Sunday, December 31, 2017

Cards Against Humanity maker's new 'Chosen People Pack' is removed from stores amid anti-Semitic backlash over Anne Frank and Holocaust prompts

Retail giant Target has been forced to apologise for carrying a Jewish-themed expansion pack to the popular party game Cards Against Humanity.

The deck contains cards with sentences about the Holocaust, Anne Frank's genitals and the Jewish people intended to be used in the game.

After several complaints on social media, Target has now promised to remove the 'Chosen People' deck of cards from its shops and online store.

The deck of cards is an expansion pack to the original card game, which describes itself as 'a party game for horrible people'.

The point of the game is to choose an answer to a 'fill-in-the-blank' card - the winner of each round is the person who has chosen the most shocking and offensive answer card.

Writer Mike Lieber posted pictures of the Chosen People expansion pack being on sale in a Target store on his Twitter.

He captioned the snaps: 'Available at your local @Target. Despicable beyond.'

Target quickly responded to his tweet by promising to remove the offending expansion pack.


Don’t hinder free speech

The primary benefit of the University of North Carolina system’s new free-speech policy will be to protect the freedom of professors, students and others to listen to whatever speakers they wish to hear without having their rights trampled by violent or abusive protesters.

That’s more than enough to justify UNC’s policy, which was required by a free-speech law the General Assembly enacted earlier this year. But it turns out that there has been a side benefit: outing the illiberal views of two organizations, the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Association of University Professors, that tried to convince the UNC Board of Governors not to adopt its free-speech protections.

The American Right should try to reclaim “liberal” from the American Left, which misappropriated it nearly a century ago to describe what is really progressivism — a philosophy that elevates political power over constitutional constraints, government institutions over private ones, and the rule of experts over individuals’ freedome to make their own decisions.

Now that left-wingers seem to prefer the term “progressive,” anyway, there may be a chance to recover the classical meaning of liberalism.

John Locke, the 17th-century philosopher viewed as the founder of political liberalism, would today be called a libertarian or a limited-government conservative. Locke argued that governments were necessary to secure the rights of individuals.

One of the core concepts of true liberalism is that people should be as free as possible to live according to their own principles, which includes the right to form or join associations.

If you want to create a pressure group to convince others to become vegans, because it will spare animals or save the planet or whatever, liberalism requires that I respect your freedom to do so. Liberalism also requires, however, that you respect my rights to stay out of your group and to speak against it.

On a public university campus, in particular, a basic liberal understanding of the rights of free expression and free association would lead inevitably to the kind of policy that the UNC system just adopted. If a student group or professor invites a speaker to campus, you and I have the right to attend or not attend. If I attend and you show up at the auditorium with your comrades to shout down the speaker, so that I and other audience members can’t hear her, you aren’t exercising free expression or free association. You are suppressing the freedom of others. There is no “heckler’s veto.”

The ACLU and AAUP apparently think otherwise. In its statement against the UNC policy, the ACLU speculated that “peaceful protesters chanting outside an event being held in a campus building could be shut down and face harsh consequences, not for blocking an entrance or shouting violent threats, but for simply chanting loudly outside.” The AAUP asserted that the policy showed “a preference for speech over counter-speech, which is contrary to First Amendment law.”

This is pretty simple, really. If protesters are shouting so loudly outside the door that the audience can’t hear the speaker, the protesters aren’t engaging in “counter speech.” They are trying to suppress other people’s rights. The precise location of the protest can’t possibly be a sufficient defense. Would the ACLU or AAUP think it acceptable for outside protesters to employ bullhorns, sirens or loudspeakers? If not, why not?

Describing such behavior as “counter speech” protecting by the First Amendment would be idiotic and appalling.

We all know from recent experience what the game is here. Left-wing groups want to shut down campus speakers they don’t like. Real liberals will always say no to that.


Friday, December 29, 2017

UK: In Prince Harry interview, Obama takes a stand for free speech

A pity he did not do that when he was President.  Talk is cheap for him now

President Barack Obama was is interviewed by Britain's Prince Harry for the BBC Radio 4 Today program that he guest edited.

In the interview released by the BBC on Wednesday, Harry asked Obama whether it is better for government to "educate or regulate" when it comes to internet speech. Obama had a good response.

"I'm big on education, as I said earlier, just because the notion that we're going to be able to corral – that we're going to be able to contain – what's said and what's not on the internet seems unachievable. And contrary to the values of an open society that both the United States and Great Britain and most of the advanced world adheres to. I don't want to live in a world in which the state is making decisions as to who says what."

Obama is absolutely correct.

Moreover, his words represent a subtle but much-needed rebuke to the growing chorus of Western voices who want more regulation of speech. These individuals are rendered by the usual suspects: Judith Butler, the LGBTQ-Gestapo, the art critic Taliban, the "speech is violence" crew, but also by otherwise democratic governments.

The British government, for example, wants Twitter to ban speakers who do not intend to but might upset certain audiences. Indeed, Germany is already taking aggressive legal action to enforce social media compliance with authoritarian speech laws. And here at home on campuses and in political debates, it's clear the liberal intelligentsia wants to redefine the broad speech protections afforded under the First Amendment.


Oregon: Jesus banner belongs

Intolerant atheist has issues

As an atheist, Eugene resident René Salm believes a banner with a Christian message violates the separation of church and state because it’s on public property. He’s threatening a lawsuit. Many others who have contacted the city agree. They believe the banner over downtown’s West 11th Avenue should be removed.

But if doing so might make some people feel more comfortable, it would discriminate against the constitutional rights of Virgil Adams, the Eugene resident who, in this case, is like any other person who paid to post his or her community organization’s message since the city began its “hanging banners” effort in 1997.

The banner features “Christmas” and “Jesus” in large letters. Beneath are two statements: “Attend a Church of Your Choice” and “Celebrate His Birth.”

“I feel like I’m being assaulted, telling me to go to church and celebrate Jesus,” Salm told The Register-Guard’s Christian Hill.

That’s understandable. He’s the author of “NazarethGate: Quack Archeology, Holy Hoaxes, and the Invented Town of Jesus” and “The Myth of Nazareth.”

It’s also understandable that were the city to allow a banner promoting an event celebrating atheism — something acting city attorney Kathryn Brotherton suggests the city would willingly do — some Christians would be hot and bothered. So would lots of people if the city allowed the Ku Klux Klan to place a banner — again, which Brotherton says would be allowed.

But, frankly, the First Amendment is less interested in individual feelings than it is in collective freedom.

This is not a case of the city of Eugene playing favorites with religion or endorsing one particular religion, which would clearly be a violation of the First Amendment and its edict that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion ... .” Instead, it embodies the continuance of that sentence — “... or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”


Thursday, December 28, 2017

EU Fascism

Human rights groups have reacted with horror after EU member states approved draconian new anti-terror laws which critics have warned could be used to suppress eurosceptic movements by force.

The EU Directive on Combatting Terrorism, introduced in March 2017, sparked concern and consternation across the globe due to its incredibly vague definition of what constitutes a terror offence.

Amnesty International, the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), European Digital Rights (EDRi), the Fundamental Rights European Experts (FREE) Group, Human Rights Watch, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), and the Open Society Foundations (OSF) all called for the legislation to be comprehensively amended or else scrapped altogether.

Nadim Houry, director of the terrorism and counterterrorism programme at Human Rights Watch, said: “States should effectively address the threat of terrorism. But the EU has rushed to agree on a vaguely worded counterterrorism law that endangers fundamental rights and freedoms.

“Time and again we’ve seen governments adopt abusive counterterrorism laws without assessing their effectiveness, and then implement them in ways that divide and alienate communities. We worry this directive will reinforce this trend and leaves too much leeway for governments to misuse the directive to violate rights.”

Ray Finch, the eurosceptic party’s leader in European Parliament, said the rules to combat hate speech were introduced to suppress the voice of elected officials.  Discussing the measures, Mr Finch told RT: “What they want to do is stop free speech.

“The fact is those terrible views are already there, we need to get them into public and need to say to those people that you are wrong. “You don’t do it by stopping free speech, because once you stop one person, then you move onto the next one – but in the end, nothing will be free.”


British Universities warned over free speech by Jo Johnson

Student beliefs must be challenged, says minister

Universities must “open minds, not close them” and face tough new penalties if they do not promote freedom of speech, Jo Johnson will warn today.

