Thursday, May 31, 2018

British government attack on free speech for teachers

The Leftie Tories have launched another attack in their relentless war on conservatives with their new guidance to independent schools on what ‘values’ teachers may and may not mention in the classroom.

Schools and teachers are advised that they will be failed by Ofsted if they even suggest that they do not agree with same-sex marriage or civil partnerships. This new rule is buried in section 20 of a long document entitled The Independent Schools Standards: Advice for Independent Schools. It establishes a chilling principle: if you disagree with the government or do not toe the politically correct line, you will be out of a job.

It should never be a requirement that a person must agree with a particular law or idea in any circumstance. One of the fundamental purposes of freedom of speech is that all citizens are allowed to freely debate and discuss any laws, ideas, theories and literature. Freedom of speech should be allowed for teachers, and especially those in faith schools who would be prevented from teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman according to the tenets of the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, Baha’i and many other faiths.

If it were a requirement to agree with any or all existing laws, Parliament would grind to a halt as MPs could not debate or amend any existing laws. The whole campaign for Brexit would also be illegal, as it requires opposition to the European Communities Act 1972.

This government is highly duplicitous. Its modus operandi is to make an announcement one day which sounds conservative. As soon as this happens, however, you can be sure that it will say or do something else ten times worse in the other direction.

It would be easy to dismiss these new guidelines for independent schools and think ‘this only affects independent schools’ or ‘it doesn’t really matter’ or ‘this is not something I’m bothered about so it won’t affect me’. Yet one action leads to another and another, and before you know it freedom of speech will have been removed entirely.

As Edmund Burke said: ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’


Must not attribute intelligent ape ancestry to any black

But you can call George Bush a chimp

ABC has canceled its hit reboot Roseanne, and lead Roseanne Barr has been dropped by her agency after the actress sent a racist tweet about former Obama White House adviser Valerie Jarrett on Tuesday.

Barr's comment, which has now been deleted, was sent in response to a tweet that accused Jarrett of helping "hide" misdeeds for the Obama administration.

"muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj,” Barr wrote, using Jarrett's initials. Jarrett, 61, is African American and worked for Obama from 2009 to 2017.

Barr apologized for the tweet, describing it as "a bad joke."

"I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans. I am truly sorry for making a bad joke about her politics and her looks," Barr said. "I should have known better. Forgive me — my joke was in bad taste."


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Binghamton University, State University of New York: Campus police surveil students, threaten prosecution over anti-racism flyers

On March 28, 2018, a group of Binghamton University, State University of New York (SUNY Binghamton) students posted approximately 200 flyers in the university’s Downtown Center. The flyers criticized the administration’s response to recent incidents of perceived racist expression on campus.

A campus police officer stopped a student posting flyers and questioned him about them, claiming that he had broken state law. Campus police later announced that an investigation had been opened into the flyers.

The students then began distributing flyers directly outside the Downtown Center and were interrupted by a campus police officer again, who explained that “people came to [him] and were offended by” their flyers. He went on to warn the students that they would be asked to stop distributing flyers if their recipients littered them.

FIRE wrote to SUNY Binghamton President Harvey G. Stenger on April 18, asking the university to end its investigation immediately and ensure that campus police officers receive proper training on students’ right to distribute expressive materials on campus.


University of Kentucky goes totalitarian

Adopts Soviet style policy

The University of Kentucky’s Bias Incident Response Team threatens to seriously chill freedom of speech for the university’s more than 30,000 students and faculty. Bias response teams like Kentucky’s are burgeoning on campuses around the country. As FIRE exclusively reported in 2017, hundreds of universities nationwide now maintain these Orwellian systems, which ask students to report — often anonymously — their neighbors, friends, and professors for any instances of biased speech and expression. Currently, of the 467 colleges and universities rated in FIRE’s Spotlight database, 153 of them — roughly one third of schools — have bias reporting policies, along with many other institutions nationwide. One such policy, at the University of Michigan, is currently the subject of a First Amendment challenge in federal court.

