Monday, August 26, 2019

Democrat Governor Excludes Conservative News Service From Media List

When two reporters showed up at the Wisconsin governor’s office in February for a press briefing on the new administration’s proposed budget, staffers turned them away.

Although the governor’s office didn’t formally invite the reporters, they were credentialed through the Wisconsin Legislature to cover government activities. They also emailed an RSVP to the governor’s staff.

The two reporters arrived at a conference room for the budget briefing at the designated time, but the governor’s staff said they weren’t on the RSVP list.

So, what gives?

Under the First Amendment’s prohibitions against government actions that inhibit “freedom of speech” and “freedom of the press,” shouldn’t all credentialed reporters be granted access to something as routine as an elected official’s budget briefing?

That’s what the MacIver Institute for Public Policy, a free-market think tank based in Madison, Wisconsin, argues in a lawsuit filed against Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat who assumed office in January.

MacIver Institute’s suit claims the governor violated its right to equal protection of the laws and due process under the 14th Amendment. 

At a time when the Trump White House’s every dealing with the press appears to be scrutinized, a Democrat governor’s attempts to exclude a conservative-leaning news organization, even as he continues to welcome left-leaning media outlets, garner little attention.


Michigan State Training: Avoid Trigger Words Like 'But' and 'I Apologize'

As students went back to school at Michigan State University, those who wanted to make an extra buck working on campus were in for a rude awakening. At a mandatory student employee training, administrators told them to avoid words like "but" and phrases like "no problem" and "I apologize." According to the training, these words and phrases are "triggers" that could make people uncomfortable.

"Raise your hand if you’ve ever said 'no problem.' Did you ever think that was a trigger?" MSU Facilities Manager Sheena Ballbach asked student employees, according to Campus Reform. "I say this all the time and never thought that this could be a trigger word. But if I’m saying 'no problem,' that’s leading a customer to believe that they could be a problem or they could be an inconvenience to you and we’re just assuring them that they’re not."

The training featured a presentation with a page on "triggers" and "calmers." According to that page, the trigger phrase "I apologize..." should be replaced with the calmer phrase, "I am truly sorry..." The trigger phrase "I don't know..." should be replaced with the calmer phrase, "I'll find out & get back to you..." The trigger phrase "It's our policy..." should be replaced with the calmer phrase 'Here's what we can do..."

Taking a page out of Chick-fil-A's book, the presentation suggested, "You're welcome, it was my pleasure..." to replace "No problem..."

With all seriousness, the presentation suggested that the trigger phrase "But..." should be replaced with the calmer phrase "And..."

College Lists 'God Bless You' as Microaggression

Those poor student employees had no idea the kind of Orwellian nightmare they were entering. Just imagine going one day without using the word "but," and choosing to say "and" instead. This mandatory training is directing students to alter their thinking — to never use a contrasting conjunction but always use a connecting conjunction.

As National Review's Kat Timpf pointed out, this completely ignores what words actually mean. The phrase "no problem" clearly makes the point that the customer is not a problem. As difficult as it would be to avoid using "but" all day, using the word "and" instead would not really change the meaning of most sentences. Timpf used the example, "I love you, but I don't want to be with you anymore." Is it any less hurtful to say, "I love you, and I don't want to be with you anymore?" The point is the meaning of the sentence, not the word "but."

From the Campus Reform report, it seems the administrators had too much authority for the students to ask the simple question, "Why, in the name of all that is holy, do you want us to avoid using the word 'but'?!" Somehow, the question never came up.


Wednesday, August 21, 2019


I go into hospital later today for an operation that will require me  to spend around two days in hospital to have my recovery monitored. So I will be hors de combat until some time on the weekend.  I expect to be back to normal after that.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Company Says It’s Receiving Death Threats Because ‘Bikini Atoll’ Beer Offends Liberals

Back in the 1950s, the island of Bikini Atoll was the site of nuclear tests by the U.S. Armed Forces. You’ve probably seen the video and if you’re familiar with the tiny landmass in the Marshall Islands, it’s probably because of its association with our nuclear program.

The Manhattan Project Beer Company, a small brewery, makes a number of beers with nuclear-themed names. You may have guessed why given the company’s name, which is a reference to the project that produced the first nuclear weapon during World War II.

Brews from Manhattan Project include Half-life, Particles Collide, Plutonium-239 and 10 Nanoseconds, Pacific Daily News reported.

Thus, when they decided to name one of their new products Bikini Atoll, absolutely nothing should have happened except that those who enjoy imbibing microbrews had a new nuclear-themed option to choose from.

Instead, people began stamping their feet in anger.

The Texas-based company, the Pacific Daily News noted, “is facing criticism over the insensitivity to the Marshall Islanders who were exposed to high levels of radiation. The atoll remains uninhabitable.

“In 1946, the U.S. relocated 167 Bikinians to other parts of the Marshall Islands before detonating 23 atomic and hydrogen bombs at Bikini Atoll. The tests lasted until 1958.”

Residents were moved back to the island in 1969 but relocated again in 1978 when high levels of radiation were detected.

Republic of the Marshall Islands Secretary of Health & Human Services Jack Niedenthal — who is in no way looking to raise his profile through brewing up outrage — wrote a sternly-worded letter to Manhattan Project co-founder and co-owner Misty Sanford regarding the grave cultural transgression.


Must not criticize Halal meat

Political correctness even intrudes into British High School exams

A GCSE pupil was disqualified after examiners mistook her vegetarian views on Halal meat for Islamophobia. 

Abigail Ward, 16, who attends Gildredge House school in Eastbourne, East Sussex, was told by exam board OCR that she had made 'obscene racial comments' while answering her Religious Studies exam in June.

On the subject of halal butchers, the student had written, '...which I find absolutely disgusting.'

In an appeal, her school explained that her comment was in relation to her vegetarian beliefs, not her opinions on Muslims.

Her mother, Layla Ward, said the examiner has been 'over-zealous, over-righteous'.

Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, the 36-year-old said the family were shocked by the decision to disqualify her daughter, and the exam board has since overturned the decision.

She said:  'Abbey is an animal lover and a very strict vegetarian. 'It made me angry … when asked a question in the exam, you can't even express your feelings.

In a statement, OCR said it has apologised to Abbey, adding that its initial conclusion was incorrect and 'too harsh'.

A Daily Mail investigation found this week that OCR - which oversaw 163,000 A-level entries this year – offered A-level ‘assessor’ roles to a reporter in two subjects in which she had no qualifications.


Monday, August 19, 2019

'He can't wear that shirt to playgroup again!' Mother gets VERY offended by her two-year-old daughter's friend wearing a 'Players Gonna Play' T-shirt, insisting it's 'rude' and 'demeaning'

A Canadian mother thought the 'Players Gonna Play' T-shirt she bought for her young son was adorable — so she was nonplussed when another mother in her kid's playgroup was so offended that she sent her rude text messages about it.

On Wednesday, a Redditor with a little boy shared a text message exchange she had with another mom in her son's playgroup.

The other mom claimed to be 'unimpressed' by the 'rude' and 'demeaning' shirt that the Redditor's son was wearing, and went on to insist that the boy couldn't wear it to the group again.

When the Redditor insisted she had no idea what the issue was, the other mom said that the shirt — which said 'Players Gonna Play' — was 'rude.'

'It insinuates that boys can just use girls as playtoys and do whatever they want to them. Not the best message to send out to your boy or my girl!' she said.

'You're actually crazy,' replied the Redditor. 'It's a funny joke for adults.' 'And for the record, my son will wear whatever I want him to. Don't come to group again if you're soooo offended.'

Thus called out, the angry mom replied: 'You're a real b****! I'm gonna make sure all the playgroup moms hear about this.'

Speaking in the comments, the Redditor went on to explain that the T-shirt also had a picture of an X-box controller, so there was no confusion over what 'play' meant.


Chinese 'web users' blast Amazon for selling T-shirts that support Hong Kong's independence and demand an apology from Jeff Bezos

Chinese web users are calling for a boycott against Amazon after spotting T-shirts that supported the Hong Kong's independence movement being sold on the site.

Consumers are demanding apologies from the e-commerce giant and its CEO, the world's richest man Jeff Bezos.

The Seattle-based technology firm is the latest western company to face a backlash in the Far East over its stance on Hong Kong amid ongoing anti-government protests in the Asian financial hub.

Earlier this week, Chinese web users spotted T-shirts sporting prints that supported Hong Kong's independence being sold on the e-commerce website.

The slogan on one T-shirt said 'Free Hong Kong, Democracy Now'.  Another said: 'Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our Time.' A third one showed the image of a vandalised Chinese national emblem with words 'Hong Kong, add oil'.

Pictures of the T-shirts became widely circulated online, sparking an outrage among the Chinese people.

