This document is part of an archive of postings on Tongue Tied, a blog hosted by Blogspot who are in turn owned by Google. The index to the archive is available here or here. Indexes to my other blogs can be located here or here. Archives do accompany my original postings but, given the animus towards conservative writing on Google and other internet institutions, their permanence is uncertain. These alternative archives help ensure a more permanent record of what I have written.

This is a backup copy of the original blog

"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 September, 2021

YouTube Forbids All Anti-Vax Content in Stunning, Orwellian Nightmare

<i>Compelled vaccination is the big topic these days. I have myself been vaccinated but forced medical procedures are a very dubious idea.  Do we now not own our own bodies?  There should be freedom to discuss that at least</i>

The technological oligarchy has arrived, ladies and gentlemen, and our freedom of speech is eroding in rapid fashion.

YouTube, the world’s most popular video sharing website whose entire existence is dependent upon making ad revenue off of your content, is now refusing to allow anyone to upload anything that even so much as resembles an anti-vaccine sentiment.

YouTube is taking down several video channels associated with high-profile anti-vaccine activists including Joseph Mercola and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who experts say are partially responsible for helping seed the skepticism that’s contributed to slowing vaccination rates across the country.

The ban was widespread.

As part of a new set of policies aimed at cutting down on anti-vaccine content on the Google-owned site, YouTube will ban any videos that claim that commonly used vaccines approved by health authorities are ineffective or dangerous. The company previously blocked videos that made those claims about coronavirus vaccines, but not ones for other vaccines like those for measles or chickenpox.

And so, where the Constitution guarantees us free speech, these enormous companies have consolidated enough bandwidth to render our rights moot.  This isn’t democracy, nor is it freedom.  Not in the least.


‘It's not woke': Calls for more change to cricket lexicon after batsman dismissed

Christina Matthews, one of Australian cricket's leading administrators, has a blunt message for those put out by the game's move to gender-specific terminology: "get with the times, or get out".

The Western Australia Cricket chief, and multiple World Cup winner Lisa Sthalekar have welcomed the dismissal of the terms "batsman" and "batsmen", and called for further change to the game's lexicon.

The Marylebone Cricket Club have sent the gendered terms to the pavilion, officially amending the laws of the game by replacing them with the gender-neutral "batter" and "batters".

The move has been criticised on social media as political correctness by some, including prominent UK media identity Piers Morgan, though male players and coaches have increasingly used batter instead of batsmen. Former Australia great Ricky Ponting regularly used the gender-neutral term during his reign as captain in the 2000s.

Traditionalists may have to get used to more change with terms such as "third man", "12th man", "nightwatchman" and the "maiden" now under the microscope, though these are not officially recognised by the game.

The fielding position third man is commonly referred to as "third" by commentators, a term Matthews and Sthalekar supports. Similarly, Matthews is also in favour of the 12th man being shortened to 12th, and the nightwatchman turned into the "nightwatcher".

Matthews says the term maiden is problematic. Applied in cricket to describe an over where no run is scored, it was historically used to refer to a girl or unmarried woman, or a female virgin.

One term Sthalekar would like to see binned is the "man of the match", to be replaced with the "player of the match".

"We don't say woman of the match, we say player of the match, so why not use the term across both? I hate that," Sthalekar said.




29 September, 2021

Twitter Censors Daily Signal Video About Border Patrol on Horseback

Twitter suppressed a 2017 video by The Daily Signal about Border Patrol horses amid continuing false news reports that mounted agents whipped Haitian refugees in Del Rio, Texas. 

Twitter did not allow users to see the 4-minute video sometime after The Daily Signal and its audience began promoting the story again Thursday evening in response to the debunked reports.  The social media giant restored access to the video Monday afternoon without explaining the three days of censorship.

Initial reports said one or more Border Patrol agents on horseback had used a whip on illegal immigrants from Haiti, basing the allegation on photos from the scene. 

The photographer who took the photos in question was among those who debunked the story, saying Friday that the evidence showed mounted agents used long straps to control their horses but did not whip Haitian refugees who had crossed the Rio Grande River into Texas. 

Despite such analysis, the Biden administration put one Border Patrol agent on administrative leave and announced an investigation into agents’ use of their horses to block the advance of some of the illegal immigrants. 

In response to intense media coverage of the incident and its “horrific images,” The Daily Signal on Thursday evening began to promote its video about a mounted Border Patrol unit, first published on June 25, 2017, and included the video in its Morning Bell newsletter Friday morning. 

The short video documentary initially was released more than four years before the Biden administration’s border crisis erupted.

It is not clear when Twitter began to suppress the video, although it was blocked by 4:30 p.m. Friday. However, when the Twitter account of The Heritage Foundation, parent organization to The Daily Signal, retweeted the video Monday afternoon, it appeared unviewable.


29 September, 2021

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey blasts Facebook's removal of her campaign page: 'Big Tech has gotten out of hand'

Republican Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey took a hardline approach to Big Tech this week, blasting Facebook over the temporary removal of her gubernatorial campaign page and accusing it of working alongside President Joe Biden's administration to stop conservatives from speaking out on things like opposition to federal coronavirus vaccine mandates.

Speaking with Fox News Digital, Ivey reiterated she strongly supported Alabamians taking the vaccine, but continued to reject any attempts by the federal government to mandate vaccinations. She blamed her opposition to those mandates as the reason for Facebook taking action against her page – Facebook has called it a mistake – and declared that "Big Tech has gotten out of hand" in its attitude towards conservatives.

"I've been against mandates since day one," Ivey said, before adding she was one of the earliest leaders to speak out on the importance of people getting vaccinated. "I took the vaccine along with state health policy, and took the second shot, and I've even had the booster."


Facebook censorship

John Stossel

I just sued Facebook.  I didn't want to sue. I hate lawsuits. I tried for a year to reach someone at Facebook to fix things, but Facebook wouldn't.

Here's the problem: Facebook uses "independent fact-checkers" to try to reduce fake news on their site.

That's a noble goal. Unfortunately, at least one Facebook "fact-checker" is a climate-alarmist group that cleverly uses its Facebook connections to stop debate.

Facebook is a private company. It has every right to cut me off.  But Facebook does not have the right to just lie about me, yet that's exactly what Facebook and its "fact-checker" did. That's defamation, and it's just wrong.

My video this week shows videos that Facebook throttled.

The defamation started with the fact-checker, a group called Climate Feedback. They didn't like that my video reported facts suggesting that government mismanagement probably played a bigger role in causing California's wildfires than climate change.

Climate Feedback got Facebook to censor this as "misleading" and link to a page that (SET ITAL)still(END ITAL) declares the following quote misleading: "Forest fires are caused by poor management. Not by climate change."

As if that were something I said. But I didn't! I never said that. In fact, I said: "Climate change has made things worse. California has warmed 3 degrees."

I've worked at NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox. All would have fired me if I falsely attributed a quote!

I emailed Climate Feedback's editor. She didn't respond. But two of three scientists listed as their "reviewers" agreed to interviews.

Stefan Doerr of Swansea University surprised me by saying he'd never even watched my video! "If this is implying that we have reviewed the video," said Doerr, "this is clearly wrong."

Another reviewer, Zeke Hausfather of The Breakthrough Institute, hadn't seen the video either. "I certainly did not write a Climate Feedback piece reviewing your segment."

After he watched it, I asked, "Is (misleading) a fair label?"

"I don't necessarily think so," he replied. "While there are plenty of debates around how much to emphasize fire management versus climate change, your piece clearly discussed that both were at fault."

Still, neither Climate Feedback nor Facebook will change their smear.

Then things got worse. I re-aired a video on climate change myths titled "Are We Doomed?"

Three climate scientists argue that we are not "doomed" because we can adapt to climate change. They invited climate alarmists to debate them. None would.

Climate Feedback got Facebook to throttle that video, too, and declare it "partly false." Why?

Only one of their reviewers agreed to an interview. Patrick Brown of San Jose State University didn't like that my video suggests America can adjust to rising sea levels. He claimed sea levels could rise 200 feet.

"You're citing an extreme," I point out. "The (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) doesn't consider that likely."

"I don't know if they assess sea level rise out to 1,000 years," he responds. They don't.

It's absurd that Facebook lets Climate Feedback censor me over something that MIGHT happen in 1,000 years.

Climate Feedback also cited my video for questioning the claim that hurricanes have gotten stronger.

But Brown, Climate Feedback's own reviewer, said, "That's wrong that you were criticized for saying that. ... The IPCC (doesn't) claim that (hurricanes) ... are increasing."

Later, Brown told us I was cited for "omission of contextual information, rather than specific 'facts' being 'wrong.'"

So, their "fact-check" wasn't about actual facts?

Still, they rated my video "partly false," which Facebook defines as content that "includes some factual inaccuracies." My video did not contain any factual inaccuracies, and they know it.

Climate Feedback and its parent group, Science Feedback, use Facebook to censor lots of responsible people, such as science writers John Tierney, Michael Shellenberger and Bjorn Lomborg.

Facebook has every right to choose who can use its platform.

But Facebook does not have a legal right to knowingly and recklessly lie about what I say. That's defamation.

I hope my lawsuit will make them think twice about doing it again -- to me or to anyone else.




28 September, 2021

Australia: Bid to remove ‘racist’ slave trader Ben Boyd’s name from Sydney street fails

<i>The Kanakas were NOT slaves.  They were contracted labourers.  They were free to return to Kanaky at the end of their contract.  Most did</i>

Calls to remove the name of slave trader Ben Boyd, who was responsible for ‘blackbirding’, from a leafy Sydney suburb have failed.

North Sydney Council will keep the name of Ben Boyd Rd in Neutral Bay and Cremorne, on the lower north shore of Sydney, after a former Green’s staffer created a petition to change the name.

The petition caused a stir in the community with the council then asked to consider a name change.

The road was named after a colonial entrepreneur who lived in Neutral Bay in the 1840s.

Boyd was known for pioneering the practice of using cheap labour from the South Sea islands to work in Australia. It is known as ‘blackbirding’.

After the petition was circulated the council asked constituents for their thoughts.

A survey was put forward and 2318 residents responded, 54.7 per cent opposed the renaming of the street while 44.3 per cent were in favour. Just 1.6 per cent were unsure.

The papers also said there were 20 council installed street signs referencing Ben Boyd Rd. The cost of replacing these would be about $6200.

There are also two plaques in the community commemorating Ben Boyd with the council preparing to alter these.

“The larger of these are soon to be reinstalled with another plaque outlining the story of Boyd’s place in Australia’s historical narrative,” council papers said.

“With that, the naming of Ben Boyd Road will be put in context, and residents and visitors can decide for themselves the nature of the man and his deeds.”


Joe Biden 'painted in a bad light' by ban on Fox News' coverage of border crisis

The Australian's Sophie Elsworth says the suspension of Fox News' coverage on the US-Mexico border crisis doesn't paint "poor sleepy President Joe Biden" in a good light.

It comes after the US Federal Aviation Administration banned Fox News from flying a drone to document the thousands of immigrants camping at the southern border.

The two-week temporary suspension came shortly after Fox News aired evidence of the crisis. Authorities soon backed down and Fox News was able to continue reporting on the issue.

"Imagine if this was happening under former president Donald Trump's watch," Ms Elsworth said. "This is censorship at its finest




September 27, 2021

NYT Quietly Edited Comment About 'Pro-Israel... Influential Lobbyists and Rabbis' When Covering AOC's Tears

As Katie covered yesterday, squad member Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) had a meltdown on the House floor after changing her vote against funding the Israel Iron Dome to "present." That's not the only thing that was changed, though. Joseph A. Wulfsohn and Brian Flood reported for Fox News that a piece by Catie Edmonson for The New York Times contained an edit with regards to AOC's vote.

"Minutes before the vote closed, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez tearfully huddled with her allies before switching her vote to 'present.' The tableau underscored how wrenching the vote was for even outspoken progressives, who have been caught between their principles and the still powerful pro-Israel voices in their party, such as influential lobbyists and rabbis," 

Edmonson's piece at one point read. 

It now reads: "Minutes before the vote closed, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez tearfully huddled with her allies before switching her vote to 'present.' The tableau underscored how wrenching the vote was for even outspoken progressives, who have been caught between their principles and the still powerful pro-Israel voices in their party. 

["such as influential lobbyists and rabbis" was omitted]

Subsequent passages of Edmonson's reporting, which still remain, are also noteworthy, in how they frame Democratic leadership's motivations for the vote:

Privately, some progressive lawmakers were furious with Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat, who pushed for the vote on Iron Dome funding after it was removed from the broader spending bill this week.

His maneuver appeared to be intended to calm Israeli officials, who had watched with alarm as the fight unfolded on Capitol Hill and had closely followed previous efforts by young, liberal lawmakers to cut off U.S. military aid to Israel.

After Yair Lapid, Israel’s minister of foreign affairs, called Mr. Hoyer and emphasized the need for the House to approve the request as soon as possible, the congressman assured him that progressives’ initial revolt was no more than a “technical delay,” according to an account of the call released by Mr. Lapid’s office. Hours later, Mr. Hoyer announced that the House would vote to approve the funding later in the week.

Edmonson also made reference to a memorable floor speech from Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), with her reporting that the congressman gave "an angry speech" in response to anti-Semitic remarks from squad member Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). 

Reagan had reported on the exchange after it took place on Thursday. 

"I will not support an effort to enable war crimes and human rights abuses and violence," the congresswoman claimed. "We cannot be talking only about Israelis’ need for safety at a time when Palestinians are living under a violent apartheid system and are dying from what Human Rights Watch has said are war crimes."

The only edit or correction which appears at the bottom of the piece, as of Friday afternoon, is from September 23, is as follows: "An earlier version of this article misstated the final tally for the funding vote. It was 420 to 9, not 490 to 9."


Behold the Anti-Free-Speech ACLU

Once the nation’s leading defender of free speech, the ACLU is now little more than an activist for “progressive” causes.

