Friday, October 18, 2019

An Open Letter to Sergey Brin (co-founder of Google)


Fifty years ago this week, when I was a 21-year-old college senior, I was in the Soviet Union, sent by the government of Israel to smuggle in Jewish religious items and smuggle out names of Jews who wanted to escape the Soviet Union and could then be issued a formal invitation to Israel.

I was chosen because I was a committed Jew and because I knew Hebrew and Russian. I was no hero, but the trip did entail risk. The Soviets did not appreciate people smuggling out names of Soviet citizens who sought to emigrate, information the Israeli government and activist groups in America used to advocate on their behalf.

My four weeks in the USSR were, of course, life-changing. This young American, lucky beyond belief to have spent his entire life in the freest country in the world, experienced what it was like to live in a totalitarian police state. People feared merely being seen speaking with a Westerner, lest the KGB arrest and interrogate them. People arranged to meet me at a certain tree in a certain park and only spoke to me while walking to avoid eavesdroppers. I met with Jewish engineers, doctors and professors who could find no work because they were known to the government to be "otkazniki," or "refuseniks" -- Jews who had applied for exit visas to leave the Soviet Union and been refused permission. I'm sure you know of them from your parents.

I left the Soviet Union angry and grateful -- angry there are people who have the audacity to tell other people what they could and could not say, and grateful beyond measure to have been born in America, where no one could tell anyone what they could say. From that day to this, I have never taken freedom, especially freedom of speech, for granted.

Why I am writing to you about this?

Because, beyond my wildest dreams, two things are happening in America.

One is that for the first time in America's history, free speech is seriously threatened.

In 1977, when Nazis sought to march in Skokie, Illinois -- those terrible human beings chose Skokie because it was home to many Jewish Holocaust survivors -- virtually every liberal and conservative organization, including Jewish organizations, defended the Nazis' right to march. Because in America -- and only in America -- it was understood that even if the most loathsome speech was not protected, all speech was at risk.

That has changed.

Today, decent people -- people who abhor Nazism and every other form of evil, left or right; people like Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro and Ayaan Hirsi Ali -- are shouted down, threatened, disinvited or never invited to speak at America's universities.

The other thing that is happening is even more frightening. The company that you co-founded, Google, the greatest conduit of speech in world history, is also suppressing speech. I have asked myself over and over: How could the company founded by a man whose parents fled the Soviet Union do this?

It so boggles the mind that I have to hope you are simply not fully aware of what your company is doing.

So, in a nutshell, let me tell you what Google has done to one organization, Prager University (better known as PragerU). Every week, PragerU releases a five-minute video on virtually every subject outside of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Some of the finest minds in the world have presented these videos -- including professors from Harvard, Stanford and MIT; four Pulitzer Prize winners; three former prime ministers; liberals; conservatives; Democrats; Republicans (including never-Trumpers); gays; and, of course, many women and members of ethnic and racial minorities.

Yet YouTube, which Google owns, has placed hundreds of our videos on its restricted list. In addition to the inherent smear of being labeled "inappropriate for children," this means no family that filters out pornography and graphic violence, no school and no library can see those videos. Among those restricted videos is one during which former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper defends Israel. Had someone told me 50 years ago that a company led by the son of Soviet Jewish refuseniks would suppress a video by a world leader defending the Jewish state, I would have told them they were out of their mind. That's one reason I can only assume, or at least hope, that you are not fully aware of what your company is doing.

Or how about a video series I present on the Ten Commandments? YouTube is suppressing a number of those, too. When Sen. Ted Cruz asked a Google official why Google restricted one of my videos on the Ten Commandments, the official responded (it's on YouTube) that it was because the video "contains references to murder."

In fact, PragerU has repeatedly asked Google over the past several years why any of our videos are on the restricted list, and we have received either a runaround or silence. We have never received a substantive explanation. We have no desire to see government intervene in private business to protect free speech. But your company has availed itself of protections under law that shield it from liability for defamation, copyright infringement, etc. Your company's arrogance is such that a vast number of Americans -- liberals as well as conservatives -- are worried that the major conduit of speech in the Free World doesn't care about free speech.

Mr. Brin, along with millions of other Americans, I fought to bring your parents from a land with no freedom to the Land of the Free. None of us has ever asked for anything in return. It was our honor to work for liberty in general and for Soviet Jewry specifically.

What Americans most want from immigrants is that they help keep America free. I never had any doubt that those leaving the Soviet Union would fulfill that mission.

Until now.

Freedom of speech is the most fundamental of all freedoms. It's what your parents yearned for and bequeathed to you. Please don't help take it away from those who made it possible -- the people of America.


How the Left is Banning Conservatives From the Internet: A three-pronged attack on freedom of speech

“Free Speech is Killing Us,” is the title of the latest New York Times op-ed arguing that speech is dangerous. Previous entries included, “When Speech is Violence” which made the same argument.

Free speech has surpassed global warming, the ladies’ room, the criminal justice system, plastic straws, the border patrol, saying, “you guys”, and vaping, as the greatest threat to the ‘right side of history’.

The great conspiracy theory of our time is that President Trump was illegitimately elected because some people, maybe Russians, were saying stuff on Facebook, as part of a conspiracy that eventually pulled in the Russians, the Ukrainians, a British former intel agent, a guy who tried to frame Dan Quayle as a drug addict, FBI agents having an illicit affair, Bernie Sanders’ top strategist, the brother of Hillary’s campaign chair, and a confused former FBI director named Bob who was supposed to bust the case wide open.

But it all began with the claim that President Trump only won because of “disinformation” and “fake news” on social media. The original problem was free speech.

At Harry Reid’s retirement, Hillary claimed that the “malicious threat of fake news and false propaganda” is an urgent danger. At her forum on democracy, she argued that people couldn’t be trusted to make up their minds about the political content that they see on social media.

“Facebook’s answer was, ‘well we’re going to let people decide for themselves,’” she insisted. “How can you decide for yourself when what is presented is blatantly false and manufactured?” 

Probably the same way people decided that she hadn’t been named after Sir Edmund Hillary, hadn’t come under fire at an airport in Bosnia, and hadn’t negotiated peace in Northern Ireland.

The conclusion to Hillary’s sad career suggests that people actually know a lie when they hear one.

But, if people can’t be trusted to determine their political opinions, how can they be trusted to vote?

Obviously, they can’t.

After the 2016 election, the claim that free speech had gone too far and needed to be controlled became widely accepted, first in the media, and then among the big dot coms who coordinated a censorship campaign with media fact checkers. The stated goal was to stamp out ‘disinformation’. And ‘disinformation’ was defined as any viewpoint that media lefties disagreed with or found disagreeable.

Fact checkers were embedded into Facebook and Google’s operations. Conservative content was censored, deranked, and pushed under corporate media content. The ‘disinformation’ pretext, which was supposed to describe foreign propaganda, was extended to apply to nearly any conservative view.

Earlier this year, Pinterest, banned Live Action, a pro-life group, accusing it of “misinformation”.

This push to suppress conservative content on Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media companies is an attack on indexing. People find posts, articles, and videos through search engines, these days largely a Google monopoly, and peer feeds on social media. The indexing attack has been successful with conservative sites losing traffic, and conservatives being banned on social media

But indexing is just one prong of the attack. The others are advertising and payments.

If you’re a leftist, you don’t want people finding conservative content. Going after indexing means that the people who aren’t specifically looking for conservative content won’t find it. The idea is to turn conservative media into a ghetto. The impact on elections and national debates is obvious.

The next stage would be bringing down those sites entirely by ensuring that they can’t find hosting, and that no company will provide them with the services necessary to keep a site running. That’s in the works, but, unlike search, social, advertising and payments, there are a lot of companies and options.

So, for now, there’s been less action on that front.

Instead, the Poynter Institute, whose subset is the International Fact-Checking Network, has promoted efforts by the Global Disinformation Index to cut off advertising to conservative sites. The GDI report claimed that lots of ads are being run on sites condemned by Poynter and its fact checkers.

GDI, whose co-founder led the transition of a Soros group to independent status, never mentions conservatives, but its ‘disinformation’ screenshots feature conservative headlines such as, "Barack Obama is to blame for inflaming racial tensions as first black president", and "Ted Cruz likens Bernie Sanders to another genocidal maniac bent on controlling the population". Two of the disinformation examples feature Ted Cruz, and one is an attack on the Mueller investigation.

While GDI claims that these are examples of "misinformation" or "disinformation", they are opinion pieces. Twitchy quotes a Ted Cruz tweet comparing Bernie Sanders to Thanos for agreeing that population control was part of the solution to global warming. No 'fact check' site seems to have fact checked this and how would you fact check a comparison of Bernie Sanders to a comic book villain?

There are no counterpart lefty headlines and articles accusing President Trump of being a Russian agent.

That’s not “disinformation”. That’s the media’s “information”.

What is clear is GDI’s agenda which calls for “going after the sources of disinformation funding”.

