Friday, March 23, 2018

YouTube Suspends Major Gun Manufacturer, Bans Instructional Gun Videos

YouTube has updated its policies on content featuring firearms, leading to the suspension of a large gun manufacturer and forcing popular gun content creators to remove videos from their channels.

“While we’ve long prohibited the sale of firearms, we recently notified creators of updates we will be making around content promoting the sale or manufacture of firearms and their accessories, specifically, items like ammunition, gatling triggers, and drop-in auto sears,” reads a statement from a YouTube spokesperson.

The list of prohibited content now includes links to sites that sell firearms, videos that teach installation of certain accessories, and videos that teach the entirely legal acts of manufacturing guns and reloading ammunition.


A victory for free speech

On Monday, Indiana University of Pennsylvania President Michael Driscoll made an important and courageous decision to reinstate a student who had been temporarily barred from a religious studies class after making controversial remarks on gender identity.

The student, Lake Ingle, was awaiting a decision from the college’s Academic Integrity Board after claiming in class that he believes there are only two genders and after he disputed the existence of “white male privilege.”

Mr. Driscoll announced his plan to “indefinitely pause the formal university process without resolution.” Mr. Ingle will be permitted to return to the class — which he needed to graduate — on the condition that he behave respectfully in the classroom during discussion and debate.

In an email sent to the entire campus community, Mr. Driscoll also expressed disappointment that “in the presence of a test of our devotion to the First Amendment and to the IUP Way, we fell short as a community.”

The IUP Way, as the school defines it, is to include all students and their opinions in a respectful academic environment.


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Revealed: the transgender email

Transgender etiquette has produced a new linguistic complication at leading British universities.

Students and academics are being encouraged to sign their emails with their names, titles, telephone numbers and whether they prefer to be known as he or she — or another option.

The addition of “he/him”, “she/her” or “they/them” to the end of emails is intended to “normalise the use of gender pronouns” — and prevent transgender students from being wrongly addressed.

Students at Oxford are also being invited to declare their preferred pronouns before speaking at union meetings.

“It’s a simple courtesy like checking you’re using someone’s name correctly,” said Aisling Murray, who adds “she/her” to emails she sends as society and citizenship officer at Sussex University.


Must not call police officers 'Smurfs'

An Austrian man faces a £140 fine for describing police officers as 'smurfs' in a warning about speed checks posted on Facebook.

The Austria Press Agency reported that authorities in Tyrol province imposed the fine on the man, whose name wasn't released, for violating 'public decency' by 'defaming two police officers.'

The man's post in a Facebook group alerted others to 'two smurfs standing with lasers' on a local highway.

A police officer who was also in the group filed a complaint.

The local Tiroler Tageszeitung newspaper reported that the man maintains the term 'smurfs' was meant as a harmless joke rather than an insult, and plans to defend himself at regional police headquarters.


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Sexist speech is illegal in Belgium

A Belgian court has fined a man 3,000 euros for contempt of a police officer, making sexist remarks in public and serious violation of a woman's dignity because of her gender. The man, who wasn't named by media, was stopped by a female police officer for a traffic violation and told her she should be doing a job "adapted to women." He became the first person convicted under a new new law barring sexism in public.


Facebook's recent algorithm change is designed to limit and censor conservative news content

A recently released study by The Western Journal confirms what many conservative sites have observed — that Facebook’s “trusted source” algorithm is biased against their content and has dramatically and negatively impacted their traffic.

The study noted the following example of Facebook’s blatant leftist bias:

Case in point: Two rival publishers in New York City, the New York Post and the New York Daily News, are similar in many ways, except for their editorial slants. The Post is well-known as a right-leaning outlet, whereas the Daily News has an established left-leaning slant. For example, the Daily News recently ran a headline after the Parkland shooting that read, “Brave Florida survivors plan day of action for gun sanity and to call out ‘blood on hands’ of NRA puppets.”

Headlines like that garnered the Daily News a 24.18 percent increase in traffic from Facebook, while the right-leaning Post’s traffic dropped 11.44 percent in the same time period.

Using the excuse from Russia’s 2016 election meddling, in which Facebook was singled out for failing to prevent “fake news,” Mark Zuckerberg and company have taken the opportunity to limit and censor conservative news, while promoting left-leaning news sites and stories. Former NBC and CNN anchor Campbell Brown heads up Facebook’s news partnership team. At a recent tech and publishing conference, Brown expressed Facebook’s intent to push its own internal bias. “This is not us stepping back from news,” she said. “This is us changing our relationship with publishers and emphasizing something that Facebook has never done before: It’s having a point of view, and it’s leaning into quality news. … We are, for the first time in the history of Facebook, taking a step to try to define what ‘quality news’ looks like and give that a boost.”


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Mass.: A lawmaker said the State House’s General Hooker sign is ‘tone deaf.’ Social media responded

A state elected official is facing blowback on social media after she called for a State House sign dedicated to Civil War General Joseph Hooker to be taken down or modified because she believes his last name is a “double entendre.”

On Wednesday, as students from around the state marched on Beacon Hill as part of the national “Walk Out” protests to call attention to gun violence, state Representative Michelle DuBois posted a photograph of the “General Hooker Entrance” sign on the building to social media and called it “tone deaf” and “patriarchal.”

“Are you a ‘General Hooker’? Of course not!” DuBois, who represents Brockton, West Bridgewater, and East Bridgewater, wrote on Facebook.

DuBois tied the name “Hooker,” a term that’s commonly used to describe a female sex worker, to the “Me Too” movement, and said the golden-lettered sign should be removed.

The entrance to the State House is named after Joseph Hooker, a major general and commander who was born in Hadley and was part of the Peninsula Campaign and the Battle of Antietam during the Civil War, according to a biography on

Historians recall Hooker “as the Union general who led 138,000 troops to bloody defeat” by Confederate General Robert E. Lee during the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863, according to Globe archives.

Criticism about DuBois’s stance on the issue was swift on social media, with many arguing that her attempt to politicize the sign was misguided.

“I would consider taking this [tweet] down and doing some homework,” one person wrote. “If you don’t do that I would consider resigning. This is an embarrassment and you should be ashamed for your constituents.”


Thousands Gather in London’s Speakers’ Corner to Hear Tommy Robinson Deliver Banned Anti-immigration Speech

Thousands of free speech enthusiasts, alongside a handful of hard-left and Islamist opposition, gathered at Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park this afternoon to hear a speech written by Generation Identity’s Martin Sellner, delivered by former EDL leader Tommy Robinson.

Sellner was banned from entry by the UK government earlier this month, for daring to lead a right-wing organisation which sheds light on Islamic extremism and mass migration on the continent of Europe.

Robinson — formerly of the Rebel Media — delivered the speech to thousands who gathered in the snow at the historic Speaker’s Corner, the home of free speech in London for hundreds of years.

Marx, Lenin, Orwell, and others have famously given speeches at Speaker’s Corner, which is what drove Sellner and Robinson to pick the spot to deliver the speech (below).

Thousands listened to the speech live in person, while tens of thousands watched online.

Robinson told Breitbart London: “The true battle for free speech started today. This is just the start.

“The public have to support free speech so I want to say a personal thank you to everyone who spent their hard earned money and time travelling to London today.”

The event was mostly peaceful, though a handful of Muslim counter-protesters attempted to shout Robinson down, leading to a few scuffles. Breitbart London understands there were a handful of arrests, and also sectarian Muslim-on-Muslim scuffles.


Monday, March 19, 2018

Facebook suspends data firm which worked with Trump campaign

Facebook regulates how Presidential election campaigns are run???

Facebook has suspended Cambridge Analytica, the shadowy firm which worked with the Trump campaign and has been linked to Brexit, claiming it violated its policies by using the information of 270,000 users to inform their tactics.

In 2015, the social network discovered that Cambridge professor Dr. Aleksandr Kogan had given the information to the company after obtaining it legitimately through an app of his own.

The app was called This Is Your Digital Life and was downloaded by Facebook users once they had already logged in.