Students should expect to encounter controversial opinions and “frank and rigorous discussions”, the universities minister will argue.

His defence of open debate comes amid a row at Oxford University, where dozens of academics have criticised a professor for arguing that Britain’s imperial history was not entirely shameful. Nigel Biggar, regius professor of moral and pastoral theology at the university, has been criticised by colleagues and students after writing an article in The Times calling for a more nuanced appraisal.

In his speech this afternoon, the Minister for Universities and Science will stress the importance of universities being places that “open minds, not close them”, challenging the rise in “no platforming” measures on UK campuses.

In their original form, such measures were intended to prevent talks given by far-right groups, However, in recent years, the use of “no platforming” boycotts has been extended by some student unions to include a range of other issues, including speakers who support Israel.

In October, a new higher education regulator was unveiled – the Office for Students. Under proposals submitted by Mr Johnson, universities could face a variety of penalties from the new body – including fines, suspension or deregulation – for failing to uphold free speech.

“Universities should be places that open minds not close them, where ideas can be freely challenged," Mr Johnson will tell the audience at Limmud.

“In universities in America and worryingly in the UK, we have seen examples of groups seeking to stifle those who do not agree with them.

“We must not allow this to happen. Young people should have the resilience and confidence to challenge controversial opinions and take part in open, frank and rigorous discussions. That is why the new regulator, the Office for Students, will go even further to ensure that universities promote freedom of speech within the law.”

However, Mr Johnson will also discuss the need for universities to prevent hatred, extremism or racism, saying that “a racist or antisemitic environment is by definition an illiberal one that is completely in opposition to the liberal tradition of our universities”.

Welcoming the move, Marie van der Zyl, vice-president of the Board of Deputies, who is attending Limmud, said: “Over the last couple of years, Jewish students have been subjected to the most outrageous abuse and intimidation when seeking to discuss Israel, including when they are discussing the routes to peace. Notorious incidents occurred at King's College London and University College London. Regrettably universities often find themselves floundering, unable or unwilling to provide adequate protection for these events. This must urgently change.

“We are pleased to note that the minister will note exceptions for where there is a risk of extremism or hatred, including antisemitism. To aid this, we would urge universities to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism which the government adopted last year.”


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

"Merry Christmas" leads to attack

A Salvation Army bell ringer was attacked in front of Walmart for simply spreading holiday cheer.

We've all heard it; the jingle that means it's nearly Christmas and ringing in sounds of hope for donations.

But not everyone is in the giving spirit.

"I greet everybody, `Merry Christmas,'" said Rev. Jamie Wolfe, Sr.

Sadly, those two simple words got this bell ringer knocked out.

"He haymakered me, hit me, got me down on the ground and we started wrestling, at that point I'm fighting for my life," Wolfe Sr. said.

The man wasn't after the kettle money, but instead, his cheer.

"Definitely unexpected," he claimed.

It was a savage attack - not even a Grinch could compare.


Toronto Transit Commission won't use subway word-art installation over fear of hate speech

The Toronto Transit Commission has decided that "censored" is the eight-letter word it's most comfortable with.

As criticism mounts, the transit provider says that a $500,000 artwork it approved and paid for – one which allows the public to type short messages for display in a new station – cannot be made operational because of fear of hate speech and profanity.

It's a decision that raises questions about free speech and public space and whether the best way to handle offensive rhetoric is to block it or to challenge it.

"The TTC has an obligation and responsibility to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all," spokesman Brad Ross argued. "The installation has not yet been turned on and won't be until a solution is found."

However, an artist who has produced interactive works in numerous cities said the likelihood of misuse is tiny and easily countered by other members of the public. A consultant involved throughout the artistic process said that the TTC has long been fully aware of the work it was commissioning. And the station architect said he was "surprised" by the decision.

Will Alsop, who designed the Pioneer Village station into which the art was incorporated, said the installation was a way to "animate your wait" and "an important part of the experience of using the station."

For now, the installation dubbed LightSpell, which stretches nearly the whole length of a station on the new subway extension to Vaughan, remains dark. Terminals on the platform at which passers-by can input their thoughts – to a maximum of eight characters – are working. But the words people type aren't transmitted to the lights above.

"It's censorship," said Berlin artist Jan Edler, co-founder of realities:united, the studio behind the artwork. "I mean, how else would you call it?"


Monday, December 25, 2017

No posts today, maybe tomorrow

If you are looking for something congenial to read, you might find my list of short articles interesting. They cover a wide subject range.  The subject index is here

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Princess Michael of Kent prompts controversy after wearing 'racist' 'blackamoor' brooch to lunch with Meghan Markle

She is of European origins so she has fallen foul of British sensitivites a number of times

There are fashion faux pas, and then there are errors of sartorial judgement which seem tricky to pass off as a moment of simple bad taste.

It appears that Princess Michael of Kent suffered the latter when she got dressed for The Queen's annual Christmas lunch which took place on Wednesday, and was the first such occasion attended by Prince Harry's fiancee Meghan Markle.

The wife of Prince Michael of Kent, the Queen's first cousin, was pictured arriving at Buckingham Palace wearing a brooch on her left shoulder which appeared to be a piece of  'Blackamoor' jewellery, depicting the bust of a black person with an opulent gold crown and bust, embellished with purple crystals.

It was a gesture which would have appeared shortsighted at the best of times, but has prompted controversy due to Ms Markle's biracial background (her father, Thomas Markle, is Caucasian and her mother Doria Radlan is African American).

It is understood that the brooch was a gift and has been worn many times before.

A spokesman said: "Princess Michael is very sorry and distressed that it has caused offence."

The images soon provoked an angry reaction on social media. "I hope the Queen is going to ban this racist, horrible woman from attending any further gatherings," wrote @nesslync. “Princess” Michael of Kent is an embarrassment to The Royal Family."

A source added there was "no malice at all" behind the decision to wear the jewellery to the Christmas lunch.

The royal family often wear jewellery with meanings- such as The Queen's maple leaf brooch which she has worn in Canada- but the connotation is usually positive and diplomatic. Feelings which are unlikely to have been evoked at Wednesday's lunch.

The Blackamoor jewellery worn by Princess Michael has a complex history. While it now comes with resolutely racist connotations, the designs- which originated in Venice- were once the height of glamour and considered a tribute to the 'exotic' Africans who inspired them. Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor both had Blackamoor brooches in their personal jewellery collections.


'It's a rape song': Woman threatens to pull out of her choir's Christmas concert over performing Baby It's Cold Outside

She must have a dirty mind. I see nothing untoward in it.  It's just a guy trying to talk a woman into staying

A mother sparked an online debate when she questioned whether the song Baby It's Cold Outside was appropriate to sing at a Christmas choir concert.  

Writing on Mumsnet, the woman explained she wanted to pull out of the performance because the lyrics of the song made her feel uncomfortable.

While some users agreed the lyrics could be interpreted as being 'rapey', others said the woman was overreacting. 

Writing on the online forum, the woman explained that she had joined a choir and they had been rehearsing for a Christmas concert.

Recently, the choir had added Baby It's Cold Outside to the set, to be sung by two other performers, but the woman said she 'couldn't sit there through it.' 

She later clarified she didn't want to be there 'because of the lyrics'. 

Some users agreed with her stance. One wrote: 'It's rapey. Take a look at the lyrics'.

Others compared the meaning of the song to similar attitudes surrounding the recent hit 'Blurred Lines'.


Friday, December 22, 2017

Small hiatus

I have just got out of some rather extensive day surgery so am feeling a bit worn down.  I expect to be back in a day or two


Thursday, December 21, 2017

Mass.: Swastika prank taken seriously
ANDOVER — After three incidents this school year of swastikas being drawn on desks at Andover High, school officials said they have had enough.

The incidents are being viewed as hate speech, possibly hate crimes. School officials reached out to the Andover Police department on Tuesday to investigate the incidents. The school has also reached out to the New England Anti-Defamation league, as well as local clergy and civic leaders.

"We felt that if it was going to be a repeated occurrence then this is more than just a simple incident, that this was something that was being repeated and we had to confront," Superintendent of Andover Public Schools Sheldon Berman said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

"We had originally hoped to approach this problem quietly, so as not to alarm any students or staff or make individuals feel unwelcome," Berman wrote in a letter to parents, guardians, and staff. "However, we found that this restrained response was apparently emboldening the perpetrators, exposing even more students to intolerance. So we are implementing a more direct plan."

