to see new users after Twitter put warning labels on several tweets from President Trump, prompting prominent conservatives to coax their followers into joining the app. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz even posted a video announcing his decision to move to Parler.

If Parler is looking to become a real competitor to the social media giants it criticizes, the company still has a very long way to go. While Parler is intent on not moderating much of its content, pressures to do so could grow as its users try to bend the few rules the site does have.

When you first sign up for Parler, the site asks for standard information like a phone number and an email address. Parler also provides a list of suggested follows — mostly conservative influencers — and recommended hashtags during the signup process. Once you reach the homepage, the site prompts you to post something (“What’s new?”) and provides an updated inventory of posts and threads from accounts you follow. Some of these accounts are verified, and some use hashtags (which you can search separately).

There’s also a private messaging feature that’s similar to direct messages on Twitter and a “Discover” tab, where Parler features “all of the latest news” from accounts that users don’t already follow. In the “Verification” tab, users are prompted to provide images of a government identification card as well as a selfie in order to earn “Citizen” status on the app.

Parler eschews content curation, and posts from people you follow appear chronologically — not algorithmically sorted as posts appear on Facebook and Twitter. “We do not curate your feed; we do not pretend to be qualified to do so,” state the company’s guidelines. While there are some limitations, like certain illegal activity, Parler’s community guidelines promise users that the platform will be “viewpoint-neutral” and that “removing community members or member-provided content [will] be kept to the absolute minimum.”

Parler emphasizes that it doesn’t have a particular ideological affiliation, but much of the content on the platform is conservative, and the site also has conservative backers. The site also immediately steers new users to conservative voices and content.




25 November, 2020

Former Pfizer VP Says Lockdowns Were a Mistake, YouTube Forcibly Removes His Video

Dr. Micheal Yeadon is a respiratory health professional with an impressive CV.

Last week the former Pfizer veep posted a video on YouTube, explaining that he believes that “there is no science to suggest a second wave should happen.” Dr. Yeadon also warned, “half or even ‘almost all’ of tests for COVID are false positives.”

The lockdowns, Yeadon said in an interview last September, were a mistake.

We are basing a government policy, an economic policy, a civil liberties policy, in terms of limiting people to six people in a meeting…all based on, what may well be, completely fake data on this coronavirus?

YouTube took down Dr. Yeadon’s November video after all of two hours.

Is he correct? Are we getting tons of false positives? Should we fully re-open the economy?

These are important questions, and Insanity Wrap would answer “possibly” to the former and “OH HELL YES!” to the latter.

Whatever the truth is, these are questions in dire need of an open and public debate.

YouTube (owned by Google parent Alphabet) chose to silence Dr. Yeadon instead.

LBRY is a blockchain-based video hosting service that doesn’t allow us to embed their videos, but you can certainly view Dr. Yeadon’s statement there.

National Association of REALTORS Is Policing 'Hate Speech' Off the Job

Earlier this month, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Board of Directors approved a measure banning hate speech and discrimination — not just in an agent’s real estate practice but also in his or her personal conduct, including non-professional social media accounts.

“REALTORS® who engage in hate speech or discriminatory conduct even outside of their real estate practice could face disciplinary action under the Code of Ethics,” REALTOR® Magazine reported. “The National Association of REALTORS®’ Board of Directors … approved a proposal intended to hold members to a higher standard of ethics in everything they do.”

NAR President Vince Malta called the move “a monumental moment for NAR” in reaffirming its commitment to fair housing.

The move may also set many conservatives on edge, however, and not for no reason.

While it may make sense for NAR to have a policy that allows the association to kick out REALTORS® who post blatant racism on social media, the notion of “hate speech” has evolved into a cudgel to silence political opinions — especially on the Right.

In recent years, conservatives have faced accusations of “hate speech” for supporting President Donald Trump, for wearing “Make America Great Again” hats, for saying marriage is between one man and one woman, and for disagreeing with transgender identity. YouTube even censored a pediatrician for “hate speech” because she warned against genital mutilation in the name of transgender identity.

Similarly, conservative Christian bakers, florists, and designers who refuse to celebrate same-sex weddings have faced accusations of “discrimination,” even though they gladly serve LGBT people. A member of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission even compared baker Jack Phillips — whose father liberated a concentration camp — to a Nazi for refusing to lend his artistry to celebrate a same-sex wedding.

Conservatives rationally fear that restrictions on “hate speech” may translate into a witch hunt to silence conservative speech.

The National Association of REALTORS® is a private business association, so federal protections for free speech do not apply to its membership rules. In an FAQ document about the new policy, NAR essentially admitted that if a REALTOR® posts his or her opinion online and someone is offended, that could cost his or her job.

Most likely, the association will try to avoid making blatantly political judgments that will alienate conservatives. Even so, conservatives should be vigilant in watching out for “hate speech” policing.




24 November, 2020

France is backsliding on free speech

In recent weeks, Macron has been on the warpath with the Anglophone media. His grievances are justified but the consequences are not. The US media, in particular, have been woeful. At best, the reporting around Samuel Paty seems to have been filtered and refracted through the prism of America’s culture wars. At worst, it has descended into outright apologism for Islamist rage.

Speaking to the New York Times, Macron chastised the English-language media for ‘legitimising violence’. He had two pieces in particular in his sights. One in the FT, which misquoted Macron and essentially accused him of Islamophobia, and one on Politico, which blamed French secularism for radicalising Islamists. Both have since been pulled. In the case of the Politico article, this is the first time the publication has ever withdrawn an opinion article after publication. Response pieces were quickly published by the French government in both outlets, though no one could read the pieces they were responding to. The order of events has left many to suspect the Élysée demanded their deletion.

In France, the crackdown on Islamists has also crossed a line into the state policing of speech. Macron has launched a crackdown on radical Islamists who have been ‘spreading hate’ online. As Mick Hume has argued on spiked, it is paramount that we make a distinction between those who conspire to commit terrorist acts – who should be ruthlessly pursued by the law and severely punished – and those who hold and express extreme views. The existence of extremist views should prompt more debate, more discussion and a more vigorous defence of our liberties, not censorship in the name of freedom.

But even beyond the question of terrorism, the Macron government is chipping away at free speech. This week, parliament has been debating a bill which would ban the dissemination of any video or image which could be used to identify police officers. Civil-liberties groups and even the UN have warned of the threat this poses to free expression. The kind of videos which revealed the out-of-control police violence towards gilets jaunes protesters, which led to nearly 900 injuries, would be banned.

The government has also tried to pass laws removing ‘hate speech’ from the internet, though thankfully much of the worst of these measures were struck down by the courts in June.

Everyone in the West must support France in its battle against Islamist attempts to impose censorship at the end of the gun and the knife. And that is all the more reason to demand more from our own governments – and to criticise them when they fall short in respecting free speech.

After recent free speech controversies, Iowa Board of Regents instigates review of university policies

With First Amendment issues churning at Iowa’s public universities — including controversial coursework, spurned student groups and contentious social media posts — the Board of Regents has created a committee to review its free speech policy and evaluate its campuses’ compliance.

Additionally, board President Mike Richards this week tasked the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa presidents to provide an update at the board’s February meeting “on exactly how each institution is protecting free speech on campus and in the classroom.”

“Everyone has the right to express their own opinion,” Richards said. “Disagreeing on issues and having a respectful debate about those issues should happen on our university campuses. What should not happen is preventing another person or group’s opinion from being expressed, or threatening those opinions with possible repercussions. This is not who we are, and it is not right.”

Richards, in making his comments, didn’t reference any particular incident on the campuses his board oversees — although there have been many First Amendment and free-speech-related debates and concerns.

But he noted the board last year adopted a free speech policy after both ISU ad the UI ended up in court over separate issues, prompting legislators to enact a new law on “speech and expression at public institutions of higher education in the State of Iowa.”