The online giant Amazon today responded to the controversy and ensured Beijing of its loyalty, Chinese state media reported. The company told, a website affiliated to state-run China News agency, as well as state-run newspaper Global Times that it had always recognised and respected the "one country, two systems" principle.

Amazon also vowed to obey the law in China. 

Amazon's statement was immediately dismissed by Chinese users on Twitter-like Weibo, who called it 'insincere' and urged the company to pull the relevant T-shirts off its website.


Sunday, August 18, 2019

UK: Former copywriter FAY WELDON, who created some of our best-loved ad slogans, despairs at the nannying new PC rules

Once upon a time, back in my Mad Men days, when I was head of copywriting for an advertising agency, my most successful advert was: 'Housewives! Now you can afford to pay for the central heating out of your monthly housekeeping.'

And I seem to remember the slogan 'A woman's life is in the home' for a sewing machine. Ads were certainly sexist back then.

But this is 2019, not 1969. And the news that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has forbidden anyone from screening two light-hearted and, yes, funny adverts under new rules to prevent 'harmful' gender stereotyping is an absurd overreaction.

By forbidding us from laughing at them, the ASA is making itself a laughing stock.

The two advertisements in question are for Philadelphia cheese and car-maker Volkswagen. The Philadelphia ad is a cream-cheesy triumph depicting two new dads by a conveyor belt in a restaurant serving buffet food. One man is shown holding a child in his arms and the other is carrying his in a car seat.

As they talk, the first man absent-mindedly places his child on the moving conveyor belt. 'Let's not tell Mum,' he says, having moved across the room to pick up the baby.

Well, it made me laugh! All too true to life, I thought.

Meanwhile, the Volkswagen eGolf ad features the strapline: 'When we learn to adapt, we can achieve anything.'

It shows a couple asleep in a tent, having climbed a steep rockface; two men in space; and a male athlete with a prosthetic running leg — before panning to a woman sitting quietly on a bench reading, next to a baby's pram.

The advert was adapted from one shown successfully in France. And it actually rather moved me — it seemed so true and timeless, and I don't see why what was deemed good enough for the French public should be deemed otherwise for us.

A tiny, tiny minority complained — out of all those who saw the ads, just three people wrote letters objecting to male-female stereotyping in the Volkswagen ad, and 128 in the Philadelphia one.

And yet the ASA shrank back, cowering like a snail into its shell.

What shock and horror! Men are being shown as traditionally male and women as traditionally female — duh! that's the blooming joke.

But OMG, thinks the ASA, you never know, this might just swell into a social media storm and end up in dreaded controversy. So it backed down.


The EU’s latest assault on internet freedom

As things stand, what you can and cannot say on the internet is largely a matter for national law, decided by national parliaments. This means that every nation in Europe currently has different laws and practices.

But the EU has quietly been moving to change this. Take last year’s Copyright Directive, which more or less demands the introduction of automated content filters on social-media platforms. And last month, it became clear that an impatient Brussels wants to turbocharge this process by bringing internet regulation to the EU level, where it can pull the necessary strings.

The EU Digital Services Act sounds innocent on the surface. It is ostensibly aimed (in Euro-speak) at enhancing the so-called Digital Single Market by harmonising national laws and removing competitive barriers. Member states have not yet been consulted or made aware of any specific proposals in the Act. But thanks to the leak of an internal briefing to the Digital Single Market steering group, obtained German digital freedom activists Netzpolitik, we can see what Brussels has planned.

One of the EU’s key concerns, as the briefing makes clear, is the lack of EU-wide rules and regulations covering what people can see and say online. The fight against online hate speech, for example, is said to be ‘expensive and inefficient across the Single Market’. There are also no EU-wide rules on online advertising, nor does the EU have oversight of online services as a whole.

The prescription? EU regulation of the internet. EU law should cover the ‘entire stack of digital services’, from internet service providers (ISPs) and social media to search engines and cloud services. ‘Uniform rules for the removal of illegal content such as illegal hate speech’ need to be made binding across the EU, says the briefing. Online advertising, including political advertising, should come under EU control, too. And there must be a ‘dedicated regulatory structure to ensure oversight and enforcement of the rules’.

These proposals are worrying for several reasons. For one thing, you can’t have rules for the compulsory removal of illegal hate speech unless you have rules defining hate speech. At present, there is healthy political argument about what hate speech is, how to balance free speech and offence, and indeed if there should be any prohibition on hate speech at all. Yet the logic of the EU proposal is to take this vital debate out of the national democratic process entirely, and instead entrust it to unelected EU technocrats.

There is no doubt that new rules and regulations will have a chilling effect on online speech. ISPs, social-media sites and other platforms have businesses to run. Few will want to risk intervention from regulators. Still fewer will chose to defend the free-speech rights of individual users when an EU regulatory body, armed with possibly draconian sanctions, makes a takedown request. Companies will find it far simpler and safer to take down any material that is likely to draw complaints.

The Digital Services Act will allow the EU to set the acceptable parameters of ‘free speech’ online. ISPs and European websites will fall over themselves to avoid publishing anything that makes Brussels uncomfortable. Internet freedom is in serious danger.


Friday, August 16, 2019

Must not joke about climate activists

Arron Banks, the insurance tycoon and leading Brexit figure, has come under fire for a tweet about 16-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg.

The Leave.EU founder responded to a post by Green party MP Caroline Lucas about Greta's voyage across the Atlantic on a racing yacht, writing: "Freak yachting accidents do happen in August ..."

He later tweeted that it was a "joke" after his comment sparked outrage from social media users.

Among those to criticise his post was actress Amanda Abbington, who tweeted: "You're wishing a potentially fatal accident onto a sixteen year old girl, why..?"

She had earlier written: "If you are a grown up, fully-fledged adult and you are mocking this young girl for trying to save the planet then I genuinely feel sorry for you."

Mr Banks later defended his post and, in response to another tweet which highlighted the fact Greta was a child, he said: "Quite and one being used. Obviously I don't hope she encounters a freak yachting accident! I just enjoy watching the ludicrous tweeter mob following the next outrage ..."

He also replied to someone accusing him of showing "his true colours", saying: "It was a joke .. you lefties have no sense of humour ..."

Greta is embarking on a two-week voyage across the Atlantic on a carbon-neutral racing yacht, the Malizia II, so she can attend high-profile climate events without using planes or cruise ships which emit greenhouse gas emissions.


Leaked Draft of Trump Executive Order to 'Censor the Internet' Denounced as Dangerous, Unconstitutional Edict

We will have to see the final form of it -- if any -- before we can say much about it.  The report below is from Leftist sources so may be seriously distorted

Civil liberties groups are warning of a major threat to online freedoms and First Amendment rights if a leaked draft of a Trump administration edict—dubbed by critics as a "Censor the Internet" executive order that would give powerful federal agencies far-reaching powers to pick and choose which kind of Internet material is and is not acceptable—is allowed to go into effect.

According to CNN, which obtained a copy of the draft, the new rule "calls for the FCC to develop new regulations clarifying how and when the law protects social media websites when they decide to remove or suppress content on their platforms. Although still in its early stages and subject to change, the Trump administration's draft order also calls for the Federal Trade Commission to take those new policies into account when it investigates or files lawsuits against misbehaving companies."

While Politico was the first to report how the draft was being circulated by the White House, CNN notes that if put into effect, "the order would reflect a significant escalation by President Trump in his frequent attacks against social media companies over an alleged but unproven systemic bias against conservatives by technology platforms. And it could lead to a significant reinterpretation of a law that, its authors have insisted, was meant to give tech companies broad freedom to handle content as they see fit."


Thursday, August 15, 2019

Trump Used Ching-Chong Accent to Mock Asian Allies

This was once a common way for people to amuse themselves and others -- with no harm intended.  It is an example of how Trump routinely ignores demands from do-gooders.  He keeps alive natural ways of speaking without the constant self-monitoring that political correctness requires.  He comes from a more relaxed era and reminds us of lost freedoms

The implicit asssumption behind political correctness is that speech can do harm all by itself.  Some possibly can but much must surely depend on the speech concerned.  If we want speech that offends nobody, we are facing a Sisyphean task. Evidence should really be demanded before some word or words are branded as harmful -- with the assumption being "no harm" unless shown otherwise

I would like to see evidence that ching-chong pronunciation does harm. It may upset some thin-skinned Asians but does it actually harm them in any way?  As we know from the political correcters, people can be offended by all sorts of utterances.  So let the criterion for suppressing speech be actual harm rather than mere offence.  Offended people will always be with us

In the old days we were always taught that "sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me".  That still seems to me to be a healthy attitude.  If it is not, I would like to hear why

At the controversial Hamptons fundraiser hosted at the home of SoulCycle and Equinox majority owner Stephen Ross this week, President Donald Trump stirred up even more controversy by mimicking an Asian accent and mocking South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, the New York Post reported.

