Friday, November 17, 2017

US opposes Nazi speech, but will vote no at UN to banning it

The United States government wants you to know: It really, truly doesn’t like Nazis.

At the United Nations this week, the U.S. plans to vote against a yearly resolution that condemns the glorification of Nazism, State Department officials said Wednesday. Although it may seem counterintuitive — who wouldn’t want to condemn Nazis? — officials said free speech protections and other problems with the resolution make it impossible for America to support.

Introduced by Russia, the resolution calls on all U.N. nations to ban pro-Nazi speech and organizations, and to implement other restrictions on speech and assembly. That’s a non-starter in the U.S., where First Amendment protections guarantee all the right to utter almost anything they want — even praise for Adolf Hitler’s followers.

The United States votes against the resolution every year, along with just a handful of others, while the European Union nations and some others typically abstain. The resolution always passes overwhelmingly, usually with little fanfare.

But this year, the “no” vote from the U.S. is likely to create more of a stir, given it’s the first rendition of the vote since President Donald Trump entered office. Trump adamantly denies any secret affinity for white supremacists. Yet his blame-on-both-sides response to violence in August at a white nationalist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, gave fodder to Trump critics who say he’s insufficiently critical of neo-Nazis.

So U.S. officials are working overtime this year to try to explain that no, America doesn’t support pro-Nazi speech — but can’t vote for a resolution that calls for outlawing it, either. The vote is scheduled for Thursday in the U.N. General Assembly’s human rights committee.

All resolutions in the General Assembly committees are nonbinding and don’t impose any legal requirements on member nations. But American support for resolutions that contradict domestic law could end up being used as arguments in U.S. federal court, and officials worry about undermining national law enforcement efforts.


Women's Boobs Are Not Free Speech, Says Federal Court

Because 'traditional moral norms' trump civil liberties

To protect public health, safety, and morals, the government has an important interest in preventing women from going topless, a federal appeals court has ruled. And the importance of keeping lady breasts out of public view overrules any First Amendment or equal protection issues that such a policy raises.

But at least one dissenting judge felt differently, describing our topless protagonist as having "engaged in the paradigm of First Amendment speech—a public protest on public land in which the participants sought to change a law that, on its face, treats women differently than men."

The case (Tagami v. City of Chicago) stems from the 2014 ticketing of Sonoko Tagami, who took to the Chicago streets with only opaque body paint over her bare breasts to celebrate "GoTopless Day" that year. Tagami was issued a $100 citation for violating the city's ban on public indecency, which prohibits the public display of female breasts and of all bare butts and genitals. After losing her challenge to the citation, Tagami filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Tagami's suit argued that banning women from going topless in public while allowing men to do so is a violation of the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause as well as her First Amendment rights. Neither the district nor appeals court agreed, dismissing Tagami's claims.

In a November 8 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit held 2–1 that the city's rules don't violate women's constitutional rights. "Chicago's public-nudity ordinance regulates conduct, not speech," wrote Judges Diane Sykes and Frank Easterbrook for the majority. And while "some forms of expressive conduct get First Amendment protection," this doesn't apply unless the conduct is inherently expressive.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Australia: Shoe advert that featured topless models wearing just their knickers with the slogan 'fancy a pair?' is banned for being 'degrading' to women

A shoe firm’s ad campaign - featuring female nudity alongside the phrase ‘fancy a pair?’ - has been banned for being ‘degrading’ to women.

Watchdogs ruled that the multimedia adverts for Goodwin Smith Shoes - accompanied by an image of three models wearing just knickers - ‘objectified’ women.

An investigation was launched after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received nine complaints about ads for the Lancashire-based firm.

The breasts of one of the women in the email were exposed, while the second covered her chest with her arm with her nipple exposed and the third posed in front of the others holding a pair of shoes over her chest.

The company’s website also included the claim ‘Fancy a pair?’ and was accompanied by an image of two women who were topless, wearing only knickers and covering their breasts with shoes.

Redfoot Shoes, trading as Goodwin Smith said that the campaign had attempted to portray a ‘fantasy concept’ in which the men were portrayed as being confident’, and was not meant to degrade women.

But the ASA found that the ads breached rules regarding social responsibility as well as harm and offence, and banned them from appearing again.


DePaul University officials scuttle ‘Free Speech Ball,’ citing possibility of hate speech

A private Catholic college in the Chicago area preemptively banned a “Free Speech Ball,” saying the conservative/libertarian demonstration was likely to get out of hand.

An administrator at DePaul University wrote the school’s Young Americans for Liberty chapter just four days prior to the date of the event, saying permission was denied for fear it could foster “an environment which invites hate,” according to Campus Reform.

Campus administrators apparently declined to elaborate on their reasoning and similarly failed to reply to a YAL official to elaborate on the school’s threat to hold rebellious students “accountable” should they go ahead with the planned event, Campus Reform reported.

“Administrators have accused us of ‘providing a platform for hate’ without providing anything to back up their claims,” DePaul YAL chapter president Thomas Barry said, Campus Reform reported. “What we’ve been trying to establish is a platform for free speech. Somehow it seems that those two ideas are seen as one and the same here at DePaul.”

DePaul has found itself in the crosshairs of free-speech advocacy groups before, with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education blasting the institution in September 2016 as perhaps the “worst” university in the U.S. when it comes to creating an environment hostile to free speech.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Plain truth can be hate-speech on Quora

I responded to the following question on

"Why has the free movement of people between Canada, Australia, New Zealand & the UK not been implemented? There are similar population sizes, common language, & social, political, economic, & educational systems are all based on the British model"

I replied:

"Australia and NZ don’t want the blacks — too crime-prone"

Quora deleted my reply on the grounds that it violated their Be  Nice, Be Respectful policy

I wrote in response to them:

"Since when is the truth simply expressed disrespectful? The alternative is BS"

On behalf of Quora, Amelia then replied:

"Thanks for your email. We'll be more than happy to clarify our moderation decision here.

Your content was in violation of our Be Nice, Be Respectful policy. This core Quora principle requires that people treat other people on the site with civility, respect, and consideration.

More specifically, your content contained what we consider to be hate speech:

Users are not allowed to post content or adopt a tone that would be interpreted by a reasonable observer as a form of hate speech, particularly toward a race, gender, religion, nationality, ethnicity, political group, sexual orientation or another similar characteristic. Questions and question details about generalizations in these topics should be phrased as neutrally and respectfully as possible.

Our decision is final, and your content will not be reinstated"

My closing comment:  "I imagine Amelia is just an apparatchik at Quora so shares the current politically correct hysteria about any mention of blacks that fails to praise them -- but her action deprives their questioner of the answer to his question. 

Is that what Quora is about?  Is it a cover-up service or an information service?  No American is in any doubt about the black crime-rate so why can it not be mentioned in an objective information context?  I have had many articles published in the academic journals of the social sciences on questions about race and racism but such discussions must be kept from the general public, apparently. So I suppose that this episode is just another example of Leftists having big problems with the truth -- JR. 

Do you have a problem with The Simpsons' Apu? This comedian does

Indians are the most highly paid ethnic group in America so any "stereotyping" has clearly not harmed them

"I hate Apu," the actor Kal Penn says in a new documentary about the penny-pinching, Squishee-slinging, thickly accented convenience store owner on one of the most celebrated TV shows in history. "And because of that, I dislike The Simpsons."

The feelings of South Asian-Americans toward the character and the show he inhabits are the focus of The Problem with Apu, a documentary debuting in the United States on November 19. The brainchild of the actor and stand-up comic Hari Kondabolu, a lifelong lover of The Simpsons, the film wrestles with how a show praised for its incisive humour – over the years, it has explored issues like homophobia and political corruption – could resort to such a charged stereotype. Making matters worse is the fact that the Indian character is voiced by a non-Indian (albeit an Emmy-winning) actor, Hank Azaria.

"Everything with Apu is like this running joke," Kondabolu, 35, said in a phone interview. "And the running joke is that he's Indian."


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Stupid Leftist hysteria about Russia generates an attack on free speech

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that Russia would respond in kind to what he said were Washington’s measures to restrict the freedom of speech of Russian media organizations operating on U.S. soil.

Putin said however that possible plans to retaliate by declaring U.S. media operating in Russia as foreign agents may be “a little too harsh,” and that the Kremlin was still formulating its exact response.

Kremlin-backed broadcaster Russia Today has been told to register in the United States as a “foreign agent.” U.S. intelligence officials say the broadcaster tried to influence the U.S. presidential election on the Kremlin’s behalf, an allegation the broadcaster and the Kremlin deny.

Speaking to reporters at the end of an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Vietnam, Putin said: “An attack on our media in the United States is an attack on freedom of speech, without a doubt. We’re disappointed.”