The board’s committee of three regents will evaluate implementation of its new policy. Regents David Barker, Nancy Boettger and Zack Leist — the board’s student regent, from ISU — also will research best practices at other institutions and recommend changes “that need to be made to strengthen our efforts on free speech.”

“This board will not tolerate the violation of anyone’s freedom of speech on our campuses,” Richards said.




23 November, 2020

LA County School District Bans Certain Classic Novels Due to Concerns of Racism

The Burbank Unified School District (BUSD), in Los Angeles County, California, will no longer be allowed to teach some of the greatest American classic works, including "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Huckleberry Finn," in their schools after parents claimed that these novels could cause harm to Black students.

According to Newsweek:

Middle and high school English teachers in the Burbank Unified School District received the news during a virtual meeting on September 9.

Until further notice, teachers in the area will not be able to include on their curriculum Harper Lee's “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Mark Twain's “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” John Steinbeck's “Of Mice and Men,” Theodore Taylor's “The Cay” and Mildred D. Taylor's “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.”

Four parents alleged that these books could cause harm to their children, and, in turn, BUSD decided to exclude these novels from its curriculum.

However, as Newsweek reports, others are pushing back.

The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) asked BUSD in a letter to continue teaching these novels, saying that, "[W]e believe that the books... have a great pedagogical value and should be retained in the curriculum."

An online petition against the ban was created by Sungjoo Yoon, a Burbank High School sophomore, saying:

In a time where racism has become more transparent than ever, we need to continue to educate students as to the roots of it; to create anti-racist students. These literatures, of which have been declared “Books that Shaped America” by the Library of Congress, won Newbury Medals, and are some of the most influential pieces, cannot disappear.

A separate petition against the ban was also created by PEN America (Poets, Essayists, Novelists):

More than a QUARTER of British students 'self-censor' their opinions because they fear their university's woke cancel culture - and 40% are afraid their careers will be ruined if they speak out

More than a quarter of students 'self-censor' because they fear their views will clash with the 'woke' values promoted by their university, according to a shocking new survey.

In the latest evidence of the free speech crisis engulfing campuses across the country, 27 per cent of students said they have actively 'hidden' their opinions when they are at odds with those of their peers and tutors.

More than half of those who 'self-censored' did so because of their political views. A further 40 per cent withheld their opinions on ethical or religious matters for fear of being judged.

In a chilling indication that those with 'unfashionable' views fear speaking out will have long-term consequences, almost 40 per cent of those polled said they believed their career would be adversely affected if they expressed their true opinions at university.

Free speech campaigners last night likened some campuses to 'Maoist re-education camps' dominated by 'woke orthodoxy' where only the most liberal and Left-wing views are tolerated.

Matthew Goodwin, Professor of Politics at the University of Kent, said: 'We need to keep our world-leading universities as free as possible and we need students and the people teaching them to feel that they can debate, discuss and exchange ideas and perspectives from different angles.

'If we lose that, we're going to lose what it is that makes our universities great in the first place. Freedom of speech is a fundamental aspect of our national identity.'

The survey – conducted by Survation on behalf of ADF International, a faith-based legal advocacy organisation – found that more than a third (36 per cent) of students hold views that are legal to express but that would be considered 'unacceptable' by their student union.
The poll, which received responses from 1,028 current university students and recent graduates across the country, discovered that 44 per cent believed lecturers would treat them differently if they publicly expressed views important to them.

Two-fifths of those questioned said so-called 'no platforming' – where events are cancelled due to the views held by speakers – had become more frequent at their university.

Toby Young, who created The Free Speech Union in February, said his organisation is inundated with students 'begging for help'.

'They thought they'd applied to a university, but they've ended up in a Maoist re-education camp,' he added.




22 November, 2020

Fifteen Senators (Including Fauxcahontas and Bernie) Want Facebook to Ban ‘Anti-Muslim Hate’

How about banning anti-Christian hate?

Democrats who want to browbeat (or worse) Trump supporters in Truth and Reconciliation Commissions and silence all dissent from the hard-Left’s agenda know better than to come before America and say, “We want to destroy the First Amendment and stifle the freedom of expression that is the indispensable foundation of any free society.” Instead, they strike a pose of unassailable piety and tell us how victimized groups need to be protected from “hate,” and that “hate speech” must be eradicated. That approach works like a charm: after all, who wants to speak out in favor of “hate speech”? But George Orwell’s 1984 has become the Democrats’ playbook, and the “hate speech” shell game is a quintessential example of how they manipulate language to hide their authoritarian agenda.

Nevertheless, that agenda was unmistakable Monday, when Middle East Eye reported that “Democratic senators are calling on Facebook to ‘do more’ to mitigate the spread of anti-Muslim bigotry, after the social media giant was criticised for failing to address attacks against the faith group on multiple occasions, including the aftermath of the Christchurch shootings.” Fifteen Senators, including Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, penned a strongly-worded letter to Facebook top dog Mark Zuckerberg, telling him that Facebook “needed to immediately enforce its community standards to address anti-Muslim hate and ban the use of event pages for the purpose of ‘harassment, organizing, and violence’ against the Muslim community.”

Farhana Khera of the activist group Muslim Advocates stated that more needed to be done: “Since 2015, Muslim Advocates had warned Facebook that the platform’s event pages were being used by violent militias and white nationalists to organize armed rallies at mosques. We need to know what Facebook plans to do to end the anti-Muslim hate and violence enabled by their platform – and end it now.”

Incitement to violence against any group should always be blocked. The problem with all this is encapsulated in Khera’s formulation “anti-Muslim hate and violence.” Islamic advocacy groups and their allies in the West have for years falsely claimed that any honest discussion of the motivating ideology behind jihad violence constituted “anti-Muslim hate.” As a result, Facebook has already taken decisive steps to render such discussion virtually impossible to find. Back in July 2017, Facebook’s Vice President Joel Kaplan traveled to Pakistan to assure the Pakistani government that it would remove “anti-Islam” material. What is “anti-Islam” material? As far as Muslim Advocates is concerned, it is anything that discusses how jihad terrorists use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and make recruits among peaceful Muslims.

Numerous books and presentations that gave a perfectly accurate view of Islam and jihad were removed from counterterror training. Today this is still the entrenched policy of the U.S. government, at least among the deep state.

And now, if Warren and Sanders get their way, Facebook will enable a further blackout of the truth, and a new assault on the freedom of speech. It’s an auspicious way to usher in the Biden/Harris era (if we do).

The Censorious Left Is Obliterating Free Speech

A lot of things worry me about a Joe Biden-Kamala Harris administration, but nothing troubles me more than that it will accommodate the left's disturbing march toward selective suppression of free speech.

Much of the war against this sacred liberty occurs at the level of our culture, but when a leftist-friendly administration is in power, our efforts to combat this culturally will be more difficult.

As a result of structural and technological changes in our society, threats to free speech no longer come from the government alone, and so, our constitutional guarantees against encroachments are now inadequate. There has been such a consolidation of power in the media and social media that these two institutions pose a great danger to our speech apart from any state action.

The mainstream media doesn't even present both sides of issues anymore, and its coverage of President Donald Trump has been entirely negative, despite the enormous successes of his administration. The media conspiratorially shielded a cognitively failing Joe Biden and abdicated their reporting function concerning his condition and his unprecedented absence during the campaign. They wholly ignored credible corruption allegations against his son Hunter Biden. They invariably present their editorial views as straight news. All of these practices and more deceive and poison their viewers.

What concerns me more than the current concentration of power in these various institutions and their censorship is that they and their Democratic allies would want to suppress opposing views in the first place. But they do, and they are. Leftists are brazenly hostile toward the publication of opinions with which they disagree. This is unsurprising because, for them, the end justifies the means. Their allegiance is not to liberty but to their agenda, which must be achieved at all costs, including the obliteration of our most fundamental freedoms.

