Friday, April 18, 2014

First ever constitutional ruling against Dodd-Frank voids destructive “conflict minerals” section

"Today’s ruling of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals that Dodd-Frank’s 'conflict minerals' disclosure mandate violates the First Amendment is the first time ever a court has ruled that a provision of Dodd-Frank violates the Constitution.

Regulations issued under Dodd-Frank have been struck down for reasons such as inadequate cost-benefit analysis and other procedural violations, but this is first time a provision has been found to be unconstitutional.

And it couldn’t happen to a more misguided and destructive provision of the law! As my Competitive Enterprise Institute colleague Hans Bader and I have written in blog posts, articles, and regulatory comments, the conflict disclosure mandate creates a compliance nightmare, hurts American miners and manufacturers, and does the greatest harm to those it was intended to help — the struggling worker in and nearby the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Section 1502, championed by celebrities, including Ashley Judd and Ben Affleck, requires all types of firms to disclose their products’ use of five “conflict minerals” — including gold, tin, and tungsten — that can be sourced to war-torn regions of the Congo.

The Court looked at this leap of logic and decided that the provision could not survive the First Amendment’s prohibition against “compelled speech,” even under the lesser standard for “commercial speech.”


VA Community College System to Change 'Free Speech Zone' Policy

A system of 23 community colleges in Virginia is about to become more in line with the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Virginia Community College System (VCCS) is seeking to alter its policy on free-speech zones in response to a lawsuit brought by student Christian Parks.

    Last September, Thomas Nelson Community College prohibited Christian Parks from expressing his Christian beliefs in a large courtyard of the college. An officer from the college’s police department told him he must stop preaching because the content of his speech might offend someone. School officials then told Parks that his speech violated the Student Code of Conduct and VCCS policies.

    In a court filing last week in support of a motion from both sides to put the lawsuit on hold, the community college system said it would not enforce its current policy as it works to develop a new student policy.

    "Both parties desire to suspend the … current policy in order to allow (Parks) and all other students to speak freely on campus" until a new policy is adopted, the joint filing said. With continuing talks between the Alliance and the state's attorney general's office, "counsel for the parties believe that they may be able to reach an amicable settlement in this case."


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Must not mention kidnapping

Wicked Campers is known for painting its campers with slogans some people find in bad taste.

Brisbane-based Wicked Campers was found to have made light of abduction by splashing the slogan “Fat chicks are harder to kidnap” on one of its vehicles.

The Advertising Standards Bureau has upheld a complaint that the company breached Section 2.6 of the Advertiser Code of Ethics, which states that advertising or marketing communications should not depict material contrary to prevailing community standards on health and safety.

The board’s judgement noted that “there is significant community concern regarding kidnap, especially in light of current high profile cases involving the abduction and murder of children both in Australia and overseas”.

The judgement noted the reference to “fat girls” and considered that the statement was general and not directed at a specific person.

“The board considered that the reference to fat girls in this instance, whilst tasteless and not a nice reference, does not meet the threshold for being discriminatory or vilifying towards overweight females or to females in general,” the judgement read.


Should Revenge Porn Be a Crime?

Romantic breakups are never fun — but add revenge porn to the mix and things can get downright cruel. Revenge porn is defined as the dissemination of sexually explicit images of an ex-lover without their permission. It can often be emotionally devastating and have lasting effects on a person's reputation and employability.

Virginia, Utah, and Idaho have all enacted legislation this year criminalizing revenge porn; they join New Jersey and California which were the first states to do so. Nineteen other states have proposed similar legislation.

While most people sympathize with the victims, some fear criminalizing this behavior will have dire consequences on constitutionally protected free speech.

"The Supreme Court's position, rightly, is that all speech is by default protected by the First Amendment," says Lee Rowland of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Revenge porn, according to Rowland, is better handled under civil law. In most states, civil laws are already on the books that make it unlawful to maliciously cause emotional distress, intentionally invade someone's privacy, or participate in extortion and harassment. Expanding civil laws to include revenge porn where they don't, Rowland says, is a better solution than criminalizing it.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Must not disrespect suicide

A seventeen-year old girl has been arrested by police investigating 'grossly offensive' comments left on social networks after a schoolboy was found hanged close to his school gates.

James Lock, 15, left home to go to school on Thursday as usual but never turned up for lessons.  He was later found hanged in woodlands next to Olchfa comprehensive school in Swansea.

Police later confirmed they were investigating offensive 'troll' comments posted on social media including Facebook making light of the tragedy.  A 17-year-old girl was later arrested.

'She was questioned and released on police bail pending further enquiries.

'The public are reminded about their responsibilities to keep comments on social media within the law.

South Wales Police she said was arrested under Section 127 of the Communications Act which 'prohibits the sending by means of electronic communications network, a message of a matter that is grossly offensive or causes any such matter to be sent.'


Good News: IRS Set to Water Down Newly Proposed Free Speech Regulation

Shortly after former IRS Director of Tax Exempt Groups Lois Lerner admitted last year that her agency had been inappropriately targeting conservative organizations, a new set of rules were proposed that would make what the IRS did to tea party groups legal and would limit the free speech of tax-exempt groups across the political spectrum.The rules specifically define "candidate related activity" as voter registration, candidate forums and debates, distribution of voter guides, discussion of incumbent voting records, simply referencing the names of candidates during meetings and more.

During the public commenting period, a record breaking 150,000 people left comment strongly suggesting the rule be completely thrown out. Conservative groups like the Tea Party Patriots and liberal groups like the ACLU are both opposed to this type of regulation on the free speech of tax-exempt groups.

Now, IRS head John Koskinen plans to rewrite the previously proposed rules and will open up another public comment period once they are finished.

    "He said the new rule would take into account backlash from conservative Tea Party groups as well as some liberal advocacy organizations that the agency's proposal – intended to address concerns that the tax-exempt groups were engaged in partisan warfare – would bar, even voter education and registration programs."


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Must not say that criminal immigrants should be sent home

Geert Wilders in the Netherlands:

What happened was that, in a bid to rouse the crowd, Wilders turned to a reliable old bogeyman, Moroccan immigrants – particularly those between 12 and 24, who can be shown statistically to be responsible for a disproportionately high share of crime in parts of the country.