We suppose it’s to the credit of the American Civil Liberties Union that it hasn’t yanked down that smoking-gun Twitter post. Of course, it’s to the deep and everlasting disgrace of the ACLU that anyone there felt it to be an acceptable post in the first place.

At issue is an artistically rendered quote from former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a quote the ACLU bowdlerized because it contained scientifically accurate (and therefore deeply offensive) language from the obviously insufficiently awokened RBG.

This is what Ginsberg, herself a former ACLU lawyer, said to the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1993 during her Supreme Court confirmation hearings:

The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself. When the government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a full adult human responsible for her own choice.

And this is the way the one-time free-speech champions at the ACLU quoted her in their September 18 tweet:

“The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a [person’s] life, to either [their] well-being and dignity. … When the government controls that decision for [people], [they are] being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for [their] own choices.”

The indignity. Ginsberg must be thrashing about in her grave. And that army of Notorious RBG acolytes? They must be equally aggrieved. Or perhaps not. After all, what’s a little historical whitewashing among “progressives,” especially those who’ve abandoned their once vigorous defense of free speech from all across the political spectrum?

Agree or disagree on her larger abortion argument, there’s a reason why Ginsberg said what she said, and not what today’s ACLU desperately wishes she’d said. That reason? Women bear children. Men don’t. To argue otherwise does violence to biology specifically and to science generally.

“Once a Bastion of Free Speech, the A.C.L.U. Faces an Identity Crisis,” went the New York Times headline on June 6 of this year. But we don’t see a crisis here so much as a surrender, a capitulation. As the Times went on to note, it was the ACLU that defended the free speech rights of American neo-Nazis in the Chicago suburb of Skokie, the home of many World War II Holocaust survivors. But one wonders: Would today’s ACLU go to bat so boldly for free speech?

We think not. And former ACLU Executive Director Ira Glasser seems to agree with us. As Reason’s Nick Gillespie writes: “Glasser says he’s worried about the future of both free expression and the organizations that defend it. In 2018, a leaked ACLU memo offered guidelines for case selection that retreated from the group’s decades-long content-neutral stance, citing as a reason to decline a case ‘the extent to which the speech may assist in advancing the goals of white supremacists or others whose views are contrary to our values.’ Glasser fears that, by becoming more political and less absolutist when it comes to defending speech, the ACLU might be shrugging off its hard-won legacy.”

Hmm, ya think?

And does anyone else see the slippery slope inherent in the two words “or others” that appear directly after “white supremacists” in that leaked memo? For example, Donald Trump has been tarred by the deranged Left as a white supremacist; shouldn’t the ACLU therefore refuse to protect his speech when Big Tech shuts him down? And if the ACLU refuses to defend Donald Trump’s free speech rights, then by what rationale would it defend the rights of those who support Donald Trump? Or those who espouse conservative views? Or those who support the white supremacist Republican Party in general?

It’s simple, really. Leftists used to be in favor of free speech when they believed their ideas could stand up in the marketplace. These days, though, when they have to argue that men can become women and women men, their arguments become untenable.

And so free speech itself becomes untenable.

What we’ve said before applies to the Left, to Democrats, to Big Tech, and to the ACLU: They wouldn’t need to censor us if they weren’t afraid of losing the argument.




September 26, 2021

Fury at "Lancet" over calling women ‘bodies with vaginas’ on its cover

The Lancet medical journal has been accused of sexism after describing women as “bodies with vaginas” on the cover of its latest edition.

A tweet of the front page prompted a wave of criticism, with academics cancelling subscriptions and resigning as reviewers, doctors condemning the phrase as “dehumanising” and activists suggesting the term was “unhelpful” for broader debates about inclusivity.

The cover refers to an article, titled “Periods on Display”, that reviews an exhibition at London’s Vagina Museum on the history of menstruation. The writer refers to “women” four times in the piece, but uses the phrase “bodies with vaginas” once.

It is a quote including this latter phrase that The Lancet’s editors chose to use on the front page. “Historically, the anatomy and physiology of bodies with vaginas have been neglected,” it says.

While the language seems to be an attempt at inclusivity, it has prompted a backlash, with some academics suggesting they will never work with the journal again.

“Just wrote [to] The Lancet to tell them to take me off their list of statistical reviewers and cancel my subscription and never contact me about anything ever again,” Prof David Curtis, a retired psychiatrist and honorary professor of genetics at University College London, wrote on Twitter.

“Absolutely inexcusable language to refer to women and girls.”

Dr Madeleine Ní Dhálaigh, a GP, added: “You can be inclusive without being insulting and abusive. How dare you dehumanise us with a statement like this?”

Others suggested that the journal has double standards, flagging a Twitter post on September 20 in which it referred to the 10 million “men” living with prostate cancer and pointing out they have never seen it use the phrase “bodies with penises”.


Australia: Victoria Police censored 'vital' media coverage of Melbourne protests

Victoria Police censored vital media coverage of Melbourne's protests by banning the live-streaming of aerial footage, according to Digital Editor Jack Houghton.

On Wednesday the Civil Aviation Safety Authority approved a Victoria Police ban of all helicopters bar their own flying over Melbourne CBD.

"A media blackout," Mr Houghton said. "A pathetic attempt by an over-zealous police force which lost control of its own city.

"You deserve to know what's happening in your city every moment of every day, and in my experience, police only ever want you to stop filming when they are worried about stuffing something up."




24 September, 2021

Gammon, remoaner, Karen and snowflake are among the words added to Ofcom’s list of offensive terms

'Karen' and 'Gammon' are among some of the latest words added to a list of offensive terms by the UK's communications regulator Ofcom, which has begun ranking politically-charged terms for the first time.

'Karen', typically used to refer to an entitled middle-class, and normally white woman, and 'gammon', a term referring to right-wing, pro-Brexit men, are joined by words such as 'libtard', 'remoaner', 'snowflake' and 'boomer' on Ofcom's list of words which could upset viewers and listeners.

Racial, anatomical and religious terms are already on Ofcom's list of potentially offensive words whose impact broadcasters must bear in mind when producing programmes. 

The regulator said that it would begin considering new terms when reviewing complaints made by audiences, declaring that the changing meaning of words and the increasing usage of politically-charged insults meant broadcasters would be urged to monitor their inclusion of such words from now on.

LBC host and former BBC Newsnight presenter James O'Brien was brought to the attention of Ofcom for his recent use of the term 'gammon' to deride the right-wing, and this example has been used to demonstrate how such political terms can be deployed negatively. 

Ofcom's Director of Standards and Audience Protection Adam Baxter said: 'People's views on offensive language can change significantly over time. 

'So, to ensure we're setting and enforcing our rules effectively, it is essential that we keep up to date with how viewers and listeners think and feel. 

The regulator announced that they carried out audience research and a nationwide survey to estimate the impact of political terms and phrases, the findings of which suggested that these labels only cause 'mild offence' when compared with racially or religiously-charged terms and foul language.

The research also revealed that political labels were not recognised by as many survey respondents despite their rapidly expanding presence, particularly on social media sites.


Hawley Calls on Google to Explain Why It ‘Seemingly Censored’ Pro-Life Ads

Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) sent a letter to Google on Wednesday demanding answers  about why it has “seemingly censored” ads by pro-life organizations Live Action and Choose Life Marketing. 

Hawley wrote to Google CEO Sundar Pichai asking, “At what rate are ads produced by crisis pregnancy centers, pro-life advocacy organizations, and firms that work with them deemed ineligible for distribution on Google’s platform?”

The senator also questioned what “contacts” Google executives or other leaders have had with “abortion advocacy organizations in the last month.”

“When I spoke with Mark Zuckerberg about a similar issue in September 2019, he acknowledged the danger of bias on the parts of content reviewers in this area, particularly where pro-life activist groups like Live Action are concerned,” Hawley wrote. “But if your company’s behavior is any indication, those concerns have gone unaddressed.”

He suggested that Google “appears to have taken a page out of the progressive left playbook and has started targeting pregnancy resource centers and pro-life activist organizations for disfavor.”’

The Missouri Republican said that Choose Life Marketing, a company from his home state that works with pro-life pregnancy resource centers, found that its ads were not running, “even though Google designated them as eligible to run.”

Hawley wrote that the company was “unable to obtain an explanation” from Google and noted that “even a cursory investigation reveals numerous examples of Planned Parenthood advertising directly to internet users that it offers abortions, contrary to Google’s stated policies.”

The letter came one day after Live Action President Lila Rose said that Google had blocked 18 of her organization’s ads, including one promoting the abortion reversal pill.




23 September, 2021

'Batter' to replace 'batsman' as Laws of Cricket amended

<i>I thought that "batter" is something you cook fish in</i>

MCC has announced that the gender-neutral terms "batter" and "batters" will replace "batsman" and "batsmen" after the Laws of Cricket were amended.

The changes - which are effective immediately - have been approved by the MCC Committee, a move which it says has been made in an effort to "reinforce cricket's status as an inclusive game for all".

The matter was previously addressed in 2017, but it was decided not to make a change at that point.

Jamie Cox, Assistant Secretary (Cricket and Operations) at MCC, said: "MCC believes in cricket being a game for all and this move recognises the changing landscape of the game in modern times.

"Use of the term "batter" is a natural evolution in our shared cricketing language and the terminology has already been adopted by many of those involved in the sport. It is the right time for this adjustment to be recognised formally and we are delighted, as the Guardians of the Laws, to announce these changes today."

The women's game has grown at all levels around the world since the 2017 redraft, which came into effect shortly after England won the World Cup on home soil.


Would YOU be offended at being called 'childless'? Women brand terms like 'childfree' 'crass' and 'insensitive'

<i>Non-mother" does not seem like a very pleasant alternative</i>

Women without children were slammed for being 'over sensitive' after they took issue with the terms 'childless' and 'childfree' in a heated online debate. 

The Mumsnet thread was kickstarted by a British woman who said she disliked the term 'childless' after it was used by TV presenter Katie Piper in a recent Loose Women debate.  

The post was met with agreement by dozens of other women who described the term as 'crass'. They also said the word 'childfree', sometimes used as an alternative' was 'dehumanising' to children because it made them sound like a 'commodity'. 

However others hit back against the argument, noting it appeared they wanted to be 'offended over nothing' and questioned what term would be appropriate if 'childless' and 'childfree' were ruled to be too offensive.  

A further poster felt more strongly, saying: 'I think childfree is far more offensive - and I don't think many words are really offensive either. 

'Being free of something implies that it is rather a bad or undesirable thing. Bedbug-free, pain-free, disease-free. 

'Can you imagine saying it about any other group of people? Woman-free, Asian-free, lesbian-free? It's only possible because many think of children as a sort of lifestyle choice rather than as persons.

However others questioned why the issue needed to be debated, with one writing: 'Why is there this culture of outrage at everything these days?'




22 September, 2021

CDC Pushes ‘Woke’ Words

In the midst of a once-in-a-century pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) evidently has the time to publish a guide for language “principles for inclusive communication.” Published on August 24, the new guide demonstrates that the virus of leftist “wokeness” has infected the nation’s primary disease agency.

The new language usage guidelines stress that “health equity is intersectionality” and therefore, the CDC contends, words such as “diabetics” and “the homeless” are “dehumanizing language.” Never mind the fact that such words are scientifically or socially specific and accurate terms, no matter the negatives associated with those individuals finding themselves in such conditions. In other words, using language honestly and accurately is not grounds for charges of “inequity.”

Demonstrating that its objective is to use language to push political views rather than uphold scientific accuracy, the CDC’s guide provides a list of terms — which up until a month ago were considered perfectly sufficient for providing accurate communication — to be replaced with new ambiguous terminology from the “woke” lexicon.

For example, the term “biological male/female” is to be replaced with “assigned male/female at birth.” Another word to be rejected is “inmates,” which will instead become the unwieldy term “people who are incarcerated.” And, of course, “illegal immigrants” should never be used — rather, it’s “people with undocumented status.” Laughably, the guide claims these as examples for public health officials to “avoid jargon and use straightforward, easy to understand language.”

As it was under Barack Obama, so it is under Joe Biden. Federal government agencies like the CDC are being used to force a hard-left “woke” ideology onto the American culture at large. The reason language is explicitly attacked is because it is the primary means of controlling the political conversation.

The CDC defends its new language guidelines by hiding behind a dodge: “Nothing in the guiding principles is prescriptive.” But the guidelines themselves expose that such a claim is merely a diversion. The first sentence states: “To build a healthier America for all, we must confront the systems and polices that have resulted in the generational injustice that has given rise to health inequities.”

The clear purpose of the CDC’s guide is not to pursue clearer and more scientifically accurate public communication. Rather, it is to indoctrinate the public into Marxist equity ethic via the use of “inclusive” terminology that, ironically, is anything but inclusive.


UK: List of new 71 personalised number plates banned by DVLA for being too rude

Hundreds of requests for personalised licence plates are put in by eager drivers every year, but many are turned down because they contain swearing, vulgar words or are just too cheeky.

The DVLA offers tens of millions of registrations on its website, with the Swansea -based agency earning up to £160m a year from the lucrative business.

But staff must always be scrupulous in assessing requests, as mischievous drivers will use a combination of letters and numbers to come up with phrases that are likely to cause offence.

The '71' number plate launched on September 1 2021.

A spokesman said: “The vast majority of registration numbers are made available but the agency holds back any combinations that may cause offence, embarrassment, or are in poor taste.

“Many people enjoy displaying a personalised registration number and there are over 50m registrations available on our website with almost endless possibilities of combinations to suit a person’s taste, interests and budget.”

Following the submission of a Freedom of Information request, Wales Online can now reveal the latest set of registrations requests that have been turned down, on the grounds they were too rude, funny or unsuitable.

What are your thoughts on this ? Let us know in the comments below

Full list

**71 ARD

**71 OSR

**71 OSS

**71 URD

**71 WAT

*A71 RYN

*A71 YAN

*B71 CH*

*B71 TCH

*C71 NNT

*C71 NTS

*D71 CK*

*F71 ART





21 September, 2021

Calling women 'birds' is 'plainly sexist', British judge rules

Calling women 'birds' is 'plainly sexist' and it is 'foolish' to use the term even jokingly, a judge has ruled.