They willingly submitted their information to This Is Your Digital Life but were unaware what Kogan would do with it next, the site claims.

When Facebook learned that he had shared it with the Cambridge Analytica, they asked both to destroy it.

Cambridge Analytica denies the allegation and insisted on Friday that none of the information it received from Kogan was used in the Trump campaign.

'Cambridge Analytica deleted all data received from GSR,' the company said in a statement. GSR stands for Global Science Research, Kogan's company.

'We worked with Facebook over this period to ensure that they were satisfied that we had not knowingly breached any of Facebook’s terms of service and also provided a signed statement to confirm that all Facebook data and their derivatives had been deleted.

Cambridge Analytica worked closely with the Trump campaign and has been credited by Brad Parscale, Trump's 'Facebook guru' with solidifying their victory.

Parscale, who handled social media for the last campaign, has already been named as the president's 2020 campaign manager.

Last month, Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller requested Cambridge Analytica turn over documents for his probe into potential Russian interference in the election.


Must not mention disability

Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot has landed herself in hot water for ‘insensitive’ tweet

GAL Gadot was slammed by disability activists over her tweet paying tribute to physicist Stephen Hawking, who died Wednesday.

Gadot, like many celebrities, paid tribute to the best-known theoretical physicist of his time after his death was announced. Hawking was 76 when he died. His body was paralysed after he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS when he was 21.

Gadot tweeted Wednesday, “Rest in peace Dr. Hawking. Now you’re free of any physical constraints. Your brilliance and wisdom will be cherished forever.”

Some social media users took issue with Gadot’s tweet including the line, “Now you’re free of any physical constraints.” They labelled the “Wonder Woman” actor an ableist, meaning someone who discriminates against people with disabilities.

“Horrible tweet. You are defining Stephen Hawking by his disability, something he spent his entire life [proving] was completely wrong,” a person tweeted.

“For the love of dog and all things holy, please don’t describe Stephen Hawking as having overcome his disability, or his disability as inability, or any number of boring, ableist tropes that take away from what an utter bada — he was and how the world was better for him in it,” a social media user wrote.


Sunday, March 18, 2018

‘God Bless You’ Listed among Anti-Muslim ‘Microaggressions’

The list, compiled by a group of college librarians in Boston, also counts ‘Merry Christmas’ as an offensive phrase.

According to an “Anti-Oppression Library Guide” written by a group of librarians at Simmons College in Boston, “saying ‘God bless you’ after someone sneezes” is a microaggression against Muslim people.

“Islamomisic Microaggressions are commonplace verbal or behavioral indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicates [sic] hostile, derogatory, or negative slights in relation to the beliefs and religious practices of Muslims,” the guide explains. “They are structurally based and invoke oppressive systems of religious/Chrisitan [sic] hierarchy.”

The guide explains that “Islamomisia” is another word for “Islamophobia,” which “is a systematized discrimination or antagonism directed against Muslim people due to their religion, or perceived religious, national, or ethnic identity associated with Islam.”

“Like anti-Semitism, Islamomisia describes mentalities and actions that demean an entire class of people,” it explains.

According to the guide, “saying ‘God bless you’ after someone sneezes conveys one’s perception that everyone is Christian or believes in God,” which is offensive because it “convey[s] people’s presumption that their religion is the standard.”

This is ridiculous for so many reasons that I don’t even know where to start. First of all, the phrase “God bless you” makes absolutely no specific reference to Christianity, let alone any kind of slight against the Islamic faith in particular. It’s not an assault on Islam; it doesn’t even mention Islam.

If anything, “God bless you” could perhaps be said to be offensive to people who don’t believe in a God of any kind, but honestly I don’t think that’s true, either. Why? Because I don’t think it assumes anything; it’s just a phrase.


"Ping Pong" is racist?

Australia: A new Asian-themed gastropub called Hotel Longtime has sparked outrage on social media, with critics calling its name and theme racist.

The owners, married couple Alex Fahey and Tin Chu, have denied the Adelaide pub is racist, and said their Ping Pong Club Room has nothing to do with sex shows.

Critics slammed the pub's name, which they say references a scene from the movie Full Metal Jacket in which a Vietnamese prostitute says 'Me love you long time'.

They claimed the Ping Pong Club Room was prostitution-themed, referring to 'Asian strippers performing demeaning acts', as was a 'brothel madame' poster.

Vietnamese-born co-owner Ms Chu said their critics made associations that were never imagined when Hotel Longtime was designed, The Advertiser reported.

'It is worth remembering that I am a director of this licensee company and I am a proud Asian woman who has worked hard to build my business,' she said.

'There is nothing in our name which is in any way intended to insult or offend women. If anyone has felt that, then we humbly apologise.'

Mr Fahey denied the Ping Pong Club Room was a deliberate reference to sex shows involving ping pong balls, and said the name means 'stay for a long time'.

'It's meant to be like a clubroom, like a football clubroom, where you go and have a drink after playing ping pong. It's nothing to do with the Thailand ping pong shows,' he said.

Alice Whittington - who started a petition on demanding the pair change the name of the pub - said the theme perpetuated negative Asian stereotypes.

'All I wish for on behalf of Asian people and in particular women, is a change of venue name, as well as the acknowledgement that this name and concept blatantly reaffirms the stereotype.

'I too am a proud, half-Asian woman born and bred in Adelaide. Here and around the world, I have been subject to horrific slurs and racial and sexual harassment directly related to the quotes that are associated with the film Full Metal Jacket.'


Friday, March 16, 2018

Twitter Suspends Steven Crowder for Violating ‘Hateful Conduct’ Terms

Social media is unfriendly territory for conservatives. Facebook’s targeting of us is well-documented. But now we have a real, immediate problem from Twitter. After posting the undercover SXSW video of SvenComputer infiltrating the gender fluid panel, Twitter suspended Steven Crowder’s account.

Here’s what we think happened. The original video that went out didn’t have the word “f*ggot” soft bleeped. The original video was immediately pulled from YouTube, Twitter and Facebook as the studio team added bleeps for the “offensive” content. After the bleeps were added into the video, the studio re-uploaded the SXSW undercover video back to YouTube and Facebook.

When NotGayJared shared the video with the bleeps added, and information blurred, he was also suspended.

Which means Twitter didn’t necessarily find “f*ggot” offensive. They apparently found the general concept of the video offensive. If you haven’t watched it yet, do.

Here’s what we think happened.

Taking Twitter at their word on the time-out limit, we scheduled video promotional tweets, using the new and improved, not-as-triggering, bleeps-added video via a third-party platform. After those tweets went out, the Twitter gods balled their fists. Gnashed their teeth. Veins throbbed. Eyeballs popped from sockets.

As punishment for our technological sins, the suspension was extended to seven days.

…And now SvenComputer is suspended from Twitter.


Penn Law has resisted calls to punish distinguished scholar for her social views. Yesterday, they caved

A professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School whose outspoken views on race and culture have drawn intense criticism from students and colleagues will no longer be allowed to teach a mandatory class for first-year law students, Penn Law Dean Theodore Ruger announced yesterday.

The ban is the latest escalation of a months-long feud between the law school and conservative professor Amy Wax.

The tensions began last August, when Wax co-authored an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer which touted the superiority of the "bourgeois cultural hegemony" that Wax and her co-author, Larry Alexander, said reigned in America before the 1960s.

In the portion of the piece which drew the most outrage, Wax and Alexander said:

"All cultures are not equal. Or at least they are not equal in preparing people to be productive in an advanced economy. The culture of the Plains Indians was designed for nomadic hunters, but is not suited to a First World, 21st-century environment. Nor are the single-parent, antisocial habits, prevalent among some working-class whites; the anti-"acting white" rap culture of inner-city blacks; the anti-assimilation ideas gaining ground among some Hispanic immigrants. These cultural orientations are not only incompatible with what an advanced free-market economy and a viable democracy require, they are also destructive of a sense of solidarity and reciprocity among Americans. If the bourgeois cultural script — which the upper-middle class still largely observes but now hesitates to preach — cannot be widely reinstated, things are likely to get worse for us all."

