Sunday, September 20, 2020


Facebook Censors Pro-Trump Ad After Fact-Checker Admits Claim May Be True

Amid pressure from left-wing activists and media outlets to clamp down on “misinformation” from the right, Facebook has begun censoring political ads that receive negative fact-checks — fact-checks that are produced by mostly left-leaning fact-checkers and that mostly target right-leaning ads. In at least two new cases, these fact-checks do not actually check facts — they instead merely state that factually true claims are “missing context,” then downgrade the ads.

The danger of this political speech-silencing policy by the social media giant — which nearly 70% of Americans use and where more than 40% read their news — is on full display in the case of the censoring of the pro-Trump 30-second political ad “Too Risky.”

The ad launched on Aug. 4 before getting slapped with a “mostly false” rating by PolitiFact and subsequently blocked by Facebook. The ad directly quotes Biden declaring, “If you elect me, your taxes are going to be raised, not cut,” and warns that his plan will raise taxes “on all income groups.”

The overarching problem of curbing political speech aside, was America First actually guilty of pushing a “mostly false” message in the ad? No. And to confirm this, we need look no further than the very fact check that resulted in the silencing of the pro-Trump organization.

The fact check actually reveals in its first few paragraphs that its own rating is wrong. First, it openly acknowledges that experts have concluded that Biden’s plan will result in higher taxes in all income groups. “[S]ome tax experts estimate that Biden’s plan would mean higher taxes on average for all income groups,” the fact-checker admits.

So how does PolitiFact rationalize its “mostly false” rating? The fact-checker subjectively accuses the PAC of not giving the audience for the 30-second ad enough “context” and giving the wrong “impression” about what Biden meant.

PolitiFact then assures the reader, the “biggest earners” will be harder hit by Biden’s plan than lower income groups, whose increases “would be relatively small.”

In other words, PolitiFact uses a Democratic talking point about the rich paying more in an attempt to distract from the fact that the ad’s claim is actually true.

SOURCE

Why Did Fox News Protect George Soros?

Did I just see that correctly on Wednesday? Fox News shut down former House Speaker Newt Gingrich because…he said something totally correct? Yeah, they did. Well, Melissa Francis and Fox News contributor Marie Harf did when Mr. Gingrich mentioned that a lot of these district attorneys who have been soft on crime in our cities were elected with money from George Soros.

The segment was about how the summer of leftist rioting has been the costliest in U.S. history, totaling over $1 billion in damages. And yet, we have thugs, some of whom are wanted for murder, being released days after they’re arrested by police. It doesn’t help that these progressive attorneys are not doing their job in putting these violent rioters away.

Gingrich brought this point up, as the rioting is virtually a Democratic problem given that the mayhem has mostly engulfed Democratic-run cities. It’s still raging, especially on the Left Coast.

Francis said that there was no reason to bring up the Soros connection for some reason, which Harf, a hardcore liberal, agreed. She even said that this wasn’t true. Well, we have the receipts.

And yes, Soros did pour millions into these local races. Robby Starbuck had an excellent thread teaching the Soros cash, where the left-winger poured some $800,000 into one small New York DA race alone. What’s even more embarrassing is that Fox News actually covered the Soros connection regarding these district attorneys in July:

It’s no wonder why Gingrich was shocked as to why he was being muzzled for telling a fact. I think he’s owed an apology.

SOURCE

Friday, September 18, 2020


YouTube Censors a Trump Adviser

Big Tech is fully invested in defeating Donald Trump in November.

What is surprising, though, are the depths to which Google and YouTube will stoop to silence those with whom they disagree. It’s one thing, for example, for Facebook to de-platform a provocative conspiracy theorist like Alex Jones. It’s another thing, however, for YouTube to remove a June 23 Hoover Institution interview with Dr. Scott Atlas, the noted author and former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center and an official adviser to President Donald Trump.

As The Wall Street Journal’s James Freeman asks, “Does cancel culture now dictate that Americans must be denied sensible medical information? Google parent Alphabet’s YouTube division seems to have blocked a White House medical adviser’s analysis because it conflicts with the flawed pronouncements of a U.N. bureaucracy.”

But back to Dr. Atlas. What remarks of his did YouTube find so awful, so deeply disturbing, so terribly threatening to the health of the American people and their brothers and sisters around the globe? This: “Dr. Atlas has been making the case in print and in other media that we as a society have overreacted in imposing draconian restrictions on movement, gatherings, schools, sports, and other activities. He is not a COVID-19 denier — he believes the virus is a real threat and should be managed as such. But, as Dr. Atlas argues, there are some age groups and activities that are subject to very low risk. The one-size-fits-all approach we are currently using is overly authoritarian, inefficient, and not based in science.

A thoughtful reader might note that these remarks have aged remarkably well, especially given that Atlas made them nearly three months ago. That reader might also note that these remarks sound as if they might’ve been made by Donald Trump himself, albeit in a more combative way.

SOURCE

Controversial call to officially rename New Zealand

The name New Zealand could be no more, if a general election promise comes to fruition.

The cities of Wellington and Christchurch could also have their British derived names axed under the proposals.

But the suggestion has not gone down well with a rival political party.

Kiwis go to the polls on October 17 after the previous election date of September 23 was postponed due to a new outbreak of coronavirus in the country’s major city of Auckland last month.

The Jacinda Ardern-led Labor Party is aiming to retain power boosted by its pandemic response with the ultimate prize being able to govern in its own right and not in coalition. The opposition National Party is hoping to cause an upset with its focus on rebuilding the post-COVID economy.

However it’s another issue which has caused headlines this week – what the country is called.

The Maori Party has said if it won power it would change the country’s official name to Aotearoa within six years.

More than that, all towns and cities with “pakeha” (European) names would lose them by 2026. The capital of Wellington would become Te Whanganui-a-Tara with Christchurch known as Ōtautahi.

However, the proposal has been rubbished by leader of the New Zealand First Party and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters who said it was “separatism” and politicians should be focusing on jobs and education in the wake of the pandemic.

NZ First governs in coalition with Labor.

“This is plain headline hunting without any regard to the cost to this country,” Mr Peters wrote on Twitter. “It will make our international marketing brand extraordinarily confusing when exports will be critical to our economic survival.”

SOURCE

Thursday, September 17, 2020


Facebook bans conservative election ad attacking transgender girls in sport

A conservative political action committee has slammed an “absurd” decision by Facebook to ban an election ad that attacked transgender girls participating in school sports.

The ad from the American Principles Project takes aim at incumbent Michigan Democratic Senator Gary Peters and presidential nominee Joe Biden over their support for the Equality Act, a wide-ranging LGBTQ rights bill.

Republicans have focused on the fact that the bill would allow transgender students to compete on school sports teams based on their gender identity.

The controversial issue is currently the subject of several court battles in the US.

“All female athletes want is a fair shot at competition, at a scholarship, at a title, at victory,” the ad’s voiceover says.

“But what if that shot was taken away by a competitor who claims to be a girl but was born a boy? Senator Gary Peters and Joe Biden support legislation that would destroy girls’ sports. They call it equality. Really? That’s not fair. Not fair at all. Vote against Gary Peters and Joe Biden. They are too extreme for Michigan.”

According to the APP, which is spending $US4 million ($5.5 million) on the campaign, Facebook initially applied a “missing context” warning label before blocking the ad outright.

“Full-on censorship,” the group tweeted on Tuesday.

The notice from Facebook warned viewers that “independent fact-checkers at PolitiFact” had found information in the post “is missing context and could mislead people”.

SOURCE


Must not say a woman looks like a pornstar



Entercom Chicago’s Dan McNeil was let go on Wednesday after tweeting a screenshot of ESPN’s Maria Taylor during Tuesday’s broadcast of the New York Giants’ home opener against the Steelers.

McNeil accompanied the image of Taylor with the caption: “NFL sideline reporter or a host for the AVN (Adult Video News) annual awards presentation?”

The tweet, which had been captured by Awful Announcing, has since been deleted.

Taylor, 33, who had just wrapped the first NFL game of her career, fired back at McNeil, calling out his “sexist comments.”

“Well Danny Dearest if you would like to continue making sexist comments about me … please bring your misogyny with you to the NBA Countdown double-header I’ll be hosting tomorrow night. Hey ladies remember you can wear whatever you feel confident in!” Taylor tweeted, adding McNeil’s Twitter handle, as well as the handle of his radio show, Chicago’s 670 The Score.

She was backed by New Orleans Saints player Demario Davis. “100 per cent unacceptable! It’s time for men to stand up, respect and defend our women. 1st of all, put some respect on Maria Taylor’s name. 2nd of all, Maria Taylor is family … dude don’t want them problems,” Davis tweeted.

Taylor also received support from fellow media personalities, including former ESPN star Jemele Hill and Taylor Rooks.

“Just another example of what women have to go through in this business. Huge accomplishment for Maria to be part of the Monday Night Football team tonight and here comes an asshole trying to undermine a big moment in her career,” Hill tweeted.