“Do you want more or fewer Moroccans in your city and in the Netherlands”, Mr Wilders roared to the crowd? “Fewer, fewer, fewer”, they roared in return.

To the delight of the crowd and the amazement of watching journalists, this went on for several minutes until finally, with a slight smile, Wilders leaned to the microphone and said: “Then we’re going to organise it.”

That may turn out to have been the worst mistake the Freedom Party leader has ever made. The Dutch hate to appear intolerant, even about intolerance, and so attacking Wilders, even as a political opponent is always a delicate operation. Not this time, however. Broadcaster RTL took the unprecedented step of publishing an editorial saying Wilders “should be deeply ashamed” and warning his performance would invite comparisons with Hitler and revive memories of the Dutch deportation of 110,000 Jews during the second World War.

This was a theme taken up by BNR Radio News editor in chief Sjors Frohlich, who said that in the past he had always dismissed comparisons between Wilders and Hitler.

“But after last night, I finally at least understand where the people who make that comparison are coming from. Especially since it’s clear that Wilders was consciously and deliberately manipulating his audience.”


Both the UK and the USA do already deport criminal immigrants

Must not discuss abortion

The latest, and most extreme, example of intolerant liberalism comes with the story of Irish film-maker Phelim McAleer, who has been forced to withdraw from the movie fundraising site, Kickstarter, when they tried to censor calls for funding for his latest project.

McAleer, who has previously courted controversy and barbecued sacred cows with films such as Mine Your Own Business and FrackNation, has been described in the past as a sort of right-wing Michael Moore, and his films pull no punches.

His latest project, however, was nearly killed before it was born – which is more than can be said of its subject, the serial killing abortion 'doctor' Kermit Gosnell, who had no problem killing breathing babies.

Gosnell's name should be written in blood in everyone's brain, but he remains largely unknown in his native America and on this side of the pond. Because Gosnell was no ordinary abortion provider, he was the Harold Shipman of abortion providers.

By the time he faced trial for multiple murders in 2011, a Grand Jury had accused him of killing hundreds, if not thousands, of viable children.

The shocked mayor of the city, at the time, Michael Nutter, admitted that: "We've had a monster living in our midst", while ABC's Terry Moran, who was one of the few to cover the murder trial, said: "Kermit Gosnell may be the most successful serial killer in the history of the world."

As McAleer points out: "There have been four movies about Ted Bundy, five about the Zodiac Killer, three about John Wayne Gacy..." and yet Kickstarter accused McAleer of "breaching its community standards," and demanded the filmmaker amend the subject matter to make it less offensive.

Those same community standards are fine with movie projects that include rape and murder and, yes, serial killers and that is how it should be – no topic, absolutely none at all, can ever be considered unsuitable for movie treatment. Except Gosnell, apparently.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Naughty, naughty

The photos are just the usual arty fashion crap.  There is no pretence that they represent anything but themselves

Heidi Klum is facing backlash for posting photos from a photoshoot inspired by Native American costumes, which included feather headdresses and face paint.

Hostile responses began pouring in directly after Klum shared several photos on her Facebook page late last month. The photos feature models who are competition on "Germany's Next Top Model," the reality television series which Klum hosts.

"Here are my beautiful GNTM girls," Klum captioned the post, which featured 12 black-and-white photos.

In almost every photo, the models donned feather headdresses, face paint, animal skin dresses and some even posed with items such as drums, bows, and arrows. Other images, which were all shot in Utah, include a model posing before a teepee wearing a Navajo patterned blanket, moccasin boots and face paint, while in the next a model wears her hair in brads with antlers on her head.

In one particularly controversial photo, a close-up of a blonde model reveals intricate face paint, a turquoise ring and one tear rolling down her cheek- bringing to mind the Trail of Tears and the forced relocation of Native Americans in parts of the U.S. during the 1830s.

As a result, thousands of comments have flooded Klum's Facebook accusing the German supermodel of being intolerant. Comments range from calling the "GNTM" photo shoot "racist," "culturally insulting," and "disrespectful," among many other angrier reactions.


Just who exactly is being intolerant here?

"Inner city" is racist

Ryan's had a bad week. After he made comments that conflated the inner city with "generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work," Ryan quickly had to step away from allegations that his comments were racially motivated. Among those leveling the charge were California Rep. Barbara Lee, who represents Oakland. "My colleague Congressman Ryan's comments about 'inner city' poverty are a thinly veiled racial attack and cannot be tolerated," she said in an email earlier this month. Last night, Ryan appeared on Fox News to explain to Bill O'Reilly that Lee was wrong. "She knows that I don’t have a racist bone in my body," Ryan said.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Suppression by liberals continues

On the heels of calling for Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich to resign for the liberal sin of disagreeing with their view of gay marriage comes a campaign to pressure Dropbox to drop former Secretary of State Condi Rice from their board. Rice’s sin, in Silicon Valley’s eyes, is serving as America’s Secretary of State and National Security Advisor to a Republican president.

For decades, the liberal media eviscerated the religious right and other conservatives for their own attacks against liberal social causes. Over time, the media labeled anyone who didn’t agree with the left’s world view as intolerant. Progressive journalists were quick to support the Democrats’ meme of their opponents as mean-spirited, bigoted, homophobic or racist.

But the pendulum has now swung the other way. Diversity is no longer about differing views. The new bullies are the left. Yesterday’s champions of diversity have become today’s intolerants. Black, gay and Hispanic conservatives are labeled self-haters and considered sell-outs to their communities. The left sees no place for differing opinions. In fact, if you have a minority opinion from the majority liberal view then you will be run out of the room.


Liberal intolerance in Ireland too

The hullabaloo over an article by Brenda Power in relation to a piece she wrote earlier this week that bemoaned the current state of Traveller 'culture' has seen her attacked on all sides, with her opponents seemingly queueing up to portray the woman as the new Hitler.

But this may be an argument that the likes of Pavee Point and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties come to regret starting.

It's easy to mock Liveline, and Lord knows I am the first to make a snarky comment about some of the loonier contributors to that show. But there are times when it simply comes into its own and acts as a vague barometer for the nation and Wednesday's bust-up between Martin Collins of Pavee Point and Power, quickly followed by Mark Kelly of The Irish Council for Civil Liberties, gave us a chilling illustration of just how dangerously intolerant some people can be.

