Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Visa blacklist hits free speech website

Andrew Torba

As many of you already know we learned last week that Visa blacklisted Gab and we are now unable to process credit and debit card transactions. We learned more information this week and I think it’s important that I share it as a warning for others.

It’s not just Gab that is blacklisted. It’s also my family.

In China there is something called the Social Credit System, which was developed by the Communist Chinese Party as a “national reputation system.” This system tracks the “trustworthiness” of individuals, businesses, and organizations. “Trustworthiness” here means total and complete submission to the Chinese Communist Party. If the Communist Party deems you to be untrustworthy, you are denied access to plane tickets, train tickets, opening and operating businesses, and more.

To most Americans this sounds horrifying, and it is. I now know from first-hand experience because this social credit system exists in the United States. While it may not be sanctioned by the United States government, it most certainly has been deployed by US corporations who today have in many ways more power, data, and control over our lives than our government does. Many of these corporations also happen to be endorsing and raising money for communist organizations, revolutionaries, and the domestic terrorists burning down our cities.

We were told this week that not only is Gab blacklisted by Visa as a business, but my personal name, phone number, address, and more are all also blacklisted by Visa. If I wanted to leave Gab tomorrow (something that isn’t going to happen) and start a lemonade stand I wouldn’t be able to obtain merchant processing for it.

Simply because my name is Andrew Torba.

If my wife wants to start a business she won’t be able to obtain merchant processing because she lives at the same address as me and would be flagged by Visa.

This is obviously very concerning. We have done nothing wrong. Gab is and always has been a legally operated business. We sell hats, shirts, and a software subscription service that unlocks new features on Gab. My personal credit score is in the 800’s. I pay my bills. I have a wife and daughter to provide for, yet we are all being punished and defamed because someone at Visa has it out for me.

We were told that Visa has someone camping on our website watching our payment processing. As soon as we get a new processor up they find out who it is on their end and contact them. They tell the processor that Gab is flagged for “illegal activity” and if they do not stop processing payments for us they will be heavily fined.

When the processor inquires about this alleged “illegal activity,” Visa tells them that Gab has been flagged for “hate speech.” “Hate speech,” is of course not illegal in the United States of America and is protected by the First Amendment. As I have written, it’s not real and I refuse to acknowledge it as term. Visa doesn’t agree with me.

The reason I share all of this is that I hope it serves as a wakeup call and as a warning.

If they can do this to me, they can do it to you and they likely will.

Email from Gab News: GabNews@mailer.gab.com

Censorship by billionaires, applauded by the left
The Facebook boycott shows that the prospects for online freedom are bleak

Interesting to see how long this pic stays up

Multi-billion-dollar companies are demanding that other multi-billion-dollar companies censor what we can say and read online, and liberals and left-wingers are applauding. If you want an insight into how deranged and unprincipled supposed progressives have become, it doesn’t get much clearer than this.

This of course is the Facebook boycott, the decision of more than 300 advertisers, including corporate giants Unilever, Coca-Cola and Pfizer, to pause their advertising with the social-media giant until it does more to moderate content and, in particular, censor ‘hate speech’.

That so many people can’t see this for what it is – the mega rich demanding limits on what we all can read and say online – is remarkable. A headline on Axios refers to the boycott, with a straight face, as a ‘bottom-up revolution’, while also noting that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are involved behind the scenes. Because, as we know, all the best ‘bottom-up revolutions’ are launched by billionaires and literal royals.

That this was primarily sparked by two posts by Donald Trump is even more ridiculous. On 26 May, Trump posted about mail-in ballots in California, spreading baseless doubts about voter fraud in the state. A few days later, on 29 May, he posted ‘when the looting starts, the shooting starts’ in response to the riots breaking out across the US following the death of George Floyd, urging tougher action by the authorities.

Twitter decided to flag the posts, fact-checking the former and posting a warning label over the latter. But Facebook decided to leave the posts up, without any additional flags or labels – arguing, quite reasonably, that social-media companies should not be meddling in how elected politicians speak to the public.

This was met with fury among advertisers and even Facebook’s staff – who staged a ‘virtual walkout’ last month in protest against this refusal to take action on Trump’s ‘hateful rhetoric’.

That these people seem to think it is justifiable, or frankly even practical, to cancel a democratically elected president speaks to their remarkable moral arrogance. Facebook has now said it will effectively bring its policies on public figures who break the rules in line with those of Twitter – ie, leaving offending posts up, given they are in the public interest, but flagging them appropriately. But critics who had previously cheered Twitter’s response immediately said the changes ‘didn’t go far enough’. Perhaps they won’t be happy until Trump is handed a permanent ban.

Regardless of what one thinks of Trump, this really isn’t about him. Free speech is as much about the right of people to listen and decide for themselves as it is about the right of speakers to say whatever they want. Censorship is always motored more by fear of a supposedly gullible public than it is of a supposedly incendiary speaker. This was certainly clear from comments made by Rashad Robinson, of the organisation Color of Change, who criticised Facebook’s supposedly meagre rule change, saying that allowing the public to ‘judge for themselves’ whether a post by a public figure is false or hateful simply ‘won’t cut it’.

That, amid all this, Facebook has been painted as hopelessly laissez-faire suggests online freedom is in real trouble. Because Facebook is hardly some bastion of free-speech fundamentalism.


Monday, July 06, 2020

Walmart yanks “All Lives Matter” merchandise from its website

“Walmart is no longer selling ‘All Lives Matter’ clothing on its website after coming under fire for the merchandise, which references the Black Lives Matter movement and mantra.

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer has removed those items sold by its third-party Marketplace vendors ‘indefinitely’ after some associates and customers raised concerns. ‘We fundamentally believe all lives do matter and every individual deserves respect,’ the company said in a written statement.

‘However, as we listened, we came to understand that the way some, but not all, people are using the phrase ‘All Lives Matter’ in the current environment intentionally minimized the focus on the painful reality of racial inequity.'”


California’s Governor Forbids Christians From Singing in Church Houses

Golden State Christians have been ordered by California's governor to stop singing in church. This is a direct assault on the First Amendment, as I warned folks about in my new book, "Culture Jihad: How to Stop the Left From Killing a Nation."

"Californians are still free to attend their house of worship. But they’re forbidden from singing or chanting," read the lead paragraph in a story published by the Sacramento Bee.

The new guidance for places of worship was issued on July 1.

"Discontinue singing (in rehearsals, services, etc.), chanting, and other practices and performances where there is increased likelihood for transmission from contaminated exhaled droplets. Consider practicing these activities through alternative methods (such as internet streaming) that ensure individual congregation members perform these activities separately in their own homes," the 14-page order reads.

The previous guidelines only encouraged churches to "strongly consider" ending corporate worship, the Sacramento Bee reported.

The governor's office did not indicate how he intends to enforce the law. Can you imagine the optics of National Guard troops storming into California church houses and arresting choir members for singing, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God"?

Dr. Paul Chappell, the pastor of Lancaster Baptist Church, a mega-church north of Los Angeles, told The Todd Starnes Show that his congregation plans on singing even louder.

"First the state told us when to worship. Now they are telling us "how" to worship," he said. "We have been patient, and safe (even wearing masks). Our church will sing to the Lord Sunday. The heavens declare His glory and so will we."

It really is the only proper pastoral response to such an unconstitutional edict.


Sunday, July 05, 2020

Israel Orders Evangelical GOD TV Off Air

“Israel’s media watchdog said Sunday that it had withdrawn the broadcast licence from US-based evangelical network GOD TV, accusing it of seeking to target Jews with Christian content.

International Christian network’s GOD TV launched its Shelanu (Hebrew for ‘ours’) channel at the end of April on Israeli cable provider Hot, describing it as catering to Christians.

But the channel provoked an immediate outcry in Israel, with then-communications minister David Amsalem accusing it of being a ‘missionary channel’ seeking to convert Jews to Christianity.

… Israel enjoys vigorous support from evangelical movements in the United States but keeps a lid on missionary work in the Holy Land. While Israeli law only expressly forbids the giving of money or gifts to encourage conversions to another religion, missionary activities in general are closely monitored by the authorities and are offensive to many Israelis.”


Finland's air force drops swastika emblem after century in use

Until recently the country’s Air Force Command emblem depicted a pair of wings around a swastika, a symbol which pre-dates its associations with Nazism.

The change was first observed by Teivo Teivainen, a politics professor at the University of Helsinki, who argued its negative associations made the swastika's ongoing use politically fraught.

Professor Teivainen, who has written widely on the issue, said using the swastika could cause difficulties for the Nato country, particularly if worn on the uniforms of deployed personnel.

“I have not found many reasonable arguments to support its military usefulness,” Mr Teivainen wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

The symbol’s association with Finland’s air force dates to its founding in 1918, when Swedish count Eric von Rosen donated a plane painted with swastikas to the newly independent country.

The German Nazi Party adopted the swastika as its logo in 1920.