The left will never run out of specious arguments to suppress conservative speech, but even if it were correct in its depictions of our speech, which it most emphatically is not, its move to silence its political opponents is far more dangerous to the republic than any ideas it seeks to suppress.




20 November, 2020

Guilt by Partial Association: Airbnb Cancels Trump Supporter’s Account, Citing ‘Hate Group’ Ties

In the lead-up to the Million MAGA March on Saturday, the home-sharing and vacation rental company Airbnb unceremoniously booted a Trump supporter from its platform because he offered to host members of a “hate group” for the event. Airbnb canceled the man’s reservation and deleted his account after Twitter users complained about his use of the platform. The man later clarified that he is not a member of the Proud Boys, an organization the far-left smear factory the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has accused of being a hate group.

The man in question, identified as Ronald Gaudier, offered to host march attendees in a public Telegram chat run by the Proud Boys.

“I rented an apartment through AirBNB walking distance. There is room there for a couple other guys if you are interested message me,” Gaudier wrote on Tuesday. “I’m booked 13-15.”

Twitter users posted screenshots of the chat, warning Airbnb of Gaudier’s offer. Users attacked Airbnb for apparently agreeing to host someone loosely affiliated with the Proud Boys.

The company responded by announcing a total ban on Gaudier.

The SPLC has long branded mainstream conservative and Christian organizations “hate groups,” listing them along with the Ku Klux Klan. Former employees have come forward describing the hate group list as a scam, and many of the organizations on the list have filed defamation lawsuits.

Gavin McInnes, founder and former leader of the Proud Boys, has sued the SPLC for defamation regarding the hate group accusation.

Among other things, McInnes’ lawsuit powerfully destroys any idea that the Proud Boys is a “white supremacist” group. The Proud Boys bylaws state that “a person that believes in the inherent supremacy of any one race over another, or who is a member of any organization promoting the supremacy of any one race over another, may not become or remain a member of this Fraternity. This includes, but is not limited to, any person who currently identifies as white nationalist, white supremacist, or alt-right (or any person who is a member of an organization identifying as such).”

Ted Cruz Calls Out Democrats for 'Totalitarian Instincts' on Censorship

Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz is calling out Democrats for advocating on behalf of big tech censorship against speech they don't like or politically disagree with.

"Consistently the message from Senate Democrats is for Facebook and Twitter and Google to censor more. To abuse their power more. To silence voices that Senate Democrats disagree with more. That is very dangerous if we want to maintain a free and fair democracy. If we want to maintain free speech," Cruz said.

"There was a time when Democrats embraced and defended the principles of free speech. There was a time when Democrats embraced and defended the principles of a free press and yet there is an absolute silence from Democrats speaking up for the press outlet censored by big tech. There's an absolute silence from Democrats speaking out for the citizens silenced by big tech," he continued. "Instead, there is a demand to use even more power to silence dissent and that's a totalitarian instinct that I think is very dangerous."




19 November, 2020

Must not call for fair elections

The Mandalorian is the best Star Wars production since Empire Strikes Back. Some disagree, insisting that Rogue One is the best Star Wars since Empire. They’re wrong but that’s not what this post is about.

Gina Carano plays tough-fighting Cara Dune in the brilliant Star Wars spin on the spaghetti Western. Dune was a rebel shock trooper during the galactic civil war and is now making her way through the galaxy. Her path intersects with the series star, Din Djarin aka the Mandalorian. Carano is a former MMA star, as tough in real life as her character is on the screen. She could break most of us in half.

Carano has opinions that are her own and don’t necessarily align with the cultural rot on social media. Some fans, and apparently a website called We Got This Covered, is trying to get her fired from the show. The site titles its piece on the weak non-controversy “The Mandalorian Fans Want Gina Carano Fired Over Her Social Media Activity,” implying that all fans of the show agree on this.

This is by no means true. Some intolerant fans are tweeting at her because she wants elections in the United States to be fair and above board.

Shocking opinion! Off with her bandolier!

What’s wrong with Carano’s opinion? Every illegal or fake vote cast disenfranchises a legal voter. So what’s wrong with Carano’s call to clean up our elections? What’s wrong with any of the remedies she calls for?

Some tweeters clapped back at her, but the fact is Twitter is not representative of anything. It skews young and left. But WGTC gets a whole article out of those tweeters criticizing her and even calling for Disney to fire her and never presents any other point of view, despite the fact that the very first reaction tweet agreed with Carano.

Conservatives flee to Parler after Facebook‘s US election crackdown

Conservatives fed up with a perceived bias from social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are reportedly absconding to “free speech platform” Parler, but the site really needs one more thing to push it into the mainstream.

“If someone like Donald Trump, a very popular figure with a huge audience, moved to the platform, that could be huge for them and actually attract a more diverse audience,” said Griffith University PhD researcher specialising in digital media and political extremism Audrey Courty.

Parler’s CEO is John Matze, a self-described libertarian, with financial backing from noted conservative Rebekah Mercer, who wants the platform to fight back against what she called the “ever increasing tyranny and hubris of our tech overlords” in a post on the platform.

The social media platform was founded in 2018 but is reportedly receiving a surge in popularity in recent weeks.




18 November, 2020

Professor Resigns after Calling Biden Voters 'Ignorant, Anti-American, and Anti-Christian'

But you can call Trump voters anything you like, of course

A professor at Virginia Wesleyan University resigned after one of his Facebook posts criticizing Joe Biden supporters came to light shortly after Election Day. The university announced the professor's resignation on Monday.

Paul Ewell was a professor of management, business and economics at Virginia Wesleyan, as well as the dean of the university's global campus. The university said in a statement posted on its website that Ewell resigned his position as dean of the global campus last week and also resigned as a professor by Monday.

In the private Facebook post obtained by The Virginian-Pilot, Ewell began by asking those who had voted for Biden to either unfriend him or tell him they were Democrats so that he could do the unfriending himself.

"If you were ignorant, anti-American, and anti-Christian enough to vote for Biden, I really don't want to be your social friend on social media," Ewell wrote.

GoFundMe Censors Billboard Fundraising Campaign

GoFundMe, the private fundraising website, has halted the ability of a group of parents to raise money for a giant billboard that would expose transgender disinformation. GoFundMe claims the fundraising efforts violated its user rules.

Parents wanted to erect a billboard that says, “Puberty is not a medical condition,” along with a graphic of Abigail Shrier’s book, “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters.”

The fundraising effort is similar to one by a Los Angeles-area father, who had paid for a similar billboard following his teenage daughter’s struggle with gender dysphoria.

That billboard in West Hollywood states: “Your child is learning about gender identity in school. Puberty is not a medical condition. Get the facts. Read this book.”

It makes sense that parents would target California, specifically. California is one of the most pro-transgender states in the country. This last legislative session, California lawmakers passed multiple pro-transgender bills, one of which subsidized taxpayer dollars for a health care fund to help transgender people pay for various hormone replacement therapies and gender confirmation surgeries.

Wall Street Journal columnist and author Shrier’s work exposing the trend of teenage girls interested in being transgender, almost entirely due to what she found was a peer contagion, is prolific and timely.

Lisa Littman originally published research revealing this thesis at Brown University. It was heavily censored, and she was bullied into eventually removing it.




17 November, 2020

Alito: 'You Can't Say That Marriage Is a Union Between One Man and One Woman' in America Today

In a Federalist Society speech on Thursday, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito raised the alarm about threats to religious freedom, free speech, and the rule of law — threats exacerbated in the “constitutional stress-test” of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. These threats are by no means limited to lockdown restrictions and COVID-19 issues, but the virus has highlighted them.

“The pandemic has resulted in previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty,” Alito said. “I am not diminishing the severity of the virus’s threat to public health, and putting aside what I will say shortly about a few Supreme Court cases, I’m not saying anything about the legality of COVID restrictions. All that I’m saying is this… we have never before seen restrictions as severe, extensive, and prolonged as those experienced for most of 2020.”