And no, I'm not referring to Power.

I am instead referring to the fact that not only are the 'offended' parties busy writing angry letters to Power's editor, which is their right, and making plaintive calls to the Press Council, which is also their right, they then informed us that they were also going to scuttle off to the gardaĆ­ to report her for Incitement to Racial Hatred. There's little point in going through the offending piece. It has been rehashed elsewhere and the points she raised are nothing we haven't seen or heard before.

But the hysteria that greeted it, and the determined efforts to portray the woman as a criminal menace for expressing an opinion, are a perfect, if unpleasant, example of the deranged intolerance of the liberal diversity industry.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Wonga advert banned for saying 5853pc rate was 'irrelevant'

Wonga is a British payday loan company. It was making a fair point in its advertisement.  The annual rate IS irrelevant to short-term customers

A Wonga advert has been banned for implying that the representative APR of 5853pc was "irrelevant".

The television ad for the payday loans company featured a conversation between two puppets, who said: "Right, we're going to explain the costs of a Wonga short-term loan.

"Some people think they will pay thousands of per cent of interest. They won't of course - that's just the way annual rates are calculated. Say you borrowed £150 for 18 days, it would cost you £33.49."

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received 31 complaints that the ad confused viewers about the interest rate applied to a Wonga loan, implied that the representative APR was irrelevant to a short-term loan and was irresponsible because it encouraged consumers to disregard the representative APR and thereby trivialised the decision to take out a short-term loan.

Wonga said its objective had been to transparently explain the total "true" cost of a short-term Wonga loan.


Ex-Premier League footballer found guilty over allegation he made homophobic gesture to fans

No matter how much people abuse you, you must not imply that  they are homosexual as a response

Former Blackburn Rovers striker Colin Kazim-Richards has been found guilty of making a homophobic gesture at a match while playing against one of his previous clubs.

The 27-year-old claimed he was bantering with the crowd when he allegedly made a homophobic gesture towards them while playing against Brighton, a court has heard.

But magistrate Darren Reynolds sitting at Brighton Magistrates' Court, told the footballer they accepted the evidence the four prosecution witnesses had given them.

Kazim-Richards said he was being booed and being called names when he turned around and made a rude gesture behind his back to the crowd to join in with their banter, Brighton Magistrates' Court was told.

He said: 'There were certain voices and certain things which stick in your head. There was this one lady who kept on giving me abuse and kept on doing that.'

Simon Reiz, defending the player, asked him if he reacted in any way. Kazim-Richards demonstrated to the magistrates the sign he had made behind his back and told them: 'I was interacting with the fans.  'I was basically doing what they were doing to me. I was having a bit of banter back.'

Prosecutor Simon Allen told the court that the player had mimicked pulling his shorts down, put his left arm behind his bottom and made a homophobic gesture towards the Brighton and Hove Albion crowd.

He said: 'It seems that the player reacted to this and he mimicked pulling down his shorts and with his left hand behind his back mimicked that he had something in his hand and moved it back and forward.'

Mr Allen said that each time he did this the chants from the crowd grew louder.

But London-born Kazim-Richards, who now plays for Turkish club Bursaspor, said he did not agree with discrimination in 'any shape or form' and told the court he had been an ambassador for the Kick It Out Campaign.

He described himself as a 'flamboyant' player who had interacted with the crowd to 'acknowledge' and 'accept' the banter but that he would never make a homophobic gesture.

Mr Reiz said that hand gestures were made during football matches all the time and that due to Brighton having a large gay community an innocent hand gesture made behind his back had been perceived as being homophobic.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Australia:  Must not refer to illegals as "Fu**ers"

Up to six Navy sailors have been sacked or ordered to justify their jobs over racist and anti-Muslim Facebook posts.

Chief of Navy Ray Griggs said in a statement on Tuesday that the investigation had found that "a number of personnel have … been found to have made inappropriate comment on social media or to have an affiliation with different social media groups that are not consistent with our values”.

"Several sailors have had their employment terminated or have been issued with notices of cause for termination,” Vice Admiral Griggs said.

Fairfax Media revealed in January that a Navy member working on border protection duties had posted comments on the Facebook page of a friend who claimed to be a member of the Australian Defence League.

The friend had written that asylum-seekers whose boat had sunk were coming to Australia "to jump on Centrelink and get free government housing".

The navy member commented: "I'm about to head out today to deal with these f---ers."


Must not say Trayvon Martin was at fault


Branca is a Massachusetts lawyer traveling the nation by motorcycle -- a one-man lecture tour on guns and self-defense law.

His strong opinions have been in hot demand since Zimmerman was acquitted of murdering Martin.

"I decided what people really needed to know was the rules up front to avoid getting in trouble in the first place," Branca said.

Branca's appearance at Campbell Law School did not go unnoticed by his critics, who call him inflammatory and say he is viciously attacking Martin and his family.

Critics point to Branca's Twitter feed. He once tweeted, "To handle Trayvon, a KelTec and one 9mm round would be fine."

"Well anyone who violently attacks another person has to be prepared that person might defend themselves," Branca said.

Another tweet read, "Only person responsible for the death of Trayvon, is Trayvon. Oh, and maybe his father."


Wednesday, April 09, 2014

More on Leftist intolerance at CU-Boulder

A letter to the editor from a student

The recent controversy surrounding the University of Colorado's Visiting Scholar of Conservative Thought Steven Hayward should give us all some pause.

As background, Mr. Hayward recently wrote a blog post on the website PowerLine titled "Off on a gender-bender" in which he expressed confusion about the convoluted gender sensitivity training at CU-Boulder, including a joke about the ever-expanding LGBT acronym. This provoked a response from the CU Student Government President of Student Affairs and the Student Government Director of Safety and Inclusion, calling the post "oppressive and discriminatory." Not to be outdone, the chairman of the Boulder Faculty Assembly at CU responded by describing the post as "bordering on hate speech" and going on to say that he doesn't think the assembly "should allow that behavior."

Am I the only one who is appalled with these banal statements that constantly trickle down from our faculty and student government? True tolerance starts with the ability to tolerate the opinions of those who disagree with you. But the self-righteousness and self-assured moral superiority of the left at this school seems to know no bounds. I do not question their motivations and unreservedly support their right to their opinion. All I ask is that they return the favor.