Berman is asking any student involved or who has information on these events to come forward. Depending on the outcome of the police investigation, those responsible may face felony hate crime charges in addition to school disciplinary action such as suspension.

Two of the three teachers in the classrooms with desks vandalized with swastikas are Jewish. The most recent incident occurred on Tuesday, the first day of Hannukah. The second incident had occurred only a few days prior.

According to Berman, the hate speech struck home for the teachers involved.


University of Tennessee Knoxville roiled about white pride

Black pride is OK and gay pride is OK so I don't see what is wrong with white pride.  Why are whites discriminated against?

The University of Tennessee Knoxville deleted a tweet Thursday responding to concern over hate speech on the Rock in the midst of calls for the university to do more to condemn it.

The response came after someone painted the words "white pride" on the boulder, which serves as a campus message board.

Students and others were quick to condemn the message.

Many also reached out to the university on social media asking for UT to do more to condemn hate speech but were disappointed with the response.

"This was seen by a student of color, Aleah Vassell, and when addressing the fastest source I could think of, the school responded with indifference," UT student McKinley Merritt wrote in a Facebook post. "This is the reason why people continue to feel unsafe in the world. Don't be indifferent."

She also included a screenshot of the reply she received from UT Knoxville on Twitter. The response has since been deleted.

"Hi McKinley, While we sometimes disagree with what appears on the Rock, those who paint it are protected by the First Amendment. We trust that the Volunteer community will take care of this quickly," it said.

Facebook and Twitter users responded to the message and the university's response saying UT should do more to address racism.


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Twitter begins enforcing new anti-hate speech rules

This seems pretty much in line with First Amendment law.  The interesting thing will be to see if abusive speech by Leftists towards conservatives and Christians will be blocked. I'm not holding my breath

On Monday, Twitter said it would begin enforcing new rules that were announced a month ago as a way to "reduce hateful and abusive content."

In particular, the new rules ban violent threats or even "wishing for serious physical harm." For now, the most prominent accounts that have been removed for running afoul of these rules were three affiliated with a far-right United Kingdom group known as "Britain First."

"Our hateful conduct policy and rules against abusive behavior prohibit promoting violence against or directly attacking or threatening other people on the basis of their group characteristics, as well as engaging in abusive behavior that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence another person’s voice," the company wrote in a Monday blog post.

The company went on to explain that its new policy includes any abusive language in the profile information of an account (in addition to applying to language used in tweets).


Texas restaurant mentions some unpopular history

The Lubbock food joint, Cook's Garage, has displayed the sign in the front of the restaurant that reads: 'Coon Chicken Inn' in the teeth of a black-faced man.

In a Thursday post, the restaurant explained the purpose of the sign they suggest is not intended to be offensive.

'We did not put this sign up to be derogatory, racist or to offend anyone. This is part of Americana History...just like everything else hung in our collection and buildings.

'Aunt Jemima, mammies, and lots of other black collectibles are highly sought after, as is Americana collectibles with white characters,' the post said.

'The Coon Chicken Inn was an actual restaurant started in the 20's. Again, we want to stress we do not intend to offend anyone, and are only preserving a part of history that should remind us all of the senselessness of racial prejudice.'

The restaurant, located on US Route 87, has 3.8 star reviews by Google users.

Some furious Facebook users responded to the restaurant's post in disgust.

One wrote, 'Maybe this part of 'Americana history' is absolute shit and shouldn't be memorialized?'

Another said: 'History is there to teach and learn from not to keep bringing up and keeping the hate alive.'


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Boston University professor claims Jingle Bells is RACIST because it was 'first performed in blackface and made fun of African-Americans'

From her Marxist language ("problematic role in the construction of blackness and whiteness"), she is clearly interested in destroying anything in society that she can.  It is not an honest critique

A professor has claimed that Jingle Bells has racist roots because it was first performed in blackface.

'The legacy of 'Jingle Bells' is one where its blackface and racist origins have been subtly and systematically removed from its history,' wrote Kyna Hamill, a Boston University theater historian, in a research paper that is making waves.

The claim has shocked fans of one of the world's most famous Christmas carols, long considered innocuous and inoffensive.

Hamill began researching the origins of Jingle Bells to help settle a dispute between Medford, Massachusetts and Savannah, Georgia - both of which claim to be the place where James Lord Pierpont composed the song.

In the course of her research, Hamill discovered a playbill indicating that Jingle Bells was first performed under the title One Horse Open Sleigh in blackface, for a minstrel show at Ordway Hall on Boston's Washington Street in 1857.

She wrote that traces of the song's blackface minstrel origins can be found in the music and lyrics, as well as the 'elements of "male display," boasting, and the unbridled behavior of the male body onstage'.

'Its origins emerged from the economic needs of a perpetually unsuccessful man, the racial politics of antebellum Boston, the city's climate, and the intertheatrical repertoire of commercial blackface performers moving between Boston and New York,' Hamill wrote in her paper.

'Although 'One Horse Open Sleigh,' for most of its singers and listeners, may have eluded its racialized past and taken its place in the seemingly unproblematic romanticization of a normal 'white' Christmas, attention to the circumstances of its performance history enables reflection on its problematic role in the construction of blackness and whiteness in the United States,' she wrote.

Her claims, published in September, have attracted furious reaction from some who see them as an attack on Christmas traditions.


The word "Christmas" is  now incorrect -- according to Australia's Green Party

A Greens senator has annoyed even his own supporters by posting an image with the word 'Christmas' scrubbed off a banner.

Nick McKim, his media adviser Patrick Caruana and fellow Tasmanian Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson stood in front of a modified 'Merry Christmas' sign, with the word 'Christmas' crossed out and replaced with, 'Non-denominational seasonal festivity'.

The Greens' attempt at trolling conservative Liberal Party politicians on Facebook appears to have annoyed even their own supporters, with one supporter of the far-left party expressing his annoyance.

'I'm a Green voter, an atheist and totally against all this 'religious freedom' bulls*** but can we stop with this PC crap?,' he said.

Senator McKim, a Hobart-based federal politician who had initially sought to annoy conservative Liberal senator Eric Abetz, copped a serve from Treasurer Scott Morrison.

'What a bunch of pathetic muppets,' the senior Liberal wrote on Facebook. 'The Greens are actually opposed to Christmas. For many millions of Australians Christmas is a very spiritual time of year and central to their religious faith.

'For members of parliament to treat this important religious occasion with such disrespect is as offensive as it is disappointing.'

Several other people also expressed their annoyance on Senator McKim's Facebook page. 'Attention seeking clowns,' one man wrote. 'Greens have nothing to add.' He added he was glad the Greens, who have 10 per cent support in the latest Newspoll, were a minority.


Monday, December 18, 2017

Donald Trump’s reported banning of seven words attacked by Democrats

He is clearly aware of devious use of language by Leftists and has given the CDC good advice not to use such language in budget documents that have to pass muster among Republican congressmen.  You can see how pro-life Republicans would bridle at any use of the word "fetus", for instance.  So the advice refers to budget documents only.  Note that even during the Obama administration, C.D.C. officials were required to clear most statements through Health and Human Services.

DONALD Trump has come under fire after reports emerged of his administration wanting to ban seven words from official budget documents.

Policy analysts from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reportedly told of how they are being told to stop using words including: “diversity,” “foetus,” “transgender,” “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “science-based” and “evidence-based.”

The CDC, a US federal agency, is America’s leading national public health institute.

The seven-word ban, reported by The Washington Post, came from a 90-minute briefing on Thursday this week.

They were reportedly given alternative words to use in some cases. According to The Washington Post, a source said that instead of using the words “evidence-based” or “science-based,” an analyst could say “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes.”

The source reportedly told The Washington Post that those in the briefing were shocked at the suggestion.

The words have reportedly been banned from documents that will come out in February next year.

However, Health and Human Services spokesman Matt Lloyd disputed The Washington Post report in a statement to CNN.

“The assertion that HHS has ‘banned words’ is a complete mischaracterization of discussions regarding the budget formulation process,” Lloyd said.