That means removing ads on Twitchy and other conservative sites. GDI claims to be “developing a ratings tool that gives ad tech firms a reliable and unbiased indicator of site risk, enabling them to direct money away from domains that have a higher risk of carrying disinformation.” That’s an elaborate way of saying that the organization is developing an extremely biased blacklist of conservative sites.

Meanwhile GDI will "help to direct more ad monies to low-risk, better quality news domains." Examples of these include a variety of left-wing media sites. Poynter notes that, "Google served about 70% of the websites sampled. It also provided about 37%, or $86 million annually, of their revenue." Get Google to pull the plug and a lot of conservative sites won't be able to pay their bills. Meanwhile the ad money will move from financing conservative content to financing left-wing media content.

The leap from social media censorship to attacks on funding mechanisms for conservative sites makes it clear that this is not just about fighting ‘disinformation’ on social media, but eliminating the opposition.

The attacks on indexing and advertising are conducted under the guise of preventing people, innocent Wisconsin voters who might have otherwise voted for Hillary if it wasn’t for the Russian brainwashing, and companies unknowingly advertising their products to the filthy unwashed MAGA hordes instead of progressive sexually confused fair trade latte drinkers, but the attack on payments kills that pretext.

Even if a conservative site is suppressed on social media and banned from ad networks, its supporters could still donate to keep it going. The attack on payments sets out to make sure that won’t happen.

The Freedom Center briefly lost the ability to accept payments from the Visa/MasterCard duopoly as the result of a pressure campaign sourced from the Southern Poverty Law Center. Beyond going after digital payments, House Democrats have participated in a push to cut off the non-profit status of conservative organizations. Donor-advised funds have also been targeted in a bid to cut off conservative funding.

These are not varying approaches in response to different problems, but a common agenda.

The agenda is to turn back the clock to a corporate media monopoly and silence the political opposition. GDI’s report is fairly blatant in its endgame even as it is disingenuous about its political goals. The endgame in which big tech companies, indexers, payment processors and ad networks function as a cartel, denying access to conservatives, under the guidance of the media and its non-profit allies.

"It's a whole-of-industry problem that needs a whole-of-industry solution," GDI's program director Craig Fagan said.

A whole-of-industry solution would be a political cartel by a collection of illegal dot com monopolies.

What’s the problem that needs solving? Fagan accused the technical director of Google Cloud of a "conflict of interest" while retweeting claims of his alleged links to the Drudge Report and Breitbart. 

“Disinformation” or “misinformation” are euphemisms for content from the political opposition.

The campaign against them is really a program to eliminate the political opposition. That, not “disinformation”, is a real threat to democracy, and that, not the vicissitudes of net neutrality, embraced as an urgent crusade by many of the dot com censors, is the threat to freedom on the internet.

America and the internet were both born as experiments in free speech. But free speech is endangered.

The threat doesn’t just come from hysterical social justice children crying about their campus safe spaces. While conservatives have taken shots at easy targets, a growing alliance between the media, dot com monopolies, and lefty non-profits is contriving to transform the internet into one giant safe space.

Much like the Chinese internet, their vision is of a unipolar community where only one point of view is acceptable and all others are treated as a crime. But, unlike the People’s Republic, they don’t seek to keep the rest of the world out with a Great Firewall, but to force the opposition off the internet with a comprehensive program of political censorship, transforming social media itself into a social credit scheme, and cutting off traffic and funds to conservatives by redefining speech as “disinformation”.

“Free Speech is Killing Us,” the new lefty paradigm insists. But it wasn’t speech that killed millions of people under Communism and Nazis. It was totalitarian socialist regimes determined to stamp out free speech. A system may start out by banning words, books, sites, tweets and newspapers, but it rarely ends there.

Words are written and spoken by people. Those who set out to ban speech are really out to criminalize the men and women who speak them.

The detached terms that the new censorship is hiding behind, like ‘fighting disinformation’, are Orwellian euphemisms. Speech isn’t a bodiless abstraction. Disinformation implies an objective source of information. Nobody fights disinformation, they silence some people and empower others. They create authorities over speech and use that authority to perpetuate their own power structures.

The power to define “disinformation” is also the authority to define what “information” is.

The campaign to ban conservatives from the internet isn’t just about banishing them, but eliminating any opposition to the power of the governments, corporations and non-profits doing the banning.


Thursday, October 17, 2019

No more lunatics in Britain

People suffering mental ill health face being let down and stigmatised by “outdated” laws that still describe them as “lunatics,” says the Director of Public Prosecutions.

In an exclusive article for The Telegraph, Max Hill, QC, says criminal justice has lagged behind the rest of society in how it handles mental health even though research by his officials found one in five victims, witnesses or defendants has a mental health condition.

He said its failure to modernise meant there were examples of cases where two people with similar mental health issues could conceivably receive very different criminal justice outcomes which was unfair whether they were victims or defendants.


Airline ditches ‘ladies and gentlemen’ in favour of more politically correct term

It’s a standard greeting that’s been used airlines across the world for decades, but Air Canada crew will part with tradition by no longer using “ladies and gentlemen” when greeting passengers on the aircraft.

In a major change to the airline’s on-board protocol, passengers will no longer be referred to as “ladies and gentlemen” or the French “mesdames et messieurs”.

Instead, crew will use gender-neutral greetings such as “good morning everybody” in a bid to be more conscious of gender fluid passengers.

“We will be amending our on-board announcements to modernise them and remove specific references to gender,” an airline spokesperson said, according to CTV News Montreal.

The change in language will be adopted by gate agents, flight attendants and pilots.


Politeness falls victim to preoccupation with sexual abnormality

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

China isn’t the only country trying to stifle our free speech

A bunch of foreigners are deciding what we Americans can read online. Outrageous. Who do those Austrians think they are, anyway?

No, I didn’t get the country wrong. I’m talking about Austria, a liberal democracy and member of the European Union. Earlier this month, one of its politicians won a court case that ought to alarm all free-speaking Americans.

The ruling arose out of an incident in 2016, when someone on Facebook wrote that Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek, head of the Austrian Green Party, was a “lousy traitor” and a “corrupt bumpkin” who belonged to a “fascist party.” That kind of babble happens in the United States every day and barely merits a shrug, or maybe just a holla-back — “I’m no traitor! You’re a traitor!” But in Austria, such words may be sanctioned as illegal defamation.

Glawischnig-Piesczek sued in an Austrian court and won an order that Facebook must take down the offending words. But the court wasn’t content with riding herd on the reading habits of people in Austria. It held that Facebook had to take the message down around the world, so that absolutely nobody could read it.

In 2016, France fined Google for refusing to delete disputed information beyond the EU. After all, someone in France could still access that information, simply by going to the American version at instead of the French edition at But in September, the EU’s supreme court disagreed, ruling that Europe’s “right to be forgotten” can be enforced only against Google’s European sites.

Case closed? Not so fast.

On Oct. 3, the same court, ruling in the Glawischnig-Piesczek case, said that if the message in question is defamatory, the ban can be enforced worldwide. Facebook has to delete the disputed insults against her from its entire network, or it could face sanctions in the European Union, where the company generated about $14 billion in revenue last year. Worse yet, the court ruled that Facebook must also take down “equivalent content” — in other words, posts that say essentially the same thing.

Now, how to enforce such a ruling? Automate the process, the EU court says. Surely Facebook’s computers can ferret out every instance of the insults in question. That might work for exact copies of the original post. But Facebook must also ban messages that say roughly the same thing. But what if the words are used in a message that supports Glawischnig-Piesczek, or a news story that merely describes the affair?

Facebook must sort it all out on a global scale, every time an EU court demands a new takedown. That will never work. Either insults will seep through, or the filters will be so strict that even modest criticisms are barred, and free speech is smothered.

It’s unlikely this ruling will lead to a torrent of censorship requests, as unhappy Europeans will have to first win a defamation case. And while the EU nations may impose more limits on free speech than the US, they at least recognize the principle.


In Britain, even the dictionary is incorrect

A police force has been accused of “incredible irresponsibility” for treating the display of transphobic stickers around Oxford as a “serious crime”.

Some of the stickers, which have been dotted around the city centre, state: “Woman: noun. Adult human female” and “Women don’t have penises”.

Thames Valley Police has announced that those responsible could be charged with a public order offence and has appealed for witnesses.

It said: “Officers are investigating a large number of offensive stickers that have been placed across Oxford city centre containing transphobic comments.

"It is believed they started appearing in March within the High Street, Catte Street and Parks Road area.”

PC Rebecca Nightingale, the investigating officer, added: "Behaviour like this is not acceptable and we take incidents of this nature very seriously.”

Michael Biggs, Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of Oxford, suggested that the police had overreacted. “This is literally the Oxford English definition of what a woman is,” he said.

“I can’t believe that needs any stance at all. To say that a dictionary definition is a terrible hate crime is extraordinary. The police is being incredibly irresponsible."