The University of Kentucky’s policy highlights the threats to free speech and freedom of conscience posed by these comprehensive campus systems.

First, the term “bias incident” is defined so broadly as to include large amounts of constitutionally protected speech. The University of Kentucky defines a bias incident as “[a]ny activity that intimidates, demeans, mocks, degrades, marginalizes, or threatens individuals or groups” based on a wide range of personal characteristics. Broadening the definition yet further, a bias incident can be “intentional or unintentional.”

With this definition, the university is encouraging students to report on one another, and on their professors, for saying virtually anything that offends anyone else. This burgeoning “if you hear something, say something” anti-bias campaign has serious implications for freedom of speech and conscience on campus.


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The silencing of British schoolteachers is out of control

How the education ‘blob’ uses intimidation to quash dissent

The perilous state of free speech in universities is today well-known. Although less visible, there is an equally censorious atmosphere among schoolteachers. The classic, 1950s sci-fi flick The Blob is a particularly apposite metaphor for the highly politicised groupthink of the teaching profession. It features a massive, amorphous creature that devours all with which it comes into contact, getting bigger, angrier and redder the more it does so.

My friend Aisling discovered the power of the blob firsthand just after the Brexit vote. Around 70 per cent of teachers were estimated to be pro-EU. Once Aisling’s primary-school colleagues found out she had voted Leave, she had to stop going to the staffroom because of the daily haranguing she received. She started sitting in the IT room instead, until the day she was ‘forced out’ and ‘pursued from room to room by the IT manager’. ‘The sense of consensus was total’, she says.

When press stories claimed that Brexit had led to a rise in hate crimes in schools, Aisling began to fear for her career. The more she tried to explain that her reasons for voting Leave were innocent, the more she was putting her job in jeopardy. Other teachers were making her out to be a racist – and therefore a danger to children. She left the school soon after.

Other teachers have reported similar experiences. But it is not only Brexit that exposes the teaching profession’s problem with free thought. The blob will brook no dissent even over questions like how to teach – once seen as a matter of individual, professional judgement.

On social media, the trend runs wild. On Twitter, I recently criticised a new, faddish pedagogic technique. (I felt it to be a just a rehashed version of 1970s-style progressivism). The teacher who developed it responded to disagree and we had a robust debate in good faith.

But the response of other teachers was shocking. A number of them began trawling the internet for information on me and started sharing it among themselves. Unsettling tweets started appearing, making thinly veiled references to things like my qualifications, where I have previously lived and even my late father. Then came the bizarre – and completely false – accusations that I was part of a criminal conspiracy. These attempts to intimidate me into silence were made not by bedroom-bound losers, but by teachers. Among them were even prominent speakers and bloggers on education and in one case, a well-known author.

Recent stories, collected by the teacher and blogger, Andrew Old, confirm the extent to which some teachers are now prepared to go in order to silence debate. Old discusses the increasingly popular technique of ‘school-shaming’, in which schools – particularly more traditional ones – are subjected to ‘campaigns of online intimidation and abuse, negative media coverage and vexatious Freedom of Information requests’. For instance, the Great Yarmouth Charter Academy was forced into the media spotlight by a school-shaming social-media campaign because the new headteacher had introduced some strict behaviour rules. In another case, a new teacher was forced to scrap her blog following a Twitterstorm over her views against progressive education policies. A teacher-trainer allegedly advised her that it would be easy to find out where she worked and so her job could be at risk.


Yes, there’s a major free speech problem on our campuses

At 16 years old, Norvilia Etienne’s mother told her a story that changed her life forever, setting her course to become a courageous, compassionate champion for the vulnerable.

Not long after, in 2016, Norvilia would experience a second rude awakening, this time at the hands of so-called “tolerant” administrators at Queens College in New York City.

As a teenager herself, Norvilia’s mother was already struggling alone to care for a young son when she found out she was pregnant a second time. With her boyfriend making it clear he’d take no responsibility for their child, Norvilia’s mother felt deeply pressured to resort to abortion as her only escape.