The op-ed set off an extended series of responsive op-eds, petitions, and open letters between Wax, her colleagues, and various other Penn-affiliated groups. Five of Wax's colleagues criticized her piece in an op-ed in Penn's student paper, The Daily Pennsylvanian, and 33 signed an open letter "categorically reject[ing]" her claims. Wax fired back in the student paper, and later, in The Wall Street Journal, which prompted yet another response from a critical colleague. Heather Mac Donald jumped in. You get the picture.

Throughout all this, Ruger publicly declined to discipline or denounce Wax, citing the law school's commitments to open expression. Wax alleged in her Wall Street Journal op-ed that Ruger had privately asked her to take a leave of absence, however, which Ruger denied.

This month, however, a new front in the controversy opened when a group of Penn Law alumni published a new petition drawing attention to remarks Wax made on a September 2017 episode of "The Glenn Show," a video series on the website hosted by Brown University economics professor Glenn Loury. In her hour-long talk with Loury, Wax discussed the controversy around her op-ed and her opposition to race-based affirmative action, which Loury, who is black, also fiercely opposes.

In the course of that discussion, Wax discussed her belief in the so-called "mismatch hypothesis" of affirmative education in higher education, which holds that racial preferences harm minority students by placing them in high-stakes elite academic environments for which they have not been adequately prepared.

"Here's a very inconvenient fact, Glenn," Wax said, "I don't think I've ever seen a black student graduate in the top quarter of the [Penn Law School] class and rarely, rarely in the top half… I can think of one or two students who've graduated in the top half of my required first year course. Well, what are we supposed to do about that? You're really putting in front of this person a real uphill battle, and if they were better matched, it might be a better environment for them. That's the mismatch hypothesis, of course."

The petition again called for Wax to be prohibited from teaching civil procedure. This time, Ruger complied.

For his part, Loury didn't buy Ruger's explanation. In an email, he called Ruger's justifications "clearly a tendentious stretch...intended to discredit [Wax] and to justify his reprehensible actions."


Thursday, March 15, 2018

European court: Burning photos of Spanish king is “freedom of expression”

In the midst of an ongoing national debate about the limits of free speech in Spain and the laws being used to punish alleged excesses, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg has just given the country a collective rap on the knuckles with a decision that contradicts Spanish courts and states that burning photos of the king is not a criminal offense, but rather a form of free political expression.

“The Court reiterated in that context that freedom of expression extended to ‘information’ and ‘ideas’ that offended, shocked or disturbed: such were the demands of pluralism, tolerance and broad-mindedness, without which there was no ‘democratic society’,” the court stated in its decision.

The facts of the case date back more than a decade. In 2007, Catalan separatists Enric Stern and Jaume Roura burned a large-format photo of the Spanish king and queen during an anti-monarchy protest in Girona, ahead of a visit to the city by then-King Juan Carlos.

Stern doused the photo, which had been placed upside down, with inflammable liquid, while Roura set fire to it, as both were egged on by other demonstrators.

Freedom of expression extended to ‘information’ and ‘ideas’ that offended, shocked or disturbed

A year later, Spain’s High Court (Audiencia Nacional) sentenced them to pay a €2,700 fine if they wanted to avoid jail for the offense of insulting the Crown. If they failed to pay up, they were warned, they would have to serve 15 months in jail.

In 2015, Spain’s Constitutional Court rejected their appeal in a split decision, and cited a ruling from precisely the ECHR that found it necessary to “sanction and even prevent all forms of expression that propagate, incite, promote or justify hatred based on intolerance.”

But in its recent decision, the Strasbourg-based court unanimously found that in this case, there had been a “violation of article 10” of the European Convention on Human Rights, which defends freedom of expression. The ruling not only rejects the sanction imposed by the Spanish courts, but also calls on Spain to compensate the applicants with the same amount that they paid in fines, as well as €9,000 in total for the pair to cover their legal fees.


Shoe brand cops heat on social media for “ridiculous sexualisation”

A SOCIAL media campaign for a Melbourne shoe company has sparked outrage online, with one labelling the advertisement as “ridiculous sexualisation”.

Preston Zly Design, which launched in North Fitzroy in 1995, sells handmade shoes designed by artists Johanna Preston and Petr Zly.

The shoes, which are available in store in Melbourne as well as online, uploaded a montage of designs to their Instagram, which featured an array of boots, heels and wedged shoes.

But some social media users were quick to critique the campaign, which features an almost naked woman wearing the brightly coloured shoes.

“Why does the model have to take her pants off to sell shoes? one person questioned.

“Lisa Little lovely shoes. Shame about the ridiculous sexualisation,” another added.

Designer Johanna Preston hit back at the criticism, defending the photographs as simply showing off the shoes to consumers.

“We are not clothing designers — it’s all about the shoes here,” she wrote on Facebook.

“She [model] is not naked and is not doing anything sexual. Have we come to a place now where the female body is completely taboo?”


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Censorship: Twitter Blocks Trump’s 2020 Slogan as “Sensitive Material”

“Keep America Great!” That’s the 2020 campaign slogan Donald Trump unveiled during a rally in Pennsylvania this weekend.

It’s catchy. It conveys the message Trump wants to get across to voters — namely, that he’s turning the country around, both culturally and economically. It’s pithy. It beats “Make America Great Again, Again.” It fits well on a hat.

And, according to the folks at Twitter, it’s “sensitive material” and you shouldn’t be seeing it.

In yet another case of the most censorious social media platform in all of the Democratic People’s Republic of Silicon Valley deciding they’re the only ones who decide what political speech you can see, multiple reports on the social media site claim the slogan was blocked as “sensitive material” when conservative media icon Matt Drudge tried to tweet it out.

In fact, as Breitbart pointed out, this was part of a larger pattern involving censoring any tweets that linked back to Drudge or his website.


Australia: Case dropped but Christian clerics fight on for free speech

Two Hobart preachers will continue a constitutional challenge against Tasmania’s anti-discrimination laws, despite the withdrawal of a legal complaint about their preaching on homosexuality and gay marriage.

Presbyterian pastor Campbell Markham said yesterday the two had “no intention” of withdrawing their constitutional challenge to Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Act in light of the dropped complaint, despite advice the case could cost $20,000 in legal fees.

They also planned to seek a meeting with whomever was named attorney-general in the pending post-state election reshuffle, to lobby for another attempt at amending the act.

“We feel a responsibility to fight this law — not for ourselves, but on behalf of all Tasmanians who want to live in a free society,” said Mr Markham, of the city’s Cornerstone Church.

The state government last night suggested it was open to ­another tilt at reform, after changes to bolster religious freedom were last year blocked in the upper house.

“We remain of the view that the act as it stands does not get the balance right,” a spokeswoman said. “We are supportive of strengthening freedom of speech, but no decision has been made on any legislative change.”

Often described as the nation’s broadest anti-discrimination law, its section 17 bans conduct that “offends, humiliates, intimidates, insults or ridicules” someone on the basis of 22 attributes, including sexuality and religious belief.

Mr Markham said despite the complainant, Hobart man Sam Mazur, dropping the case against him and his church’s street evangelist, David Gee, it had already tied them up in legal wrangles for six months.

It had also set a precedent, with Equal Opportunity Tasmania agreeing to accept the complaint despite Mr Mazur not identifying as gay and instead bringing the complaint on behalf of others. “If the EOT starts accepting third-party complaints then every Tasmanian is exposed to legal ­action — not just because a person may be offended by what they say, but because someone may decide that someone else, somewhere, might be offended,” Mr Markham said.

Mr Mazur suggested he had withdrawn the complaint because of doubts about its chance of success, given that he was not gay.

According to Mr Mazur’s complaint, Mr Gee suggested same-sex marriage could lead to “polygamy, pedophilia, incest and even bestiality”. In online blogs, Pastor Markham has referred to the “distressingly dangerous homosexual lifestyle”.