SOURCE


Wednesday, September 16, 2020


JK Rowling’s career declared ‘dead’

J.K. Rowling fans are out for blood. The author, 55, has penned a book called Troubled Blood slated for release this week about a male serial killer who dresses as a woman while on violent killing sprees.

A day before the book’s release, fans and foes lambasted Rowling, who has previously made a slew of controversial comments about the transgender community, and declared her “dead” by sending #RIPJKRowling to the top of the Twitter trending charts.

Other fans were initially confused as to why the R.I.P. hashtag was trending while some even seemed to believe it. One Twitter user was amused that the social-media giant actually had to clarify Rowling was not dead in the trending section explanation.

Troubled Blood follows a private detective, Cormoran Strike, as he investigates a cisgender male serial killer who dons women’s clothing to kill female victims. Using the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, it’s the fifth book in Rowling’s Cormoran Strike series using the pen name.

“One wonders what critics of Rowling’s stance on trans issues will make of a book whose moral seems to be: never trust a man in a dress.”

In June, Rowling defended past controversial transphobic comments in a lengthy essay, which also revealed that she was sexually assaulted as a young woman.

“I’m concerned about the huge explosion in young women wishing to transition and also about the increasing numbers who seem to be detransitioning (returning to their original sex), because they regret taking steps that have, in some cases, altered their bodies irrevocably, and taken away their fertility,” she wrote.

She and 100 other writers and scholars also penned an essay calling for the end of cancel culture, citing an “intolerance of opposing views,” in July.

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The case for cultural appropriation

In her book, Who Owns Culture?, the American lawyer Susan Scafidi argues that wearing a dress belonging to another culture without permission from a member of that group constitutes ‘appropriation’, but doing the same with permission – for instance, when an Indian family invites one to the Diwali festival and asks one to dress in a sari – is appreciation.

In contrast, in The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity, the cultural theorist Kwame Anthony Appiah argues that the idea of cultural essentialism is ripe for the waste bin. Not least because ‘all cultural practices and objects are mobile; they like to spread, and almost all are themselves creations of intermixture’. To speak of cultural ownership, therefore, is to invoke the tired language of intellectual property employed by large corporations; it stymies cultural interaction among peoples.

In my view, the Boasian view gets it right: the charge of cultural appropriation is an empty one since every culture is the product of other cultures. Consider language, one of the main components of culture. Every language has borrowed from other languages. What would Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, French and Italian languages be without Vulgar Latin, from which they evolved? As West Germanic languages, English, German, Dutch, Afrikaans, Yiddish and Luxembourgish share, to varying degrees, common terms, syntax and semantics.

By the same token, the pidgins, creoles and patois that exist in many former European colonies are derivatives of their European counterparts. These languages are the cumulative result of diffusion and modification; they all spring from processes of cultural borrowing.

The demarcation between ‘cultural insiders’ and ‘cultural outsiders’ is problematic, too. Determining ‘cultural membership’ risks creating racial divisions. People would be excluded from participating in a particular cultural practice simply because they do not satisfy a rigid cultural understanding of group membership.

To claim cultural authenticity, and thus make culture an intellectual property, is to bar humanity from borrowing the best practices and ideas from around the world. Yoga is of Indian origin but it has spread far and wide. It would make no sense for people to abandon Yoga just because of its ancient Indian origin.

To be blunt, we need more rather than less cultural appropriation in order to promote global understanding and make the world a better place. We must refuse to subscribe to a view of culture that depicts borrowing as antithetical to human progress. The Persian poet Rumi advised that we should ‘come to the root of the root of ourselves’. Surely, our cultural borrowings are our roots? Adele’s donning of Bantu knots should be celebrated as a sign of our interconnectedness, not demonised as sinful ‘appropriation’.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2020


Lockdown critic gets  censored

Professor Gupta came to prominence earlier this year when she questioned the government’s reliance on the Imperial College London modelling of the coronavirus epidemic. Professor Gupta and her team produced modelling that posited a greater number of Britons could have immunity to the virus than thought. She has been a longstanding critic of the wider impacts of lockdown on the poorest in society and across the world.

Praising the return of schoolchildren to the classroom, she said that while children might transmit the virus, trade offs have to be made and that “we can take strong measures” to still protect the vulnerable who need to shield.

But Professor Gupta also revealed the toll of her different approach. “We’ve found it difficult to publish our work in mainstream journals,” she said, adding “sadly anything that deviates from the consensus has been met with criticism – not simply of the science, but we’ve been labelled as saying things that are dangerous.

SOURCE

Monday, September 14, 2020


Pennsylvania professor is put on leave after he was caught telling students it was fine to use the N-word 'in a pedagogical sense'

A Pennsylvania professor has been put on leave after footage showed him saying the n-word in class and telling students it was fine to use the racial slur 'in a pedagogical sense'.

Duquesne University Professor Gary Shank was placed on paid leave pending an investigation over his alleged use of the racist language during a virtual class Thursday.

A video of the incident, posted on Twitter Friday, revealed the professor telling students he was 'giving them permission' to use the n-word in the lesson and telling them it 'was a very commonly used word' when he was young.

He is also heard telling the class people would throw around the term 'n****r rich' if they had some extra cash and asks students whether the term is still used today.

The shocking footage was shared on social media by someone thought to be a student in the professor's educational psychology class.

It shows a tablet screen with a slide presentation titled 'Race (from a cultural sense)' and reading: 'Based on perceived physical differences. Values assigned to race is cultural not physical.'

'I'm giving you permission to use the word okay,' a man believed to be Shank is heard saying.

'Because we're using the word in a pedagogical sense.'

He then asks: 'What's the one word about race that we're not allowed to use?'

When met with silence, he continues: 'I'll give you a hint - it begins with 'n'.

'It's even hard to say okay - I'll tell you the word.'

He then reinforces that he is only using the word to 'make a point'.

Duquesne University said in a statement to CBS News that an investigation was underway and Shank had been placed on paid leave in the meantime.

Another professor will take over the course, the private Catholic university in Pittsburgh added.

Shank's profile has also been taken down from the university's website.

SOURCE


Aussie missionary in England caught up in lgbt row

Josh Williamson is an Australian Baptist missionary, pastoring a small church in Newquay, Cornwall. He is also the subject of front-page news in his adopted town after a row erupted between him and local LGBT activists. As a result a local Labour councillor wants him deported back to Australia.

Williamson has been warned by police to keep his views in a “safe environment” after the row escalated on social media with suggestions or threats to burn down his church, hold sexual orgies there, and community boycotts. Devon and Cornwall police have told him he could be breaking the law if he offends the local LGBT community, according to Christian Concern,  a UK Christian lobby group.

The dispute began when Williamson responded to a local news service report that a Cornwall pride event, Rainbow Fest, had been cancelled with a comment “wonderful news!” on the “Cornwall Live” facebook page.

“Asked by an online user why the news was wonderful, he responded saying ‘because I don’t think sin should be celebrated.’ Answering further questions on his views he quoted from the book of John, James, and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11,” Christian Concern reported.

SOURCE

Sunday, September 13, 2020


Facebook suppresses speech, denies due process in Kyle Rittenhouse case

As we know, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse attended the riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and fatally shot two people and wounded a third.

He drove the 15 minutes from his home in Illinois to Kenosha in what he said was an effort to help defend the business of someone who had called them for help, amid widespread protests and arson after a white Kenosha police officer shot a Black man on Aug. 23. 

During the incident, Rittenhouse, who brought a first-aid kit with him, was pursued by the crowd and ran away from rioters, fell to the ground and was then confronted by one man who tried to grab his AR 15 rifle, whom he shot. He killed a second person, who hit him with a skateboard and tried to take his gun. He then fired on a third person who was carrying a weapon, hitting that person in the arm. I believe there is evidence he acted in self-defense.

These facts are obviously going to be disputed and all of this will be worked out in court.

However, Facebook has decided to ban, in a blanket fashion, any expressions by its over 500 million users in “praise and support” of Rittenhouse, including any links to contribute to his legal defense. Most disappointing is that Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has previously stated the platform would protect free expression and not suppress speech.

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Another Example of Big Tech's Censorship Double Standard

We have long noted the censorship practices of the Big Tech social media companies and their clear bias against conservative content creators — or, more accurately, their bias against anyone who doesn't conform to the Left's social and political ideology. Content creators have regularly criticized Google, Facebook, and Twitter for their censorship practices, often bringing up the fact that Big Tech's application of its own content standards is rife with hypocrisy.

Big Tech has once again practically flaunted that double standard, refusing to pull a political ad that engaged not only in overt misrepresentation but in outright deception. Now, this wouldn't be an issue if Facebook and Twitter hadn't declared that they would police and censor any political ads that promoted "misinformation." However, having created this policy, one would think they'd at least attempt to apply the rule fairly — especially if an obviously fake political ad is brought to their attention. Instead, both companies showed just how in the tank they are for Joe Biden.