If not for her grandmother’s faith-fueled encouragement, it’s likely Norvilia never would have drawn a breath.

Instead, she gave birth to Norvilia and doubled down to make ends meet.

As you can imagine, Norvilia was stunned to hear for the first time, as a teenager, just how close she came to becoming another statistic prior to her birth. In fact, she was downright angry. But that anger soon turned to a joy that fuels Norvilia’s passion to help young women and girls facing the very same pressures, which weighed heavy on her own mother’s heart just a few years ago.

In that youthful vigor, Norvilia arrived on campus as a freshman at Queens College in New York City—long dubbed “The Abortion Capital of America”—ready to offer hope and help to her classmates. In short order, she began setting up an on-campus pro-life club affiliated with Students for Life of America.

And that’s where the trouble started for Norvilia. Despite checking all the boxes to become an officially recognized club, Norvilia’s application was slow-walked to its inevitable rejection, all because it supported a view—Norvilia’s—that had been silently disqualified ahead of time.

Neither Norvilia nor any of our society’s future legislators, judges, and voters should have to ask for a permission slip to speak on campus. The First Amendment is their permission slip.

And thankfully, this is what our courts continue to recognize. Since we launched our Center for Academic Freedom a decade ago, we’ve secured nearly 400 victories for free speech on America’s college and university campuses—including Queens College, which finally backed off its restrictive policy after almost two years of fighting.


Monday, May 28, 2018

Hard to know when Twitter will censor and un-censor you

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has announced new policies to police behavior on the site which to the casual observer probably seem just fine.

According to BuzzFeed News, Dorsey says the goal now is to focus on "conduct and behaviors on the system," which may be in violation of Twitter's terms of service.

A few of the "signals" that Twitter will use are whether you're tweeting a lot of people you don't follow, "how often you’re blocked by people you interact with," and the most ominous sounding signal of all: "whether your account is closely related to others that have violated its terms of service."

This is all well and good if you think the the behavior of millions of people can and/or should be controlled by a handful of millennials working in one of the most liberal cities in the United States.

Worse yet, they all work for a guy who thinks that there is just a little too much political diversity in this country:

The problem with the people who create popular social media platforms is that they never have the chance to be normal users of them. As such, they are a bit removed from what makes the platform attractive to the common folk, even if they are the ones who created it.

For the most part, Twitter has been the Wild West of the prominent social media platforms. Anyone can follow anyone. There are a lot of crazy people. It's messy.

All of the above are what made Twitter popular and Jack Dorsey very wealthy.

Like Americans of yesteryear who headed to the West, no one goes to Twitter looking for a safe and easy time. At least they didn't when the site was getting popular.

As with almost everything fun now, the Social Justice Warriors showed up and ruined everything. They wake up with their feelings hurt then spend every bit of energy they have for the day finding more things that they can complain about.

It doesn't take more than ninety seconds of looking at Dorsey's tweets and actions as CEO to realize he identifies heavily with the SJWs.


All pretense of Free speech is gone in Britain

In today's Britain, you are free to speak only at the discretion of the authorities.  And if you defy that you can be tried in secret and a gag placed on reporting the trial. It is completely Stalinist.  Tommy Robinson's offence was to report on the trial of a gang of Muslim pedophiles

On Friday, as reported here yesterday, the saga of Tommy Robinson entered a new chapter. British police officers pulled him off a street in Leeds, where, in his role as a citizen journalist, he was livestreaming a Facebook video from outside a courthouse. Inside that building, several defendants were on trial for allegedly being part of a so-called "grooming gang" -- a group of men, almost all Muslim, who systematically rape non-Muslim children, in some cases hundreds of them, over a period of years or decades. Some ten thousand Facebook viewers around the world witnessed Robinson's arrest live.

The police promptly dragged Robinson in front of a judge, where, without having access to his own lawyer, he was summarily tried and sentenced to 13 months behind bars. He was then transported to Hull Prison.