Hundreds, or even thousands, of the stickers have been put up around Oxford since March, the police have said.

Others responded to the police response with disbelief. One resident wrote on Twitter: “You don’t see many officers in our area because they are busy dealing with this tosh.”

Another wrote: Oh no crime wave of stickers stating biological fact , sending prayers to the people of Oxford at this difficult time.”


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

'Woke' NBA Bows to Communist Tyrants

But Chinese influence over the decisions of American companies is growing.  

The Hong Kong protests have inspired people around the world and especially here at home. Some Americans have even taken to social media to voice their support, including Daryl Morey, general manager of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, who tweeted what he probably thought was a harmless show of support for freedom and democracy. After all, who among us could take issue with such a quintessentially American statement as “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong”?

Freedom-loving Americans, meet the “woke” NBA and its communist-sympathizing speech suppressors.

Morey was pressured to retract his statement by the NBA brass, which is bending over backwards to keep from offending Chinese President Xi Jinping and his despotic comrades. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who hates Donald Trump but loves the Black Lives Matter movement, thoroughly disgraced himself by apologizing to the ChiComs while all the world was watching.

This is what happens when American companies sell out in the blind pursuit of profits: They side with monstrous regimes that harvest the organs of their political prisoners. And that’s just one of the current abuses. Don’t forget the tens of millions slaughtered by previous ChiCom regimes.

It’s easy to find the hypocrisy in the NBA’s supplication to China. Suddenly, the league has decided to crack down on certain kinds of political expression while at the same time encouraging its players’ support of domestic “progressive” causes.

Remember, this is the same NBA that pulled its 2017 All Star Game out of Charlotte, North Carolina, after that state’s Republican governor signed a biological-sex “bathroom bill” into law. (One wonders whether the NBA has any clue as to how homosexual and transgender people are treated in China.)

ESPN’s social-justice warriors have been equally craven, as revealed in a leaked internal memo forbidding its on-air “talent” from even discussing Hong Kong or Chinese politics. This is the same ESPN whose president, Jimmy Pitarro, last year explained that whenever there is an intersection of sports and politics, “ESPN is the place of record. Of course, when you tune into ESPN … we need to be covering those stories, if there is a connection to sports.”

But when a nascent democracy movement makes the news? Crickets.

Here’s more: A CNN news reporter who questioned an NBA player about the controversy was shut down this week; Nike’s anti-Betsy Ross battalions are pulling Houston Rockets products from the shelves of Chinese stores; and Apple just removed from its App Store an app that helped the people of Hong Kong monitor police movements.

Remember, this is all the result of a seven-word pro-democracy tweet. If only Daryl Morey had tweeted, “Fight for Freedom. Impeach Donald Trump.”

Jarrett Stepman writes at The Daily Signal, “Political dialogue is great unless the gravy train from an authoritarian state is cut off, it seems. Celebrating the Betsy Ross flag is beyond the pale, but we don’t dare in any way contradict the whims of a brutal, police state regime that puts Muslims in concentration camps, forces women to have abortions, and throws citizens in prison for exercising their God-given right to free speech, among other atrocities.”

As the editors at the Washington Examiner explain, “Terrified of losing out on potential future profits from 1.4 billion Chinese consumers, Hollywood and Silicon Valley have bowed again and again to Chinese censors.”

If the Chinese were only interested in silencing a basketball league or a sports network, we might not have much to worry about, but their influence is growing more pervasive. They’re practically calling the shots in Hollywood and have already established nearly 90 Confucius Institutes in colleges and universities across America to indoctrinate our debt-ridden students with Chinese propaganda.

“These are the times that try men’s souls,” said Thomas Paine. Sadly, the NBA and many other American entities have already sold theirs. Perhaps we American consumers should begin to make buying decisions that reflect our displeasure.


Free Speech Is Not 'Killing Us'

Uncivil speech is not the threat some make it. But we could all use the Golden Rule. 

Since our nation’s inception, Americans have understood it better than most: With rights come responsibilities. This sentiment has seldom been as apparent as it is in the realm of free speech, where one edgy performance deemed offensive, or one tasteless social-media post that skewers the wrong segment of society, can be a career-breaker. Just ask Shane Gillis about the “Saturday Night Live” gig he lost, or maybe ask Roseanne Barr about the cancellation of her popular rebooted “Roseanne” show after just a few episodes. There are numerous others. Despite apologies and pleas for forgiveness, their career doors were slammed shut for the crime of having said what they wished to say at the time.

Yet a recent New York Times op-ed claiming “Free Speech Is Killing Us” from author Andrew Marantz, a contributor to The New Yorker, has upped the ante on this debate. Intoning the relatively recent atrocities in El Paso, Christchurch, and Charlottesville, Marantz makes the case that something needs to be done, and the best entity to do it is the federal government.

“I am not calling for repealing the First Amendment, or even for banning speech I find offensive on private platforms,” he writes. “What I’m arguing against is paralysis. We can protect unpopular speech from government interference while also admitting that unchecked speech can expose us to real risks. And we can take steps to mitigate those risks. The Constitution prevents the government from using sticks, but it says nothing about carrots.” Among the carrots Marantz would dangle: a government-backed competitor to Google and Facebook.

Marantz is wrong in a number of respects. Our nation isn’t becoming more dangerous in terms of crime, as Reason’s Robby Soave points out, nor are providers of content neglecting the idea of policing themselves, as John Samples of the CATO Institute opines. Gabriella Hoffman at The Resurgent also reminds us of the basic truth that sunlight is the best disinfectant for hateful speech.

That last approach has always worked rather well. Now, we can disagree as to whether Gillis stepped over the line to offend in his live performances, or Barr was out of bounds when she tweeted about former Barack Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett. But these situations were dealt with by private entities that took action against the offenders, rather than via a government edict against thought crimes. (Which sounds like something this guy would do.)

However, in some respects Marantz is getting his wish, as Congress has chipped away at longstanding speech protections on the Internet and is threatening to erode them even further in the name of combating human trafficking and what the National Association of Attorneys General called “black market opioid sales, ID theft, deep fakes, election meddling, and foreign intrusion.” Notably, these First Amendment assaults are coming from both sides of the political aisle, for differing reasons.

Ours is not a nation in which speech is utterly unfettered and unlimited, but to the extent that we have safeguards already in place, we seem to be mostly getting along just fine. The solution to unpopular, hateful speech is to counter it with other speech or simply ignore it and — to borrow a phrase made popular by the Left — to move on.

There’s still something to be said for being civil, for respecting for one another, and for simply abiding by the Golden Rule.


Monday, October 14, 2019

Holding Pro-Hong Kong Signs, Two NBA Fans Booted From Game—in Philadelphia, USA

Two NBA fans attending a game in Philadelphia say they were kicked out of the stands for holding "Free Hong Kong" signs at a game between the 76ers and the Guangzhou Loong Lions.

Sam Wachs and his wife had attended the preseason game at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia when their neon green signs were confiscated by security, NBC Philadelphia reported.

The couple was then escorted out after yelling “Free Hong Kong” during the second quarter.

“We were saying, ‘Free Hong Kong,'” Wachs told NBC. “What’s wrong with that?”

What's wrong with it is that the Wachs ran afoul of the NBA's policy of licking the boots of the Chinese Communists, who were angered when Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey sent out a tweet supporting the Hong Kong protesters.

 He was taken to task by the Rocket's owner for trying to make the team a "political organization." Morey subsequently deleted the tweet -- while keeping a tweet critical of Donald Trump in his feed.

“We are strongly dissatisfied and we oppose Silver’s claim to support Morey’s right of free expression. We believe that any speech that challenges national sovereignty and social stability is not within the scope of freedom of speech,” CCTV said in its statement in Chinese, which was translated by CNBC.

It shouldn't surprise us that the National Basketball Association has gone full Commie in their kowtowing to Chinese political interests. The league has demonstrated time and time again over the years that they will always bend to doing what's expedient, not what's right.


Significant change at Facebook

Facebook recently stated that it will neither censor nor “fact-check” statements by politicians on their site. This is great for political speech but — apparently — unwelcome news to the leadership of at least one of the major political parties.

The Democratic National Committee slammed Facebook’s decision, arguing that “Trump has an utter disregard for the truth” and that “social media platforms have a responsibility to protect our democracy and counter disinformation online.”

This is only the most recent effort by leftist politicians to goad social-media companies into silencing conservative politicians and anyone else they disagree with.

Several weeks ago, we warned that Federal Election Commission chairwoman Ellen Weintraub (D) was convening representatives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google to pressure them into “fighting the disinformation that risks further corroding our democracy.” In other words, to appoint themselves as Big Brother — with her approval — to censor political speech and reporting on elections and hot-button issues.