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Some reasonable free speech guidelines

You have to hand it to McMaster University president Patrick Deane.

Back in the fall, in response to growing attempts to shut down controversial opinions on university campuses across North America, Deane said he planned to establish ground rules that strike a balance between protecting free speech and the right to protest.

The university's recently-released draft guidelines on freedom of expression and dissent bend over backwards to do just that.

The guidelines, Deane says, are not intended to address the contents of a controversial speech but how to manage an event, regardless of the content.

"What I've been trying to achieve with all this is a way of reasserting the functioning ability to hold debates in the university without it becoming a matter largely for the security service," Deane said in an interview.

Under the guidelines, for example, protesters can "spontaneously and temporarily" boo a speaker if the reaction is similar in "kind and degree" to cheers and applause.

On the other hand, chanting, blowing horns or whistles or making other "sustained or repeated noise" is not permitted if it "substantially interferes" with the speaker whether inside or outside the meeting.

You might call the latter the Jordan Peterson rule after the controversial University of Toronto psychology professor who warns against the dangers of "compelled speech" on gender identity issues. Last year Peterson's speech at Mac was disrupted by rowdy protesters clanging cowbells, blowing air horns and chanting obscenities.

According to Deane, it was the Peterson incident that clarified the need for Mac to reassert the fundamental principle of freedom of expression during a time of increasingly polarized opinions and when many are no longer as skilled as people once were at debating and discussing issues.

But Deane also wanted to make it crystal clear that just as there's a right to free speech, "there is right to speak against what is said and the right to protest."

So, for example, under the guidelines it's permissible for protesters to display signs, make gestures and stand up — as long as it doesn't interfere with the audience's view or ability to pay attention to the speaker. Prolonged behaviour likely to block the view of anyone in the audience should be confined to the back of the room.

The document lists several examples of "unacceptable behaviour" that promotes or incites harassment, intimidation, discrimination, violence or hate.

The guidelines, developed by Deane and his office staff, were released in tandem with a committee report spelling out Mac's "unequivocal commitment to freedom of expression" within legal parameters.


Acadia University investigation of professor intensifies campus free-speech debate

His comments, which include statements arguing a gender pay gap doesn’t exist, that multiculturalism is a sham and that decolonization is a scam, have resulted in personal and sexual harassment complaints from students

A small-town university in Atlantic Canada has been thrust into the epicentre of a national debate about free speech on campus, amid new allegations a controversial professor has made "racist and transphobic comments" in class.

Critics and supporters of associate professor Rick Mehta have come forward after Acadia University in Nova Scotia launched an investigation following complaints from students, faculty and others about his polarizing views.

A group of Canadian professors dedicated to the defence of academic freedom have condemned the Acadia probe, while Mehta's designated department head says some students at the Wolfville school say they have stopped attending his class because of his comments.

Margaret Wente: You can't say that on campus

The outspoken psychology scholar has made comments about a range of contentious issues including decolonization, immigration, and gender politics.

While his defenders say his voice is an antidote to political correctness run amok, his critics say he attacks marginalized people and perpetuate harmful stereotypes. The situation has exposed the challenge facing universities of balancing the open exchange of ideas with the responsibility of keeping students safe and supported.

Mark Mercer, president of the Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship, said in a letter Friday that Mehta's views may be unpopular but they do not constitute an attack on anyone.

"I have read many of Dr. Mehta's postings and it is difficult to see how anything in them could be construed as discriminatory or harassing," he said in the letter to Acadia's vice-president academic, Heather Hemming. "If Dr. Mehta's ideas are false or pernicious, they could be shown to be so through discussion and better ideas."

Mercer, professor and chair of the philosophy department at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, added in an email that the investigation is a "frontal assault on academic freedom" and warned that investigating a professor for the content of his opinions would cast a chill over campus debates.

Other professors have also spoken out against the investigation, as well as changes to Mehta's teaching allocation assigning him smaller courses.


Monday, March 12, 2018

British supermarket re-names Mother’s Day as You Day in bid to be more gender neutral

2A SUPERMARKET has started selling gender-neutral Mother’s Day cards – as Happy You Day -  in an attempt to be more “transgender inclusive”.

Waitrose has dropped the M-word from some of the Mother’s Day cards it sells and replaced the wording with “Happy You Day” as part of its range on offer to shoppers.

Waitrose said the move was aimed at “broadening out who the cards can go to, whether it’s grandmas or transgender mums”.

Traditional cards are still sold by the upmarket grocery chain.

The supermarket is not the only retailer to have offered a wider selection of cards than the traditional Mother’s Day cards.

Scribbler offers a “Two mums are better than one” card for same-sex couples and a “Dad, thanks for being the most amazing mum” card.

The changes come after some trans activists called for the renaming of Mother’s Day. Suggestions have included Guardian’s Day and Carer’s Day


One State Shows How To Get Rid of Campus Free Speech Zones

Many colleges and universities have “free speech zones” where students can speak their minds without fear of administrative reprisal. Outside of the zone, however, speech is subject to censure by campus officials. The speech zone concept is a means for campus bureaucrats to clamp down on something they dislike, namely conflict. If speech is only free on a tiny percentage of the campus, there is less likelihood of clash between students.

Speech zones also give them a measure of control since access to the zone is often a matter of discretion.

But just because the speech zone concept appeals to campus officials, that doesn’t make it a good, much less legal policy. Why should students have to stifle their desire to speak about some issue just because they aren’t within the free speech zone? That is hardly compatible with a free society or a robust educational experience.

Moreover, public colleges and universities are constrained by the First Amendment. Their officials are not allowed to impinge upon the freedom of speech unless they have a compelling reason for doing so. The courts have upheld sensible time, place, and manner restrictions on speech, but have taken a dim view of broad rules against speech. Schools that have imposed free speech zones have repeatedly lost when their policies were challenged in court – for example, the University of Cincinnati, which was ordered to stop enforcing its speech zone policy by a federal judge in 2012.

And still, officials keep imposing speech zones, assuming that they have nothing to lose. Creating a speech zone is not going to cause officials any harm if it is later declared illegal. There are no fines or other penalties for trampling upon student First Amendment rights, so campus authorities think, “We might as well give it a try.”

Rather than fighting these battles one campus at a time, it would be far better for state legislators to step in, exert their authority, and declare that no college or university they fund will adopt a speech zone. And that is just what the Florida legislature has done. On March 5, the state senate passed a bill (the Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act) that would prevent officials at state universities from establishing free speech zones.

Quoted in this Washington Times story, the bill’s sponsor, Senator Bob Rommel, said, “I have received thousands and thousands of calls from students that feel their right to speak freely where they want to in outside areas has been infringed upon, and how can they stand up to the big university when they’re just a student struggling to get by.” Under the bill, all outdoor areas on campus would be designated “traditional public forums.”

Commenting on the bill, Demetrius Minor, the Florida coalitions director for Generation Opportunity, said, “(Officials) rationalize these restrictions by claiming they are for the safety and security of students. In reality, they are an abasement of everything that a university education is supposed to be about.”


Sunday, March 11, 2018

UK: Is it now a thoughtcrime to hate Islam?

Why you shouldn’t be cheering the jailing of Britain First’s leaders.

Is it a crime now to be hostile to the Muslim faith? Reading some of the media reporting of the jailing yesterday of Britain First leaders Jayda Fransen and Paul Golding for religiously aggravated harassment, it would seem so. Fransen and Golding were sentenced to 36 weeks and 18 weeks respectively at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court for a leafleting and online-video campaign in which, among other things, they yelled at Muslims going about their daily business in Kent, wrongly accused some people of being suspects in a Kent gang-rape case involving Muslim migrants, and caused distress to young people, young Muslims, who witnessed their behaviour. Horrible. Media reports inform us that they have now been imprisoned because, in the words of the judge, ‘they “demonstrated hostility” to Muslims and the Muslim faith’.