And the excuse they used to justify not pulling the deceitful Biden-endorsing ad? It was obvious satire, so it can stay.

The original Trump campaign ad that circulated last month depicts a woman silently flipping through a serious of cue cards in which she notes several of Biden's leftist policies, concluding with the final two cards stating, "I'm afraid to say this out loud," and, "I won't risk my children's future with Biden."

Using the same exact ad, an anti-Trump group known as the Republican Voters Against Trump manipulated and modified the message on the cue cards the woman flips. Now, she appears to say that voting for Trump in 2016 "was the biggest mistake of my life." The final two cards read, "I'm not afraid to say it out loud anymore," followed by, "I'm voting for Joe Biden in November."

There is no obvious indication that the ad is intended as satire — because it's not satire. It's a clear instance of propaganda, and it's precisely the type of political disinformation that supposedly motivated Big Tech companies to set themselves up as the "facts" police. When organizations seek to control and limit speech rather than promote and protect it, they inevitably end up promoting disinformation while they claim to be protecting people from it.

SOURCE




Friday, September 11, 2020


Muslims Demand Church Remove “Bigoted” Signs, Pastor Has Good Reply…

The Belmont Drive Missionary Baptist Church has a bold message for the citizens in Hood River, Oregon and let’s just say that Muslims and liberals are losing their minds over it!

The churches outside reader boards display 2 messages. One says, “Wake up Christians. Allah is not our God. Muhammad not greater than Jesus.” The other says, “Only the bible is God’s word. “Holy book.” Koran is just another book.”

Of course the signs have brought out the bleeding heart liberals in droves. Eric Cohn is one of them who said, “I literally had to stop and back up and make sure I saw what I saw and I was profoundly offended and upset by it.” He said he couldn’t believe what he was reading.

What’s he so upset about?

And then there’s the Hood River Mayor, Paul Blackburn who said, “I was really annoyed and sad.”

Lol- sad. Sad about what? You should be MAD that we have to put messages out in the first place. It didn’t used to be like this but in case you haven’t noticed, we are being inundated with Muslims not to mention ISLAMIC TERRORISTS THAT ARE DETERMINED TO KILL EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US INFIDELS YOU MORON!

“I am annoyed that in this political season there’s a solid case of ugly going on. I think it norms up this kind of behavior like ‘oh it’s okay to be a bigot now,'” he said.

Wait a minute. Call me crazy but I see nothing bigoted about these signs. I will agree with him about “a solid case of ugly” this political season. Take a look below:

A solid case of ugly

Both men are concerned the sign sends the wrong message about their town. Cohn was so worried he even wrote a letter to the editor of the local paper, Stephen Mayer at KATU 2 reports.

“This one guy wrote in here that I’m a terrorists almost. You ought to see what he put in here!” Pastor Michael Harrington said as he read from the letter.

Harrington is defending the messages he put on the sign. He says everyone is over-reacting. That’s what liberals do.

He says, “I’m not politically correct. I’ve never been politically correct, but I think I’m Biblically correct and that’s what matters to me.”

He also insists that he doesn’t hate Muslims and he is trying to educate people about the real GOD.

“It isn’t against any particular denomination. It’s just the fact that I have taught and will continue to teach that I have one God, one way of salvation, and one Bible that’s holy,” he said.

Harrington says he won’t take down the messages until next month which is when his new messages go up. He also invited anyone that wants to discuss the matter with him to his church and talk about it over coffee and donuts!

Nice job my man. Stick your guns! We have your back.

SOURCE



Apple commits to freedom of speech after criticism of China censorship

Apple has for the first time published a human rights policy that commits to respecting “freedom of information and expression”, following years of criticism that it bows to demands from Beijing and carries out censorship in mainland China, Tibet, Xinjiang and Hong Kong.

Apple’s board of directors approved the policy and quietly published it ahead of a deadline of September 5 for shareholders to submit motions for next year’s investor meeting.

The four-page document, cited here for the first time, tries to walk a fine line between upholding human rights while conceding that Apple is “required to comply with local laws” in authoritarian countries.

The document said Apple is “committed to respecting the human rights of everyone whose lives we touch — including our employees, suppliers, contractors and customers”. Its approach is based on the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

But it does not mention any particular country, nor does it refer to high-profile dilemmas like what to do when China, the world’s largest smartphone market, asks it to ban apps that help users evade censorship and surveillance.

The Apple policy merely states: “Where national law and international human rights standards differ, we follow the higher standard. Where they are in conflict, we respect national law while seeking to respect the principles of internationally recognised human rights.”

But Sondhya Gupta, campaign manager at SumOfUs, a consumer advocacy group, called Apple’s move “a breakthrough moment” following shareholder pressure.

The iPhone maker’s commitment comes seven months after two-fifths of its shareholders defied management and supported a SumOfUs proposal that would have compelled it to uphold freedom of expression globally. Apple had tried to strike the proposal from the agenda but was denied by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

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Thursday, September 10, 2020


UK: University of Warwick rules Sociology professor’s alleged antisemitic comments as “free speech”

Leftist speech generally passes muster.  It is conservative speech that gets condemned

The University of Warwick has ruled a Sociology professor’s alleged antisemitic comments to fall within “the principles and values of tolerance and free speech”, following an investigation.

The original investigation into Dr Osuri began following a lecture delivered on 12 November 2019, where she described claims of antisemitism in the Labour Party as “very much an Israeli lobby kind of idea, the idea that you want to discredit the Labour Party because there is support for Palestine among some members of the Labour Party”.

A formal complaint was made by Angus Taylor, President of the Warwick Jewish Israeli Society (JISoc) and was immediately escalated to Stage 2, which required an investigation led by the Head of the Sociology Department, Dr Virinder Kalra.

Following the allegations made against Dr Osuri, over 40 students from Warwick’s Sociology department signed an open letter in solidarity with her.

The investigation found that the “objective interpretation” of the comments made by Dr Osuri “holds within the principles and values of tolerance and free speech”.

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Tedx London sparks fury over decision to replace 'woman' with 'womxn' to be 'more inclusive' - with critics saying it's 'nonsense' and 'trying to be fashionable'

Tedx London, a volunteer-led organisation that holds regular events with TED-style talks, is facing fierce criticism after replacing the word woman with 'womxn'.

The organisation used the term on social media posts announcing its forthcoming programme of autumn events, and later said the word had been used because its 'more inclusive and progressive'.

However, the decision has sparked a swathe of negative comments, with critics saying not using the term woman is 'misogynistic' and questioning how you might pronounce 'womxn'.

The phrase is thought to have been originally devised by radical feminists who wanted a term for women that wasn't defined by the word men. In more recent years, it's been used as a term that includes women who aren't cis-gender.

After the word began to trend on Twitter, Tedx London clarified its position, saying: 'That's not a typo: 'womxn' is a spelling of 'women' that’s more inclusive and progressive.

'The term sheds light on the prejudice, discrimination, and institutional barriers womxn have faced, and explicitly includes non-cisgender women.'

According to its website, Tedx London is a volunteer-led organisation with a mission to 'encourage dialogue and engagement, create inclusive spaces and foster debate and discussion that continues long after our events' in the UK capital.

It runs TED-style talks but its events are independently organised.

Recent speakers at Tedx London events include Havard sociology lecturer Dr Jonathan Mijs, intersex activist Susannah Temko and model and cultural commentator Jamie Windust.

However, many of the comments that followed the post were critical.

Transgender television presenter India Willoughby wrote: 'On behalf of every trans woman in history that has actually transitioned, please shut up. These people are nutters. Ignore them.'

@Opzoek99 wrote: 'I'm a woman. I have always been a woman. I have 'woman parts'. I am feminine. There are 7.8 billion people on this planet, over half of them are women. WOMEN!! Not womxn. Don't make up silly words.'

@MForstater added: 'Women is fine. Womxn sheds no light. It is neither inclusive nor progressive to use unpronounceable buzzwords and suggest that female people don't have a name already.'

SOURCE

Wednesday, September 09, 2020


State Bar of Texas attacking free speech

Steve Fischer

Lawyers have always been at the forefront, protecting freedom of speech. The Bill of Rights and much of our U.S. Constitution were written by lawyers. In Texas, our 1876 Constitution and guarantees of free speech were promulgated by attorney and former Gov. Richard Coke.

Today, however, I am dismayed and disgusted as The State Bar of Texas with the backing of some of our 106,000 lawyers, is trying to censure and remove State Bar President Larry McDougal for exercising his free speech. We have had several "emergency" meetings and another one is scheduled for Sept. 10.

In 2015, McDougal opined “Black Lives Matter” was a terrorist organization. He later authored a legal opinion, where he concluded that BLM T-shirts at a polling station were illegal. While I disagree, they have nothing to do with the State Bar. In 2015, he was not even considering a bar office.

Lawyers, all possessing graduate degrees, are screaming “racist” at anyone who defends McDougal. In several Facebook attorney-only discussion groups, anyone who supports him is muted or removed.