Trump also discussed the U.S. relationship with South Korea and complained, “So why are we paying for their defense?” Trump said, likely referring to the U.S.-South Korea joint exercises at the border with North Korea. “They’ve got to pay,” he added.

Then, Trump mocked the South Korean president’s accent while talking about how he “caved in to Trump’s tough negotiations,” the Post wrote.

But the president wasn’t done being politically incorrect and offensive. Speaking about when he asked Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe whether kamikaze pilots in World War II were drunk or on drugs. Trump said, “Imagine they get in a plane with a half a tank of gas and fly into steel ships just for the love of their country!”

Trump has mimicked Asian accents before. In February, he used an Asian accent when talking about Xi Jinping, the president of China, which also provoked outrage. And in 2015, he used a similar accent talking about dealing with Asian business partners.


'Fredo' debate: Is the term considered an Italian slur?

An incident involving CNN anchor Chris Cuomo has ignited debate over if - and why - the name "Fredo" is an ethnic slur directed at Italian Americans.

A video surfaced on Monday evening showing Cuomo berate a man for his reference to The Godfather films' fictional character Fredo Corleone. The Corleone brother is seen as the weakest brother in the films, seeking approval from his mafia boss father.

In response, Cuomo claimed that Fredo is "like the N-word" for Italians.

"Are any of you Italian?" he asked of the men involved in the altercation in the profanity-laced video. "It's an insult to your people... It's like the N-word for us."

Cuomo's analogy to the N-word drew condemnation, with critics saying it was inappropriate to compare Fredo to the explosive and offensive term once used to insult black slaves.

Citing Oprah Winfrey, journalist Yashar Ali wrote on Twitter that "the N-word is the last thing black men heard before they were strung up from a tree... Nothing is comparable."

Anthony Tamburri, dean of the John D Calandra Italian American Institute at Queens College City University of New York, said that he and his colleagues spoke about the incident, and do not find Fredo personally offensive, but recognise the potential malice behind the term.

"The use of the word Fredo as an ethnic slur... is a regionalism," said Mr Tamburri, who is a third-generation Italian American. "It's definitely something more local than it is national." In some parts of the US, Italian Americans would see the term as neutral, he added.


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Brassy Trump-hater lives to regret her actions

Below is just the introduction to a VERY long-winded article in the "Texas Monthly". After that introduction, the article goes on to describe what happens to the Trump-hater.  She gets reported to the police and undergoes all sorts of stresses -- and apologizes repeatedly for her hateful words.  The offender was named Kellye Burke

So there they were, four girls around the age of fourteen, with long, shiny hair and braces on their teeth. They were chatting and giggling as they took their places in line at Milk & Cookies, which is basically a take-out window for a restaurant called Tiny’s No. 5, which itself is pleasantly appointed with assiduously tended gardens of Texas wildflowers and other natives.

It took a few seconds for the girls to recognize the commotion behind them and then to realize it was directed their way. A woman in line, a few spaces back, seemed to be in some sort of state. She was tall and thin, and her hair was cut short. She was with a man and two little boys. “Grab ’em by the pussy!” the woman declared, staring straight at the girls while using that very bad word. She had a fist up in the air. “Woohoo!” she added, along with what sounded like the start of a crazy chant: “Maga!!”

At first, the girls had no idea why this woman was acting so weird, as if she were mad at them or something. What had they done? They couldn’t think of a thing. That is, until one of the girls pointed to the T-shirt another was wearing. The former was on her phone at the time, talking to her mom about what was going on.

“It’s your shirt!” she said, interrupting her own conversation.

They all stopped and looked. The offending garment was a souvenir from a trip to Washington, D.C. Across the front, in big, bold letters, was a word that may be the most divisive in America right now: TRUMP.


Versace apologises after ‘anti-China’ T-shirt sparks uproar

This was pretty ignorant.  Hong Kong and Macau have a status within China similar to the status of State govenments within the USA.  Both started out as independent but are no longer so

Versace has been forced to apologise after a T-shirt “disrespecting China’s national sovereignty” infuriated one of the luxury brand’s leading ambassadors.

Yang Mi, a Chinese actress and singer, announced she was quitting Versace, claiming that one of the brand’s T-shirts broke Beijing’s “One China” policy.

The T-shirt listed several cities alongside their respective countries. Hong Kong and Macau were also listed but as independent nations and not Chinese territories.

Both are classed as special administrative regions of China, which have semi-autonomous governments.

Yang posted a picture of the T-shirt to Chinese social media app Weibo, with an accompanying statement. “China’s territorial integrity and sovereignty are sacred and inviolable at all times,” the statement said, according to The China Daily.

“As a company of the People’s Republic of China and Yang Mi as a citizen of the People’s Republic of China, we are deeply offended. “It is the duty of all Chinese citizens to uphold the ‘One China’ principle and adamantly safeguard national unification.”

Designer Donatella Versace has since apologised for the “unfortunate” error. “I am deeply sorry for the unfortunate recent error that was made by our company and that is currently being discussed on various social media channels,” she wrote on Instagram.

“Never have I wanted to disrespect China’s national sovereignty, and this is why I wanted to personally apologise for such inaccuracy and for any distress that it might have caused.”

Versace issued a separate apology on Twitter, announcing the T-shirt would no longer be for sale.


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

'No red hair': Milka chocolate advert sparks outrage after casting call bans redheads and fat children

The announcement was in fact a considerate one.  If it had not been made, people in unwanted categories -- fatties and redheads -- might have wasted their time applying.

It was however rather crassly put.  They could have got their  message out much more politely by saying: "With apologies, we are not looking for large or red-headed girls at the moment".  Among fatties, "large" is code for "fat" so the message would have been understood

A casting call for a Milka advert has sparked outrage after appealing for a prepubescent girl who is not overweight or has red hair.

The actors' agency Spotlight UK was advertising the role of 'Mia' for the chocolate bar's Christmas advert.

The casting call specified it wanted 'no children over 4ft 4ins', 'no overweight children', 'she must NOT have reached puberty' and she must be 'beautiful and angelic'.

It specified further: 'She can be aged 9-12. If she is 12 she must be very small and still be childlike.'

The advert also said 'eye colour and hair colour are not important but no red hair'.

It was shared on Twitter by outraged performer Helen Raw and celebrities including comedian Kathy Burke and Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson have heavily criticised the advert.

Kathy Burke said: 'Imagine being the kids that don't get the job - you're just not beautiful enough I'm afraid, my darling, now off you pop and be riddled with insecurities for the rest of your life.'


Must not joke about hair

Authorities in the United Kingdom have warned people online against mocking the hairstyle of a wanted convicted drug dealer or they could face their own criminal charges.

The Gwent Police Department in South Wales posted to Facebook an appeal for information about 21-year-old Jermaine Taylor, who violated his parole after being released from prison in December.

Taylor, from Newport, had received a three-year sentence for supplying controlled drugs, including cocaine, after being sentenced in court in September 2017.

The department took to Facebook and posted the 21-year-old’s mugshot in addition to an appeal for information.

But the image — which shows a severely receding hairline — quickly went viral with more than 13,000 shares, 10,000 likes and over 81,000 comments.

Many in the comment section took to making jokes and puns about Mr Taylor’s hair.

“Looks like his hairline is on the run too,” Nick Sleek Meek wrote.

Another user, Callum Duff, commented: “His hairline goes back further than my family tree.”

But authorities found the comments no laughing matter.

“Please remember that harassing, threatening and abusing people on social media can be against the law,” police wrote.

“Our advice is to be as careful on social media as you would in any other form of communication.

“If you say something about someone which is grossly offensive or is of an indecent, obscene or menacing character, then you could be investigated by the police.”


Monday, August 12, 2019

Leftist rag, The Canary, gets a lesson in censorship

If you allow your opponents to be censored it’s only a matter of time before you will be on the receiving end of censorship. It’s one of the oldest arguments for free speech and press freedom in the book. And it’s one that dodgy Corbynista clickbait website the Canary has just learned the hard way.

A campaign group called Stop Funding Fake News has successfully put pressure on some of the Canary’s advertisers, most of them unknowingly running ads on the site through automated ad systems, to pull their content. In response, Canary editor-in-chief Kerry-Anne Mendoza has announced that her site is now moving to a subscription model and downsizing.

The Canary has certainly run some questionable pieces in the past. It’s up-to-now pay-per-click model incentivised sensationalism. It has run misleading stories and headlines (one implied that BBC journalist Laura Kuenssberg was speaking at the Tory Party conference). It has been accused of anti-Semitism for articles with such jaw-dropping headlines as ‘The inconvenient truths that prove it is not anti-Semitic to compare Israel to Nazi Germany’. And according to the Huffington Post it has blamed its advertiser exodus on ‘pressure from political Zionists’. But much of what it runs is either inane Tory-bashing and / or Corbyn-boosting pieces.

