Thursday, June 08, 2023

The Big Tech Censorship Machine Is Running in 2024

Meta slapped 180-day suspensions last week on the Instagram accounts of people working for Democrat Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s presidential campaign—before a single message had been posted from those accounts. This came shortly after LinkedIn shut down Republican candidate Vivek Ramaswamy’s account, apparently for expressing disfavored opinions on China and climate change.

This censorship should worry anyone who cares about democracy in America. It isn’t only antidemocratic; it’s a thumb on the scale that could easily tip a tightly contested election.

After Mr. Ramaswamy tweeted about his ban, LinkedIn claimed it was a mistake and lifted it. And on Sunday, Meta lifted its ban against Mr. Kennedy’s personal Instagram account, which had been in place since 2021, and said it had removed restrictions on his campaign as well.

But what happens if these platforms impose similar restrictions in future—perhaps at a moment critical to the election? Under current law there is little recourse. The Federal Election Commission’s process is arcane, slow and generally feckless. In October 2020, weeks before the election, Twitter and other platforms famously censored stories about Hunter Biden’s laptop by the New York Post and others and locked the account of Donald Trump’s press secretary after she linked to that story. These acts of censorship might have affected the election’s outcome.

Yet in August 2021, the FEC ruled in Twitter’s favor. The commission claimed there was no proof that the company was trying to influence the election, and a Twitter official swore the company hadn’t “received any communications from or had any communications with representatives” of the Biden campaign. That seems to have been false. A Twitter email obtained by journalist Matt Taibbi revealed later that the Biden team and Twitter were in close contact in October 2020 and were working together to censor specific posts—some concerning Hunter Biden. But the practical point is that the FEC didn’t issue its ruling until nine months after the 2020 election—far too late to make a difference.

In any case, the only issue the FEC had authority to decide was whether Twitter’s censorship of the Hunter Biden story counted as a campaign contribution. The true legal stakes are much higher. The real question is one for the courts, not the FEC: What rights do social-media platforms have under the First Amendment? Are they more like television networks or telephone networks?

Television networks are First Amendment speakers, equivalent to newspapers. They can choose to create a political brand and explicitly favor or disfavor any candidate they want.

Telephone networks don’t have such a right. They also are private companies, but the law treats them as common carriers, which are forbidden to discriminate on the basis of political opinion. AT&T can’t cut off a political campaign’s access to telephone services; Verizon can’t block antiabortion calls as contrary to community standards. In exchange, telephone networks receive a huge legal prize: No one can sue them for what people say using their networks. That is an immunity of which Fox News and its competitors can only dream. Because of its First Amendment right as a speaker, a television network can be sued for defamation, invasion of privacy and other torts.

Bizarrely and uniquely, internet platforms get the best of both worlds. When accused of censorship, they claim to be First Amendment speakers, constitutionally entitled to discriminate against viewpoints they dislike. And the courts have almost invariably agreed. But companies such as Meta and Google don’t pay the price for that privilege. When it comes to who is responsible for what is said on their platforms, they insist they are like telephone networks—immune from lawsuits. Congress awarded them that immunity through Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act.

The mistake lies not in this immunity, but in giving the behemoth social-media platforms the protections accorded to First Amendment speakers. A social-media post is far more public than a telephone call, but no one thinks Meta is speaking through Instagram stories. No one thinks Microsoft—LinkedIn’s owner—is speaking when users network with one another on that platform. These networks carry millions of people’s communications, which is why they should be protected from defamation suits, like telephone networks. But it is a mistake to view them as First Amendment speakers, entitled to censor with impunity.

As Justice Clarence Thomas recognized in an important solo concurrence in Biden v. Knight First Amendment Institute (2021), the big internet platforms “are at bottom communications networks,” and hence the right solution is to treat them like telephone companies and enact “laws that restrict [their] right to exclude.” Congress should amend Section 230, but not to make the platforms liable for what users say. The amended Section 230 should make the platforms liable if they censor a political campaign or any speech based on its political viewpoint.

Florida and Texas have already passed such laws, but courts have put those laws on hold, and it isn’t clear states have the power to regulate nationwide social-media platforms. That is why Congress needs to act. A new federal law should not only offer damages to those censored; it should offer expedited injunctive relief, so candidates can fight off censorship when it counts.




Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Slaying the Censorship Leviathan


One year ago, I joined the states of Missouri and Louisiana and several other co-plaintiffs to file a suit in federal court challenging what journalist Michael Shellenberger has called the censorship-industrial complex. While much of the press cooperated with the state’s censorship efforts and has ignored our court battle, we expect that it will ultimately go to the Supreme Court, setting up Missouri v. Biden to be the most important free speech case of our generation—and arguably, of the past 50 years.

Prior government censorship cases typically involved a state actor unconstitutionally meddling with one publisher, one author, one or two books, a single article. But as we intend to prove in court, the federal government has censored hundreds of thousands of Americans, violating the law on tens of millions of occasions in the last several years. This unprecedented breach was made possible by the wholly novel reach and breadth of the new digital social media landscape.

My co-plaintiffs, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya and Dr. Martin Kulldorff, and I were censored for content related to COVID and public health policy that the government disfavored. Documents we have reviewed on discovery demonstrate that government censorship was far more wide-ranging than previously known, from election integrity and the Hunter Biden laptop story to gender ideology, abortion, monetary policy, the U.S. banking system, the war in Ukraine, the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and more. There is hardly a topic of recent public discussion and debate that the U.S. government has not targeted for censorship.

Jacob Seigel, Matt Taibbi, and other investigative reporters have begun to document the anatomy of the censorship leviathan, a tightly interconnected network of federal agencies and private entities receiving public funding—where much of the censorship grunt work is outsourced. The “industrial” in censorship-industrial complex should be understood literally: censorship is now a highly developed industry, complete with career-training institutions in higher education (like Stanford’s Internet Observatory or the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public), full-time job opportunities in industry and government (from the Virality Project and the Election Integrity Partnership to any number of federal agencies engaged in censorship), and insider jargon and euphemisms (like disinformation, misinformation, and “malinformation” which must be debunked and “prebunked”) to render the distasteful work of censorship more palatable to industry insiders.

Our lawyers were in court last week arguing for a preliminary injunction to halt the activities of the censorship machine while our case is tried. I will spare you a full account of the government’s endless procedural wrangling, obfuscation, attempts to hide, delays, and diversionary tactics in this case—futile efforts to dodge even the most legally straightforward aspects of discovery, such as our request to depose former Biden Press Secretary Jen Psaki. So far, the government has been caught hiding discovery materials, which the judge chastised them about before ruling against their motion to dismiss, reminding the government that the limited discovery so far would widen once the case went to trial.