“HHS will continue to use the best scientific evidence available to improve the health of all Americans. HHS also strongly encourages the use of outcome and evidence data in program evaluations and budget decisions.”


Australia: "Incorrect" joke about disability car stickers

It's apparently incorrect to say that a disability is a disability

BENNELONG winner John Alexander is again in trouble from his idea of what’s funny.

What has offended was a disjointed story he told as he accepted victory last night. In his victory speech Saturday night he appeared to tell how he was entitled to an invalid’s parking sticker because of a sore back, even though he was ranked 14th tennis player in the world.

He said: “The doctor at the time said, ‘You have eligibility for a disability sticker’.

“I said, ‘I still have some pride.’ That was before I entered politics.”

Wheelchair Paralympian Kurt Fearnley was among those not impressed. “I’m not one to get offended, and I’m not offended. Cause I choose not to be offended by the ignorant,” tweeted Mr Fearnley.

“But I spend my life convincing disabled kids that they are awesome. Then they hear that. You’re kidding yourself if you think that language is OK.”


Sunday, December 17, 2017

Bank of England ditches gendered language

The old lady of Threadneedle Street might be no longer after the Bank of England promised to banish gendered language from its rulebooks.

The Bank, nicknamed The Old Lady for most of its 300-year history, will stop using masculine words such as "chairman" and "grandfathering" – a clause put in place between two sets of rules – in a bid to make sure its documents and letters are viewed as gender neutral.

Making the announcement in a 337-page update on the regulation of bank and insurance bosses, the plans also include changing how individuals are addressed as "his" or "her" in policy documents.

The proposals were made by the Bank's Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), which supervises banks and insurers and said the move reflected its "commitment to encourage equality and diversity at regulated firms".

It will pay a one-off cost to change the wording of the so-called senior managers regime, created last March to monitor senior bank staff in response to the financial crisis, the idea being to eventually make all documents gender neutral.


  Google Is Using Its Immense Power To Censor Content That Doesn’t Fit Its Political Goals

The Daily Caller released a funny video Tuesday of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai defending the commission’s upcoming net neutrality rollback. Through Wednesday and Thursday, liberals and others who dislike Pai’s political position lost their minds. And by Friday morning, Google, one of the most powerful companies on the planet, had censored the video based on a bogus claim from a politically motivated man.

It took seven crucial hours and the full force of our news site to push Google and YouTube to reverse this political censorship. We were able to prevail because of the sizable contacts and resources of TheDC. An average citizen showcasing a political viewpoint Google and the left disagreed with would almost certainly have had a far more difficult — and fruitless — time fighting back.

At TheDC, we knew that releasing a video of Pai fidget-spinning in a Santa suit, swinging lightsabers and playing with a puppy a day before the FCC’s net neutrality vote would ruffle some feathers. We were prepared for the hyperventilating over the video to reach a fever pitch as the Obama-era internet regulations were rolled back Thursday afternoon. Indeed, the video was viewed millions of times over a 24-hour period, was featured in a broad spectrum of news mediums, and spawned an avalanche of memes on Reddit.

In producing the video, we never advocated for Pai or the new net neutrality regulations, and you should check out our in-depth interview with him here on race and the internet. The video was meant to tell Pai’s version of the net neutrality battle in a non-traditional, non-linear way.

Unfortunately, the seething outrage over the net neutrality issue poisoned the well far beyond critics’ ability to appreciate parody. The video, and those featured in it, were viciously attacked. The “likes” to “dislikes” were comically ratioed, 5,000 to 144,000 at last count.


Friday, December 15, 2017

The curious case of “hate speech” at Buena Vista University

The case in question actually deals with an incident of racist and defamatory graffiti being sprayed on the dorm room doors of several students. That’s actually different from simple “speech” since it involved criminal mischief, which can blend into the “hate speech” arena depending on the circumstances.

    Buena Vista University insisted that hate speech is “potentially punishable under the law” in a Monday letter to students.

    The Iowa school made the statement in response to the drawing and writing of a racist slur and symbol on a student’s dorm. The university identified three black students, three white students and one Hispanic students as targets of the defacement, reported Des Moines Register.

    Student Alyssa Parker and her roommate found “n****r” written on their dorm door, as well as another black student’s door. She reported finding “illegal” on a Hispanic student’s door and a message consisting of a swastika and “KKK” on the door of a white student.

Look at the description of the graffiti which was sprayed on the dorm room doors. Some black students found the N-word sprayed on their door. Their neighbor, an Hispanic student, found “illegal” written on the door. If there’s some sort of racist on the loose and causing trouble, that all makes sense I suppose. But the third door to be tagged belonged to white students and the graffiti bandit wrote, “KKK” on it along with a swastika? Really?

What sort of white supremacist goes after the white students with accusations of being… a white supremacist? Are we to assume that the attacker just really hates everyone without bias or discrimination? Or perhaps we’re to believe that two different attackers hit the same set of rooms, one a racist who hates blacks and Hispanics, followed by a defender of tolerance who decided to join in on the spray painting action and target the white students?

Something doesn’t make sense here. We don’t have enough information to draw any firm conclusions in this specific case, but we do know that there has been something of a rash of fake hate crimes on college campuses and elsewhere lately.


Half of Americans approve of banning Nazi speech on campus, with definition of ‘Nazi’ expanding

Nearly half of Americans support banning Nazis and white supremacists from speaking on college campuses, a poll shows, but higher education critics warn that such a move would be imprudent and legally dubious.

The poll was sponsored by the documentary “No Safe Spaces,” featuring comedian Adam Carolla and radio host Dennis Prager on a tour of U.S. universities, and asked respondents to choose from a list of 12 groups that should not be allowed to speak on college campuses.

Forty-eight percent chose Nazis, 40 percent white supremacists, 32 percent Holocaust deniers and 24 percent communists.

Mr. Prager said the results demonstrate America’s increasing antipathy for the right of freedom of speech guaranteed in the First Amendment.

“The whole point of our Constitution, and of America itself, is that all speech — especially hate speech — is protected,” Mr. Prager said. “After all, love speech needs no protection. It’s precisely offensive speech that our founders intended to protect and that we are compelled to defend. I decided to participate in this film because if we don’t get this right, we will literally lose our country and our freedoms.

“Sadly, this poll reinforces the need for the film and for us to save our country from tyranny.”

Compared with the general public, millennials are only slightly more in favor of prohibiting people with unpopular beliefs from speaking on college campuses. Fifty percent of the up-and-coming generation said Nazis should not be permitted to speak at universities, compared with 48 percent of Generation X, 47 percent of baby boomers and 44 percent of those 72 and older.

Communism was the only ideology that millennials supported significantly more than their elders. Just 18 percent of millennials said proponents of communism should be barred from speaking on campus, compared with 26 percent of Gen X, 26 percent of baby boomers and 31 percent of the older generation.

Six percent of millennials and 6 percent of all respondents said political conservatives should be shunned from academia.

Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, said the poll may understate support for banning conservative speakers from college campuses. He said it’s not uncommon for those on the right to be branded as Nazis or white supremacists when they attempt to deliver lectures at colleges and universities.

Last month, for instance, protesters at the University of California Berkeley greeted Daily Wire editor Ben Shapiro, an Orthodox Jew, with chants of “Nazi, go home!”

“I suspect that the term ‘Nazi’ is received as having a much broader applicability than is appropriate,” Mr. Wood said. “Lots of people who may rightly be seen as on the political right are caricatured as Nazis.

“Nonetheless, banning Nazis is not consistent with the First Amendment and probably not consistent with most understandings of academic freedom,” he said.


Thursday, December 14, 2017

In the Pronoun Wars, Be Thankful for the Founding Fathers

It is sometimes astounding the kind of foresight the Founding Fathers had in protecting future generations from tyranny.

The current international push to criminalize free speech in the name of various social movements should make us thankful that we have the First Amendment. Most other nations, even in the Western world, don’t have nearly the codified protection of speech that we in America have.

Government control of speech in relation to gender has perhaps even deeper implications in the transgender debate, as some Western countries have taken to passing laws that effectively force citizens to use the pronoun of a person’s choice under the threat of fines, or even jail time.

One of the most far-reaching of these laws was passed in Canada earlier this year. It threatens people who refuse to use preferred or gender-neutral pronouns with legal punishment.