Finland removed the swastika from its aircraft following a postwar armistice with the Soviet Union, but until recently the symbol remained on Air Force Command emblems and some flags and decorations.

A spokesman for Finland’s air force told the BBC, "as unit emblems are worn on uniform, it was considered impractical and unnecessary to continue using the old unit emblem, which had caused misunderstandings from time to time."

The current emblem of the air force is a circle of wings around a golden eagle, another symbol used by the force since 1945.

Professor Teivainen has coined a phrase in Finnish to explain how the use of a swastika could be problematic despite its innocent origin. Roughly translated, "visuaalinen natsahtavuusaste" means "how much something exhibits visual cues that are associated with Nazis".

“This is not a question about manipulating historical records by removing controversial symbols such as the swastika from museums or history books,” he wrote in 2016.

“This is about the way the Republic of Finland wants to present its armed forces today.


Friday, July 03, 2020

Sky News cuts off ex-Met Police chief after he says officers have 'given up' trying to stop young black men carrying weapons and accuses BLM of aiming to destabilise society

Sky News has been accused of shutting down a former Scotland Yard chief for claiming Black Lives Matter is deliberately stirring up a false anti-police narrative.

Ex-chief superintendent Kevin Hurley claimed senior figures in the movement were waging a 'misinformation' campaign to 'destabilise and disrupt' society.

He also suggested the ugly clashes in Brixton on Wednesday night were products of Afro-Caribbean single parenting and said constables had 'given up' enforcing the law on young black Britons for fear of jeopardising their careers.

Anchor Adam Boulton challenged Mr Hurley and suggested it was unhelpful to view the violence through the prism of race - before later cutting him off entirely when the former top brass was in full flow.

The abrupt end to the interview sparked accusations online that Sky News did not want to air 'uncomfortable' opinions, but this has been vehemently denied by Boulton who insisted he was constricted by rigid time slots.

Reacting to the violence in Brixton, Mr Hurley, who also served as Surrey's Police and Crime Commissioner, said yesterday: 'The only way you're going to deal with this is with social intervention to get upstream and manage the problems that comes with single parenting, particularly among young African-Caribbean women.

'And I'm talking about intervening and supporting women when the children are three to four years of age, to prevent them going down this route of rebelliousness and often offending.'

He added: 'We've got into a vicious circle with police officers dealing with young black people, who always come to the perspective that the police are trying to suppress them.

'And the police very quickly come to learn that dealing with young black people is quite frankly aggravation that puts their careers and mortgages at risk.

'That's the reason why so many black youth are killing each other in London, because the police have given up trying to stop them carrying knives and guns and killing each other.'

Boulton picked Mr Hurley up on his claims, and retorted: 'Do you think it is really helpful at this time of heightened concern over Black Lives Matter to see this so clearly in racial terms.'

But the ex-police chief swatted away the anchor's critcism and insisted that 'this is not a BAME issue, this is an issue relating to people of West African heritage in terms of the relationship between the police and the public'.

He pressed on: 'There's an awful lot of misinformation going on about police killing black people in custody.

'Last year 16 people died for various reasons in police custody - largely from drug overdoses - of those 16, only one was black.

'Last year the police shot three people dead - only one was black. There is a narrative going on here, I think driven by people within the Black Lives Matter movement who want to destabilise and disrupt society.'

But as he went to start another sentence, Bolton suddenly interjected: 'Ok we're going to have to leave it there, thank you very much indeed,' and the video feed to Mr Hurley was cut off.

The hasty wrapping up of the interview was seized upon by many on Twitter, who hit out at the presenter directly.

But Boulton slapped down his critics and tweeted: 'I didn't (cut him off). But we are subject to automatic cut-offs for ad breaks, half hours, top of the hour and even the weather.

'We aim to give all guests the time to have their say and normally succeed.'

The presenter, who tweets in a personal capacity, also said: 'There have been incidents of bad crowd behaviour by all sorts of people around the UK, not just those singled out by Kevin Hurley.' 

Sky News declined to comment.

Some viewers took to Twitter to voice their outrage at Mr Hurley's comments.

Luke Hubbard, whose profile says he is a PhD student and hate crime researcher, said: 'This is absolute garbage from Kevin Hurley!'


Leftist Wordplay

The "social justice" cultural revolutionaries change the definition of words to confuse and confound.

“We need to have a conversation about… [fill in any myriad of leftist social-justice causes]” is a popular tactic used by today’s “woke” culture that means precisely the opposite of what is suggested. As Power Line’s Steven Hayward puts it, “What ‘we need a conversation’ means in practice is, ‘You shut up and agree with the left.’” Or, in the parlance of “The Princess Bride’s” Inigo Montoya, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

This Orwellian tactic of subtly redefining words and terms is not new, but it has proven highly effective in both confusing people and intentionally conflating issues. It’s the same tactic used by Black Lives Matter. As we have repeatedly noted, if BLM was truly concerned about ending violence against black lives, then why the objection to focusing on the biggest causes of violence and injustice against blacks in America — the disproportionally high crime rate in black neighborhoods (almost entirely perpetrated by other blacks) and abortion (which takes exponentially more black lives than any other single factor)? It’s impossible to take a complaint or grievance seriously when those espousing it don’t actually mean what they’re saying. Once again, the BLM movement is not really about bettering the lives of black Americans but about pushing a neo-Marxist revolution.

Yet another example of this leftist wordplay is the term “inclusion.” This one is especially popular when a school, organization, or business seeks to justify its decision to dismiss or cancel an individual or relationship with someone with the “wrong” opinion. How many times have we seen the self-contradictory statement, “[So and so] was expelled/fired because they failed to uphold our school/company’s commitment to diversity and ‘inclusion’”? Logically, if leftists claim to be committed to “inclusion,” then how could they “exclude” anyone? The simple answer is that in the Left’s lexicon, “inclusion” refers not to a commitment to accept all individuals but rather to promote the exclusive idea that only the Left’s views are just and virtuous.

In the end, the rallying motto for conservatives concerned with upholding principles of truth and consistency in language might be Accurate Definitions Matter. For without a commitment to consistently accurate definitions, there can be no genuine conversations and no hope for unalloyed unity.


Thursday, July 02, 2020

Coronavirus: How Donald Trump created an uproar – and a new slogan for his supporters – with two words

Several days after the President used the term “Kung flu” at a rally in Tulsa, it continues to reverberate with both his supporters and opponents.

“It’s a disease that without question has more names than any disease in history,” Mr Trump said at the rally last Sunday, Australian time.

“I can name Kung Flu, I can name 19 different versions of names. Many call it a virus, which it is. Many call it a flu; what difference?”

His use of the words drew a widespread ongoing backlash as a racist slur against Asian-Americans.

By the time he reached his second rally in Phoenix on Tuesday, Mr Trump’s supporters were chanting the phrase before he had even opened his mouth.

“Kung flu — yeah,” he said on stage, to roars of approval from the young crowd. “Kung flu.”


Reddit Purges 2,000+ Communities Including The_Donald

Reddit has purged some of the most popular communities on the site today after a recent announcement that they will be cracking down on “hate speech.” Over 2,000 communities were purged including the pro-Trump community r/The_Donald and the popular left-wing community r/ChapoTrapHouse.

Last year Reddit took $150m investment from the Communist Chinese, so these bans and the pivot away from freedom should not be a surprise to anyone. Reddit is not only purging thousands of communities from the site, but they are also banning users who “upvote” content that breaks their new “hate speech” rules. Meaning even if you don’t post the content yourself, Reddit will ban you if you engage with it.

“I have to admit that I’ve struggled with balancing my values as an American, and around free speech and free expression, with my values and the company’s values around common human decency,” Reddit CEO Steve Huffman said.

Perhaps all that communist Chinese money made his decision a little easier.

At Gab we saw this purge and wave of censorship coming years ago. Which is why we have been building the market-leading free speech social network that now has millions of users from around the world. We welcome everyone who is getting banned from Reddit–both on the left and the right ideologically– to join Gab.

Gab has a groups feature which is similar to Reddit’s subreddit functionality. Users have already set up a The_Donald group on Gab with 14,000 members. Get on Gab, and speak freely.


Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Zuckerberg caves and says Facebook WILL ban hate speech in its ads and put warning labels on 'harmful' posts by public figures after nearly 100 advertisers boycotted the tech giant

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced new content policies for the platform, including tighter restrictions on advertising and labels for 'harmful' posts from public figures, following an advertising boycott campaign.

Zuckerberg said in a Facebook Live video on Friday that the company would begin labeling 'harmful' content from politicians that remains 'newsworthy'.

Though he did not name President Donald Trump, the policy comes in response to a campaign demanding Facebook impose tighter restrictions on 'misinformation' in the president's campaign ads, and on his inflammatory posts.

Twitter has already slapped warning labels on some of the president's tweets that it deemed abusive or threatening, and unlike Facebook, Twitter banned all political campaign ads.