The government’s lawyers were not able to block the deposition of Anthony Fauci, however, who had to answer some pointed questions about his COVID policies for the first time under the threat of the penalty of perjury. Dr. Fauci seemed to suffer from a strange syndrome of “sudden-onset amnesia” during his deposition, as I have described elsewhere.

Buy aside rom these procedural scuffles, the more important aspects of this case are the government censorship activities we have already exposed. For example, our documents demonstrate how a relatively unknown agency within the Department of Homeland Security became the central clearinghouse of government-run information control—an Orwellian Ministry of Truth. My fellow citizens, meet the Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency—better known as CISA—a government acronym with the same word in it twice in case you wondered about its mission. This agency was created in the waning days of the Obama administration, supposedly to protect our digital infrastructure against cyberattacks from computer viruses and nefarious foreign actors. But less than one year into their existence, CISA decided that their remit also should include protecting our “cognitive infrastructure” from various threats.

“Cognitive infrastructure” is the actual phrase used by current CISA head Jen Easterly, who formerly worked at Tailored Access Operations, a top secret cyber warfare unit at the National Security Agency. It refers to the thoughts inside your head, which is precisely what the government’s counter-disinformation apparatus, headed by people like Easterly, are attempting to control. Naturally, these thoughts need to be protected from bad ideas, such as any ideas that the people at CISA or their government partners do not like.

In early 2017, citing the threat from foreign disinformation, the Department of Homeland Security unilaterally declared federal control over the country’s election infrastructure, which had previously been administered at the local level. Not long after that, CISA, which is a subagency of the DHS, established its own authority over the cognitive infrastructure by becoming the central hub coordinating the government’s information control activities. This pattern was repeated in several other government agencies around the same time (there are currently a dozen federal agencies named among the defendants in our suit).

So, what exactly has the government been doing to protect our cognitive infrastructure? Perhaps the best way to wrap your head around the actual operations of the new American censorship leviathan is to consider the vivid analogy offered by our brilliant attorney, John Sauer, in the introduction of our brief for the injunction. This is worth quoting at length:

Suppose that the Trump White House, backed by Republicans controlling both Houses of Congress, publicly demanded that all libraries in the United States burn books criticizing the President, and the President made statements implying that the libraries would face ruinous legal consequences if they did not comply, while senior White House officials privately badgered the libraries for detailed lists and reports of such books that they had burned and the libraries, after months of such pressure, complied with those demands and burned the books.

Suppose that, after four years of pressure from senior congressional staffers in secret meetings threatening the libraries with adverse legislation if they did not cooperate, the FBI started sending all libraries in the United States detailed lists of the books the FBI wanted to burn, requesting that the libraries report back to the FBI by identifying the books that they burned, and the libraries complied by burning about half of those books.

Suppose that a federal national security agency teamed up with private research institutions, backed by enormous resources and federal funding, to establish a mass-surveillance and mass-censorship program that uses sophisticated techniques to review hundreds of millions of American citizens’ electronic communications in real time, and works closely with tech platforms to covertly censor millions of them.
The first two hypotheticals are directly analogous to the facts of this case. The third, meanwhile, is not a hypothetical at all; it is a description of the Election Integrity Partnership and Virality Project.

The censorship activities of the nation’s largest law enforcement agency, which it terms “information warfare,” have turned the FBI, in the words of whistleblower Steve Friend, into an “intelligence agency with law enforcement powers.” But there is no “information warfare” exception to the constitutional right of free speech. Which other federal agencies are involved in censorship? Besides the ones you might suspect—the DOJ, NIH, CDC, Surgeon General, and the State Department—our case has also uncovered censorship activities by the Department of the Treasury (don’t criticize the feds’ monetary policies), and yes, my friends, even the Census Bureau (don’t ask).

In prior precedent-setting cases on censorship, the Supreme Court clarified that the right of free speech guaranteed by the Constitution exists not just for the person speaking but for the listener as well: We all have the right to hear both sides of debated issues to make informed judgments. Thus all Americans have been harmed by the government’s censorship leviathan, not just those who happen to post opinions or share information on social media




Tuesday, June 06, 2023

The Left’s Redefinition of Words Leads to Totalitarianism, Homeschooling Leader Warns

ORLANDO, Fla.—The Left’s tendency to redefine words to silence dissent is a clear tactic of totalitarianism, and conservatives need to fight back, a prominent conservative leader warns.

“They play with words. They played with the word ‘marriage.’ Now, they’re playing with the words ‘man’ and ‘woman,'” and that “ultimately leads to totalitarianism,” Michael Farris, founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association and currently legal counsel at the National Religious Broadcasters, told The Daily Signal. “The changing words, changing meanings, changing morality is a part of the totalitarian culture, because they have to rip everything down in order to build up the new country, the new agenda, the new culture that they want.”

Speaking at the National Religious Broadcasters convention on Tuesday, Farris warned that the Left’s vision is “a world without God” and “a world without freedom.”

Farris, who ran unsuccessfully for Virginia lieutenant governor in 1993, predicted a shift in the other direction, as Americans learn what the Left is doing. He noted the growth of homeschooling following the COVID-19 pandemic as an example.

“The Left is apoplectic about all this,” Farris said. “They just can’t imagine a school system that they don’t totally dominate, that the parents actually have some say over what’s going on.”

Farris also founded Convention of States, and Convention of States Action President Mark Meckler also joined the podcast.

Meckler noted that his organization’s resolution for a convention of states focuses on ways to restrain the size and scope of the federal government, through a balanced-budget constitutional amendment, tax caps, spending caps, and congressional term limits. He argued that as more Americans move to the Right and to the Left, leaving fewer and fewer in the center, federalism becomes the only real answer.

“The problem we’re having today is, so many things are being decided from Washington, D.C., and that naturally makes us hate each other, because half of us are going to be mad at any given time, roughly,” Meckler said. “And so, if you go back to federalism, I think we can keep the country together.”

“We take off a lot of the heat, cool a lot of the pressure, out of the system by just saying New York’s New York, California’s California, and the conservative states are whatever they want to be,” he explained. “That’s the solution. And the only way back to that, that I’m aware of, is to call a convention of states, rejigger the jurisdiction, bring the power back to the states, and let them be who they are.”




Monday, June 05, 2023

Australians could be jailed for three years for hateful social media posts

Australians in the state of Queensland could be jailed for up to three years for sharing social media posts that violate sweeping hate crime laws.