What is racist? State Bar Director Carra Miller representing Corpus Christi and Victoria, believes the definition is generational. Older people believe a statement must have bigoted intent to be racist. The younger generations are result-oriented and condemn statements with a racist effect.

Can someone attack an organization such as Black Lives Matter without being bigoted against Blacks? Those who actually know McDougal swear he is not racist. These are difficult issues, and in today’s heightened racial climate, there is little intelligent discourse as accusations of racist, especially if the recipient is white, are guaranteed social media “likes” and applause. Conservative-free speech attorneys stay hidden. When asked to speak out, they decline.

I’m a Democrat and generally liberal on social issues, however, the right to free speech, even for conservative viewpoints, is paramount to a democratic society. Those who demand McDougal’s censure and removal reluctantly concede the existence of a First Amendment but claim there are “consequences” and demand he must pay. “Consequences?" There is no free speech, if by exercising it, he is removed or censured from the office to which he was elected.

SOURCE


Australia: Kyle Sandilands 'overstepped the mark' with Virgin Mary comments, says watchdog

Commercial radio presenter Kyle Sandilands breached standards of decency with last year's on-air comments about the Virgin Mary, according to a ruling handed down this week by the Australian media watchdog.

The remarks were made in September 2019, with Sandilands questioning whether the Virgin Mary was indeed a virgin and suggesting people who believe in the Bible's story of immaculate conception were "dumb as dog s---".

Australian Communications and Media Authority chair Nerida O'Loughlin said the broadcast offended religious listeners as well as the wider community. However, claims the broadcast incited hatred and ridicule towards Christians were not upheld.

ACMA examined 180 complaints as part of its investigation. In comparison, just over 125 complaints were scrutinised in regards to Alan Jones' comments in August last year about New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

"Australians are generally tolerant of irreverent humour and critical discussion about religion," Ms O'Loughlin said. "But they would not expect a host of a broadcast program to derisively criticise people's intelligence because of their religious beliefs.

"Mr Sandilands overstepped the mark in terms of the generally accepted standards of decency in this case."

A spokeswoman for ARN, the owner of radio stations KIIS, WSFM and Gold, said the broadcaster accepted the findings.

SOURCE



Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Anti-Islam protests in Sweden and Norway spark debate on free speech

Recent anti-Islam protests in Sweden and Norway have sparked debate over the limits on freedom of expression.

Last weekend saw a night of rioting in the Swedish city of Malmo after members of a far-right group set fire to a copy of the Quran.

Police in Sweden have tried to crack down on anti-Islam protests — not because they're illegal, but for public safety concerns.

Days later in Oslo, protesters outside the country's parliament tore up pages of the Muslim religious text and spat on them.

Norway's prime minister denounced the actions as "hurtful" to people living in the country but defended the group's right to express their views.

But what are the limits of free speech and freedom of expression? Our reporter Per Bergfors Nyberg in Stockholm says that's a question authorities are still trying to answer.

SOURCE








Australia: Safe spaces, pronouns in email signatures and don't say 'guys': Inside the PC training sessions where bureaucrats are told not to use the words 'husband' and 'wife'

Bureaucrats in NSW have been encouraged to adopt politically correct language and avoid using phrases such as 'husband and wife' and 'ladies and gentlemen'.

NSW treasury workers, who are amidst the state's worst economic crisis in almost a century, have also been urged to include their preferred pronouns in their email signatures.

But the focus on inclusive language has been slammed by One Nation MP Mark Latham, who believes there are greater issues to battle through during the coronavirus pandemic.

Staff received an official message from NSW Treasury's Economic Strategy Deputy Secretary Joann Wilkie following a training day in line with 'Wear It Purple', The Daily Telegraph reported.

The note detailed 'some of the things we can all do to help create a safe space' in the workplace.

'Things like adding a pronoun preference to your signature block,' she wrote.

'And not assuming when you're talking to a colleague that they are heterosexual/cisgendered/endosex, so use 'partner' rather than 'wife' or 'husband' and use an introduction like 'welcome folks' rather than 'hi guys' (I need to work on this one) or 'good morning ladies and gentlemen'.'

Mr Latham said treasury staff's priority should be on non-stop job creation as Australia struggles through a recession.

He said the notion of needing a safe space is 'ridiculous' and claimed Ms Wilkie would be on $250,000 a year while working in one of the 'safest' offices in the country.

'She should do her day job of 'economic strategy and productivity' instead of insulting the thousands of business owners who have closed down and the hundreds of thousands of workers who have lost their jobs with her work priority of safe spaces and PC-word training,' Mr Latham said.

IPA western civilisation program director Bella d'Abrera agreed with the One Nation MP's comments. Ms d'Abrera said treasury staff should focus on getting Australians back to work rather than whether they say 'wife' or 'husband'.

National accounts data released last week confirmed national GDP collapsed by seven per cent in the June quarter and around 6.3 per cent in the 12 months to June.

The 8.6 per cent decline in NSW for the June quarter was the worst of all states and territories and the worst in the state's history.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet told the publication all large organisations have plans for inclusion as staff should be treated with respect and feel safe in the workplace.

Treasury has been instructed to focus on preparing the budget, creating jobs and supporting business, he added.  

SOURCE




Monday, September 07, 2020

UK: It's time to fight back against the woke war on language

When I heard of the latest instalment in the Sussexes’ ongoing crusade to keep out of the public eye, this time through a multi-million pound Netflix deal, my mind immediately ran to George Orwell. Why him? Apart from attending the same boarding school as Prince Harry, these are not, perhaps, obvious bedfellows. No prizes for guessing what Orwell, a keen pricker of hypocrisy and lover of traditional British fare, would have made of the Sussexes’ performative worthiness and attempts to out-Goop Gwyneth Paltrow. But he would have shuddered with particular vigour at their choice of language.

Earlier in the week, the Sussexes spoke of a desire to broadcast “stories and issues that resonate with them personally... enabling a more compassionate and equitable world”. “Netflix’s unprecedented reach” they added, “will help us share impactful content that unlocks action” Impactful? Equitable? Unlocking action? We are all familiar with this kind of meaningless, self-serving jargon; and generally groan at it, but there is often deliberate intent involved; to obscure the speaker’s motives or fundamental lack of vision. In the Sussexes’ case, their Messianic language conceals a misplaced sense of victimhood.

The march of corporatese undermines public and private life. Much of what passes for activism today involves thinking or talking (sorry, “ideating” or “interfacing”) about abstract notions like empowerment, rather than any real empowering. It’s not just progressives either; Ivanka Trump is a repeat offender. Meanwhile, dry, bureaucratic language, drained of emotion and humanity, has rapidly infected HR departments, and LinkedIn lingo has become universal. Compared to some of the howlers we now endure, “going forward” seems inoffensive by comparison.

All this may grate, but its main role is to absolve responsibility; HR bods invariably talk of “off-boarding” and “streamlining” when they really mean “firing people”. Orwell cautioned against deliberate vagueness; such language, he warned, can never adequately explain what it describes. In the public sphere, it can be catastrophic. Politicians of course use it all the time; mostly to disguise their own failures, hence the preference for “challenges” over “problems” and “cost-savings” over “cuts”. Just last week, Matt Hancock gave a masterclass on the Today Programme, weaseling about the test and trace system’s “operational difficulties”.

We dwell on the most overt attempts to control language and redefine meaning, such as the BBC’s description of “largely peaceful protests” which left scores of policemen in hospital. These may enrage, but at least the intention is so clear, the execution so clumsy, that they rarely go unnoticed for long. Corporatese, however, is often so uninspiring that listeners simply zone out, letting the speaker get away with appalling logical leaps, their flawed ideas unchallenged.

SOURCE



Brexiteer praises PM for Abbott's appointment amid 'politically correct' row

BREXITEER Alex Phillips praised Boris Johnson for his decision to appoint former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to the role of adviser to the UK Board of Trade as she claimed political correctness could not get in the way of Brexit Britain's success.

Speaking to TalkRADIO, the former Brexit Party MEP claimed people should not be too "lily-livered" about Tony Abbott's controversial past statements and embrace the appointment of a man that has a lot of experience doing trade deals. Ms Phillips reminded her radio listeners the former Australian Prime Minister has always been a huge supporter of Brexit and of Britain's trading powers as an independent nation.

"I don't think we need to be too lily-livered about something that might be regarded as problematic because it's not politically correct that he might have said years ago."

Mr Abbott's appointment has sparked a heated reaction in some quarters, with critics saying he is well known for holding misogynistic and homophobic views, as well as drawing attention to his scepticism on climate change.

SOURCE


Sunday, September 06, 2020


Vanderbilt professor docks student for not agreeing that the Constitution is white supremacist

A student at Vanderbilt University was docked points on a quiz Tuesday for rejecting the statement that “the Constitution [was] designed to perpetuate white supremacy and protect the institution of slavery,” according to screenshots of the quiz result.