Zuckerberg slammed the move when Twitter first labeled a Trump tweet, saying it wasn't up to social media companies to be the 'arbiters of truth' - but the Facebook CEO appears to have had a change of heart following the punishing advertiser boycott.

'We will soon start labeling some of the content we leave up because it is deemed newsworthy, so people can know when this is the case,' Zuckerberg said in the livestream.

Zuckerberg said in a Facebook Live video on Friday that the company would begin labeling 'harmful' content from politicians that remains 'newsworthy'

'We'll allow people to share this content to condemn it, just like we do with other problematic content, because this is an important part of how we discuss what's acceptable in our society - but we'll add a prompt to tell people that the content they're sharing may violate our policies,' he continued.

Zuckerberg also announced new policies cracking down on hateful language in ads, as well as guidelines on voting information.

'We already restrict certain types of content in ads that we allow in regular posts, but we want to do more to prohibit the kind of divisive and inflammatory language that has been used to sow discord,' Zuckerberg said.

'So today we're prohibiting a wider category of hateful content in ads. Specifically, we're expanding our ads policy to prohibit claims that people from a specific race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigration status are a threat to the physical safety, health or survival of others,' he said.


"The West Australian" blasted over racist Indigenous cartoon

The term "Aborigine" is NOT offensive.  It is the normal term for Australian blacks and is Latin for "from the beginning" -- so recognizes their priority.

And "Abo" is simply an abbreviation.  Australians are great abbreviators so "Abo" is a normal abbreviation with no offensive intentions

It is however true that some Leftists have recently pushed the Canadian term "First peoples" as an alternstive term.  Ironic that the term Aborigine says the same thing in Latin

And some Aborigines use their tribal name as an identification (Murri", Boori" etc.)  But such names are too specific to be generally useful.  "Boong" appears to have originally been a tribal name but is now a derogatory name for Aborigines generally

The West Australian newspaper is copping backlash after publishing a cartoon that refers to an Indigenous character using an offensive racial slur and compares them to a dog.

The Modesty Blaise comic, published yesterday, shows  characters discussing an Indigenous tracker who is trying to find them.

One character says they are being chased by “four men, all armed ... and an Aborigine” — a term some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people find offensive.

The characters go on to describe the Indigenous character as an “abo tracker”.

“It’s no use hiding, that abo will smell us out quicker than a bloodhound,” a character says in the comic.

The publication is being blasted on social media with many labelling it “disgusting”.

“Just wondering how many people were involved in the chain of decision making, to allow this cartoon to be printed in the @westaustralian newspaper in 2020?” asked radio and television presenter Shelley Ware.

“I’m literally devastated this has been printed and our children have access to this. Honestly wish I was surprised though!!”

Late on Monday evening, The West Australian published an apology to its website stating the cartoon was written in 1981 and was supplied by an outside agency.


Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Cultural Revolution Comes for the National Anthem

First they kneeled for “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Then they toppled a statue of Francis Scott Key. Now they want to purge the anthem entirely. 

A recent Yahoo! News article outlined the ballad's “problematic background” and suggests it be replaced by a song with a “less troubling history and a more inclusive message.”  

Historian and scholar Daniel E. Walker said the calls for revision are about America living up to its creed. 

“I do side with the people who say that we should rethink this as the national anthem, because this is about the deep-seated legacy of slavery and white supremacy in America, where we do things over and over and over again that are a slap in the face of people of color and women,” Walker said in the article. “We do it first because we knew what we were doing and we wanted to be sexist and racist. And now we do it under the guise of ‘legacy.’”

The problem with the anthem, writes reporter Lyndsey Parker, goes back to Key’s “bigoted background.” Key was born to an aristocratic family on a Maryland plantation. He owned several slaves and, as a lawyer, prosecuted both black and white abolitionists. The article also cites Key’s friendship with President Andrew Jackson and brother-in-law Roger Taney, the fifth chief justice of the Supreme Court and author of the majority opinion in the Dred Scott decision, as evidence of racism. 

But others argue that Key publicly spoke out against slavery.

“Key was an early and ardent opponent of slave trafficking,” writes historian Marc Leepson. “By all accounts, Key treated his own slaves humanely, and freed several during his lifetime. What’s more, he had a deserved reputation for providing free legal advice to impoverished free blacks and slaves in Washington.”

There is evidence that Key's contemporaries agreed. When a respected leader in the free African-American community passed away, a long trail of men on horseback followed his casket to the cemetery, all of them African-American except for Key. Even an abolitionist newspaper admitted that Key’s decision to ride with the mourners as a lone white man “evinces an elevation of soul above the meanness of popular prejudice, highly honorable to Mr. Key’s profession as a friend of men of color.” Likewise, the Rev. John T. Brooke, a friend of Key’s, described him as a “true friend to the African race.”

Nonetheless, the woke mob has "cancelled" both Key and the anthem he penned.

It’s not the first time groups have urged the song to be ditched. In 2017, the California chapter of the NAACP urged Congress to remove “The Star-Spangled Banner,” calling it “anti-black” and “wrong.” A year earlier, the New York Times ran a piece with the headline, “Is the National Anthem Racist?” and pointed to lyrics in the anthem’s rarely-sung third stanza which includes the lines, “No refuge could save the hireling and slave/From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.” Key’s words referred to those the British had enslaved aboard their ships and during the war of 1812, both black and white—including freed slaves.

As for a replacement, suggestions include "Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which some consider the “Black national anthem,” and John Lennon’s “Imagine.” One soccer club in Tulsa, Oklahoma announced they will play Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” before games instead of the national anthem.

As the movement gains momentum, it remains to be seen whether Key’s words will yet be sung in the land of the free and the home of the brave.


When scientific truth is racist

The MOST unwelcome truth that riots REDUCE support for the Donks

A perfectly sholarly article was attacked because its conclusions were inconvenient. Must not criticize rioters.  To do so is "racist"

A man actually lost his job for  pointing out reality

David Shor is a 28-year-old political data analyst and social democrat who worked for President Obama’s reelection campaign. On May 28, Shor tweeted out a short summary of a paper by Princeton professor Omar Wasow. The research compiled by Wasow analyzed public opinion in the 1960s, and found violent and nonviolent protest tactics had contradictory effects. Shor’s synopsis was straightforward:

It is easy to see why a specialist in public opinion whose professional mission is to help elect Democrats while moving the party leftward would take an interest in this research. But in certain quarters of the left — though not among Democratic elected officials — criticizing violent protest tactics is considered improper on the grounds that it distracts from deeper underlying injustice, and shifts the blame from police and other malefactors onto their victims.

One universal fact of political life is that people tend not to enjoy highlighting faults committed by their own side, and often respond to others bringing up behavior they don’t want to defend outright by deflecting blame. Conservatives are united less by a zeal to affirm every one of Donald Trump’s actions than a reluctance to denounce them. Likewise, while few leftists go so far as to explicitly advocate violent or destructive acts, refraining from criticism of violent protests is, among parts of the far left, almost a social norm.

And so, despite its superficially innocuous content, Shor’s tweet generated a sharp response. To take one public example, Ari Trujillo Wesler, the founder of OpenField, a Democratic canvassing app, replied, “This take is tone deaf, removes responsibility for depressed turnout from the 68 Party, and reeks of anti-blackness.” Shor replied politely:

"The mechanism for the paper isn’t turnout, it’s violence driving news coverage that makes people vote for Republicans. The author does a great job explaining his research here:

https://twitter.com/owasow/status/1265709670892580869?s=21 "

Trujillo Wesler repeated the accusation of racism (“YOU need to stop using your anxiety and ‘intellect’ as a vehicle for anti-blackness”), and then tagged Dan Wager, the CEO of Civis Analytics, the firm employing Shor, “Come get your boy.”

At least some employees and clients on Civis Analytics complained that Shor’s tweet threatened their safety. The next day, Shor apologized for tweeting Omar’s paper:

Civis Analytics undertook a review of the episode. A few days later, Shor was fired. Shor told me he has a nondisclosure agreement preventing him from discussing the episode. A spokesperson for Civis Analytics told me over email, “Out of respect for our employees and alumni, Civis does not publicly discuss personnel matters, and we don’t plan to comment further.”

Over the weekend, “Progressphiles,” a progressive data listserv, announced it was kicking Shor out, according to another member of the group. Shor, who did not respond to comment, has been a member of the group but has not posted there in two years. The entire reason for his removal is the controversy over his “racist” tweet:


Monday, June 29, 2020

White supremacist, the new meaningless term of abuse

Below is just one example of a term that is now flung about widely by the Left. Overuse has deprived "racist" of much of its force so now all conservatives from Trump down are alleged to be "white supremacists"

 I have myself been called a white supremacist for no obvious reason.  I have always said that I think China will be -- at least economically -- supreme by the end of this century so that is a pretty odd idea for a white supremacist.  Many of my descendants will be frantically learning to speak Mandarin, I think.  Or maybe Cantonese.