The Criminal Code (Serious Vilification and Hate Crimes) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 proposes tougher penalties for those who commit crimes motivated by prejudice on the grounds of race, religion, sexuality or gender identity.

The proposed laws would increase the maximum prison time for making bigoted statements from six months to three years.

Inflammatory social media posts fall under the purview of the bill, which prohibits the vilification of specified groups through “any form of communication to the public,” including via electronic means.

Sharing a Nazi symbol on social media, or carrying it around publicly, will also result in jail time.

The bill introduced into the Queensland Parliament in March would modify the criminal code to introduce a “prohibited symbols offence”. This would ban the display of hate symbols, including those tied to Nazism and the Islamic State.

As part of the clampdown on hate symbols, Queensland will ban the display of Nazi swastika tattoos. The Queensland government says its hate crime laws will be among the strongest in Australia.

Displaying a swastika is already illegal in Victoria and New South Wales (NSW), with Western Australia set to follow and South Australia also considering the issue. In NSW, it results in a year-long jail term or a $100,000 (£81,000) fine.

Like NSW and Victoria before it, Queensland will exempt Hindus, Buddhists and Jains, for whom swastikas are religious symbols. There will also be an exemption for when hate symbols are used for educational purposes.

The Queensland Law Society (QLS) opposes the increased maximum imprisonment for serious vilification. In its submission to the government, the QLS urged it to closely examine how effective and practical the higher penalty would be.

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) has previously welcomed bans on the Nazi symbol in NSW and Victoria. It also pushed Queensland and other Australian states and territories to move quickly to adopt similar legislation.

“These bans are an important tool to deter open displays of antisemitism and further marginalise racist extremists, and will help strengthen communal cohesion and harmony across Australia,” the AIJAC said in June 2022.




Sunday, June 04, 2023

YouTube Reverses Policy on Censoring Claims of Stolen 2020 Election

YouTube has announced it’s doing a U-turn on censoring content about U.S. elections, with the platform saying it will no longer delete posts questioning the results of the 2020 presidential election, including claims of widespread voter fraud.

The company made the announcement in a blog post on Friday, which comes about two months after it reinstated former President Donald Trump’s YouTube account.

Trump’s account on YouTube was suspended in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, which came as the former president alleged that the 2020 election had been stolen.

YouTube established its “elections misinformation” policy in December 2020, and on Friday said that in the time since it was imposed, the company had removed tens of thousands of videos.

“We carefully deliberated this change,” YouTube said, citing a “changed landscape” in which the 2024 election campaign is in full swing and that removing election-related content could stifle political speech.

“In the current environment, we find that while removing this content does curb some misinformation, it could also have the unintended effect of curtailing political speech without meaningfully reducing the risk of violence or other real-world harm,” the company said.

YouTube pledged that, starting Friday, it will stop removing content that advances claims that “widespread fraud, errors, or glitches occurred in the 2020 and other past US Presidential elections.”

Still, removing content under the elections misinformation policy was just one way in which YouTube has sought to shape political discussions, with other pieces of its content moderation machine remaining intact.

“We are ensuring that when people come to YouTube looking for news and information about elections, they see content from authoritative sources prominently in search and recommendations,” the company said, noting that this is one aspect of its content policy that isn’t changing.

Also remaining unchanged are the broader outlines of YouTube’s election misinformation policy, with the company saying it will continue to remove content that misleads voters about the time, place, means, or eligibility requirements for voting.

YouTube will continue to crack down on “false claims that could materially discourage voting, including those disputing the validity of voting by mail,” as well as on content that calls on people to “interfere with democratic processes.”

A further caveat is that the policy could change as the 2024 election cycle unfolds.

“We’ll remain vigilant as the election unfolds, as we did in 2020, and again in 2022,” YouTube said. “And we have an elections-focused team, including members of our Intelligence Desk, Trust & Safety and product teams, monitoring real-time developments and making adjustments to our strategy as needed.”

YouTube and other social media platforms have been accused of political bias by conservatives and have faced criticism for restricting free speech.




Friday, June 02, 2023

Weaponisation of words

Recently I came across the expression ‘weaponised words’– the idea that words with a standard, accepted meaning can be changed into ‘attack words’. The example the writer gave was ‘fascist’, coined by Benito Mussolini as the name of his National Fascist Party. Since then, the dictionaries have defined it as: ‘a right-wing political system in which people’s lives are completely controlled by the state and no political opposition is allowed’. But that’s not how the word is used today. It has been weaponised and is used by the political left to label anyone who does not agree with them. Anyone who expresses even mild support for conservative or right-of-centre politics can these days be labelled a ‘fascist’.

This is an exceptionally stupid misuse of language. Not only stupid, but dangerous, since it makes it impossible to use the word ‘fascist’ seriously when talking about the real thing – real bullying, freedom-denying authoritarian policies. People using ‘fascist’ are in reality using the word to mean ‘people I don’t like’. Another weaponised word is ‘hard-right’. It’s interesting to note that the media outlets happy to label anyone they disagree with as ‘hard-right’ never use the parallel expression ‘hard-left’. Why? Because this ‘weaponisation of words’ is being done by the left, not the right. Another ‘weaponised word’ is ‘notorious’. The ‘Let Women Speak’ rally in Victoria defending the right of women and girls to have their own safe spaces, and not have transgender persons (often still with penises) come into girls’ change rooms or toilets was recently labelled in one news outlet as ‘notorious’ (as in ‘the now notorious Let Women Speak rally…’) ‘Notorious’ means ‘famous or well known for something bad’.Applying such adjective to a defence of safety for women and girls is an evil ‘weaponisation of words’. In fact, I could even call it a ‘notorious weaponisation of words’.

One of the very worst examples of the weaponisation of words is ‘hate speech’. This began in America and is first recorded in 1938 meaning ‘a speech or address inciting hatred or intolerance’. So, originally ‘hate speech’ didn’t just mean expressing hatred but encouraging hatred in others. But that’s not how it’s being used now. The people who are quickest to label a statement ‘hate speech’ are using it to mean ‘disagreement’. If someone believes men who choose to identify as women are real women – that’s their point of view. It’s a free country, and they can think, and say, what they wish. But if someone else disagrees and says such men are not real women their words are called ‘hate speech’. Untrue. Those words are just disagreement. And disagreement is disagreement, not hate speech. You may dispute the opinion that global warming is catastrophic, or argue that enshrining the Voice in our constitution is a bad idea. And those opinions are likely to suffer from being labelled ‘hate speech’. Someone who supports classic Christian doctrine can find themselves accused of ‘hate speech’, as happened to Israel Folau. The cancellations and the censorship work in one direction only. You can be a hard-core, hard-left Marxist and you will be safe, but if you are right-of-centre and conservative expect to have your words labelled as ‘hate speech’.