According to Kara Zupkus of the Young America’s Foundation (YAF), the required quiz was part of a class on the 2020 U.S. elections taught by university professors Josh Clinton, Eunji Kim, Dean John Geer, and Jon Meacham, the same Jon Meacham who spoke on behalf of former Vice President Joe Biden at Democrats’ virtual convention just two weeks ago.

According to YAF, the class syllabus deems the course “the largest class that Vanderbilt has ever taught.”

Vanderbilt University did not immediately respond to The Federalist’s request for comment.

The idea that the U.S. Constitution was designed to perpetuate racial oppression is a core message of the left’s cultural revolution to re-write history, most notably embedded in The New York Times’ anti-American “1619 Project.” That project is now in thousands of U.S. public school classrooms.

SOURCE



USC Professor Placed on Leave after Black Students Complained His Pronunciation of a Chinese Word Affected Their Mental Health

What a lot of BS!  Africans commonly use the word themselves

The University of Southern California has placed a communications professor on leave after a group of black MBA candidates threatened to drop his class rather than “endure the emotional exhaustion of carrying on with an instructor that disregards cultural diversity and sensitivities” following the instructor’s use, while teaching, of a Chinese word that sounds like a racial slur.

Greg Patton, a professor at the university’s Marshall School of Business, was giving a lecture about the use of “filler words” in speech during a recent online class when he used the word in question, saying, “If you have a lot of ‘ums and errs,’ this is culturally specific, so based on your native language. Like in China, the common word is ‘that, that, that.’ So in China it might be ‘nèi ge, nèi ge, nèi ge.’”

In an August 21 email to university administration obtained by National Review, students accused the professor of pronouncing the word like the N-word “approximately five times” during the lesson in each of his three communication classes and said he “offended all of the Black members of our Class.”

The students, who identified themselves as “Black MBA Candidates c/o 2022” wrote that they had reached out to Chinese classmates as they were “appalled” by what they had heard.

“It was confirmed that the pronunciation of this word is much different than what Professor Patton described in class,” the students wrote. “The word is most commonly used with a pause in between both syllables. In addition, we have lived abroad in China and have taken Chinese language courses at several colleges and this phrase, clearly and precisely before instruction is always identified as a phonetic homonym and a racial derogatory term, and should be carefully used, especially in the context of speaking Chinese within the social context of the United States.”

The students accused the professor of displaying “negligence and disregard” in using the word and said he “conveniently stop[ped] the zoom recording right before saying the word,” calling his actions calculated.

“Our mental health has been affected,” the group continued. “It is an uneasy feeling allowing him to have the power over our grades. We would rather not take his course than to endure the emotional exhaustion of carrying on with an instructor that disregards cultural diversity and sensitivities and by extension creates an unwelcome environment for us Black students.”

In response, Dean Geoff Garrett apologized for the professor’s use of a “Chinese word that sounds very similar to a vile racial slur in English,” in an email on August 24 obtained by National Review, saying “understandably, this caused great pain and upset among students.”

“I am deeply saddened by this disturbing episode that has caused such anguish and trauma,” he said.

The dean announced that a new instructor would immediately take over instruction for the remainder of the class.

“I have since learned there are regional differences, yet I have always heard and pronounced the word as ‘naaga’ rhyming with ‘dega,'” the professor wrote.

He added that the transcript of the session records his pronunciation as “naga” and that his pronunciation of the word comes from time spent in Shanghai.

[Shanghainese is different from Mandarin or Cantonese  -- JR]

“Given the difference in sounds, accent, context and language, I did not connect this in the moment to any English words and certainly not any racial slur,” he wrote

SOURCE

Friday, September 04, 2020


BBC U-turn: Rule, Britannia! will be sung at Last Night of the Proms

The broadcaster has announced that a 'select group of BBC Singers' will sing the words to both Rule, Britannia! and Land of Hope and Glory

The BBC’s new director-general on Wednesday reversed the ban on the singing of Rule, Britannia! at The Last Night of the Proms ,and even encouraged the nation to sing along.

On just his second day in post, Tim Davie ordered the U-turn amid criticism of the corporation over claims that the lyrics to Rule Britannia! and Land of Hope and Glory had been ditched over their associations with slavery and British colonialism.

In a statement, the BBC said the initial decision not to sing the patriotic anthems had been taken because of  coronavirus restrictions but that after “looking hard at what else might be possible we have a solution”.

In place of a full choir, the BBC had now decided to put in place a “select group of singers” who will sing the pieces inside the Royal Albert Hall with “audiences free to sing along at home”.

The broadcaster will provide subtitles for viewers so they can join in and is also planning to light up the Royal Albert Hall in red, white and blue in a further outward demonstration of its patriotic intent.

Some of the lyrics deemed controversial in the songs include the Rule, Britannia! line: "Britons never, never, never shall be slaves”.

SOURCE



Who's next?

How long will we citizens who love our country neglect to hold the media accountable for its deliberate malfeasance? Understand that I firmly support First Amendment rights. We need a FREE press, which is supposed to hold government in check. It's doing that, but only if the elected officials are Republican. Democrats apparently don't need to be held accountable because they're the good guys.

The malfeasance I'm talking about is when the media deliberately and willfully distorts a story to accomplish a political end. There's a long list of examples. Let me just start with two very recent incidents.

Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, is a good example. The public saw a short cellphone video of police shooting a black man in the back. End of story? Once again, evil policemen hunt down and murder an innocent black man. Get the story out there, watch the city burn, and blame President Donald Trump.

The WHOLE story is much different. From further accounts, police were responding to a call from a woman who had been sexually assaulted by Blake, and he was violating a protective order. Blake fought with the officers, had one in a chokehold, and, after being tased unsuccessfully twice, continued fighting while holding or reaching for a knife. But you didn't see that part of the incident.

Kenosha burns, minority businesses are destroyed, and people are dead. Why? Because the media had to propagate a narrative to show America that the police and, by association, Trump are racist. The destruction and deaths are acceptable collateral damage.

George Floyd is another example. The entire Black Lives Matter and antifa riots are allegedly because of his death. We saw video of Floyd on the ground saying "I can't breathe" for eight minutes. Why the officer had his knee on Floyd is unclear. But the resulting firestorm has led to dozens of deaths, over 1,500 police officers injured, and when all is said and done, billions of dollars in damage.

The country did NOT see the video of the initial confrontation and Floyd's refusal to comply, but according to reports, before he was even taken into custody, he was struggling to breathe. You probably didn't hear the results of Floyd's autopsy. Fentanyl is a deadly drug and, according to the coroner's report, Floyd had excessive amounts in his body. According to the autopsy, he was dying before the police even arrived. Unfortunately, the police officer gave the media the sound bite it needed by his stupidity. But from the autopsy, it's at least questionable whether he killed Floyd.

How long will the media be allowed to lie, distort truth, and fan the flames of outrage and hatred? It's costing innocent people their lives and destroying the economies of mostly minority communities. I guess it'll continue until the media gets Trump out of office.

SOURCE


Thursday, September 03, 2020


The Left Admits It Cannot Win a Fair Fight

It relies on silencing people

If there's one thing to be said about the attempt by New York Attorney General Letitia James to dissolve the National Rifle Association, it's this: It's a concession about the Left's lack of arguments in favor of restricting our right to keep and bear arms. Don't get us wrong — this attack on the NRA is a frightening abuse of government power, and if it succeeds, the precedent could be used against other gun-rights groups at first, then expanded to just about any conservative group. But the big message is that the Left has given up on ideas in favor of sheer power to scream "shut up!"

That expansion could be what James and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo intended all along. But does anyone really think James would be trying to dissolve the NRA if she had winning arguments in favor of gun control? Would Cuomo have waged his campaign, using Parkland as a pretext, if he were successfully persuading Americans to support his anti-Second Amendment agenda?

Let's look back over the past decade and that pattern can be seen elsewhere. When the Tea Party was raising concerns about the reach of government and how much was being spent, did Barack Obama have counterarguments? If he did, he must have not been confident in their ability to carry the day. Why? The IRS instead targeted the Tea Party for harassment.

When Obama couldn't pass gun control after the horrific Sandy Hook massacre, mostly because grassroots Patriots stood up and refused to let millions of law-abiding Americans be punished for a crime they didn't commit, he didn't try to persuade Americans to rethink things, nor did he want other solutions. Instead, Operation Chokepoint was used, and a newer version, wherein companies are threatened with boycotts unless they go along with anti-Second Amendment extremists' demands, is currently being wielded. Obama, by most accounts, is a talented speaker. But why wasn't he using that rhetoric to persuade?

When conservative groups had success in Wisconsin, instead of their free speech being met with more free speech, they instead faced abusive investigations from rogue prosecutors. And while the Wisconsin Supreme Court halted the witch hunt, justice for those affected during the "John Doe" scandal remains elusive.

The arguments in opposition to radical environmental legislation were met not with counterarguments but with RICO investigations from left-wing state attorneys general. Then, of course, there is Cuomo's use of bank regulations to try to bankrupt the NRA.