“But we will have to formulate some kind of response and it will mirror,” the measures adopted by U.S. authorities towards Russian media in the United States, Putin said.


Facebook slaps 'adult content' ban on... a robin redbreast card: Artist stunned after social media giant brands innocent images as 'sexual'

Maybe the term "breast" in the name of the bird was the problem

It's been condemned for allowing users to post pornography and other vile videos – but now Facebook has bizarrely banned a traditional Christmas card of a robin redbreast and two other seasonal paintings of a stag and a squirrel.

Artist Jackie Charley was hoping sell them through her Facebook shop but a message popped up rejecting them owing to their possible ‘sexual’ and ‘adult’ content.

It read: ‘It looks like we didn’t approve your item because we don’t allow the sale of adult items or services (eg sexual enhancement items or adult videos).’

Facebook confirmed they are investigating the matter to see if there has been an error

As Ms Charley’s charming cards have no content even remotely of an adult nature, she is mystified by the decision.

Mrs Charley repeatedly contacted Facebook by email to ask them to overturn the ban but received no reply.

Facebook insiders yesterday suggested the ban was an error, but a spokesman would only say the firm was investigating the matter


Monday, November 13, 2017

I called a trans boy a girl by mistake... and it may cost me my job as a teacher: Maths tutor suspended after praising pupil using the wrong gender

A teacher has been suspended and could face the sack after he ‘accidentally’ called a transgender pupil a ‘girl’ in class when the student identifies as a boy.

Joshua Sutcliffe, 27, who teaches maths at a state secondary school in Oxfordshire, said ‘Well done girls’ to the teenager and a friend when he spotted them working hard.

He apologised when corrected by the pupil, but six weeks later he was suspended from teaching after the pupil’s mother lodged a complaint.

Following an investigation, he has been summoned to a formal disciplinary hearing this week to face misconduct charges for ‘misgendering’.

According to documents seen by The Mail on Sunday, he also faces claims that he is breaching equality policies by referring to the pupil by name rather than as ‘he’ or ‘him’.

The £30,000-a-year teacher said he was ‘distraught’ and had been reduced to tears as teaching was his life, and he branded the actions of the school as ‘political correctness gone mad’.


A sly assault on the freedom of the press in Britain

Some in the House of Lords want to muzzle reporters

It seems like aeons ago now, but at the beginning of this year there was a battle over press freedom in the UK. The government carried out a public consultation over whether or not to implement Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry and Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act – which would have effectively coerced publications into signing up for state-backed regulation. The conclusions were never revealed, but when the Conservative Party won the election (sort of) with a manifesto which pledged to drop Section 40 and Leveson 2, it seemed like the battle had been won.

However, those determined to undermine the free press will not be deterred. And this week a particularly sly attempt was made by peers in the House of Lords to limit the liberty of the press and impose state regulation.

An updated version of the Data Protection Bill is currently passing through parliament. It aims to give individuals more control over their personal data and penalise companies that misuse it – not unreasonable in this internet age we live in. But some peers have hijacked the bill and tabled amendments that would restrict journalists’ ability to investigate wrongdoing.

Historically, there have always been exceptions for journalists when it comes to laws concerning data protection. This basically meant journalists could gather and use personal information, so long as they did so in the public interest, to the end of a worthwhile investigation. The peers’ proposed amendments would undermine this by elevating privacy over public interest, making it easier for individuals to have investigations shut down before the results of them can be published.

Even worse, other amendments to the bill would mean publications would be protected by the public-interest exception only if they were signed up to the state-backed press regulator, Impress. Impress, which is backed by the tabloid-hating Max Mosley, is the only regulator approved by Royal Charter. Most publications adhere to the independent IPSO.

If approved, these amendments would have very serious consequences. As the National Media Association (NMA) said, it is the existing exemptions to data protection which ‘enable investigative journalism and protection of sources’. The NMA says: ‘The amendments would give powerful claimants with something to hide fresh ammunition to pursue legal claims and shut down legitimate public-interest investigation into their activities.

All UK news media operations – broadcast, print or online – would find themselves under incessant legal challenge. This would endanger all reporting of news, features and other editorial material and even the keeping of archives.’

The fact is that journalists cannot do their jobs unless they are free to dig and discover.


12 November, 2017

Congress’s end run around a pillar of online free speech

FREE-SPEECH ADVOCATES—including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology—are afraid that a bill currently making its way through Congress could significantly weaken existing protections for online speech.

In the United States, one of the most critical planks supporting free expression online is a section of the 1996 Communications Decency Act known as Section 230, often referred to as the “safe harbor” clause. The EFF describes it as “the most important law protecting internet speech.”

Section 230 states that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” In a nutshell, this clause gives any online service provider immunity from legal liability for the content that its members or users post (unless it involves either criminal activity or intellectual property).

This means that platforms like Facebook and Twitter and Amazon can’t be sued if one of their users publishes something that is libellous or offensive. But it also protects much smaller platforms and online communities from similar kinds of liability, and digital news companies and online publishers from being taken to court for the comments that readers post on articles.

The risk is that if those protections are weakened, publishers will decide it’s not worth it to host any user-generated content at all, which could significantly reduce the amount of reader interaction in the form of crowdsourced and collaborative journalism.

The bill that the EFF and others are so concerned about is called the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act or SESTA, which would amend Section 230. The bill was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee this week.

According to its main sponsor, Republican Senator Bob Portman from Ohio, the legislation will make it easier to crack down on sex trafficking, which is facilitated in some cases through online services like Backpage, a provider of adult classified-ad listings that is currently facing a potential grand jury indictment.

Most people would agree that bringing an end to sex trafficking is a noble goal—although there are those who disagree about whether SESTA will be able to do so (some experts believe it could actually expose sex trafficking victims to more harm, and make it more difficult to stop the practice by driving it underground). But in the process of reaching that goal, the proposed law could blast a large hole right through the free-speech protections of Section 230.


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Congress’s end run around a pillar of online free speech

FREE-SPEECH ADVOCATES—including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology—are afraid that a bill currently making its way through Congress could significantly weaken existing protections for online speech.

In the United States, one of the most critical planks supporting free expression online is a section of the 1996 Communications Decency Act known as Section 230, often referred to as the “safe harbor” clause. The EFF describes it as “the most important law protecting internet speech.”

Section 230 states that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” In a nutshell, this clause gives any online service provider immunity from legal liability for the content that its members or users post (unless it involves either criminal activity or intellectual property).

This means that platforms like Facebook and Twitter and Amazon can’t be sued if one of their users publishes something that is libellous or offensive. But it also protects much smaller platforms and online communities from similar kinds of liability, and digital news companies and online publishers from being taken to court for the comments that readers post on articles.

The risk is that if those protections are weakened, publishers will decide it’s not worth it to host any user-generated content at all, which could significantly reduce the amount of reader interaction in the form of crowdsourced and collaborative journalism.

The bill that the EFF and others are so concerned about is called the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act or SESTA, which would amend Section 230. The bill was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee this week.

According to its main sponsor, Republican Senator Bob Portman from Ohio, the legislation will make it easier to crack down on sex trafficking, which is facilitated in some cases through online services like Backpage, a provider of adult classified-ad listings that is currently facing a potential grand jury indictment.

Most people would agree that bringing an end to sex trafficking is a noble goal—although there are those who disagree about whether SESTA will be able to do so (some experts believe it could actually expose sex trafficking victims to more harm, and make it more difficult to stop the practice by driving it underground). But in the process of reaching that goal, the proposed law could blast a large hole right through the free-speech protections of Section 230.


US free speech tracker aims to ‘calm things down’

This could be very useful but the devil will be in the detail.  Will it only be events that the Left dislikes that will be catalogued?  A fairly run catalogue would reveal the overwhelmingly Lefist presence behind censorship

Scores of masked individuals deliberately setting fires and throwing fireworks in the grounds of the University of California, Berkeley in protest against a planned speech by far-right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos. A Princeton University professor receiving death threats and going into hiding after videos of a commencement speech in which she criticised Donald Trump went viral. A Middlebury College faculty member suffering a neck injury and concussion after violence erupted at a talk by the controversial social scientist Charles Murray while she attempted to moderate.

Infringements of free speech on US university campuses are now being catalogued as part of a project from researchers at Georgetown University that aims to assess the condition of free speech in American higher education, civil society and state and local government.

So far 62 incidents, in which free speech has been challenged or compromised during or since 2016, are listed on the publicly available Free Speech Tracker. The majority of these took place on university campuses.

The project will also host public forums and interviews to collect views about the struggle to sustain First Amendment values.