Meanwhile, the judge who sentenced him also ordered the British media not to report on his case. Newspapers that had already posted reports of his arrest quickly took them down. Even ordinary citizens who had written about the arrest on social media removed their posts, for fear of sharing Robinson's fate. All this happened on the same day.

A kangaroo court, then a gag order. In the United Kingdom, rapists enjoy the right to a full and fair trial, the right to the legal representation of their choice, the right to have sufficient time to prepare their cases, and the right to go home on bail between sessions of their trial. No such rights were offered, however, to Tommy Robinson.

The swiftness with which injustice was meted out to Robinson is stunning. No, more than that: it is terrifying. On various occasions over the years, I have been subjected in person to an immediate threat of Islamic violence: I have had a knife pulled on me by a young gang member, and been encircled by a crowd of belligerent men in djellabas outside a radical mosque. But that was not frightening. This is frightening -- this utter violation of fundamental British freedoms.

From one perspective, to be sure, Robinson's lightning-fast arrest, trial, and jailing should not have come as a surprise. "There has been a campaign to 'get Tommy' -- or what looks remarkably like it -- for some time," a source in the UK told me Saturday morning.

The apparent justification for Robinson's arrest is that he was on a suspended sentence. In May of last year, he was taken into custody while reporting from outside a courthouse in Kent, where another group of Muslim defendants was being tried, also on "grooming" charges. That arrest was also unjustified. At least, however, Robinson was given a suspended sentence. This time, presumably, it was determined that the mere act of reporting yet again from outside another courthouse amounted to a violation of the terms of his suspended sentence.


All pretense of Free speech is gone in Britain

In today's Britain, you are free to speak only at the discretion of the authorities.  And if you defy that you can be tried in secret and a gag placed on reporting the trial. It is completely Stalinist.  Tommy Robinson's offence was to report on the trial of a gang of Muslim pedophiles

On Friday, as reported here yesterday, the saga of Tommy Robinson entered a new chapter. British police officers pulled him off a street in Leeds, where, in his role as a citizen journalist, he was livestreaming a Facebook video from outside a courthouse. Inside that building, several defendants were on trial for allegedly being part of a so-called "grooming gang" -- a group of men, almost all Muslim, who systematically rape non-Muslim children, in some cases hundreds of them, over a period of years or decades. Some ten thousand Facebook viewers around the world witnessed Robinson's arrest live.

The police promptly dragged Robinson in front of a judge, where, without having access to his own lawyer, he was summarily tried and sentenced to 13 months behind bars. He was then transported to Hull Prison.

Meanwhile, the judge who sentenced him also ordered the British media not to report on his case. Newspapers that had already posted reports of his arrest quickly took them down. Even ordinary citizens who had written about the arrest on social media removed their posts, for fear of sharing Robinson's fate. All this happened on the same day.

A kangaroo court, then a gag order. In the United Kingdom, rapists enjoy the right to a full and fair trial, the right to the legal representation of their choice, the right to have sufficient time to prepare their cases, and the right to go home on bail between sessions of their trial. No such rights were offered, however, to Tommy Robinson.

The swiftness with which injustice was meted out to Robinson is stunning. No, more than that: it is terrifying. On various occasions over the years, I have been subjected in person to an immediate threat of Islamic violence: I have had a knife pulled on me by a young gang member, and been encircled by a crowd of belligerent men in djellabas outside a radical mosque. But that was not frightening. This is frightening -- this utter violation of fundamental British freedoms.

From one perspective, to be sure, Robinson's lightning-fast arrest, trial, and jailing should not have come as a surprise. "There has been a campaign to 'get Tommy' -- or what looks remarkably like it -- for some time," a source in the UK told me Saturday morning.

The apparent justification for Robinson's arrest is that he was on a suspended sentence. In May of last year, he was taken into custody while reporting from outside a courthouse in Kent, where another group of Muslim defendants was being tried, also on "grooming" charges. That arrest was also unjustified. At least, however, Robinson was given a suspended sentence. This time, presumably, it was determined that the mere act of reporting yet again from outside another courthouse amounted to a violation of the terms of his suspended sentence.