It’s a heartening sign that at least one of those social-media platforms has wisely decided that less is more when it comes to policing and censoring political speech and the global Internet arena where so many Americans today gather information and news and debate, discuss, argue, and vigorously contest the public issues of the day. To its credit, Facebook seems to appreciate, much more than some progressive politicians, the value of robust political discourse and the danger of vague limitations on political speech.

“I know some people will say we should go further,” Facebook executive Nick Clegg said, seemingly referring to left-leaning critics. “But imagine the reverse. Would it be acceptable to society at large to have a private company in effect become a self-appointed referee for everything that politicians say?” Clegg asked rhetorically. “I don’t believe it would be.”

Clegg went on to clarify how Facebook views its role vis-à-vis political speech: “To use tennis as an analogy, our job is to make sure the court is ready — the surface is flat, the lines painted, the net at the correct height. But we don’t pick up a racket and start playing. How the players play the game is up to them, not us.”


Sunday, October 13, 2019

Not Even Mar-a-Lago Is Safe: Trump Org Bows to Far-Left Demand to Cancel Conservative Event

On Monday, the Trump Organization canceled an ACT for America gala scheduled for November 7 at Mar-a-Lago, days after a liberal smear campaign launched by the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) denounced the event itself as a violation of the Constitution.

"This is a perfect example of how Free Speech is on its last breath in this country," Brigitte Gabriel, founder and chairman of ACT for America, said in a press release. "The radical leftist smear machine like the SPLC, CAIR, and the fake news media will lie, twist the truth, and take words out of context in order to destroy those with whom they disagree."

"While we are disappointed in the decision made by the Trump Organization attorneys, we do not blame President Trump or the Trump family," Gabriel added. "ACT for America, with its over one million member base, will continue to stand with President Trump and support his fight for the soul of our country, and his fight to protect and preserve our freedoms. They are under assault like never before."

"We will not be silenced," she concluded.

The article emphasized Gabriel's support for Trump and ACT for America's claims to have a "direct line" to the president through allies such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who spoke at one of the group's conferences in 2016. The SPLC noted that Trump "still owns and profits from Mar-a-Lago but has said he is not involved in the day-to-day operations."


Actress Fired for Christian Views on Homosexuality

A 25-year-old British actress, Oluwaseyi Omooba, was set to star in the stage musical based on the Alice Walker novel “The Color Purple,” but was abruptly fired for her Christian beliefs.

A fellow actor scrolled through Omooba’s Facebook feed, going back five years to Sept. 18, 2014, to find a post in which she said homosexuality was wrong.

The actor asked Omooba publicly (via Twitter) whether she would renounce her old post or “remain a hypocrite.” The theater and her agents asked her to recant. But when Omooba refused to deny the authority of Scripture, they sacked her.

Although she is clearly a talented actress, Omooba no longer receives invitations to audition, nor can she find an agent to work with her. One agency told her, “Homophobia is illegal. It is not a matter of faith.”

To Omooba, these sudden attacks came as a surprise. “They knew that I was a Christian and they knew my stance on marriage, on my faith, on God, on many different things that are in the Bible,” she said. “On all my social medias I always post stuff about God, the Bible, or scriptures.”

Her father, Pastor Ade Omooba, is a co-founder of Christian Concern.

The experience hurt her. “I was quite taken aback. I was like, ‘Wow, people really think I hate them?'”

Throughout these trying circumstances, Omooba has refused to back down from her biblical convictions. Now, with the help of the Christian Legal Centre, she is suing the theater and her agents for wrongful termination under British law.

Surely Omooba had said something egregiously hateful to get so utterly canceled, right? That would have been simpler, but she said nothing of the sort.

She had written on Facebook more than five years ago: “Some Christians have completely misconceived the issue of Homosexuality, they have begun to twist the word of God. It is clearly evident in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 what the Bible says on this matter. I do not believe you can be born gay, and I do not believe homosexuality is right.”

As to whether anyone can be born gay, a landmark, pro-LGBT science paper released this summer concluded, once again, that there is no “gay gene.”

Besides having science on her side, Omooba simply cites the Bible and says that she believes it. In the verses she cites, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, the Apostle Paul includes homosexuality in a long list of sins. But the point of the passage is that hope, forgiveness, and cleansing from all these sins can be found in Jesus Christ. Where is the hate in that?


Friday, October 11, 2019

Leave EU has apologised and deleted a 'racist' tweet of German Chancellor Angela Merkel with the caption 'We didn't win two world wars to be pushed around by a Kraut'

The Brexit campaigners posted the image on social media yesterday following a phone conversation between the German leader and Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

A Downing Street source claimed Mrs Merkel insisted that Northern Ireland should remain part of the customs union after the UK leaves the EU.

The Leave EU tweet sparked outrage, with many branding it racist, offensive and inappropriate.

This morning co-founder Arron Banks announced the tweet has been deleted and admitted it went 'too far'. 

The official Leave EU account also tweeted this morning: 'We're sorry,' accompanied by a sad face emoji.


Many Brits would have agreed with the Ad but you don't hear anything from them

Chinese workers rip down NBA ads and more firms pull sponsorships

The rift started after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey posted a tweet last week that showed support for the Hong Kong protests

Chinese workers have been filmed ripping down NBA advertisements after state broadcasters vowed not to air this week's preseason games in China as the backlash from the freedom of speech row continues.

The NBA postponed scheduled media sessions in Shanghai for the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers where both teams were training on Wednesday.

It remains unclear if the teams will play in China this week as scheduled given the ongoing rift that started after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey posted a tweet last week that showed support for anti-government protesters in Hong Kong.

Footage has emerged of workers in multiple spots around Shanghai using machinery to remove large roadside NBA promotional signs that were advertising a preseason game between the Lakers and Nets scheduled for Thursday.

The teams are also supposed to play Saturday in Shenzhen.

'Given the fluidity of the situation, today's media availability has been postponed,' the NBA said of canceling its Nets-Lakers media session.

Chinese smartphone maker Vivo has joined the list of companies that have suspended - for now, at least - ties with the NBA, and that only adds to the uncertainty over whether the China games will be played.

Vivo was a presenting sponsor of the Lakers-Nets games, and on Wednesday there was no reference to the game in Shanghai on the list of upcoming events scheduled at Mercedes-Benz Arena.


From a Chinese perspective, they think they have been very tolerant with HK so they think it is being very unfair and hostile to criticize them

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The CASE Act's flaws threaten free speech and Congress must fix them

Congress is about to create a kangaroo court

Congress is currently considering legislation that would allow copyright holders to bring smaller cases defending their works from copyright infringers without some of the prohibitive costs of going to federal court. It’s a smart idea that many in the creative community have made clear is long overdue. At the ACLU, we agree. However, the specific legislation Congress has drawn up to achieve this – the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act (CASE Act) -- has significant design flaws that undermine free speech online and our due process rights. We’re urging lawmakers to make some changes to reform the bill’s deficiencies while preserving its rightful intention.

The current proposal creates a new government body, the Copyright Claims Board (CCB), within the U.S. Copyright Office, to resolve certain copyright claims and counterclaims. The board, however, is being handed far too much power without proper oversight. As currently constructed, CCB would have the last and final word for nearly all cases and neither the copyright holder nor the alleged infringer could appeal the board’s decision in court, except in very limited circumstances.

The last thing Congress should be doing right now is giving yet another government body broad powers to operate without proper judicial oversight. The system will be abused, and CCB will make mistakes. Individuals fairly using copyrighted work, or those using it unknowingly — like kids posting videos of themselves on YouTube dancing to the latest Cardi B song — could be forced to pay up to $30,000 for those mistakes.

What makes the CCB’s nearly unreviewable authority even more troubling is that the board will inevitably be faced with tough questions about what is infringement, what is fair use, and what is protected speech. These questions should not be left to the sole discretion of one government office, especially when those affected could include every Internet user who has ever shared an article or a photo without knowing whether they had proper permission or posted a video of themselves singing along to the latest pop song. With no court to correct the board’s mistakes, the First Amendment will suffer.


Princeton students trying to silence distinguished conservative professor

She is "disgraced" only in the eyes of the Left.  All her positions are carefully reasoned.  The descriptions of them below are misleading.  Whig-Clio is a political, literary, and debating society at Princeton University

Next weekend, Whig-Clio will host Amy Wax, a disgraced law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, to discuss campus free speech alongside two University professors. Wax, whose racist, pseudo-scientific views have rightly garnered her infamy, does not deserve a pedestal at Princeton. The Editorial Board urges the students and administrators who lead Whig-Clio to immediately disinvite her.

Time and again, Wax has espoused pernicious white supremacy. Her racist views, which she has expressed at lectures and in op-eds, hold that white culture is superior to other traditions, that immigrants worsen the United States, and that “racism” is nothing more than a pejorative label. Several months ago, she expressed her support for “cultural-distance nationalism,” which means, in her words, “taking the position that our country will be better off with more whites and fewer nonwhites.”