Judge John Crosfill said using the phrase ironically at work in an attempt at humour is 'misplaced'.

The ruling came in the case of a Barclays investment banker who won a sex discrimination claim after her boss repeatedly called women 'birds'.

Anca Lacatus said James Kinghorn continued to use the term even after she told him to stop as he was trying to make her feel uncomfortable, a tribunal heard.

Mr Kinghorn defended his use of the word by saying he was being light-hearted but the tribunal ruled the term is 'plainly sexist,' and it was 'foolish' to think anyone would find it funny.

The East London tribunal heard that Ms Lacatus would have been reluctant to complain about her boss's sexist language out of fear it would have been damaging to her career.

She is now set to receive compensation for his treatment of her.

The Romanian worked as a £46,000 a year analyst for Barclays in what was her first job in investment banking after completing an Investments and Finance master's as Queen Mary University in London.

In a statement, Ms Lacatus said her boss Mr Kinghorn referred to a female employee as a 'bird' in February 2018.

She said that she immediately told him off for using the phrase but he then continued to say it in an effort to make her feel uncomfortable.


Mother's fury at explicit school book with sexual details she ‘had to Google’

A US mother took a school board meeting by surprise when she took to the podium to share her anger at discovering a library book that described anal sex.

The outraged woman, identified as Kara Bell, took to the lectern last Wednesday to read out a racy extract from the book “Out of Darkness” leading school officials to cut her microphone.

The furious Texas mum told the Lake Travis Independent School District board that she had plans to discuss the need for a second high school but instead spoke about the sexually explicit book in two schools’ libraries, The Sun reports.

Bell read out the passage from the book, written by Ashley Hope Perez, where it depicted “cornholing” which she said she later found out was another term for anal sex.

“Not going to lie, I had to Google ‘cornhole’ because I have the game in the back of my yard,” Bell said. “But according to Wikipedia, ‘cornhole’ is a sexual slang vulgarism for anus.”

The board meeting, which was streamed online, then hears Bell complain that she doesn’t want her children to learn about “anal sex” in middle school.  “I’ve never had anal sex,” she continued. “I don’t want to have anal sex.  “I don’t want my kids having anal sex. I want you to start focusing on education and not public health.”

Her microphone was then cut off but that didn’t stop the mum from demanding the removal of the book.

The following day, local media reported that the school had removed the book from the library.

“A district possesses significant discretion to determine the content of its school libraries,” a spokesperson for the district told the news station.




20 September, 2021

12 People Canceled by the Left After Expressing Conservative Views

Cancel culture runs rampant in today’s America. A 10-year-old tweet that mysteriously “resurfaces,” a past campaign donation, or even the slightest critique of any of the left’s sacred tenets seems to be enough to draw the attention of an angry mob—or even get someone fired. 

With more and more people being “canceled” by the left, it’s important to remember those folks who’ve lost their livelihoods to cancel culture.

Here are 12 victims of cancel culture who were targeted for voicing a conservative view

1. John Gibson

Gibson, the former president of American gaming studio Tripwire Interactive, became a victim of the petulant mob when he lost his job for tweeting in support of Texas’ new pro-life legislation.  

“Proud of #USSupremeCourt affirming the Texas law banning abortion for babies with a heartbeat,” Gibson tweeted earlier this month, “As an entertainer I don’t get political often. Yet with so many vocal peers on the other side of this issue, I felt it was important to go on the record as a pro-life game developer.” 

Less than three days later, Gibson was cancelled.  

“The comments given by John Gibson are of his own opinion, and do not reflect those of Tripwire Interactive as a company,” read a statement by Tripwire interactive announcing Gibson’s departure. “His comments disregarded the values of our whole team, our partners and much of our broader community.” 

2. Nathan Silvester 

Silvester was a police officer working in Bellevue, Idaho, who was fired after he posted a TikTok mocking NBA star LeBron James for his statements following the death of Ma’Khia Bryant.  

After Bryant, a 16-year-old black girl, was fatally shot by a white police officer in southeast Columbus, Ohio, James tweeted a photo of the officer with the caption “You’re next. #accountability,” per CNN.

The shooting occurred just 30 minutes before the verdict in the George Floyd case.

After Silvester’s TikTok clip went viral, he was suspended for a week without pay, pending further investigation.  

In an interview with a local TV station KMVT, Silvester said, “I started to hear rumors through the grapevine that the mayor was brainstorming how he could terminate me and avoid any political blowback on his part, and so I kind of anticipated this was going to be the result. I was going to lose my job.” 

3. Scott Cawthon 

Cawthon was the creator of the hugely successful “Five Nights at Freddy’s” video game series who was cancelled in June after fans decided to search Open Secrets, a website that lists political donations, for information regarding his campaign contributions. 

When it was revealed that Cawthon had donated money to several Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and former President Donald Trump, calls for him to retire began to circulate online. 

Initially, Cawthon tried to weather the storm, and refused to apologize, posting, “I’m a Republican. I’m a Christian. I’m pro-life. I believe in God,” Cawthon continued, “I also believe in equality, and in science, and in common sense. Despite what some may say, all of those things can go together. That’s not an apology or promise to change, it’s the way it’s always been.”

Eventually the pressure became too much, and Cawthon announced that he would be leaving the series. “I miss making games for my kids, I miss doing it just for fun … All of this is to say that I am retiring.”

4. David Flynn

Flynn was the popular head football coach at Dedham High School in Dedham, Massachusetts. 

Flynn and his wife sent an email to school officials expressing their concern that their daughter’s world geography and history classes contained curriculum and materials that were unrelated to the topics and were inherently political. 

Per the Washington Free Beacon, “Middle school history teacher Kim Randall created an avatar of herself for her online classroom that wore a Black Lives Matter T-shirt and used materials that depicted police officers as ‘risks’ to black people and black people as ‘risks’ to white people.”

After a series of meetings with the school’s superintendent and committee members, Flynn and his wife decided the best course of action would be to move their two children from the school district and send them to a private Catholic school. 

Flynn lost his job in January when he was told that his contract would not be renewed, with school officials citing “significant philosophical differences.” Flynn said that he had “never been provided any indication” that he would be fired.

5. Gina Carano

Carano was fired from her leading role on Disney and Lucasfilm’s “The Mandalorian” after the actress posted a story on her Instagram comparing the current political climate to Nazi Germany.

Lucasfilm cut ties with the actress, writing in a statement, “Gina Carano is not currently employed by Lucasfilm and there are no plans for her to be in the future. Nevertheless, her social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable.” 

Carano’s fans were quick to point out her outspokenly leftist costar Pedro Pascal had shared a meme comparing the Trump administration’s immigration policies to Nazi concentration camps, yet was able to keep his job. 

Carano was able to rebound and is currently working with the Daily Wire on a new film. 

6. Kieran Bhattacharya 

Bhattacharya was a student at the University of Virginia School of Medicine who was banned from campus after he questioned a speaker’s definition of microaggressions during a panel discussion.

After an assistant professor logged a complaint about Bhattacharya’s questions during the panel, an administrator mandated that he get counseling before being able to return to class. When  Bhattacharya refused, he was suspended and barred from returning to campus, Reason reported.

Bhattacharya is now suing the school for violating his First Amendment rights.

7. Ryan Anderson  

Anderson is the author of the bestselling book “When Harry Became Sally,” which details the rise in transgender and LGBT ideology in the U.S. The book that was removed from Amazon’s digital marketplace after the company claimed it framed “LGBTQ+ identity as a mental illness.” 

In a statement made to The Daily Signal, Anderson argued against this accusation, stating “The phrase ‘mental illness’ does occur in the book twice—but not in my own voice: once quoting a ‘transwoman’ writing in The New York Times, and once quoting the current University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins.”

The book is still unavailable on Amazon.

8. Kate Hartson

Hartson was the editorial director of the Center Street imprint, a conservative publishing entity under the larger Hachette Book Group umbrella. She was known for buying the rights to publish books by controversial figures associated with former president Donald Trump, including his son Donald Trump Jr. and Corey Lewandowski. 

As more and more liberals within print media began expressing their resentment toward the former president and all things associated with him, views like Hartson’s became more unwelcome. 

In the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, Hachette shifted focus and promised “no hate speech, no incitement to violence, no false narratives,” as reported by the New York Times.

Coincidentally, it was slightly before Hachette made this announcement to their team that Hartson was fired. 

9. Austin Tong

Tong was a student at Fordham University in New York who came under fire for a series of social media posts he made that went against leftist orthodoxy, as reported by the Fordham Observer.

During last summer’s riots, Tong posted a photo of the slain retired police captain David Dorn, a black man who died while responding to a looting in St. Louis, Missouri, along with the caption, “Y’all a bunch of hypocrites,” referencing the fact that Dorn’s death didn’t spark the same amount of outcry among protestors as other high-profile deaths.

The day after, Tong posted an image of himself wielding a gun captioned, “Don’t tread on me. #198964.” June 4, 1989, is the date of the infamous Tiananmen Square massacre. For Tong, a Chinese immigrant, the photo was a symbol of resistance to tyranny. 

His fellow students and school administrators took the photo differently.

As a result of the photo and social media posts, Tong was banned from coming to Fordham’s campus without permission, and barred from joining any extracurriculars. As part of Tong’s punishment, he was told he had to complete a series of implicit bias trainings.

Tong is currently suing the school for violating his First Amendment rights, per The Fire.

10. Peter Vlaming  

Vlaming was a French teacher at West Point High School in Virginia who was fired for not using a transgender student’s preferred pronouns.

In an interview with The Daily Signal, Vlaming said, “I explained to my principal that I couldn’t in good conscience pronounce masculine pronouns to refer to a girl. He gave me an official written reprimand that said it was the first step in a process that would lead to my termination.” 

Eventually, the West Point School Board voted unanimously to fire Vlaming.

The former French teacher is currently bringing his case to the Virginia Supreme Court, per Christian Broadcasting Network. 

11. Timothy Gordon

Gordon was a teacher at Garces Memorial High School, a private, Catholic school in Bakersfield, California, and is the author of the book “Catholic Republic: Why America Will Perish Without Rome.” He was fired from his job after he made comments critical of the Black Lives Matter movement, specifically calling it a terrorist organization. 

After his comments became more widely known, there was fierce pushback from the other members of the Garces Memorial staff. A petition demanding Gordon’s termination began making its rounds throughout the school, leading to his eventual firing. 

“Black Lives Matter themselves say they are a threat to Western family structure, namely the Christian family structure,” Gordon said in an interview with British magazine The Spectator.

In an earlier interview with radio host Richard Beene on “The Richard Beene Show,” Gordon solidified his position, saying, “They oppose themselves to Christianity, which is beset on all sides by hatred from the secular left, but it’s also been beset from within by a kind of Stockholm syndrome masochism which you’ve seen by my firing at Garces”

12. Adrianna San Marco

San Marco was a student at Syracuse University in New York who lost her job writing for her local newspaper after she wrote an op-ed piece for another conservative outlet denying the existence of institutional racism and that police unfairly targeted black people, as reported by Fox News.

San Marco’s former editor-in-chief, Casey Darnell, argued that “Dismissing the existence of racism, whether institutional or otherwise, dismisses the lived experiences of people of color, especially our black community members,” and that “San Marco’s article reinforces false and dangerous stereotypes of Black people as criminals, and dismisses that police officers kill black people at disproportionately higher rates than white people.”

In a Fox News interview conducted after her firing, San Marco stood by her piece, saying, “Now more than ever I feel confident in my views and research. There is nothing I would have done differently. I stand by my analysis.”




19 September, 2021

Amazon Reverses Ad Ban for Book Investigating BLM, Cites ‘Inaccurately Enforced’ Policies

Amazon on Thursday reversed its earlier decision to block an advertisement for a new book that is critical of the leadership of the Black Lives Matter movement, saying it had not properly enforced its own policies. 

“BLM: The Making of a New Marxist Revolution” is the latest book by Mike Gonzalez, a former reporter and opinion editor for The Wall Street Journal who is a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation, parent organization of The Daily Signal.

The Heritage Foundation this week attempted to buy an ad on the digital platform of Amazon, the world’s largest retailer, to promote Gonzalez’s book.  However, Amazon notified Heritage on Tuesday that it had rejected the ad. 

After Heritage officials appealed, Amazon reversed itself. 

“Our policies were inaccurately enforced, and the book is now being advertised,” an Amazon spokeswoman told The Daily Signal in an email Thursday morning. “We are providing training to ensure our teams are clear on our policies.” 

Amazon’s ad moderation team made the error and corrected it, the spokeswoman said later in the day.

“Our policies were not enforced correctly in this case,” she said. “We fixed the error, communicated with the advertiser [Heritage], and the book is now being advertised. We will be providing additional training to ensure our teams are clear on our policies and how to enforce them in the future.”

Gonzalez said he was pleased with the news about his book, which was published Sept. 7 and tops Amazon’s own Black and African American History category, but still has questions. 

“I’m glad they reversed their decision. But who made the decision in the first place?” Gonzalez said in an email to The Daily Signal. “Was it someone who just disagreed with its content and decided to ban it? Amazon has incredible power. It needs clear rules that are not political [or] partisan.”

Amazon had notified Heritage in an email message at 3:48 a.m. EDT Tuesday that the think tank’s ad for Gonzalez’s book “no longer complies with our current Creative Acceptance Policies.”   

“Specifically for the following reasons: Your ad contains book/s or content that is not allowed. Content that revolves around controversial or highly debated social topics is not permitted,” Amazon’s notice to Heritage says. “Please remove this content from your ad.”

The Heritage Foundation appealed Amazon’s action.  

About 3 a.m. EDT Thursday, The Daily Signal published a news report on Amazon’s decision to censor Heritage’s ad for the Black Lives Matter book.