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Racist name of Dam Busters dog will not be censored in 75th anniversary screenings

The racist name of a dog in The Dam Busters will not be censored in new screenings of the 1955 film, which has been restored to mark the 75th anniversary of the mission it depicts.

The classic British movie features a black Labrador called N****r, a mascot of the RAF 617 squadron, whose pilots dropped Barnes Wallis’s “bouncing bomb” on German dams during the Second World War.

The dog’s name led the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) to toughen the film’s rating from U to PG last month ahead of screenings in 400 cinemas across the country.

The regulator said the stricter classification was intended to “send a clearer warning to parents that the film contains discriminatory language of a nature that will be offensive to many”.

The name has previously been censored for TV broadcasts, while some American versions have used dubbing to edit the dog’s name to Trigger.

There are also plans to rename the labrador in Peter Jackson’s long-awaited remake.

But StudioCanal, the distributor of Michael Anderson’s 1955 original, confirmed it would play unedited at the anniversary screenings.

“While we acknowledge some of the language used in The Dam Busters reflects historical attitudes which audiences may find offensive, for reasons of historical accuracy we have opted to present the film as it was originally screened,” it said in a statement.

The dog, RAF wing commander Guy Gibson’s pet, features regularly in the film. His name, taken from Gibson’s real-life labrador, becomes a plot device when it is is adopted by the squadron as a codeword for a key bombing target.

Stephen Fry, who has written the screenplay for Jackson’s remake, said in 2011 that the dog would be renamed in his script. He told the BBC there was “no question in America that you could ever have a dog called the N-word”.

He added: “It’s no good saying that it is the Latin word for black or that it didn’t have the meaning that it does now – you just can’t go back, which is unfortunate.

“In the film, you’re constantly hearing ‘N-word, N-word, N-word, hurray’ and Barnes Wallis is punching the air. But obviously that’s not going to happen now. So Digger seems OK, I reckon.”


Tourists in "racist" KFC clash

I think I know what went on here.  In my experience, blacks in restaurants DO tend to speak loudly and inconsiderately by Northern European standards. It's an exuberant culture -- whereas in Northern Europe it is a major value not to bother or intrude on other people.  Germans are not used to tolerating black culture

KFC is involved in a scandal after police in Berlin were called on a group of British tourists in one of their restaurants “for being black and talking too loudly”.

The group said they were told to leave for being too loud — but they claim they were doing nothing wrong and were targeted because of their skin colour.

Staff at the KFC branch said the tourists had been throwing food and insulting staff members, leaving the manager no choice but to “protect staff and guests”.

Kellon Pierre, 38, who was part of the group, said they weren’t throwing food and that the allegation was a “huge lie”.

He also accused the police who arrived at the scene of “gross over-reaction”.

Five police cars arrived at the restaurant in Berlin during the incident on Monday.

German police flatly denied any accusations of racism.

In the video, officers who arrived at the scene can be seen trying to reason with the group and eventually escorting them out of the restaurant.

They can be heard telling the group in English to “go out right now”.

Throughout the video the officers tell the woman filming to put down the camera but she refuses, saying she has a right to film for her own safety.

German police said they were planning to press charges for being filmed without their consent.

As she leaves, the woman filming tells diners in the restaurant that they are being kicked out “because we’re black”.

Pierre told Die Welt: “We were the only black people in the restaurant and we were the only ones asked to be quieter, even though other people laughed too.”

Outside the restaurant, an officer says: “You wait here. Nobody goes home. I want a passport off everybody.”


Friday, May 25, 2018

Judge Rules Trump Blocking People On Twitter Violates Free Speech

LOL. This is the laugh of the day:  Liberals WANTING to hear from Mr Trump.  The normal Leftist response to conservative speech is to block their ears!

In an unprecedented move, a federal judge has officially ruled to prevent Trump from blocking users on Twitter.

No, this is not a story from The Onion. This is a real life judge who suddenly thinks its okay to make decisions about who Trump can interact with on social media.

Even though President Trump and family get DEATH THREATS on a daily basis, Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald doesn’t seem to care.