While the Board affirms Wax’s right to free speech and academic freedom, such a right does not grant Wax the privilege to use the financial and logistical resources of Whig-Clio, which is partially funded and managed by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students.

Every student, alum, and administrator who plays a role in Whig-Clio is obligated to use the organization’s funds and power to shape campus conversation judiciously, in the interest and for the benefit of all students. As such, an invitation to Amy Wax constitutes malpractice.

The decision to invite Wax is as myopic as it is dangerous — and we will not stand for it. We urge the leaders of Whig-Clio to reconsider their invitation. If this appeal should fall upon deaf ears, we encourage readers who share our conviction — that Wax’s racism deserves no podium on our campus — to exercise their right to free speech accordingly.


Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Christian Crackdown? Students Must Submit Speeches, Swear Oath to School
All to prevent any mention of Christian themes

Anyone who delivers a speech at an event hosted by the school district in Appleton, Wisconsin, must submit the speech in advance and then swear under oath they will not deviate from the script. And that includes students.

“The opportunity to speak at a school event is a privilege, not a right,” the Appleton Area School District wrote in a statement. “These guidelines do not restrict or regulate individual or regulate individual speech or expression. However, individual speech and expression may still be subject to other restrictions or limitations that are imposed by law or that the District may lawfully enforce through other policies, rules or practices.”

The new regulations were implemented after a Christian school-board member invoked the name of Jesus Christ during a graduation ceremony last June.

Rev. Alvin Dupree told students to “never succumb to the pressure of being politically correct,” the Post Crescent reported. He also changed the district’s prepared statement of “best wishes” to “God bless.”

The new guidelines require all speakers, including students, to submit their entire speech in writing two weeks in advance of delivery.

First Liberty Institute, one of the nation’s leading religious-liberty law firms, told Starnes Media it stands ready to assist any students who become targets of hostility because of their religious beliefs.

“Students who earn the right to address their peers are free to reference their faith as a part of those remarks,” First Liberty Institute attorney Jeremy Dys told Starnes Media. “Any school district that requires students to submit their speeches for pre-approval must be careful they do not force students to secularize their private remarks to satisfy government censors.”

Speakers are also not permitted to wear “jewelry, clothing or accessories that reasonably could be understood to communicate a message to the audience when the speech is given.”

Does that mean students will be banned from delivering a speech if they are wearing a cross necklace or a T-shirt that references the Almighty?

But the swearing of an oath is perhaps the most disturbing part of Appleton’s crackdown on free speech.

“Speakers that submit proposed speeches shall be required to certify that they will deliver the speech as written, except for minor and immaterial variances from the text of their proposal,” the district wrote. “Certification shall be in writing and shall be sworn under oath.”

I wonder if they are going to make folks swear that oath on a copy of the Holy Bible or a copy of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals?

The oath must be signed by student and adult speakers and must be witnessed and sealed by a notary.

The oath states, among other things, “that I am affirming the statements to be true and correct under penalty of law.”

First Liberty’s Dys blasted the school district’s draconian speech oath.

“The only oath these school officials should require of anyone is that they uphold the First Amendment to the US Constitution,” he told Starnes Media.

Heaven forbid the day comes when an American teenager or a pastor is dragged off the stage by security forces simply for uttering the name of Jesus Christ at a graduation ceremony.


Atheists Go After Christian Judge

Bibles are not OK

Freedom from Religion Foundation cries foul over judge giving a Bible to a defendant.  

Following one of the most unexpended and emotionally moving moments witnessed in a court room in recent memory, leave it to a small bunch of angry, agitating atheists to come in and attempt to ruin it. The Washington Examiner reports, “The Freedom From Religion Foundation, which describes itself as a ‘nonprophet nonprofit’ seeking ‘to promote nontheism and defend the constitutional separation between religion and government,’ sent a letter to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct in Texas, complaining that State District Judge Tammy Kemp’s ‘proselytizing actions overstepped judicial authority, were inappropriate and were unconstitutional.’”

And what were those “proselytizing actions”? The good judge, after presiding over the murder trial and sentencing, hugged just-convicted Amber Guyger and gave her a Bible. This occurred after the brother of the murder victim, Brandt Jean, publicly forgave and hugged Guyger. It was clear throughout the entire exchange that Guyger was fully receptive to the grace she was shown.

Yet the FFRF complained that “delivering bibles and personally witnessing as a judge is an egregious abuse of power” and called for an investigation into “these actions for violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct.” Clearly, the FFRF does not believe in the power of faith or forgiveness, and apparently only thrives off of its hatred of religion and Christianity in particular. Hopefully, this spurious complaint is quickly and thoroughly rejected.


Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Probably true

BBC censors Sikh history in case it offends Muslims

Lord (Indarjit) Singh has been almost as permanent a fixture on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Thought for the Day’ as the Bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines. The BBC likes a certain sort of thought for the day, delivered by a certain sort of thinking person. If you hold a certain establishment status (like bishop or peer [or, preferably, both]) and they like the way you think, you can easily become a permanent fixture, featuring at least fortnightly, if not weekly, and pocketing £200 a time. If you don’t think in a certain sort of way or don’t hold a certain establishment status (Telegraph journalist, for example), you might still be invited by the BBC to deliver your thought for the day on Radio 4, but it won’t be entirely your thought: you will have been ‘assisted’ in the way you should think. If you incline toward a liberal-left ecumenical multi-faith disposition, your thought for the day will be just perfect. If you incline to the right or adhere to the rather more robust dogmata of your faith, your thought for the day will be ‘corrected’ before you are permitted to share it with the nation.

After years of having his texts tinkered with, Lord Singh has told the BBC’s where to go (and it wasn’t to Vaheguru’s Loutus Feet). The final straw was the BBC’s decision to censor Sikh history in case it might offend Muslims. That Sikh history happens to be factual history; it is world history. It is, in short, historical truth. But Lord Singh wasn’t permitted to refer to it because the only Sikh thought for the day which may be uttered is the kind of thought for the day which doesn’t offend Muslims. Ergo, the BBC ensures ‘Thought for the Day’ complies with the principles of Sharia.

The Times reports that Lord Singh has accused the corporation of “prejudice and intolerance” after they censored his reference to an executed Sikh Guru who had opposed the forced conversion of Hindus to Islam under the Mughal emperors of India in the 17th century. The Daily Mail helpfully explains:

Guru Tegh

Lord Singh’s thought for the day contained no criticism Islam or Muslims; he simply made reference to Guru Tegh Bahadur as an exemplar of religious liberty in an era of persecution. It is a matter of historic fact that Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb imposed Islam (and higher taxes) on Hindus, and their temples were demolished and turned into mosques. It is also a matter of historic fact that Guru Tegh Bahadur opposed the pogrom and refused to convert to Islam, for which he was beheaded.

Lord Singh is of the view that being unable to mention this historic aspect of his faith in case it might offend Muslims “is like saying to a Christian that he or she should not talk about Easter for fear of giving offence to the Jews”. He raised a complaint with the BBC which reached Director of Radio (and former Labour Culture Secretary) James Purnell (who thinks in a certain way). Mr Purnell rejected the complaint.


Monday, October 07, 2019

New York City Will Fine You for Saying ‘Illegal Alien.’ That’s an Assault on the Constitution

The propaganda, surveillance, and censorship of Big Brother in George Orwell’s novel “1984” has now arrived in New York.

The city’s Commission on Human Rights recently released new legal enforcement guidelines that ban the use of the term “illegal alien” by employers, housing providers (including hotels), and law enforcement as “discriminatory.” Violators can be punished with exorbitant and punitive fines—up to $250,000 per offense.

In other words, the city will now censor and penalize anyone for using the correct legal term that has been used in both federal immigration law and numerous court decisions, including by the Supreme Court.

This is an outrageous violation of the First Amendment.

Open-borders advocates and pro-illegal alien groups have been waging a propaganda war for years, very successfully, to convince media outlets and government officials to abandon the term “illegal alien.”

They want it replaced with a euphemism, the term “undocumented immigrant,” to disguise and hide the unlawful conduct of aliens who break our immigration laws and enter this country illegally.

“Undocumented immigrant,” the preferred term used by the New York commission in its guidance, is a made-up term that ignores the law.

As noted in a prior Daily Signal article, “illegal alien” is the correct legal term and it makes no sense to say you are being “offensive” when you use precise legal terminology.

Federal District Court Judge Andrew Hanen explained this when issuing an injunction against President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, the so-called DAPA program:

The court also understands that there is a certain segment of the population that finds the phrase “illegal alien” offensive. The court uses this term because it is the term used by the Supreme Court in its latest pronouncement pertaining to this area of the law. See Arizona v. U.S., 132 S. Ct. 2492 (2012).

Federal immigration laws, such as 8 U.S.C. §1365, which deals with a reimbursement program the federal government has for states that are incarcerating illegal aliens, uses the term “illegal aliens” in its title and within the statute itself. An illegal alien is defined as anyone “who is in the United States unlawfully.”