The whole idea is pretty incoherent to start with.   There are a lot of whites in humble occupations.  Are they supreme? To group all whites together under one heading is a great overgeneralization.  It is in fact a Leftist habit to lump lots of people together into such broad categories. They are incapable of dealing with individuals. So "white supremacist" is really a Leftist concept. White supremacists mainly exist in Leftist imaginations. Conservatives are more interested in the individual

There are no doubt some people who believe that whites are superior to all other groups but that too is incoherent.  Superior in what way?  Superior at sprinting?  Hardly. Superior in IQ?  Jews and the Chinese have better claims there. If you are to use "white supremacist" as a term, you surely have to ask "In what respect"?  The term says nothing unless it is expanded

Emancipation Memorial Paid For by Former Slaves Is...White Supremacy

I mean for those who thought this was just about Confederate statues, I don’t know what to tell you. It was never about that—anyone could see this from miles away. The Left will bait the wider public with a carrot, like slamming Confederates because it’s not like they’re attacking the Founding Fathers, and then take a hard turn to…tearing down statues to the Founding Fathers. Right now, the lefty mob, which has marched unopposed for days, vowed to tear down the Emancipation Memorial in Lincoln Park because it’s racist. It’s a statue of Abraham Lincoln, our greatest president, with a freed slave. It was commissioned by former slaves. How is this racist? I’m not kidding. We have one Ph.D. student wrote in The Washington Post that the monument of the president who spearheaded the 13th Amendment, which forever abolished slavery, is white supremacy:

In the District of Columbia, there is no shortage of commemoration for Lincoln. There is perhaps no person (with the exception of George Washington) in the United States who has more memorials, buildings, roads, towns and counties named in his or her honor.

Of the major commemorative markers to Lincoln in D.C., the most troubling is the Emancipation Memorial (also known as the Freedmen’s Memorial Monument to Abraham Lincoln), which sits in Lincoln Park, steps away from the U.S. Capitol. The statue features a standing Abraham Lincoln with the Emancipation Proclamation in his hand over a kneeling newly freed African American man. But this monument has been the subject of some controversy since its unveiling in 1876 because of who originated the idea of the monument, who paid for it and who ultimately designed what it would look like.

The monument was paid for almost exclusively by formerly enslaved people, who from 1865 onward raised more than $16,000 for the building of the statue. According to the story told and retold in newspapers at the time, on the day after Lincoln’s assassination, Charlotte Scott, a formerly enslaved black woman living in Marietta, Ohio, gave her first earnings as a free woman to build a monument to Lincoln. From there, more donations grew and then became a national movement when the Western Sanitary Commission, the wartime relief agency, took control and publicized the idea of for a monument from the freedmen in honor of Lincoln. A New Orleans Tribune article from Aug. 10, 1865, proclaimed: “On the spot where Freedom’s ‘best defender fell,’ let his name and the cause for which he died be most highly honored.”

The men and women who raised the money, however, did not choose the design of the monument.


On the day of the dedication, Frederick Douglass, the African American civil rights advocate, gave a speech where he spoke of his ambivalence of a statue that solely praised Lincoln, and in an offhand remark said that the statue “showed the Negro on his knee when a more manly attitude would have been indicative of freedom.”

The statue fed a narrative that men like Lincoln led emancipation, rather than showing how the struggle for freedom was driven by the millions of African Americans who fought for their liberation from the institution of slavery.


While this doesn’t mean that we need to tear down the Emancipation Memorial, it does require that we recontextualize it to ensure that it gives voice to those who have been left out and acknowledges the very people who paid for it in the beginning.

Okay, well, at least there’s no call for it to be destroyed or so it seems. Former slaves paid for it, Frederick Douglass was there to dedicate it, and somehow, it’s white supremacy because it’s too focused on, I don’t know, the man who was president during our nation’s more dire and destructive crisis. Nuance cannot be afforded. It has to be what the woke crowd deems suitable now and retroactively applied…to late 19th Century America. That’s not how this works, but that’s also the point. It’s erasure. The Left hates this country and its history and in order to destroy the American cultural identity, it needs to be torn down, burned, and rewritten within the of this hyper-left-wing revisionist prism. To destroy one’s enemy, strip them of their cultural identity. That’s the long war the Left is waging. Luckily, authorities put barricades to protect the monument.


Censorship: Twitter Claims Trump Tweet About Upholding the Law Is 'Abusive' and Boosts Competitor Parler

Twitter is determined to get itself in trouble it seems. While Big Tech claims to not be in the business of censorship, they continue to censor Republicans on a daily basis. Twitter’s new favorite target is Donald Trump. On Tuesday, Twitter put a warning over the president’s tweet about upholding law and order and hid the tweet from view. If you want to read it, you must click on their warning.

How can a tweet about upholding the law be “abusive”? Autonomous zones are not legal. Citizens are not allowed to set up pseudo-countries in the middle of American cities and ignore our laws and violate public safety. Using force to disperse such action is required by our laws. Twitter marking this tweet as “abusive behavior” is beyond the pale. It was probably the same people who decided to fact-check a joke meme the president tweeted.

But Twitter got what was coming to it and Parler, an alternative platform similar to Twitter, began trending at number one on the censor-happy Twitter. Thousands of people began announcing their new handles at Parler. Even some lawmakers got into it.

After Twitter banned meme-maker Carpe Donktum (probably for being too popular and having his memes retweeted by the president) other high-profile conservatives began jumping ship as well, saying they aren’t long for the Twittersphere.

But the alternative site won’t really take off until the president deletes his Twitter account and moves. With that one action, every media network would have to follow him and so would everyone else, including the left. And social media isn’t any fun in an echo chamber, so Parler can’t work properly unless everyone migrates. Maybe instead of regulating Twitter, the president could just make it irrelevant. That would be fun to watch. Set up your Parler account now just in case. (I’m @MeganFoxWriter on Parler).


Sunday, June 28, 2020

Science Blogger Deletes Site After Doxxing Threat by 'New York Times'

A well-known science blogger writing for Slate Star Codex has reluctantly shuttered his blog because a reporter for the New York Times insisted on publishing his last name. Psychiatrist Scott Alexander (his first and middle name) was interviewed by New York Times tech reporter Cade Metz for a nice article on his eclectic blog and the community of writers who feed it. When Alexander realized that Metz was going to publish his last name, he begged him not to do it. The psychiatrist had a thriving practice and doxxing him would put his livelihood in danger. He had also received several death threats from his writings from some who disagree with his politics.

In short, the New York Times was about to ruin his life, so Alexander felt he had no other option than to delete his blog.

Slate Star Codex:

When I expressed these fears to the reporter, he said that it was New York Times policy to include real names, and he couldn’t change that. After considering my options, I decided on the one you see now. If there’s no blog, there’s no story. Or at least the story will have to include some discussion of NYT’s strategy of doxxing random bloggers for clicks.

It may be the Times policy to include real names when it comes to people they want to doxx, but they somehow lose sight of that policy when quoting numerous anonymous sources when trying to destroy conservatives.

The Washington Free Beacon questions whether that policy even exists.

Alexander and others interviewed by Metz told the Free Beacon that they do not believe Metz wanted to write a “hit piece.” But Metz did insist that Times guidelines compelled him to disclose Alexander’s real name, derailing an interview with the blogger.

There is little evidence that such a policy exists at the Times, which has granted anonymity or pseudonymity to an Apple news executive, a left-wing podcaster, and even other subjects of Metz’s story. This confusion, Alexander’s fear of national news attention, and the resultant backlash on social media—and even among the Times‘s own alumni—raise uncomfortable questions about the power that the media have to ruin lives—and the cavalierness with which that power has recently been exercised.

It’s understandable that Alexander would want to remain anonymous when you consider the rabid fanaticism of his enemies.

SSC has also developed a reputation for free and open discussion, which has sometimes caused Alexander to butt heads with others, particularly the Internet’s large and vocal progressive feminist contingent. He strongly criticized a perceived tendency in modern feminism to demonize “nerd entitlement” in one particularly controversial 2015 post, and has also argued that imbalanced gender outcomes are not driven exclusively by prejudice.

Alexander’s public views are broadly liberal with some libertarian influence, but his controversial arguments have attracted the ill will of what Aaronson called “social media mobs who despised Scott and wanted to end his blog because of political disagreements”—part of what made Alexander wary of the article.

We live in an age where destroying people’s lives has become an organized spectator sport. The techniques used to destroy people date to the early modern age with Mussolini using his job as a radio commentator to reach mass audiences, denouncing those who disagreed with him.

Joseph Goebbels used newspapers and magazines to accomplish the same thing. Today, it’s the same way with the internet — just different tools. But the kinds of people attracted to the sport of doxxing haven’t changed at all. They are fascists all. And they’re tearing this country apart with no thought to the consequences except the exercise of raw power.

The Times, which has become one of the participants in the destruction, thinks that the ends they seek are so noble, the means are unimportant. It may be to reporters at the Times. But for many, it’s jobs, their homes, their families, their hard-won reputations, and in some cases — their lives.