For her part, Mendoza claims the Canary corrects mistakes as promptly as possible, and she has pointed to its membership of Impress, the state-approved press regulator which has – rightly – been shunned by most of the media. She says her website’s treatment at the hands of Stop Funding Fake News is ‘what censorship looks like under capitalism’. And she might have had a point there. Whatever you think of the Canary, organised boycott campaigns like this one are more often driven by a desire to shut down certain media outlets than to hold them to account. But Mendoza and Co have rendered themselves incapable of making that argument.

For while they are incensed by the corporate censorship they say is now being directed at them, they were all in favour of it when it was being directed at right-wing tabloids by the Stop Funding Hate campaign (one of the inspirations for Stop Funding Fake News). In 2017, Stop Funding Hate managed to get Paperchase to break ties with the Mail and Pizza Hut to break ties with the Sun. Its argument was that British tabloids were spreading ‘fear and division’ and advertisers should think twice before working with them. And it was cheered on by the Canary, and Mendoza herself, every step of the way:

You can’t support corporate censorship of the press and then complain when it comes back to bite you.


Twitter censors McConnell

The Big Tech executives claim they are targeting “extremists.” They claimed they were silencing “hate.” But the cat’s out of the bag -- and it has been for some time. When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted a video of the violent Leftists protesting him and threatening him with violence, Twitter suspended HIS account. You read that right -- Mitch McConnell.

After a day of blistering criticism from Republicans, Twitter has reversed an earlier decision and restored the campaign account of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. His account had been frozen after tweeting out a video showing several protestors shouting violent threats against McConnell outside the senator's Kentucky home.

Twitter's rules ban anyone from posting videos that contain violence or threats of violence. The video in question included several apparent threats against McConnell, including a woman shouting "just stab the motherfucker in the heart please."

Twitter stood by its decision even after the McConnell campaign pointed out the absurdity of penalizing the target of violent threats for posting a video of them. "The users were temporarily locked out of their accounts for a Tweet that violated our violent threats policy, specifically threats involving physical safety," Twitter said in a Thursday afternoon email to Ars.

Republicans pounced on Twitter's decision, portraying it as the latest example of anti-conservative bias among major technology companies. Republican campaign committees in both the House and Senate vowed to freeze ad spending on Twitter's platform until Twitter restored McConnell's account.

It didn't take long for Twitter reverse course.


Sunday, August 11, 2019

When Free Speech Clashes With Trans Power

While Vancouver, British Columbia, has been on the front lines of the trans and free speech debates, the recent Pride Parade was a real flashpoint, giving us a clear insight into what we might expect on the U.S. cultural front in the not-so-distant future.

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova was ejected from her position on an LGBTQ advocacy group because she questioned whether or not male-bodied persons should compete in women’s athletics. Maya Forstater, a senior researcher at the think tank Centre for Global Development, lost her job for saying men aren’t women. The leader of Girl Guides, the U.K.’s answer to the Girl Scouts, was “expelled for objecting to boys who identify as female joining.” Activist Julie Bindel was attacked for giving a gender critical talk. The experience of detransitioners have been largely ignored.

Journalist and women’s rights activist Meghan Murphy is one of these women. She has been banned on Twitter for misgendering Jessica Yaniv, the notorious trans woman who is litigating before British Columbia’s Human Rights Tribunal demanding that aestheticians who specialize in waxing women wax her private parts as well. Murphy has been protested, mobbed, and deplatformed. She has no qualms about speaking her mind, and while her views on pornography, sex work, and women’s issues used to be de rigeur in the feminist movement, they are now vilified.

Murphy booked a community room at the Vancouver Public Library to give a talk to interested persons. VPL, being a public space, allowed the booking. The library is a natural advocate for free speech. Pride  balked [banned the library from its parade because of whom it hosted].

Libraries exist for use by the community, having long since gone beyond books to become collective spaces for all people. That includes those who don’t toe a progressive political ideology. In being banned from Pride, the Library’s right to provide access to their public space came into conflict with their desire to express inclusion. Apparently, according to Pride, the only way to be inclusive is to exclude people Pride doesn’t agree with.

This penchant for exclusion under the guise of inclusion is a huge problem for a Left that was already beginning to buckle under a mentality that often advocates for group rights over the rights of an individual.  The Left used to believe, fundamentally, that nothing was more essential than First Amendment protections.

Even for those who agree with Pride’s stance on trans, this should be a splash of red across the rainbow flag. Under no circumstances is it right to shut down speech.


China challenges pro-democracy speech in Australia

It seems to me that this is just competing speech.  Both sides are having their say.  It is however deplorable that both sides are using methods characteristic of the Left.  The Left have set a very bad example that will now be increasingly used agaist them

Students, academics and officials in Australia and New Zealand, two of the modern world’s older democracies, now find their natural sympathy for the Hong Kong protesters colliding with their nations’ economic dependency on Beijing — a weakness the Chinese Communist Party isn’t hesitating to exploit.

The most visible flash point is on campus. Students who support and oppose the Chinese Community Party have spent recent days erecting, ripping down and restoring walls covered with cards and Post-it notes calling for freedom in Hong Kong at universities in the Australian cities of Sydney,
Melbourne, Brisbane and Hobart, and in New Zealand.

“Beijing’s influence on campuses is responsible for widespread self-censorship by universities and academics in Australia and New Zealand,” said Clive Hamilton, a professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt University in Canberra and author of “Silent Invasion: China’s Influence in Australia.”

Every pro-democracy protest is countered by Beijing’s well-drilled student supporters. When some University of Sydney students proposed a protest Friday, which did not proceed, opponents shared notes on the Chinese WeChat platform about how to respond.


Friday, August 09, 2019

Backing the GOP is now a ‘crime’


In the wake of two shooting massacres, with China threatening the world economy and Iran threatening nuclear war, are the offenderati really losing their minds over a photograph of schoolboys fooling around with a cardboard cutout?

Seems so, because the cardboard cutout depicts Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and she never passes up the chance to play the victim.

These are harmless kids engaged in harmless skylarking. So harmless, they even tagged AOC in their initial posts. But they underestimated AOC’s mirthless self-importance and the punitive nature of her followers.

Because the boys happened to be wearing “Team Mitch” T-shirts, she grabbed the opportunity to roast Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. As a result, the photos went viral and these Kentucky high-schoolers have been doxxed online, their names and school widely publicized.

You know what that means. Now there is a target on their backs. Unhinged trolls are doing their best to make their young lives a misery, to blacken the reputation of their school, and destroy their future prospects.

In reality, the boys’ crime is not that they were fooling around with a cardboard cutout. It’s that they dared to support a Republican politician. It’s that they dare to attend a Christian school. In the identitarian left’s corrosive hierarchy of victimhood, young, white, conservative Christian males are public enemy number one and must be destroyed.

The boys have removed their posts and apologized “for our insensitive actions.” But it’s never enough. How can you expect young men to take seriously admonitions against sexism and misogyny when they are crucified for such harmless hijinks? Where do they go from here?

Our teenagers are growing up in a world so dour and pitiless that it’s a wonder their spirits aren’t crushed.


Australia's High Court upholds dismissal of public servant over tweets in landmark free speech ruling

Australia does not have a First Amendment so the courts recognize only a limited right to free speech.  And in any jurisdiction, a government is entitled to impose restrictions on an employee as a condition of employment.  If you don't like the restrictions, get another job.  The High Court has ruled that no conception of free speech over-rules the Australian government's right to require certain things of an employee as a condition of employment

The High Court has upheld the sacking of a public servant who used a pseudonym to criticise government immigration policy on Twitter.

The High Court’s seven judges unanimously overturned a lower court’s decision that Michaela Banerji’s dismissal was not reasonable and that public service rules around the use of social media and making public comment “unacceptably trespassed on the implied freedom of political communication”.

The Community and Public Sector Union, which represents public servants, said the decision had serious implications for free speech and could potentially affect almost two million Australians who work for the federal, state and local governments.

Banerji used the Twitter handle “LaLegale” to send more than 9000 tweets in six years while she was employed by what was then called the Department of Immigration and Border Protection from 2006 and 2012.

The tweets were often critical of government policies, such as banishing refugees who attempt to reach Australia by boat to camps on the poor Pacific island nations of Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

A department investigation discovered that Banerji was behind the tweets and had breached the Australian Public Service Code of Conduct, which demands civil servants appear to be politically impartial. Her job was terminated in September 2013.

The next month, she lodged a claim for workers’ compensation for a post-traumatic stress disorder that she blamed on her termination. The claim was refused because her termination was deemed a “reasonable administrative action”.

Banerji appealed that decision in a public service court known as the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, arguing that her tweets were “entirely anonymous”, did not disclose departmental information, were sent from her personal phone and outside office hours.