In fact, last year, the Department of Justice reminded its attorneys to use proper legal language in their briefs, which means using the term “illegal aliens.” Among the problem phrases it told its lawyers to purge from their lexicon was the term “undocumented immigrant.”


Straight talk from teachers not allowed

A Round Rock high school principal has been placed on paid administrative leave, just days after a former teacher publicly alleged the principal made racist remarks.

District leaders said they are investigating allegations against Early College High School Principal Veronica Coss.

Former Pre-AP English teacher Stephanie Martin told school board members Thursday night that Coss used a racial slur about a black employee, said immigrants don’t teach their children how to behave, and told teachers they needed to wean special education students off their accommodations, the educational aids or services provided to students by law.


Sunday, October 06, 2019

Kamala Harris Calls for Twitter to Silence Donald Trump Indicating She’s for Censorship of Opposition

California Senator and 2020 Democratic candidate Kamala Harris is definitely on board the censorship train as she called for Twitter to silence President Donald Trump by suspending his account. Her reasoning? His tweets about the whistleblower are mean.

Appearing on CNN with Anderson Cooper, Harris made a show of saying the government would protect this poor whistleblower from Trump, and that Trump’s tweets are causing more harm than good about it and everything else. As such, Harris suggested Twitter take action.

“The President’s tweets and behaviors about this are just further evidence of the fact that he uses his power that is designed to beat people down instead of lift people up,” said Harris.

“Frankly, when you look at what he’s been tweeting today, directed at the whistleblower, directed at so many people, I frankly, think that based on this and all we’ve seen him do before, including attacking members of Congress that frankly his Twitter account should be suspended,” she continued.

“I think there’s plenty of now evidence to suggest that he is irresponsible with his words in a way that could result in harm to other people. And so the privilege of using those words in that way should probably be taken from him,” she added.

The bottom line here, however, is that Harris wants to silence someone because she doesn’t like their tweets. The question that should be asked is, if she’s willing to do it to one person, how many more people do you think she’d try to pressure Twitter to silence when she has the power of the White House behind her?


Kickstarter calls MS-13 ‘marginalized group,’ deplatforms conservative comic creator whose hero is depicted beating up gang members who mugged a woman

A conservative comic book creator was deplatformed from the crowdfunding website Kickstarter  apparently because the vigilante hero from his book is depicted beating up MS-13-esque gang members while saving a black woman from being mugged, with Kickstarter calling the gang a “marginalized group.”

The book, called “Lonestar” — now available for its second printing on Indiegogo along with its sequel — is by Mike S. Miller, a comic book veteran of almost three decades, who has been crowdfunding his books for over a year with a great deal of success, raising more than $350,000 with more than 6,600 backers combined on the projects.

After building his audience on Indiegogo, Miller decided to give Kickstarter, which has a larger potential audience, a try. Initially, the project was approved on Sept. 27 until Miller says he started posting some of the artwork from the story, including the hero rescuing the woman from being mugged, and then suddenly he got a message from Kickstarter’s Trust and Safety saying the project was rejected on Oct. 2.

The letter read, “We’ve carefully reviewed it against our Rules, and we’re unable to approve it to launch. As a Public Benefit Corporation committed to fighting inequality and creating a more equitable world, Kickstarter does not allow discrimination, subjugation, or intolerance towards marginalized groups.”

Miller fired back at Kickstarter on Twitter, writing, “Hey team @kickstarter, it’s nice to see that you consider MS-13 a ‘marginalized group’, since that’s the only people who were being ‘subjugated’ in the artwork I provided… More wokeness from the tech companies on display.”

It is mean-spirited political bias by Kickstarter, no question.

But here, Kickstarter’s decision in the name of protecting MS-13 is quite unbelievable. The Justice Department recently published a 90-page briefing on MS-13, a brutal Central American street gang, and its acts of violence, sexual assault, drug and human trafficking, “MS-13 in the Americas: How the World’s Most Notorious Gang Defies Logic, Resists Destruction.”

According to the Justice Department paper, the gang views itself as being in a “constant state of war”: “Violence is a major part of the glue that binds the MS-13. It is part of every stage of an MS-13 member’s life: potential members commit violent acts to be considered for membership and ultimately to gain entry; they are beaten into the gang in a ritual that has left more than one permanently scarred; they move up the gang ladder by ‘putting in the work’ and showing ‘commitment,’ euphemisms for committing violent acts in the name of the gang.

The briefing details the gruesomeness of the murders committed by MS-13: “In the MS-13, all members must do ‘missions,’ and during a mission, all members must participate. In some cases, this means repeatedly hacking a victim with a machete. Refusal means almost certain death since the member or aspiring member is a potential witness. The weapon of choice frequently is a knife, a machete or a baseball bat. The gang’s murder victims have signs of repeated blows and stab wounds, and are sometimes partially or completely dismembered.

This is what Kickstarter thinks is a “marginalized group”?


Friday, October 04, 2019

Universal Orlando Bans OK Sign After 'Despicable Me' Hate Crime Atrocity

The Universal Orlando Resort, commonly known as Universal Orlando, formerly Universal Studios Escape or simply ”Universal“, is an American theme park and entertainment resort complex based in Orlando, Florida.

Last week the Anti-Defamation League declared the OK sign a "hate symbol." Back in the old days, that hand gesture just meant "I'm okay" or "Things are good" or "No, that outfit does not make you look fat" or some other positive message. But now that 4chan trolls have successfully hoaxed everybody, the OK sign now means "I am an evil Nazi racist and, even worse, I love Donald Trump." It's the worst gesture you can make. If you even think about letting the tip of your thumb touch the tip of your forefinger, you are a criminal and everybody hates you. Right, Barry?

Now that the Hate Circle has been banned, it's time to start punishing anybody who uses it at any time, for any reason. Thank goodness Universal Orlando is leading the way!

Adrianna Rodriguez, USA Today:

Tiffiney Zinger said it was painful telling her daughter she couldn't use a family vacation photo for her second grade class project – the image was marred by what appeared to be a symbol of hate.

The photo shows the 6-year-old girl, who is biracial and has autism, posing with an actor dressed as the movie character Gru from "Despicable Me" during a Universal Orlando breakfast event attended by the Zinger family in March. The character formed an upside-down "OK" symbol with his fingers, recognized by some as a hate symbol, on the girl's shoulder...

"We just wanted to take them to see the minions," Tiffiney Zinger said. "Do something special for our family and this person ruined that special warm feeling."

A Universal spokesman said in a statement:

We never want our guests to experience what this family did. This is not acceptable and we are sorry – and we are taking steps to make sure nothing like this happens again. We can’t discuss specifics about this incident, but we can confirm that the actor no longer works here. We remain in contact with the family and will work with them privately to make this right.


Stop Blocking Us!

John Stossel
I now make my living by releasing short videos on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I assumed you who subscribed to my feed or became Facebook “friends” would receive that video every Tuesday.

Wrong! Turns out social media companies send our posts to only some of our friends. (That’s why I ask for your email address. Then they can’t cut us off.)

Why might they cut us off? One reason is that we’d drown in a fire hose of information if they showed us everything. The companies’ algorithms cleverly just send us what the computer determines we’ll like.

Another reason may be that the companies are biased against conservative ideas. They deny that. But look at their actions. Social media companies say they forbid posts that “promote violence,” including ones that encourage violence offline.

But antifa groups that promote violence still have accounts. The Twitter account of the group in Portland, Oregon, that recently beat up journalist Andy Ngo. leaving him with brain damage, is still up.

“In Austin, they were calling for a paramilitary operation!” says Glenn Beck. That antifa group’s Facebook account is also still up, even though it links to a manifesto calling for opponents to be “beaten bloody.”

In my newest video, Beck, who runs a big media operation called The Blaze, says social media companies push a leftist agenda.  “They manipulate algorithms to reshape our world.”

Beck himself hasn’t been banned, but he says Facebook limits his reach, putting him in a “digital ghetto.”

“They’re shaping you,” he warns.

Is it true? Although I’m not a conservative, sometimes I do notice odd things happening with my posts.

On average, my videos get more than a million views. But when I did a one that criticized Facebook, that video got half as many views.

Because Facebook didn’t show it to many people? I can’t know. Facebook won’t say.

Today, social media companies are pressured to cut off anyone spreading hate. In response, YouTube and Facebook say they now even demote content that almost violates policies.

But those antifa accounts are still up.

By contrast, Beck says, conservative accounts are censored merely for making fun of Democrats. “Remember the person who slowed down (a video of House Speaker Nancy) Pelosi?” he asked. The video made Pelosi sound drunk. It went viral, but once Facebook got complaints, the company announced it “dramatically reduced its distribution.”

When Facebook did that, notes Beck, “The person in charge happened to be one of the leaders in Nancy Pelosi’s office who had just left to go to work for Facebook.”

I told Beck that Facebook hires some Republicans. “They do,” he replied, “but only about 20%, and not in top level positions.”