UK: Rebecca Long-Bailey has been sacked as shadow education secretary by Sir Keir Starmer, after sharing an article containing "an antisemitic conspiracy theory"

This thing was a major contender for leadership of the Labour party

A spokesman for the Labour leader confirmed he had asked her to step side and stressed his commitment to "restoring trust with the Jewish community".

The spokesman said: “This afternoon Keir Starmer asked Rebecca Long-Bailey to step down from the Shadow Cabinet. The article Rebecca shared earlier today contained an antisemitic conspiracy theory.

“As Leader of the Labour Party, Keir has been clear that restoring trust with the Jewish community is a number one priority. Antisemitism takes many different forms and it is important that we all are vigilant against it.”

Earlier today Ms Long-Bailey had shared an interview with the actress Maxine Peak, in which she claimed Israelis taught American police the technique that killed George Floyd.

In the interview Ms Peak said: "The tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services.”

The Israeli police force has firmly denied such claims.

Drawing attention to the article on Twitter, Ms Long-Bailey described the actress as "an absolute diamond", but later insisted she did not endorse "all aspects" of the interview.

It is understood that a replacement shadow education secretary will be announced within days.


Friday, June 26, 2020

Must not diss Calabria

An easyJet ad that described Calabria as being largely devoid of tourists because of the threat of the mafia and a history of earthquakes has angered the southern Italian region. "For an authentic taste of Italian life, there’s nothing better than Calabria," the ad on the British airline’s website said.

"The region suffers from a distinct lack of tourists because of its history of mafia activity and earthquakes."

The advertisement said that Calabria was also largely neglected by tourism because of “the lack of iconic cities such as Rome and Venice capable of attracting the Instagram crowd."

An MEP who comes from the town of Cosenza in the heart of Calabria accused the airline of insulting the region, which forms the toe of the Italian boot in the far south of the country


No, silence is not violence

“The slogan ‘Silence is Violence,’ which has appeared in Black Lives Matters protests in the US, UK and around the world, is a powerful and emotive message. It is also, however, a danger to freedom of speech — the same freedom that has been central to struggles for liberty and against oppression. …

Free speech must always involve the right to offend, to speak what you believe to be true regardless of what others think. The flip side of free speech is that you must have the right to be silent when you choose — particularly when somebody is trying to compel you to speak as instructed.”


Thursday, June 25, 2020

Hate-speech laws are no friend of minorities:  The Scottish case

‘Nothing is more apt to surprise a foreigner than the extreme liberty which we enjoy in this country of communicating whatever we please to the public…’ Thus wrote Scottish philosopher David Hume in 1742, extolling free speech as ‘the common right of mankind’.

Unfortunately, Scotland’s free-speech tradition would be gutted by key provisions in the government’s Hate Crime Bill, introduced in April. It endangers even serious public-policy debates about important – and sensitive – issues touching on ‘age, disability, race, religion or… perceived religious affiliation, sexual orientation, transgender identity and variations in sex characteristics’.

If passed, the bill would criminalise a broad range of communications ‘relating to stirring up hatred’ based on these characteristics, with draconian seven-year prison terms. Departing from a key precept of Hume’s celebrated ‘common right’, the bill would impose such severe punishment even when the speaker had no negative intent, so long as the expression is deemed ‘likely’ to ‘stir up hatred’. Worse yet, the bill even outlaws the mere ‘possession’ of ‘inflammatory material… with a view to communicating [it] to another person’.

In our polarised political climate, a limitless range of communications about taboo topics can be potentially ‘inflammatory’, which means that the policing thereof will depend on the subjective discretion of the enforcing officials. David Hume warned against punishing the ‘abuse’ of free speech by ‘giving very large discretionary powers to the court to punish whatever displeases them’. And while he acknowledged that ‘the unbounded liberty of the press’ could lead to dangers, he thought that such overbroad restrictions were a cure worse than the disease.

In this case, the bill’s censorial ‘cure’ is worse than the disease of ‘prejudice’, which its proponents commendably target. No matter how well intended, such vague and subjective restrictions – even when formally neutral – tend to perpetuate and entrench the values of dominant in-groups and further marginalise out-groups.

Unfortunately, British history is no exception to this dynamic. And one does not need to go all the way back to 1697, and the execution of the irreverent Edinburgh student Thomas Aikenhead for blasphemy, to find examples.

One might argue that the Scottish Hate Crime Bill is aimed at preventing the sort of racial discrimination that fuelled colonial censorship.

But given their inherent vagueness and overbreadth, even well-intentioned hate-speech laws are prone to majoritarian bias in enforcement. In 1965 the British Race Relations Act introduced important anti-discrimination protections for minority groups. But section six also prohibited ‘incitement to racial hatred’. The first person to be prosecuted for this offence was a black man. Several other black Britons were prosecuted for anti-white hatred, including leaders of the Black Liberation Movement. In 1968, one such leader was sentenced to a year in prison for a speech decrying anti-black discrimination by whites who were ‘vicious and nasty people’. In contrast, such a prominent anti-immigrant crusader as Enoch Powell was left alone. Perhaps the ultimate irony was that this law, which was intended to restrain the neo-Nazi National Front, has also barred expression by the Anti-Nazi League.

There is also reason to fear how Scottish police will enforce the pending bill. At the 2017 Glasgow Pride parade, two ‘anti-fascist’ LGBTQ activists were arrested for ‘breaching the peace with homophobic aggravation’. Their crime? Holding a placard with the words ‘These faggots fight fascists’, which clearly was meant to – and ‘likely’ to – empower rather than offend the gay community. In 2014 Police Scotland tweeted that it would ‘monitor comments on social media and any offensive comments will be investigated’, after an English pundit offended Scottish sensibilities on Twitter. The bill would let loose police and others to comb through social media on the hunt for the innumerable tasteless and intemperate tweets that someone could interpret as ‘likely’ to stir up hatred, with an incalculable chilling effect.

While it has narrow exceptions to safeguard discussion of religion and sexual orientation, the Hate Crime Bill could also pit various groups – including the very marginalised groups that it purports to benefit – against each other in a free-speech race to the bottom. For instance, members of religious communities (including minorities) with traditional beliefs about gender identity and sexual orientation might well still risk punishment for expressing their moral convictions. But women, members of the LGBTQ community or transgender persons could plausibly also be punished for critiquing those religious communities because of their traditional views. This is not idle speculation. In 2017, two British street preachers were arrested and initially convicted for preaching from the Bible, including statements that were deemed ‘insulting’ to LGBTQ persons and Muslims. Conversely in 2016, a leader of a French LGBTQ rights organisation was fined 2,300 euros for calling the president of an organisation that defends traditional family values and opposes same-sex marriage a ‘homophobe’.

As Scottish justice secretary Humza Yousaf stressed in introducing the bill, ‘We all have a responsibility to challenge prejudice’. But human-rights activists around the world have concluded that speech that challenges prejudice may well be more effective than censorship in promoting the ‘inclusive and respectful society’ that Yousaf appropriately endorsed. In the words of veteran LGBTQ-rights campaigner Peter Tatchell: ‘The most effective way to defeat bigoted ideas is not by proscription but by challenging and exposing them.’ As it happens, David Hume also championed this ‘more speech’ approach, explaining that citizens ‘being every day more accustomed to the free discussion of public affairs, will improve in the judgment of them, and be with greater difficulty seduced by every idle rumour and popular clamour’.


Wrongthink will be spellchecked

In response to the BLM movement, comedy, film and beer have been ‘cancelled’ due to their ‘problematic’ nature. The latest purge reveals how terrifyingly easy it is to use technology to cancel those who transgress the dogma of wokeism.

Netflix removed Chris Lilley’s back catalogue because of his racial depictions;  only the pretentious schoolgirl Ja’mie and Lunatics survived — for now.

Little Britain wasn’t so lucky, as many streaming services hit delete — their creators saying they were “very sorry” because of their portrayal of “characters of other races.”

Other cancellable racial offences include Basil Fawlty accidentally ‘mentioning the war.’ At least John Cleese had the fortitude to stand up for his comedy and his famous series will be reinstated — albeit with “extra guidance.”

And, after being temporarily blown away from HBO Max, Gone with the Wind will return with an introduction to place “the film in its multiple historical contexts.” Hopefully, this can be skipped like those pathetic anti-piracy ads at the start of legally-purchased DVDs.

But it is not only fiction receiving the cancellation treatment.

Coon cheese (named after its founder who developed a new ripening process) was briefly targeted,  before the comedian who tweeted whether we were still cool with the name was cancelled himself when his past comments on diversity in acting surfaced.

Woke bible The Guardian – after cheering the drowning of Edward Colston’s statue – is experiencing a digital pile-on because their paper was founded “using profits from a cotton plantation that used slaves.”

And if all this cancelling has made you thirsty please do not reach for a cold one from the Colonial Brewing Co.,  as the name is deemed so offensive a bottle shop chain pulled it from their shelves.