The law’s authors contend that it was created to prevent discrimination based on gender identity. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it a “critical extension of human rights.”

Of course, it’s really a bald assault on the individual right of free speech. As The Weekly Standard’s Max Diamond wrote:

Those who refuse to use gender neutral pronouns such as ‘they’ or ‘zi’ and ‘zir,’ or who oppose the notion that gender is subjectively determined, may find themselves facing the full force of federal law.

Alas, Canada has nothing like the First Amendment that would have cut off such a law at the knees. Such laws criminalizing speech are much more difficult to enact in the United States because of the First Amendment.

Of course, getting smacked down in court hasn’t stopped some states from pushing the envelope. The New York City Commission on Human Rights adopted legal guidance in 2016 that threatened employers with fines of up to $125,000 for refusing to use a person’s preferred pronoun, and up to $250,000 for such “violations that are the result of willful, wanton, or malicious conduct.”

In October, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law that criminalizes using the wrong pronoun to identify a transgender person in a nursing home. This law even puts jail time on the table for repeat violators of the law.

But as Hans Bader, an attorney for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, wrote, laws that force individuals to use pronouns will likely be ruled in violation of the First Amendment by the Supreme Court.

One of the greatest gifts that the First Amendment and the culture of free speech has given the United States is our ability to deconstruct lies through free debate and dissent.

The Founders didn’t write free speech protections into the Constitution because they thought all speech would be good, or even truthful. No—the goal was to allow us all to rigorously pursue the truth. They placed more confidence in the people to find the truth out of a cacophony of views than in the government to be neutral in enforcing speech laws.

These latest Orwellian attempts to force people to use certain pronouns is exactly the kind of governmental overreach the Founders feared.

Laws designed to crack down on speech, or compel individuals to say things they don’t believe out of punishment, are not simply oppressive—they obscure reality itself and the possibility of debating, and finding, truth.


Hate Crime Hoax Hits U.S. Navy

A sailor posted pictures of racist slurs in his rack aboard a carrier, but the Navy found he did it himself

Another hate crime hoax hits the military, this time aboard the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush. Recall just last month the U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School concluded that racial slurs found written on dormitory message boards were a hoax. This time in the Navy, a 27-year-old black seaman posted photos on social media showing his rack covered in trash and scrawled with racial slurs. Along with the photos, he posted the comment, “I proudly serve the Navy and this is what I’m receiving in return.” His message was posted in November, after which the Navy investigated and on Friday determined that the alleged racist incident was a hoax.

Cmdr. Dave Hecht, a spokesman for Naval Air Force Atlantic, wrote in an email, “A NCIS-supported command investigation following claims of racially-motivated vandalism aboard the [carrier] has determined that the alleged victim staged the incident himself.” Hecht added, “The United States Navy does not tolerate racial discrimination of any form and the well-being of our Sailors is our top priority.” Hecht did not identify the sailor but said that he had “received appropriate administrative actions and additional counseling and training. He will remain a member of the crew and continue to perform his military duties.”

The sailor denied that he staged the vandalism and claimed that NCIS had not done a thorough investigation. “I have nothing to gain from doing such an incident but I have everything to lose,” he insisted. “I constantly have to look who’s giving me the side eye.” In a culture that praises victims of racism and elevates them to a privileged status, is it any wonder that an increasing number of supposedly racially motivated “hate crimes” are proving to be hoaxes?


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

UK Christian street preacher found not guilty of hate speech against Muslims

A U.K. Christian street preacher accused by Muslims of hate speech and convicted by a lower court has had the ruling overturned by a higher court this week.

Daniel Courney, 33, was convicted by Lincoln Magistrates Court in September of using “threatening and discriminatory language” while preaching in Lincoln in June.

Courney, an American missionary who served in the United States military and has been a missionary in Nepal and India for 8 years, preached a message of repentance and of the need to believe in Jesus Christ to be saved. 

A Muslim woman and her family who heard Courney’s message on the street claimed the preacher singled them out and called them “ISIS” and told them to “go back to your country.” The Muslims reported the matter to police who arrested the preacher.

Courney denied the allegations. Despite this, however, he was charged under Section 5 of the Public Order Act with using “threatening or abusive words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress.”

Lincolnshire Live reported that Adrian Clark, a friend of Courney, posted on Facebook in September that the judge who found him guilty was biased against the Christian message of salvation only through Jesus Christ.

“The judge was an impassioned multi-culturalist. He seemed antagonistic to the one person publically declaring another’s religious beliefs as being wrong,” Courney’s friend wrote.

“He trusted the prosecution witnesses despite their glaring inconsistencies. Despite Daniel being a man who serves his community in India and Nepal without fear or favour … and courageously protected a Muslim from being beaten in Bristol, this seemed to have had no bearing on the judge’s finding,” the friend added.

During the appeal, the Christian Legal Centre’s solicitor Michael Phillips argued that  English law provides Courney with the freedom to preach Christianity, and that this has been successfully upheld for many years.

The Crown Court judge agreed and overturned the conviction.


Free Speech in Trouble

Never in the history of the United States has the right of “freedom of speech” been so challenged as in the last decade or so.  If you have an opinion that does not comply with a certain group or groups, you might become subject of abuse, censorship, and even threats of physical harm.  The sector of the population most susceptible to this denial of free speech are the conservatives and people of religious faith, who have been targeted for repression of their views, thoughts, and ideas. 

A perfect example is the recently admitted IRS (Internal Revenue Service) attacks against conservative groups prior to the 2012 election.  After repeated lawsuits, the IRS finally has agreed that they “illegally” targeted these groups and have now agreed to reimburse these conservative groups for the IRS harassment of denying or delaying their petitions for tax exempt status. 

But, there have been no meaningful penalties against the perpetrators of this prejudicial action, including the past IRS supervisor, Lois Lerner, who got away “scot free” and was allowed to retire with a very nice government pension.

Very seldom, if any, do you read about conservatives (or Republicans) shutting down a liberal speaker, it is always the other way around ( ex:  Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Dinesh D’Souza, Alan Derschowitz (a Democrat and supporter of Israel), Pamela Geller, and certain authors of controversial books that the left has deemed unacceptable).

The word “racist” is being used constantly by the “liberal left” as a catchphrase for anybody whose views are deviating from the accepted liberal playbook.  Two of the greatest practitioners of using the word “racist” are the two liberal “race-baiters”, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, both Democrats, who are masters of the “racial shakedown”.  These phony “civil rights” leaders are nothing but con artists and shakedown specialists.  Their glory days were during the 8 years of the Obama Administration, as they both had unlimited access to the White House.  Now, with President Trump, residing in the White House, they don’t have that access or platform to further their “race hustling”.


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Was the rioting that greeted Trump's inauguration Free Speech?

The heading on the report excerpted below was "Inside The Trial That Could Determine The Future Of Free Speech In America's Capital".  But the trial has got nothing to do with free speech.  The defendants are being charged with deliberate property destruction -- which only a Leftist would call free speech

Macchio is one of six individuals currently on trial in the nation’s capital, facing felony charges that could potentially land them in federal prison for decades, or at the very least leave them with felony convictions that would stunt their career prospects and deprive them of certain rights.

Another 181 individuals are facing felony trials in the coming year, though the ultimate resolution of a large number of those cases could depend on how this first trial plays out. Twenty other defendants arrested that day have already pleaded guilty, but just one defendant pleaded guilty to a felony. Seven others facing misdemeanors are scheduled for a trial by judge.

The charges all stem from a mass arrest conducted by police in downtown D.C. aimed at a group of marchers that included anti-capitalists, anti-fascists and anarchists under the umbrella of an organization called DisruptJ20.

Police had kept an eye on what demonstrators had planned that day, sending an undercover officer into a planning meeting where an organizer said their goal was to “make inauguration a giant clusterfuck.” Things quickly got out of control once the group left their gathering point in Logan Circle, with individuals from within the group of mostly black-clad demonstrators breaking store windows, throwing newspaper boxes, spray-painting cars, smashing parking meters and hurling rocks at officers.

In her opening statement in the trial on Nov. 20, Kerkhoff repeatedly referred to a “sea of black masks” that caused destruction that day. The possession or wearing of black clothing has become a central aspect of the prosecution’s case. During one day of the trial, she held up a skull cap featuring an image of a skull that was seized from defendant Christina Simmons, a 20-year-old from Maryland who offered snacks from her backpack to officers who processed her, according to her defense attorney.