The Australian Constitution does not explicitly protect freedom of expression. But the High Court has previously ruled that an implied freedom of political communication exists in Australia because that is essential in a democracy. The tribunal upheld her appeal and her right to political communication, but the High Court decision rules out the prospect of compensation.


Thursday, August 08, 2019

Girl Guides leader to sue bosses who expelled her for objecting to Trans orthodoxy

A Girl Guides leader is set to sue bosses who expelled her for objecting to a controversial policy which admits boys who identify as female to join the organisation.

Katie Alcock will launch a landmark case against Girlguiding claiming that she has been discriminated against because of her feminist beliefs.

The mother-of-two from Lancaster, who has been a leader at the charity for ten years, claims that the 2017 change in admission rules could impact child safety.

She told The Mail on Sunday: “I wouldn’t discriminate against someone who said they wanted to change gender in the sense I wouldn’t treat them differently to any other child.

“But I believe gender is something created by society and it is about telling people how we think they should behave if they are a boy or a girl.”

“That is a very different thing to people’s biological sex, which I don’t believe people can change.

“I am taking Girlguiding to court because they are discriminating against me by excluding me on grounds of these beliefs.


"Overconfident" is now a bad word

Grey's Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo was criticized for a 'racist' comment on social media about Kamala Harris following her TV debate.

Pompeo was watching the 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful go head-to-head with Joe Biden, Cory Booker and others in round two of the party's nationally televised debates on Wednesday.

Her record as California's top prosecutor became a battering ram for debate opponents, who accused her of keeping innocent people in jail and extending sentences to take advantage of their free labor.

Pompeo, 49, was responding to a tweet from Bloomberg that highlighted the 'emerging trend' of Harris, 54, specifically targeting Joe Biden during the debates.

The actress tweeted: 'Because she’s overconfident and believes he is her only competition.'

The remark provoked a widespread backlash from her followers, who described the comment as 'racist.'

One user claimed: 'It's disappointing that you single out the black woman as "overconfident" when she is actually defending her record against the front-runner whose campaign has been solely fighting her, calling her 'slippery and slick' and other slurs. On that stage Biden was her only competition.'

Meanwhile another user claimed: 'Despite your activism, you decide that disparaging a woman for doing the same thing other men did tonight was your contribution to the discussion.

'Disappointing...but not surprising. That 53% has many faces, but I see you.'

Another person called Delonte Donray said: 'Let me be very clear this was racist.

Later the actress defended herself and called the implication that it was racist, weak.


Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Man allegedly hands out business cards to women at pub asking, ‘Who’s ready to f**k?’

A dimwit

A wannabe pick-up artist allegedly handed out business cards to a group of women at a Sydney pub on Thursday night asking, “Who’s ready to f**k?”

But he may have woken up with more than a sore head the next day, after their male companion decided to email the man’s employer to dob him in.

In a post to a Sydney “ranting/complaints” Facebook group, the man described the alleged incident. “Hot tip to all the thirsty bois,” he wrote.

“Don’t go up to a table at a pub and say, ‘Hey what’s up n****s’, then hand out your business card to all the women at the table while asking, ‘Who’s ready to f**k?’ Especially if it includes the company you work for.”

He said he had sent an email to the man’s company “asking if it’s expected their employees do this sh*t, at midnight in a pub” and whether the employee “is expected at work in the morning”?

“Not sorry at all,” he wrote, adding the man’s first name and the company he works for, “but you kind of creepers will never get a pass”. He later shared a photo of the man from his Facebook profile.

The post sparked fierce debate, with many members of the group praising the move. “At no time and no location is this ever OK. Good on you,” one woman wrote.

Others, however, said contacting his employer was going too far. “Besides being too full on I don’t see what’s it got to do with his work/employment,” a female member wrote. “He has just been distasteful.”

But one woman hit back at the “don’t bring his employment into it” argument, pointing out that “he was the one who opened that door, literally used that card”.

“Every company has certain expectations of their employees while on company time or any time they are representing the brand,” she wrote.


Ride-sharing company apologises after ‘sex’ tweet backfires

A popular ride-hailing firm in the Philippines issued a public apology on Thursday after touching off a social media firestorm with a claim its motorcycle-based service was “like sex”.

Angkas deleted the tweet and issued a disclaimer and apology after being called out by the Philippine police and other irate users of the mobile phone-based service.

“Angkas is like sex. It’s scary the first time but fun to do over and over again,” the company had posted in a mixture of English and Filipino on its official Twitter account on Monday.

“Safety has always been our brand’s priority, and we apologise for how our recent tweet has made users feel unsafe and cast doubt on the integrity of our service,” chief executive Angeline Tham said in a statement on Thursday.

“Sex should never be used to create shame, fear or disgust and certainly not used lightly for the sake of some buzz.”

Angkas ingeniously makes use of motorbikes to get its passengers through Manila’s notorious traffic gridlocks, giving it an edge over its car-based ride-sharing app rivals.


Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Mario Lopez Vilified for Comments on Parenting, Gender Identity, and Believing Women

Actor and entertainment journalist Mario Lopez suddenly is receiving pushback for an appearance on “The Candace Owens Show” where he said he was “blown away” by the trend to let young children pick their own gender.

“When you’re a kid … you don’t know anything about sexuality yet. You’re just a kid,” Lopez told Owens.

The conversation began when Owens brought up Hollywood actress Charlize Theron, who had told The Daily Mail that she allowed her son to declare himself a girl at 3 years old.

“Yes, I thought she was a boy, too,” Theron told The Daily Mail. “Until she looked at me when she was 3 years old and said: ‘I am not a boy!”

Lopez responded in his June 23 appearance by saying he did not want to tell anyone how to parent their kids. But, he said, “if you’re 3 years old and you’re saying you’re feeling a certain way or you think you’re a boy or a girl or whatever the case may be, I just think it’s dangerous as a parent to make this determination [that] well, OK, then you’re going to [be] a boy or a girl.”

Now, Lopez is under fire for these comments.


Founder of site 8chan where the El Paso shooter posted his manifesto calls for it to be shut down

How do they know that shutting it down would achieve anything.  It might just make the nutters more angry

The founder of the online message board 8chan is calling on its operators to shut it down completely after the alleged gunman who carried out the El Paso massacre on Saturday posted an extremist manifesto on the site moments before the shooting.

Fredrick Brennan, a 25-year-old American software developer, started 8chan in 2013. Brennan founded 8chan as a ‘free speech friendly 4chan alternative,’ he told The New York Times.

The imageboard site 4chan, which was created in 2003, allows people to post content anonymously. It is considered one of the more visited sites on the internet.

Initially, the 8chan site founded by Brennan was unmoderated, allowing users to post whatever content they wanted, no matter how shocking or offensive.

But 8chan has turned into a prime destination for white nationalists who celebrate mass shootings.

Now Brennan, who ended his relationship with the site and its current owner, Jim Watkins, last year, says the time has come to close it down for good in order to reduce the risk of more bloodshed.

Three mass shootings which have taken place this year - the mosque massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand; the synagogue shooting in Poway, California; and the El Paso shootings from Saturday - were announced beforehand on 8chan.

In the first few years of the site’s existence, it attracted a modest, fringe following. But in 2014, supporters of GamerGate began using 8chan en masse after they were kicked off 4chan.

GamerGate is the online campaign of sexual harassment and threats aimed at female members of the video game community.

The site has also attracted a large following of the believers of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which alleges that a ‘deep state’ of bureaucrats is plotting to overthrow the Trump administration.

Watkins, who lives in the Philippines, runs 8chan with his son, Ronald.  He has resisted public pressure to shut down the site or moderate its content.


Monday, August 05, 2019

‘Can’t stand Islam’: Why the Australian Left wants to block Raheem Kassam’s visa

He can be a bit crude but his words about Islam are more realistic than what we mostly hear.  That is the problem for Leftists

The Raheem Kassam visa dispute has developed into a free speech versus hate speech debate on the international stage.

A former Muslim who says he “can’t stand Islam” is due to take to the stage to speak at a conservative conference in Sydney next weekend, but the controversial views he wishes to talk about have already sent shockwaves through Australia.

Our politicians have torn shreds off each other in and out of parliament this week after Shadow Home Affairs Minister Kristine Keneally demanded a block on Raheem Kassam’s visa.

Some of the 33-year-old British political activist’s questionable opinions have also drawn criticism from both sides of the house, with finance minister Mathias Cormann blasting an infamous barb at Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon as “disgraceful, highly objectionable and completely outrageous”.

In that particular attack, Mr Kassam suggested on Twitter that Ms Sturgeon’s “mouth and legs should be taped shut so she can’t reproduce” — shortly after she had a miscarriage.