If only people employed the Microsoft Word ‘inclusiveness’ option to check their work for bias. This check pinged my article for using ‘schoolgirl’ — suggesting the more ‘inclusive’ ‘schoolchild.’

I suppose those are just more words to add to the blacklist. No wait, tech companies have been replacing terms such as, ‘blacklist’, ‘master’ and ‘whitelist’ for less “racially-loaded terms.” And yes, the inclusiveness checker also pulled me up for using ‘blacklist.’

Unfortunately, the AI of PC-checking does not transfer to images. If it had perhaps Kellogg’s would not have been guilted into issuing a statement explaining why the Coco Pops mascot is a monkey. Apparently using a cartoonish, cap-wearing chimp to sell brown food is racist.

All this removing of content, adding warning labels, and language policing was achieved with a few keyboard clicks and some outrage. If this pitiful pandering to the easily hurt continues all art, comedians, and food will eventually be deleted.

But until then it is time to order a slab of Colonial brew, make a toasted Coon cheese sandwich, and flick on Gone with Wind.


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Australia: Must not tell truth about George Floyd

Should TV station fire the football great Sam Newman?

The controversial footy figure’s explosive comments about George Floyd have ignited a campaign to have him sacked at Channel 9.

Sam Newman has been pushing the envelope — and largely getting away with it — for 40 years as a radio and TV personality. But has he finally gone one step too far?

A groundswell of opposition to the 74-year-old former AFL star is developing after his recent comments about George Floyd, an American man who died while being held by police in Minnesota.

While describing Floyd’s death as “disgraceful”, Newman suggested the pedestal he was being put up on as the face of the Black Lives Matter movement was wrong because of his history.

“George Floyd … is piece of shit,” Newman said on his podcast You Cannot Be Serious. “He has been in jail five times, he held up a pregnant black woman with a knife, he’s a drug addict, he’s a crackhead and he’s a pornstar.”

“He’s dead because of the police brutality and it never should have happened. But I am telling you who George Floyd is, now they’ve made a monument about him and he’s a piece of shit”.

The comments have ignited a furious response on social media, with Channel 9 — which recently brought back the long-time star of the AFL Footy Show in a weekly segment on its Sunday Footy Show program — under pressure to sack Newman.


England rugby could ban Swing Low, Sweet Chariot because of slavery links

Rugby union bosses in England are to carry out a review into the “historical context” of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot – an anthem regularly sung by thousands of fans during matches at Twickenham.

The song has its roots in American slavery in the 19th century, which many supporters may be unaware of.

England’s governing body, the Rugby Football Union, has said it wants to educate fans about its origins, as well as undertaking the review.

It comes after global Black Lives Matter protests, including in the UK, about racial inequality in the wake of the police killing of unarmed black man George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The anthem has been sung by fans since the late 1980s, but it dates back to its credited author, Wallace Willis, who was a freed Oklahoma slave.

It became a popular spiritual song in the early 20th century and was popularised again among folk musicians during the civil rights movement of the 1960s.


Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Eskimo Pie racist: Company behind controversial ice cream acknowledges ‘derogatory’ name

The native people of the Arctic (including Canada, Alaska and Russia) have several subgoups --  Yupik, IƱupiat, Chukchi etc -- who appear similar but who regard themselves as different and distinct.  The Inuit are just one of the subgroups concerned.  They speak several different but related languages.

Noting their similarities, English-speakers for many years referred to them all as "Eskimos".  Gradually, however, a view developed that such a usage was ignorant:  Native peoples should be referred to by their own name for themselves.  So in Canada, but not in Alaska, the name of just one such group -- Inuit -- was adopted to refer to them all.  That seems just as ignorant as referring to all the different groups as Eskimos but it was generally accepted as an improvement.

The word "Eskimo" does appear to be of native origin so is simply a convenient collective term for a group of related people.  Calling it derogatory is essentially just a creation of Leftists.  So Leftist agitation has made it seem derogatory to many of the people concerned.  It would be amusing if "Inuit" came under similar attack at some time

The makers of Eskimo Pies, a popular ice cream in the US, has announced they will be changing the name of its product after years of controversy.

The vanilla and dark chocolate coated ice cream has been loved by Americans since 1920 however the term Eskimo is considered an offensive term used to describe Inuit people, or people who are native to Alaska and other Arctic regions.

In a statement to Rolling Stone, the head of marketing for the brand’s parent company, Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream admitted the term is “derogatory”.

“We have been reviewing our Eskimo Pie business for some time and will be changing the brand name and marketing,” she said. “We are committed to being a part of the solution on racial equality, and recognise the term is derogatory. This move is part of a larger review to ensure our company and brands reflect our people values.”

The changes will be implemented by the end of the year and the company will also cease using the Inuit character in the ice cream’s marketing material.


Zoom acknowledges that it suspended activists' accounts at the ChiComs' request

Teleconferencing company Zoom acknowledged it shut down the accounts of several activists and online commemorations of the Tiananmen Square massacre at China's request. The revelation followed media reports, citing Hong Kong and U.S.-based activists, who found their accounts suspended.

Zoom confirmed the reports, in a blog post Thursday, saying China had notified it in late May and early June of four public gatherings hosted on the platform.

According to the post, China asserted the activities were illegal and requested the events and hosts' accounts be terminated. Zoom said it determined a majority of participants in three of the events came from China and shut them down. The host accounts for the gatherings were then suspended.

None of the three accounts — two belonging to U.S.-based activists and the third to a Hong Kong activist — were based in mainland China.


Monday, June 22, 2020

Cleansing the scientific literature ... again

Scientific evidence that blacks are more aggressive must be obliterated

Seven years ago I wrote about Danish psychologist Helmuth Nyborg and the attempts to "unpublish" a study he had already published. At first thought, the idea seemed strange to me:

I was initially stumped by the ruling that Dr. Nyborg must withdraw his study from the scientific literature. How can one withdraw an already published study? Then the penny dropped. Most journals are now published online, and cash-strapped university libraries have been phasing out their paper subscriptions. (Frost 2013)

I and many others complained to the Danish minister responsible for that decision, and it was reversed.

Now, the same thing is happening again, in the heart of the Free World:

An article claiming that skin pigmentation is related to aggression and sexuality in humans will be retracted, Elsevier announced today. The study, "Do pigmentation and the melanocortin system modulate aggression and sexuality in humans as they do in other animals?" was published online in Personality and Individual Differences, an Elsevier journal, on March 15, 2012.

The study's authors, John Rushton and Donald Templer, both deceased, hypothesized that skin color was related to aggression and sexuality in humans. It has been cited just nine times in eight years, according to Clarivate Analytics' Web of Science. (Retraction Watch 2020)

According to Google Scholar it has been cited fifteen times. Anyway, a study’s worthiness isn't decided by a show of hands, either now or in the future. Opinions change, and fringe science may eventually become mainstream. Or vice versa.

That brings me to another point. For eight years that study was legitimate. Now, it no longer is. Thanks to George Floyd.

Actually, his death was only a pretext. The mob feels no differently today than it did before May 25. What has changed is its ability to get what it wants ... with no pushback. Let’s not kid ourselves. This is a power grab by people who already have much power over the most important aspect of human culture—the flow of information. If you control a few chokepoints, you can get most people to believe almost anything.

“Power” may not be the right word. The aim is not simply to control institutions but rather to control how we perceive and understand reality. These are people who believe that ideas matter, and they want control over ideas, even in the scientific literature (!).

I don't wish to judge whether Rushton and Templer were "right." Once a study has passed peer review and been published, that judgement belongs solely to the reader. Personally, I feel they were right in some respects and wrong in others. They were right to argue that darker-colored animals tend to be larger and more aggressive, this being true not only between species but also within species:

Ducrest et al. (2008) reviewed data on over 40 wild vertebrate species showing that within each species, darker pigmented individuals averaged higher levels of aggression and sexual activity than lighter pigmented individuals, with a larger body mass, more resistance to stress, and greater physical activity when grooming. The relationship between coloring and behavioral dominance was robust across three species of mammal (African lion, soay sheep, and white-tailed deer), four species of fish (mosquito fish, guppy, green swordtail, and Arctic charr), four species of reptile (asp viper, adder, fence lizard, and spiny lizard), one amphibian species (spadefoot toad) and 36 species of bird.

In captive Hermann's tortoises (Eurotestudo boettgeri), another reptile species, Mafli, Wakamatsu, and Roulin (2011) found darker shell coloration predicted greater aggressiveness and boldness. Darker individuals were more aggressive in male-male confrontations and bolder towards humans, independent of body size and ambient temperature. (Melanin based color traits are a criterion in mate choice.)