Jurors have heard from numerous business owners and employees who had their property damaged by members of the group that day. They’ve also heard from numerous police officers about the chaos they encountered, including an officer injured as he tried to apprehend an individual who threw a patio chair at his colleague.

What jurors haven’t heard, and prosecutors don’t intend to offer, is evidence that any of the six individuals currently on trial ― Macchio, Simmons, Jennifer Armento, Oliver Harris, Brittne Lawson and Alexei Wood ― actually engaged in any property damage or violence. Under the government’s theory of the case, in which anyone arrested in the group is part of a conspiracy and is responsible for any actions taken by others, the lack of individualized wrongdoing doesn’t matter.

Prosecutors have charged all six with eight charges, including six felonies. If convicted, they’d be exposed to a potential maximum sentence of more than 60 years in federal prison (though such an extreme sentence is extraordinarily unlikely).

“Each of them made a choice, and each of them played a role,” Kerkhoff told jurors in her opening statement. “You don’t personally have to be the one who breaks the window to be guilty of rioting.”


Public disrespect for flag among footballers: Hate speech?

The most recent actions undertaken by a Muslim college basketball player during the national anthem has now raised the stakes to a level that must be challenged. While doubtful the player, Rasool Samir, was acting in a show of unity with the NFL protesters, it is clear he saw their disrespect of the flag as a vehicle for providing him the opportunity to denigrate the flag even further.

As players on the Garden City Community College team halted their warmup to stand silent for the anthem, Samir continued warming-up and throwing jump shots. His actions in doing so come into better focus when one considers his Islamic beliefs. He adhered to a teaching of his religion one is not to render reverence to any un-Islamic symbol, even if the non-Muslim culture demands it.

Although Samir later apologized, he subsequently was kicked off the team. The ACLU has now taken up the player's cause and will undoubtedly claim he was simply exercising his freedom of religion.

The law is fairly clear now concerning the conditions under which religious practices are constitutional. Requirements are participation must be voluntary for students and there can be no involvement by school officials - i.e., the religious activity must be student-led.

It would appear, based on the above, a good argument might exist that Samir was simply exercising his freedom of religion. Hopefully, however, a court would see his behavior did not involve exercising a religious practice per se but, rather, egregiously rebuking a non-Islamic symbol by poking non-Muslims in the eye to underscore Islam's superiority. In effect, Samir's behavior was hate speech with his conduct making him a public nuisance as well. Such behavior deserves to be banned.

An earlier case testing a religious group's beliefs being able to interfere with others engaging in an activity demanding dignified reverence involved the Westboro Baptist Church. The church's ideology includes a belief homosexuality is a sin. When LGBT people were allowed into the military, church members began protesting at military funerals. They shouted inflammatory comments, thanking God for dead soldiers - which they claimed were a consequence of His vengeance for this military policy. Their comments constituted hate speech. The courts eventually ordered such protests at military funerals be conducted 500-feet away so as to maintain reverence for the solemn occasion.

Samir's behavior during the playing of the national anthem achieved no positive religious purpose. It was done, as his religion allows, to disrespect a non-Islamic symbol. Disguised as a religious practice, his behavior was to serve as a poke-in-the-eye of all patriotic Americans in an effort to assert Islam's alleged superiority. As such, his behavior fell into the same category as that of the Westboro Baptist Church. Samir's behavior, like that exhibited by Westboro Baptist Church members, was purely and simply hate speech.

School authorities hopefully will take a stand against Samir in the event the ACLU decides to take legal action on his behalf. Failure to do so opens the door to a wide range of opportunities for Muslims to assert their perceived superiority of Islam over Western values. The end result will be to maximize Islamic culture at the expense of ours. Successfully doing so would put yet another feather in the cap of that religion's proclaimed strategy of using our laws against us to further implementation of their laws here.


Monday, December 11, 2017

Coerced speech in Minnesota

A federal district court already has ruled that a Minnesota filmmaker may not violate the state's human rights law by refusing to film gay weddings.

Carl and Angel Larsen, who own Telescope Media in St. Cloud, have argued in court that a state law barring discrimination violates their constitutional right to free expression.

"Telescope Media Group exists to glorify God through top quality media production,” Carl Larsen says in a video produced by Alliance Defending Freedom, or ADF. “I want to tell marriage stories. I want to tell stories about the glory of God in marriage."

Larsen and his wife Angel have appealed the ruling against their company, but Minnesota officials argue the case should wait to see what the U.S. Supreme Court decides.

The high court heard arguments Tuesday in a case filed by a gay couple in Colorado who were refused service by a wedding cake baker.

In Alliance Defending Freedom videos, attorney Jeremy Tedesco says both the Colorado baker and the Minnesota videographer have the right to express themselves in their work.

"The Minnesota Human Rights Department has said that state law requires them to create films celebrating same sex marriages if they create films celebrating marriage between a man and a woman,” Tedesco points out. “And that's something that violates Carl and Angel's beliefs.”

The U.S. Department of Justice has sided in the case with Alliance Defending Freedom, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as a hate group.


Scientists censor term ‘climate change’ to save public funding

Scientists are increasingly omitting the term “climate change” in public grant proposals to avoid funding cuts from the Trump administration, according to a recent NPR analysis — a trend some Boston University researchers said they have noticed.

An analysis of National Science Foundation grants awarded in 2017 revealed a 40 percent decrease in the use of the term “climate change” and an increase in replacement phrases like “extreme weather” and “environmental change,” according to the NPR report.

The recent trend of using euphemisms for the term “climate change” can in part be attributed to the skeptical approach the Trump administration has taken toward environmental science issues and research, some researchers said. The NPR article notes that climate change was the only research area singled out by name for reduction in Trump’s budget proposal.

Michael Dietze, a professor in BU’s earth and environment department, explained that although research spending has been restricted for scientists for over a decade, this administration has been the first to target work on climate change by cutting funding for specific programs.

“It wasn’t a minor cut — whole programs were zeroed out in the budget across multiple agencies,” Dietze wrote in an email. “In some instances Trump’s proposed budget increased spending in other areas so that the total budget of a specific agency does not change.”

Dietze also explained that he has not yet seen direct political interference in how agencies distribute grant funding, but fear of political bias has caused scientists to resort to euphemisms instead of being outright about their efforts to study climate change. Because of that fear, he wrote, the trend of omitting the term “climate change” in public grant summaries is likely to increase.

“There’s every sign that it will get worse,” Dietze wrote. “Many of the grants awarded in 2017 are based on proposals written in 2016 before the election — what we’re seeing now may be the tip of the iceberg.”

Mark Friedl, professor and interim chair of the earth and environment department, said he has discussed the omission of the term “climate change” in public research with his colleagues, but he feels the greater issue is “decreased funding and support for science and research in general.”

“There has been discussion about this among the [earth and environment] faculty,” Freidl said. “The current administration and Congress [don’t] seem to place any value whatsoever on this notion of science as an important element of society.”

Friedl said the best thing research institutions like BU can do in response to this trend is to “just keep doing our science and keep providing that clear, empirical, sensible evidence of what we see is happening on the planet.”

“The choice of a single word isn’t really what dictates the merit of a proposed science project,” he said. “The best thing we can do is to keep working on doing good science and objective science and defensible science, and in the end, truth will prevail.”


Sunday, December 10, 2017

The radical right is using 'free speech' to help them destroy democracy (?)

The big Zapper (Chris Zappone) argues below that some speech can destroy democracy.  But he fails to identify a single anti-democratic utterance coming from those he disapproves of.  What, for instance has Milo Yiannopoulos said that undermines democracy? Nothing that I have heard.

So Zappone relies on mischaracterizations in the routine Leftist way.  He says the "Alt-Right" groups he disapproves of advocate racial superiority.  Yet the most prominent spokesman of such groups -- Yiannopoulos -- is married to an African man.  Not much white supremacism or racism there!

He also refers to restrictions on immigration from some Muslim countries as undermining democracy.  How?  How does that prevent the existing population from voting?  Most countries have immigration restrictions.  Are they all undemocratic? 