Thursday, June 01, 2023

Johns Hopkins medical staff are given guide with FIFTY new pronouns they can use on their ID badges, including 'aerself' and 'faerself'

Johns Hopkins medical staff in Maryland have been given a guide featuring 50 pronoun options to use while at the workplace.

The pronoun guide details the dozens of gender-neutral pronouns medical staff can use while dealing with patients and other employees, including 'aerself' and 'faerself.'

Other gender-neutral pronouns featured on the list are:  xemself, perself, eirself and verself.

The list, seen by, features examples of how to use the pronouns in a sentence, such as 'Ae cleaned the office all by aerself,' and 'I gave faer the key.'

It also lists 'Mx.' as a gender-neutral title that can be used for 'non-binary or gender-diverse people.'

'Always ask the person which they use if possible,' instructs the list by John Hopkin's Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Health Equity.

The pronoun 'Ze' is pronounced 'zee' can also be spelled zie or xe. It is meant to replace she/he/they. 'Hir,' on its part, is pronounced like 'here' and replaces her/hers/him/his/they/theirs.

Moreover, the Per/per/pers pronoun is supposed to be a shortened version of 'person.'

The guide is part of a John Hopkins policy that went into effect in March 2022 allowing staff to use a chosen name that fits their gender identity on their ID badges.

The policy also allows patients to use a chosen name on their wristbands.

Paula Neira, Johns Hopkins Medicine’s program director for LGBTQ+ Equity and Education, said there are two exceptions to the policy - those licensed in Washington D.C. must have badges that match the name on their employee's certification.

Additionally, Maryland State Police requires public safety officers to carry identification that matches their legal names.

Neira, a transgender military veteran, previously served as the clinical program director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Transgender and Gender Expansive Health.

She was the first first transgender Navy veteran allowed to update her discharge documents with her new name, as reported by Fox News Digital.

A Johns Hopkins Medicine spokesperson told on Tuesday the institution is 'committed to fostering a supportive, diverse and inclusive community.'

'As part of this focus and in compliance with Federal and state regulations, we enable our faculty, staff and employees to choose the way their names are displayed on their identification badges,' the statement reads.

'There are many reasons individuals may choose how they are identified, for example, some people may prefer to use a middle name, have cultural distinctions or preferences, or have gender ambiguous names. JHM will continue to provide options to our community to ensure a respectful and inclusive environment.'




Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Must not say a divisive issue is divisive

With a strong Left/Right split on the issue, how can it not be divisive?

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says the success of the Voice to Parliament referendum will depend on millions of conversations across the country.

Channel 9 has become the latest broadcaster to come under fire for its reporting on the Voice to Parliament, after the referendum was labelled “divisive” in a news bulletin.

Australians supporting the Voice have taken to social media to call out the “despicable” act that involved Sydney newsreader Amber Sherlock reading out the phrase “the divisive Voice to Parliament” at the start of an intro to the next story.

The incident occurred on Monday evening and was used to highlight Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s visit to Adelaide “for a special keynote speech”, the annual Lowitja O’Donoghue Orations.

In the speech, Mr Albanese addressed his support for the Voice and called on Australians to “do one better”, while dismissing claims it would divide the nation.

Sherlock later crossed to reporter Mike Lorigan to highlight Mr Albanese’s success at the talk, but pro-Voice supporters were upset with the use of the word “divisive”.

“So Channel 9 are now officially referring to The Voice as ‘the divisive Voice to Parliament’ in their news reports? Just disgraceful,” one Yes supporter tweeted.

They later added they heard the word “by chance” and initially believed they had misheard the comment.

“When I replayed, I couldn’t believe (Sherlock) said that,” they said. “It is kind of frightening.”

Another supporter labelled the wording as “despicable” and “outrageous”, stating she felt “quite shaken”.




Tuesday, May 30, 2023

When Government Censors Religious Views, It Violates First Amendment

The government shouldn’t prevent Americans from expressing their religious beliefs. But that’s exactly what the state of Washington is trying to do.

Brian Tingley is a licensed marriage and family counselor. For the past 20 years, Tingley’s deeply held religious beliefs have been the source of the guidance he offers his clients, who come to him voluntarily.

Many come seeking Tingley’s advice because his religious beliefs are consistent with their own, and they seek help to align their lifestyle with biblical teachings.

Washington state, however, wants to intervene in these private conversations and rewrite Tingley’s beliefs by telling him what he can and cannot say. State legislators passed a law that restricts counselors from helping people who are wrestling with gender dysphoria.

The state’s counseling censorship law prohibits counselors from engaging in conversations that might encourage a “change in an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Under the guise of regulating professional conduct, this state law threatens to silence speech based solely on the government’s disagreement with a viewpoint.

The law does so despite a recent holding by the Supreme Court, in NIFLA v. Becerra, that the government may not choose the protection that speech receives under the First Amendment. In that case, the high court struck down a California law forcing pregnancy resource centers to promote abortion because the law unduly burdened protected speech.

Instead of complying with the Supreme Court’s decision in NIFLA, Washington state is attempting to circumvent it by using a new guise and reclassifying therapists’ speech as “conduct,” so that it can be regulated out of existence. In doing so, the state is banning an activity that consists of nothing more than conversation.

Laws such as this that recast speech as conduct are especially concerning at a time when states are weaponizing laws against disfavored parties. That’s what organizations such as Heartbeat International are facing, and why First Liberty Institute submitted a friend of the court brief on behalf of Heartbeat in Tingley’s case at the Supreme Court.

Heartbeat is a Christian organization with a mission to support the pro-life cause through a network of affiliated pregnancy centers. Despite the important work that Heartbeat’s centers do to help women facing unplanned pregnancies, its life-affirming health care facilities recently have become frequent targets of violence from extremist groups such as Jane’s Revenge and overzealous politicians who wish to drive Heartbeat out of business with regulations that suppress free speech.

For example, attorneys general for New York and Massachusetts issued consumer alerts last year targeting pregnancy centers, calling them “fake clinics” and accusing them of employing “deceptive tactics.”

In addition, several state legislatures are threatening pregnancy centers with sanctions by reclassifying their religious speech as “deceptive practices.”