Sanford J. Ungar, a journalist and former president of Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland, is director of the initiative. He said that the tracker already highlights an interesting trend: the same “lightning rods” are involved in many of the events.

“It is as though copycat crimes – copycat invasions of the First Amendment – are taking place around the country. I’m hoping that we’ll all be able to learn lessons from those and figure out what we have to do to prevent this from getting out of hand,” he told Times Higher Education.

Two such prominent lightning rods are Mr Yiannopoulos and Richard Spencer, president of white supremacist thinktank the National Policy Institute and one of the featured speakers at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this year that resulted in the killing of a protester opposing the far Right.

Mr Ungar said that part of the tracker’s value was to put instances involving such figures on campuses in a wider context so that people could see that free speech challenges are “a truly national phenomenon”.

“People always say that the reason that university students have to confront these issues is that they have to be ready to participate in civil society, they have to act like grown-ups. You look at what’s going on in civil society, as reflected by the tracker, and the grown-ups aren’t doing so well,” he said.

“I hope that my project will, in due course, have some concrete suggestions or proposals about how to organise our future dealings with free speech so as to calm things down a bit,” he added.


Friday, November 10, 2017

Air Force Academy Graffiti: Yup, It Was Another Hate Hoax

Remember in late September when Air Force Academy supremo Jay Silveria was a media sensation for denouncing racism following obviously Trump-inspired racist graffiti at the prep school the Academy runs for jocks and affirmative action cases? NPR wrote:

‘You Should Be Outraged,’ Air Force Academy Head Tells Cadets About Racism On Campus

Yeah, well, whaddaya know? It was another Hate Hoax.

From Denver 7 News:

One of the black cadets allegedly targeted by racial slurs scrawled on a whiteboard at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School was responsible for the incident, Air Force Academy officials announced Tuesday.

Officials say the cadet admitted to writing the messages on the whiteboard outside the dorm rooms of five black cadet candidates. The cadet is no longer at the school…


Furious vegans in Australia

A LIGHT-HEARTED sign above a Woolworths meat display has sparked online debate after one customer slammed it as “disrespectful”.

“What do you call a cow with no legs? Ground beef,” it reads.

Customer Lesley Millward shared a photo of the sign, taken at Woolworths in the Adelaide suburb of Glenelg, to the supermarket’s Facebook page on Sunday night. “What a disrespectful & insensitive bunch who work at Woolworths Glenelg,” she wrote.

The post was shared more than 1100 times and attracted more than 12,000 comments before being deleted, with some people agreeing with Ms Millward but many defending the supermarket and sharing their own animal jokes.

“What do you call a deer with no eyes? No idea,” wrote Melanie Smith, while Mara Henry asked, “What do you call a cow with three legs? Lean beef.”

‎Simone Camilleri said she was “happy to see your staff have a great sense of humour”.

“Don’t worry about the ‘offended’ people,” she wrote. “I think a lot more people would be offended if you took it down! Can’t please everyone. This joke is a golden oldie and I support it.”

But John Smith argued that “people used to find jokes about black people funny too”. “Not in this day and age, time to move into the 21st century mate, this is distasteful at best,” he wrote.

Woolworths responded by saying it takes “all feedback on board”. “While we understand our team’s lighthearted touch with the display, we would never intentionally offend anyone,” the company wrote.


Thursday, November 09, 2017

No Arrest in Kansas State Hate Hoax

A black Kansas man has admitted he put racist graffiti on his own car as a Halloween prank that got out of hand, police said Monday.

Photographs posted on social media Wednesday showed the car covered with racial slurs against blacks and messages that included “Go Home,” ”Date your own kind,” and “Die.”

The vehicle, covered in graffiti scrawled with washable paint, was parked Wednesday at an apartment complex near Kansas State University and the incident fueled racial tensions at the university and in the community.

An emergency meeting of the Black Student Union called that evening drew concerned administrators and community leaders as well as students. Kansas State held a Facebook Live event the next day with worried parents. The university stepped up patrols on campus. The FBI opened a civil rights investigation into a possible hate crime.

But on Monday the Riley County Police Department issued a news release saying the 21-year-old owner of the vehicle, Dauntarius Williams, had told investigators that he was responsible for the graffiti.

Authorities concluded that charging him for filing a false report would “not be in the best interests of the citizens" Meaning: "Because he is black"


Taylor Swift under fire after threatening to sue blogger over 'alt-right' article

Taylor Swift and the American Civil Liberties Union are butting heads.

The organisation sent Swift's legal team a strongly worded letter denouncing her threat to sue a California blogger who accused the singer of supporting the white supremacy movement. The ACLU made the letter public on Tuesday.

"This is a completely unsupported attempt to suppress constitutionally protected speech," ACLU of Northern California attorney Michael Risher told Entertainment Weekly.

The spat began when Meghan Herning wrote a piece on the obscure culture blog PopFront that accuses Swift of supporting racist eugenics and compares the singer to Adolf Hitler

The main takeaway is that some white supremacists may have embraced Swift's popular lyrics and music videos as supportive of their beliefs, and that Swift is racist for not publicly decrying them.

Herning specifically focused on Swift's new hit single Look What You Made Me Do, which Herning claimed seems to offer "subtle, quiet white support of a racial hierarchy." She wondered if the song serves "as indoctrination into white supremacy" for young girls.

In response, Swift's legal team sent a letter to Herning, who serves as the executive editor of PopFront, demanding a retraction of the story, which it called "provably false and defamatory." The letter said Swift is "prepared to proceed with litigation" if the story isn't retracted.

The letter, while menacing, didn't legally require anything of the blogger. It was the first step toward a defamation lawsuit, which would be hard for Swift to win. Given that she is a public figure, not a private person, she would have to show in court that the blogger made the statements with "actual malice" - in other words, knowing they were untrue and publishing them specifically to destroy the pop star's character.

 People in Swift's position rarely prevail in defamation lawsuits, but it's not uncommon for celebrities to use cease-and-desist orders, which have no force of law, to suppress negative stories.

The ACLU fired back with a letter on Oct. 25, claiming neither Herning nor PopFront would remove the article and that Swift's arguments don't hold water.

"The blog post is a mix of core political speech and critical commentary; it discusses current politics in this country, the recent rise of white supremacy, and the fact that some white supremacists have apparently embraced Ms. Swift, along with a critical interpretation of some of Ms. Swift's music, lyrics, and videos," the letter stated.


Wednesday, November 08, 2017

US judge says “global de-indexing order” against Google threatens free speech

Canadian courts can't rule the Internet—at least not outside Canada.

A US federal judge has stopped a ruling from the Canadian Supreme Court from going into effect in the US. The Canadian order would have ordered Google to de-index all pages belonging to a company called Datalink, which was allegedly selling products that violated the IP of Vancouver-based Equustek.

When the order came down earlier this year, Google filed a lawsuit in US federal court seeking to render the Canadian order unenforceable stateside. Google called the Canadian order "repugnant" to the First Amendment, and it pointed out that the Canadian plaintiffs "never established any violation of their rights under US law."

Equustek never showed up to defend itself in the US court case, making a Google victory all but assured.

On Thursday, US District Judge Edward Davila made it official, granting a preliminary injunction that will stop Equustek's hard-won Canadian ruling from being enforced in the US. Davila held (PDF) that the order violated Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which prevents online platforms from being held responsible for content posted by others.


Elizabeth Warren supports "no censorship" on college campuses

She's pretty far Left so that is something of a surprise.  She is the most probable Democrat Presidential candidate in 2014 so it is also reassuring. Whether she would translate words into actions is the doubt

THE U.S. SENATE waded into the debate about free speech on college campuses Thursday, as a panel of experts offered their views on what has emerged as an increasingly controversial issue on college campuses.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions convened the hearing amid a national debate on how to protect free speech on campuses, including by protecting the rights of those who may harbor hateful views.

Toward the end of the committee hearing, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, one of the signatories on that letter, said colleges should not prohibit speakers no matter how extreme their views are. She also condemned extremists on the right and the left who use violence against people they disagree with.

Warren, D-Mass., gave the example of right-wing intellectual Charles Murray, who she called an extremist who wears a “fancy suit and peddles racist junk science about how white men are biologically speaking intellectually superior to everyone else.” She encouraged people to challenge his views.

“As someone who worked as an academic researcher for decades, I think that spouting fake science is extremely corrosive to public policy and should be called out in public at every possible opportunity,” said Warren, who spent most of her life in academia, including many years teaching law at Harvard University.

Still, she rejected censorship.

“I think it’s dangerous to suppress speech. First, suppression can backfire. Instead of shutting up individuals with disgusting views it becomes a launching pad to national attention,” Warren said. “Bigots and white supremacists can make themselves out to be First Amendment martyrs and grow their audiences. And second, suppression suggests weakness, It makes us sound afraid, that we’re afraid we can’t defeat evil ideas with good ideas.”