Here’s the report from The Hill:

A federal district court judge on Wednesday ruled that President Trump can’t block people from viewing his Twitter feed over their political views.

Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, said President Trump’s Twitter account is a public forum and blocking people who reply to his tweets with differing opinions constitutes viewpoint discrimination, which violates the First Amendment.

The court’s ruling is a major win for the Knight Foundation, which brought the lawsuit on behalf of seven people who were blocked from the @realDonaldTrump account because of opinions they expressed in reply tweets.


How Google Put Pro-Lifers at Disadvantage in Ireland’s Upcoming Referendum

Ireland is currently engaged in a contentious fight over the right to life of the unborn—and it’s hardly being fought on an even playing field.

Ireland is set to vote Friday on a measure that would either remove or retain the eighth amendment to its constitution, which recognizes the right to life of the unborn and thus bans all abortions except those to save the life of the mother.

Pro-life Irelanders have faced a wall of opposition. First, there is the media, which is largely pro-choice and has covered the debate from a decidedly pro-choice angle. That’s hardly surprising given that Ireland’s National Union of Journalists is itself openly pro-choice.

Perhaps more stunningly, every major political party in the country has come out in favor of removing the right to life of the unborn from Ireland’s constitution. In addition, multiple pro-choice organizations were found to have illegally accepted substantial funding from George Soros’ Open Society Foundations to promote the liberalization of Ireland’s abortion laws.

So it was against an overwhelmingly pro-choice backdrop that the pro-life No campaign opted to make its case online. There, it assumed it could make its case without it being twisted by the media.

But recent events prove that optimism was misplaced. On May 8, the No campaign placed a substantial online ad buy with Google. Less than 24 hours later, Google announced that it was “suspending” all advertisements related to the referendum within Ireland until the referendum was complete, effectively locking both campaigns out of advertising on their platforms, including YouTube.

By this time, the Yes side had already lobbied online for weeks.

Google explained to the press that it had concerns about the electoral integrity of the referendum. Google has since failed to comment, either publicly or privately, as to what those concerns are or if they are suggesting our referendum process has somehow been compromised.

Interestingly, the No campaign received a text from Google informing it of the ban just six minutes before it was publicly announced, but the Yes campaign’s press release—which welcomed the ban—was dated from the day before, meaning it received much more advance warning.

Facebook had previously announced a ban on foreign advertisements during the referendum period, which both campaigns welcomed as proportional and reasonable.

Google said its ban was “fair” because it banned all campaigns equally, but the fact is that the No campaign was more effective at using online methods to reach voters. The Yes campaign has openly admitted that.

Google shut down its platform to all campaigns despite knowing it would disproportionately harm the No campaign. Google had access to all the analytics from the advertisements on both sides. It knew exactly where each side would devote its resources and that the No side was stronger online.

To put all this into an American perspective, this is basically as if Google, two weeks from the midterm elections, decided it was going to ban all election ads after having been lobbied furiously to do so by one of the parties because that party suddenly realized it was losing the digital fight; announced it was doing so because it had concerns the mid-terms might be compromised; and then refused to answer any questions when people rightfully asked, “What do you mean our elections are compromised?”

Google apparently believes electoral integrity is important enough to raise a general concern about, but not important enough to actually specify its concerns.

The Google decision is particularly worrying when you consider the broader implications of it. Google dominates online advertising and so has a significant ability to shape public awareness and opinion. So far, it’s been hesitant to use that ability to its own ends in this debate.

But if Google is now willing to constrain political speech, knowing it could potentially change the outcome of a referendum, questions must be asked as to how far Google will go.


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Professor Gets Cut After 30 Years for Singing Pharrell Williams Song

An adjunct professor at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) appears to have lost his job of 30-plus years after students reported him to the administration after he sung a Pharrell Williams song in class.

Eric Triffin has since 1986 served as an adjunct at SCSU, where he’s taught dozens of public health classes to thousands of students without complaint. The campus newspaper called him an “Unsung Hero” in 2015, and students call  him “kind hearted” and “lively.”