On other occasions, he’s called the Koran “fundamentally evil”, blasted Islam as a “fascistic and totalitarian ideology” and asked his followers whether a prominent UK Labour politician was in the “special needs class” in school.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese piled more criticism on the British firebrand today, labelling his comments “misogynist and disgusting” and urging the immigration minister to cancel his visa.

The debate even caught the eye of Donald Trump’s son, who accused the ALP earlier this week of trying to silence conservative views. “The insanity needs to stop!”, he tweeted.

Mr Kassam was formerly a Muslim and his parents are Tanzanian immigrants.

However, he became inspired by the late socialist writer Christopher Hitchens’ rejection of religious faith and is now an atheist.

He has also written books with alarming titles such as No Go Zones: How Sharia Law Is Coming to a Neighbourhood Near You, which detail why he is so strongly against Muslim immigration.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton — who also appeared on Today — said he fears shutting down controversial views could lead Australia down a slippery path. “I worry in our country, as we are seeing in other democracies at the moment, that views are shouted down either because they are politically incorrect or people don’t agree with them,” Mr Dutton said. “I think allow people in a democracy like ours to have their say, to have a civil debate then make up your own mind.”

Fellow senior Liberal Mathias Cormann agreed, telling Sky News on Friday that Australia didn’t want a reputation as a ban-happy nation. “I was absolutely critical of what (Mr Kassam) was quoted as saying, and I indeed find some of his comments objectionable and unacceptable,” Senator Cormann said. “But I don’t think, as a country committed to freedom of speech, that we want to put ourselves in a position where we ban everyone and anyone on the basis of objectionable and offensive speech.”


Apple Sours on Conservative News
No one has ever accused Apple of being apolitical. And this week, pro-lifers can prove it. Days after giving LifeSiteNews the green light to publish stories on Apple News, the company yanked the group’s channel and all of its content. Why? According to the tech giant, the messages are “intolerant against a certain group.” That’s funny — I thought the real intolerance was arguing that babies shouldn’t be born in the first place!

For LifeSite Editor-in-Chief John-Henry Westen and his team, the whiplash was palpable. First, the organization was approved, giving users a chance to track the site and get customized updates. Then, the rug was unexpectedly pulled out from under them, de-platforming another conservative source with a respectable following. Westen, who’s watched the disturbing shift toward censorship, contacted the company to complain.

“We don’t yet know the reason for Apple’s decision to delete our channel,” he explains. But, “at a time when there is growing evidence that tech juggernauts are engaging in concerted censorship against even mainstream conservative viewpoints, Apple’s decision — made unilaterally and without opportunity to appeal — is frightening.” It ought to go without saying, he argued, “that LifeSite would never promote intolerance or hatred against any group. However, in our current divisive political climate, even mild expressions of common conservative viewpoints are often written off as de facto hatred and intolerance. We certainly hope that this is not what Apple is doing. However, we urge our readers to contact Apple, and to respectfully demand that they reinstate LifeSite’s channel.”

Of course, LifeSite probably drew Apple’s ire for more than its conservative views on abortion. Westen’s writers also haven’t been shy about calling attention to the Left’s dangerous gender ideology and a whole host of other cultural issues that directly affect families. Apple thinks it can marginalize conservatives and get away with it. Let them know how wrong they are! Sign LifeSite’s petition here and ask the popular site to be reinstated. Otherwise, the only intolerance Apple’s showing is its own.


Sunday, August 04, 2019

Florida college To Pay Students For Violating Their Free Speech

The University of Florida (UF) agreed yesterday to pay their Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) student chapter $66,000, and amend their school policy to allow conservative groups to have access to more financial resources.

In December of last year, the UF student YAF chapter filed a lawsuit against the school for allegedly violating students’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

The lawsuit stemmed from the University designating the chapter as a “non-budgeted” organization, meaning they would be forced to petition the school for funding for each event they seek to host. In addition, the policy disqualified them from being able to use student activity fees to go towards a speaker’s attendance fee.

“[The University of Florida] realized when YAF was taking them to court they’re weren’t going to win,” said Spencer Brown, a YAF spokesperson, to the Daily Caller.” It was very smart for them to recognize their policy was flawed the way it was set up, and that the conservative students in the YAF chapter were getting the rough end of the deal by being labeled a non-budget student organization.”

Brown added, “We had the emails and facts on our side; we had the constitution on our side. It just wasn’t worth it for them to try to prove they were doing it for some other reason. There is never any reason for violating the Constitution.”


Freedom of Assembly for conservatives Under Fire

Michelle Malkin

In spring 2017, award-winning journalist and former Hoover Institution media fellow Peter Brimelow and his educational nonprofit VDARE reserved the Cheyenne Mountain Resort for a conference on immigration and sovereignty issues. A local far-left gadfly who bragged about wearing her “pink p—y hat while driving [her] Prius” launched an online petition condemning Brimelow’s organization as a “hate group.”

The petition threatened both the resort and the mayor, bellowing that “the residents of Colorado Springs will not support businesses that profit from hate groups and will not re-elect politicians hospitable to those hate groups!”

What exactly is “hateful” about VDARE’s work? You can visit and read its wide variety of news and opinions yourself. My syndicated column, published in the Colorado Springs Gazette and hundreds of other mainstream newspapers over the past 25 years, is also published by VDARE. So are Ann Coulter’s and Pat Buchanan’s.

VDARE has never advocated violence or any illegal activity. The group counts foreign nationals, immigrants, and members of racial and ethnic minorities among its strongest supporters, donors, and contributors.

In mid-August 2017, obviously spooked by the violent outcome in Charlottesville, Virginia, where “alt right” protesters and violence-provoking Antifa agitators clashed as local police refused to intervene as a result of a disastrous stand-down order, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers issued a chilling statement regarding the planned VDARE conference.

While paying lip service to “freedom of speech,” Suthers rather unsubtly used his executive authority as the city’s top elected official to pressure local businesses against engaging with VDARE, its speakers, and its supporters.

Immediately after the mayor’s ominous decree, the Cheyenne Mountain Resort canceled VDARE’s contract. The liberal heckler’s veto won. The Republican mayor, a purported constitutional conservative, blithely threw the First Amendment under the bus.

VDARE is fighting back against what Brimelow calls the “Totalitarian Left” (and its surrender-ist GOP enablers). Colorado conservative lawyer Randy Corporon, who represents the group in its civil rights lawsuit against the city, told me:

Mayor John Suthers’ statement made clear that Colorado Springs would not provide police protection to VDARE’s lawful gathering in a private facility because of his disagreement with the participants’ views. His statement led Cheyenne Mountain Resort to cancel VDARE’s long-contracted event in spite of significant lost profit and cash damages paid to VDARE by the resort. Meanwhile, violent, disruptive protest groups like Antifa receive police protections as they threaten, injure, and maim.

“I accepted this case,” Corporon said, “in order to expose the hypocrisy and in an effort to determine whether these precious First Amendment rights now only apply to groups and ideas favored by government.”


Friday, August 02, 2019

Is Free Speech On Campus Really 'Doing Just Fine'?

 Tom Lindsay

As a former college professor and university senior administrator, I was saddened to read a recent op-ed by Columbia University's president, Lee Bollinger. Titled, “Free Speech on Campus Is Doing Just Fine, Thank You,” the immediate object of Bollinger’s ire is President Trump’s March Executive Order, which threatens universities that fail to uphold the First Amendment with the loss of federal research dollars. Bollinger labels this a “transparent exercise in politics,” one which ignores the fact that today’s schools are friendlier to “open debate than the nation as a whole.” Moreover, “fierce arguments” over “acceptable speech” have occurred often over the past century and have “also been indispensable to building a society that embraces the First Amendment.” These “exchanges over the boundaries of campus speech should . . . be welcomed rather than reviled.”

Before proceeding to examine his case, note that no one is “reviling” “exchanges” over acceptable speech—so long as those exchanges are verbal, not physical. Lawful, verbal exchanges are precisely what the First Amendment makes possible. But Bollinger here seems to conflate opposition to free speech with protected free speech. Of course, the very same First Amendment that makes possible free speech makes it possible to criticize both the concept of free speech and to protest and/or speak against others’ views. But we violate the First Amendment when we prevent others from speaking or listening at an authorized event. This is what is reviling.

But such concern over campus intolerance is overblown, writes Bollinger. He cites a 2016 Knight Foundation survey, which found that “78 percent of college students reported they favor an open learning environment that includes offensive views,” whereas the U.S. adult population tallies only 66 percent in support of such “uninhibited discourse.”

This is a fair point and it is good news for campus free speech—or, it would be good news, if Knight had stopped its surveys in 2016. But it didn’t. Bollinger does not cite Knight’s latest study of student attitudes toward campus free speech. Had he done so, his essay would perhaps have been less dismissive of the Executive Order. (As of this date, Bollinger's office has not replied to my request for a comment.)