Validation of the pigmentation system as causal to the naturalistic observations was demonstrated by experimentally manipulating pharmacological dosages and by studies of cross-fostering (Ducrest et al., 2008). Thus, melanocortin hormone levels predicted the amount of testosterone and other sexual steroids along with concomitant increases (or decreases) in aggression and sexual behavior. Placing darker versus lighter pigmented individuals with adoptive parents of the opposite pigmentation did not modify offspring behavior. (Rushton and Templer 2012)

Yes, melanin does correlate with aggressiveness, especially male aggressiveness. Unlike Rushton and Templer, however, I don't believe the correlation is causal, at least not wholly. It probably began as an accidental association: newborns are generally less pigmented, and this has resulted in a mental association of lightness with weakness and immaturity. Conversely, darkness is associated with strength and maturity. The age difference in pigmentation has been amplified by sexual selection in many species, particularly polygynous species where males have to compete against each other for access to females

We humans make the same mental association, particularly darker-skinned humans. Among them, the contrast between infant and adult pigmentation is striking:

There is a rather widespread concept in Black Africa, according to which human beings, before "coming" into this world, dwell in heaven, where they are white. For, heaven itself is white and all the beings dwelling there are also white. Therefore the whiter a child is at birth, the more splendid it is. In other words, at that particular moment in a person's life, special importance is attached to the whiteness of his colour, which is endowed with exceptional qualities.

According to the same concept, it is also claimed that a newborn baby is not only white but also a soft being during the time between his birth and his acceptance into the society. Furthermore, during this entire period, he is not considered a real person, and this may go so far that parents and society may do away with him at will for reasons that are peculiar to each social group. Having been done away with, these beings are considered to return automatically to the place where they came from, that is, to heaven. (Zahan 1974, pp. 385-387)

This mental association may have become a factor in the struggle by men for mates. In highly polygynous societies, such as those of sub-Saharan Africa, darker-skinned men would be seen as more masculine, and threatening, by other men ... and by women.  Among human populations, darkness of skin correlates significantly with the polygyny rate, even after adjusting for latitudinal variation in skin color (Manning et al. 2004). It looks like selection has favored a darker color in adult males, particularly in a context of intra-male rivalry for mates, and this selection has probably occurred in many species.

I may be wrong. Perhaps Rushton and Templer were wrong. Perhaps nobody knows the truth on this point. That's why we don't unpublish scientific studies. No one has the last word in intellectual debate, and that's how things should be.

Elsevier is aware of the taboo it's treading on:

It is a general principle of scholarly communication that the editor of a learned journal is solely and independently responsible for deciding which articles submitted to the journal shall be published. In making this decision the editor is guided by policies of the journal's editorial board and constrained by such legal requirements in force regarding libel, copyright infringement and plagiarism.  An outcome of this principle is the importance of the scholarly archive as a permanent, historic record of the transactions of scholarship. Articles that have been published shall remain extant, exact and unaltered as far as is possible. However, very occasionally circumstances may arise where an article is published that must later be retracted or even removed. (Elsevier 2020)

Until now, unpublishing wasn’t even “very occasional.” I know of a few cases where a paper was retracted shortly after publication. But eight years after? That just wasn’t done. Now it’s been done. The taboo has been broken, and we're going to see more and more "removals."


Australia: Must not disrespect George Floyd

Controversial media personality Sam Newman has spoken out about the life-changing phone call which ended his 35-year partnership with Channel 9. The former Geelong AFL great announced on Friday night he had left the network, claiming it was 'mutual decision'.

The 74-year-old has since revealed it was his podcast tirade about George Floyd, first reported by Daily Mail Australia that sparked his departure.

In the rant Newman called Floyd, whose death while in police custody sparked mass Black Lives Matter protests across the U.S. and the world, a 'piece of sh*t'.

When the call from the network came through at 3pm on Friday, Newman knew the writing was on the wall, he revealed on Saturday.

'The station rang me and said: ''We are getting a bit of blow back from some of your comments'' and I said: ''Well, I don't want to put the station in an invidious position, anymore than I have in the past'',' he told the Herald Sun.

'I said: ''I am very happy, if it will solve anything for you, very happy to withdraw forthwith from appearing on the network''.'  He said the network agreed it would be for the best.

'Whether I beat them to it or they were going to say that anyhow is irrelevant,' Newman said.

Newman made the comments about Floyd on his podcast 'You Cannot Be Serious', alongside fellow footy great Don Scott and journalist, Mike Sheahan. He insisted he was talking about Floyd's criminal record and that people should have focused on condemning police brutality. 

Speaking on his podcast 'You Cannot Be Serious', alongside former AFL great Don Scott and footy reporter Mike Sheahan, Newman teed off on Floyd. 

'George Floyd, who is a piece of sh*t incidentally,' he began before his co-hosts attempted to intervene.

'You know who George Floyd is? He has been in jail five times, he held up a pregnant black woman with a knife, he's a drug addict, he's a crack head and he's a porn star.'

Records showed Floyd had been arrested nine times for mostly drug and theft offences, and served several short prison sentences.

His most serious offence was aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon, in which he and other suspects forced themselves into a woman's home and Floyd held a pistol to her abdomen. He served four years in prison for the crime.

His autopsy found high levels of fentanyl in his system and evidence of recent use of methamphetamine which the initial examiners said 'contributed to his death'.

Newman said he will continue to work on the podcast with his co-hosts saying there are still 'a hell lot' of people who agree with his views.


Sunday, June 21, 2020

Katie Hopkins, conservative commentator, permanently banned from Twitter

The things she says would once have been regarded as commonsense.  There is a list of her views here

Far right UK commentator, former newspaper journalist and The Apprentice contestant Katie Hopkins, dubbed ‘the world’s most hated woman’, has had her Twitter account suspended just hours after having her blue tick removed by the social media site.

Twitter confirmed that the suspension would be permanent.

Ms Hopkins was removed to “keep Twitter safe”, according to the social media platform. “Keeping Twitter safe is a top priority for us,” Twitter said in a statement.

“Abuse and hateful conduct have no place on our service and we will continue to take action when our rules are broken. “In this case, the account has been permanently suspended for violations of our hateful conduct policy.”

In her final tweets before the ban, she celebrated hitting 1.1 million followers and urged her fans to follow her on Instagram.

The social network did not, however, say which tweets Ms Hopkins had posted to result in the ban.

Ms Hopkins is well-known for both her outspoken media appearances and controversial right-wing viewpoints.

It’s not the first time she’s been suspended by the social media giant — in January, she was kicked out of the platform for a week.

A petition to have Ms Hopkins removed from Twitter had recently received more than 75,000 signatures on Change.org. Twitter users have largely celebrated her absence.


Australia: Margaret River's Colonial beers ripped from shelves over name controversy

A chain of bottleshops in the eastern states will no longer stock Margaret River brewery Colonial Brewing Co's beers after complaints about the brand name.

A Melbourne-based writer said it was through his advocacy that the Blackhearts & Sparrows chain of stores made the decision to no longer stock the product.

"This is small in the scheme of things, not like anyone has solved racism ...," Shaad D'Souza wrote on Instagram.

"Change is generally meaningless without structural change but I appreciate it — I have been emailing Blackhearts (a shop I like) and other booze retailers on and off about how stupid and degrading 'Colonial Beer' is.

"A lot of people call for 'civility' when advocating for things we care about but sometimes being a bratty little bitch in public really gets things done."

Blackhearts & Sparrows' owners said the decision was made in light of recent events, both in Australia and around the world. Staff and customers had also reached out with their concerns.

"While we appreciate that the people behind Colonial Brewing had no malicious intent in their choice of brand name, words have power. We’ve had discussions with Colonial in the past with concerns about their name, but with their branding remaining the same our decision was clear," they said.

"'Colonial' is still a problematic word that speaks to a broader history of colonialism and colonisation that has caused irreversible harm to the First Nations people in Australia and Indigenous populations around the world."

The team running the business decided if they could make their stores a more inclusive place for all by no longer stocking the line of beer, it was a step they were willing to take.

Colonial Brewing Co managing director Lawrence Dowd said in light of the current climate and recent events, the brewery acknowledged the significant stress and angst surrounding the Black Lives Matter community built to bring justice, healing and freedom to black people across the globe.

"We have had significant messages and comments regarding our name, we want you all to know; we hear you," he said.

"The brand and name Colonial Brewing Co was inherited in 2008 when purchased what was at the time a small microbrewery in Margaret River – it was not chosen, or intended to celebrate

"The name Colonial was given to the brewery as it was one of the first to establish itself in the well-regarded wine region of Margaret River, colonialisng the wine region with one of the first craft breweries."

He said over the past six months Colonial Brewing Co had undertaken a process to review and understand the options to approach the name, considering its historical meaning.

It is now a national Australian-owned brand, with the Port Melbourne expansion giving it the ability to brew up to 7 million litres.


Friday, June 19, 2020

Now you can't say 'GRUBS': Politician who used the colourful language to describe young criminals is reprimanded in parliament

"Grub" is Australian slang for a low-life person

A politician has been chastised for using the word 'grubs' in parliament when referring to youth crime in his electorate.