He’s known for his upbeat personality, and usually begins class by asking a student to pick and play a song. Oftentimes, Triffin sings along. This hadn’t been a problem for years, until one student picked “Best Friend” by Pharrell Williams this past February.

But that song features a line noting “I’m a happy n-----,” and Triffin, as usual, sung along. Immediately, a student called him out for using a racial slur. By the next day, the Black Student Union released a video demanding “nonviolent action and mediation.”

“Students of color should not be subjected to faculty and staff using racial slurs,” said Black Student Union president Eric Clinton in the video. “To the administration, please do not excuse the actions taken by professor Eric Triffin.”

The incident picked up so much steam that the school’s president, Joe Bertolino, emailed the entire campus to announce the school was "investigating the matter fully and will take appropriate action as a result of the findings."

SCSU immediately placed Triffin on suspension. He continues to be barred from class.


Miss USA pageant commentator star Carson Kressley has come under fire for comparing the event to a novel about a woman forced to choose between her son or daughter's life in Auschwitz

Sarah Rose Summers from Nebraska beat 50 other women to win the crown at this year's Miss USA competition.

As the contest was narrowed down to the final competitors, the former Queer Eye host said: 'It's like "Sophie's Choice!" They're all so good. But I think I can make some choices.'

Kressley then reeled off a list of the various states whose pageant winners were in the final to supermodel Lu Sierra, who was hosting the coverage, from Shreveport, Louisiana, with him and she swiftly moved the conversation on.

One Twitter user pointed out: 'Miss USA pageant commentator just said choosing between the 15 finalists was like 'Sophie's choice.'

'Just as a reminder, "Sophie's Choice" is a movie about a woman who was forced to choose which of her two children to save and which was sent to the Auschwitz gas chamber.'


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

I Wrote a Post Critical of Twitter's New Rules-GUESS WHAT HAPPENED NEXT


In case you missed it, I wrote a post yesterday about Twitter's new behavior rules and the fact that they never really tell anyone they suspend which rules are being broken. As I usually do, I hit Twitter to promote it, this time adding what I thought was a tongue-in-cheek remark:

I tweeted my usual late-night blend of ridiculous content uneventfully until I went to bed. When I tried to tweet this morning, I was locked out of my account. They do that when someone tries to hack you and it's happened to me several times before so I wasn't too worried. I knew the procedure, and went through it to regain access.

That's when things got weird.

Despite having used two separate verification codes texted to me by Twitter -- one to change my password and one to log back on after -- I was told that there was a technical problem. It was odd, but not disturbing. This went on for several minutes.

Once I was finally back in, however, I found that I was unable to tweet. If I tried from the Twitter web page I got a message saying "Something went wrong." There were two different messages on Tweetdeck though. If I attempted to retweet the error message said "Unknown Error" and if I tried to tweet I got this:

My tweeting habits and content haven't changed in the decade I've been using the platform. I did do a purge of people who aren't following me back last night, but I've been doing that regularly since late 2008. It's regular Twitter maintenance.

The only real new behavior variable is the post I wrote criticizing Twitter's application of the rules.

Twitter does have some cover here because they haven't really suspended me. My account is still up, I just can't do anything with it and anyone checking gets a message informing them that it is restricted.

Many of you are probably thinking, "So what, who cares about Twitter?"

I'm not on Twitter because I need online friends, I'm there because it has essentially become my publicist in the last decade. It is a business thing for me. When I'm setting up meetings and gigs I am invariably asked (within the first minute or so) about how many Twitter followers I have. If I am unable to use my Twitter account, it negatively impacts my work both directly and indirectly.

If you are a conservative who doesn't even like Twitter, you should still be concerned. The point of my post yesterday was that the rules are vague and it appears that only conservatives have to play by them.

For those unfamiliar with my Twitter presence, let me just say that I am occasionally not nice. OK -- often not nice. However, it's been that way for nine and a half years and almost 200K tweets.