Amazon Advertiser Support sent a message to The Heritage Foundation at 10:50 a.m. EDT Thursday, saying:

We have determined that the ad was incorrectly rejected from our end. Thanks for explaining the issue to us, and we apologize for the inconvenience caused. The ad was remoderated and is now in approved status.

Amazon apparently did not at any time block Gonzalez’s book about Black Lives Matter from being sold on the website, only Heritage’s advertising for it. 

The incident shows that some parties, but hardly all, can push major technology companies to respond to customer complaints, said Kara Frederick, a research fellow in Heritage’s Center for Technology Policy.

“This episode is a reminder that while sometimes Big Tech can be pressured to respond in certain cases of wrongdoing, there are so many more instances where those without the resources or large-enough public profile simply have to live with the arbitrary decisions made by these companies,” Frederick said in a public statement, adding: 

The fact that this was the result of human error further demonstrates the need for Big Tech companies to establish clear, sensible, and consistent rules and policies, and then implement those rules and policies fairly across the board. 

They also must be willing to publicly admit mistakes when they do occur, whether intentional or not. Big Tech’s influence over everyday American life continues to grow. It’s vital that we establish clear standards for how these companies behave, and mechanisms to hold them accountable when they don’t.


Facebook targets German anti-lockdown movement

Facebook has cracked down on the anti-Covid restriction movement in Germany, removing dozens of accounts that contribute to “co-ordinated social harm”.

Almost 150 accounts and pages on Facebook and Instagram — linked to anti-lockdown demonstrators in the European nation — have been taken off the platform, under a new policy focused on groups that spread misinformation or incite violent.

The Querdenken movement includes vaccine and mask opponents, conspiracy theorists and some far-right extremists, and has long protested German virus measures.

One post from such an account included a debunked claim that the Covid-19 jab was responsible for creating virus variants, while another wished death upon police officers who broke up violent anti-lockdown protests in Berlin.

According to Reuters, Facebook’s security teams have expanded the tactics used to take down influence operations using fake accounts to do more wholesale shutdowns of co-ordinated groups of real-user accounts causing harm, through mass reporting or brigading.

Head of security policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, told reporters that the social media giant has also been working for several months to use these tactics against “co-ordinated social harm”.

“Simply sharing a belief or affinity with a particular movement or group wouldn’t be enough”, though, to warrant a similar response, he said.

The changes could have a major impact on how Facebook handles organised political and social movements on its sites – after months of scrutiny over its treatment of anti-vaccine and Covid-19 misinformation.

Some Querdenken adherents have been put under surveillance by Germany domestic intelligence agency, as the movement has become increasingly radicalised and protests have started to attract neo-Nazis and other extremists.

The group is the most visible anti-lockdown movement in Germany, and has drawn thousands to its demonstrations in Berlin, earning criticism from Germany’s parliament president, Wolfgang Schäuble, who has urged people not to be fooled by “cheap slogans”.




17 September, 2021

Amazon Blocks Ad for Book Investigating Black Lives Matter

Amazon this week blocked an advertisement for a new book on Black Lives Matter leaders, claiming content that “revolves around controversial or highly debated social topics is not permitted.” 

“BLM: The Making of a New Marxist Revolution” is the latest book by Mike Gonzalez, a former journalist who is a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation, parent organization of The Daily Signal. 

The Heritage Foundation, which attempted to buy the ad for Gonzalez’s book, said that Amazon, the nation’s largest retailer, blocked it from its website. 

Amazon sent a message to Heritage on Tuesday stating that the ad for Gonzalez’s book “no longer complies with our current Creative Acceptance Policies.”

“Specifically for the following reasons: Your ad contains book/s or content that is not allowed. Content that revolves around controversial or highly debated social topics is not permitted,” Amazon’s notice to Heritage says. “Please remove this content from your ad.” 

Gonzalez said he wrote the book to answer questions about the Black Lives Matter movement. 

“I wrote this book because most of the press refused to cover the important questions about the people and organizations behind Black Lives Matter,” Gonzalez said in a statement. “Now Amazon is trying to limit how many Americans read this book.”

Gonzalez, a former reporter and opinion editor for The Wall Street Journal, added: 

The American people deserve answers to those questions, especially after the 630 or more riots that left our cities burning, businesses destroyed and billions in damage, and Americans dead. 

I have to wonder if Nikole Hannah-Jones’ and Ibram X. Kendi’s books—which also sell in [Amazon’s] ‘Black and African American History’ category, where my book often outranked them in the past week—face similar constraints. Herbert Marcuse, the critical theorist who authored the essay ‘Repressive Tolerance,’ would be proud of Amazon.


Pro-Life Group Says Google Banned Its Ads in ‘Dramatic and Unprecedented Move’

The pro-life group Live Action claimed Tuesday that Google banned “all” Live Action ads, accusing the tech company of siding “squarely with extremist pro-abortion political ideology.”

“They aren’t hiding their bias anymore,” Lila Rose, Live Action founder and president, said in a statement. “Google’s censorship baldly reveals that the corporation is in the pocket of the abortion industry.”

Live Action said in a press release that Google banned the promotion of “all” the organization’s ads, including its “Baby Olivia” ad as well as one about the Abortion Pill Reversal hotline, which is managed by a team of medical professionals, according to the pro-life group.

“By restricting scientific information related to abortion pill reversal and other life-saving options, while accepting paid ads promoting life-ending abortions, Google has chosen to operate by an outrageously dishonest and blatant double standard,” Rose said in a statement. “The consequence is devastating—more women and girls will be marketed abortions through Google platforms, without also being offered life-affirming options.”

Rose said Google “disingenuously” cited “unreliable claims” as why it banned the promotion of the abortion pill reversal ad, adding in a tweet that Live Action’s abortion pill reversal ads had been previously approved by Google and had been running for over four months, “spending over $170,000 & directing 100s of moms to the abortion pill reversal hotline.”

Rose described the purported ban as a “dramatic and unprecedented move.”




16 September, 2021

CDC pushes lunatic PC language games instead of fighting COVID

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a guide last week for “inclusive communication,” cautioning against using words like “prisoner,” “smoker,” “illegal immigrant,” “disabled” or “homeless” that the agency says could imply blame or stigma. The guide’s opening line says, “We must confront the systems and policies that have resulted in the generational injustice that has given rise to health inequities.”

The CDC, in other words, is now about fighting “inequity” — not controlling and preventing disease.

The agency urges employees to use “they” instead of gendered pronouns like him or her, even when referring to one person. And to refer to “parents” or “expectant parents,” instead of mothers or fathers. Oh, and avoid the word “stakeholder,” because it may have “violent connotations” for certain tribes.

After making the hundreds of language changes the CDC recommends, who has time to track and defeat COVID-19? 

The CDC is suffering from mission confusion. With parts of the United States considering more COVID lockdowns, Americans don’t need lessons on political correctness. They need scientific information on how to reduce the risk of being infected by this virus indoors.

That’s key to reopening workplaces and returning to normal.

Numerous new technologies are said to destroy airborne viruses, including ionization, dry hydrogen peroxide, far UVC light and others. But school administrators and office building managers don’t have a clue which ones actually work. They are flying blind.

The CDC’s thousands of scientists could provide guidance. Not that they should endorse specific brands, but they can assess competing technologies. The CDC flatly refuses to do so.  Instead it cautions against using them, because they lack “an established body of peer-reviewed evidence.”

What planet is the CDC on? Peer-reviewed evidence can take years to develop. Here’s the process: An academic journal sends a submitted article to scientists around the world for review and suggested changes. Once that input is received and the article is approved, the wait goes on, because many of these journals only publish four times a year.

Glacial slowness doesn’t work in a pandemic. That’s why former President Donald Trump designed Operation Warp Speed for vaccines. The CDC’s timetable isn’t warp speed. It’s just warped. And it will doom us to failure.

As for schools, a CDC study of 169 Georgia K-5 schools found COVID cases were reduced more by improving air quality than any other intervention.

A Kaiser Health News headline in June read: “More Than 100 Missouri Schools Have Bought ‘Often-Unproven’ Air-Cleaning Technology.” The words “often unproven” come from CDC guidance. If school districts are rushing in desperation to buy equipment without enough information, blame the CDC, not the school administrators.

Peer-reviewed research on that equipment doesn’t exist yet. That is why CDC scientists should get to work assessing new technologies themselves, instead of writing speech manuals.

If the CDC wants to be politically correct, it can call its new air-quality guidance “indoor environmentalism.”


Squaw Valley is no more

Squaw Valley - home to the 1960 Winter Olympics - became the latest US institution to yield to public pressure and change its name, dropping the 'racist and sexist'  term for a Native American woman that's rooted in the Lewis and Clark era. 

The Lake Tahoe-region resort in Northern California, known as the Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Ski Resort, will now be called Palisades Tahoe, the owners announced Monday in an Instagram post. 

'As much as we cherish the memories we associate with our resort name, we must accept that these emotional attachments do not justify our continuing use of a word that is widely accepted to be a racist and sexist slur,' Ron Cohen, president and COO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, told CNN.  

The move comes as Confederate statues around the country come tumbling down and sports franchises like the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians moved to dissociate themselves from nicknames viewed as derogatory.   

The popular ski resort in Northern California changed its name, which drew raise from the Washoe Tribe, who lived in area before white settlers took it over

'With the momentum of recognition and accountability we are seeing around the country, we have reached the conclusion that now is the right time to acknowledge a change needs to happen,' Cohen said. 

Seven states have taken it upon themselves to ban the word from geographical location names: Minnesota, Montana, Maine, Oklahoma, Idaho, South Dakota and Oregon. 

Some cities around the country have replaced 'squaw', including Phoenix, Arizona and Buffalo, New York, while others - such as Provo, Utah - are in the process of doing the same. 

The name changes comes at a time when the United States is undergoing what some refer to as 'cancel culture.'  

The country's racial reckoning has included Native America the removal of what some consider to be offensive Native American terms.




15 September, 2021

Elizabeth Warren is accused of trying to 'circumvent the Constitution' by demanding Amazon stops promoting COVID books she says 'peddle misinformation about COVID'

<i>Her authoritarian instincts come out again</i>

Elizabeth Warren is calling on Amazon to suppress books sold on the site that she says include 'misinformation' about coronavirus.

'Given the seriousness of this issue, I ask that you perform an immediate review of Amazon's algorithms and, within 14 days, provide both a public report on the extent to which Amazon's algorithms are directing consumers to books and other products containing COVID-19 misinformation and a plan to modify these algorithms so that they no longer do so,' Warren wrote in a letter to Amazon's new CEO Andy Jassy last week.

The progressive Massachusetts senator detailed in the letter that she and her team conducted test searches on with coronavirus, pandemic and vaccine-related terms.

Warren said that the search resulted in some 'top results consistently included highly-ranked and favorably-tagged books based on falsehoods about COVID-19 vaccines and cures.'

She specifically called out the book 'The Truth About COVID-19: Exposing the Great Reset, Lockdowns, Vaccine Passports, and the New Normal' by Joseph Mercola and Ronnie Cummins.

'Dr. Mercola,' Warren wrote in her letter, 'has been described as 'the most influential spreader of coronavirus misinformation online.''

'Not only was this book the top result when searching either 'COVID-19' or 'vaccine' in the categories of 'All Departments' and 'Books'; it was tagged as a 'Best Seller' by Amazon and the '#1 Best Seller' in the 'Political Freedom' category,' the senator lamented.

Mercola accused Warren of 'censorship', and claimed it is illegal for lawmakers to pressure private entities to stifle freedom of speech.

'Senator censorship?' the doctor and author wrote in a Twitter post on Thursday. 'Warren pushes Amazon to burn my best selling book with 5 star reviews. It is illegal for public officials to pressure private businesses to censor anyone in the USA!'

In a tweet Monday, Warren defended herself against criticism for her call on banning books from Amazon.

'We're in a critical moment in the fight against COVID-19, and Amazon is spreading dangerous misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines and treatment. Amazon must review its online algorithms and take aggressive action to stamp out COVID-19 misinformation,' the senator posted.

Her call on Amazon to stifle books, however, has conservatives worried about continued suppression of right-leaning voices by tech companies. Fox News host Tucker Carlson said Warren just wants Amazon to 'ban books that she disagrees with.'

'Here you have a self-described liberal, who is a law professor at our premiere law school, calling for book burning. Did you think you'd live to see that?' Carlson said on his show Monday night.


Facebook exempts secret 'whitelisted' elite from its rules and allows them to post banned content with special XCheck program

Facebook has a secret program in place that allows celebrities and powerful people to skirt the social network’s own rules, according to a bombshell report.

The Silicon Valley giant’s program, called ‘XCheck’ or ‘cross check,’ created a so-called ‘whitelist’ of celebrities who are immune from enforcement, according to The Wall Street Journal.

It was initially designed to protect the company from bad publicity in the event that it moderated content from some of the more high-profile users. Instead, critics say that it has shielded those same users from the rules that apply to the general public. 

The list of protected celebrities and VIPs include Brazilian soccer star Neymar; former President Donald Trump; his son, Donald Trump Jr; Senator Elizabeth Warren; model Sunnaya Nash; and Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself.

In 2019, a live-streamed employee Q&A with Zuckerberg himself was suppressed after Facebook's algorithm mistakenly ruled that it violated the company's guidelines.

Movie stars, cable talk show hosts, academics, online personalities, and anyone who has a large following is protected by 'XCheck' on both Facebook and its subsidiary, Instagram. As of last year, there were 5.8 million Facebook users covered by 'XCheck.'

The program has been in place for years - well before Trump was banned from the platform after he was accused of fomenting the January 6 riot at the US Capitol. 

The Journal relied on internal documents provided to it by employees of the company who say that the program shields celebrities from enforcement actions that are meted out against the platform’s more than 3 billion other users.

If a VIP is believed to have violated the rules, their posts aren’t removed immediately but are instead sent to a separate system staffed by better-trained employees who then further review the content.