Alito mentioned many “live events that would otherwise be protected by the right to freedom of speech” that state and local governments have prohibited, including the fact that churches were closed on Easter Sunday by government fiat.

“The COVID crisis has served as a sort of constitutional stress-test. And in doing so it has highlighted disturbing trends that were already present before the virus struck,” the justice argued.

He also briefly covered recent Supreme Court cases illustrating the threat to religious freedom.

Alito also warned that “support for freedom of speech is also in danger and COVID rules have restricted speech in unprecedented ways.”

While coronavirus lockdowns have shut down attendance at speeches, conferences, lectures, rallies, and more, “even before the pandemic, there was growing hostility to the expression of unfavorable views.”

Alito quipped that there are “seventy times seven” things that Americans cannot say if they are students or professors at a college or university, or employees speaking for a corporation.

“You can’t say that marriage is a union between one man and one woman. Until very recently, that’s what the vast majority of Americans thought. Now, it’s considered bigotry,” he warned.

“That this would happen after our decision in Obergefell [the 2015 case striking down state laws on marriage] should not have come as a surprise. Yes, the opinion of the Court included words meant to calm the fears of those who cling to traditional views on marriage. But I could see, and so did the other justices in dissent, where the decision would lead,” Alito warned.

He quoted his own dissent in the case, “I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes. But if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and being treated as such by governments, employers, and schools.”

“That is just what is coming to pass,” the justice lamented. Indeed, in one recent case, the Kroger Company fired two women in Little Rock, Ark., who refused to wear a rainbow-colored heart emblem on an apron because they did not want to endorse LGBT activism.

Religious freedom and free speech are indeed under assault in America today, and even if the coronavirus pandemic fades away tomorrow, these threats to fundamental rights will persist.

Candy giant Allen's announces new names for old favourites Redskins and Chicos after complaints they were offensive

The confectionery giant announced it was changing the names of the classic Red Skins and Chicos candies earlier this year after public backlash.

Red Skins will now be known as Red Ripper while Chicos will become Cheekies.

Parent company Nestle announced on Monday the renamed products will begin appearing on shelves early next year.

'Nestle has an unwavering commitment to upholding respect for our friends, neighbours and colleagues,' Nestle confectionery general manager Chris O’Donnell said in a statement.

'We hope Australians will support the evolution of these two much loved candies – while the names are new, the candies themselves remain unchanged.

'We will keep pack changes simple to help candy lovers find their favourites easily.'

Allen's insists the the flavour of both classic candies will remained unchanged.

The name changes have sparked a mixed reaction from buyers online.




16 November, 2020

Nikki Haley slams Twitter for flagging her election fraud claim about ballot harvesting as 'disputed' while leaving Iranian leader's tweet about Holocaust 'doubts' untouched

'Wow. When Iran's Ayatollah says the Holocaust didn't happen, Twitter doesn't say 'this claim is disputed.' When I say ballot harvesting makes election fraud easier, Twitter says that's disputed. Wonder why conservatives don't trust big tech?' Haley tweeted.

The Republican former U.N. Ambassador and South Carolina governor laid into the tech giant after it slapped a warning label on a tweet of hers from earlier that day, which also complained about some states' practice of mailing ballots to all voters.

'Despite what the media tells us, election fraud does happen, and policies like ballot harvesting and mailing ballots to people who don't request them makes it easier. That needs to stop,' Haley wrote in the tweet that was labeled as 'disputed.'

The tweet linked to a post on the website of her advocacy group, Stand for America, that listed two examples of ballot harvesting that led to charges of voter fraud.

That included a case in Paterson, N.J., in which the state's Attorney General charged a city councilman and city councilman-elect with election fraud crimes after they allegedly submitted third-party ballots improperly for a May election.

A judge overturned the results of that election.

Over half of U.S. states allow third parties to collect mail-in ballots from voters. Supporters say it helps ensure votes from those with limited U.S. Postal Service access are counted.

Twitter said it flagged Haley's tweet about the practice under its Civic Integrity Project, Fox News reported. The effort targets tweets with false information about voting, including 'disputed claims that could undermine faith in the process itself.'

Biden Transition Official Believes the First Amendment Has a 'Design Flaw' -- His Remedy Is to Curb Free Speech

Richard Stengel, according to the New York Post, “is the Biden transition ‘Team Lead’ for the US Agency for Global Media, the U.S. government media empire that includes Voice of America, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.” He is also a menace to our constitutional protections and to free society in general. If he is any indication of what is coming, we’re in for a rough four years, or longer.

Stengel wrote last year in a Washington Post op-ed that the freedom of speech must be restricted, for “all speech is not equal. And where truth cannot drive out lies, we must add new guardrails. I’m all for protecting ‘thought that we hate,’ but not speech that incites hate.”

What kind of speech “incites hate”? As far as Stengel is concerned, the answer is any speech that Muslims find offensive. He wrote: “Even the most sophisticated Arab diplomats that I dealt with did not understand why the First Amendment allows someone to burn a Koran. Why, they asked me, would you ever want to protect that?”

Well, maybe because a law forbidding criticism (including mockery) of any group establishes that group as a protected class that cannot be questioned, and that in turn would allow this group to do whatever it wanted without fear of any opposition even being allowed to articulate its case. The freedom of speech is, in sum, our foremost protection against tyranny. Without it, a tyrant can work his will without any fear of his opponents uttering even one cross word.

But instead of explaining and defending the freedom of speech, Stengel agreed with his “sophisticated Arab diplomats,” answering their query about Qur’an-burning with this: “It’s a fair question. Yes, the First Amendment protects the ‘thought that we hate,’ but it should not protect hateful speech that can cause violence by one group against another. In an age when everyone has a megaphone, that seems like a design flaw.”




15 November, 2020

Target Stops Sale of Transgender-Skeptical Book

The Twitter account for Target stores says the $80 billion corporation will stop selling a book about trangenderism’s harmful impact on young girls, following a complaint from a single Twitter account.

“Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention. We have removed this book from our assortment,” the Target tweet said after an activist complained that Target is selling the book, authored by Abigail Shrier.

“ just made my book disappear,” Shrier responded. “Does it bother anyone that Woke activists and spineless corporations now determine what Americans are allowed to read?”

The book, titled Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, helps to explain how a wave of young girls are nudged and pushed into declaring they want to take life-altering drugs, adopt an opposite-sex identity, and undergo irreversible surgery.

Portland mayor removes gendered language to be more "inclusive"

Ted Wheeler is just one of a number of liberal mayors who has now faced aggressive backlash from protestors despite expressing sympathies towards them.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who won a second term earlier this month as he narrowly fended off his left-leaning opponent amid criticism after months of protests and riots, is removing gendered language to be more “inclusive.”

He tweeted “The language of the documents that guide the City should reflect our community. Today, Council authorized the City Auditor to remove feminine and masculine terms from the City Charter. This important step will help make our documents more inclusive of all gender identities.”

Concerning gender-neutral words, Portland and its home state has a long history of leading on politically and socially liberal issues.

Three years ago, Oregon became the first state in the US to allow residents to mark their gender as "not specified" on applications for driver's licenses, learner's permits and identity cards.

Under the new rule approved by the Oregon Transportation Commission, Oregonians who select the new option will have an X appear instead of M or F on those cards. The rule was a first for the U.S., David House, spokesman for Oregon's Driver and Motor Vehicles Division, or DMV, told The Associated Press.




13 November, 2020

'All she needs to be qualified is a black p***y': Former Google director resigns from school board after his wife posted vulgar tweet about Kamala Harris

He was responsible for what his wife said?

A former Google executive and president of a Menlo Park school district has stepped down after his wife made vulgar comments about Kamala Harris on Twitter, alleging she is only qualified for office because she's a black woman.