As a conservative student at this school (yes, we exist), I can attest to the fact that any dissension from the leftist doctrine in the classroom is most often met with derision, accusations of bigotry, and a general underlying antipathy. I feel no shame in admitting that I have held my tongue in class many times out of reluctance to be pilloried as an amoral person for the next half hour. Higher learning is supposed to be about free expression and discussion of ideas. But my experience has seen many students and teachers more interested in suppression than any sort of honest discourse. Any disagreement is intolerant. If not sexist, then racist. If not racist, then homophobic. Is this what the progressive movement at CU has become?

Mr. Hayward is experiencing what many of us have known for years: CU does not tolerate deviations from accepted ideology. Question their beliefs and you are paraded down Pearl street in stocks as a heretic. I believe the Faculty Assembly is voting on that resolution next week.


Must not mention IQ scholar Charles Murray

Last week in Texas, Republican gubernatorial nominee and current Attorney General Greg Abbott released a comprehensive education plan for Texas.

It is thorough, well-documented and heavy on citations. But one of those citations comes from well-respected scholar Charles Murray. Murray's work on IQ has, for years, been badly mischaracterized by the left.

Liberal journalists in Texas, joining the Democrats' gubernatorial nominee Wendy Davis, are now willingly painting Greg Abbott as a racist for relying on Murray's work. In doing so, they are again misrepresenting Murray's work, largely because it ran afoul of acceptable standards of political correctness.


Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Must not laugh at Leftist meanderings about sexual identity

The chairman of the Boulder Faculty Assembly at the University of Colorado said he feels a blog post written by Steven Hayward, the school's first-ever visiting scholar of conservative thought, borders on hate speech.

The day after CU Student Government leaders spoke out against Hayward's "oppressive and discriminatory" ideas, the Boulder Faculty Assembly discussed statements made by the professor and whether it should respond officially as a faculty group.

"I found this offensive, bordering on what I think most people would say is hate speech," Chairman Paul Chinowsky told the group during a meeting Thursday. "If any (other) faculty member said this, we would find ourselves in a dean's office or possibly on suspension for writing this. I applaud the students for having the nerve to stand up to this. The question is, are we going to allow this or condone this from someone in our own faculty?"

Chinowsky said he couldn't believe what he read in Hayward's blog post, titled "Off on a gender-bender," on the website Powerline.

In the post, Hayward poked fun at the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community — referring to the community as "LGBTQRSTUW (or whatever letters have been added lately)" — and expressed his discomfort and confusion with university training about how to respect a student's gender identity.


"Free" speech in Italy

In Italy, neither truth nor notoriety is a defense to a charge of criminal defamation. A person can be imprisoned for saying something about another person that everyone knows is true.

An Italian archbishop was even convicted of defamation for referring in a sermon to a civilly married couple as “concubines.”

Italy also has speech crimes, like “apology for Fascism” and “defamation of the Resistance.”

One who is acquitted of a crime in Italy can be convicted for accusing the police of third-degree tactics.


Monday, April 07, 2014

A First Amendment Victory

As is often the case, a 5-4 majority decided a key Supreme Court case. But that one vote restored a portion of the idea that political speech should be unfettered by government, in this case striking down arbitrary federal limits on overall individual campaign contributions. While the current federal maximum of $5,200 for specific candidates remains in place, the Court threw out the overall limit of $48,600.

Based on the caterwauling by the Left, though, you'd think McCutcheon v. FEC was the second coming of the Dred Scott decision. (In fact, one Senate candidate did liken the two.) Playing the class envy card was the Sunlight Foundation, which whined that the “Citizens United ruling four years ago opened up the floodgates for unlimited spending in our elections, and now it might as well have tied a big bow around Congress and deliver it to the one percent.”

As a pot decrying the kettle, American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten cried, “We once had rules that allowed everyone a fair shot at the American dream and access to democracy, but now access to government is reserved for the most powerful and influential with millions and millions of dollars to buy elections.” Never mind that over the last quarter-century the AFT was one of the largest political donors, spending the vast majority of its $37 million on Democrats. Or that the National Education Association, its larger sibling, is the third largest political donor. Republicans aren't exactly raking it in there, either.

With the McCutcheon ruling, the Supreme Court comes a step closer to undoing the damage done to free speech by onerous campaign finance laws. It's obvious that the Left liked the system because the list of top donors revealed by the OpenSecrets website shows most donate primarily to Democrats. The right-wing donor most demonized by Democrats like Harry Reid, Koch Industries, comes in all the way down at number 59; meanwhile, 10 of the top 15 donors are heavily invested in Democrat candidates.

But even if the tables were turned, the idea of limiting speech is out of step with this court. As Chief Justice John Roberts pointed out, “If there is no corruption concern in giving nine candidates up to $5,200 each, it is difficult to understand how a tenth candidate can be regarded as corruptible if given $1,801, and all others corruptible if given a dime.” We don't get the connection either. Roberts also wrote, “An aggregate limit on how many candidates and committees an individual may support through contributions is not a 'modest restraint' at all” on protected political speech. “The government may no more restrict how many candidates or causes a donor may support than it may tell a newspaper how many candidates it may endorse.” So how then is it constitutional for the government to dictate how much an individual can gift any one candidate?

The most important point is this: The First Amendment was designed primarily to protect political speech, of which campaign donations are a major part. Congress – and the Court – should remember that.


IRS Likely to Delay First Amendment squelching regulations

Citizens concerned about the IRS’ abuse of power against tea party organizations rose up and told the IRS to stop their assault on First Amendment rights in record numbers.

In response to the more than 150,000 comments (approximately 95 percent negative toward the regulation), IRS Commissioner John Koskinen noted, “That’s a record for an IRS rulemaking comment period. In fact, if you take all the comments on all Treasury and IRS draft proposals over the last seven years and double that number, you come close to the number of comments we are now beginning to review and analyze.”

Koskinen continued saying, “It’s going to take us a while to sort through all those comments, hold a public hearing, possibly repropose a draft regulation and get more public comments. This means that it is unlikely we will be able to complete this process before the end of the year.”

This changed timetable is a huge victory.