Knight’s 2019 survey is troubling, not only to me, but also—given his reliance on the 2016 survey—to Bollinger’s thesis that “free speech on campus is doing just fine.” This year’s Knight survey found that, by a more than two to one margin (68% to 31%) college students “largely agree” that the campus climate today prevents some students from being able truly to speak their minds for fear of offending someone.

Equally alarmingly, a majority of students now believe that it is sometimes acceptable to shout down speakers or prevent them from speaking. Worse, the numbers of students harboring this intolerant attitude are growing. In just one year (December 2017 to December 2018), the proportion of students who now deem it sometimes or always acceptable to shout down speakers grew from 37% to 51%. Moreover, the percentage who answered that it is never acceptable dropped 14 percentage points to 48%.

In sum, only a minority of students today believe in the First Amendment.

Bollinger also cites another national study, this time from the nonpartisan campus free-speech watchdog, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Bollinger writes, “According to FIRE . . . only 11 speakers were disinvited from addressing college audiences in 2018. This is a minuscule fraction of the universe of speakers who express their views annually on American campuses.”

But Bollinger also neglects FIRE’s latest assessment of campus free speech, titled “Speaker shout-down support gets double-digit boost in one year.” The FIRE study chronicles a “particularly notable uptick in campus shout-downs and calls for disinvitation.” FIRE finds that, as of this June, “14 speakers have been disinvited and an additional nine have been threatened with disinvitation.” It adds that “this year’s combined 23 cases is higher than 2018’s total of 16 — and we’re not even halfway through the year.”

It gets worse: FIRE’s latest report also finds that “16% of students believe it is at least ‘sometimes acceptable’ to use violence to stop a speech, a six-point increase from 2017.”

These most-recent studies leave me hard-pressed to agree that free speech on campus is doing just fine.

To his credit, Bollinger next argues that, because he views even one disinvitation as “one too many,” he “will personally introduce controversial figures who were rejected elsewhere.” Good for him, and good for Columbia’s students!

However, he next opines that student “concern and discomfort about speech that is hateful, racist, or noxious in other ways” is “nothing unreasonable or historically unprecedented.” After all, he tells us, “a number of other democracies take a less absolute view on this topic—yet remain democracies.”  His claim is problematic on two grounds: First, no one is objecting to student “concern and discomfort” over hateful or racist speech. We are all concerned over that. But neither concern nor discomfort entitles us to abridge the speech rights of others.

Second, other, less-free-speech-protecting democracies “remain democracies” because democracy means only that the majority rules. But the whole purpose of the First Amendment is to prevent overbearing majorities from depriving minority viewpoints of their chance to speak and be heard. As Jefferson put it, majority rule, to be “rightful,” must also be “reasonable.” Therefore, noting that “other democracies” lack our robust protection of free speech proves little.


Must not speak simple truths if you are rich

Colourful British billionaire Sir Richard Branson has unleashed a Twitter storm by sensationally claiming money doesn’t buy happiness.

The Virgin founder — who has a staggering estimated net worth of $US4.1 billion ($A5.9 billion) — took to the social media platform yesterday to post a sweet photo of himself with wife Joan Templeman.

It was accompanied by the caption: “I truly believe that ‘stuff’ really does not bring happiness. Family, friends, good health and the satisfaction that comes from making a positive difference are what really matters.”

It immediately sparked an avalanche of criticism, with countless Twitter users accusing the father-of-three of being a “hypocrite” and wildly out of touch — especially considering he is the 34th richest person in the UK, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.

In fact, the 69-year-old is so wealthy he owns his own 299,467sq m island, a private jet, a yacht and a string of luxury properties around the globe.

However, it is also worth noting that the eccentric mogul — who made his first million in his early 20s — is known for his generosity and philanthropy.

He is a member of the Giving Pledge, a commitment by the world’s wealthiest people to dedicate most of their wealth to giving back to the world.

He’s also promised to give away $3 billion over 10 years to help the fight against global warming, and spends the majority of his time working on Virgin Unite, his company’s charity sector which supports a number of causes and non-profits.


Thursday, August 01, 2019

Rashida Tlaib Spouts Politically Correct Anti-Semitism for the 21st Century

In generations past, anti-Semites accused Jews of slaughtering gentile children and using the blood as an ingredient in their matzos.

Most of the public is no longer duped into believing such literal blood libel, and contemporary anti-Semites instead direct accusations of treachery, greed, and trickery against the democratically elected government of Israel, rather than against Jewish individuals.

They call it “anti-Zionism.” In reality, it’s just the modern manifestation of anti-Semitism.

Today’s anti-Semitism portrays Israel as the villain despite the Jewish state’s perpetual struggle to defend itself against attacks from terrorists so full of hate they’re willing to strap bombs on their own children in order to inflict grief and loss on their Jewish neighbors.

Unable to succeed in the eradication of the Jewish nation militarily, today’s anti-Semites seek to delegitimize Israel through the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.

Here in the United States, Students for Justice in Palestine is one of most vocal proponents of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. A number of leaders of the student group’s parent organization—American Muslims for Palestine—were involved with the Holy Land Foundation, an entity convicted of funneling millions of dollars to Hamas, according to the report.

Now, a congresswoman from the heart of the United States, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., is carrying the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions banner, decrying the “racist policies of the government and state of Israel.”

As I wrote previously here, in reality, Israel is the Middle East’s only true democracy, one in which minority rights are protected. The right to vote, access to public health care, public education, freedom of speech, and protection of legal rights are enjoyed by all citizens, regardless of race and irrespective of religion.

As testament to this, 12 Arabs serve in the 120-member Knesset, Israel’s parliament. Arabs also make up a growing proportion—more than 16%—of undergraduate students. In fact, the number of Arab university students soared more than 78% in just seven years.

Additionally, many Arabs serve in the Israeli Defense Forces.

The Israeli government also protects the freedom of religion. Across Jerusalem—the capital of Israel—Muslims, Christians, and Jews (and others) are free to practice their faith. Mosques, churches, and synagogues operate within yards of each other. From the Western Wall bordering the holiest site of the Jewish faith, the Muslim call to prayer can be heard throughout the day.

Tlaib says that boycotting Israel is akin to boycotting the Nazi regime. She has it backward, in classic Orwellian fashion. Leading up to the Holocaust, Nazi Germany boycotted, divested, and sanctioned Jewish businesses. Some 75 years later, relatively few Jews remain in Germany.

The First Amendment of our Constitution guarantees the right to engage even in hateful speech. But civil society has an obligation to condemn and expose such speech, even—perhaps especially—if it’s emanating from a member of Congress.

The nearly unanimous act of Congress on July 23 on a vote of 398 to 17 condemning the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement was a much-needed display of moral clarity.


Concerns About Free Speech are not getting anywhere

If any conservatives still had any doubts about Big Tech’s intentional censorship of conservative voices, recent events should serve as sufficient proof.

First, Project Veritas posted interviews with whistleblowers from Pinterest and Google revealing that these companies deliberately discouraged conservative content, with the hopes of opposing President Trump and fostering a leftist agenda. As a matter of course, YouTube and Vimeo have blocked access to these interviews and have done their best to bury this story.

Next, the knitting site Ravelry announced that it would ban pro-Trump messages and users from their site, citing their position as the equivalent of “white supremacy.” Other sites and businesses have supported Ravelry and may impose their political agenda and discriminate against Trump-voters—if Ravelry can get away with it, why not?

Then, Reddit decided to quarantine r/The_Donald, the largest online forum for Trump supporters. This means Reddit users cannot search the forum nor see it listed on the front page and must accept a warning statement to access the site. Additionally, users have to log in on their desktops before getting mobile access. These restrictions obviously mean to limit the reach of the online community, discourage activity and spreading information, and lay the groundwork for permanent banning.

Most recently, Google shut down Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s advertising account after the campaign showed an uptick in spending right after the first primary debate. In response, Gabbard is suing the company for $50 million in damages.

These are just the most recent political moves of large social media companies. Until conservatives (and less-favored progressives) respond to this with some degree of seriousness, more will certainly follow.

What a Serious Response Would Look Like
What would a serious response look like? First, politicians would legally protect free speech and prohibit social media platforms from arbitrarily censoring content. Second, people need alternative platforms that actually allow for free speech and equal access to users.

As it so happens, both actions have been proposed, but have gone nowhere. In the first case, Sen. Josh Hawley proposed a bill, “Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act,” that would treat large social media platforms like publishers if they start manipulating content.

Republican politicians have either criticized the bill for attempting to regulate private companies’ practices or have put the matter off. As for Democrats, they have no real reason for supporting the bill, since they mostly stand to benefit from Big Tech censorship.