Jon Venverloh resigned on Sunday as president of the Las Lomitas Elementary School District in Menlo Park stating he needed to focus on his family.

His wife Mehridith Philips Venverloh had tweeted about Vice President-elect Kamala Harris: 'All she needs to be qualified is a black p****! No brain needed!'

She later deleted the post and account. However, screenshots of the post have been shared on social media, sparking outrage and prompting calls for Venverloh's resignation as school board president.

'I stood for election to be a trustee because I care about doing the right thing for ALL of our kids in our District,' Jon Venverloh said in the statement according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

'However, given my wife’s social media posts, which expressed reprehensible views that I do not agree with, I know that my continued service would be a distraction from the work that needs to be done in the District over the two years remaining in my term,' he added.

Biden Appoints Free-Speech Antagonist to Sell Free Speech Abroad

When Rick Stengel left his job as managing editor of Time magazine to take the job of Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in 2013, he became the 24th journalist to officially join the Obama administration. The most notable of them was Jay Carney, the longtime Washington bureau chief for Time who would become director of communications for Joe Biden and then White House press secretary, but many journalists — and we’re not talking about pundits — took the short journey from political journalism to Democratic Party advocacy. And, as George Stephanopoulos can attest, if you’re a Democrat, there is always a road back into journalism.

Stengel is now on Biden’s transition team to the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which I just learned is an agency that oversees “public service media networks that provide unbiased news and information in countries where the press is restricted.”

Considering Stengel’s animosity towards free expression this seems quite a poor fit. You might remember his infamous 2011 Time cover piece, featuring a picture of the Constitution with the headline “Does It Still Matter?”

In it he argued:

We can pat ourselves on the back about the past 223 years, but we cannot let the Constitution become an obstacle to the U.S.’s moving into the future with a sensible health care system, a globalized economy, an evolving sense of civil and political rights. The Constitution does not protect our spirit of liberty; our spirit of liberty protects the Constitution. The Constitution serves the nation; the nation does not serve the Constitution.

This malleable view of foundational law, one that allows partisans to reimagine the Constitution in any way that suits them, is pretty popular these days. It is, in essence, an acknowledgment that the contemporary left-wing can’t function under traditional American principles.

12 November, 2020

Soccer chief RESIGNS after he referred to 'coloured footballers' and claimed South Asians and Afro-Caribbean people have 'different career interests'

Greg Clarke has resigned as FA chairman following a disastrous parliamentary appearance in which he made reference to 'coloured footballers' among a host of other offensive gaffes.

As MailOnline revealed on Tuesday afternoon the 63-year-old immediately came under pressure from inside Wembley to quit and after canvassing the opinions of other Board members came to the conclusion that he had no option but to stand down immediately.

In his resignation statement Clarke admitted that comments in which he also stereotyped south Asians and described homosexuality as a 'life choice' were 'unacceptable,' but claimed to have been considering the FA for some time.

Clarke was instrumental in the FA's development of the code, which includes specific targets for inclusive recruitment policies and has been adopted by 19 Premier League clubs, but his words failed match his actions.

In an extraordinary appearance via video link in front of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee yesterday morning Clarke used the phrase 'coloured footballers' when discussing online racial abuse and claimed that South Asians and Afro-Caribbean people have 'different career interests' by citing the make-up of the FA's IT department.

He was also criticised for saying a coach had told him that the lack of women's goalkeepers was due to girls not liking the ball being kicked at them, while Stonewall UK was among those who condemned his suggestion that being gay was a 'life choice'.

Clarke offered an apology for the 'coloured' remark soon afterwards after being prompted to do so by Kevin Brennan MP, but this apparent contrition was not enough to assuage the anger of FA Board members and staff who have increasingly come to view the chairman as an embarrassing liability.

Top Biden aide accuses Facebook of 'shredding the fabric of our democracy' in latest sign that Big Tech's regulatory woes could grow WORSE under Democrats

A top aide to President-elect Joe Biden has accused Facebook of 'shredding the fabric of our democracy' in the latest signal that the Democratic administration may be tougher on Big Tech than Republican President Donald Trump has been.

Bill Russo, a deputy campaign communications director for Biden, lashed out at Facebook in a series of tweets on Monday night, blasting the company led by CEO Mark Zuckerberg for allowing what he called 'debunked conspiracy theories'.

'If you thought disinformation on Facebook was a problem during our election, just wait until you see how it is shredding the fabric of our democracy in the days after. Look at what has happened in just the past week,' Russo said, going on to list examples that he said showed Facebook was too slow to delete certain dangerous right-wing content.

While Trump has talked tough about harsher regulations on Big Tech, accusing social media platforms of censoring conservatives, his administration has taken little concrete action.

Russo's tweets are among a number of signs that a Biden administration will take a harder line, pursuing Democrats' opposite complaint that social media companies don't delete enough material that they deem questionable.




11 November, 2020

You can say what you want about Trump but you must not disrespect Joe Biden

Sam Newman has been widely condemned after allegedly referring to US President-elect Joe Biden as “mentally retarded”.

In a since-deleted tweet, the 74-year-old former AFL player [footballer] reportedly took aim at Biden. “Great day for inclusion and diversity,” the former AFL Footy Show panelist reportedly wrote.

“Shows someone who is mentally retarded and has special needs, can attain high office. “Congratulations, Joe Biden.”

Screenshots of the alleged tweet have been widely circulated on social media, with Twitter users savaging Newman as “vile” and “disgusting”.

Facebook Censorship: Platform Will ‘Temporarily Demote’ Posts that Share ‘Election Misinformation’

Tech giant Facebook laid out its censorship plan on Thursday, stating it would begin demoting content that its “systems predict may be misinformation” relating to election fraud.

Forbes reports that Facebook has announced that it plans to demote content “our systems predict may be misinformation” relating to election fraud. A Facebook spokesperson told Forbes that the social media company is “seeing more reports of inaccurate claims about the election” and “while many of these claims have low engagement on our platform, we are taking additional temporary steps.”

The spokesperson told Forbes that Facebook would be taking a number of actions including “demotions for content on Facebook and Instagram that our systems predict may be misinformation, including debunked claims about voting” and “limiting the distribution of Live videos that may relate to the election on Facebook.”

On Thursday, Facebook blacklisted a grassroots group called “Stop the Steal,” deleting the group after it had gained more than 300,000 members.




10 November, 2020

Fox News Cancels 'Justice With Judge Jeanine' This Weekend Over Trump

For those of you that might have tuned in and did not see Fox News' "Justice" with Judge Jeanine Pirro on Saturday night, sources told Newsmax the show was suspended over a spat on the network's coverage of President Donald Trump.

Sources close to the network tell Newsmax, because she made a very staunch defense of President Trump and wanted to expose the vote fraud that took place in the election, Fox News decided not to air her show. It had extended coverage of Democrat Joe Biden's acceptance speech of a contested election.

The sources gave no inclination of whether the network is going to keep the show going, but we hear she was suspended at least for this weekend.

Fox News is not the only news organization scrambling to go decisively critical of President Trump.

The New York Times reported Rupert Murdoch's tabloid, the New York Post, has shifted its tone on Trump as a top editor has planned his own exit from the reputed oldest newspaper in American history.

Arkansas police chief is forced to resign after he threatened to 'shoot BLM and Antifa protesters and warned of death to all Marxist Democrats' in social media posts

Lang Holland left his role as Marshall's Chief of Police after the comments surfaced online over the weekend, ABC7 reports.

Holland is also reported to have shared other user's posts threatening Democratic politicians and called transgender people 'mentally defective' and 'perverted freaks.'

In a post from Friday the Parler account, with the user name @langholland, posted: 'Death to all Marxist Democrats. Take no prisoners leave no survivors! Throw water on them in restaurants. Push them off sidewalks.

'Never let them forgot they are traitors and have no right to live in this Republic after what they have done.'