President Obama was demanding that this regulation be completed before the 2014 election, but instead 150,000 citizens stood up to him and demanded that the regulation be taken down.


Groups organized under the 501(c)(4) regulations of the tax code are usually conservative.  They campaign more for conservative causes rather than for particular candidates.  Donations to them are tax exempt.  Obama wants to narrow the definition of what they can do so that donations are no longer tax exempt.  By taking away a large part of their donations, he hopes to shut them up.  Labor unions doing political campaigns would face no such restrictions.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

A provocation in Texas

A news channel used a foreign term that would not have been understood by most listeners.  Protesting about that was "racist", allegedly

On March 11, KCBD News Channel 11 in Lubbock made a Facebook post announcing that a haboob was approaching the city. The post was responded with an uproar from enraged Texans who were offended by the use of the word “haboob,” rather than “sandstorm.”

One of the many irate comments read, “Since when do we need to apply a Muslim vocabulary to a good ole American dirt storm? I take great offense to such terminology! Go back to calling them dirt storms!”

Luckily, this clamor did not go unacknowledged, as fellow Texans responded and fought back with responses such as, “You realize your racist comments made are going viral and brought down Lubbock as a whole? You people are really just intolerant and racist.”

With that being said, the uproar on the KCBD Facebook wall reflected poorly on not only the lone star state but America.   Feeling insulted by a term used more frequently in other parts of our world makes one appear uncultured.


Must not oppose homosexual marriage

Homosexuality has become totalitarian

Tolerance is no longer sufficient. Enforced celebration is the new standard. Those who resist will be labeled bigots, and may be subject to having their lives or livelihoods destroyed. We're way past "live and let live." We've moved on to coercion in the name of "tolerance." The Christian photographer must agree to photograph a lesbian ceremony, or face lawsuits. The Muslim pastry chef must bake a cake for a gay ceremony that violates the teachings of her faith. And the CEO who once opposed legalized same-sex marriage through a private donation must be ousted from his job:

 Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich resigned under pressure after gay rights activists demanded that he step down or recant his support of traditional marriage laws. Eich donated $1,000 to support Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative that amended the state's constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

"I don't want to talk about my personal beliefs because I kept them out of Mozilla all these 15 years we've been going,” Eich told The Guardian. “I don't believe they're relevant.”

That wasn't an option. "CEO Brendan Eich should make an unequivocal statement of support for marriage equality," a Credoaction petition signed by almost 75,000 people said, per The Inquirer. "If he cannot, he should resign. And if he will not, the board should fire him immediately."

 Eich is out on his ear for the unpardonable sin of subscribing to a moral and political belief so mean-spirited and close-minded that it was shared by President Obama back when the fateful contribution was made. (Obama was never actually against gay marriage, but it was his public stance for awhile).

Indeed, a majority of California voters endorsed Proposition 8 that year, including substantial majorities of Hispanics and African-Americans.

When Eich's private beliefs recently came to light, online petitioners demanded that he either renounce them or be fired. Think about that. "Renounce your beliefs and agree with us, or else" is not a sentence that should be uttered lightly, if ever, in a free society.


Some conservatives are now uninstalling Firefox as a protest.  Google Chrome is generally a good substitute for Firefox.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Canada still intolerant of free speech

A Toronto man has been sentenced to nine months in jail after he was convicted of willfully promoting hatred against Muslims -- a charge rarely laid in Ontario courtrooms.  Eric Brazau was found guilty in February of the charge only after police and the Crown attorney received consent from the deputy attorney general.

The hate charge stemmed from incidents dating back to September 2012, when Brazau handed out homemade flyers bearing the hand-written words, "They are here and breeding." Printed below was an excerpt from the Qur'an, which read, "Kill them wherever you find them."

Brazau was sentenced to nine months in jail on Tuesday afternoon. However, since Brazau has already spent 9.5 months in pretrial custody, he will not be held any longer.  In addition, he must serve 18 months' probation, cannot contact victims and must avoid certain places where he was known to distribute flyers.

Brazau told CTV Toronto that no sentence would deter him from continuing to spread his sentiments about Islam.

The flyers included photos of men, women and children dressed in tradition Muslim garb, including one photo of a Toronto man and his wife as she pushed a stroller.

On the other side of the pamphlet were "a number of graphic images... (that) associated the Islamic religion and the prophet Muhammad with pedophilia, bestiality and Satanism," Justice Ford Clements wrote in a judgement last February.


Sounds like there was too much truth in the flyers

Australia: Jewish Community Council of Victoria ‘deeply concerned’ over proposed race law Act changes

This report concerns what is a hot political issue in Australia at the moment:  An attempt to tone down Federal hate-speech legislation.   

Michael Danby (below) has a good point:  With the moderation that is characteristic of Australians, the existing law was enforced for many years with very little controversy.  It is when the law got into the hands of an immoderate judge that it delivered an atrocious outcome   -- which the Parliament is now trying to prevent for the future

The obnoxious verdict was delivered by Jewish judge Mordecai Bromberg.  As a Jew, his great sensitivity to any hint of racism is readily understood.  But he should not have allowed that sensitivity to warp his verdict.  He should have recused himself from the case.  It is he who has made the existing law untenable.

THE Caulfield South-based Jewish Community Council of Victoria says it is “deeply concerned” about proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act.

In a statement, it says it wants protections against hate speech maintained and is making a submission to the Attorney-General.

The Abbott Government is proposing to water down the Act in the name of free speech.

The JCCV, however, says freedom of speech is a “very important right but not an absolute right’’.  President Nina Bassat AM said “hate speech based on race, ethnicity or religion should be deplored and all members of society should be protected from it’’.

“Just as freedom of speech should be valued, so should the right of people to be part of a free and fair society without suffering the emotional and mental damage caused by hate speech.

“We believe that the Racial Discrimination Act as it stands has been working well and is effective in creating an environment that supports multiculturalism and a harmonious Victorian community.”

She further said it was not just a Jewish issue or an Aboriginal issue, but an issue for all members of society.

Melbourne Ports federal Labor MP Michael Danby has been critical of the proposed changes, telling Parliament on March 27 that Australians would be “scratching their heads’’.

“Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act existed for the 11 years of the Howard government. It worked very well,’’ he said.