Demonstrated hostility to the Muslim faith? Our response to that should be: so what? In a free country, you should be perfectly at liberty to ‘demonstrate hostility’ to the Muslim faith. And any other religion, or creed, or god, or ideology. Indeed, the right not to believe, the right to blaspheme, the right to ‘demonstrate hostility’ to religion, are hard-won liberties. People died for this. The fact that the media this morning – including the Telegraph, the Guardian and the BBC – are all using the exact same formulation of ‘demonstrated hostility to Muslims and the Muslim faith’ to describe why Fransen and Golding are going to jail, and the fact that this isn’t ringing any alarm bells in public discussion, is a terrifying indicator of how thoroughly we now accept that people’s views on religion ought to be a matter for state control and possibly state repression.

The judge’s actual words were that Fransen and Golding had ‘demonstrated hostility’ to ‘people of the Muslim faith’ in their harassing, obsessive campaign around that Kent rape case. That is, to Muslims. But it is not surprising in the least that the media have reported this as ‘hostility to the Muslim faith’, nor that much of the media think it is acceptable to punish people for demonstrating such hostility, because the trial absolutely was concerned with Fransen’s and Golding’s views on Islam. That is clear from the fact that they were convicted of ‘religiously aggravated harassment’. That is, they weren’t merely punished for harassing people. They were also punished for what they were thinking as they harassed these people, in essence for what they believe: that Islam is bad and Muslims are dangerous. They weren’t only punished for what they did but also for what they thought. There’s a word for that: thoughtcrime.


The Bari Weiss controversy

Glenn Greenwald writes:

"AFTER THE NEW YORK TIMES last April hired Bari Weiss to write for and edit its op-ed page, I wrote a long article detailing her history of pro-Israel activism and, especially, her involvement in numerous campaigns to vilify and ruin the careers of several Arab and Muslim professors due to their criticisms of Israel. I chose to profile Weiss’s history because (a) the simultaneous hiring of Bret Stephens generated so much controversy that Weiss’s hiring was ignored, even though it was clear her hiring would be more influential since she would be not just writing but also commissioning articles for that highly influential op-ed page; (b) the NYT was justifying these hires on the grounds of “diversity,” even though hiring hardcore, pro-Israel activists for that page (which has no Muslim columnists) was the literal opposite of diversity; and, most of all, (c) Weiss was masquerading as an opponent of viewpoint intolerance on college campuses even though her entire career had been built on trying to suppress, stigmatize, and punish academic criticisms of Israel."

What Greenwald does not mention is that Palestinian scholars regularly reinvent history.  They deny, for instance, any historic connection of the Jews to Israel!  Such frauds deserve all the denunciation they can get and Weiss did a good job of that. Lies are not protected free speech and a university finding out that its teachers are peddling lies SHOULD discipline the professors concerned.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Stanford denies new College Republicans logo — because it includes American flag

Stanford University College Republicans seeking to print their new logo on T-shirts have been told their design does not pass muster with the private institution’s trademark office because the image incorporates the American flag, according to an email from the office.

“Stanford does not approve the use of the American (or other flag on product also featuring our trademarks (including the Stanford name) [sic],” states a recent email to the GOP group’s financial officer from Kara Hegwood, a trademark licensing associate at Stanford University.

“We can approve red/white/blue themed product but cannot approve this design which features altered version of the flag in the background of the design, and within the initials for the organization name. I note you feature a different design on your website – we would be able to approve that design on product,” Hegwood added.

Hegwood, as well as Stanford media affairs officials, did not respond to emails and phone calls Tuesday from The College Fix seeking comment and clarification. It’s unclear which policy Hegwood is referring to, as a lengthy trademark guide on the university’s website does not appear to mention flags, according to a word search of the online resource.

The Stanford College Republicans financial officer, John Rice-Cameron, said Tuesday in an interview with The College Fix that he is not satisfied with the denial he received from the trademark office.

Earlier this week he sent Hegwood an email asking why Stanford refuses to associate itself with the American flag, he said.

He said he does not want to use the old logo (seen at left), calling the new one a “kick-ass design.”

“The [new] logo is emblematic of our club,” he said. “It shows we are willing to boldly promote conservatism.”

The Stanford College Republicans have begun using the image of the aggressive elephant in front of the stars and stripes on its Facebook page.

Rice-Cameron said his group needs to get approval for the Stanford College Republicans logo to be printed and used on T-shirts since that design includes the school’s namebrand. He said he is not willing to use the old logo, which Hegwood had suggested in her email.

“I’d like this design to be it,” he said of the new image.


Chilling Sommers: Another Blow to Discourse

Among contemporary public intellectuals, Christina Hoff Sommers is among the most attacked by our illiberal Left. In the latest episode, student groups at Lewis and Clark Law School this week protested Sommers’ Federalist Society talk. Prior to her talk, these groups released a joint statement titled “Refuse Fascism in All Its Forms,” voicing concern over “a troubling event,” (Sommers’ planned lecture) which is “an act of aggression and violence.” The statement urges the school community to join in, “not to facilitate ‘discourse,’ but in solidarity with the voices that are systematically silenced.”

The video of the protest is, frankly, cringe-worthy and embarrassing. What took center stage was not Sommers but students carrying flaccid cardboard signs accompanied by a woman with the words “Stay Woke” printed on the back of her jacket. She appeared to be the group’s leader since she was the one who read a series of statements, which then proceeded to be repeated by the rest of this group of “enlightened” social justice warriors. Maybe she and her “comrades,” as she called them, should have taken the words “Stay Woke” to heart because they looked rather lethargic and phlegmatic.

Sommers was polite, gave them time to speak, and then called on them to have a debate and to reason with each other. But she was repeatedly rejected and silenced. These supposedly tolerant individuals were not interested in reasoning or having a dialogue. In fact, they obviously lacked the capacity and the requisite intelligence to reason—otherwise they would have found a different way to communicate with Sommers. It is fairly obvious they would fail spectacularly at reasoned argumentation because their statements are not based on reality or facts. No matter how many times they repeat and chant that “microaggressions are real,” the truth is they are not.

As much as Sommers is used to this kind of treatment, it should not be accepted. The protesters caused a disruption in what was supposed to be a lecture followed by a question and answer session. The Woke-Pod People chose an entirely different form of expression, which is incompatible with an intellectual presentation whose purpose is to create a discussion about the issue at hand.

Protests like these have become a habit in American schools, and it’s time to put a stop to this utter idiocy. But what can be done? What should Sommers have done? She was put in an awkward and unenviable position. Her approach to dialogue was admirable but arguing with fools is not a productive task.

Maybe we should take a page from Trump’s book. I recall an experience at a Trump rally in fall 2016. As soon as Trump started to talk, a group of students formed a chain, sat down, and broke out in an anti-fascist rant. In his usual fashion, Trump didn’t waste much time on it. “Here we go, it started already,” he said. “Go home to your mom’s basement,” continued Trump nonchalantly. With a sweeping gesture he said “Get ’em outta here.” Without any violence, police escorted the students out. Unfazed, Trump continued to deliver his speech.

Is this strategy even possible at a university? After all, the students at Lewis and Clark Law School were not the only ones bearing the mark of culpability. The school’s Dean of Diversity (whatever that means) told Sommers to speed up her lecture, effectively siding with the protesting students. Should Sommers have called out the dean publicly? Should she have left?


Thursday, March 08, 2018

Must not disrespect incompetent police

In the wake of the Parkland school shooting, police and prosecutors are trying to determine what constitutes a credible threat. In a video posted to YouTube called "School Shooter," a local rapper insulted police and referred to recent mass casualty events. Now he's facing a legal battle and a potential long prison sentence.

But many local attorneys argue that police and prosecutors are overstepping, and infringing on protected speech.


Antifa mob shuts down Yaron Brook event at London college  

An Antifa mob stormed a lecture hall at the King’s College in London Monday night, forcing an Ayn Rand Institute event to be evacuated.

Video taken at the event shows individuals in masks and bandanas, brandishing an antifa flag, storming the lecture hall as a fire alarm goes off. Students started yelling and at one point a man punches an antifa disrupter in the face.