Perhaps most amusingly, the Zapper says that "actions to divide and drive wedges into society overall" are an antidemocratic  conspiracy.  Some of  the wedges driven into American society by Obama (as seen in the upsurge of black crime under Obama) must therefore be antidemocratic conspiracies too.  I am inclined to agree that Obama has been anti-democratic -- but not for reasons quoted by the Zapper -- Obama's reliance on regulations rather than law, for instance

Basically, the zapper seems to be defining democracy as "arrangements that I approve of".  He shows no connection at all between current alt-Right public utterances and any threat to selective voting. He just asserts it. He has no intellectual depth whatever.  But what do we expect from a Fairfax journalist?

The great destroyers of democracy have been socialists such as Lenin, Hitler and Mao -- and the Alt-Right are enemies of socialism

Somewhat lost in the chaos of the past year is a shift in language that has profound implications for open democracies.

Fringe extremists, nationalists and racist groups have tried to portray their cause as a battle for "free speech."

The most famous example, so far, has been the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in which alt-right and other extreme right groups gathered, in an event that turned violent, leaving one counter demonstrator dead.

Some of Milo Yiannopoulos' most provocative events have been staged under the banner of "free speech," a claim repeated to defend his visit to Australia.

Part of today's political crisis stems from this cultivated confusion that conflates freedom of expression with extremist ideas such as racial superiority, or blanket bans on people based on their religion (as long as it's Islam).

Ideas, in other words, that are frankly incompatible with a modern democracy.

People are free to argue whatever idea they please – that's free speech. But if they're using the idea of free speech as a shield for actions to divide and drive wedges into society overall, it's conspiracy.

More here

You have to BUY free speech in the Australian State of Victoria?

I can hardly believe how far left Victoria is veering: State police charging a conservative to protect him from Leftists. Charging protection money is what criminals do. The next step is refusing protection and letting harm happen. 

The whole rationale for government is that there are some things that should not be user-pays, but which the State should pay, like roads and infrastructure, defence, police, search and rescue, and emergency services, certain amenities ... etc. If the police don't think it is part of their job to prevent criminal assault, what are they good for?

The only consolation is that this is probably a try-on

THE ORGANISER behind controversial Milo Yiannopoulos’ Melbourne event is refusing to cough up $50,000 to cover the cost of police after a violent protest broke out.

Penthouse publisher Damien Costas, the man who organised Milo Yiannopoulos’s tour, told 3AW he had no intention of paying the five-figure bill from Victoria Police, following the Kensington clash.

“I can’t imagine we would (pay the larger bill),” he said. “In Melbourne they were talking about a user pays model but a particular sergeant at our head of security we were dealing with said ‘We’d like you to pay for the barriers, bollards etc’.”

“I think the entire thing was about five or $6000.” “I paid what I was asked to pay. Anything over and above that we can determine.” “This is actually asking the victim to pay the bill.”

He said user-pay models were discussed in every state and he’d paid about $9000 for police in the Gold Coast and nothing in New South Wales.

Supporters of the far-Right figure were involved in violent clashes with left-wing protesters on Monday night in Kensington.
Hundreds of police were called in with some using capsicum spray to subdue rioters.

Mr Costas said the 3000 attendees didn’t do anything wrong rather those uninvited threw rocks.

Police Minister Lisa Neville told the radio station on Wednesday the event’s promoters would have to foot the bill, which would be at least $50,000. She said billing event organisers for police resources was commonplace.

“For these sort of rallies, but also for the AFL and those big events there is an agreement around the costs,” she said. Ms Neville said she was confident Mr Yiannopoulos would cough up.
“(It’s a) big call to say you’re going to ignore a bill from Victoria Police,” she said.

Mr Costas said the police presence was executed with “military precision” and there were also 70 security guards at the event.


Friday, December 08, 2017

Black hate-speech censored

The outrage du jour is a newspaper column entitled “Your DNA is an Abomination” published by a student newspaper at Texas State University.

The column was taken down from the newspaper’s website. It should not have been. How can the rest of us assess its arguments absent an authoritative version of the writing? The student body president has called for defunding the student newspaper. He should not be advocating punishing speech he does not like. A few hundred people have signed an online petition calling for the paper to be defunded.

Texas State President Denise M. Trauth has said the column was “racist” and said its themes were “abhorrent.” So far so good. She is responding to speech with more speech. But she also said, “I expect student editors to exercise good judgment in determining the content that they print.” That is a sensible view but also could be taken as a threat.

The author apparently wrote:

    "Ontologically speaking, white death will mean liberation for all. To you good-hearted liberals, apathetic nihilists and right-wing extremists: accept this death as the first step toward defining yourself as something other than the oppressor. Until then, remember this: I hate you because you shouldn’t exist. You are both the dominant apparatus on the planet and the void in which all other cultures, upon meeting you, die".


Cloudflare’s CEO has a plan to never censor hate speech again

Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince hated cutting off service to the infamous neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer in August. And he's determined not to do it again.

"I'm almost a free-speech absolutist." Prince said at an event at the New America Foundation last Wednesday. But in a subsequent interview with Ars, Prince argued that in the case of the Daily Stormer, the company didn't have much choice.

Cloudflare runs a popular content delivery network that specializes in protecting clients from distributed denial-of-service attacks. The Daily Stormer published a post mocking a woman who was killed during the white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia in August. That had made a lot of people angry at the Daily Stormer, attracting massive attacks on the site.

The Stormer was a Cloudflare customer. Cloudflare had ample technical resources to battle DDOS attacks. The problem was that other Cloudflare customers started calling and threatening to cancel their service if Cloudflare didn't cut the Daily Stormer off.

"The pressure to take it down just kept building and building," Prince told Ars. "We thought that was the wrong policy. We reached out to various civil libertarian organizations and said we need some air cover here. People said 'we'd rather not stick our necks out on this issue.'"

So, Prince said, "we needed to change the conversation."

Why Cloudflare is cultivating free-speech allies

Prince's response was to cut Daily Stormer off while laying the groundwork to make sure he'd never have to make a decision like that again. In a remarkable company-wide email sent shortly after the decision, Prince described his own actions as "arbitrary" and "dangerous."

"I woke up this morning in a bad mood and decided to kick them off the Internet," Prince wrote in August. "It was a decision I could make because I'm the CEO of a major Internet infrastructure company." He argued that "it's important that what we did today not set a precedent."

Prior to August, Cloudflare had consistently refused to police content published by its customers.

Last week, Prince made a swing through DC to help ensure that the Daily Stormer decision does not, in fact, set a precedent. He met with officials from the Federal Communications Commission and with researchers at the libertarian Cato Institute and the left-of-center New America Foundation—all in an effort to ensure that he'd have the political cover he needed to say no next time he came under pressure to take down controversial content.

The law is strongly on Cloudflare's side here. Internet infrastructure providers like Cloudflare have broad legal immunity for content created by their customers. But legal rights may not matter if Cloudflare comes under pressure from customers to take down content. And that's why Prince is working to cultivate a social consensus that infrastructure providers like Cloudflare should not be in the censorship business—no matter how offensive its customers' content might be.


Thursday, December 07, 2017

White supremacists hang banners, give Nazi salute on SMU campus

Hard to know how much of this is just a provocation by Leftists

Members of a white supremacist group hung banners and fliers on Southern Methodist University's campus over the weekend.

The group, Texas Vanguard, also posted photos Sunday on Twitter of masked members giving Nazi salutes around the campus Saturday night.

One of the banners, which The Daily Campus student newspaper reported was hung at a gate to the lacrosse field, read: "White Men! Save your people. Reject the opioid beast!"

A flier posted in the Owens Arts Center said gays and lesbians have "misplaced pride." Another posted outdoors read "No more tolerance, no more diversity" and claimed that "the only solution is white revolution."

University president R. Gerald Turner denounced the banners and fliers and said school police were investigating.

"While SMU strongly supports freedom of speech and expression, the outside group featured on these signs promotes an abhorrent message that is opposite to SMU values," he wrote in a campuswide email, The Daily Campus reported.

People under the names Texas Vanguard, Vanguard America and American Vanguard have posted similar racist and homophobic signs at college campuses around Texas — including the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of North Texas — since the beginning of the year.

Last year, fliers titled "Why white women shouldn't date black men" were posted several places on SMU's campus.