When David Daleiden used typical techniques undercover journalists use (see shows like "60 Minutes" or "What Would You Do?"), the response from Planned Parenthood wasn't to use its First Amendment rights. Instead, the abortion mill sicced California's attorney general at the time, one Kamala Harris, on Daleiden.

Again, we see a pattern where counterarguments, debate, and the normal back and forth that sets our republic's course were not used. Instead, government power was brought to bear to attack one side of the debate on a hot-button issue.

We, finally, of course, get to Spygate. Again, rather than an attempt to persuade Americans, we see a resort to government power to take people out of the arena of ideas. Just last week, Judicial Watch reported that the FBI investigated Donald Trump's tweets criticizing the investigation. Can you say "retaliation"? Silly us for thinking the First Amendment protected criticism of government actions.

This pattern leads to some serious questions: Would people who had confidence in the strength of their arguments or in their powers of persuasion resort to wielding the power of government against those who dissent through the means protected by the First Amendment? Or is the pattern instead an abusive way of admitting that leftists have no defense of their agenda and no interest in the normal way of addressing good-faith disagreements over policy and principle, leading them to resort to coercion?

The cold, hard truth of the matter is that the First Amendment rights of grassroots Patriots are on the ballot this November.

SOURCE



Free speech wins out in OKC anti-panhandling case

Oklahoma City argued that safety was the goal of an ordinance that banned anyone from being in traffic medians at busy intersections. A federal appeals court didn’t buy it, in a victory for those who argued the First Amendment should prevail for people of all stripes.

In a ruling Monday declaring the city ordinance unconstitutional, a three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver said the rule showed "troubling evidence of animus against panhandlers." The city council approved the ordinance in December 2015. It originally prohibited standing on traffic medians near busy intersections, and later was revised to apply to about 400 medians located within city streets with speed limits of 40 miles per hour or greater.

SOURCE


Wednesday, September 02, 2020


Big Tech needs to embrace freedom of speech

The social responsibility of Big Tech in political discourse and information dissemination is considerable. Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Apple are among the titans of Silicon Valley who have built the technological infrastructure through which we view and interpret global events.

In a time which is often characterised by political polarisation, ideological tension and rampant misinformation, these platforms are tasked with finding a balance between upholding freedom of speech and protecting their users.

They are a lens through which we view the world. And during the pandemic, with billions under lockdown across the world, for many they were the only lens through which we could view the world. So their potential to warp our perceptions of the world should be concerning for all those who value truth and democracy.

It is no secret that Silicon Valley is strongly tilted to the left. Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, was shown in a leaked video from 2016 discussing the election of Donald Trump and concluding that ‘so many people apparently don’t share the values that we have’. Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter, has said that ‘Twitter, like most tech companies in Silicon Valley, has a lot more left-leaning employees than right-leaners’. Conservative voices at Google have criticised an environment in which they feel ‘silenced’. Facebook’s oversight board is stacked with members of the left-wing establishment and had to shut down an internal group of Trump supporters due to frictions it exposed within the company.

Despite this obvious political bias, corporate leadership at these companies has tried to argue that, while their employees might be subject to political bias, this does not affect their products. Yet the premise that institutions which suppress conservative voices while amplifying liberal ones are able to remove political sentiment from their products seems improbable.

The façade of political impartiality has been further undermined by the submission of these organisations to identitarian ideology and leftist cultural narratives.

James Damore was sacked by Google after sending a memo which suggested that gender disparity in the company’s composition could be partly explained by innate differences between the sexes. He also criticised the corporation’s ‘politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence’.

Twitter, which formerly branded itself the ‘free speech wing of the free-speech party’, has become emboldened to start a fight with the White House, flagging tweets from an incumbent president as ‘misleading’ and ‘glorifying violence’ during an election year.

It is difficult to accept that challenging democratically elected leaders is an entirely apolitical act. These companies have insidiously shifted from neutral platforms to content moderators. Their choices increasingly shape the debate and delineate the Overton window.

Furthermore, there is an uncomfortable acceptance of malicious and hateful content on social media when it is produced by those who belong to the left’s congregation. Particularly on Twitter, where leftists make up the majority of political accounts.

It was several days before Twitter took decisive action against the grime artist and Corbynite Wiley following his series of anti-Semitic tweets. And even then it only took action after a Twitter boycott by politicians and public figures from across the aisle.

A backlog of racist tweets from Sarah Jeong, which were circulated following her appointment to the New York Times editorial board, remains online. It seems ‘hateful content’ must be of a particular political alignment to provoke the wrath of the moderators.

It is perfectly legitimate for corporations to hold political positions. But tech and social media are different from most corporations. First, they serve as a key avenue for public debate, so in order for them to function effectively, users need to be able to speak freely. Secondly, the scale of these tech companies means they form natural monopolies. Each occupies a distinct niche within our social system. The different platforms are imperfect substitutes of each other – one cannot simply switch to Instagram if booted from Twitter.

These giants have the necessary name recognition and data infrastructure to control the flow of information in much the same way that industrial titans historically controlled the flow of natural resources. They wield enormous power over the lives of citizens while enjoying high barriers to market entry for would-be rivals. In terms of their influence on our daily lives, they are more like public utilities.

Twitter is again a good example. It has grown to a point where it is a key medium through which politicians engage with the public, journalists and activists. Even if the Twittersphere is not really representative of the broader electorate, messages are disseminated broadly through the platform. Twitter’s decision to modify that engagement thus warps political discourse.

It follows that we should hold Big Tech to a different standard. Principles like political neutrality and free speech should be protected more fiercely given the danger of warping our perceptions. Yet there has been a decline in the protection of political neutrality and free speech. And this has coincided with, and has been accelerated by, the culture wars that we see playing out in our universities and public squares and the mainstream media.

Free speech is generally considered a nice idea but a less important one than the preservation of ‘safe spaces’ in which victims of oppression must be protected from ‘harmful’ or ‘hateful’ conduct. Belief in free speech as an absolute and fundamental right has become increasingly conditional on the content of that speech, and deplatforming has emerged as a natural consequence.

To those on the left who subscribe to these ideals, deplatforming is now seen as an effective means of silencing critics. The underlying assumption is that those who are banished from one platform for airing their politically unpalatable views will retreat from public discussion and into internal reflection. In fact, those pushed out will generally just move to new platforms with less restrictive practices, like Parler, Gab and Telegram. The net result is political siloing, not repentance.

Furthermore, the judgements made by Big Tech are generally opaque and their reasoning unclear. Where we have been able to peek inside their internal processes, the findings are concerning. Facebook’s ever-growing rules for content-policing run to 1,400 pages. The incoherent sprawl of rules has the feel of an ideology desperately scrambling to build consistency on an internally contradictory set of principles. They are playing a game of linguistic whack-a-mole as they try to decide what can and cannot be said.

Given the global reach of these corporations, the attempt to find a one-size-fits-all approach to questions that are essentially moral is impossible. Networks that spread across nations, ideologies, religions and cultures are inevitably forced into internal contradictions as they attempt to satisfy all. Utopian visions of universal content standards do not mix well with reality.

Try as they might, these companies are further undermined by their hypocrisy. Google, like many other tech companies, preaches diversity and yet has built an employee base that is largely unrepresentative. These organisations are attempting a top-down restructuring of society and yet they are unable to get their own houses in order.

These corporations have also been remarkably willing to bend their principles to the wishes of authoritarian states. We have social networks that will ban users for saying ‘men aren’t women’ while being entirely comfortable catering to the requests of repressive regimes.

The enormous power of tech giants to shape public discourse has so far presupposed political neutrality. There is increasing evidence that these platforms are happy to reshape their processes according to political ideology. Free speech has taken the back seat as content is policed for ill-defined ‘hateful content’.

With their growing influence over political processes, they will face two options. As societies recognise the threat posed to democracy by tech giants, they will likely face more calls for regulation and government intervention. Or they can themselves take responsibility for encouraging an open, liberal approach. The only morally coherent, politically acceptable and practically achievable solution is for platforms to embrace freedom of speech, however difficult that might be.

SOURCE




Adele’s tribute to Notting Hill Carnival sparks culture row



It just looks weird to me.  But she has done wonders in getting slim

Adele has been accused of cultural appropriation after sharing a photo of herself with her hair in a traditional African hairstyle to mark Notting Hill Carnival.

The singer wore a bikini printed with the Jamaican flag, a feathered collar and headpiece, and her blonde hair in bantu knots, a traditional African hairstyle.

She posted the picture on Instagram with he caption: “Happy what would be Notting Hill Carnival, my beloved London”.

The image sparked complaints on social media. One user wrote: “Black women are discriminated against for wearing cultural hairstyles like bantu knots and locs but white people are not, that’s not fair and that’s why people are pissed off.”

SOURCE


Tuesday, September 01, 2020

University Shouldn’t Punish Me for Not Addressing Male Student as ‘Ms.’