Her comments on Prof. Murray do her no credit.  They are just typical Leftist abuse. How relevant is it that he wears a fancy suit?  And Murray does NOT claim that white men are superior intellectually to everyone else.  Murray is well aware of the higher average IQ scores among Jews and East Asians.  A quote from him: "I have always thought that the Chinese and Japanese civilizations had elements that represented the apex of human accomplishment in certain domains".  His first wife was actually Asian. A pretty strange white racist!

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Trump-supporting restaurant closed down by the Left

One wonders that they didn't realize how much hate they would attract

Nearly a month after closing the doors to their restaurant near the University of Arizona, the owners of Cup It Up American Grill are speaking out about what happened, while the community debates what free speech really means.

On Oct. 6, the Cup It Up store co-owners shared political views via its business’ Facebook account. The post began, “It’s time Cup it Up American Grill made a statement," and continued to list causes they believed in and supported, and those they did not.

The post declared support for President Donald Trump, drug screenings for welfare recipients, repealing Obamacare and more. The post also said the restaurant did not believe in kneeling for the national anthem, global warming, fake news and other issues.

It concluded with, “If you disagree with this post, please share it with 100 friends and we won’t be expecting you any time soon!” The restaurant’s university-area address was listed at the end of the statement.

The post incited a rapid response from the Tucson community. By the following Monday, Oct. 9, the three owners — Julian Alarcon, Jay Warren and Christopher Smith — had agreed to permanently close the restaurant.

According to Alarcon, who said he had no part in the post, the choice to close was in a large part over the backlash, but primarily out of concern for their employees' safety.

“Let's be perfectly clear, the restaurant is closed because the post that Chris and Jay made," Alarcon said. “The negative backlash, although some of it was really bad, it wouldn’t have been a major concern if they had just put maybe a few of those ideas on there... we alienated too many people.”

According to Warren, many of the employees had already chosen to quit out of disagreement with Warren and Smith’s beliefs. 

When asked what motivated the post, Warren said it was a combination of things. He cited the shooting in Las Vegas and the gun-control discussion it invoked, the political climate in general and the feeling of being engulfed in all that was going on in the world at the time.

“The number one thing was the national anthem and the NFL kneeling," he said. “I’m not going to say it got out of control, but it grew. The post grew from what was going to be a simple few statements..."

The post, and the community’s negative reaction to it, prompted Ana Henderson of the Pima County Republican Party to respond via the party’s official Facebook page. Her statement, which began, “Take a stand Tucson!” called on people to “take action in support of their freedom," and rally in support of Cup It Up.

Chairman of the Pima County Republican Party, David Eppihimer, took issue with Cup it Up's closure. “It is just a tragedy that the place had to close because of the disrespect at the U of A community toward freedom of expression; of ideas not leftist,” he said.


My pro-free speech views made me the target of a smear campaign at Vassar College

William A. Jacobson

My lecture against squeezing out free speech from colleges got me smeared. The students who smeared me got a safe space complete with coloring books and markers.

I became the campus-wide object of hate at Vassar College for defending free speech

It will come no surprise that campuses face a free-speech crisis at many levels.

From speech codes to kangaroo campus courts to lack of faculty political diversity, non-progressive voices are being pushed off campus.

But there is an aspect of the free speech problem that gets most of the headlines because of the viral videos.

From UC Berkeley in the west to Middlebury College in the northeast, and at dozens of colleges and universities in between, we have seen speakers disrupted, shouted-down, shut-down and threatened. Almost all such speakers were right of center, and almost all of the perpetrators were progressive students.

At Cornell University, where I teach at the law school, former Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum was heckled and Tea Party activist Michael Johns was forced to hold his appearance at a secret location due to threats of disruption.

I have watched these anti-free speech mobs from a distance, and from a news perspective. At my website, Legal Insurrection, I’ve written about many dozens of such incidents which started with attacks on Israeli and pro-Israeli speakers going back almost a decade and now have migrated into the mainstream.

I have given many lectures on campuses, mostly focusing on opposing the academic boycott of Israel and on the subject of anti-Semitism.

But I’m not a household name. And I’m not particularly controversial, although I do stick out at Cornell as one of only a small number of openly politically conservative faculty members.

So despite my campus speeches and conservative politics, I never really thought the anti-free speech mob would come for me. Until they did, at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

I previously spoke at Vassar in 2014 about academic freedom and the Israel boycott, at the invitation of the Vassar Conservative Libertarian Union. That small group, numbering fewer than 20 students on a campus of 2400 students, invited me back to speak on Oct. 25, 2017, on the topic of “hate speech” and free speech on campus.

That topic was important to me, particularly after the Charlottesville torch march and subsequent riots and killing of a young woman. I feared that the normal tension between free speech on campus and the desire to create an atmosphere where all groups would feel welcome, would sway campus politics towards greater speech restrictions.

My speech was to be titled “Hate Speech” is Still Free Speech, Even After Charlottesville. That title, which is an accurate statement of the law, focused on the dilemma of constitutional rights versus campus inclusiveness goals. Through clerical error, VCLU filed for funding of the speech under a different name, An Examination of Hate Speech and Free Speech.

Regardless of title, the planned discussion of “hate speech” as protected speech set in motion a smear campaign against me and attempts to stop my speech that left me feeling like I was going through an out-of-body experience.

A student activist group at Vassar, with the help of Vassar student government, spread false claims to the entire student body that event information was shared by me “on multiple white nationalist websites,” that there was “active encouragement for other white nationalists to come to the event,” and that there was a need to “protect the people that this speaker has targeted in the past.” None of this was true.

Two forums were held attended by over 200 students, faculty and staff, for the purpose of planning how to prevent ME from harming students. The claim reportedly was made at that forum that the “speaker himself is trying to incite violence.” That was a lie without any factual basis.

The student activists put together a research team to pore though my thousands of blog posts in order to falsely portray me as the equivalent of a Richard Spencer-type character. Being mainstream right-of-center became the equivalent of being a neo-Nazi or White Supremacist.

So complete was the demonization that one event poster was defaced by putting horns on my head.

Students put together a safety plan for the day of my speech that reads like parody, but was real. It included the now-common “safe spaces,” but also safety and emotional support teams. The Library was designated one such safe space and “will provide coloring books, zine kits, markers, construction paper etc.,” per a campus email. In case students had trouble finding a safe space, “Safe(r) spaces will be occupied by designated Vassar students with glowsticks.”

This all was surreal.

And then the Vassar student government moved in to kill the event, demanding in a letter from the Executive Board that Vassar’s president prevent me from appearing:

“We strongly urge you, on account of students undergoing serious and real pain, to take our words and ideas seriously, and work towards breaching the contract, ultimately preventing him from coming to campus on Wednesday... We urge you to think critically about these things. Rather than just engaging the abstract, we urge you to understand how these ideas have physical implications for the safety and well-being of real students on this campus..."

I was permitted to appear, under heavy security.

The event itself was as wonderful as the demonization campaign was awful. The room was at capacity of 200 students, with an overflow crowd in the hallway. The students listened to me discuss constitutional principles of free speech, how those principles do and do not apply at private colleges and how we should aspire to make campuses the most free places, not the least free.

There were no disruptions, not even from the 2-3 dozen students dressed all in black as a protest. Almost all students stayed to the end of the 45 minute lecture and 120-minute Q&A.

This Vassar experience left me shaken.

Because I committed to discussing free speech and the constitutional protection of even hateful speech, I was made the object of hate by student activists who whipped the campus into a frenzy.

Why would any right-of-center student, faculty member or guest speaker want to endure what I had to go through? For that matter, why would any liberal defender of free speech want to undergo such a smear campaign?

And isn’t that the point? While I was permitted to speak, the message was sent that support for the 1st Amendment and freedom of speech is not welcome. To get to speak on these sensitive yet critical topics means you have to run the gauntlet of anti-free speech progressives.

The mob didn’t stop me from speaking. But the damage was done.


Monday, November 06, 2017

When Disagreement Is Evil

Erick Erickson
Many members of the political press are very liberal.  Increasingly, in fact, left-wing blogs and commentary sites serve as a training ground for political reporters. Reporters float in and out of progressive institutions gaining the veneer of objectivity, but they never are. And with their increasingly strident progressivism fueled by being in a progressive hive, it becomes easier and easier to portray conservatives as not wrong but evil.

Consider the gubernatorial election in Virginia. Just last week, a Democratic member of the Virginia legislature was caught on tape calling Republicans “evil.” The crowd cheered. Concurrently, Democrats were running an ad not against Ed Gillespie, the Republicans’ gubernatorial nominee, but against his voters.