But the Supreme Court repeatedly has told government officials that the First Amendment absolutely prohibits government from regulating speech just because it disapproves of the speaker’s message. In fact, the Constitution finds such viewpoint discrimination so egregious that the Supreme Court says it is automatically unconstitutional, no matter the purposes a regulation may serve.

When the government tells a counselor or religious entity what can’t be said, based on nothing more than ideological disagreement, it has crossed the line and engaged in unlawful weaponization of government against ideological foes.

The Supreme Court should intervene in this case and reaffirm that Americans of all viewpoints have a right to express themselves without fear of government reprisal.




Monday, May 29, 2023

Joe Biden's new woke madness as top watchdog bans gendered language: Diversity management officer blacklists terms such as 'man-made' and 'police man' in new inclusivity push

The Biden administration has been accused of peddling 'woke madness' after a top U.S. government watchdog banned the use of gendered language in the workplace.

Leaked internal memos obtained by show the Government Accountability Office forbids employees from using male and female terms.

The agency, whose role is to scrutinize administration spending, issued the bizarre diktat in October 2022 at the behest of its so-called 'chief diversity management officer.'

The 'style guide' demands an end to 'non-inclusive terminology' and said the GAO's 3,100-strong army of bureaucrats should avoid 'wording that diminishes anyone's dignity.'

The four-page rant, which was posted on the GAO intranet, bans staff from using words such as 'man-made' or 'manpower' in official communications.




Sunday, May 28, 2023

Australian judge apologises after claiming that colleagues are appointed regardless of merit

Too much truth

A federal and family court justice who planned to deliver a speech at an international conference claiming that progressive governments appointed diverse judges regardless of merit has been forced to apologise to his colleagues and told he can no longer attend the conference.

The speech by Justice Joshua Wilson had been uploaded on the court’s website before Justice William Alstergren, the chief justice of the family court and chief judge of the federal circuit court, was alerted to its contents and ordered that it be removed this week.

The speech was dated 17 April, and Wilson planned to deliver it in September at the International Association of Judges annual general meeting in Taiwan.

“Is it correct to say that the brightest and the best are appointed to judicial office, independent of political persuasion? The answer is in the negative in the case of the overwhelming majority of appointments,” Wilson, a division one judge, wrote in the speech.

“It sometimes occurs that a government appoints a person to judicial office who is aligned with the opposite party’s politics. That is a rarity.

“Occasionally, an attorney-general appoints a person as a judge who is wholly apolitical. Again, that is a rarity. Appointment to judicial office is a political activity.”

Wilson went on to say that appointments to state and territory courts were highly political, and that “progressive governments are more likely to appoint to benches based on gender and ethnic diversity, irrespective of merit or expertise”.

Alstergren said in a statement to the Guardian that he was alerted to the paper, which had been uploaded without his knowledge or permission, by a number of judges.

He said Wilson had been planning to attend the conference as a member of the association, not as a representative of the court.

He said that as soon as he was alerted to the paper it was immediately taken down from the website, and that a statement was made to all judges indicating that it did not reflect the views of the courts and that protocols were in place to make sure this could not happen again.

“Further, Justice Wilson will not be providing a paper at this conference nor will he be attending, and I have taken steps to ensure there is no further publication of the paper’s content,” Alstergren said.

“The judge has apologised to the judges of both courts for the comments.


Thursday, May 25, 2023

Why free speech and offensive expressions are too important to be left to legislation

Dachau concentration camp was established just outside the city of Munich in March 1933, less than two months after Adolf Hitler became German chancellor.

It has been preserved, along with some of the other later camps, as a reminder of the regime that ruled Germany from 1933 until 1945. Its location rebuts any suggestion that the German people were somehow unaware of their government’s policies over this period. In the early 1970s I visited Dachau with a small group of recent graduates from the University of Melbourne on a camping tour of Europe.

We didn’t spend much time in those days reflecting on history but our normally boisterous behaviour was replaced by complete silence as we walked past the barracks where the prisoners had been housed and contemplated what had happened to most of them. I have sometimes thought of that visit whenever there have been calls in recent months for legislation to prohibit the Nazi salute, particularly after it was used by some of the participants in a demonstration in Melbourne.

The salute was not in fact confined to Hitler’s administration but a similar version was used, for example, by the regimes of Francisco Franco in Spain and Benito Mussolini in Italy after they took power in the years before World War II.

Any public imitations of the Hitler period are, however, especially offensive to Jewish members of society in any country because of their enormous losses at the hands of the Germans.

It is not an especially popular position to raise questions about this kind of banning legislation but the problem about freedom of speech is, if it is accepted as an important value, it does not allow for picking and choosing between different kinds of speech, even those that may be offensive to almost all members of the community.

None of this is to say that incitements to violence against individuals or groups in the community should not be unlawful – and they have always been a crime under the common law. In addition, there are statutory provisions, for example, under the NSW Crimes Act, where it is an offence for a person by a public act to intentionally or recklessly to threaten or incite violence towards another person or group of persons on the ground of race, religious belief, sexual orientation or gender identity.

But it is the expression of utterly offensive views that provides the real test for a belief in freedom of speech. As American jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes said in a judgment of the US Supreme Court in 1919: “All life is an experiment … while that experiment is part of our system I think we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe.”

It is not as if the handful of persons in Australia who seem to have some affection for this period of German history are taken seriously by the general community. No regime in modern history is more discredited, and anyone displaying Nazi salutes or symbols would rightly be considered an embarrassment to himself or herself by almost every member of Australian society. This kind of legislation also raises the question of how offensive a symbol has to be before its display should be prohibited by law. What about the hammer and sickle – the flag of the Soviet Union – a regime under which millions were killed or sent to gulags? Or what about the Confederate flag, the banner of the old south, in a war fought to preserve the institution of slavery? Should the music identified with these regimes, such as The Internationale and Dixie, be banned as well?

There have also been calls for those calling themselves Nazis to be declared by legislation as members of a terrorist organisation.

There is, of course, a large volume of legislation at both the federal and the state level in Australia on the subject of terrorism, but this is designed to deal with individuals or organisations who are dedicated to acts of carefully planned violence, often on a large scale that might result in the deaths of hundreds of individuals through bombs placed at public events or the sabotage of airline flights.

It is hardly suitable to apply to political agitators, however offensive and misguided. Dachau and its like should never be forgotten, but freedom of speech is an important legacy of Western civilisation and worth preserving, no matter how unworthy some of those who make use of it.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

NY university fires 2 employees over pronouns in email signatures

Two staffers at a private Christian university in upstate New York were fired for using their pronouns in their work email, according to a report.