Posts also encouraged others to 'smash the homes' of Democrats, adding: 'Run them out of this country.' The mayor of Marshall confirmed the account belonged to Holland.

By Friday evening a second account, with the user name @Chieflangholland, was claiming to be the real Holland. It said the first account had been a fake.

But by Saturday both Parler accounts, as well as the police department's Facebook page, had been taken down.




9 November, 2020

More dictionary mayhem

The Oxford English Dictionary has updated its entry for 'woman' so that it is defined as a 'person's' wife, girlfriend or lover as opposed to only a man's following a gender review.

The publisher has altered dozens of terms including 'woman', 'man', 'housework' and 'high-maintenance' following a gender diversity review which concluded earlier this year.

It was prompted by a 30,000-strong petition, led by PR consultant Maria Beatrice Giovanardi, which claimed that the dictionary was sexist.

'Woman' was previously defined in the Oxford Dictionary as a 'man's' wife, girlfriend or lover - but this has now been changed to 'person's'.

There are also several new terms used within the definition including 'woman of the moment' and 'woman of the match' as well as the working example 'with that money, a woman could buy a house and put two kids through college'.

The previously listed synonyms, which included 'wench', 'bint' and 'b****', have also been addressed.

'Bint' and 'bitch' remain but have been labeled as offensive. 'Wench' has been removed entirely.

Trudeau joins Muslim leaders saying free speech has limits

Muslims think they have the right for their feelings not to be hurt. That their Jihadis hurt a lot more than feelings seems to be overlooked

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has joined Muslim leaders around the world in saying free speech shouldn’t put Islam in a bad light.

“Freedom of expression is not without limits. We do not have the right, for example, to shout ‘fire!’ in a movie theatre crowded with people. There are always limits,” Trudeau told reporters.

“We owe it to ourselves to act with respect for others and to seek not to arbitrarily or unnecessarily injure those with whom we are sharing a society and a planet.

“In a pluralist, diverse and respectful society like ours, we owe it to ourselves to be aware of the impact of our words, of our actions on others, particularly these communities and populations who still experience a great deal of discrimination”

He was responded to a question about the beheading of a teacher in a Paris suburb who had shown his class several controversial cartoons from Denmark showing the Prophet Mohammed that Muslim people say is blasphemous.

French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the killing and said France will always protect free speech rights.

The case has drawn angry marches around the world, at least one more terror attack in France and led to Muslim leaders decrying anyone who publishes the cartoon.

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said freedom of expression should stop if it offends more than 1.5 billion people.

“We also have rights. We have the right for our feelings not to be hurt and for our values not to be hurt,” he said during an address to commemorate the Prophet Mohammad’s birthday, Reuters reported.




8 November, 2020

France Remains A Bastion Of Free Speech — Will Americans Take Note?

Seeing that Turkish leaders have condemned the French publication Charlie Hebdo, the stark differences in government between the two countries could not be more evident. Turkey’s Erdogan jails journalists, while France remains an ardent defender of the freedom of the press. Turkey has become increasingly authoritarian while France remains a resolute liberal democracy. Freedom of speech is the key difference here, and it shows just how essential this fundamental principle is to liberty.

The gruesome beheading this week of an innocent French school teacher by Islamic extremists for the sole reason that he showed a Charlie Hebdo comic reminds us that France remains a bastion of free speech. The French are literally putting their lives on the line for the issue of free speech because they know how essential the concept is to the preservation of liberty. For the French, freedom of speech is critical to their national fabric. Can the same be said for Americans?

Freedom of speech is a democratic norm that is vital to the flourishing of an open and tolerant society. Those who wish to curtail freedom speech are unquestionably intolerant and non-democratic. Freedom of speech is the most important facilitator of liberty, and we should always err on the side of it no matter how messy it is.

A left-wing outlet, Charlie Hebdo has criticized and mocked the Catholic Church, Marine Le Pen’s National Front, as well as a host of conservative or right-leaning individuals and institutions. However, they have clearly had no qualms with a cartoon depiction of the prophet Muhammed. While it is not my style to insult religion, Charlie Hebdo illustrates the French understanding that free speech does not end at the doorstep of any ideology. This is a universal principle any free society should take to heart.

This begs the question — what would a company like Charlie Hebdo look like in the United States? Certainly they would be attacked by the left on social media and in the mainstream press for their “islamophobic” mockery of Muhammed. We would no doubt see protests on college campuses dominated by the white, elite and hyper-educated. This is emblematic about what America gets wrong about free speech. Americans are so free to speak their mind that they forget how, in the language of the left, “privileged” they are to enjoy such freedoms.

I’ve spoken with folks who have lived under totalitarian regimes. During my time living in Poland, an older gentleman instilled in me that the worst form of psychological oppression is at work when people self-censor themselves. After years of Soviet repression, self-censorship had become endemic. Liberty and individualism stand little chance if basic concepts such as the right to freedom of expression have been discarded.

Sadly, what I saw in Poland during my time there is now happening here. This is the danger that America and liberal democracies throughout the free world risk when they begin to chip away at freedom of speech. A truly representative form of government cannot exist without respect for freedom of expression. It’s increasingly upsetting that folks here in the United States are failing to live up to the principles outlined in Article I of the Constitution.

So, kudos to France. We should be thankful that they have the courage to stand up and support freedom of speech. They do so because they know how intertwined free expression is with self-government.

Free speech hangs in the balance regardless of 2020 election outcome

Ironically and sadly, information sharing today is perhaps more subject to centralized control than it was before the Web was created. So much of our communication, information sharing, and business, is now being done online.

The dominant online platforms have amassed a vast amount of personal data—an informational panopticon—and they are using this data, along with the latitude afforded by the current interpretation of Section 230, to throttle the flow of information on the Internet and steer the narrative in support of their chosen beliefs.

When called out on this behavior, their approach has been merely to double-down, while hiding behind “oversight boards” and “experts.”

The situation has come to a head now, with these practices being escalated in order “to calm election-related conflict.” YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook have all joined in, implementing countless iterations of their content curation policies in the weeks leading up to the election.

These practices, especially of late, seem to work to the benefit of former Vice President Joe Biden. And, if Biden wins, this may facilitate some politicians’ goal to finally make social media into a “public utility,” and Orwell’s “1984” into an instruction manual.




6 November, 2020

Mississippi votes in favor of adopting new flag absent confederate battle cross

Another attempt to hide history

Mississippi has formally rebuked the confederate battle cross that once adorned its state flag. Voters cast their ballots in favor of Measure 3, a referendum adopting a new state flag featuring a magnolia surrounded by 21 stars signifying the states that joined the union before Mississippi, along with the words "In God we trust."

With 79% reporting, voters chose to adopt the new design by more than 69%, according to The Clarion Ledger. Mississippi had used a flag featuring the confederate battle cross for 126 years and was the last state to do so. Georgia changed its flag to remove the symbol in 2001.

A law signed by Governor Tate Reeves in July removed the flag from state buildings. Its removal came following the fatal police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked widespread protests and the reconsideration of leaving many Confederate monuments standing.

A subsequent contest saw thousands of entries from the public. A nine-person commission ultimately winnowed down the choices and picked the flag featuring the state flower, which was designed by Hunter Jones, Sue Anna Joe and Kara Giles.

This isn't the first time Mississippi has opted to reconsider its flag. A similar statewide referendum failed to pass in 2001.

New threats to Free Speech

As we’ve learned over the last four years, the threat to free speech doesn’t just come from government. We can also look at the odyssey surrounding Silicon Valley’s censorship. The attack by Facebook and Twitter on the New York Post was the high-profile breakthrough moment for many Americans, but it certainly wasn’t the first such transgression. Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that could, ostensibly, be edited by anyone, has reportedly banned the use of conservative sources. And while Parler and Gab are among a number of potential Big Tech communications competitors, they don’t have nearly the reach of the mainstream social media companies.