The ad featured a man in a Ford truck with a “Don’t Tread on Me” Gadsden flag license plate on the front. At the rear of the truck was a Confederate battle flag and a “Gillespie for Governor” bumper sticker. The man driving the truck was trying to run over Muslim, Hispanic, and black children. It was how Democrats see not just Gillespie voters but Trump voters.

The ad stands in stark contrast to the real world. There, where evil goes by the name “radical Islam” and not “Republican,” a Muslim man killed eight people driving up a pedestrian walkway in New York City. The contrast between the fever dreams of the Democrats and reality could not be more striking. In Democrat rhetoric and dreams, Republicans in general and Trump voters in particular are the racist, evil monsters who run over Muslim children. In reality, a Muslim terrorist ran over a diverse group of people in New York City.

The reaction of the press corps who knows not a truck driver was predictable and swift after the New York City attack happened. They openly worried about a backlash against Muslims. Then they congratulated themselves for noting that the white guy in Las Vegas had a bump stock, which Congress has yet to ban. But, they noted, at least the New York terrorist had no guns. Of course, had Congress banned the bump stock the American citizen in Las Vegas would still have had a constitutional right to guns. But had Democrats not created the diversity visa program, there would have been no terrorist running over people in New York City. That is the reality they choose to ignore.

In their mostly large cities, progressives and the press have isolated themselves from others. It is far easier for a progressive to avoid daily contact with a conservative than it is for a conservative to avoid progressives. It is also far more likely that a Republican will encounter more diverse voices in his party than a Democrat will. Democrats have made pro-life and traditional marriage supporters unwelcome in their party. Republicans have both pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage supporters among them.

Democrats talk a great game on tolerance and diversity, but they increasingly view anyone who thinks differently from them as evil. They can do so only because they have chosen the superficial diversity of color and gender over the more complex diversity of thought.


University Melts Down After A Sorority Girl Dressed As Pocahontas For Halloween

Pocahontas was a rather sympathetic character so one might  have thought that this was praise for her people

The governing body of University of Oklahoma sorority’s system condemned one of its members on Thursday for dressing up as Pocahontas for Halloween.

Reagan West, a member of OU’s Pi Beta Phi chapter, decided to dress up as a “Pocahottie” for Halloween as a way to stick it to political correctness, according to a now-deleted tweet.

The backlash against this costume decision was overwhelming on social media, with many leftists encouraging harassment against the offending sorority member.

Here’s my SWEET Halloween costume that justifies I’m related to Pocahontas … who was raped as a young girl. Yay cultural appropriation !!! — Davan (@DavanRaby) November 2, 2017

One of the leaders of the harassment against West was that of an account with the handle @sydnerain, a Native American student at Oklahoma.

In an unhinged tweet thread now hidden behind a private account, @sydnerain told her followers to “drag” the sorority member for being a “white supremacist.”

“I’d like to kick off Native American Heritage Month with this drag because y’all need to know we are not playing with you. This has to stop,” sydnerain declared.

“Here we observe the settler [West] at her finest: aware of the harm she will commit to an entire community, she goes for it, like a bitch would,” another tweet read.

The thread earned hundreds of retweets and likes before she locked her account.

West herself issued an apology following the outrage against her costume. “I am truly sorry if I unintentionally offended anyone in the Native American community with my Pocahontas Halloween costume,” West said in her statement shared on Twitter. “It was never my intent to be disrespectful.”


Sunday, November 05, 2017

Canadian holocaust memorial fails to mention Jews

by Dan Bilefsky

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, center, touring the newly inaugurated National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa last week. Credit Canadian Prime Minister's Office

The architecture of Canada’s new National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa is both symbolic and haunting, with six concrete triangles depicting the stars that Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany, and that marked millions of them for extermination during World War II.

But while the structure’s design embodies Jewish suffering during the Holocaust, a plaque placed outside it failed to mention Jews or anti-Semitism, an omission that has drawn furious criticism.

The plaque outside the memorial — the country’s first national Holocaust monument, 10 years in the making and inaugurated by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week — paid tribute to the “millions of men, women and children murdered during the Holocaust” and the “survivors who persevered and were able to make their way to Canada after one of the darkest chapters in history.”

The omission of any mention of Jews in the inscription was immediately seized upon by opposition politicians, rights advocates and the Israeli news media. Some groups turned to social media to express criticism. The plaque was removed.

The Times of Israel headline blared, “Canada Holocaust memorial omits any mention of Jews, anti-Semitism.”

David Sweet, a lawmaker from the opposition Conservative Party, asked Canada’s Parliament, “How could the prime minister permit such a glaring omission of reference to anti-Semitism and the fact that the millions of men, women and children who were murdered were overwhelmingly Jewish?” He added: “If we are going to stamp out hatred of Jews, it is important to get history right.”


British government orders civil servants to avoid calling taxpayers 'he' and 'she' or assuming a 'Mr' is male so transgender people are not offended

Civil servants should avoid using gendered pronouns like 'he' and 'she' or assuming someone with the title 'Mr' is male, according to the latest government directives.

The rules, which apply to all Whitehall departments, are intended to avoid causing offence to people whose chosen gender does not identify with their biological sex.

The Service Manual is produced by the Cabinet Office and used by government departments to design their websites. ­­

In the section on gender it advises: ‘You should address the user as “you” where possible and avoid using gendered pronouns like “he” and “she”.’

Pronouns are allowed in some cases, the document states, but civil servants should never guess a person’s gender from their title.

Philip Davies, MP for Shipley, called the directives - which were last updated in December 2016 and remain current - 'politically-correct claptrap'.


Friday, November 03, 2017

Poll: 71% of Americans Say Political Correctness Has Silenced Discussions Society Needs to Have, 58% Have Political Views They’re Afraid to Share

The Cato 2017 Free Speech and Tolerance Survey, a new national poll of 2,300 U.S. adults, finds that 71% Americans believe that political correctness has silenced important discussions our society needs to have. The consequences are personal—58% of Americans believe the political climate prevents them from sharing their own political beliefs.

Democrats are unique, however, in that a slim majority (53%) do not feel the need to self-censor. Conversely, strong majorities of Republicans (73%) and independents (58%) say they keep some political beliefs to themselves.

It follows that a solid majority (59%) of Americans think people should be allowed to express unpopular opinions in public, even those deeply offensive to others. On the other hand, 40% think government should prevent hate speech. Despite this, the survey also found Americans willing to censor, regulate, or punish a wide variety of speech and expression they personally find offensive


PragerU Sues YouTube For Discriminating Against Conservative Videos

Anti-discrimination law probably applies

Those blackballed from social media platforms for sharing views dissenting from prevailing progressive Silicon Valley orthodoxy have to date had little recourse against the tech speech police. That is why PragerU’s newly filed suit against Google and Google-owned YouTube alleging unlawful censorship and free speech discrimination based on the educational video purveyor’s conservative political viewpoint has the potential to be groundbreaking.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in California, details upwards of 50 PragerU educational videos that YouTube has, in PragerU’s view, unjustifiably slapped with “restricted mode” or “demonetization” filters, violating its First Amendment right to free speech. These filters limit or otherwise prevent viewers, based on characteristics like age, from consuming content deemed “inappropriate.”

Basic Conservative Ideas Are Totally ‘Inappropriate’?

The videos in question cover a wide range of subjects from national security and foreign policy, to the Second Amendment and abortion—that is, the very political speech that our courts have argued is at the core of the First Amendment

The censored videos fully comply with the letter of YouTube’s Terms of Use and Community Guidelines.” Moreover, PragerU illustrates that comparable videos from non-conservative sources like BuzzFeedVideo, CNN, and “Real Time with Bill Maher” have not been subjected to such filters.

Leaving aside the inherent subjectivity for a moment, if PragerU’s content is “appropriate,” and other publishers are able to upload similar content without being penalized, then what better explanation is there for YouTube’s censorship than viewpoint discrimination? PragerU’s dealings with YouTube over its content restrictions only strengthen the validity of this question.


Thursday, November 02, 2017

Incorrect name for an Irish hospital

In Greek mythology, a phoenix is a long-lived bird. A phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor

Simon Harris has been urged to rename the Phoenix Children’s Hospital after medical chiefs warned it was insensitive to parents of deceased children whose organs were incinerated after being kept without permission.

The chosen name of the €1 billion national children’s hospital on the campus of St James’s Hospital in Dublin 8 was announced by the health minister last Monday.

It has since emerged that on October 12 the medical board of the three children’s hospitals in the capital warned Eilish Hardiman, chief executive of the body now known as Phoenix Children’s Health, that the name was unsuitable.