‘XCheck’ allowed international soccer star Neymar to post nude photos of a woman who had accused him of rape in 2019. The images were deleted by Facebook after a whole day, allowing them to be seen by Neymar’s tens of millions of his followers.

A spokesperson for Facebook told the Journal that the program 'was designed for an important reason: to create an additional step so we can accurately enforce policies on content that could require more understanding.'

An internal review found that even when Facebook does take action against protected accounts, it does so belatedly.

Last year, 'XCheck' allowed posts that violated Facebook guidelines to be viewed at least 16.4 billion times before they were finally removed, according to a document obtained by the Journal.




14 September, 2021

Financial Censorship

OnlyFans recently announced it would ban sexually explicit content, citing pressure from “banking partners and payout providers.” This is the latest example of a troubling pattern of financial intermediaries censoring constitutionally protected legal speech by shutting down accounts—or threatening to do so.  

OnlyFans is a subscription site that allows artists, performers and other content creators to monetize their creative works—and it has become a go-to platform for independent creators of adult content. The ban on sexually explicit content has been met by an outcry from many creators who have used the platform to safely earn an income in the adult industry.

This is just the latest example of censorship by financial intermediaries. Intermediaries have cut off access to financial services for independent booksellers, social networks, adult video websites, and whistleblower websites, regardless of whether those targeted were trading in First Amendment-protected speech. By cutting off these critical services, financial intermediaries force businesses to adhere to their moral and political standards.  

It is not surprising that, faced with the choice of losing access to financial services or banning explicit content, OnlyFans would choose its payment processors over its users. For many businesses, losing access to financial services seriously disrupts operations and may have existential consequences. 

As EFF has explained, access to the financial system is a necessary precondition for the operations of nearly every Internet intermediary, including content hosts and platforms. The structure of the electronic payment economy makes these payment systems a natural chokepoint for controlling online content. Indeed, in one case, a federal appeals court analogized shutting down financial services for a business to “killing a person by cutting off his oxygen supply.” In that case,, LLC v. Dart, the Seventh Circuit found that a sheriff had violated the First Amendment by strongly encouraging payment processors to cut off financial services to a classified advertising website.  

There has been some movement in Washington to fight financial censorship. Earlier this year, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency finalized its Fair Access to Financial Services rule, which would have prevented banks from refusing to serve entire classes of customers they find politically or morally unsavory. But the rule was put on hold with the change of administrations in January.

Content moderation is a complex topic, and EFF has written about the implications of censorship by companies closer to the bottom of the technical stack. But content creators should not lose their financial lifelines based on the whims and moral standards of a few dominant and unaccountable financial institutions.


Calling women at work 'love', 'hun' or 'babes' is demeaning and 'infantilising' but it's acceptable to use 'mate' or 'lad' for male colleague, judge rules at tribunal

<i>I think a lot depends on context here.  In some contexts routine use of "hun", "love" etc is accepted as normal</i>

Calling women at work 'love' or 'hun' is demeaning but it's acceptable to use 'mate' for a male colleague, a judge has ruled at a tribunal involving a funeral firm manager who was sacked for using inappropriate language towards female staff. 

Mike Hartley had claimed he was a victim of the Me Too movement when he was fired from Blackpool-based funeral firm D Hollowell & Sons Limited in January of this year.  

A Manchester tribunal heard how he regularly called women 'sweet', 'love', 'chick' and 'honey', which he argued was the same as calling male counterparts 'mate' or 'lad'. 

However the tribunal found it was inappropriate to compare the two, as the way he addressed men did not undermine them in the way his names for women did.

'Calling someone "mate" or "lad" is not a "pet" name in our opinion, it is a nickname,' Employment Judge Pauline Feeney said.

'They are not demeaning... however, chick, babes, bobs, honey, hun and sweetie are all demeaning and infantilising ways of referring to women.'    

The final straw came when he called a colleague 'Rachie boobies' after making a comment about looking up her skirt, leading her to file a sexual harassment complaint which led to his dismissal.  

The hearing heard how Mr Hartley began working as a driver and bearer for D Hollowell & Sons Limited in 2017 where he was promoted to client liaison and HR manager the following year.

In 2019, colleague Rachel Anderton complained about him making 'insulting' and 'very inappropriate' comments.

The panel heard Mr Hartley requested to add her on Facebook 'immediately' after meeting her, asked her what her 'vital statistics' were when enquiring about uniform size and called her pet names such as 'honey', 'babe' and 'chick' numerous times.

The panel, held remotely, heard this 'shocked' and 'upset' her.

Mr Hartley then brought his claims of sex discrimination and unfair dismissal to the employment tribunal. He said the MeToo movement had influenced the decision to find him guilty.

The panel found he had been unfairly dismissed as the investigation into his behaviour was not carried out properly. 

However, it found that the company was right to fire him anyway, and refused to award him compensation.

It rejected his claim that he had been sexually discriminated against.




13 September, 2021

Facebook, YouTube and Twitter will fight Texas crackdown on 'censorship' of Trump, conservative speech

Facebook, Google's YouTube and Twitter will fight a new Texas law cracking down on social media companies for allegedly censoring conservative speech and former President Donald Trump.

Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican who publicly backed the legislation, signed the bill Thursday, making Texas the second state to target companies for restricting or removing content or accounts for violating their rules.

"There is a dangerous movement by some social media companies to silence conservative ideas and values," Abbott said during a news conference. "This is wrong and we will not allow it in Texas."

The Texas law, passed in the final days of the second special session called by Abbott, would allow any state resident banned from a social media platform for their political views to sue the platform.

The state attorney general also would be able to sue on behalf of a user or a group of users.

It is similar to a Florida law that was blocked in June by a federal judge one day before it could take effect.

Trade groups representing the technology industry pledged to challenge the law on the same basis they challenged the Florida law which, they say, has the same First Amendment flaws and is unconstitutional. 

"The same outcome will almost certainly occur in Texas,” Steve DelBianco, NetChoice's president, said.

"Moderation of user posts is crucial to keeping the internet safe for Texas families, but this bill would put the Texas government in charge of content policies," he said.

Proponents of the new law hailed its passage.

"Texas’ new law, House Bill 20, is a paramount move taken by Lone Star legislators to protect the free speech rights of their constituents," said Samantha Fillmore, state government relations manager for conservative think tank The Heartland Institute. 

"There is no question that big tech is integral to free speech in today’s day and age," she said. "Because of this, Big Tech can no longer unilaterally decide who can say what without being held accountable."

Dozens of states are considering legislation to restrict how social media platforms regulate people's speech, though few have gotten this far.

These bills resonate with conservatives who believe their First Amendment rights are violated when social media posts are labeled or removed or when their accounts are banned for violating the policies of social media platforms. Trump's suspensions from the major platforms inspired the new bills.


'Big Tech' censorship of religion is real and deserves an effective response, critics say

The power of major internet companies like Facebook, Amazon, YouTube, and Twitter over public life is a particular threat to religious groups that focus on controversial issues like abortion, marriage, and sexuality, several commentators said at a roundtable last week. These groups should prepare for the possibility of censorship and organize effective countermeasures, they said.

“You might not know the hour nor the day you will be censored,” Joshua D. Holdenreid, vice president and executive director of the California-based Napa Legal Institute, said at a roundtable on internet censorship.

Holdenreid said those involved in public debates “need to plan ahead and assume that if they are a religious organization or faith-based organization operating in the public square and focused on an issue that’s related to pro-life (topics), marriage, sexuality, Christian anthropology, they should just assume that they will eventually run afoul of these vague and arbitrary terms and conditions that exist with these Big Tech platforms.”

The Ethics and Public Policy Project (EPPC), a D.C. thinktank that aims to apply “the Judeo-Christian tradition to contemporary questions of law, culture, and politics,” hosted the Aug. 26 roundtable “How Big Tech Censors Religious Voices, and How to Fight Back.” The roundtable follows years of debate and discussion about how major technology and media companies treat some religious voices.

The most likely to suffer, Holdenreid said, aren’t necessarily organizations running soup kitchens or homeless shelters, but those who are “weighing in on the most important cultural issues” and “speaking the truth about certain issues that doesn’t align with what folks in Silicon Valley think should be appropriate for the digital public square.” His organization, the Napa Legal Institute, provides legal and financial education to faith-based non-profits on corporate, tax, and philanthropic issues.

Another roundtable speaker, EPPC president Ryan T. Anderson, saw one of his books delisted from Amazon in February 2021. The book, “When Harry Became Sally,” offers a philosophical and moral critique of transgender advocates’ claims.

Anderson said his book ranked highly on bestseller lists and was listed for sale on Amazon for three years. In removing his book, he charged, the company did not follow its own procedures, such as contacting the author and publisher first to notify them and attempt to reach a solution.

He also questioned Amazon’s claim that the book violated its content policy.

“Well, how did the book not violate the content policy for the first three years?” he asked. “I didn’t go back and rewrite anything.”

The book’s title refers to a popular 1989 movie “When Harry Met Sally,” which dramatized an argument that men and women are so different that they can’t just be friends.

“Whereas today the argument is that men and women are interchangeable and that the concept of male and female is on a spectrum,” said Anderson, who is also the John Paul II teaching fellow in social thought at the University of Dallas.

Those who have not read the book, Anderson suggested, might see him as “some bomb-throwing bigot who wrote a book making fun of transgender people” which in their view might justify a company like Amazon refusing to sell “hate speech.”

Anderson characterized his arguments as measured and careful. He warned that policies that silence the voices of writers like him encourages more radical voices to see moderation as a failure.




12 September, 2021

Australian TV Channel takes ex-Bachelorette Georgia Love off air after racist social media post

<i>Jokes are now dangerous</i>

Georgia Love has been taken off air after sharing a racist post on social media.

The former Bachelorette star has been disciplined by employer Channel 7 following backlash over the post earlier this week when Love posted an Instagram image of a cat inside an Asian restaurant with the caption: “Shop attendant or lunch?!” and a laughing emoji.

“We have addressed this matter internally and disciplinary action has been taken,” a Seven spokeswoman said.
“Seven does not condone this inappropriate conduct and all of our staff have the right to work in a safe, nurturing workplace free from prejudice.”

After her stint on Ten’s Bachelorette in 2016, TV journalist Love earlier this year landed a dream job as a reporter on 7News Melbourne.

It is understood that after a workplace investigation and being counselled by bosses, Love will work on the news production desk effective immediately.

Love, who married partner Lee Elliott after meeting on the reality show, apologised to colleagues in an email sent by 7News Director Shaun Menegolo.

“It has been a difficult week for many as a consequence of some inappropriate and offensive posts on a staff member’s private account,” Menegolo said.

“Following a workplace investigation that had to follow due process, I want to let you know that Georgia has been counselled and will be reassigned to the production desk, effective immediately.”


Sheffield cop accused of racially offensive language over 'maybe I should start eating curry' comment

<i>Another dangerous joke</i>

PC David Warwick is subject to a disciplinary hearing over a remark he is alleged to have made while in conversation with another police officer at Shepcote Lane police station, near Tinsley, last July.

South Yorkshire Police said it is claimed that while in conversation with a colleague of British Indian heritage, PC Warwick said ‘maybe I should start eating curry’ when hearing of a 105-year-old Asian man.

In a statement, the force said: “It is alleged that on 20 July, 2020, whilst at Shepcote Lane Police Station, PC Warwick was in conversation with another police officer who is of British Indian heritage. It is alleged that during that conversation, in jest he used a racist, offensive, inappropriate and or discriminatory word.

“It is alleged that when learning of an Asian male who was 105 years old, PC Warwick made a comment in the following or similar terms: “Maybe I should start eating curry”.

“The above comment was racially offensive, included the use of a racial stereotype, inappropriate; and/or discriminatory in nature.”

The hearing is due to take place on Wednesday, September 15 and is listed for two days.

Police bosses have a range of sanctions available to them when dealing with misconduct hearings, ranging from warnings to dismissal.

PC Warwick is accused of breaching the Standards of Professional Behaviour relating to discreditable conduct and equality and diversity and if proven the case would be classed as gross misconduct.




10 September, 2021

Texas forbids political ‘censorship’ by social media companies

The governor of Texas signed a bill on Thursday banning social media platforms from removing posts because of the political views expressed in them, a measure that is likely to draw significant legal scrutiny after a similar law was blocked by a judge in Florida.

Under the new rules, large platforms like Facebook and Twitter cannot remove, play down or otherwise moderate content because of a user’s political perspective, or ban the user entirely. The companies will also need to publish regular reports showing how often they received complaints about content and how often they took posts down.

Private citizens can sue the social media companies over violations of the law, as can the state’s attorney general. The law covers companies with more than 50 million monthly active users in the United States, and it applies to anyone who lives in Texas, does business there or “shares or receives” social media content in the state.

Conservative states have increasingly targeted the ways that Silicon Valley companies police their platforms. Similar proposals have cropped up in dozens of states around the country this year, reflecting a frustration among Republican voters with the rules that govern what they can say online. The bill signed by Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas adopts that language: It says it prohibits “censorship” online and claims large social media sites are “common carriers,” a kind of tightly regulated company like a phone provider.

The new laws have drawn critics who say they violate the First Amendment rights of private companies to decide what content they host. Industry groups sued over a Florida law that made it illegal to ban some candidates for public office from social media. A judge agreed to block the law while the courts consider that legal challenge.

The social media companies say they do not purposefully downplay conservative views and personalities. Conservative figures often run some of the most popular pages online. Facebook and Twitter declined to comment. Google, which owns YouTube, declined to comment as well.


The story of one CEO who lost his job but not his will to fight

Not every CEO in America is woke. And some who aren’t pay dearly. David Azerrad recounts the story of Vivek Ramaswamy, who is still standing against the woke tide despite losing his company to it.