Facebook bans women who post 'all men are scum' on hate speech grounds

About time.  If conservatives are accused of hate speech every time they disagree with the Left, it is about time that the real and virulent hate speech emanating from feminists and other Leftists gets banned too.  What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander -- as the old proverb says

Facebook has been banning women from its site for posting “hate speech” against men.

Hundreds of women who had their comments removed were taking part in the #MeToo campaign, a movement which started to stand up to sexual harassment in the wake of the scandals sweeping across Hollywood and other industries.

The bans came despite the fact that Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg wrote a Facebook post warning of the potential backlash women could face in light of the emerging scandals.

A number of women have come forward to stand up to the ban which also saw protesters who wrote “men are scum” have their posts removed.

Female comedian Marcia Belsky, was banned in October for 30 days after posting “men are scum” on her friend Nicole Silverberg’s photo album. The album detailed the abuse that Ms Silverberg had received after writing a list of ways in which men can treat women better.

Speaking to the Daily Dot, Ms Belsky said that it was not the first time she had been banned from Facebook for similar infractions.

Ms Belsky joins a whole host of women who have been banned from the site following similar incidences.

Fellow comedian Kayla Avery has been banned almost 10 times by Facebook. One of the first times she was banned was when she responded to male trolls who continued to harass her through her Facebook page using derogatory and sexist terms.


Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Ivanka Trump is accused of cultural appropriation after she donned a series of Oriental-style gowns during her solo trip to India

They would have been inspirational on Mrs Obama of course -- despite the fact that anything would look better on Ivanka.

I know nothing about fashion but my fashion adviser tells me that brightly coloured patterns such as Ivanka wore are in fact currently fashionable -- so the criticism was gratuitous. Just nasty politics

Ivanka Trump's fashion choices were slammed by an Indian news outlet who called her attire a 'superficial assimilation' of their culture.

The First Daughter and businesswoman was enrobed in an ivy green and yellow Oriental-style dress at a entrepreneurship summit during her trip to the country this week.

Along with the pricey $3,500 Erdem Geneva floral print gown, Trump also wore a $3,498 blue and gold Tory Burch ensemble with similar patterns.

The Daily O lambasted the Burch number and described it to be 'the 'me-too' of a Kashmiri pheran for the prime minister's banquet at the Taj Falaknuma Palace.'

While speaking at an event in Hyderabad, a city longtime known for pearl trading, the President's advisor displayed a black and pearl embroidered Tory Burch 'Sylvia' jacket.

'It referenced India with the embroidery, but in reality looked like a cheap brand ripping off designer Rahul Mishra,' the Daily O said of the jacket.

Also in Hyderabad, Trump wore a printed Saloni Lodha red and black ensemble with frilly sleeves.


What the Constitution says about cakes and compelled speech

by Jeff Jacoby

ON TUESDAY, the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission ­— the case of the same-sex wedding cake and the baker who refused to make it. A state agency ruled that the baker, Jack Phillips, was in violation of Colorado's antidiscrimination laws, and decreed that if he wishes to create wedding cakes at all, he must create them for same-sex weddings too.

But Masterpiece Cakeshop is not about gay marriage. It's about compelled speech.

The Supreme Court settled the marriage issue in its landmark Obergefell decision in 2015. Gay and lesbian couples are free to marry anywhere in the United States, and government at every level now protects their right to do so. But can government require artists, designers, or other creative professionals to celebrate same-sex marriage through their work? Can it subject someone like Phillips — who will happily serve any customer but cannot in good conscience use his cake-design skills to communicate an endorsement of gay marriage — to prosecution, sanctions, or legal coercion?

Most Americans support same-sex marriage. A sizable minority does not. In Obergefell, the high court emphasized that dissent is entirely legitimate. "Many who deem same-sex marriage to be wrong reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises, and neither they nor their beliefs are disparaged here," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in his majority opinion. While same-sex couples would no longer be barred from marrying, he added, nothing should impede the continuation of "an open and searching debate."

Were the justices serious about that? If so — if they truly don't want the legalization of same-sex weddings to become an excuse to persecute "decent and honorable" Americans who oppose gay marriage — they will use this case to say so. They'll reverse the decision of the Colorado courts, and uphold Phillips's right not to support a practice he believes is wrong.

For Kennedy in particular, this case offers an exquisite opportunity to uphold two cherished principles: first, that the benefits of marriage not be denied on the basis of sexual orientation, and second, that liberty is threatened most when government seeks to control thought or speech.

In America, the state cannot force citizens to express a certain point of view. In 1943, in one of its most famous decisions, the Supreme Court ruled that West Virginia schoolchildren could not be compelled to salute the flag: "If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation," Justice Robert Jackson declared, "it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein."

But is refusing to create a custom-designed wedding cake, a skeptic might ask, really comparable to not saluting the flag? After all, the latter is an explicit demonstration of political loyalty; the cake is just — dessert.

Yet by that logic, a painting is just décor. A song is just entertainment. Calligraphy is just fancy lettering.

That's a dangerous argument — dangerous to the liberty of mind and conscience that the First Amendment shields. One of the many friend-of-the-court briefs filed in this case was submitted by 479 creative professionals representing all 50 states; the group comprises musicians, florists, videographers, ceramic artists, calligraphers, graphic designers, cartoonists, sculptors, and painters. Their brief urges the high court to defend the First Amendment rights of "artistic expression — regardless of the medium employed." They make a vital point: Viewpoints and messages can be expressed in many forms, and the Bill of Rights protects them all.

This isn't a new idea in First Amendment jurisprudence. The Supreme Court itself underscored it in a landmark case out of Boston — the 1995 St. Patrick's Day parade controversy.

In Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Group of Boston, the justices ruled unanimously that the parade's organizers, a South Boston veterans council, could not be compelled to include an LGBT group seeking to express pride in both its Irish heritage and its gay identity. The First Amendment trumped the state's antidiscrimination statute, the court held, and the government could not force the veterans to express, through their parade, a message they didn't agree with.

Hurley is the precedent most directly applicable to the case before the court this week, both for its resounding rejection of compelled speech and for its insistence that expression is not limited to writing and speaking.

"The Constitution looks beyond written or spoken words as mediums of expression," Hurley affirmed. "Our cases have recognized that the First Amendment shields such acts as saluting a flag (and refusing to do so), wearing an armband to protest a war, displaying a red flag, and even . . . displaying the swastika." The Constitution doesn't protect only banners and speeches; otherwise, the First Amendment "would never reach the unquestionably shielded painting of Jackson Pollock, music of Arnold Schoenberg, or Jabberwocky verse of Lewis Carroll."

Or the custom-designed edible artwork of baker Jack Phillips.

One needn't share Phillips's opinion of gay marriage to support his right to unmolested freedom of expression. Indeed, some groups that vigorously oppose his beliefs about matrimony have filed amicus briefs on his behalf. The right to have views that others don't share, they know, is a quintessential American liberty.

And the right not to be prosecuted for expressing those opinions is another.


Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Australia: Club owner removes pizza ad after complaints to the Advertising Standards Bureau

The dishy club owner

A STRIP club owner has been forced to remove an advertisement from one of Brisbane’s busiest train stations after the advertising watchdog found it debased women by comparing pizzas to breasts.

Owner of The Grosvenor topless bar and strip club Jasmine Robson was stunned by the decision from the Advertising Standards Bureau who received complaints about the ad.

The poster shows two pizzas with pepperoni clustered in their centres under the words: “Pizzas or Jugs? Grab both for just $25”.

Ms Robson said the ads were displayed in Central Station recently, but were due to be removed yesterday following the ASB’s finding.

“Now I think this is political correctness/censorship gone absolutely mad,” she said.

“I am shocked that the ASB would determine that this ad is exploitative or demeaning to women in any way, especially considering there isn’t even a woman on the billboard.”

In their ruling, the ASB noted the image used in the ad was of a picture of pizzas with “strategically placed pepperoni for the purpose of creating the impression of breasts with pronounced nipples”.

“The Board noted the placement of the pizzas side by side was an element also adding to the suggestion that the pizzas were a depiction of breasts,” they found.

“The Board considered the use of the term pizzas or jugs and noted that the colloquial definition for jugs can include breasts.

The ASB found that the representation of womens’ breasts as pizzas did reduce women to an object which was exploitative by way of purposefully debasing women.