They said it would cause confusion at international meetings because there is already a Phoenix Children’s Hospital which is a well-known academic centre in the United States.

“Many also felt that the name was very insensitive to the families of the children whose organs were retained and subsequently incinerated, and would serve as a constant reminder to these families of their loss,” Shoana Quinn, chairwoman of the Joint Medical Board of Crumlin, Temple Street and Tallaght, wrote.

Dr Quinn said that the board had voted unanimously to reject the name.

In 1998 many bereaved Irish parents learnt that the organs of their dead children had been removed and retained by the hospitals where they died, in some cases being sold for research or incinerated with hospital waste. The discoveries led to the €20 million Dunne inquiry, whose report was never published, and a new national post-mortem policy.

Brendan Howlin, the Labour leader, said last night that Mr Harris should rename the hospital.


Feds: Racist graffiti, arson at south KC church were cover-up for theft by black employee

A maintenance man at a south Kansas City church spray-painted racist graffiti on the front entrance and set a fire inside — all to cover up his theft of money to buy crack cocaine, according to documents filed in federal court on Monday.

Nathaniel D. Nelson was charged in U.S. District Court with committing an arson inside the adjoining cultural center at the predominantly black Concord Fortress of Hope Church, where he was also a member.

Nelson, 48, had previously served time in prison for arson and burglary and was last released in 2011.

According to allegations in the affidavit filed in court to support the charges, Nelson admitted to stealing money from inside the church’s cultural center to buy crack cocaine. Nelson, who is black, said he had spray-painted the racist graffiti and set the fire in an attempt to throw off investigators, according to the affidavit.

Members of the church at 11050 W. Longview Parkway were greeted Sunday morning to the graffiti, which included a slur directed at black people, the letters “KKK” and what appeared to be an attempt at making a swastika.

The fire was set inside the adjoining Concord Cultural Center. Nelson allegedly said he used clothing and paper towels to set fire on a chair in an office. The building’s sprinkler system extinguished the blaze before it spread.

Nelson was captured on a video inside the building’s foyer just before he unplugged the surveillance system, according to documents. But he was unaware of a second system, which recorded video of him outside spray-painting the graffiti, according to the allegations.

He was identified on the video by Deputy Kansas City Police Chief Karl Oakman, who is a member of the church.

According to the allegations contained in the affidavit: Nelson told investigators that he smoked crack inside his office at the church before attempting to break into the finance office, which was the only room he did not have a key for.

When he was unable to break in, he rummaged through two other offices and stole about $230. He left to buy more crack, returned to the church and broke into two vending machines, but was able to get only a few dollars.

He left again to buy more crack, which he brought back to the church to smoke. He allegedly set the fire before leaving.

Nelson told investigators that he attempted to create an alibi by going to a hospital emergency room, but he left when hospital workers wanted him to take a drug test.

Nelson had been convicted of second-degree arson and financial crimes like forgery and passing a bad check, according to Jackson County court records.

On Monday, Nelson was charged with the arson in federal court because prosecutors allege that the building where the fire was set is used for interstate commerce. During a brief court appearance that afternoon, a federal magistrate judge ordered that Nelson remain in custody pending a detention hearing later in the week.

Federal prosecutors are asking that Nelson be held without bond while the case is pending.


Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Will Washington pressure Silicon Valley to quell free speech?

Conservatives have warned for years about the growing anti-speech sentiment in Washington, a trend finding all too much comfort in Silicon Valley.

Twitter recently blocked Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., from promoting a campaign ad. Her "crime?" Being pro-life and attacking Planned Parenthood. The congresswoman claimed she had "fought Planned Parenthood" and "stopped the sale of baby body parts," statements Twitter deemed too "inflammatory." The company worried Blackburn's pro-life stance would "evoke a strong negative reaction."

Is that now the barometer for acceptable speech? If I may offend you, I deserve to be silenced?

Blackburn was certainly not the first pro-life victim of censorship. Live Action President Lila Rose was blocked from advertising on Twitter because she dared to criticize Planned Parenthood. Her ad, which accurately claimed that Planned Parenthood performs over 320,000 abortions a year, was also labeled "inflammatory."

And of course, the abortion lobby's promotion of its services and criticism of Republicans are anything but inflammatory. A glance at Planned Parenthood's Twitter feed leaves you with the misleading message: "Stop the Trump administration's attack on birth control access," as if stores were preparing to stop selling contraception any day now. Apparently, only conservative speech is considered "inflammatory."

And who can forget Facebook's clampdown on conservative news? Company officials allegedly "filtered out stories on conservative topics from conservative sources," a blatant attempt to silence speech they oppose. Congress is now targeting Russian-bought Facebook ads in another effort to restrict purportedly undesirable speech and Facebook appears all too eager to help out.

In many ways, Silicon Valley's anti-speech activism is a betrayal of the simple idea that drove the explosive growth of the Internet as an alternative to traditional, heavily moderated platforms: More speech is in the public interest and everyone has a right to be heard. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media companies have given billions of people an unprecedented platform to speak their minds and listen (or not listen) to various perspectives — liberal or conservative. Between Facebook and Twitter, more than two billion users now use Silicon Valley's products to exercise their First Amendment rights and to freely associate with friend networks, business groups, and political organizations.

Free speech and free association are the foundation of American democracy. Silicon Valley's growing censorship of any speech is an attack on all speech — and a vibrant democracy. Whether you're a pro-life activist or a Planned Parenthood representative, the First Amendment enshrines the same right to free speech. It is not up to Facebook and Twitter officials to dictate which speech is acceptable and which isn't.

Naturally, private enterprises may control speech on their physical and digital premises. But kowtowing to the mob — whether establishment insiders or easily offended snowflakes — is the wrong approach. Such groupthink invites the very government interference the Internet should be free of.

Nor is it the government's responsibility to assume the role of George Orwell's "thinkpol." While Silicon Valley stifles public speech, elected officials increasingly abuse their power to restrict the flow of information. In the 115th Congress, dozens of bills have been introduced to expand federal intrusion into political speech. Some would grant the Federal Election Commission more expansive powers to regulate — and prosecute — campaign contributions and super PAC spending. They would intrude upon all Americans' right to choose whom they associate and speak with.

Others target the elusive specter of "foreign money" as an excuse to burden all political advertising, as if a few more TV ads endanger our democracy.

Democrats primarily lead the anti-speech brigade, but undermining the First Amendment has become bipartisan sport. The Restoring Integrity to America's Elections Act — co-sponsored by seven Republicans — would centralize the FEC's power in a single unelected political appointee. Democrat or Republican, the FEC appointee could weaponize the agency against speech he or she opposed — not unlike Facebook or Twitter.

It boils down to a simple question: Do you want someone else deciding if you get to speak? If you believe you're immune because your speech is "acceptable," while other speech is "unacceptable," then you're missing the point. No individual should ever have the right to silence another's speech with the heavy hand of Big Brother or Big Data.

In the end, the attack on free speech rests upon an inaccurate, insulting assumption: We Americans need to be coddled and shielded from "dangerous" speech. We need our government and corporate overseers to hand down approved speech, as if there is "right" or "wrong" speech. There is only speech. Agreeing or disagreeing with it is still up to us as individuals.

Without it, and without an unfettered freedom to speak even "offensively," our American democracy devolves into Orwellian authoritarianism — only with two thinkpols instead of one.


Australia: You can't say that -- unless you are a Leftist

The latest TV ad to be rolled out by the anti-same-sex marriage lobby has been deemed unacceptable for general viewing, with the commercial television body declaring passages attributed to the controversial Safe Schools sexuality education program can be aired late in the evening only.

Free TV has advised the Coalition For Marriage that its latest commercial warrants an ‘‘MA’’ classification due to “depictions of implied sexual activity and verbal sexual references” and can air only after 8.30pm, or 9.30pm during a sports program or a film classified as ‘‘G’’ or ‘‘PG’’.

The 30-second commercial, which is due to air tonight and features footage of Safe Schools founder Roz Ward speaking at a same-sex marriage rally, includes passages from the Safe School-endorsed OMG I’m Trans and OMG I’m Queer resources, which are available from the Victorian Department of Education and also appear on the websites of some South Australian schools.

The passages include “penis-in-vagina sex is not the only sex and certainly not the ultimate sex,” and “it’s a total lie that all guys have dicks, that all girls have vaginas”, which appear on the screen as text.

The Coalition for Marriage tried to point out to Free TV’s commercial advice arm that the passages had been lifted directly from learning materials approved by various state governments and taught to students from Years 7 upwards. However, it was told the organisation was independent of governments and under the definitions of the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice the material was not appropriate for viewing by minors.