That said, there exists another threat to free speech — one that doesn’t come from the halls of government power or a cubicle somewhere in Silicon Valley — that has to be addressed: the use of tech for the formation of mobs bent on sowing unrest or engaging in violence. One disturbing sign of the times is the formation of a MAPPING SITE that, according to Law Enforcement Today, will provide an online map with the names and address of donors to President Trump’s campaign. This goes further than even the actions of former San Antonio Mayor Joaquin Castro, who doxxed his political opponents but didn’t include a map.

If you think this sounds familiar, you’re right. Something similar happened in 2008 in the wake of California’s Prop 8, which upheld the age-old belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. One need not even have supported Prop 8 to be concerned about its implications for free speech. What happened after its passage, as related by The Heritage Foundation, is a potential preview of what could happen to Trump donors after the 2020 election. The chilling pattern of vandalism, boycotts, harassment at home and work, and even professional repercussions was aided by a customized version of Google Maps.

The ultimate goal of using such maps would, of course, be to intimidate Americans from taking part in the many public political debates that are the sign of a healthy republic — especially those that challenge the prevailing views of the Left. Needless to say, this is a dangerous development, a significant escalation from merely engaging in various smears.

Free speech is, obviously, crucial to our form of republican government. In conjunction with freedom of the press, it helps keep the peace by ensuring that Americans have the chance to engage with and persuade their countrymen in the marketplace of ideas. Nothing good can happen if this vital feature of the democratic process is infringed upon.




5 November, 2020

A white author has had her books pulled by an online retailer after calling New Zealand's Maori Foreign Minister's face tattoo 'ugly, uncivilised wokedom'.

Olivia Pierson took to Twitter to comment on Nanaia Mahuta's appearance after she was appointed to parliament on Monday - becoming the nation's first Indigenous female to hold the position.

Retweeting the announcement of Mahuta's appointment, Pierson wrote: 'Really? The face of NZ's new Foreign Minister?

'Facial tattoos are not exactly a polished, civilised presentation for a foreign diplomat in the 21st Century. Ffs! Jacinda has gone full wokelette on stilts.'

She later posted again and said: '...I'll say it again - facial tattoos, especially on a female diplomat, is the height of ugly, uncivilised wokedom!'

Another Twitter user flagged the string of tweets to Might Ape who replied publicly and said: 'Thank you for bringing this to our attention. 'We have made the book unavailable and will not be making it available again.'

Facebook Restricts Mark Levin's Facebook Page—the Night Before the Election

On Monday, the night before Election Day, Mark Levin tweeted that Facebook has severely limited his reach on his Facebook page. Levin has 1.5 million followers on Facebook and normally has significant reach on anything he posts. He tweeted Monday evening, shortly before the beginning of his nationally syndicated radio show,

“Facebook has now placed severe restrictions on my Facebook page on the eve before the election based on an extremely dishonest Politifact review of my link to an accurate story. I will not be intimidated or threatened by Facebook. You can also find my posts on Twitter and Parler.”




4 November, 2020

We Should Be Very Concerned About Censorship

When people as disparate as John Cleese, of Monty Python fame, journalist Piers Morgan, and Intercept co-founder Glenn Greenwald raise their voices in concern, you know that there’s a problem. A very big problem. Censorship by the giants of media and social media has gotten out of control.

Ted Cruz’s grilling of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has rightly gone viral. Yet the answers given by Dorsey were chilling. To paraphrase, 'Even though we blew it, if the New York Post' – yes, the Post, one of the nation’s leading and historic newspapers – 'wants to access its account again, it must remove the tweet we don’t like.'

In other words, “Play by the rules we make, as uneven and biased as they may be, or we will silence you. And make no mistake about it. We have that power.”

I remember the first time Facebook shut down one of our ministry’s pages and locked me out, along with our page administrator. We had been falsely accused of hate speech, as a result of which we could not post anything to the page or access our account.

Thankfully, I was given the name of someone within Facebook who helped religious organizations, and after reviewing the complaints, Facebook apologized and reinstated our page.

Still, it was a jarring experience.

You work hard for years to cultivate an audience. You spend thousands of hours posting material and interacting with your followers. You build a constituency and they become your co-workers, sharing your material with others.

And then, suddenly, based on false charges by people who themselves are bigoted, you are shut down. Silenced. Cut off from your constituency. Unable to communicate or even explain what has happened. And if you dare cross the line again – so say the ominous warnings you receive the social media gatekeepers – you will be banned for life.

What kind of power is that? It felt like a personal violation.

What, then, should we do?

Shout our messages from the rooftops. Speak out all the more loudly and clearly. Investigate and study and research. Get to the truth and share the truth.

As Paul wrote, “For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth” (2 Corinthians 13:8).

Belgian teacher is suspended for showing pupils cartoon of Prophet Mohammed while discussing teacher murdered for showing same image in France

A Brussels district has suspended a teacher who showed a caricature of the Prophet Mohammed while discussing the murder of a French teacher who had used the same image, its spokesman said Friday.

The Belgian teacher, who works in the Brussels district of Molenbeek, showed one of the cartoons previously published by French magazine Charlie Hebdo while explaining Samuel Paty's death.

'Our decision is uniquely based on the fact that these are obscene images. If it had not been of the Prophet we would have done the same thing,' said a spokesman for Molenbeek's mayor.

In the image in question, the subject's genitals are visible as he crouches, nude. The school pupils were aged between 10 to 11. 'Two or three parents complained,' the spokesman said.

The French teacher Paty was killed and beheaded on October 16 in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, outside Paris, by a Chechen radical after he was denounced for having shown the cartoons to a class on freedom of expression.

Some Muslims regard any image of the prophet as blasphemous and a caricature as an offence against their faith. French law is strictly secular and religious belief receives no special protection.

The magazine that originally published the images, Charlie Hebdo, was the target of an extremist attack in 2015 that killed 12 people.

Following 47-year-old Paty's murder, French President Emmanuel Macron mounted an impassioned defence of free expression, including a cartoonist's right to lampoon religious figures.

Neighbouring Belgium has, like France, seen a number of attacks in recent years and Molenbeek, which has a large Muslim population, has become notorious as a radical hotbed.

The mayor's spokesman stressed the suspension was not a punishment, but to preserve good order while a disciplinary procedure is carried out, after which the teacher could face administrative measures.




3 November, 2020

TV star-turned Perth Lord Mayor, Basil Zempilas, has been condemned for his 'insensitive' opinions about transgender people

The breakfast host, 49, who was elected in mid-October, told listeners of his radio show on Wednesday that it was 'wrong' for a person to identify as a gender that was not the same as their physical anatomy.

'If you've got a penis mate, you're a bloke. If you've got a vagina, you're a woman. Game over,' he said.

Mr Zempilas, a former Weekend Sunrise host, was encouraged to undergo transgender awareness training to assist in his role serving the broader community.

Hunter Gurevich, who chairs TransFolk WA, described the comments as unacceptable and 'repugnant'.

'These comments are repugnant, bigoted, narrow minded, parochial and fundamentally deny contemporary science,' he said. 'Further, it puts LGBTQIA+ people at increased risk of harm, when we are already a vulnerable group in society.

'It is especially disappointing when The City of Perth has long supported the LGBTQIA+ community of Perth. 'For Mr Zempilas to now betray not only the community, but our relationship with the city, is beyond inexcusable.'

Curtis Ward, from Pride WA, suggested Mr Zempilas hadn't quite grasped the difference between sex and gender. 'It is possible to appear one way and feel another and when someone says they're transgender, they are simply saying they feel differently to how they appear,' he said.

'[That is] sex being your physical appearance and your biology whereas gender is how you identify psychologically, whether you're feminine or masculine.'

Mr Ward said Zempilas' comments only fueled stigma surrounding the LGBTQIA community and perpetuated misinformed, hurtful and damaging opinions.