Liberal Queensland MP Sam O'Connor was pulled up on his use of the term on Tuesday while speaking about the issue of crime in his seat of Bonney in the Gold Coast's western suburbs.

The parliament's deputy speaker Jess Pugh also said it was 'unparliamentary' to quote a father - whose 17-year-old son was allegedly stabbed to death outside a Surfers Paradise supermarket - as saying the justice system 'sucks'.  

'I want to raise the concerns of my community about the level of crime in our suburbs,' the 28-year-old MP began his speech at the state's legislative assembly.

He said he had run a community crime forum at a pub in his area attended by 200 locals - many of whom expressed their concern about the subject of youth crime.

'Stories of juveniles getting caught and getting a slap on the wrist means residents feel like there is no point even reporting a crime - it means these kids will often laugh off the possibility of ever being held to account for their actions,' he said.

'Two very special people came along that night too - Brett and Belinda Beasley. Brett and Belinda lost their 17-year-old son Jack, last December.'

Five teenagers stand charged with the murder of Jack Beasley - who was allegedly stabbed to death when another group of boys approached him outside an IGA supermarket on Surfers Paradise Boulevard.

'The young men charged with Jacko's murder have been granted bail and that shattered the Beasleys' faith in our justice system,' Mr O'Connor said.

'Brett summed it up saying, It's a kick in the guts, but that's the system. It absolutely sucks.'

'Member, that is unparliamentary language and I ask you to withdraw,' Ms Pugh responded.

The member for Bonney continued talking about Mr Beasley's parents setting up a foundation to fight back against knife crime - but was again warned about his use of language.

'They have set up a foundation to change the culture of knife crime and to reform a system that is putting no fear in these grubs,' he said.

'Member you have used unparliamentary language again,' the deputy speaker responded. 'Even if you are quoting, you cannot use unparliamentary language. I ask you to withdraw.'

Mr O'Connor told Daily Mail Australia he had asked the state parliament's Table Office for clarification about accepted parliamentary terms. 


Lidia Thorpe thinks Victoria should be renamed over ties with Queen Victoria

An Aboriginal activist and former MP wants the state of Victoria to change its name under a new treaty with Australia's First People.

Lidia Thorpe, who represented the Greens in the Victorian Legislative Assembly in 2017 and 2018, is calling for the change because the state is named after British Empire ruler Queen Victoria.

'Anything that's named after someone who's caused harm or murdered people, then I think we should take their name down,' she told The Herald Sun.  

Ms Thorpe, the first Aboriginal woman to be elected to the Parliament of Victoria, believes Indigenous groups and the state government should consider the idea during treaty talks. 

'It could even stay the same if that's what people want, if that's part of the negotiation outcome of a treaty where everyone gets to understand both sides,' Ms Thorpe said.

Her comments come as Black Lives Matter protests spark calls to tear down monuments linked to Australia's colonial past across the country. 

City of Melbourne councillor Nicholas Reece said monuments dedicated to Melbourne co-founder John Batman could be up for review through his hand in hunting Aborigines in Tasmania.

'There's a number of monuments and statues to John Batman in Melbourne, and I think there's a case to be made around perhaps them being given a less prominent place in our city,' he told 3AW.

A 50-year-old statue of Captain Cook in Cairns is under threat after activists petitioned for it to be torn down over the British Royal Navy captain's treatment of Aboriginal people when his ship landed in Australia.

The petition claims the statue is a 'slap in the face to all indigenous people', saying Cook's legacy was one of 'forced removal, slavery, genocide and stolen land'.

Two other statues of the explorer, both in Sydney, have already been defaced as Black Lives Matter protests shine a light on racial inequality.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton told 9News he wants the statues to stay.

'I don't think ripping pages out of history books and brushing over parts of history you don't agree with or you don't like is really something the Australian public is going to embrace,' he said. 'There are good and bad parts of our history. You learn from that.'

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has also voiced his support for the statues to stay. 'You can't rewrite history, you have to learn from it,' he told Sydney radio 2GB. 'The idea that you go back to year zero of history is in my view, just quite frankly unacceptable.'

Mr Morrison has previously said he wanted to help the public to gain a better understanding of Captain Cook's historic voyage.

'That voyage is the reason Australia is what it is today and it's important we take the opportunity to reflect on it,' Mr Morrison said.


Thursday, June 18, 2020

No Wrongthink Allowed: A large Birmingham church loses a lease over its pastor liking pro-Trump social-media messages  

The largest church in Birmingham, Alabama, has lost its home thanks to the anti-racism ministers of woke and their charge of wrongthink. You see, Chris Hodges, pastor of Church of the Highlands, committed the unforgivable “sin” of “liking” several social-media postings that supported President Donald Trump. A teacher, Jasmine Clisby — who freely admits to not attending Hodges’s church nor being able to “see into Pastor Chris Hodges’s heart,” and who “would be upset if it comes off as me judging him” — still felt the need to issue a complaint to the Birmingham Board of Education for his “culturally insensitive” “likes.”

Church of the Highlands, whose diverse congregation of 60,000 has been meeting for the past six years at Parker and Woodlawn High Schools for its Sunday services, had its lease with the city terminated following a vote by the education board initiated by Clisby’s complaint.

Furthermore, as Family Research Council President Tony Perkins writes, “The church’s Christ Health Clinic will also be banned from operating, according to the Birmingham Housing Authority, who also decided Monday to ban volunteer workers.” Justifying its dubious decision, the housing authority argued, “Commissioners agreed that Pastor Hodges’s views do not reflect those of [the Housing authority] and its residents. … HABD and Campus of Hope staff will continue to work with other faith-based organizations in the community to identify resources that will replace the services that were provided.”

So much for the freedom of speech and diversity of thought. It would be one thing if it was a private company that elected to end a relationship with the church over the pastor’s opinions. But for the city to do it is a fundamental violation of Hodges’s and the church’s First Amendment rights. Government officials are punishing the expression of political opinion. That’s beyond the pale. This is not America; this is 1984.


Coco Pops racism row: Former British Leftist MP says breakfast cereal is racist

How can the Coco Pops monkey be racist? Only if one believes that monkeys represent black people, which many Lefties seem to believe. So clearly lefties are the racists and they are projecting their racism onto the rest of us.

I am pretty sure that the motivation for the monkey was deliberate.  Advertisers like to populate their time on the screen with "aspirational" images.  Images of a black person would be hopeless for that.  With very rare exceptions, nobody wants to be black or sees blackness as desirable.  The monkey was an image that was at least was pleasant

Cereal giant Kellogg’s has been accused of racism by a former MP in Britain who has questioned why its popular breakfast treat Coco Pops is promoted with a monkey, while its white coloured stablemate Rice Krispies has three fair-skinned characters splashed on its box.

The former Labour politician Fiona Onasanya, who was jailed last year after she lied to police about a speeding ticket, wrote to the Kellogg’s demanding answers and shared her claims on social media.

She says there is no difference between the two cereal products other than flavour and colour.

“As you are yet to reply to my email,” the disgraced former MP wrote in a tweet directed at the brand.

“Coco Pops and Rice Krispies have the same composition (except for the fact CPs are brown and chocolate flavoured).

“So I was wondering why Rice Krispies have three white boys representing the brand and Coco Pops have a monkey?”

In response to the claims Kellogg’s said it stands in support of the black community and conceded it was important discussions are raised to improve racial equality.

“The monkey mascot that appears on both white and milk chocolate Coco Pops, was created in the 1980s to highlight the playful personality of the brand,” the company said, according to Daily Mail UK.

“As part of our ambition to bring fun to the breakfast table, we have a range of characters that we show on our cereal boxes, including tigers, giraffes, crocodiles, elves and a narwhal.

“We do not tolerate discrimination and believe that people of all races, genders, backgrounds, sexual orientation, religions, capabilities and beliefs should be treated with the utmost dignity and respect.”

A number of responses to the tweet addressed the accusation.

“The monkey is called Coco,” one said. “Remove the monkey and they are just called pops.”

And another: “The cacao tree from which cocoa beans and hence cocoa powder is derived is native to the Amazon Basin where there are monkeys.”

The claims come on the back of a global uprising which has reignited the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd, who was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis.


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Twitter system to identify 5G coronavirus conspiracy tweets goes haywire

A new system designed to limit coronavirus misinformation has suffered constant errors, drawing scorn and mockery from users

One month after promising to impose warning labels on misleading tweets about coronavirus, Twitter is still failing to accurately distinguish factual information from fake news.

Starting in early May, the company has been using artificial intelligence (AI) to identify misinformation and apply mild or strong warnings depending on how "dangerous" it is, aiming to expand them to other topics in future.

The policy is part of an ongoing attempt to clean up Twitter's service, which has already entangled both it and its rivals Facebook and Snapchat in a furious row with US President Donald Trump.

But since then Twitter's misinformation labels have frequently lapsed into farce, wrongly catching obscene jokes, factual news headlines and complaints about false claims while leaving die-hard conspiracy theorists untouched....