Houghton University administrators asked residential hall directors Raegan Zelaya, 27, and Shua Wilmot, 29, to remove “she/her” and “he/him” from their school-associated email accounts, The New York Times reported.

Zelaya and Wilmot were relieved of their duties “effective immediately” after refusing to do so.

Zelaya shared a letter from the university dated April 19 explaining she was “in violation of institutional policy.”

She was barred from having an on-campus presence, where she was only allowed to leave her apartment to either get her mail or get her meals from the university’s dining hall.

Zelaya and Wilmot said they included their pronouns due to their first names being gender-neutral and, in the past, have been misgendered in corresponding emails.

“I have been mistaken for a woman over email,” Wilmot said in the video. “When someone misgenders me, it sometimes makes them uncomfortable so let me avoid that professionally by putting my pronouns in my signature so you know that you’re writing to a man.”

“Reagan is also a dual-gender name,” Zelaya added. “I know many men and women who have the name Raegan. From a practicality point is helpful to say what my pronouns are. It’s a pretty standard industry practice.”

Zelaya’s letter of termination also cited she was relieved for “defamatory statements” made in the university student newspaper when she was asked for feedback on the administration’s closure of the Mosaic Multicultural Center — an on-campus diversity space.

“I responded with my opinion, thoughts, and prospectives,” she said in a Youtube video. “I didn’t think I was saying anything that I hadn’t already communicated with my superiors,” revealing she had meetings with high-ranking administrators at the university about her views on inclusiveness on campus

Zelaya believes she was fired because of how she upholds her Christian values but alleges the school is also motivated to appeal to more conservative political beliefs.

“We live in a very divided world right now where everything is this or that, right or left, conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat,” Zelaya told the outlet. “As Christians, I think we’ve gotten so caught up in these ideas of, ‘This is what I should be advocating for or upset about,’ that we forget to actually care for people.”

In a statement, a Houghton spokesperson said the university “has never terminated an employment relationship based solely on the use of pronouns in staff email signatures,” relaying that the school has “required” employees to remove “extraneous” information from email signatures — including Scripture quotes, the outlet reported.

Houghton University is affiliated with Wesleyan Church.

University President Wayne Lewis Jr. responded to the letter signed by the alumni over the administration’s decision to fire Zelaya and Wilmot, the closure of the diversity center, and the affiliation with Wesleyan Church, saying the school “unapologetically privileges an orthodox Christian worldview, rooted in the Wesleyan theological tradition.”

Lewis Jr also noted that university staff was required to reaffirm their “understanding of and agreement to these commitments” at the start of each school year.

He cited the closure of the Mosaic Multicultural Center was due to “its current form and function no longer achieving the university’s aims.”

In the fallout of the terminations, more than 600 alumni from the small Christian university have signed a petition supporting the pair and disagreement with the university’s decision to close the diversity center.

“I think it boils down to: They want to be trans-exclusive and they want to communicate that to potential students and the parents of potential students,” Wilmot told the outlet.




Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Shocking moment woke NYC college professor hurls foul-mouthed abuse at students over pro-life stand and accuses them of 'triggering' others, before angrily DESTROYING their display

A professor at a New York City art college has drawn the ire of social media after a video showed her hurling obscenities at pro life students over a display at their school that she eventually destroyed.

Shellyne Rodriguez, 46, is an adjunct professor at the School of Visual Arts and Hunter College in the Big Apple.

She's also an artist and activist who claims her work 'utilizes text, drawing, painting, collage and sculpture to depict spaces and subjects engaged in strategies of survival against erasure and subjugation,' according to her bio.

A video posted by a pro-life group from early in May shows her stopping at what claimed to be an educational pro life display at Hunter College in the City University of New York, which is taxpayer funded. A spokesperson for the school has said an investigation is underway.

'You're not educating s***,' Rodriguez said to one of the students. 'This is f***ing propaganda. What are you going to do, like, anti-trans next? This is bulls***. This is violent. You're triggering my students.'




Monday, May 22, 2023

Tom Cotton: Strip colleges of cash when they deny free speech

Colleges and universities that violate students’ free speech rights could be stripped of federal cash under legislation being proposed by Sen. Tom Cotton.

Cotton (R-Ark.) told The Post that his Campus Free Speech Restoration Act would bolster free expression in American higher education.

“Colleges and universities ought to be centers of free thought and spirited debate — places where young Americans are exposed to all sides of an issue and sometimes hear things that they disagree with or maybe even makes them uncomfortable,” the senator told The Post.

Cotton said the time has come to reaffirm the importance of open dialogue as campuses across the country are shaken by free-expression controversies — from the University of South Carolina refusing to recognize a free speech student group to Stanford Law School students shouting down US Circuit Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan in March.

“If you’ve gone to law school and you can’t tolerate hearing the other side of an argument and you can’t meet it with counterarguments but rather meet it with shouts and heckling, then you’ve probably gone into the wrong line of work,” the senator said of the Stanford debacle.

Cotton says Stanford students shouting down Kyle Duncan in March was an especially low moment for campus free speech.
The legislation imposes different standards on private and public universities, since public universities are beholden to the First Amendment while private institutions are not.

It requires public universities to have policies consistent with the First Amendment and threatens to withhold federal funds if a school’s policies run afoul of free speech.

The law would also ban public colleges and universities from establishing so-called “free speech zones,” which are small areas of campus designated for free expression.

Cotton said free speech shouldn’t be quarantined into specific zones on campus. “The free speech zones on campus are usually relegated to the waste management treatment center in some corner of the campus where there’s never any foot traffic,” the senator joked.

And students at private schools would gain protections, too.

Cotton’s proposal would require private schools to clearly disclose their campus speech policies both to students and the Department of Education as a condition for receiving federal funding.

It would also affirm that schools have a “contractual obligation” to their students to live up to their stated policies.

If they break their promises, students would have a course of legal action in court.




Sunday, May 21, 2023

The State Department has added pronouns to employees’ email address lines, The Daily Signal has learned

One signature viewed by The Daily Signal inaccurately identified a man with “She/Her/Hers” pronouns. It is unclear exactly when or why the policy was enacted.

Associated Press reporter Matt Lee flagged the occurrence during a Thursday briefing with deputy State Department spokesman Vedant Patel, pressing Patel as to why pronouns had been added to the “from” field of State Department employee emails.

“Have you gotten any emails from any of your colleagues before you came out here… since about noon or so?” Lee asked Patel, to which Patel responded, “What’s your question? My email? I’m not going to pull up my email from the podium.”