The site Spinquark did the research Beck cites, finding dozens of Democratic campaign workers who now work for social media companies.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg once invited Beck and some others to come to his offices to talk about bias. “I sat with him and he said, ‘Why would we do that?’ And I said, ‘I want to believe you, but your actions don’t match.’”

Beck was also unhappy with conservatives at that meeting. “Some said, ‘Mark, solve this by having affirmative action. … For every liberal you hire, hire a conservative.’”

“I don’t want that!” Beck said. “We don’t need more regulation!”

We don’t.

But it’s human nature, when people see a problem, to demand government do something.

Beck himself fell prey to that when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claimed she saw border guards telling migrants to drink water from toilets. On his radio show, Beck said government should “prosecute anyone making outrageous charges like this!”

I gave him a hard time about that. “You want prosecution of members of Congress who say nonsense?!”

Beck laughed and quickly walked his statement back. “John, I speak five hours off script every day. … There’s a lot that I vomit out.”

The solution? “No censorship,” says Beck.

“Publish everything?” I asked. “Yes!” answered Beck. “We can handle it. Stop treating us like children.”

I agree. On at least some platforms, all speech should be free. The more that is blocked, the less we learn.


Thursday, October 03, 2019

Is There Freedom of Speech in Germany?

Germany doesn’t have a problem with free speech. It has two — or rather, it is caught between two very different conceptions of free speech, each of which has significant shortcomings and each of which is rooted in our inability to close the chasm that remains between eastern and western Germany, 30 years after reunification.

Simply put, the division pits one part of the country that believes freedom of speech is on the decline against another that believes freedom of speech is going way too far. These aren’t just different concepts, rooted in two different formative national experiences — the Nazi era and the East German Communist regime. They are also at fundamental odds with each other, meaning that the day in, day out debate over what counts as acceptable speech is driving Germans further apart.

Let’s start with the Germans who believe that freedom of speech is endangered. Concentrated in eastern Germany, many of them experienced communism and its “better say nothing” atmosphere firsthand, only to be freed with the fall of the Berlin Wall.

For many eastern Germans, the revolution of 1989 held the promise that in a free country you would be able to utter any opinion, without suffering consequences. Instead, they complain, when they express conservative views on hot topics like immigration or multiculturalism, they are quickly labeled Nazis.

We know what it feels like to live in a society where certain opinions are unacceptable, they say, and increasingly, we’re feeling that same pressure.

The second group, rooted in western Germany, has a different concern, and a different historical reference point. They believe they see social norms around tolerance and diversity eroding, and fear a replay of the 1930s.

From 1933 onward, the incremental acceptance of hatred, racism and dehumanization paved the way to the Holocaust. This group, which includes high-profile journalists and celebrities, believes that hatred should not be covered by the freedom of speech. That in itself is not a new view in Germany, but recently those who hold it have ceased to draw a distinction between the broad political right and right-wing extremism.

To them, “rechts” — right-wing — has become the new collective term for an immensely broad range of people, from conservative critics of Chancellor Angela Merkel to neo-Nazis. We have learned our lesson, this group says, and we will “never again” allow intolerance and inhumanity to enter legitimate discourse.

Both groups command support from broad sections of German society. And both fundamentally misunderstand what free speech means.

The promise of 1989, to start with, never included a guarantee that speech came without consequences. In fact, most opinions have and will always have a social price. Freedom of speech never meant freedom from ridicule. Part of the messy necessity of democratic civil society is sorting out good ideas from bad ones. Plus, in Communist East Germany, people who criticized the government were often tortured by the Stasi. We are far from this danger today.

What the other side gets wrong is that brute, malign and even hateful speech is, in fact, broadly covered by freedom of speech. Freedom of opinion includes the right to utter opinions against freedom.

The German constitutional court ruled in 2009 that “even the dissemination of National Socialist ideas as a radical challenge to the existing order” is principally covered by the right of the freedom speech. Why? Because there’s no better way to fight nonsense than a good counter argument.

Increasingly lost on the German left is exactly this confidence: that the freewheeling fight of opinions is the best insurance against a victory of inhumane ideologues. In Nazi Germany, this clash of ideas did not exist. Dissidents were shut in concentration camps or killed. We are far from this danger today as well.

The real danger Germany faces today is neither a creeping leftist regime nor a nascent far-right dictatorship. Rather, it is the irrational insinuation that people who hold views different from your own are themselves illegitimate. This suspicion leads to tribalism, and tribalism is what drives societies apart.


Beta Testing for Jordan Peterson’s Free Speech Platform Thinkspot Goes Live!

In the initial email sent October 1, Thinkspot was described as:

“a community built around a curated collection of content, with features that enable users to engage with some of today’s leading thinkers. Our mission is to promote meaningful and respectful discourse that foster an open exchange of ideas, inciting users to challenge perspectives and discover interesting and informed viewpoints.”

As the platform stands currently in its beta form, users will be able to:

*Annotate and share video, podcast, and eBook content
*Interact with the community in public and private forums
*Access exclusive content and special live stream events
*Share and exchange ideas with some of the world's leading thinkers

The e-mail added that from the get-go of this endeavor “we value freedom of thought and expression across a wide range of topics, and encourage you to engage regularly with the community and support our growing roster of contributors.”

The account creation process is extremely quick with a brief tutorial on how to use the various features.

The Terms of Service make it very clear that this website is radically pro-freedom of speech and debate so long as there is no illegal activity.

The main page of the website shows a menu of intellectual commentators to follow, podcasts to listen to, and thought-provoking articles to read.

Rather than merely upvoting or downvoting posts, users can also choose intellectually-oriented reactions such as "disagree," "provocative, "insightful," "agree," "like," and "recommend."


Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Free speech suppression online builds case to break up Big Tech


Free speech is under attack by the Big Tech monopolies that dominate the internet. The flogging that Beto O’Rourke received during his Reddit “ask me anything” session this month perfectly underscored the distinction between a mainstream media and a genuinely free press. O’Rourke gave Americans a chance to grill him about his pivot from a centrist Senate candidate to a radical presidential hopeful, and in contrast to the handling he has gotten from the media, they treated him like hamburger meat.

No surprise there. The expression of free speech can be edgy, brutal, irreverent, and sometimes downright offensive. I should know. My father and I have been subjected to some of the most withering attacks and false claims in politics. Participating in democracy, however, is as American as apple pie. There is no substitute for open, honest, unrestricted dialogue and criticism when it comes to holding our leaders accountable.

For all the platitudes offered by liberal journalists about the free press standing as a cornerstone of democracy, they do not actually have a very good grasp of the concept. The free press that the founders envisioned looked a lot more like the Reddit users who roasted O’Rourke than New York Times writers who misrepresent basic tenets of free speech and demand censorship to protect their friends from “online harassment.”

In the 18th century, English newspaper editor John Wilkes anonymously published a satirical pamphlet savagely blasting the British prime minister. Wilkes was thrown in jail for writing it, but our founders, whom Wilkes firmly supported, wound up basing their concept of a free press on his example. Common Sense by Thomas Paine, the most important pamphlet championing the patriot cause, was also published anonymously, as were the Federalist Papers that informed the writing of the Constitution.

As I have written many times, the greatest threat to free speech and our democracy today is not the government, but the technology giants that deplatform people at the behest of liberals and then justify the action as “combating hate” and making the internet somehow safer. I was reminded of this reality when Instagram once again stifled my voice, as well as that of my father, by preventing our accounts from appearing in search results. As with every time this happens, Instagram simply blamed an error.

If social media can do that to the president, then no one is safe.


Censorship of conservatives in New Zealand upheld

If the current madness of modern life permits, cast your mind back to the middle of last year. Two “right-wing provocateurs” from Canada (ship name “Stefren”) wanted to bring their grift to New Zealand, and to Auckland’s Bruce Mason Theatre in particular. Some people got mad about this prospect and threatened to physically block public access to the event. The organisation that runs the Bruce Mason Theatre – Regional Facilities Auckland Ltd – then cancelled Stefren’s booking on health and safety grounds. Whereupon some other people got mad at this alleged curtailment of free speech, whipped up a bunch of money, and went off to court to challenge the cancellation decision.

At the time, I said this about the prospect of such a case:

At the risk of lapsing into legalese, the council’s actions when hiring out its venues to speakers are captured by both the NZ Bill of Rights Act 1990 and the Human Rights Act 1993. Those enactments prevent the council from making venue hiring decisions (including cancellations) that “unjustifiably limit” freedom of expression, or that discriminate on the basis of political opinion. Auckland Live – the council’s company that manages the venues – can’t then contract out of those legal obligations.

Consequently, Mayor Goff’s decision (put into practice by Auckland Live) most likely will be found to be unlawful unless there is some sort of “demonstrably justified” reason for preventing [Stefren] from speaking at the council’s venue.