Vivek Ramaswamy opens his book on the perils of woke capitalism by declaring himself a traitor to his class. He’s got the perfect elite resume: Harvard undergrad, partner at a hedge fund, Yale Law School, and founder of a biotech company today valued at $7 billion. He’s also, if not fully diverse by today’s standards — Indians, like Asians, are considered “white-adjacent” — at least not white.

Ramaswamy became a vocal proponent of free speech, while denouncing wokeness “as a fundamentalist religion.” The last straw that brought about his cancellation was defending Donald Trump after Big Tech censored the sitting U.S. president. Advisers resigned and within three weeks he was forced to “step down as CEO of the company he founded.” He nevertheless is still speaking out against corporate wokeness, which he says is a “game of pretending to care about justice in order to make money.” Indeed, Nike, Uber, the NBA, and so many other corporations are far more concerned about the almighty dollar than actual principles, despite feigning otherwise. He calls this “reputational laundering.”

Ultimately, challenging the woke status quo means breaking this cycle, and Ramaswamy wrote a book about it. He takes on corporate elitism, Big Tech censorship, and more. And, as Azerrad put it, “Ramaswamy sees what so many establishment conservatives and libertarians refuse to see: in the eyes of the woke Left, we on the Right are all racists who should be made untouchables. Censorship creep is real.”

What can be done? Ramaswamy has some ideas:

Ramaswamy wants to restrict the scope of limited shareholder liability (which protects shareholders’ assets if the company is sued or goes bankrupt) and of the business judgment rule (which protects CEOs and corporate directors from litigation for bad business decisions) to cover only core, profit-generating practices. If corporations or CEOs choose to engage in social activism, then they should not enjoy the legal privilege of protection from lawsuits. That privilege, after all, was only afforded to encourage risk-taking in pursuit of profit — not social activism in pursuit of leftist applause.

Second, are his proposals to protect Americans from tech censorship. Ramaswamy is a recovering libertarian who is not so foolish as to think that we can just build our own Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon. In retelling the sad fate of Parler, he concludes that “the free market is no match for the monopoly of ideas.” That said, he dismisses the idea, now increasingly in vogue among the New Right and democratic socialists, of invoking antitrust to break up Big Tech. Antitrust laws were designed to protect consumers from cartels and monopolies from price-fixing, not the present pathology he calls “idea-fixing.” …

Ramaswamy wants to apply the First Amendment to Big Tech to protect the free speech rights of Americans. And he proposes using existing jurisprudence to do so, rather than waiting for Congress to take action.


Ramaswamy convincingly argues that woke ideology fits the EEOC’s definition of a religion and, as such, cannot be imposed on employees. Your boss should no more be able to fire if you deny the divinity of Christ, than if you affirm that all lives matter. Ramaswamy would thus extend the protection of the Civil Rights Act to cover political opinions both on and off the job.

Perhaps his ideas would work. Perhaps not. But it’s an interesting and necessary debate in the face of censorship.




9 September, 2021

The ‘Misinformation’ Excuse for Censorship

The Twitter user “Interpolations” points us to these responses to an <a href="">Atlantic article</a> that questioned student masking:

The Atlantic piece was written by an epidemiology professor at UC-San Francisco, Vinay Prasad, who concluded that the potential harms of masking young children may outweigh the benefits. He wrote nothing factually incorrect that I am aware of, and neither of the Twitter critics pictured above deigned to specify what they found. They have taken what is simply an opposing viewpoint and rebranded it as “misinformation,” hoping the label will lead to censorship.

It is dismaying that so many people have adopted the same censorious mindset. Last week the Washington Post ran this headline: “Misinformation on Facebook got six times more clicks than factual news during the 2020 election, study says.” The implication is that Facebook needs to more actively remove false claims, and who could be against that? Well, first note that the headline itself is misinformation. According to the text of the article, the content that received six times more clicks was not specifically alleged to be misinformation; rather, it was merely posted by “news publishers known for putting out misinformation.”

The Post article provides no examples of actual misinformation, but it does name Occupy Democrats and Dan Bongino as “publishers known for misinformation” on Facebook. I went to their pages to see for myself. Occupy Democrats mainly posts progressive memes. Dan Bongino mainly posts clips from cable-news shows and town halls. I don’t doubt that one could find factual problems on both pages with enough searching, but I saw nothing obvious. To censor either of these pages would be to go far beyond rooting out “misinformation.” And perhaps that’s the point. Dismissing entire sources of news as misinformation far more effectively narrows the boundaries of acceptable discourse than does stamping out individual ideas.

So who should get to speak on Facebook? The Post article contrasts the alleged misinformation-purveyors with “trustworthy news sources, such as CNN or the World Health Organization.” A large number of Americans will not find this situation satisfactory, to put it mildly. They have sought alternative news sources because the CNNs of the world have breached their trust repeatedly. Tarring the alternatives as misinformation will not help Americans have better political discussions. It will only further convince them that they live in a stifling, closed-minded society.


CEO of video game developer supported Texas’s pro-life law. Now he’s out from the company

The CEO of a video game developer based in Georgia is now out of the company after he tweeted his support for Texas’s pro-life law, which bans abortions once cardiac activity is detected in the baby.

“Proud of #USSupremeCourt affirming the Texas law banning abortion for babies with a heartbeat,” John Gibson, CEO of Tripwire Interactive, tweeted on Saturday. “As an entertainer I don’t get political often. Yet with so many vocal peers on the other side of this issue, I felt it was important to go on the record as a pro-life game developer.”

Tripwire Interactive released a statement on Monday evening saying that Gibson was out, effective immediately, because of the comments that he made. The statement claimed that he “stepped down.”

“The comments given by John Gibson are of his own opinion, and do not reflect those of Tripwire Interactive as a company,” the company said. “His comments disregarded the values of our whole team, our partners and much of our broader community. Our leadership team at Tripwire are deeply sorry and are unified in our commitment to take swift action and to foster a more positive environment.”

“Effective immediately, John Gibson has stepped down as CEO of Tripwire Interactive,” the statement added. “Co-founding member and current Vice President, Alan Wilson, will take over as interim CEO. Alan has been with the company since its formation in 2005 and is an active lead in both the studio’s business and developmental affairs. Alan will work with the rest of the Tripwire leadership team to take steps with employees and partners to address their concerns including executing a company-wide town hall meeting and promoting open dialogue with Tripwire leadership and all employees. His understanding of both the company’s culture and the creative vision of our games will carry the team through this transition, with full support from the other Tripwire leaders.”




8 September, 2021

Australian media outlets lose High Court appeal over Facebook defamation ruling

<i>This will impel a huge upsurge in censorship as companies try to protect themselves</i>

The High Court has ruled that media outlets are legally responsible as “publishers” for third parties’ comments on their Facebook pages, in a decision with implications for other organisations and people with social media accounts.

The Court of Appeal ruled in June last year that news outlets including The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian were liable as publishers of readers’ Facebook comments about Northern Territory youth detainee Dylan Voller because they encouraged and facilitated the comments by setting up public Facebook pages.

The media outlets lodged a High Court appeal. In a decision on Wednesday, the court dismissed the appeal and ordered the organisations to pay Mr Voller’s legal costs.

Chief Justice Susan Kiefel and Justices Patrick Keane and Jacqueline Gleeson said in a joint judgment that “the Court of Appeal was correct to hold that the acts of the [media outlets] in facilitating, encouraging and thereby assisting the posting of comments by the third-party Facebook users rendered them publishers of those comments”.

It has long been the case in defamation law that a person can become liable for the continued publication of defamatory comments by unauthorised third parties on physical walls or noticeboards controlled by them once they become aware of the comments and fail to remove them.

The NSW Court of Appeal said media outlets were in a different position and were legally responsible as publishers “from the outset” because they “encouraged and facilitated” the comments by having public Facebook pages. The court said it was immaterial that they deleted the comments once becoming aware of them.

At the time the comments were published, Facebook did not allow the hosts of public pages to pre-emptively turn off all comments on posts, although any comment could be deleted after the fact.

Facebook has since rectified this issue and given the hosts of public pages more control over comments.

In a separate judgment, High Court Justices Stephen Gageler and Michelle Gordon said: “Where ... the operator of an ‘electronic bulletin board’ posts material with the intention that third parties will comment on the material posted, the operator cannot escape being a publisher of the comments of those third parties.

“The most appropriate analogy is with live television or talkback radio.”

Justices Gageler and Gordon said the media outlets’ “attempt to portray themselves as passive and unwitting victims of Facebook’s functionality [because they could not disable comments] has an air of unreality”.

“Having taken action to secure the commercial benefit of the Facebook functionality, the appellants bear the legal consequences,” the judges said.

Whether the media outlets are publishers of the comments was a preliminary issue in the case.

Now that the High Court has established that the media outlets are publishers, the case will return to the NSW Supreme Court for a trial on the remaining issues, including whether the comments in fact defamed Mr Voller and if any defences apply.

The media outlets may still be able to raise a number of defences at the eventual trial, including the defence of “innocent dissemination”. Commonwealth laws exempting “internet content hosts” from liability for some online content may also apply.

Mr Voller launched defamation proceedings against Nine, publisher of this masthead, News Corp Australia and the Australian News Channel in 2017 over comments by readers on the Facebook pages of the Herald, The Australian, the Centralian Advocate, Sky News Australia and The Bolt Report.

In a pre-trial decision in June 2019, largely affirmed by the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Rothman found the media companies had published the comments, which is a threshold legal issue in the case.

Mr Voller’s lawyers, O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors, said, “this is a common-sense decision that accords with longstanding law on the issue of publication”.

“It is commonly known that media companies encourage increased engagement on their posts so that their content is seen by a larger audience.

“This helps in attracting advertising revenue. With this strong commercial imperative driving them there was no doubt that the media companies lent their assistance to the publication of third-party comments.”


Federal government using social-media giants to censor Americans

Ask questions or post content about COVID-19 that runs counter to the Biden administration’s narrative and find yourself censored on social media.

That’s precisely what data analyst and digital strategist Justin Hart says happened to him. And so last week the Liberty Justice Center, a public-interest law firm, filed a suit on his behalf in California against Facebook, Twitter, President Joe Biden and United States Surgeon General Vivek Murthy for violating his First Amendment right to free speech.

Hart had his social media most recently locked for merely posting an infographic that illustrated the lack of scientific research behind forcing children to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID.

In fact, much science indicates that kids aren’t at risk and aren’t spreaders. Study after study repeatedly shows that children are safer than vaccinated adults and that the masks people actually wear don’t do much good.

The lawsuit contends that the federal government is “colluding with social media companies to monitor, flag, suspend and delete social media posts it deems ‘misinformation.’”

It can point to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s July remarks that senior White House staff are “in regular touch” with Big Tech platforms regarding posts about COVID. She also said the surgeon general’s office is “flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread.”

“It’s clear to Americans that what is said at the White House podium isn’t always true, so why do we think it’s acceptable for the government to direct social media companies to censor people on critical issues such as COVID?” Hart asks.

This doesn’t mean he hasn’t posted some dubious stuff on this or any other topic. For sure, the ‘Net is full of loons promoting utter idiocy as supposed fact. But the way to counter misinformation isn’t censorship — and it’s certainly not having the feds lean on social-media firms to do the censoring.

The Post has been targeted repeatedly by social media for solid, factual reporting. We can only think such outrages would get worse if Facebook & Co. start trying to enforce some government version of “the truth.”




7 September, 2021

3 Teachers Now Suing Virginia School System Over Transgender Pronouns

Students in one of the nation’s wealthiest suburbs returned to school Thursday even as three teachers were in court to challenge a school district policy forcing all teachers to refer to self-identified transgender students by their preferred pronouns.

The Virginia Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a lower court ruling ordering the reinstatement of Byron Tanner Cross, an elementary gym teacher suspended by the Loudoun County school district after he spoke out against the then-proposed transgender policy during a school board meeting. 

The Loudon County School Board’s new policy, besides requiring teachers and administrators to use preferred pronouns, also allows students to use the school restroom of their choosing regardless of their biological sex.

The school board based its Policy 8040 on the Virginia Department of Education’s “model policies” on the treatment of transgender students in elementary and secondary schools.

So far, six of Virginia’s 133 school boards, including Chesapeake’s, have rejected the transgender policies. Two Virginia counties other than Loudoun, Newport News and Chesterfield, also voted to adopt the model policies.

Parents and teachers who oppose the new transgender student policy in Loudoun County, about 45 minutes west of the nation’s capital, contend that it violates educators’ First Amendment right to free speech.

“These policies are violating the core constitutional rights of teachers, of students, and of parents,” Tyson Langhofer, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal aid organization focused on religious freedom, told The Daily Signal in an interview.

“It’s forcing teachers and students to speak messages that are going to be harmful to students,” Langhofer, lead attorney on the lawsuit, said.

Two other Loudoun teachers recently joined Cross in taking the school district to court.

Alliance Defending Freedom amended its lawsuit Aug. 16 to include Monica Gill, a Loudoun County high school history teacher, and Kim Wright, a middle school English teacher.

“They are phenomenal teachers who have had great reviews, who have had great relationships with students of all backgrounds, including LGBT students,” Langhofer said in the interview with The Daily Signal. “Yet they’re being told they must immediately affirm a student as a boy [even] if [the student is] a girl and speak a message that they believe is harmful to that person, putting [the student] on a social transition, which leads to medical transition, which leads to harmful outcomes.”

The Loudoun school district has declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Alliance Defending Freedom is seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent the school board from forcing Gill, Wright, and Cross to use a student’s preferred pronoun or a pronoun that doesn’t reflect his or her biological sex.

“The end result that we are asking for is a final judgment, which essentially says that the school cannot force Monica, Kim, and Tanner to use a student’s demanded pronoun. That’s ultimately what we’re asking for,” Langhofer said.


Sky News host Andrew Bolt says Meghan Markle and some of her defenders in the media are a “menace to free speech”.

According to Mr Bolt, last week Britain's media watchdog Ofcom defended presenter Piers Morgan’s right to call Markle “unbelievable, untrustworthy, someone who makes stuff up” following her interview with Oprah Winfrey.