The interrupted discussion was between Dr. Yaron Brook, chairman of the board of directors of the Ayn Rand Institute, and YouTube personality Sargon of Akkad. According to the Ayn Rand Institute, the event was to be a “discussion about Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism” and the conversation was to “be followed by a question and answer period.”

Violent protests also erupted outside the event hall, which led the college to bar all non-student ticket holders from attending the event. The Ayn Rand Institute estimates the hosting student group, King’s Libertarian Society, was forced to turn away roughly 200 external ticket holders.

"I strongly feel the university caved into the antifa protesters. They need to protect free speech and not prevent people from joining peacefully. They changed criteria just 2.5 hours prior to the event despite it having been scheduled for months. I am very disappointed in an institution a top university in the world acting cowardly like this," Switzer Haagensen continued.

The rioting was not spontaneous. A Facebook event to protest Brook's talk was organized by the KCL Socialist Students, Intersectional Feminist Society, Kashmir Solidarity Movement, KCL LGBT+, KCL Action Palestine Society, KCL Justice For Cleaners, and the Demilitarise King's campaign.


Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Think I’m offensive? Have you met any millennials?

By English humorist, Giles Coren

According to a story in Thursday’s Times, a handbook has at last been published offering judges “advice in how to avoid giving offence”.

So what the Judicial College is looking to stamp out now, as the noose tightens around those who would seek to upset their fellow humans with outrageous prejudice, are words like “Afro-Caribbean” (which I didn’t know was actively offensive but is a mouthful and I’d never say it anyway), “transsexual” (which I assumed was fine but should apparently be “trans person”), “ethnic minority” (which I truly thought was just a description of when one ethnic group is outnumbered by another), and “postman”, which is obviously downright bloody disgusting fascist language and must be stamped out now, or we will soon be in a situation like Germany in 1933, with postmen first being denied marriage licences and council flats, then being hounded into special “postie” ghettos, then “relocated in the East” and ultimately marched to their deaths in the gas chambers of Poland — all of which, the Equal Treatment Bench Book asserts, can be avoided by merely calling them “postal operatives” instead. So a big “phew” for that.

And speaking of gas chambers, they are also looking to stamp out the word “Jew” on account of its “potentially negative connotations”. So does that mean I am not one any more? I mean, it’s great that judges are being told not to chase me down the street throwing rashers of bacon at me, shouting “Jew! Jew! Jew!”, because frankly I have had enough of that, but if it’s at the expense of my using the only word I can think of to describe my racial identity then maybe I’m not such a big winner after all.

And “Jew” is my racial identity only, by the way. I do not practise. I am a “Jew” only in the way that a black person is black. Although with more counting money and less dancing. Is that racist? Yes. But only because I said “Jew”, according to the handbook. What I should have said was “Jewish person”. Because that is MASSIVELY different.

The political correctness movement did a wonderful thing from the mid-1980s onwards to change the language used about groups who had suffered years of bigotry. But changing the focus of language did not reduce the sum total of hate. You can’t do that.

Telling a blind person — as the handbook recommends — that she is “a person with sensory impairment” does not give her back her sight.

I have always been hated. As a child I was called “squinty” and “short arse” (my sister and I get along fine now). And in my early years on The Times, if I wrote something people disagreed with, and they took the trouble to complain in writing, they would always come round to the Jew thing in the end.

That stuff doesn’t happen any more. In ten years on social media, nobody has ever called me a y**. Or even a Jewish person. But every time I write something that the millennials don’t like, they pour forth a stream of personal abuse centred around such new disentitlements as being “privileged”, “cis male”, “Oxbridge” and “public school”, all of them accidents of birth which my abusers believe should disqualify me from work in the media.

When I write something angry they ask, “U okay hon?” which, in case you didn’t know, is the modern way of suggesting that a person is experiencing mental health issues. It is exactly the same as calling someone with depression a “spastic in the head”. It’s just new words for an old thing. No less hate.

And when the swarms of millennials who will misread this piece for a defence of bigotry set about snarling “privileged, public school, cisgender male!” at me, they will do it — just like the tribal Labour supporter who yells “Tory scum!” with a venom that passes way beyond the realm of political dissent — with every ounce as much hatred as any black-shirted Mosleyite ever shouted “n***er!” or “p*ki!”

So I’m going to say to the judges: burn your stupid handbooks (although not in a Nazi way) and just show respect for your fellow humans. And if that leads to a Holocaust of the postmen, well . . . my bad.


Facebook's Fake Fact-Checkers Bust The Babylon Bee

One of our favorite satire sites, The Babylon Bee, recently ran a humorous story entitled "CNN purchases industrial-sized washing machine to spin news before publication." Hours later, Adam Ford, the Bee's founder, received a notice from Facebook warning that his story had been flagged as false content by its "independent fact-checker" Snopes. Furthermore, the social media giant threatened, "Repeat offenders will see their distribution reduced and their ability to monetize and advertised removed."

To say the least, Ford was surprised — not over being "fact-checked," as this was not the first time that Snopes has "fact-checked" The Babylon Bee, but rather by the action taken by Facebook. Ford stated, "This is the first time Facebook has used that to threaten us with reduced reach and demonetization." He added, "Also it seems that anyone who clicked on the article got a notice that it was 'disputed.'"

Hours later, after suffering a fully deserved barrage of blowback and mockery, Facebook later admitted its action was a mistake: "There's a difference between false news and satire. This was a mistake and should not have been rated false in our system. It's since been corrected and won't count against the domain in any way."


Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Mankind, guys, love and darling: The 'gender-inappropriate' words Qantas has banned its staff from using

Australian airline Qantas has told staff to use 'gender appropriate' terms and avoid saying 'husband and wife' because it may offend the LGBTI community.

Qantas' People and Culture group executive Lesley Grant issued an information booklet detailing how to make employees feel more comfortable at work in line with the airline's Spirit of Inclusion month, The Daily Telegraph reported.

It asks employees to stop using words such as 'honey, darling and love' because they have the capacity to offend.

It also advises staff to use 'partner' instead of husband and wife, and 'parents' instead of mum and dad because it could exclude LGBTI families.

The pack asks Qantas workers to not use gender-inappropriate terms such as mankind or fireman.

The information states: 'Language can make groups of people invisible. For example, the use of the term chairman can reinforce the idea that leaders are always men.'

'Words like love, honey or darling, even when used as terms of endearment, often offend. In the workplace, it is best to avoid these sorts of words.'

Ms Grant told staff she wants the work environment at Qantas to be a place 'everyone feels comfortable to bring their whole selves to work'.

The material was produced by the Diversity Council of Australia, Qantas told The Daily Telegraph.


Tear down this statue

Ah, Marion Barry, the template of the Democrat party since the 1990’s. This Democrat mayor of Washington DC who was caught on video smoking crack in the 1980’s now has a statue erected in his “honor” on Pennsvania Avenue. And guess who pays for it? We the tax payers. What’s next? A statue of Peter Strzok?

Barry, a Democrat, served four terms as mayor of DC from 1979 to 1991 and again from 1995 to 1999. He served several terms as a member of the D.C. City Council and did so until his death in 2014.

Barry rose to national attention after the FBI filmed him in 1990 smoking crack cocaine with a former girlfriend, as part of a sting operation. His defense after being arrested was, “Bitch set me up.”

After his release from prison in 1992, he ran again in 1994 and won in what was considered an impressive political comeback, the Associated Press reports.


Monday, March 05, 2018

Stone Age Statue Was Too Racy for Facebook

A pudgy little figure with wide hips and ample breasts, the Venus of Willendorf was discovered in 1908 but originally dates to the Stone Age. One of the oldest surviving art works in the world, the limestone sculpture now resides in Vienna's Natural History Museum, where a woman named Laura Ghianda snapped a pic last December and then posted the image to Facebook.

It was promptly removed. A notice from Facebook explained that the naked figure was inappropriate for the social site.