“You don’t have to show it to me, I want to know if you noticed anything different in the ‘from’ line, where it gives the sender,” Lee responded.

When Patel said he was not aware of anything different, Lee told him: “Within the last hour and a half… the State Department’s internal email system—and I tested this, so I know that it’s true—has added pronouns to people’s—not their signature—but to where it says from. Why?”

“This is not something that anybody has a choice about,” he added, “and so I’m wondering why and who made this decision.”

“I’d like to know why this would not be an optional thing,” the Associated Press reporter continued, before pointing out that many of the pronouns are inaccurate. “The problem is that a lot of them or at least some of them so far, as I’ve been able to tell, are wrong. They’re giving the wrong pronouns. So men are being identified as women and women as men.”

“This has nothing to do with whatever transgender or anything like that,” he added, “but It’s ridiculous.”




Thursday, May 18, 2023

Oxford student group steps up plans to stop talk by gender-critical feminist Kathleen Stock - defying warnings by top dons

Oxford students yesterday stepped up their campaign to stop a talk by a visiting professor – despite being warned by 44 of the university’s dons that they are threatening free speech.

Hundreds of trans activists will protest against a debate at the Oxford Union featuring feminist professor of philosophy Kathleen Stock.

Claiming she is ‘transphobic and trans-exclusionary’ for opposing gender self-identification and saying biological sex is real, the Oxford University LGBTQ+ Society is arranging a day of talks and a protest march when Professor Stock visits on May 30.

The student group warned its members of ‘heated interactions’ during the day and told them to prepare facing a ‘transphobic counter protest’.

The society initiated the row by calling for the Oxford Union – the famous debating society that has been the breeding ground for countless British politicians – to rescind its invitation to Professor Stock.

Since then the university’s Student Union has barred the Oxford Union from having a recruiting stall at future freshers’ fairs – a decision criticised yesterday in a letter signed by 44 Oxford academics.

Condemning the replacement of ‘reasoned argument’ with ‘coercion and threats’, they said ‘universities must remain places where contentious views can be openly discussed’.

Amiad Haran Diman, president of the university’s LGBTQ+ Society, told Radio 4’s World At One: ‘The youngest cohorts at uni are increasingly not cisgender and are super accepting.

'The Oxford Union is a private members’ club and it has no duty to platform these views when Kathleen Stock is not an expert on gender identity.

‘I don’t think that it’s fair to debate the existence of trans people. And I don’t think it’s fair to debate basic human rights.’

The 44 Oxford dons include evolutionary biologist Professor Richard Dawkins and theologian Professor Nigel Biggar and their letter is one of the most significant interventions by academics in recent free speech controversies.

They condemned the Student Union’s decision to sever ties with the Oxford Union, and said they were united in their belief that ‘universities exist, among other things, to promote free inquiry and the disinterested pursuit of the truth by means of reasoned argument’.




Wednesday, May 17, 2023

We’ve Been Blacklisted, Again

It's no surprise to Townhall readers or conservatives generally that Big Tech and the U.S. federal government have partnered in recent years to influence elections, censor inconvenient news outlets that destroy their narratives and forcefully punish political opponents.

The problem is it keeps happening.

Just this week, Townhall published a column warning about the dangers of President Joe Biden's open border policies and their implications on national security. It was written by retired Navy Captain Hung Cao, who came to America as a refugee from Vietnam as a child.

"Virtue-signaling leftists will say that we are a country of immigrants and we should have open borders. As a refugee and an immigrant, I share the same hope of freedom and liberty as every person who aspires to come here. My family came here with nothing, and this country gave us everything," Cao wrote. "As Americans, we have an obligation to protect our fellow citizens and ensure the safety of those who want to come here legally. But, at this time, our border is in complete chaos and the Biden administration has no plan to fix the problem caused by their reckless policies."

When the op-ed was posted on Facebook by Cao, it was flagged as "hate speech" and eliminated from circulation on the platform.

"No one else can see your post. We have these standards because we want everyone to feel safe, respected and welcome. If your content goes against our Community Standards again, your account may be restricted or disabled," Facebook said when the op-ed was shared by Cao.

This censorship came shortly after Townhall found out it was put on yet another list. This time, to starve the site of advertising revenue.

"Newly leaked data to me from a whistleblower in the ad industry sheds light on how Group M, a major media investment group, blacklisted conservative media outlets and labeled them as 'disinformation' or 'hate speech' before the 2020 presidential election," the Washington Examiner's Gabe Kaminsky found. "Group M's billings surpassed $50 billion in 2019, and its agencies are major players in ad space."

In February, Kaminsky also exposed the State Department worked with foreign entities to censor Townhall articles by burying them at the bottom of search engines and in social media algorithms, as well as starving them of ad revenue.

"The Department of State has funded a deep-pocketed "disinformation" tracking group that is secretly blacklisting and trying to defund conservative media, likely costing the news organizations vital advertising dollars," Kaminsky reported. "The Global Disinformation Index, a British organization with two affiliated U.S. nonprofit groups, is feeding blacklists to ad companies with the intent of defunding and shutting down websites peddling alleged 'disinformation.' This same 'disinformation" group has received $330,000 from two State Department-backed entities linked to the highest levels of government, raising concerns from First Amendment lawyers and members of Congress."

The blacklisting will never stop, just like the left's crusade against free speech and alternative media. These are more examples of why it is crucial for Townhall to be independent of Big Tech and its reach. We do this through our subscription program and with the support of our VIP members. Without it, we can't pursue the stories that need the most attention or expose the full truth that runs contrary to media or government narratives. While the censorship efforts continue, we are more resolved than ever to keep working.




Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Are School Libraries Banning Thousands of Books? Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Trust the Left’s Narrative

“What we’re seeing here is a resurgence of widespread censorship in America,” Nadine Farid Johnson recently told The Wall Street Journal. Johnson is the Washington director of PEN America and co-author of its report claiming to identify 2,532 books banned in public schools during the 2021-2022 school year.

PEN America advocates on behalf of poets, essayists, and novelists, and it shows: Its report is almost as fictional as the work of the writers it represents.

It is simply false that 2,532 books were removed from schools during the 2021-2022 school year. We know this is false because we examined online card catalogues and found that 74% of the books PEN America identified as banned from school libraries are actually listed as available in the catalogues of those school districts. In many cases we could see that copies of those books are currently checked out and in use by students.