“The thing is, Meghan Markle does indeed tell the most unbelievable stories about what a victim she is and how terrible the Royal Family is and woe is me,” he said.

“Even if you do believe Meghan Markle, surely a journalist, a presenter is entitled to question her claims, that’s free speech.

“But the scary thing about that is not even Morgan’s bosses at ITV believe in free speech anymore, in the right to doubt Meghan Markle.”

Mr Bolt said ITV’s decision to dump Morgan following thousands of complaints - including from the Duchess of Sussex herself – was a “sin against journalism, and now Britain's media policeman Ofcom has suggested exactly that”.




6 September, 2021

Australia: Sky News CEO Paul Whittaker hits out at YouTube over ban, 'Frankly ridiculous’

Sky News CEO Paul Whittaker has blasted YouTube in his opening statement to the Senate Inquiry Into Media Diversity, rejecting suggestions the network ever denied the existence of Covid-19 and accusing the social media platform of censoring “certain views”.

In a strongly-worded six-minute statement, Mr Whittaker said YouTube’s assertion Sky had peddled Covid-denialist theories was “frankly ridiculous,” as the network had provided 24/7 coronavirus coverage since March 2020, covering “all angles of this evolving national and global public health and policy debate”.

Last month, YouTube took the unprecedented step of removing 23 Sky News videos from the platform and suspending the network for a week. Sky News Australia has nearly two million subscribers to its YouTube channel and has uploaded in excess of 50,000 pieces of content.

“Sky News Australia strongly supports vaccination. Any claims to the contrary are false and a blatant attempt to discredit and harm our news service,” Mr Whittaker said.

All the network’s hosts “continue to speak strongly in support of vaccination as the only way forward for the nation,” he added.

But YouTube’s own editorial policies regarding Covid-19 were inconsistent and impossible to apply, Mr Whittaker said, as they mandated adherence to ever-shifting World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, and these guidelines were sometimes at odds with health advice from government.

“YouTube’s actions make clear that it is not a neutral platform, but a publisher selectively broadcasting content and censoring certain views, while allowing videos that are patently false, misogynistic, and racist to proliferate,” Mr Whittaker said.

While the Sky News videos were removed, videos on drug taking, gang violence and “crackpot conspiracy theories” were all widely available on YouTube, he added.

The Sky News CEO also blasted the platform for editorial policies that lacked transparency and not giving operators the opportunity to remove offending content before a suspension order.

With no assurance from YouTube that video take-downs or suspensions would not occur in future, Sky had removed a number of its own clips in an attempt to navigate YouTube’s “opaque policies,” Mr Whittaker said.

New terms of service should be applicable to YouTube as it was clearly a publisher in its own right, he said.

“Why does a tech giant, YouTube, and faceless, nameless individuals backed by an algorithm, based in California, get to decide that holding governments and decision makers to account is ‘misinformation’? Why do they get to decide what is and isn’t allowed to be news?” Mr Whittaker asked.

Sky News was for “the open debate of all issues by a wide range of people,” Mr Whittaker said, and this was a “fundamental tenet of our society that should be upheld and protected”.

Mr Whittaker also said it was the decision of Sky News hosts not to appear before the committee, firmly rejecting suggestions from Committee Chair Senator Sarah Hanson-Young that they may have been pressured not to appear.

In a testy exchange, he rejected a suggestion from Senator Hanson-Young that Sky promoted “disinformation” and “Covid lies”.

Mr Whittaker said YouTube had “overreached” in taking down the 23 Covid-19 videos. “There were no complaints from the public about them,” he said.  He also said he didn’t believe Sky News had even breached YouTube editorial policies.

Sky did not appeal a warning issued from YouTube in December 2020, about two videos uploaded in October 2020, because the network needed clarification about the reasons for the warning, Mr Whittaker said.

Sky News was accountable to the Australian people but YouTube was not, Mr Whittaker stated.  “They take no responsibility, yet they want to take decisions on what is published,” he said.

Labor Senator Kim Carr said 500,000 Australians had petitioned the parliament asking for a Royal Commission into media diversity, and asked Mr Whittaker for his views. “We’ve never had more media diversity in this country,” Mr Whittaker said.

“People have never had so much choice for news. We’ve got new brands that have entered the market in recent years.”

Asked by Senator Carr about a report in Nine Newspapers about forthcoming News Corp coverage on climate change policies, Mr Whittaker said Sky’s focus would be on Australia’s potential energy pathways to get to net zero.

Climate change was “one of the biggest issues in the world,” he said. “We are looking at the net zero issue. We are seeking to explore the solutions.”

Sky News and News Corp did not deny climate change, Mr Whittaker said.

Grilled about the influence of News Corp non-executive Chairman Lachlan Murdoch, Mr Whittaker said he had little influence over Sky News coverage, and the two spoke “infrequently”.

YouTube has removed more than one million videos worldwide, including 23 from Sky News, most of which relate to alleged Covid-19 misinformation, a senate inquiry into media diversity has heard.

Google-owned YouTube in August suspended Sky News Australia – which has 1.88 million YouTube subscribers – for a seven-day ­period.

On Monday, Google Australia and New Zealand director of public policy Lucinda Longcroft fronted the inquiry and defended the company’s actions.

Ms Longcroft told the committee that YouTube made “difficult decisions” about what was permissible online, particularly regarding the “harmful misinformation” about Covid-19.

“We are not an anything goes platform,” she said. “The guidelines provide public guidance on content that is not allowed on our platform.”


GoDaddy Drops Texas-Based Website for Abortion Tipsters

GoDaddy announced that it has dropped a Texas-based website that had been made to help collect anonymous tips on doctors who perform abortions following Texas’ recently enacted abortion law.

"Last night we informed they have violated GoDaddy’s terms of service and have 24 hours to move to a different provider," GoDaddy said in a statement.

Pro-life group Texas Right to Life, which created the website, said Friday that it would have it found a new provider and that its website would be restored within 24-48 hours.

The Texas abortion law bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and allows private citizens to sue doctors, people who paid for the abortion and anyone else who aided in the procedure.

Elizabeth Graham, vice president of Texas Right to Life, said in an interview that while the group is looking to gather tips about doctors who still perform abortions despite Texas' recent ban, it does not not track women who have the procedure.

The New York Times reported that GoDaddy had received criticism for hosting the website after it appeared to violate the company’s policy that prohibits collecting personal identifiable data "without prior written consent."




5 September, 2021

Amazon Web Services reportedly planning to increase platform censorship

Dominant public cloud platform AWS is reportedly forming a censorship team that will help it remove more content that violates its policies.

The scoop comes courtesy of Reuters, which has chatted to a couple of anonymous people who reckon they know what they’re talking about. Apparently Amazon wants AWS to be more ‘proactive’ in its policing of the platform. Accordingly the team will ‘develop expertise and work with outside researchers to monitor for future threats.’

So what’s the big deal? Amazon is a private company so it can do what it wants, right? The fact that it’s completely free to unilaterally change its policies with no accountability despite hosting much of the internet is of no public concern whatsoever. After all, we can be totally confident of the infallibility of its judgment, which is guaranteed to be free of bias and political interference.

So many people misunderstand this issue. Of course big tech and governments are going to position any increases in their power over the rest of us as motivated by concern for our safety. The Covid pandemic has massively accelerated that trend such that some parts of Australia are now contemplating Orwellian measures that make China look like a laissez faire anarchy. But whatever the reason, when you use the public cloud and other digital platforms you hand over control of everything you place them it to a third party whose priorities may clash with your own.

“AWS Trust & Safety works to protect AWS customers, partners, and internet users from bad actors attempting to use our services for abusive or illegal purposes,” said AWS in a statement to Reuters. AWS is the sole arbiter of who is a ‘bad actor’ and is at liberty to define ‘abusive’ as it sees fit. Furthermore, antitrust pressure is leading to increased collaboration between big tech and governments, which will surely influence such judgment calls. Public cloud cheerleaders have no good answers to these concerns because there aren’t any.


Canadian academic won't use capital letters - except to acknowledge Indigenous people's struggle

A Canadian academic is joining the "lowercase movement," according to a Calgary, Alberta, university. 

dr. linda manyguns, associate vice-president of Indigenization and decolonization at Mount Royal University, said she was joining local leaders to reject symbols of hierarchy "wherever they are found," and will not use capital letters "except to acknowledge the Indigenous struggle for recognition." 

She noted it was the start of efforts to describe the use of lowercase letters on the website of the office of indigenization and decolonization. 

"We resist acknowledging the power structures that oppress and join the movement that does not capitalize," manyguns wrote in a "perspective" story published this week on the university's website.

manyguns made her comments following the discovery of more than 1,000 unmarked graves at residential schools, which underscored Canada's dark history, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported. 

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) estimates about 4,100 children died at residential schools in Canada. A large number of Indigenous children were forcibly sent to residential schools and never returned home, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

"it was genocide, and the adults were dying at just as high of a rate as the children at residential schools. our reserves should be filled with graveyards and there are none," manyguns told the Calgary Herald. 

Back in May, the CBC quoted an Alberta government resource guide regarding residential schools. 

"These schools were established to forcibly assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian culture. Underfunded, located in remote places far away from children's home communities, and lacking proper oversight, the schools were plagued by disease, dubious educational outcomes, and physical, emotional, and sexual abuse," read the resource guide on the schools' history.

manyguns previously said that to go forward as a country that respects Indigenous culture, Canada must go backward to revisit the rotten roots of colonization, according to the Herald. 

"Indigenous people have been actively engaged in a multidimensional struggle for equality, since time immemorial. we strive for historical-cultural recognition and acknowledgment of colonial oppression that persistently devalues the diversity of our unique cultural heritages," she wrote Monday. "these sites of struggle are generally found at blockades, where demonstrations against racism occur, where racialization and cultural domination, and discrimination leave the mark of imbalance and abuses of power. Sometimes these sites generate media interest but interest is generally fickle."

"the explicit demonstration and practice of aboriginal culture in everyday life or at places of resistance is called by academics ‘eventing,’" manyguns added.




3 September, 2021

NY Times Pulled Ad Calling CCP to Account for Pandemic

A full-page advertisement that called for the world to hold the Chinese communist regime to account for the COVID-19 pandemic was pulled at the last moment by The New York Times in March 2020. The paper said the ad didn’t meet its standards, but the ad was pulled after it had already passed the paper’s vetting process. The businessman who paid for the ad suspects the paper’s ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) played a role. He only revealed the details of the incident to The Epoch Times earlier this year.

The ad was scheduled to run on March 22, 2020. It was already approved, paid for, and even printed and distributed in some locations when the paper pulled the plug in the middle of the night, preventing the ad from being published in some of the paper’s main markets, including New York and Florida.

The decision was so abrupt that the sales representative responsible for the ad wasn’t informed, and the client only found out the next morning when he couldn’t find the ad in the paper.

The client, Brett Kingstone, is a real estate developer in Florida. He backed up his story with email threads documenting his correspondence with the newspaper as well as images of the contract he signed, details about the payment and subsequent refund of the $55,000 ad fee, and photos of the ad as it ran in some locales.

New York Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha said the ad ran in “an early edition of Sunday’s paper and was removed from all later editions, which account for the vast majority of copies.”

“The ad in question did not meet our standards and should not have appeared in The New York Times,” she told The Epoch Times via email.

She didn’t respond to a question about whether the paper faced any CCP pressure regarding the ad.

“It was removed after being flagged internally by [New York] Times staff,” she said.

Kingstone, a prolific donor to charitable and conservative causes, had contacted The New York Times via email on March 18, 2020, with an advertorial placement request.

He said he placed an advertorial in the paper’s Sunday edition back in 2018 and the staff “did an excellent job in delivering what was promised both in performance and placement.”

“I am interested in doing the same again,” he said, submitting a draft of the ad.

The text urged the U.S. government to organize and initiate investigations and lawsuits regarding the origins and repercussions of the CCP virus pandemic.

“This virus was the direct result of the incompetence and irresponsibility of the Chinese Government. They showed as much disregard for their own population as they have for ours,” the ad stated.

It called for “massive liability lawsuits” against the CCP as well as investigations into two Chinese labs close to the epicenter of the pandemic, including the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Scrutiny of the Wuhan Institute of Virology was treated as a taboo subject by social media and the corporate press at the time. Only earlier this year have establishment actors acknowledged that the inquiries were legitimate and that the virus could have escaped from the lab.

On March 19, 2020, the ad placement representative informed Kingstone that it had been accepted.

“My Ad Acceptability team has approved the message as long as we include the footnotes, your email address, a border around the ad, and advertisement slugs,” the representative said.

The two then exchanged several emails regarding technical edits to the ad as well as proof of payment of the ad fee required before publication.

Everything seemed to go smoothly.

Then, on the morning of March 22, 2020, Kingstone was surprised to learn the ad was nowhere to be found in the Florida edition of the paper.

In his inbox, he found an email from the sales representative:

“I wanted to let you know that I was informed late last night that our production team had pulled the ad from the production run, without my knowledge. I’m investigating this now and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can with any updates,” it read.

“I just wanted to assure you that I’m working on this and I will hopefully be able to share additional context on Monday after I speak to the necessary people. I will be in touch on Monday!”

The representative has since left the paper. The Epoch Times is omitting her name for the sake of her privacy.

Kingstone didn’t hide his disappointment.

“I would like to know the reason why they did this,” he said in an email response to the representative, requesting a refund.

He asked whether the paper’s executives concluded that his particular message needed to be silenced.

“I was very pleased with how the NYT treated me on my first advocacy advertisement. They were more than fair. Now my fears about bias are being realized,” he wrote.

The cancellation was all the more a slap in the face given that The New York Times used to regularly publish propaganda advertorials paid for by a company directly controlled by the CCP.

After receiving his refund, Kingstone didn’t leave it at that.

As it happened, his website, which was listed on the ad, came under a cyberattack around the same time the copies of the paper that did include the ad landed on people’s doormats, he said.