In the second case, a few web developers—like Parler, Trump Town, and Voat (alternatives for Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit, respectively)—have created platforms to better accommodate conservative speech. However, these sites remain relatively small and haven’t attracted famous personalities with large followings. To make matters worse, users with more extreme views, having been banned from the bigger platforms, often flock to these sites and quickly turn them into cyber-ghettos.


Wednesday, July 31, 2019

UK: Atheist parents take primary school to court as they say assembly prayers  breach children’s human rights

Atheist parents are taking their children's primary school to the High Court, claiming that biblical re-enactments and praying in assembly are a breach of their human rights. 

Lee Harris and his wife Lizanne have won permission to bring a judicial review against Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust (ODST) after arguing that Burford Primary School is acting “unlawfully”.

They allege that since ODST took over the running of the community school in 2015, they noticed “harmful aspects of evangelism spreading into assembly” and other parts of their pupils' education.

In the first case of its kind, the parents are arguing that this interferes with their children's right to receive an education “free from religious interference”.

ODST is a multi-academy trust that runs 33 schools, all of which are Church of England bar four, including  Burford Primary, which are designated as non-religious “community schools”. 

The trust says on its website that it “operates within the family of the Diocese of Oxford” adding: “We are motivated by our Christian values to serve our local communities, but we do not impose those values”.

Humanists UK, which is supporting Mr and Mrs Harris, believe this will be a test case to challenge schools which hold a daily act of Christian worship without providing a suitable alternative for non-Christians.

All church and community schools are required, by law, to provide a “daily act of collective worship”. Burford Primary holds a daily assembly for children which features “exclusively Christian prayer”, Mr and Mrs Harris say.

Anne Davey, chief executive of ODST, said it is “not appropriate” to comment on legal proceedings while the case is ongoing. 

“ODST is confident that Burford Primary School has acted entirely appropriately, and has followed statute in ways that are similar to all local or indeed national schools,” she said. 

“It has provided exactly what the law requires, which includes provision for children to be withdrawn if parents so request.” 

Burford Primary was judged to be “Good” in its most recent Ofsted report. Inspectors  said that pupils “speak with confidence about different faiths and cultures”, and added that pupils “have a keen sense of equalities and their work demonstrates a deep understanding of British Values”.


Missouri law says fake meat should be labeled. How is that a free speech issue?

Will meat by any other name still appeal to consumers? A battle over whether fake meat must be labeled as such for consumers’ sake is intensifying, and a Missouri law sits squarely at the heart of the debate.

Last year, the state became the first in the nation to make it a criminal offense for businesses to misrepresent as meat a product that is not derived from livestock or poultry.

The law aims to limit confusion as consumers navigate grocery store aisles filled with a growing number of plant-based products and other meat alternatives that look a whole lot like traditional burgers, hot dogs, turkey and more. Violators face up to a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail.

Tofurky, a vegetarian food company, advocacy group Good Food Institute, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri have filed suit, arguing that the First Amendment allows companies to label products as they see fit.

Free speech is not a license to mislead consumers. Missouri’s truth-in-advertising laws exists for a reason. If food is plant-based, companies should label it accordingly. No one should be left wondering what they’re consuming.

After months of negotiations, a settlement in the case appeared to be within reach earlier this year. Those talks stalled this month when attorneys from both sides told U.S. District Senior Judge Fernando Gaitan that they were unable to reach a final agreement.

The plaintiffs, citing a right to compete in the free market, had previously asked Gaitan to deem the law unconstitutional.

The impasse sets the stage for a lengthy legal fight, one that could have ramifications nationwide. Several states have followed Missouri’s lead in regulating packaging for meat alternatives


Tuesday, July 30, 2019

A red state is plastering `In God We Trust' on the walls of public schools. It's mandatory

It is difficult to see how anybody is hurt by signage

South Dakota's Republican lawmakers said it was about history - the motto appears on money, on license plates, and in the fourth stanza of the Star-Spangled Banner. It's also likely discussed in the classroom, where historical inquiry is a key part of the state's social studies curriculum.

But legislators said they wanted to make it more clear; they wanted to ``reaffirm'' it. So this fall, when students return to school, a new and compulsory message will greet them: ``In God We Trust.'' It'll be the first new academic year since South Dakota's GOP leadership passed a law requiring every public school to display the American maxim ``in a prominent location'' and in font no smaller than 12-by-12 inches.

``Our national motto and founding documents are the cornerstone of freedom and we should teach our children about these things,'' Senator Phil Jensen, the controversial Rapid City politician who sponsored the bill, said at a hearing on the legislation.

South Dakota joins a growing list of states that force their schools to display the motto. At least half a dozen states passed ``In God We Trust'' bills last year, and another 10 have introduced or passed the legislation so far in 2019. Similar signage is going up in Kentucky schools this summer, and Missouri could be next.


Scholars for free speech: A manifesto

How should the discipline of philosophy respond to current discussions of sex and gender identity?

Recent conversations among academic philosophers have given traction to proposals to censure or silence colleagues who advocate certain positions in these discussions, such as skepticism about the concept of gender identity or opposition to replacing biological sex with gender identity in institutional policy making. Those who support such sanctioning have appealed to various considerations, among them the contention that these positions call into question the identities of trans people, thereby making our discipline less open and welcoming to all.

We, all scholars in philosophy at universities in Europe, North America and Australia, oppose such sanctioning. The proposed measures, such as censuring philosophers who defend these controversial positions or preventing those positions from being advanced at professional conferences and in scholarly journals, violate the fundamental academic commitment to free inquiry. Moreover, the consequent narrowing of discussion would set a dangerous precedent, threatening the ability of philosophers to engage with the issues of the day.

We acknowledge that philosophical arguments can lead to pain, anxiety and frustration when they challenge deeply held commitments -- whether pertaining to gender identity, religious conviction, political ideology or the rights and moral status of fetuses or nonhuman animals. Moreover, some of us believe that certain extreme conditions can warrant restrictions of academic speech, such as when it expresses false and hateful attitudes or incites violence or harassment.

Yet none of the arguments recently made by our colleagues can reasonably be regarded as incitement or hate speech. Policy makers and citizens are currently confronting such metaphysical questions about sex and gender as What is a man? What is a lesbian? What makes someone female? Society at large is deliberating over the resolution of conflicting interests in contexts as varied as competitive sport, changing rooms, workplaces and prisons. These discussions are of great importance, and philosophers can make an essential contribution to them, in part through academic debate. Philosophers who engage in this debate should wish for it to be pursued through rational dialogue, and should refuse to accept narrow constraints on the range of views receiving serious consideration.

Academic freedom, like freedom of thought more broadly, should be restricted only with the greatest caution, if ever. While the respect due to all people -- regardless of sex, gender, race, class, religion, professional status and so on -- should never be compromised, we believe that contemporary disputes over sex and gender force no hard choice between these commitments.


We affirm the right of transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals to live free of harassment and abuse, and we welcome them enthusiastically as fellow participants in the profession of philosophy.

We reject calls for censuring or deplatforming any of our colleagues on the basis of their philosophical arguments about sex and gender identity, or their social and political advocacy for sex-based rights.

We condemn the too frequently cruel and abusive rhetoric, including accusations of hatred or transphobia, directed at these philosophers in response to their arguments and advocacy.

We urge that the philosophical discussion of sex, gender and related social and political issues be carried out in a collegial and mutually respectful manner, reflecting the full range of interests at stake and presuming the good faith of all parties.

It is only on these grounds that philosophy can continue to play its essential role in society as a discipline in which sensitive and controversial issues are investigated with patience, care and insight.

José Luis Bermudez, Texas A&M University

Clare Chambers, University of Cambridge

Cordelia Fine, University of Melbourne

Edward J. Hall, Harvard University

Benj Hellie, University of Toronto

Thomas Kelly, Princeton University

Jeff McMahan, University of Oxford

Francesca Minerva, University of Ghent

John Schwenkler, Florida State University

Peter Singer, Princeton University and University of Melbourne

Nicole A. Vincent, University of Technology Sydney

Jessica Wilson, University of Toronto


Monday, July 29, 2019

When just standing is wrong

Three students at the University of Mississippi were suspended by their fraternity on Wednesday after an Instagram photo surfaced of them brandishing guns in front of a bullet-riddled memorial sign for Emmett Till, whose brutal murder in 1955 served as a catalyst for the civil rights movement.

The photo of the smiling Kappa Alpha members was the subject of a bias complaint filed with the university in March, according to Rod Guajardo, a spokesman for the university. He said he did not have a copy of the complaint and was unsure if it was a public record.

Guajardo said in an email on Thursday that the photo was referred to campus police and the FBI, which declined to investigate the matter further because it did not pose a specific threat. The university said it took no disciplinary action because the students did not violate the school's code of conduct.

But the school's chapter of Kappa Alpha, which the three students are members of, said in a statement on Thursday that it took swift action after it learned of the photo.