“There were 1650 complaints, 500 of those dealt with conciliation and most of the rest were dropped — very few went to court. If it was good enough for John Howard for all of those years, I cannot understand what is not good enough for this government.’’


Thursday, April 03, 2014

Only Racist When Whites Say It

HBO's Bill Maher is a leftist of leftists who holds no punches when it comes to fighting the Right, but he tripped up some fellow travellers on race. First he quoted Paul Ryan on the causes of poverty and led a panel discussion on whether racism was at play in those comments. Predictably, the two leftists on the panel, one of whom was black comedian W. Kamau Bell, thought Ryan's comments showed racism. So Maher asked them to weigh in on this statement:

"When it comes to getting an education, too many of our young people just can't be bothered. They're sitting on couches for hours playing video games, watching TV. Instead of dreaming of being a teacher or a lawyer or a business leader, they're fantasizing about being a baller or a rapper."

When he revealed that it was Michelle Obama, not Paul Ryan, who said that, his guests had to wipe egg off their faces. Bell pathetically explained, "She was talking to black people -- we talk to each other differently than how we talk in front of you." That's precisely the point.


Whites must not adopt blacks?

Comedian type Chelsea Handler has found herself at the centre of a bit of a scandal after she made a rather well, bad joke about girl of the moment Lupita Nyong’o.

Tweeting about the Oscars on Sunday night for the Huffington Post Jennifer Aniston’s bezzie wrote:

'#AngelinaJolie just filed adoption papers #lupitanyongo #Oscars -@chelseahandler.'

Some people are saying that Chelsea’s joke was racist – but whether you think that or not one thing is definite – the joke sucks, racist or not.

We suspect Chelsea was trying her very best to be super controversial and raise a few eyebrows however, if you ask us that joke was always going to fall very flat.

And Twitter certainly agreed with Chelsea being called 'disgraceful,' 'offensive' and 'racist' about 0.5 seconds after posting the 'joke'.


Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Europe uses tolerance to justify intolerance

As soon as you say what speech may or may not be tolerated, you are a bigot

Have a look at this document, recently debated by the Civil Liberties committee of the European Parliament. It's a good example of how well-meaning people, convinced that they are standing up for the underdog, can end up doing enormous damage to freedom, to equality before the law and, perversely, to the minorities on whose behalf they presume to speak.

The draft Statute for the Promotion of Tolerance runs through all the usual Leftie desiderata: group defamation, hate crimes, yada yada. It argues, without the slightest trace of irony or self-awareness, for statutory tolerance. Not for everyone, though:

There is no need to be tolerant to the intolerant. This is especially important as far as freedom of expression is concerned: that freedom must not be abused to defame other groups.

You get a lot of these untintentionally funny statements from bien pensant types online:  "Don't give the bigots a platform", "I hate the haters", "I refuse to read your newspaper, it's too prejudiced".

It's hard to improve on the response to them by a Toronto blogger addressing the Canadian Human Rights Commission: "You're too stupid to tell me what to think".


Must not support creationism

Something that most of the human race believes in to this day may not be mentioned in an American university?  Clear bigotry

Montana Tech is a science-oriented unit of the University of Montana, offering a range of degrees in science and technology fields. So Montana-based technology entrepreneurs might seem like logical choices for commencement speakers. This year's speakers will be Greg and Susan Gianforte, engineers who started several technology companies and have been donors to computer science programs at several Montana colleges.

Does it matter that they also support a creationist museum that seeks to convince people that evolution is incorrect? Is there anything inconsistent with a science university honoring people who back creationism?

Some faculty members and students are organizing a graduation boycott (an unprecedented level of protest for Montana Tech) because they think the university should not give a platform to people who argue against science. The university says that since they won't be talking about creationism at graduation, the issue doesn't matter.

The Gianfortes, through their foundation, were major donors to the Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum, an institution that frustrates scientists and academics in Montana for promoting ideas that are widely seen as religious belief, not science. The museum does not in any way hide its views that natural history, as taught by science professors and museums nationally, should be fought.


Tuesday, April 01, 2014

The Welsh windbag puts his foot in it

"The Welsh windbag" was Kinnock's nickname when he was running for Prime Minister.  He lost

Ex-Labour leader Neil Kinnock tonight apologised to Eric Pickles after joking that the Tory minister would drop dead if he took part in the London Marathon.

Sadiq Khan, Labour's shadow justice minister, posted a letter from Lord Kinnock online in which he suggested getting Mr Pickles to join him in this year's race 'so we have a helpful by-election'.

The Tories condemned both men for the 'nasty' remarks, and tonight Lord Kinnock said he has written Mr Pickles 'apologising for the poor taste which I showed in a light-hearted private note'.

Earlier Mr Khan deleted the tweet featuring the letter and also apologised.

Posting the letter online amounted to an 'offensive, personal attack', the Tories said which raised doubts about Mr Khan's ambitions to run the capital.


Mr Pickles is a solid conservative but he is also greatly overweight

American Airlines staff leaves "cruel" note on deaf passenger’s bag

This is largely a misunderstanding.  People born deaf are unable to learn to speak so were once routinely referred to as "deaf and dumb".  That won't do in the sensitive times of today, however

James Moehle and Angela Huckaby were returning home to Houston from a vacation in Hawaii when one of their bags was misplaced by the airline. When it was delivered later, a handwritten note attached to the bag read, “Please Text Deaf And Dumb.”

Moehle’s mother, Kaye Moehle, said the note was “outrageous and cruel and unnecessary.”

Airline spokesman Casey Norton said Friday that the employee who wrote the note did not intend to insult anyone and will go through sensitivity training.

One of the couple’s bags was misplaced on the final leg of the couple’s journey home, from Dallas to Houston. In such cases, American uses another company to delivery late-arriving baggage to passengers.

Norton said an American employee who is not a native English speaker scrawled the note to alert a delivery driver that he should contact the couple by text message when delivering the bag.


Monday, March 31, 2014

BBC faces £1MILLION racism lawsuit over Jeremy Clarkson's 'slope' quip

I don't know why a South Asian (Indian) is making waves over this.  "Slope" is slang for East Asians (Chinese).  Clarkson will say that the racial reference is in the mind of the listener.  He was talking about a  bridge at the time

An actress is suing the BBC for up to £1million after Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson allegedly made a racist remark during the series finale of the show.