This was too much of a coincidence for Kingstone, who has had his share of run-ins with the CCP. It was his company that years earlier won a precedent-setting lawsuit against Chinese counterfeiters. In 2005, he published a book detailing his story, called “The Real War Against America.”

Kingstone started to inquire with his contacts and eventually reached the conclusion that the CCP must have been involved in the ad’s cancellation.

One New York Times executive told him a CCP official called the paper’s leadership, demanding the ad be pulled, he said. The Epoch Times wasn’t able to independently confirm that the phone call took place. Attempts to reach the executive for comment were unsuccessful. The paper’s spokesperson neither confirmed nor denied that such a phone call took place.

In any case, the situation carries “an earmark of how China would operate,” according to Pat Laflin, a former FBI agent who upon retirement led a series of lectures for the bureau to American businesses and research entities on economic espionage by adversarial nations, including China.

It’s “impossible” that the CCP let the ad slide, he told The Epoch Times.

“If there’s anything negative about China, China’s going to scream,” he said in a phone call.


Texas Passes Law Targeting Social Media Titans Over Viewpoint Censorship

The Texas state Senate passed a bill Tuesday that aims to curb perceived political censorship by social media companies.

The bill, introduced in the Texas Senate by state Sen. Bryan Hughes, would prohibit social media platforms from “censoring” users based on their viewpoints. “Censoring” includes actions such as removing content, banning users, demonetizing users, and suppressing posts, according to the bill.

Users able to prove they were victims of viewpoint censorship would also be permitted to sue social media companies. The bill was approved by the Texas House of Representatives on Monday, and now awaits the signature of Gov. Greg Abbott.

The legislation is similar to a previous bill introduced by Hughes in March that also sought to curb social media platforms’ alleged political censorship. Though the bill ultimately stalled in the Legislature, it drew Abbott’s support.

“Social media sites have become our modern-day public squares, where information should be able to flow freely, but social media companies are now acting as judge and jury on determining what viewpoints are valid,” Abbott said in a statement at the time. “I look forward to working with Sen. Hughes to sign this bill into law and protect free speech in Texas.”

Under the legislation passed Tuesday, social media companies would have to provide a “complaint system” for users whose content was removed, and notify users when removing certain content.

Platforms would also have to publicly disclose their “content management, data management, and business practices,” such as how they moderate, rank, and promote content, as well as publish a biannual transparency report detailing their content removal practices.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed similar legislation in May that sought to impose financial penalties on social media companies that “deplatformed” political candidates. The law was deemed to be in violation of the First Amendment by a federal court in June.

First Amendment experts predict a similar fate for the Texas bill.

“Texas legislators apparently learned nothing from watching Florida embarrass itself a month ago in federal court trying to defend its unconstitutional social media speech code,” Ari Cohn, free speech counsel at TechFreedom, said in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “While the language in Texas’s bill is different, the outcome will be the same, because the First Amendment protects against government intrusion into editorial discretion.”

Several other states have proposed similar social media legislation, with Utah Gov. Spencer Cox vetoing an anti-censorship bill in March, and Kentucky lawmakers proposing a bill holding platforms liable for their moderation decisions.




2 September, 2021

Morgan speech vindicated

A row is developing between Piers Morgan and ITV tonight after sources at the channel said he would not be getting his job at GMB back - despite being cleared by Ofcom over criticism of Meghan Markle that led to him being forced out. 

The UK's broadcasting watchdog this morning called attempts to silence the MailOnline columnist a 'chilling restriction on freedom of expression' after the Duchess of Sussex was among a wave of people who complained that his questioning of her account of royal racism and suicidal thoughts was 'harmful' and 'offensive' to viewers. 

A string of broadcasters have come out in support of Piers, and ITV's left-leaning former Guardian chief CEO Dame Carolyn McCall is under pressure to explain why she forced him out in March hours after the Duchess of Sussex complained to her directly and allegedly demanded his 'head on a plate', Mr Morgan said in his column. 

However, the channel issued a statement today claiming that it was Mr Morgan's GMB co-panelists' discussion and contextualisation of the comments that cleared him - and said nothing about the presenter's right to express an honestly held opinion.  

ITV also revealed they 'have no current plans to invite him to present Good Morning Britain'. A source said: 'Piers decided to leave. We accepted his decision'. 

It comes as Mr Morgan revealed the number of job offers he has received since leaving ITV's flagship breakfast show has 'accelerated' since he was found not to have breach Ofcom's broadcasting code. 

Speaking to the Sun, he slammed the Duchess of Sussex as the 'Queen of Woke' and described her as a 'whiny, forked-tounge actress'.

Mr Morgan said: 'The woke brigade think they can vilify, shame, silence and get fired anyone who has an opinion they don’t like.

'Meghan Markle is the queen of this culture, who personally sought to have me lose my job — and succeeded.

'Why are she and Prince Harry entitled to have their opinion but I’m not entitled to mine?'

He immediately hit back at ITV's statement for ignoring the central thrust of Ofcom's conclusion, stating that he was 'entitled to say he disbelieved the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's allegations and to hold and express strong views that rigorously challenged their account .


Virginia Supreme Court Sides with Teacher Who Opposed Transgender Rules

The Virginia Supreme Court ruled in favor of reinstating a gym teacher in the commonwealth who would not refer to transgender students by their preferred pronouns.

The Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that said the Loudon County Public School system violated teacher Tanner Cross’s free speech rights when it suspended him after he spoke out at a school board meeting. 

Tanner said he would not "affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa because it's against my religion,” later adding that “it's lying to a child, it's abuse to a child, and it's sinning against our God."

The school said Cross was suspended in part because of how his comments caused a “significant disruption.”

"Many students and parents at Leesburg Elementary have expressed fear, hurt and disappointment about coming to school,” LCPS said in a statement at the time. “Addressing those concerns is paramount to the school division's goal to provide a safe, welcoming, and affirming learning environment for all students. While LCPS respects the rights of public-school employees to free speech and free exercise of religion, those rights do not outweigh the rights of students to be educated in a supportive and nurturing environment."

School boards across the state have been revising their policies to be more inclusive of transgender students in accordance with a new state law. But Loudoun County, outside the nation’s capital, has been a particular flashpoint in the debate over not just transgender students but also how students learn about racism and race relations.

The school system said it suspended Cross in part because his comments caused a disruption at the school. But the lower court judge, James Plowman, and the state Supreme Court agreed that the handful of calls fielded by school administrators did not cause the type of disruption that warranted a suspension.

Tuesday’s ruling leaves in place a temporary injunction that bars the school system from suspending Cross. A trial is scheduled for next week in Loudoun County to settle the issue permanently.

Since Cross filed his lawsuit in May, two additional teachers in Loudoun County have joined him as plaintiffs. (AP)

"Teachers shouldn’t be forced to promote ideologies that are harmful to their students and that they believe are false, nor should they be silenced for commenting at a public meeting," ADF senior counsel Tyson Langhofer said in a statement responding to the ruling. "The lower court’s decision was a well-reasoned application of the facts to clearly established law, as the Virginia Supreme Court found. 

But because Loudoun County Public Schools is now requiring all teachers and students to deny truths about what it means to be male and female and compelling them to call students by their chosen pronouns or face punishment, we have moved to amend our lawsuit to challenge that policy on behalf of multiple faculty members. Public employees cannot be forced to contradict their core beliefs just to keep a job."




1 September, 2021

Australian court backs academics’ free speech in swastika dismissal case

A controversial University of Sydney lecturer who was sacked after superimposing a swastika on an Israeli flag has won a key victory in his battle to be reinstated, with the federal court declaring academics at the institution are entitled to convey even offensive views in their area of expertise.

The decision reverses a previous court ruling that had suggested academic freedom was merely an aspirational goal with no legal force and bolsters academics’ free speech rights nationally amid a focus on censorship on campuses

But it does not mean the lecturer, Tim Anderson, will ultimately win his legal campaign to get his job back because another judge now has to examine whether his conduct was within the bounds of academic freedom or went too far.

Dr Anderson, who came to national prominence when he was acquitted of planning the 1978 Hilton Hotel bombing in Sydney, taught political economy from an “anti-imperialist” perspective at the university from 1998 until 2019, when he was fired after a string of online incidents from 2017.

They included calling Republican Senator John McCain an “al Qaeda supporter”, suggested a News Corp journalist was a “traitor” to his ethnicity and posting a photo of friends at lunch, one of whom was wearing a patch in Arabic that read in part “curse the Jews”.

After several warnings, Dr Anderson published slides including an infographic, which two of the appeal judges said was “an expression of a legitimate view, open to debate, about the relative morality of the actions of Israel and Palestinian people”. The infographic argued Israel’s conduct was much worse but also included an Israeli flag with a Swastika in the middle. By January 2019 he was fired.

Initially, a federal court judge found Dr Anderson was not protected by the academic freedom clause the university had negotiated because it “does not create any enforceable obligation”. Three judges of the federal court, including chief justice James Allsop, overturned that.

“No matter what view is taken of Dr Anderson’s conduct, this case concerns his livelihood and profession,” two said. “He is no more and no less entitled than anyone else to a fair determination of his application in accordance with law.”

All three ruled that a right to academic freedom bound the University of Sydney, so long as academics conducted themselves in accordance with high ethical, professional and legal standards and did not harass, vilify or intimidate anyone.

“The right would be meaningless if it is subject to qualifications such as not involving offence to others, not being discourteous to others, or not involving insensitivity to others,” Justices Jayne Jagot and Darryl Rangiah held.

A university spokeswoman said the institution was disappointed by the decision, which it would review before deciding what to do.

Dr Anderson said in a post on his website that the court had recognised his infographic was tied to a discussion about morality in the Israel-Palestine conflict, in contrast to how it was “falsely depicted” by the university and media “simply as a ‘Swastika Image’, offensive to Jewish people”.

However, Justices Jagot and Rangiah said the swastika flag image was “deeply offensive and insensitive to Jewish people” and could suggest a “false moral equivalence comparing Israel to Nazi Germany”.

The libertarian Institute of Public Affairs’ police director Gideon Rozner said while Dr Anderson’s views were misguided, mean-spirited and borderline delusional, he should not have been censored.

“In a liberal democracy, the price of free speech is that the worst of human thought has as much a chance of being expressed as the best,” Mr Rozner said. “We cannot make intellectual freedom contingent on whether we like the speech being aired.”

Matthew McGowan, the national secretary of the National Tertiary Education Union, said it had brought the case alongside Dr Anderson not because it defended his comments but because it believed in academic freedom.

“Universities should embrace this decision and work with the union to ensure we have legally enforceable protections for academic freedom, which is fundamental to the sector and the work that we do,” he said.

Enterprise agreements, which at the University of Sydney contained the academic freedom clauses Dr Anderson relied on in this case, vary from campus to campus and Mr McGowan said the union would push to strengthen them.


Bestselling author who accuses the trans lobby of trying to 'supplant biology' says she has been cancelled by the BBC and Waterstones

A bestselling author who criticised transgender rights activists has accused 'cowards' in the broadcasting and the book industries of trying to 'cancel' her.

After the publication last month of Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality, Helen Joyce claims she has been snubbed by the BBC and other media organisations and suspects some branches of bookseller Waterstones of trying to suppress her sales.

Among the arguments made in her book – which was serialised across two weeks in The Mail on Sunday – are that the trans lobby is trying to 'supplant biology' and the movement is the equivalent of a 'new state religion, complete with blasphemy laws'.

While Ms Joyce expected a backlash, she said she did not anticipate being frozen out by the book industry. Every publisher she approached with the manuscript, with the exception of the small publishing house Oneworld, rejected it.

She says the reluctance to talk spreads further. Approaches by her publicist to the BBC, Sky and ITV were all unsuccessful, with GB News the only TV station to interview her.

Last night, Ms Joyce – who is a senior journalist at The Economist – said: 'I think these organisations are responding to enormous pressure from trans activists. 

Anyone who gives me any kind of platform at all, even mentioning my book exists, can expect to get a torrent of people saying they are transphobic, that they are bigoted, that they are driving people to suicide, that they are racist, bizarrely.

'It's easier to ignore it. If you put your head above the parapet, you get shot at, but if everyone puts their head above the parapet, they can't fire at all of us.'

She is particularly saddened by the decision of BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour not to mention the book. 'The BBC has an internal war on this topic,' she claimed.

'Presenter Jenni Murray was forced out of the show because of this issue. She wrote a newspaper column in 2017 arguing that trans women were not real women. That led to her being barred from covering this issue on the programme.

'I think the refusal to engage with me is down to a mixture of cowardice and the fact that the new presenter Emma Barnett, I think, disagrees with me. That is fine, of course – she can disagree with me. But why doesn't she invite me on the show to challenge me?'

The BBC denied there had been a boycott or attempts to 'cancel' Ms Joyce. A spokesman said: 'We know that lots of people want to appear on the BBC and the fact they haven't doesn't mean they have been boycotted or won't appear if there is an appropriate editorial opportunity.

'Our wide-ranging book coverage often includes interviews with authors, but of course, we can't feature them all. 

We include a broad range of guests with decisions based purely on editorial merit.' Ms Joyce said she had also been contacted by several people who claimed that some branches of the Waterstones book chain had tried to hide the book.

'Waterstones gives its local managers a lot of discretion because these managers know what will sell in their area,' said Ms Joyce.

'I have been contacted by people on social media who went in to their store and asked for their copy and were told it was out of print, that it was a short print run, that the stock was delayed, even that it was being kept behind the counter out of respect for a trans colleague because it was a hate book.'

But a spokesman for Waterstones said: 'It is not true that Waterstones is boycotting the book. It has been one of our bestselling non-fiction hardback books since its publication, stocked by the majority of our shops and online. Stock was low initially as sales exceeded expectations, but this is no longer the case.

'As with every book that sells, occasionally a shop will run out of copies and it seems social media comment is picking up on these instances.'

The publishing company Oneworld declined to comment.




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