According to the company's official policy, "photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depicts nude figures" are allowed. But despite four attempts by Ghianda to appeal the image's removal, Facebook wouldn't budge.

The Natural History Museum also appealed to Facebook. "There has never been a complaint by visitors concerning the nakedness of the figurine," Christian Koeberl, the museum's director general, posted in January. "There is no cover the Venus of Willendorf and hide her nudity, neither in the museum nor on social media."

The museum's plea also failed to get a reaction from Facebook. But after news media began running with the story this week, the company finally caved. On Thursday, a spokesperson for the company told AFP that it had been a mistake to censor the Venus of Willendorf's image and apologized for the error.

This is far from the first time the site has censored artistic depictions of nudity (sometimes even leading to a user's account being banned from Facebook entirely), and surely won't be the last.


Meet Speech First, a New Combatant in the Campus Free Speech Wars

A brand new legal organization has joined the fight to defend free expression on college campuses.

Speech First, which plans to sue universities for violating students' free speech rights, announced its arrival on Wednesday. Its president is Nicole Neily, a former executive director of the Independent Women's Forum and manager of external relations for the Cato Institute.

"When students' speech rights on campus are violated, it's tough to fight back," Neily said in a statement. "A lone student doesn't stand a chance against a school with a huge endowment and an army of lawyers. It's a real David versus Goliath situation. That's why Speech First was created."

Speech First is a membership organization for students, faculty, parents, alumni, and concerned citizens. Members pay a one-time $5 fee, which connects them to a network of people "who are fighting to preserve the freedom of speech on college campuses, according to the organization's website.

In the future, the group will be filing lawsuits in defense of students' First Amendment on specific campuses, in the same vein as the work being done by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and the Alliance Defending Freedom. There are certainly enough free speech violations on campuses each year to justify the existence of multiple legal defense groups concentrated on the issue. And as a membership organization, Speech First is structured slightly differently than those other organizations, Neily tells me.

"That was done intentionally, because we wanted to capitalize on the real groundswell of support behind free speech from all walks of life—not just students, but also parents, alumni, and concerned citizens," she says. "By channeling that enthusiasm, we're able to show students that there's an army of people behind them—and to convey to schools that there's an army that is passionate about defending speech rights."


Sunday, March 04, 2018

Conservative Nonprofit PragerU Is Suing Google for Alleged Discrimination

Prager University, a conservative nonprofit that creates educational videos, is suing Google for allegedly discriminating against the digital media organization for its fairly moderate ideological slant.

Specifically, PragerU is accusing YouTube, which is owned by Google parent company Alphabet, of restricting or “demonetizing” videos even though they all appear to be innocuous and compliant with the platform’s rules.

PragerU’s videos include former and current professors and scholars from Stanford, Harvard, and Yale, like Alan Dershowitz; prominent athletes like Cobi Jones; popular celebrities like Mike Rowe; and influential figures like Steve Forbes. The majority of the people featured—sans political commentator Dinesh D’Souza—are not usually considered exceptionally controversial. Neither are a lot of the topics, some of which are likely studied in classrooms across the country.

Topics include “Is the Death Penalty Moral” and “The Progressive Income Tax.”

“If you’ve seen any of our videos, they’re very educational, and are very appropriate for ‘young viewers,’” said Craig Strazzeri, chief marketing officer for PragerU, addressing accusations from Google.

YouTube’s help page clarifies that videos containing certain “mature content” will be blocked for users who employ a “Restricted Mode,” a voluntary option in most cases.

Types of content that is obstructed for those viewers include:

Drugs and alcohol
Sexual situations
Mature subjects
Profane and mature language
Incendiary and demeaning content

The primary problem with Restricted Mode for PragerU is it’s often not optional for users who are part of or using a larger network, such as the ones operated by schools, libraries, and public institutions.

Demonetization, a less menacing term for revoking sponsorship and thus ad revenue, is another way YouTube can clamp down on content creators, such as what’s being done to PragerU. As the founder of the Internet Creators Guild, Hank Green, notes, making money off of YouTube is no longer an elusive endeavor only afforded to a fraction of the most creative and popular; it is now a legitimate way for some people to earn a steady income, or at least some supplementary funds.

To put this fact into context, Green explains how nowadays there are roughly 300,000 content creators that garner over 100,000 views a month and consequently earn roughly $2,500 a year. And for 1 million views, there are reportedly around 37,000 YouTubers who hit that mark every month.

By demonetizing and restricting a total of 50 videos, PragerU claims that YouTube is targeting it for its relative ideological differences, while also equating it to unlawful censorship and discrimination against its right to freedom of speech.


A beloved gorilla statue in a Texas park has been removed by officials after some complained that it was 'racially insensitive'

The caged statue had been a center piece at the park in Corsicana, south of Dallas, for two decades before it was taken away on Monday.

Corsicana Mayor Don Denbow had the 500-pound gorilla removed after receiving about 45 complaints.

'It was determined to be potentially racially insensitive,' the mayor said when he announced the decision. 

'This was brought to our attention by a few citizens. The circumstances were evaluated and determined to be valid.'

The removal of the statue prompted immediate backlash on social media and outraged residents started a makeshift memorial for the gorilla at the empty cage.

One man even sat on top of the cage on Wednesday and refused to move until the gorilla was returned, according to KXXV.

Residents had also planned to hold a candlelight vigil on Wednesday night in honor of the gorilla.

The mayor and city officials folded to pressure late on Wednesday following the widespread backlash and protests.


Friday, March 02, 2018

Even conservative advertising is too much for some liberals

I am now running a think tank/conservative activist organization, Center of the American Experiment. This year, we have enough room in our growing budget to promote our web site and do some institutional advertising. So if you live in Minnesota, you are likely to see an ad for our web site if you visit the Drudge Report, InstaPundit or Power Line.

We have also bought advertising on the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s site. In effect, we sponsor the Strib’s Opinion section with a big, beautiful banner ad. It isn’t there all the time; there are some other banner advertisers. But it seems that most of the time, you see something like this:

It appears that the Star Tribune’s willingness to take our advertising dollars infuriated some of its liberal readers, who perhaps view the paper’s Opinion section as their private preserve. Thus, this morning the Strib’s Scott Gillespie, who I believe chairs the paper’s editorial board and is responsible for the Opinion section, sent a message to all those who subscribe to the Opinion section via email:

Gillespie’s response was entirely appropriate, and I am sure our good relationship with the Star Tribune will continue, as will our policy disagreements.

But what to make of the liberals who protested against the paper’s accepting our money and publishing an entirely inoffensive ad that publicizes our existence and suggests a visit to our web site? The answer, I think, is that many liberals are arrogant and entitled. These people seriously believe they have the right, not to argue with us, but to drive us out of the public square–in effect, out of existence. To demand that we not be heard, even when we are willing to pay.

But what we see here is one small illustration of an important phenomenon. Liberals don’t usually try to argue with conservatives, because they generally lose. They seem to have figured that out. So instead, they try to shut us up. To make what we say inadmissible. To drive us underground, or better yet, out of existence. The arrogance of the Left knows no bounds.


Google tried censoring 'gun' shopping searches. It backfired
In the wake of the Florida school shooting, Google decided to take a stand. The gatekeeper of the Internet decided to filter shopping searches that included the term “gun.” It didn't go so well.

Early Tuesday morning, Internet shoppers started noticing and documenting the digital gaffes. Users received error notices when they searched for glue guns and water guns, toy guns and airsoft guns, nail guns and nerf guns. The algorithm is apparently so strict that even the color "burgundy" triggered an error because it includes "gun" in the spelling.

This set off something of a parlor game on social media. Turns out, adults don’t like it when faceless bureaucrats try enforcing arbitrary restrictions — federal, corporate, or otherwise.

Casey “Stable Genius” Smith found that Google now censors “Laguna Beach."

Technousayt observed that the beloved Tom Cruise film about beach volleyball, “Top Gun,” also could not be found.

KingPrewyoko noticed that a search for American hard-rock super-group Velvet Revolver did not return any results. Neither did searches for the Sex Pistols, the Indianapolis Colts, or the word “trifle."