Returning from a sabbatical in my 21st year at Ohio’s Shawnee State University, I resumed teaching my regular political philosophy course.

Taking questions in one such class at the end of my first day back, I acknowledged a male student with a “Yes, sir?” (It’s my practice to address my students in this way and to call them Miss, Mrs., or Mr. to foster an atmosphere of seriousness and mutual respect.)

After class, the student approached me to explain that he identifies as a woman and hereafter expected me to refer to him with feminine titles and pronouns.

“I’m not sure I can do that,” I told him.

He didn’t like that. He began to pace in circles around me, his voice rising and taking on an edge. He suggested an unprintable name he might feel free to call me if I declined to indulge his demands. Moreover, he said, he would see to it that I lost my job.

So far, that hasn’t happened, but I do have a letter of discipline in my file now that says I treated this particular student differently than other students by referring to him by his given name rather than as “Ms.” and “she.”

That’s all. No other allegations of hostile conduct or even of an unfair grade for the student were ever filed.

Consequently, I found it necessary to file a grievance against the university for violating my First Amendment protections of speech and religious freedom. My objections to the student’s request were based on my own philosophical and religious convictions, which the university blithely ignored.

I also believe I should have a certain amount of freedom, within my own classroom, to determine the exact language I do and do not use when teaching my class. The university denied me that freedom, as well. And it also denied my grievance.

That left me with no choice but to file suit through my Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys. Contrary to claims, such as those recently made by law professor Andrew Koppelman of Northwestern University, that I was simply “spoiling for a fight” and that my “arguments are so extravagant that they shouldn’t be worthy of notice,” all professors should be free to respectfully exercise their First Amendment rights.

They should not be compelled to say and teach things they don’t believe or risk being fired or disciplined. And everyone should be free to stand thoughtfully for the truth.

My letter of discipline notwithstanding, the school’s problem with me—and, for that matter, the student’s problem with me—is not really that I treated him differently, but that I did not. I treated this student exactly like I treat others, when in fact he wanted to be treated differently.

He demanded to be referred to as a woman. Though I could not in good conscience do that, I did offer to make an exception and refer to him by his given name, rather than either “Mr.” or “Ms.,” but, again, that wasn’t what he wanted. Nor was it, once his preference was stated, what the university administrators wanted for him.

“But,” many would say, “he has the right to identify as a woman if he wants to.” Perhaps, but I also have a right not to identify him as something I do not believe he is.

He has his beliefs, and I have mine. I can’t compel him to speak like me, and neither he nor the university should be trying to compel me to speak like him.

SOURCE


Ben Shapiro loses free speech lawsuit against UMN over venue change

A U.S. district judge ruled that the University had legitimate safety concerns when it moved the venue of Shapiro's July 2018 campus speech to St. Paul.

A judge determined Friday that University of Minnesota officials were driven by safety concerns in conservative speaker Ben Shapiro’s freedom of speech lawsuit, according to the Pioneer Press.

Shapiro and the groups that sponsored his campus visit – Young America's Foundation and Students for a Conservative Voice – filed a lawsuit in July 2018, alleging that the University held the event on a smaller venue on the St. Paul campus instead of a larger venue on the Minneapolis campus due to political bias.

“As a result of the forced relocation to the [North Star] Ballroom, many students were prevented from attending and participating in the speaking event, and Shapiro was forced to speak to less than half the number of students that desired to attend,” read the lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson ruled the University had legitimate safety concerns after Shapiro events at other universities inspired hundreds of people to protest, the Pioneer Press reported.

“Consistent with the law that governs ‘limited public forums,’ University officials put reasonable restrictions in place to insure the event was secure,” Nelson wrote.

SOURCE


Monday, August 31, 2020

Sasha White and the woke war on feminists

Imagine the horror of having a literary agent who might not want to use your preferred pronouns. To raise awareness of this burning issue, on 24 August, a ‘genderfluid’ writer called Madeline Pine organised a Twitter campaign with other gender-soggy activists to target literary assistant Sasha White. Pine tweeted: ‘My pronouns are they / them… Sasha White is a publishing agent who doesn’t believe in honouring my pronouns.’

Hundreds of social-justice warriors joined in, apparently feeling quite justified in publicly hounding a woman for doing nothing more than holding an unpopular point of view.

Earlier this week, Sasha White was still an employee at the Tobias Literary Agency (TLA). She was tweeting in a personal capacity from her own account @iamGrushenka, while she used @SashaSemonovna for more professional tweets. Along with expressions of support for disgraced author JK Rowling, White posted as @iamGrushenka: ‘The reason I think pronouns suck is because thinking of people as “they / them” and pretending they’re not male or female is like colour / race blindness for gender. It won’t help sexism or toxic masculinity. Men and women have unique and distinct experiences…’

Her observation is valid: the 23million female fetuses aborted due to the cultural preference for boys in India and China will not be able to identify out of their fate; the women imprisoned in Iran for protesting against forced veiling can’t declare themselves men and claim their freedom; and the victims of grooming gangs in Rochdale wouldn’t have been saved by declaring themselves ‘genderfluid’.

It is true that identity politics has become an all-consuming monster. Nonetheless, as with race and class, the sex you are born into does change how you experience life and it is important that language allows us to articulate these differences. That a minority of self-pitying, privileged brats demand the use of ‘they / them’ pronouns does nothing to alter the material reality of social inequality.

The fact that White’s comment was reasonable, evidenced-based and expressed as a personal opinion offered her no protection. Within an hour, TLA had issued a statement decrying her views as ‘anti-trans’. In the same afternoon, following trial by social media, White tweeted to announce: ‘It’s true: I was fired last night for my feminist stance. The Twitter mob came for me and my employer immediately terminated me.’

SOURCE




Google bias

You’d think we’re living in a dystopian novel: news sites are blocked, politicians are prevented from reaching constituents, speech is arbitrarily labeled as “false,” and history is “forgotten.”  But this isn’t Orwell’s Airstrip One in 1984.  It’s America in 2020.

You don’t need to be a conspiracy theorist to see this in action.  In late July, Breitbart and other websites that support the Trump administration mysteriously disappeared from Google's search results, leading some to believe that Google might maintain a “blacklist” of disfavored websites that it either buries or outright blocks from its search results.  We wanted to see if this was true, so we conducted a search for the terms “Azar” and “Taiwan” on both Google and DuckDuckGo, a Google competitor focused on user privacy.  For context, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar recently visited Taiwan.

The results were unsurprising, but still disappointing.  A Breitbart story detailing the event ranked ninth in the DuckDuckGo search.  On Google, the story didn’t even break the top 50.  Keep in mind, Breitbart consistently drives traffic to its website and user engagement on social media, and ranks higher in Amazon’s Alexa website rankings than either NBC News or The Wall Street Journal.

If Google were a small search engine, this sort of bias in its results might not matter.  But Google dominates online search.  Globally, across all platforms, Google enjoys a 92% market share.

SOURCE

Sunday, August 30, 2020


A recent case of attempted silencing and censorship has roiled the field of political science

Two gender studies professors, Allison Howell of Rutgers University and Melanie Richter-Montpetit of the University of Sussex in the UK, wrote an interdisciplinary paper titled “Is securitization theory racist? Civilizationism, methodological whiteness, and antiblack thought in the Copenhagen School,” published in the journal Security Dialogue.

Howell and Richter-Montpetit argued a predictable view in interdisciplinary scholarship: Securitization theory is Eurocentric and, therefore, structurally racist, promoting the usual sins of “civilizationism, methodological whiteness, and antiblack racism.” Broadly, securitization theory divides the world as “(white) ‘civilized politics’ against (racialized) ‘primal anarchy.’”

The paper, a direct attack against the Copenhagen School of Securitization theory, naturally drew a tough response from the theorists Barry Buzan of the London School of Economics and Ole Waever of the University of Copenhagen. But that is where the fun started.

First, they were refused space to respond to the libelous paper—which accused them of racism and Eurocentrism—and eventually offered some small space which was clearly inadequate. Buzan and Waever then wrote a short reply, while linking to a more thorough dissection of the original scholarship and its methodological flaws.

Howell and Richter-Montpetit then started,  predictably, a Kafkaesque open letter campaign where they claimed that the critique of them amounted to intimidation against junior scholars, and therefore needed a public denouncement.

For the historical record, Buzan and Waever’s rebuttal is exemplary scholarship in picking apart scholarly libel and a shoddy, “at times, pernicious” methodology. Beyond their personal disappointment, they wrote that they are more concerned about the “implications for our discipline that an article of such poor academic quality and problematic political content can be published in one of our leading journals.”

The charges are toxic and unsupported, and the methodology is termed as “deep-fake;” it cherry-picks words and phrases to construct a grand narrative of racial theory-building without any sense of the concept being critiqued. “If H&RM deem various classical authors (Arendt, Schmitt, Hobbes, Durkheim, Foucault) as being racist, then we and ST are racist too for citing them,” Buzan and Waever write. “This destructive tactic is the main basis for their charge against us of civilizationism.”