Well, you did read my internet hot-take for free, and so you got what you paid for. Not only did I get the name of the organisation that runs the Bruce Mason Theatre wrong, but it later turned out that the Mayor Phil Goff had nothing at all to do with the cancellation decision. Rather, he publicly jumped on board Regional Facilities Auckland Ltd’s independently-made decision in an effort to burnish his liberal, pro-diversity credentials.

And now the High Court has pretty much trashed my legal analysis of the issue as well. In a judgment released yesterday, it found that Regional Facilities Auckland Ltd didn’t have any public law duty, whether under the NZ Bill of Rights Act 1990 or otherwise, to consider freedom of expression when cancelling Stefren’s talk. That’s because, the Court said, Regional Facilities Auckland Ltd hadn’t made a “public” decision when it pulled out of its contract to hire out the Bruce Mason Theatre. As a separate body from Auckland Council that has the job of managing the region’s various facilities and making them available for use, it simply made a business call that holding this event represented too big of a legal risk for it. Which it was free to do irrespective of the resulting consequences for expressive rights.

In other words, to lapse into legalese again, Regional Facilities Auckland Ltd’s hiring out of the venue was neither susceptible to judicial review nor subject to the NZ Bill of Rights Act 1990. Whatever the moral rights or wrongs of the matter, it’s none of the court’s business. Meaning that the court didn’t examine whether the claimed health and safety concerns really justified cancellation, because Regional Facilities Auckland Ltd didn’t have to justify its action at all.

Now, better and brighter administrative law minds than mine have expressed some disquiet about this conclusion. But unless and until there’s an appeal, it stands.


Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Mattel Introduces Gender-Neutral Dolls in Effort to Be 'Woke'

In an effort to be 'woke' and kowtow to the gender-confused masses, Mattel is coming out with a new line of Barbie-like dolls, called "Creatable World," that are gender-neutral and have a variety of interchangeable hairstyles and clothing choices to switch up the doll's look.

What's silly about this is that these dolls look really wholesome and cute and exactly the kind of thing parents have been asking the Barbie manufacturer to do. For years we've had to buy handmade Barbie clothes at festivals because all the clothes Mattel sells for Barbie are whorish. Most parents aren't thrilled about letting their little girls play with a sexed-up hooker doll.

This new line has a much more pre-pubescent body shape and comes with normal clothes that kids would wear. I take issue with Mattel's inference that offering short haircuts for girls somehow denotes gender ambiguity. My daughter has a pixie cut and it's the cutest, most feminine cut on her and she knows she's a girl. How is short hair "gender-neutral?"


'Needs bleach': Tennis champ in racism scandal

A Japanese comedy duo and their management company have apologised after the pair reportedly said during a live event that Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka, who just won the Pan Pacific Open at the weekend, "needed some bleach."

Japanese media said the duo, known as "A Masso," made the remark during a Sunday event, the same day that Osaka lifted her first trophy since winning the Australian Open in January, and also said that "she is too sunburned."

In separate messages carried on the website of their management company, Watanabe Entertainment Co Ltd, both women apologised for making "inappropriate, hurtful remarks" but did not refer to Osaka, who is [mixed race] Haitian and Japanese, by name.


Monday, September 30, 2019

'OK' hand gesture, 'bowl-cut' hair style worn by white supremacist killer Dylann Roof, and Moon Man are now added to civil rights group's database of racist symbols

The 'OK' hand gesture, a mass killer's bowl-style haircut and an anthropomorphic moon wearing sunglasses are among 36 new entries in a Jewish civil rights group's online database of hate symbols used by white supremacists and other far-right extremists.

The Anti-Defamation League has added the symbols to its online 'Hate on Display' database, which already includes burning crosses, Ku Klux Klan robes, the swastika and many other of the most notorious and overt symbols of racism and anti-Semitism.

The New York City-based group launched the database in 2000 to help law enforcement officers, school officials and others recognize signs of extremist activity.

It has grown to include nearly 200 entries.

'Even as extremists continue to use symbols that may be years or decades old, they regularly create new symbols, memes and slogans to express their hateful sentiments,' Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement.

Some of the new entries started as trolling campaigns or hateful memes on internet message boards such as 4chan, 8chan and Reddit, before migrating to Facebook, Twitter and other mainstream platforms, and to public forums and fliers.

The ADL has updated its database to include the 'OK' hand symbol, which became fodder for a 4chan trolling campaign to dupe viewers into thinking the fingers formed the letters 'W' and 'P' to mean 'white power.'

Brenton Tarrant, the Australian man arrested for killing 51 people at mosques in New Zealand earlier this year, is seen right making the gesture in court in March

But the ADL says extremists also are using it as a sincere expression of white supremacy.

Oren Segal, director of the ADL's Center on Extremism, said context is key to interpreting whether an 'OK' symbol is hateful or harmless.

He said the ADL had been reluctant to add it to the database 'because 'OK' has meant just 'OK' for so long.'

'At this point, there is enough of a volume of use for hateful purposes that we felt it was important to add,' Segal said.

An earlier addition to the database was Pepe the Frog , a cartoon character that became hijacked by online extremists who superimposed the frog with Nazi symbols and other hateful imagery.

The ADL branded Pepe as a hate symbol in September 2016 and supported cartoonist Matt Furie's efforts to reclaim the character he created.

The ADL also added the 'Dylann Roof Bowlcut,' an image of the hairstyle worn by the white supremacist who shot and killed nine black people in 2015 at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Roof's bowl-style hair became an avatar for extremists, including a Washington, D.C., man whose relatives contacted the FBI to report concerns about his behavior and far-right extremist rhetoric after last year's Pittsburgh synagogue massacre.


'Outrage has become a commodity': Joker director Todd Phillips criticizes backlash to his film amid fears it will incite violence - and says 'the far left can sound like the right when it suits their agenda'

Todd Phillips has come out swinging in defense of his new film Joker, amid fears its depiction of a depraved murderer could incite real-life violence.

In an interview with The Wrap, which took place on September 20 and was  published on Wednesday, the director scoffed at such suggestions, saying he believes people are simply searching for something to be angry about as 'outrage has become a commodity' in American society.

'I think it's something that has been a commodity for a while,' Phillips mused during his chat with the publication. 

Joker - a psychological thriller that traces the origins of Batman's nemesis as he becomes a depraved killer - is set for national release on October 4.

But before it has even hit cinemas, the film has already sparked criticism from some critics, as well as Twitter users, for its depiction of gun violence. 

Phillips told The Wrap that he believes such critiques are coming from the 'far-left' who are starting to sound the same as conservatives when they complain about 'immoral' films made by Hollywood.

'What's outstanding to me in this discourse... is how easily the far left can sound like the far right when it suits their agenda. It's really been eye opening for me,' he stated.


29 September, 2019

Why A “Politically Incorrect” Sign A Business Owner Posted On Door Has Liberals Going Crazy

The Kewaskum Dairy Queen posted a sign on the door calling the restaurant ‘politically incorrect’ is generating business and conversation.

The sign reads: “This restaurant is politically incorrect.” It warns potential customers that staff may say things like “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Easter,” and will also offer free sundaes to veterans on Veterans Day. It also says “In God We Trust.”

“I felt the sign was appropriate to hang in terms of being transparent about the views of the owner and staff supporting God and country,” said owner Kevin Scheunemann.

“It just seems that those kinds of values and principles are becoming controversial in society,” he said.

The sign was posted close to four years ago after a customer was upset when he heard Christian music inside the restaurant. Scheunemann decided to post the warning and said he hasn’t had many problems since then.

One time, a customer was upset at the offer of free ice cream for veterans, but Scheunemann said he is open to talking with anyone who may have concerns about the sign. He says he’ll even make arrangements for a customer to come in without witnessing any expression of God or country.

Other business owners in town say they support Scheunemann’s right to run his business the way he sees fit.


Sunday, September 29, 2019

Why A “Politically Incorrect” Sign A Business Owner Posted On Door Has Liberals Going Crazy

The Kewaskum Dairy Queen posted a sign on the door calling the restaurant ‘politically incorrect’ is generating business and conversation.

The sign reads: “This restaurant is politically incorrect.” It warns potential customers that staff may say things like “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Easter,” and will also offer free sundaes to veterans on Veterans Day. It also says “In God We Trust.”

“I felt the sign was appropriate to hang in terms of being transparent about the views of the owner and staff supporting God and country,” said owner Kevin Scheunemann.

“It just seems that those kinds of values and principles are becoming controversial in society,” he said.

The sign was posted close to four years ago after a customer was upset when he heard Christian music inside the restaurant. Scheunemann decided to post the warning and said he hasn’t had many problems since then.

One time, a customer was upset at the offer of free ice cream for veterans, but Scheunemann said he is open to talking with anyone who may have concerns about the sign. He says he’ll even make arrangements for a customer to come in without witnessing any expression of God or country.

Other business owners in town say they support Scheunemann’s right to run his business the way he sees fit.