The benevolent nanny nerds at Google quickly began cleaning up their mistake. Many of the search terms had been restored by the early evening, but not before an important lesson was learned: Attempts to coddle adults will always backfire.

Granted, Google is a private company. If they think they can help keep our streets safe by banning the sale of guns and gun-related paraphernalia on their website, go for it.

But is that effective? No, not at all.

As the Washington Post noted half a decade ago, it’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to purchase a firearm through the world wide web. Even the most upstanding citizen can’t log on, make a purchase, and then lock and load. They can make the purchase, but then the gun has to be shipped to a licensed firearm dealer and they still have to go through a background check. By design, it's a laborious process.

So, in the end, Google’s war on the gun was really quite silly and pointless. The virtue-signaling stunt only exposed their own stupidity.


Thursday, March 01, 2018

Ben Shapiro speech University of Minnesota's St. Paul campus

A helicopter hummed overhead and barricades ringed the student center where Ben Shapiro spoke on his Monday night visit to the University of Minnesota's St. Paul campus.

A couple dozen protestors assembled outside to greet the conservative speaker with a familiar refrain of protest chants and charges of fascism. While the turnout was meager, security was tight, with the police geared up for a scenario similar to Shapiro’s visit to Berkeley in September, which drew hundreds of protestors and led to nine arrests.

“We’re besieged because of our views,” said student Abdi Mohamed, who was unable to get into the event. “We have to have this militaristic guard just to share a couple opinions.”

Those protestors who did show up were met by a flock of press, with local news outlets vying for quotes from each sign-toting student. After a few rounds of chanting, the group started to march about the St. Paul campus, and unceremoniously dissipated

“There are a hundred police officers," Shapiro told a full house of 400, "that were necessary to protect you guys and to protect me so that I can say conservative things."


Hooray! Universities support free speech about guns

So you can give a talk there in support of President Trump's gun proposals?  You'd be risking your life to try

In a rare act of solidarity, several universities are voicing their support for applicants who participate in protests for stricter gun control.

Schools like Yale, MIT, Boston University, and others have issued statements explicitly stating that those who stage demonstrations against pro-gun laws will not have their admissions jeopardized, should their high schools penalize them for peaceful protests. In a now-viral tweet, The Brown University Office of College Admission stated:

@BrownUAdmission Applicants to Brown: Expect a socially conscious, intellectually independent campus where freedom of expression is fundamentally important. You can be assured that peaceful, responsible protests against gun violence will not negatively impact decisions on admission to Brown.

This comes as survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and other high school students are organizing rallies, media interviews, and school walkouts to protest gun violence.

In response, several high school administrations issued warnings to students that any participation in such demonstrations, such as the National School Walkout Day, during school hours will result in disciplinary action. In fact, the Needville Independent School District in Texas promised three days of suspension for those who decided to protest.

But students need not fear; they now have universities on their side.

While it’s encouraging to see “universities” and “free speech” in the same headline, only half the work is done if college administrations don’t go to the same lengths to protect speech with which they might disagree.

It’s refreshing that colleges are finally standing up for free speech. It’s disconcerting that they only tend to do so for students who share their political views. Many of these same universities have stood idly by as conservative groups have found their First Amendment rights put on the backburner.


Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Twitter’s War On Conservatives

In the social media giant’s never-ending effort to purge itself of “fake news” it deleted thousands, if not millions  Aja Smith for Congressof accounts on Tuesday night.

Among our friends who were caught in the Twitter purge were former Secret Service agent, author and Fox News contributor Dan Bongino (@dbongino) and California Republican congressional candidate Aja Smith (@AjaforCongress).

Bongino, host of one of the net’s hottest podcasts, The Dan Bongino Show by CRTV (available on Apple Podcasts), also appears on NRA TV and has been deemed ineligible to buy ads by Twitter based on what Twitter calls “inappropriate content.”

Bongino tweeted out this protest after the social media giant’s faceless judge, jury and executioner algorithm banned him from promoting his content:

I’m respectful of your time & I don’t ask for help that often,but I need your help now. @Twitter is discriminating against conservative voices & banned me,& many others,from posting ads while wiping out 1000s of followers.Please follow & spread the word.

Family oriented country music star Benton Blount (@bentonblount) responded that he too had been hit:

In the mean time on the west coast, Republican candidate for California’s Congressional District 41, Aja Smith (@AjaforCongress) an Air Force veteran who has been doggedly pursuing scandal-plagued Democrat Rep. Mark Takano, was locked out of her Twitter account for being, wait for it, a bot.

That’s right, Twitter’s algorithm identified one of the handful of American veterans running for Congress as a potential Russian bot and locked her account.

As of this writing @AjaforCongress is back online, but there’s no guarantee that as the campaign heats up Twitter won’t drop another bomb on Smith or any other conservative candidate.


Supreme Court considers free speech vs. retaliatory arrests

Fane Lozman contends he was wrongly prevented from speaking at a city council meeting through an arrest on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting

MIAMI — A Florida man who already won an improbable victory before the U.S. Supreme Court is hoping legal lightning strikes twice in a First Amendment case pitting police powers of arrest against the right to speak freely and protest.

Oral arguments are scheduled Tuesday in Fane Lozman's lawsuit against the City of Riviera Beach, which is just north of West Palm Beach. Lozman contends he was wrongly prevented from speaking at a 2006 city council meeting through an arrest on bogus charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest that were later dropped.

The officer apparently concluded that Lozman was about to create a disturbance, so that was enough probable cause, according to court papers.

"There's nothing to preclude elected officials and police to do this anytime they want when they don't like the content of someone's speech. There's no accountability," Lozman said in an interview. "It intimidates the public and they say it's not worth participating in our democracy."

Numerous First Amendment and media organizations, including The Associated Press, have filed "friend-of-the-court" briefs supporting Lozman's position.


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Must not say that toothy Prime Ministers are attractive

Viewers have slammed 60 Minutes [TV] reporter Charles Wooley after he called Jacinda Ardern 'attractive' in what has been labelled a 'patronising' and 'repugnant' interview.

Speaking to the New Zealand Prime Minister on 60 Minutes on Sunday night, Mr Wooley said 'I've met a lot of Prime Ministers in my time, but none too young and not so many so smart, and never one so attractive'.

After the episode aired, scores of offended viewers flocked to Twitter to share their outrage.

'Commenting on Jacinda Ardern's level of attractiveness doesn't seem to be at all relevant to her ability as a nation's leader,' one woman said.

'Absolutely cringeworthy. The things women have to put up with,' another said.

Viewers also questioned Mr Wooley's general approach to the interview.

'Charles Wooley interviewing Jacinda Ardern on 60 Minutes would have to go down as the most patronising interview for a long time,' one critic said.

'"I've met a lot of Prime Ministers in my time, none as good looking". Imagine a woman reporter saying that about a man.'

Another critic said the tone of the interview left him 'gagging'.


Must not offer traditional black food on black history month

Two Aramark employees have been fired by the food service after preparing a meal at NYU during Black History Month that was deemed racially "insensitive."

According to CBS News, the two employees were fired as a result of a complaint by a sophomore, who says she confronted the head cook about the "racially insensitive" meal but was "lied to" and ultimately "ignored." The meal, the student claimed in a Facebook post, consisted of barbecue ribs, collard greens, watermelon-flavored water, Kool-Aid, and mac and cheese.

"Sophomore Nia Harris, who is black, said the head cook dismissed her objections and told her black employees planned the menu," reports CBS News. "She posted about the menu and her experience on Facebook, saying she 'was lied to, placated, and ignored.'"

"This is what it's like to be a black student at New York University," Nia wrote in her Facebook post. "You go to a dining hall during February and you see 'Black History Month Meal' plastered outside the entrance. You walk inside the dining hall only to find ribs, collard greens, and mac and cheese.

"In 2018 I literally had to explain why displaying watermelon and koolaid in celebration of Black History Month was not only racially insensitive but just ignorant."