SOURCE 




Media Figures Smear Nick Sandmann as a ‘Snot-Nosed,’ ‘Smug,’ ‘Tiny Nazi’

On August 25, Sandmann, the Covington Catholic High School graduate who sued media outlets for defamation after their coverage of an interaction between him and Native American activist Nathan Phillips, spoke at the Republican National Convention. He drew attention to biased media and urged that journalists be held accountable. Following his comments, media figures and political activists called him everything from “snot-nosed” to a “tiny Nazi.”

Sandmann, a Kentucky native, sued outlets including the Washington Post, The New York Times, and CNN after he and his classmates, many of whom wore pro-Trump hats, were cast as racist instigators.

"I’m the teenager who was defamed by the media after an encounter with a group of protestors on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial last year," Sandmann introduced himself at the RNC.

After attending the March for Life in defense of the unborn, he said he purchased a Make America Great Again hat because President Trump “has distinguished himself as one of the most pro-life presidents.”

“Looking back now, how could I have possibly imagined that the simple act of putting on that red hat would unleash hate from the left and make myself the target of network and cable news networks nationwide?" he asked. “I found myself face-to-face with Nathan Phillips and other professional protestors looking to turn me into the latest poster child showing why Trump is bad.”

Even now, Sandmann is a media target. Following his speech, commentators and political figures personally attacked the teenager.

One of the most attention-grabbing comments came from CNN political analyst Joe Lockhart, who tweeted, “i don't have to watch this snot nose entitled kid from Kentucky.”

After a backlash, Lockhart ironically complained about the “personal attacks” that he himself had received for his earlier tweet.

SOURCE 



Friday, August 28, 2020


EFF Sues Texas A&M University Once Again to End Censorship Against PETA on Facebook and YouTube

This week, EFF filed suit to stop Texas A&M University from censoring comments by PETA on the university’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas A&M held its spring commencement ceremonies online, with broadcasts over Facebook and YouTube. Both the Facebook and YouTube pages had comment sections open to any member of the public—but administrators deleted comments that were associated with PETA’s high-profile campaign against the university’s muscular dystrophy experiments on golden retrievers and other dogs.

Where government entities such as Texas A&M open online forums to the public, the First Amendment prohibits them from censoring comments merely because they don’t like the content of the message or the viewpoint expressed. On top of that, censoring comments based on their message or viewpoint also violates the public’s First Amendment right to petition the government for redress of grievances.

Texas A&M knows this well, because this is not the first time we’ve sued them for censoring comments online. Back in 2018, EFF brought another First Amendment lawsuit against Texas A&M for deleting comments by PETA and its supporters about the university’s dog labs from the Texas A&M Facebook page. This year, in a big win for free speech, the school settled with PETA and agreed to stop deleting comments from its social media pages based on the comments’ messages.  

We are disappointed that Texas A&M has continued to censor comments by PETA’s employees and supporters without regard for the legally binding settlement agreement that it signed just six months ago, and hope that the federal court will make clear to the university once and for all that its censorship cannot stand. 

SOURCE 



Most Americans think social media companies are censoring people

Because they are

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and other social media companies are scrambling to take down and fact-check rampant misinformation about topics like Covid-19 and the 2020 election that spread on their platforms.

But complicating these companies’ efforts to moderate content is the fact that a majority of Americans — on both sides of the political aisle — believe that social media companies are censoring political viewpoints, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center.

About three in four Americans feel it is very likely or somewhat likely that social media sites “intentionally censor political viewpoints that they find objectionable,” according to the survey. It polled around 4,700 Americans across the political spectrum. While people from both parties thought that social media companies were likely censoring content for political reasons, Republicans were much more likely than Democrats — 90 percent of Republicans compared to 59 percent of Democrats — to hold this belief.

SOURCE 

Thursday, August 27, 2020


Australia: Cancel culture and push to rename Queensland’s ‘racist’ place names must end now, writes Michael Madigan

Today we in Queensland are pondering the (hopefully faint) possibility that we will have to rename a series of Queensland cities and towns because they are allegedly named after people connected to slavery.

A petition from 400 people lodged with the Queensland Parliament has requested the move start with Russell Island – named for Lord Russell who allegedly voted against slavery abolition

Townsville, Mackay and Gladstone are just some of the places named after figures who supported the blackbirding which often resulted in South Sea Islander forced to work in sugar cane paddocks under appalling conditions for meagre, or sometimes no, wages.

The Palaszczuk Government says it will consider changing names associated with British aristocrats and politicians who were in favour of slavery.

Yet if we start walking down this track we’ll find it has no end, no point of finality.

For, if we were to be logical and consistent, we would have to start by renaming the entire state of Queensland. The “Queen’s Land’’ is quite definitely named after the British Monarch generically even if the name originated in the time of Queen Victoria.

And it was a British Queen (Elizabeth 1) who in 1563 helped kick off the African slave trade when she rented out one of her old man’s (Henry VIII) boats (it was called ironically enough, Jesus of Lubeck) to a group of British businessman who collected African slaves.

So the institution that is the British Monarchy is tainted with slavery and the very name of this state, by association, also carries the stain.

Yet it was also members of the British Monarchy (notably Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, now a title owned by Prince Harry) who joined the abolitionists led by William Wilberforce in the 19th Century to bring an end to slavery.

Places named after slave traders and their supporters:

Townsville - named after Robert Towns - revived blackbirding in Queensland in the late 19th Century

Mackay - named after Captain John Mackay - conducted many blackbirding expeditions through the Pacific and China between 1865 and 1883

Gladstone - named after British prime minister William Gladstone - supported the slave trade

Town of McIlwraith, McIlwraith Range - named after three-time Queensland Premier between 1879 and 1893 - tried to annex New Guinea for Queensland to promote easy flow of slave labour, supported the trade

Federal division of Dickson - Brisbane northside seat named after Sir James Dickson, currently held federal MP Peter Dutton - supported the trade of slaves to Queensland

William Gladstone’s family may have owned slaves, and he may have been an apologist for slaves, but he also attempted to rein in some of the more brutal treatment of the Irish.

Captain John Mackay may have engaged in blackbirding but he also led an expedition up from what is now northern New South Wales to present day Mackay.

That opened up the district to the agriculture which played a major role in developing the economy of present day Queensland.

As for Russell Island, a reader of The Courier-Mail has already penned a letter to the editor saying the allegations of Lord John Russell supporting slavery are simply wrong.

That Lord Russell was apparently not even born when his father Lord Russell made a speech supporting the regulation of the slave trade.

We just can’t go on doing this. We can’t go on posturing as moral arbiters of people who lived in times we can’t possibly understand.

And we can’t go on attacking people connected with slavery when almost every society on planet earth, for thousands of years, thought slavery perfectly acceptable.

Our own behaviour, which we might assume is perfectly acceptable, may be interpreted as utterly reprehensible by generations living a century on from today.

All we can hope is that future generations have the intelligence to understand that human beings are fallible, and the wisdom to know they share in that fallibility.

Brian Courtice is a former federal Labor politician from Bundaberg who knows more about the South Sea Islander blackbirding trade than most people in this state after studying it for decades.

His own property outside Bundaberg hosts the bodies of South Sea Islander who were often buried in the cane fields, where they fell.

Courtice, who has formally asked the British Government for an apology relating to the blackbirding trade which occurred under British rule, says changing a name or tearing down a statue resolves nothing.

“What we need is more statues, more place names,’’ he says.

“We need to own all of our history, not just part of it.’’

SOURCE  







NBC Sports REMOVES analyst Mike Milbury for making 'insensitive' joke that NHL players were lucky they had 'no women to disrupt their concentration' in the playing bubble

Just a normal sort of joke you hear among men

NBC Sports have removed National Hockey League analyst Mike Milbury for making an 'insensitive' and 'insulting' comment about women. 

On Thursday, the 68-year-old sparked furor for making the off-color remark during a live broadcast of a game between the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals.

After fellow commentator, Brian Bouche, mentioned the NHL's 'quarantine bubble', Milbury quipped: 'There's not even any woman here to disrupt your concentration'.

The comment caused a storm on Twitter, and Milbury was quickly blasted by the NHL.

In a statement released on Friday, the organization said: 'The National Hockey League condemns the insensitive and insulting comment that Mike Milbury made during last night's broadcast and we have communicated our feelings to NBC.

'The comment did not reflect the NHL's values and commitment to making our game more inclusive and welcoming to all'.

 Milbury apologized for his comments in a statement released through NBC.  'It was not my intention to disrespect anyone. I was trying to be irreverent and took it a step too far. It was a regrettable mistake that I take seriously,' he said.

However, the apology didn't appear to be enough for the broadcaster, who booted the analyst from covering its Friday games.

Many social media users described Milbury's remarks as 'offensive' and 'outdated'.

However, others claimed it was simply a storm in a teacup.

SOURCE