Among the books that PEN America alleges were banned are classic works, such as “Anne Frank’s Diary,” “Brave New World,” “Lord of the Flies,” “Of Mice and Men,” “The Color Purple,” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.” In every school district in which PEN America alleges those books were banned, we found copies listed as available in the online card catalogue.

For example, PEN America claims that “To Kill a Mockingbird” was “Banned in Libraries and Classrooms” in the Edmond public school district in Oklahoma. Edmond’s card catalogue indicates that the library has 10 copies of the book, two of which were checked out at the time we looked.

PEN America suggests that racism is a major factor driving censorship. The organization reports that “659 banned book titles (40 percent) contain protagonists or prominent secondary characters of color” and “338 banned book titles (21 percent) directly address issues of race and racism.”

The book “The Hate U Give,” which was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and primarily features black characters, is listed as one of the most frequently banned books, reportedly removed from more than a dozen public school libraries during 2021-2022.

But when we examine the online card catalogues in those school districts, we find copies of “The Hate U Give” available in every one of them.

For example, PEN America says that “The Hate U Give” was banned in Goddard Public Schools in Kansas, yet that district’s card catalogue lists nine copies of the book; three were checked out at the time we examined it. Similarly, the book was supposedly banned from the Indian River School District in Florida, but the card catalogue in that district shows 20 copies available, with several checked out.

We were unable to find 26% of the books that PEN America claimed were banned in school district card catalogues, but that doesn’t necessarily mean those books were banned. Given how sloppy and error-prone the PEN America report is, it’s unclear whether the books we were unable to find in school district card catalogues had ever been listed and then removed.




Monday, May 15, 2023

UK: Now calling criminals 'convicts' is offensive: Prison service tells warders to drop the phrase 'ex-con' and instead call them 'persons with lived experience'

Prison officers have been ordered to stop calling criminals 'convicts' on the grounds it is 'offensive'.

Civil servants at the Prison Service headquarters have also instructed warders to drop the phrase 'ex-con' for former prisoners - and refer to them as 'persons with lived experience' or 'prison leavers'.

The edict has left staff shaking their heads – at a time when jails are suffering from record overcrowding and their colleagues are leaving in droves.

A Prison Service spokesman said it was part of a 'clampdown' on 'inappropriate deviations' from its guidelines.

The national chairman of the Prison Officers' Association (POA) trade union was instructed to drop use of the words in an official letter from the Ministry of Justice agency.

Mark Fairhurst told the Mail: 'I received a letter saying some people found the word 'convict' offensive and that we should not use that term.

'The letter from the employee relations department of HM Prison and Probation Service said the terms 'prisoner' and 'offender' should be used instead.

'But there is nothing offensive about that language when you are describing someone who has been convicted and incarcerated.'

He added: 'When I talk to prisoners they call themselves 'cons'. So what's the problem?'

Another prisons source said: 'This is real nanny state stuff. Yet again, do-gooding civil servants are spending their working hours trying to manipulate the English language to fit their personal world view, rather than concentrating on things that really matter.

'While they are sending out diktats about 'persons with lived experience', the jails are full to bursting, prison officers are leaving in droves and crime is at a record high.'

Tory MP Craig Mackinlay described the Prison Service's latest intervention as 'nonsense'.

'However you refer to them – convicts, offenders or prisoners – these are people who find themselves in prison for serious offences against their victims and the community at large,' he said.

'I frankly don't care what you call them because they're all the same. They have not earned the right for new, woke nomenclature to describe their status.'

He added: 'This new agenda that has taken hold right across government departments has to stop. It is not respected by the public. It's just pure nonsense.'

Last year, the Prison Service published guidance on how inmates should be described.

It was issued after the then Justice Secretary, Sir Robert Buckland, expressed his frustration at the Prison Service referring to inmates as 'residents'.

The guidance adopted 'prisoners' or 'offenders' and said terms such as 'residents' and 'service users' should not be used.

A source close to Sir Robert said at the time: 'This isn't the first time we've found this kind of drivel circulating around civil servants at the department.




Sunday, May 14, 2023

Anderson Cooper: CNN Viewers ‘Have Every Right to Never Watch This Network Again’

Must not hear other points of view!

CNN host Anderson Cooper criticized his own network during a Thursday night CNN segment in which he criticized his company’s decision to host a town hall event with former President Donald Trump.

“It was certainly disturbing to hear that audience—young and old, our fellow citizens, people who love their kids and go to church—laugh and applaud his lies and his continued defamation of” E. Jean Carroll, Cooper said in what appeared to be critical comments of the audience.

Trump was found guilty of battery against Carroll earlier this week in a Manhattan case that the former president said was a witch hunt. Trump also said he doesn’t know Carroll, whom he suggested had mental issues, and had no contact with her.

Cooper continued to criticize the town hall’s New Hampshire audience: “The audience that upset you? That’s a sampling of about half the country. They are your family members, your neighbors and they are voting, and many said they’re voting for him.”

The longtime CNN host, however, said that because there are so many Trump supporters, they cannot be ignored by the mainstream. “That man you were so upset to hear from last night, he may be president of the United States in less than two years. It can happen again, it is happening again. He hasn’t changed and he is running hard,” Cooper said.




Thursday, May 11, 2023

Opposition demands PNG foreign minister be sacked over 'primitive animals' comments while defending daughter

The main problem here is that Mr Tkatchenko is white (Ukrainian) while those he criticized are black

Calls for Papua New Guinea's foreign minister to be sacked — and even have his citizenship stripped — over "racist" and "derogatory" comments are intensifying ahead of US President Joe Biden's historic visit to the country.

In an interview with the ABC on Wednesday, Justin Tkatchenko called people criticising his daughter, over a TikTok video she posted, "primitive animals" and "useless individuals".

The video, made during a PNG taxpayer-funded trip to the coronation of King Charles III, was tagged #aussiesinengland and flaunted cocktails and lavish meals at first class airport lounges.

It triggered widespread anger in PNG where almost 40 per cent of people live below the basic needs poverty line, according to the World Bank.

"[My daughter is] absolutely traumatised by these primitive animals. And I call them primitive animals because they are," Mr Tkatchenko said in the interview.

He said his daughter was selected to attend the coronation in the place of his wife, who couldn't make the event.

PNG opposition leader Joseph Lelang said Mr Tkatchenko's response to the criticism was insulting to Papua New Guineans.

"It is racist … it is a very derogatory remark," Mr Lelang said.

"I joined the chorus of Papua New Guineans to call for the prime minister to sack Justin Tkatchenko and have him referred to the Ombudsman Commission for misconduct in office."