Football association bans the Australian national anthem from major series

The NRL has abandoned the national anthem for the game’s biggest showpiece event, the State of Origin series.

It will be the first time in 40 years the anthem will not be played before the kick-off when the series begins in Adelaide on Wednesday night.

The independent commission made the controversial decision at a meeting on Wednesday after consultation with the chairmen of the NSW and QLD organisations.

The explanation given was that the event is not a contest between international countries.

However the NRL has confirmed the anthem will remain for grand finals and Test matches.

The anthem became a huge issue in the NSW camp last year when Blues stars Latrell Mitchell, Cody Walker and Josh Addo-Carr spoke out before the game about their refusal to sing.

The Daily Telegraph understands the NSW Rugby League was against scrapping the anthem but bowed to the wishes of the NRL.

While Indigenous Blues opted against singing the anthem last year, NSW stars including captain Boyd Cordner, Jake Trbojevic and Damien Cook said they would sing the Australian national anthem “loud and proud”.

NSW Origin coach Brad Fittler had vowed to support any indigenous Blues players who wish to remain silent for Advance Australia Fair in 2020, saying: “Our anthem, it definitely needs work”.

Earlier this year, the ARL Commission scrapped the national anthem at the annual All Stars match on the advice of the game’s indigenous players.




2 November, 2020

Australian politician in hot water over ‘racist’ Chinese post

CONTROVERSIAL Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan has been accused of racism after sharing a post about Chinese LNP candidate for Stretton Peter Zhuang.

Mr Costigan shared a message from Moreton Young LNP to his personal and official Facebook pages last night opposing advertisements Mr Zhuang placed in Chinese newspapers asking for support ahead of this Saturday’s state election.

The group’s Facebook page has since been deleted.

In sharing the post to his followers, Mr Costigan wrote, “Anyone for Chinese? If so, vote for the LNP”.

The comments sparked a heated debate over whether the words used were offensive or even racist.

Facebook user Dennis Charters commented that the NQ First leader had invoked “racist comments”. “Jason you must be clutching at straws,” he said.

Fellow Facebook user Peter Hood said the comments crossed “the boundaries of acceptable behaviour”.

“Racism is never acceptable and I’m now assured that the Italian, Chinese, Greek, 1st Australian and other ethnic North Queensland (First) supporters in Mackay are not happy,” he said.

Mr Costigan stood by his comments, saying “anyone who thought it was offensive is most likely sympathetic to the pro-Chinese Liberals”.

“As the son of an immigrant, who helped build the nation, from the Snowy Mountains to the Bowen Basin, I’m very proud of who I am, where I have come from and the special role that immigrants have played in the development of our country,” he said in a statement.

Email Marketing Firm Warns It May Censor Content

In what might be the latest example of censorship by a large tech company, the email marketing company Mailchimp adopted a new policy this week to remove certain content.

Mailchimp determined it will use its “sole discretion” to determine whether messages are misleading and can be removed.

In a customer message obtained by The Daily Signal, Mailchimp stated it made the policy change effective Oct. 28. The message said the policy seeks to clarify “what kinds of Content are prohibited for distribution using the Mailchimp platform.”

“Mailchimp does not allow the distribution of Content that is, in our sole discretion, materially false, inaccurate, or misleading in a way that could deceive or confuse others about important events, topics, or circumstances,” the message goes on to state.

The company said it will enforce new rules by “issuing a warning to, or suspending or terminating an account.”

Mailchimp’s public relations did not immediately respond to an inquiry from The Daily Signal.

Founded in 2001, Mailchimp states that it has millions of customers around the world and aims at allowing entrepreneurs to reach customers through email marketing. The company is headquartered in Atlanta and has offices in New York, Oakland, and Vancouver. The company remains owned by its founders Ben Chestnut and Dan Kurzius.




1 November, 2020

Fiery Ted Cruz Asks Smug Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, 'Who the Hell Elected You?'

The giants of social media from Twitter, Google/YouTube, and Facebook were hauled in front of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on Wednesday to answer questions about the censorship of the New York Post article about Hunter Biden’s “laptop from Hell.”

Facebook and Twitter were caught limiting the reach of the article, which prompted a Senate inquiry. Ted Cruz came out swinging, calling Twitter “the biggest threat to free and fair elections” facing America today. He also set Jack Dorsey’s overlong beard on fire with this blistering observation about the power of Twitter to police speech in America.

“Mr. Dorsey, who the hell elected you and put you in charge of what the media are allowed to report and what the American people are allowed to hear, and why do you persist in behaving as a Democratic super PAC, silencing the views to the contrary of your political beliefs?” Cruz asked in one of the more heated exchanges of the hearing.

“The New York Post was founded by Alexander Hamilton,” said Cruz. “And your position is that you can sit in Silicon Valley and demand that the media— that you can tell them what stories they can publish and you can tell the American public what stories they can hear, is that right?”

Dorsey denied it all and claimed he didn’t do what we all saw him do. The New York Post is still blocked from posting on Twitter because they refuse to delete the original tweet that got them in trouble in the first place. But why should they delete it? Dorsey admits that blocking it was a mistake. We need more answers.

Dorsey did not come off as credible in any way during the hearing. In fact, while testifying, the New York Post fact-checked him on the spot and found him to be lying.

“Jack Dorsey of Twitter just told Senator Cruz that anyone could now share the NY Post’s bombshell stories on Twitter. Dorsey is lying,” tweeted Abigail Marone, a rapid response official on President Trump’s re-election campaign, linking to a screen recording of the app blocking the post.

Twitter let Iran spew Holocaust-denying lies yet blocked a NY newspaper in the world's 2nd biggest Jewish community from tweeting a reply because it dared probe Hunter Biden. It's a shameful scandal that should outrage every American

Yesterday, after America's biggest tech giant bosses were grilled by a US senate committee, a tweet was posted by Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. In it, he asked: 'Why is it a crime to raise doubts about the Holocaust?'

Under normal circumstances, one of the world's most powerful leaders directly questioning the very existence of a Nazi-orchestrated genocide of over six million Jews during WWII is the kind of hideously inflammatory statement that a major American newspaper like the New York Post would have wanted to report on and respond to.

Not least because New York is home to 1.1 million Jews, the largest Jewish community anywhere in the world outside of Israel.

But the Post couldn't respond. Not on the same platform, anyway.

Because Twitter has disgracefully locked out the Post's account for two weeks after it reported allegations of financial impropriety surrounding Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden's son Hunter based on the contents of his laptop.

So, Khamenei was able to spew his vile Holocaust-denying filth to his 836,000 followers without any fear of factual rebuttal by a newspaper representing many of the people who would find his comments most offensive.

Just as he was able to tweet on previous occasions that Israel's a 'cancerous growth' which must be 'uprooted and destroyed', and this direct threat: 'We will support and assist any nation or any group anywhere who opposes and fights the Zionist regime, and we do not hesitate to say this.'

Why has Twitter allowed him to do all this without any form of censorship?

The company's boss Jack Dorsey told senators yesterday: 'We did not find those to violate our terms of service because we considered them 'saber rattling,' which is part of the speech of world leaders in concert with other countries.'

However, the same 'saber rattling' rule doesn't apply to US President Donald Trump, whose tweets are now regularly suppressed by Twitter with fact-check and violence labels.

The bottom line is this: when a Holocaust-denying Iranian president gets more rights to free speech in the United States than a major US newspaper, it's not just wrong, it's a scandal.




For the notes appearing at the side of the original blog see here

Pictures put up on a blog sometimes do not last long. They stay up only as long as the original host keeps them up. Some newsapers keep their published pictures online for as little as a week. I therefore keep archives of all the pictures that I use. The recent archives are online and are in two parts:

Archive of side pictures here

Archive of this year's pictures in the body of the blog. Note that the filename of the picture is clickable and reflects the date on which the picture was posted. See here