Coalition for Marriage spokesman Lyle Shelton said he was disappointed by Free TV’s stance given the topical nature of the advertisement. “It beyond belief that taxpayer- funded LGBTIQ sex and gender education materials openly made available to students of all ages are given an MA rating for television,” Mr Shelton said. “The issue of these materials, of parents’ rights, and the direct relationship with changing the Marriage Act are there for all to see, and parents should beware.

While the Coalition for Marriage has been heavily criticised for arguing that legalising same-sex marriage would lead to an extensive rollout of Safe Schools-style “radical” sexuality and gender diversity education programs in schools, Mr Shelton said evidence was mounting to support the supposition. “Just this week we have seen footage of the British Prime Minister saying that after redefining marriage they would be pressing ahead with LGBTIQ and gender education in all British schools,” he said, referring to comments Theresa May made last week. “The idea that all of these issues are unrelated is actually laughable.”

Free TV, the industry body representing Australia’s commercial free-to-air television licensees, was embroiled in controversy earlier this year when an ad celebrating Father’s Day was deemed “political” ahead of the same-sex marriage plebiscite.

That was criticised as “political correctness gone mad” by politicians, but Free TV blamed the ad’s creator, not-for-profit group Dads4Kids, for the ad not running, saying they were asked to add an identification tag declaring political content and refused to do so.


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Facebook Censors His Conservative Posts, Retired Accountant Contends

A retired accountant says Facebook has suspended and otherwise censored him multiple times since the 2016 presidential campaign for posting certain conservative content.

Allen Muench, 62, a resident of St. Louis, Missouri, said he spends much of his time running a conservative Facebook page that often supports President Donald Trump and is critical of liberals.

After posting conservative memes or articles from websites such as Breitbart, he has seen Facebook limit or completely cut off his access, Muench told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.

“Our biggest challenge is Facebook’s political bias and their enforcement of their Community Standards policy,” Muench said. “Facebook seems to enforce their policy more on conservatives than liberals.”

He estimated that Facebook gave him five 30-day suspensions, six one-week suspensions, and six two-week suspensions in the past 12 months, as well as numerous shorter suspensions lasting from three hours to 72 hours.

“They have things like ‘You’re posting too fast,’ and then you seem to fall into like a few hours [of suspension],” Muench, who worked as an accountant for 35 years, said. “The next time you get six hours, then a day, then a week, then two weeks.”

Topics that get him suspended by the social media giant, he said, include Islam, homosexuality, Michelle Obama, and certain news outlets.

He started managing a Facebook page about the time Trump announced his campaign for president in June 2015, Muench said, and he believes Trump won the White House in part because of Facebook.

Muench’s Facebook page, called Health and Global News, has over 13,000 likes. He said he targets independents and people who usually don’t vote.

As examples of Facebook’s censorship of his page, Muench said the company suspended him for one week after he posted a Breitbart article titled “Two Afghans Arrested for Raping 16-Year-Old on German City Street,” and again after he posted an article from the Liberty Writers site titled “Minutes Into His Memorial Day Speech Today, Trump Paused and Revealed the Unthinkable.”

He said Facebook suspended him for two weeks for posting a video of the American flag, and also suspended him for posting memes about Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, and former President Bill Clinton.

A Facebook spokeswoman said the company does not comment on individual cases to protect privacy, but that it did not suspend Muench for the topics of his posts.

She said Muench was posting a large amount, including to various Facebook groups, which the company’s system could identify as spam because he often posted almost identical content or content that some members of groups didn’t like.


Another example of Leftists being "sensitive" on other people's behalf

Another Leftist obsessed with race

Dressing children up as Disney's Moana this Halloween is racist, according to one parenting blogger.

While parents should also think twice about letting their brood dress up as Elsa from Frozen because her character promotes 'white beauty'.

Writing in her popular blog Raising Race Conscious Children, parent blogger activist Sachi Feris urged parents not to dress their children up as characters from backgrounds different to their own as it is 'cultural appropriation.'

Dressing children up as Disney's Moana this Halloween is racist, according to influential parenting blogger. Sachi Feris' blog has attracted nearly 100,000 shares online this week, where she claimed allowing children to go as Moana risks parodying Polynesian culture

Although many would see the strong-minded Moana as a perfect role model for their child, Feris said it's racially insensitive and risks parodying Polynesian culture.

Moana, a 3D animation, was one of Disney's biggest hits of 2016, raking in $640 million at the box office globally, while also winning praise for having a non-white female character, based on mythology from indigenous Polynesian people.

The blogger also took aim at Disney's Frozen character Elsa, adding: 'I feel like because Elsa is a White princess, and we see so many White princesses, her character sends the message that you have to be a certain way to be "beautiful"'

The concept of 'cultural appropriation' has sparked widespread discussion in recent years with white westerners being urged to be wary of borrowing from other societies.

Social media users flocked to Twitter to bemoan the humourless trend, with one writing that children should be allowed to enjoy Halloween without being dubbed racist

Wearing sombreros, growing dreadlock-style hair, wearing Bindis and Native American outfits are among the trends white westerners have been told to avoid.

The growing movement has caused a backlash, with many calling the trend humourless and a method of censorship.


Monday, October 30, 2017

Cop Fired After Wearing Confederate Underwear Gets $55,000 Settlement

Incorrect underwear!

A South Carolinian police officer fired after wearing Confederate underwear will receive a $55,000 settlement, according to a Friday announcement.

The South Carolinian Insurance Reserve Fund will pay former Sgt. Shannon Dildine the amount after Dildine filed a wrongful termination claim against both the city of North Charleston, as well as its police department, reported The Post and Courier.

Dildine posted a picture of himself in Confederate flag underwear five days after Dylann Roof’s June 2015 massacre at a black Charleston church. While he deleted it the next day after a superior at his police department mentioned it, North Charleston deemed the photo incendiary and indicative of a lack of judgment.

The fired officer alleged that he did not know Roof had used the Confederate flag to demonstrate racism and “did not believe the Confederate flag was a symbol of hate,” according to the lawsuit. “Instead, he believed it symbolized opposition to bigger or intrusive government.”

Dildine accused North Charleston of discriminating against him for being white, citing a black officer who did not receive discipline for appearing in a photo with Black Lives Matter protesters.

While Dildine received this $55,000 settlement, the North Charleston police department declined to reinstate him.


An apt joke attracts criticism

It was a rather good joke but all jokes are dangerous these days. There were two people involved in the joke but it is interesting that only the Conservative (Gove) had to apologize.  The Leftist (Kinnock) appears to have been absolved

Michael Gove has issued a grovelling apology after he compared being interviewed by BBC Radio 4 Today presenter John Humphrys with  being sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein.

Asked by Humphrys,  "Isn't there a danger, God forbid, that we  make a politician look silly or perhaps a politician makes themselves look silly or contemptible in some way?",

Mr Gove replied: " Well, I know what you mean. Sometimes I think that coming into the studio with you John is a bit like going into Harvey Weinstein's bedroom".

"John goes way past groping, way past groping," former Labour leader Lord Neil Kinnock, who appeared alongside Gove, added.

"You just pray that you emerge with your dignity intact... but the broader point is that yes you can make a fool of yourself," Mr Gove continued.

The Environment Secretary and Lord Kinnock's remarks led to laughter and applause from the programme's live audience, which had gathered at Wigmore Hall for a live celebration of its 60th anniversary.

However, their remarks quickly drew widespread ire - including that of BBC 5Live presenter Emma Barnett and fellow politicians.

Gove's Tory colleague Anna Soubry wrote that the joke had "insulted victims of rape & other sexual assaults & perpetuated pathetic notion that these crimes are not to be taken seriously, while Barnett tweeted : "Cabinet Minister’s bantz about Weinstein. Probably just locker room chat. Silly me".

Lord Andrew Adonis, a former Labour education minister, added: "Seriously inappropriate ‘joke,’ sums up a discreditable episode of  self-congratulation".


A comment by English libertarian Sean Gabb:

Earlier today, the 27th October 2017, the Conservative politician Michael Gove compared being interviewed by John Humphreys to being taken into Harvey Weinstein’s bedroom. Everyone laughed until some radio presenter called Shelagh Fogarty set off a virtue spiral with claims that the joke “trivialised” victims of sexual assault. The ritual condemnations rolled in at once, and Mr Gove apologised.

Probably because no one else was willing, I was begged to go on BBC Radio 5 this evening and discuss the matter with Miss Fogarty on the Stephen Nolan Show. I finally agreed.

The points I made were these:

That Mr Gove had used a rhetorical trope called hyperbolic simile. Whether or not it succeeds, this tries to be funny by making an incongruous comparison. An example I gave on air was that “listening to the BBC is like having two wisdom teeth extracted.”