Indian-born Somi Guha, 36, has instructed lawyers after Clarkson used the word 'slope' - a derogatory term for people of Asian descent - in the Top Gear Burma special.

Ms Guha claims that broadcasting Clarkson's comment amounts to unlawful discrimination by a public body.

Clarkson used his Twitter account today to respond to the allegation, and said: 'I'm not a racist. I am currently sitting in a bar with a man who lives quite near Wales.'

In the series finale, the three hosts - Richard Hammond, James May and Jeremy Clarkson - are tasked with building a bridge over the River Kwai in Thailand.

After completion, Clarkson, 53, said: 'That is a proud moment, but there's a slope on it', as a man walked towards him on a makeshift bridge.

Co-presenter Richard Hammond, 44, replied: 'You're right, it's definitely higher on that side.'

At the time, some viewers were left outraged by the 'slope' reference, described by Twitter users as 'not big, not clever, not funny' and 'a gag too far'.


Mozilla staff call for new CEO to stand down over donation to anti-gay marriage campaign

Employees and volunteers at open source organisation Mozilla, which creates the Firefox browser, have called for its new chief executive to stand down because of donations to anti-gay marriage campaigns

Employees and volunteers at Mozilla - the organisation which promotes open source software such as its Firefox browser - have called for new chief executive Brendan Eich to stand down because of his donations to political campaigns to ban gay marriage.

This week Mozilla named Brendan Eich as its new chief executive, following the resignation of Gary Kovacs which was announced in April last year. Eich was previously Mozilla's chief technology officer and has a long history with the group dating back to before its formation from Netscape, having worked on the Navigator browser in the 90s and creating JavaScript in a marathon, ten-day programming session in 1995.

The controversy stems from a $1,000 donation he made in 2008 to support California's Proposition 8, which opposed gay marriage. The donation was listed in a public database with Mozilla appearing next to Eich's name as his employer. It caused controversy in the technology industry when it was uncovered in 2012.

Eich posted on his own blog to "express my sorrow at having caused pain" and promised an "active commitment to equality" at Mozilla.

"I am committed to ensuring that Mozilla is, and will remain, a place that includes and supports everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, economic status, or religion," he wrote.

But employees were unconvinced. Chris McAvoy, who leads Mozilla's Open Badges project, took to Twitter last night to call for the new chief executive to stand down and said that he had been "disapointed" by his promotion.


This is pretty rough stuff.  You can be hounded out of your job because of a political donation you make.  An attack on democracy

Sunday, March 30, 2014

British Airways says sorry for advert urging people to 'Discover the Indian Ocean'

Unintentionally funny

British Airways has been forced to apologise for an ill-timed advert encouraging commuters to fly to the Indian Ocean just days after it was revealed that is the location Malaysia flight MH370 is likely to have crashed.

The advert, which has a watery background, was running on the escalators at Euston Station in central London with the message: 'Escape the commute and discover the Indian Ocean'.

The airline later apologised on their Twitter page writing: 'Our Indian Ocean advert contained pre-scheduled content that we recognise is inappropriate at this time. We're sorry for any offence caused.'


More black racism

EBONY founder John H. Johnson once said that he created EBONY magazine with the intention to affirm a certain sense of "somebodiness" for African Americans. Nearly 70 years ago the magazine began on the principle that, as Black people, we are all somebody—we all count.

Yesterday, the spirit of this mission was disregarded by Senior Editor Jamilah Lemieux in a personal Twitter exchange between herself and RNC Deputy Press Secretary Raffi Williams. In part of the exchange, Lemieux responded to an attempt at discourse from Williams with words that curtly dismissed him and his suggestion that she be interested in the "diversity of thought." She also misidentified him, unintentionally, as White. Williams is Black.

EBONY strongly believes in the marketplace of ideas. As the magazine of record for the African American community, Lemieux's tweets in question do not represent our journalistic standard, tradition or practice of celebrating diverse Black thought.

In a letter to EBONY from RNC President Reince Priebus, he suggests, "that we can use this unfortunate episode as a catalyst for greater understanding between the Republican Party and the black community."

EBONY acknowledges Senior Editor Jamilah Lemieux's lack of judgment on her personal Twitter account and apologizes to Raffi Williams and the Black Republican community.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Alberta: U of R cheerleaders' cowboys-and-Indians photo was normal; politically correct reaction was extreme

Every age has its officious moralizers, people who try to assert their superiority by embracing the prevailing orthodoxy—whatever it happens to be—with exaggerated zeal. They want to feel righteous. So they hunt for transgressors at whom they can point an accusatory finger.

In the post-Christian West, the holier-than-thou types enforce the codes of political correctness. The proverbial witch whom these p-c Puritans long to prosecute is the white racist, who (in their minds) lurks around every corner. And since they believe the act of accusing others bestows virtue on the accuser, they cry "racism!" whenever they find a pretext for doing so.

They recently worked themselves into a lather of self-righteous indignation when they found out that the University of Regina cheer team, which happened to be all white, dressed up as cowboys and Indians for a costume party.

The outrage! The girls must be punished for their "racism," the Twitter mob demanded. The dean of kinesiology promptly ensured everyone that the team would be subjected to "cultural sensitivity training."

Now I'm not saying this is equivalent to "burn-the-witch!" hysteria. But the difference is only one of degree.


Australia: Truth telling teacher fired

A Darwin school teacher has been stood down after allegedly posting a Facebook rant the day after a student killed himself, in which he described the teenager as a "bully" and a "disrespectful little brat".

The Northern Territory Department of Education said the teacher's alleged actions were disrespectful and would not be tolerated, after his message was widely circulated and heavily criticised on social media this week.

The Facebook post reads: “You were a bully to kids smaller and younger than yourself, I saw you intimidate, stand over and beat up on younger kids (never anyone your own size).

“You made life hell for genuine students wanting to learn and teachers trying to teach.

"You were a moody, disrespectful little brat in and away from school who was always given excuses by your parents and soft people in authority. Your [sic] gone, good no sympathy or empathy from me ...”


Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Reader Alerts Us To A New Double Standard--Blackface An Atrocity, Whiteface Fine

Just a note to your readers about blackface. Blackface is demeaning, racist and terrible, especially when accompanied by a derogatory fake name. It's even worse when a fraternity at a Southern school does it at a party.