That everything has been, is and ever will be made a subject of humour. This is not to say that the joker is in favour of assaults against life and property.

That a country can be seen to be taking leave of its senses when jokes become dangerous.

Miss Fogarty’s eventual response was to say how long she had been a woman and how difficult this had been: and Mr Nolan went into a fit of virtue-signalling in which he repeatedly spoke over me. I declined his veiled invitation to tell a joke about rape.

Instead, I pointed out that satire in this country has died for two reasons. One is that the “brave alternative comedians” of the 1980s have become po-faced commissars, enforcing political correctness. The other is that it is impossible to satirise a satire, and that modern England has become a vast open-air festival of satire.

And that was it. I was switched off, and Miss Fogarty and Mr Nolan continued agreeing that jokes are no joking matter.


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Sometimes you can't win -- particularly if you are a conservative

Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown praised some people but that was WRONG, apparently

As Brown explained it to the New Zealand website, when he and his wife, former WCVB-TV reporter Gail Huff, went to Samoa this summer to present his diplomatic credentials, they attended a Peace Corps event.

They had seen the volunteers when they looked “dirty and kinda grungy.” But when Brown and Huff walked through a receiving line, he said, everyone looked fabulous.

“Everyone really was dressed to the nines,” he said in a video on the website. “They all looked great. Gail looked great. You know, I was dressed up. And Gail and I both walked in and we said, ‘Boy, you guys look beautiful,’ ‘You look really handsome, sir,’ you know, ‘You guys are great!’ And, apparently, somebody took offense to that.”

Brown said someone was also dismayed by a comment he made at a formal dinner with top Samoan officials to mark the presentation of his credentials as ambassador to the Pacific island nation.

“During the ceremony, the presentation ceremony — they were doing the haka, they were doing the official dances, and the presentations honoring people — there are people serving food,” Brown said in the video. “And when someone came over and served food, I said, ‘You know what, you could make hundreds of dollars in the services industry, you know? Waitress, bartenders, sales. You guys are doing a great job.’ And somebody took offense to that as well.”


Man charged with spray-painting swastika at UMD is African American

Another one

Court records show the man accused of spray-painting a swastika inside a residence hall at the University of Maryland in September is African American.

Students were surprised to learn someone who is a member of a race which has been historically oppressed is accused of the hate-related incident.

University of Maryland police say 52-year-old Ronald Alford Sr. was served a criminal summons on Thursday and faces several charges including destruction of property and disturbing the operations of a school. Alford will not be allowed back on campus.

Officials discovered the swastika painted on a trash cart at Hagerstown Hall, a residence hall on campus, on September 27.


Friday, October 27, 2017

BBC double standards

A Conservative MP cautiously and politely questions university attitudes towards Brexit in a carefully worded letter; BBC reacts with hysteria across all channels. See here

Labour MP Jared O’Mara viciously insults gay people and calls women ‘fatties’ and ‘ugly bitches’, Spanish, ‘dagos’, Danes, ‘pig shaggers’. Barely registers a blip on the lunchtime news.

Trump is no Danger to Free Speech 

The Washington Post, progressive bastion of hyperbole and perpetual outrage against all things Republican and conservative, is again fearful. This week, Post writer Aaron Blake contracted the vapors while warning of the danger to free speech posed by President Donald Trump. After posting a list of Trump’s alleged attacks on free speech, Blake warns, “The White House isn’t disputing the criticisms; it’s suggesting they shouldn’t even be tolerated and aren’t good for the country. That’s a stunning posture for any White House to take.”

This is, to be blunt, utter nonsense. Donald Trump poses far less risk to free speech than did Barack Obama, and less than your average social justice warrior college student.

It was columnist Salena Zito who astutely noted last year, “The press takes [Trump] literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.” That’s why his supporters cheer the general sentiment behind Trump’s verbal attacks on the “fake news” or NFL players who disrespect the flag or national anthem, without ever thinking Trump will abuse his power as president to compel the firing of players or shut down the media.

In electing Trump, the American people knew what they were getting — a master of media, showman and bombastic ringleader with little patience for the accepted rules of politics; a billionaire street fighter who would wade into the DC swamp, arms flailing and fists pumping. And that was okay because Americans were sick of enduring a militant form of political correctness that attacked their beliefs and values daily.

The free speech abuses of the Obama regime, and Democrats in general, elicited little more than a yawn from the progressive Left. Indeed, they often demanded and cheered such abuses, as when Obama forced Catholic nuns to pay for birth control and abortion in their health insurance, or used the IRS to harass conservative non-profits, or when 16 Democrat attorneys general launched a campaign to prosecute anyone who dared question the “settled science” of climate change.

Nor did they care that their presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, used a private email server so she could avoid congressional oversight and FOIA requests, or when Obama openly attacked the Supreme Court during a State of the Union address for its decision in the Citizens United case.

They didn’t care when the Committee to Protect Journalists reported, “Barack Obama [pledged] open government, but he has fallen short of his promise. Journalists and transparency advocates say the White House curbs routine disclosure of information and deploys its own media to evade scrutiny by the press. Aggressive prosecution of leakers of classified information and broad electronic surveillance programs deter government sources from speaking to journalists.”

They didn’t bat an eye when Obama spied on the press and investigated a reporter as a “co-conspirator” for writing about a national security issue. They supported Obama’s efforts to silence “offensive” political speech, calling for the FEC and the FCC to be the arbiter of what is and is not legitimate free speech.

The Left demands Christians violate their faith, forcing them to provide services for same-sex “marriages” or face public excoriation and the destruction of their businesses. They cheered when Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter and fascist “antifa” thugs rioted, dragged innocent people out of their cars and beat them, flipped cars and set businesses on fire, claiming it was just an understandable reaction to institutional racism and capitalist oppression.

Even the most ardent Trump supporter freely acknowledges Trump does not abide by the decorum normally expected from the Oval Office. Trump shuns political correctness and fights back. You throw a jab, he throws an uppercut. To a progressive power base used to Republicans who spend all their time on the defensive, trying lamely to refute accusations of hatred, bigotry, racism, homophobia, xenophobia and more, the Left has not figured out how to handle a Republican that fights back, relentlessly.

But it is disingenuous for the Left to act horrified by Trump’s combativeness. After all, Obama routinely used violent and hateful rhetoric. Or do they not recall Obama telling his supporters to bring a gun to a knife fight with Republicans, and “get in their face”?

The reality is that Donald Trump can be abrasive, combative and coarse, but the fear that he poses a threat to free speech is simply overblown.

A far greater danger to free speech lies with the American people themselves, who are thoroughly ignorant regarding the founding principles of our nation that enshrine the protections found in the First Amendment.

Various polls and surveys reveal a stunning number of Americans are clueless regarding the basics of American civics, unable to name one, much less all, of the First Amendment protections, or even name one of the three branches of government.

Such ignorance leads to an embrace of power over principle, as evidenced by polls showing a shocking level of support for silencing speech with which they disagree, even by violent means. Brute force replaces the free marketplace of ideas, and stokes tribalism. A free republic cannot survive under such conditions.

Thomas Jefferson understood this truth more than two centuries ago, noting, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Columbia Law Professor: Letting a Right-Wing Activist Speak Is 'An Act of Violence'

I think that having a Columbia Law Professor say such things is an act of violence

Kayum Ahmed, an adjunct faculty member at Columbia's Law School, helped students prevent a controversial right-wing speaker from giving a talk (via Skype) on campus. He also preemptively filed a discrimination complaint because the speech in question "constitutes an act of violence" and "is a form of harassment and discrimination."

Ahmed claimed in the Columbia Daily Spectator that he is under investigation for his role in disrupting the College Republicans' event on October 10, which involved a presentation by Tommy Robinson. Robinson is a far-right European anti-Islamic activist who is legally barred from entering the U.S., which is why he was scheduled to speak via Skype.

The speech didn't happen: Protesters shouted him down, making it impossible for the Columbia audience to hear him, according to Campus Reform's Toni Airaksinen. Ahmed has defended his actions on the grounds that allowing someone like Robinson to speak is dangerous, and that hate speech does not deserve robust First Amendment protection:

Robinson is indeed a hateful and loathsome person. If I were a member of the College Republicans, I would have implored my friends not to give him a platform. I support students and professors who protested both the decision to invite Robinson, and Robinson himself.

But words are not violence, and the hatefulness of Robinson's perspective is not grounds for cancelling his speech or shouting him down. Ahmed's argument is paternalistic: He doesn't trust students to "choose the most well-reasoned argument" when presented with a hateful perspective, and so he wants to strip them of their right to listen. This is illiberal thinking, and a betrayal of the values for which Columbia stands, and a concerning position for a member of the law faculty to take.