But when Nick Cannon a black actor and rap artist, does the reverse for public consumption, it's all good clean fun:

Nick Cannon Wears Whiteface, Calls Himself ‘Connor Smallnut’ for ‘White People Party Music’ (Video), By Jordan Zakarin, The Wrap, March 24, 2014

So much for "people of color" never being bigoted, according to progressive dogma. This would be a career killer for most people in the Hollywood industry (i.e. Ted Danson appearing in blackface). But look for Cannon to get a major pass and for the extreme left to excuse it.


NYT reporter: Obama administration ‘the greatest enemy of press freedom’ in a generation

New York Times reporter James Risen called the Obama administration “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation” on Friday, explaining that the White House seeks to control the flow of information and those who refuse to play along “will be punished.”

Poynter reports that Risen made the remarks while speaking at Sources and Secrets conference — a meeting of journalism , communication and government professionals held in New York City. The foreign policy reporter, who is currently fighting a fierce court battle with the federal government over his protection of a confidential source, warned that press freedom is under serious attack in today’s America.

In a speech kicking off the conference, Risen claimed that the Obama administration wants to “narrow the field of national security reporting” and “create a path for accepted reporting.” Those who stray from that path, he cautioned, “will be punished.”

The result is a “de facto Official Secrets Act,” Risen explained, making the current White House “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.” And the media has been “too timid” in pushing back against the onslaught.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Outrage as Belgian Paper Mocks American President

Belgian newspaper De Morgen has published pictures of US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama depicted as apes, days ahead of Obama's expected visit to the country this coming week.

The mainstream paper, which was founded in 1978, published a section in its Saturday edition entitled 'The Obama Herald'.
The section was a satirical look at what translates roughly as 'the news even before it happened, unless it's already happened, of course'.

It features potential future tweets from the US President, as well as an 'interview' with Sasha Obama claiming that she "hates Beyonce" and "that ugly man of hers too".

But one section in particular may cause controversy for the paper: a picture of Barack and Michelle Obama with monkey faces. The picture was published under the 'Opinion' section of the paper under the guise of being sent in by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Users of the social networking site Reddit gave mixed responses when presented with the image, with some lauding the press freedom in Belgium, and others rightly noting the cartoon's vulgar and racist overtones.


OK to call GWB a chimp, though.

Man resigns because someone else used a fake Mexican accent

Go figure

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican who is running for re-election, seemed to be scoring points with the state House passage last week of a measure that would let qualified Florida students pay in-state college tuition rates even if they are in the country illegally.

But barely a day after the Florida House passed the tuition bill, Scott’s re-election campaign found itself in the line of fire. The Miami Herald reported that the governor’s ranking campaign finance co-chairman, Mike Fernandez, had expressed concern in an email about campaign staffers who were joking around in exaggerated Mexican accents while on the way to a Mexican restaurant in Coral Gables.

Scott’s campaign manager, Melissa Sellers, dismissed the significance of the report, according to The Miami Herald, saying that “Mike was not in the van.”

“I spoke to every staffer in the van,” Sellers said, according to The Herald. “If something was said in an accent, no one remembers what it was. We are a diverse organization and we do not tolerate inappropriate comments.”

The Herald also said that Fernandez had been frustrated over the re-election campaign, and drove him to resign.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Australian Left backing censorship

Protecting people from prejudice and hate speech is part of the Australian citizenship contract, according to Bill Shorten, who strongly rebuffed comments by the attorney general, George Brandis, that “people have a right to be bigots”.

“No one has a right to bigotry and racism has no place in the modern Australia,” Shorten told an audience at the Migration Council award dinner.

“Protecting people from prejudice and hate speech is part of the contract Australian citizenship promises all its citizens,” he said. “In this debate we need to put ourselves in the shoes of those who have come here fleeing persecution and bigotry in their own country.”

The opposition leader was responding to comments by Brandis in the Senate that “people have a right to be bigots”.

Freedom of speech, Brandis said, was about defending the right of people to express opinions, no matter how offensive.

Brandis is in the process of drafting changes to the Racial Discrimination Act, after the conservative commentator Andrew Bolt was found to have breached section 18C which outlaws the right “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” a person or group because of their “race, colour or national or ethnic origin”.

The attorney general has yet to reveal the changes, which have already caused disquiet in his party room.

Asked about Brandis’s comments in the lower house on Monday, Tony Abbott said free speech could sometimes “upset” and “offend” but it was important to remember freedom and democracy rested on the right of free speech.


Hate speech best ignored?

Turns out there's a feelgood story to be had from people brandishing placards like "God Hates Fags" and "God Is America's Terror".

The so-called Westboro Baptist Church took its poisoned message to a Lorde concert in Kansas City, just days after the death of the movement's earthly leader Fred Phelps.

The grace that the Lorde fans showed in the face of the protesters became the story.  They unfurled their own banner that said, simply, "Sorry for your loss".

It wasn't sneering. That was the beauty of it.

Lorde had encouraged concert-goers to wear rainbow colours and even to kiss a same-sex member of the protest group.

That last idea was, we grant you, ill considered. The tweet was deleted and the fans had the good sense to eschew what would have been, technically, an assault.

Instead the group's breathtakingly ugly messages flapped around on the ground while the stronger message that travelled the world was one of generosity of spirit - by a group of predominantly young people showing poise in the face of what they perhaps saw as a fairly empty provocation.

There's a case to be put that Westboro receives more attention than it should, given its boutique size - it's largely comprised of members of Phelps' own kin - and increasing irrelevance.

It calls itself Baptist although its embrace of the ugliest rhetoric in the Bible has long since alienated it from the Baptist church, much as that one is, itself, one of Christianity's more fiery outfits.

Every group has its extremists. Even those extremist groups have their own extremists. And somewhere out there, those extremists must be asking themselves what they're going to do about those nutjobs in Westboro Baptist.

It's a hate group. Unabashedly so. The god it upholds is a hateful one, imposing judgment on an ever-darkening world. And it dismisses media inquiry into who leads it following Phelps' death by contending that it had not had a defined leader for a long time.

Whatever. The question does arise, of course, whether this is just an outfit best ignored.