It might be sheer coincidence that the first real problem Twitter has ever had with my account came just after I wrote the critical post, but I don't believe in coincidence.


Aaron Schlossberg, a New York-based lawyer, became Internet famous on Wednesday for the worst of reasons: a racist rant that went viral

Schlossberg was captured on a smartphone video yelling at employees in the restaurant Fresh Kitchen in midtown Manhattan. His complaint was that the workers were speaking Spanish to customers. ‘And my guess is they’re not documented,’ Schlossberg said to an employee, who appeared to be a manager. ‘So my next call is to ICE to have each one of them kicked out of my country.'”


Was he high?

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Gap tries to appease Chinese regime over t-shirt map that omits other countries

The clothing retailer Gap has apologized to China for not recognizing its territorial claims on a T-shirt featuring a map of China sold in North America, The Washington Post reported.

The shirt featured a map of China that leaves out the self-governing nation of Taiwan and also a region China calls ‘Southern Tibet,’ in the region bordering India. …

The company also said it would work to avoid such mistakes [sic] in the future by strengthening its review of products.”


China demands that its myths be respected

Google now deindexing some web pages based on FDA’s administrative agency findings

This would be OK if there were no dud agencies but government bodies often get things wrong

“It takes a lot to get Google to deindex a page, and thus hide it from searchers (at least from U.S.-based searchers). Unlike with YouTube, where Google exercises considerable editorial discretion, Google Search is generally aimed at indexing the Web, good and bad.

Until recently, there have been only a few categories of content that Google would deindex based on someone’s request (setting aside Google deindexing things itself based on a perception that someone is gaming its search algorithms, or that some site contains malware, and focusing just on Google search within the U.S.):

1. Legal obligation (mostly copyright ….

2. Confidential personally identifying information ….

3. Court orders addressed to third parties (chiefly in libel cases) ….

It has just emerged, though, that Google has decided to deindex based on a fourth category:

4. Administrative agency findings that sites illegally distribute material that risks physical harm to consumers:

Right now, this category appears to include just warning letters from the U.S. Food and Drug Administrations, generally sent to off-shore online pharmacies that illegally sell prescription drugs to the U.S. A Google representative told me that this is supposed to be a narrow policy, limited to fact findings by "administrative agencies that are charged with protecting consumers' physical safety from harm by products or services that they consume.


Monday, May 21, 2018

UN Poses Danger to Free Speech, Parents’ Rights

A dangerous alliance between United Nations bureaucrats and LGBT activists poses a new danger to free speech, free exercise of religion, and parental rights—not just for Americans but for people around the world.

Under the leadership of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ambassador Nikki Haley, the Trump administration should strengthen protections of the fundamental human rights of Americans that are guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution and international treaties.

That would mark a significant break from the approach of the Obama administration, which joined forces with a handful of Western nations, the U.N. bureaucracy, and progressive activists to push policies based on rapidly changing ideas about sexual orientation and gender identity.

They did so with zero authority: None of these concepts are contained in any of the international treaties that the U.N. is authorized to enforce.

Now these policies are threatening to cost our rights—and the U.S. could foot the bill. The U.S. is responsible for 22 percent of the United Nations’ total budget and contributed $10 billion to the U.N. in 2016 alone.

One of the most egregious examples of bureaucratic overreach occurred in the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Rather than focus on the U.N. General Assembly’s mandate to “promote and protect” the effective enjoyment of fundamental human rights that are in the texts of treaties, this U.N. office launched the Free and Equal campaign.

This highly visible and well-funded global campaign aims to socialize same-sex marriage, criminalize so-called “hate speech,” and normalize transgender ideology, even though these terms are not in the text of any U.N. treaties.

This campaign is not only a massive overreach by U.N. bureaucracy, but it threatens to silence public debate on controversial topics like marriage and sexuality throughout the world.

Unfortunately, this campaign is just the beginning. Charles Radcliffe, Free and Equal’s founding director, has stated that a dozen U.N. agencies have made public commitments to advance sexual orientation and gender identity policies in individual member states and that more than 100 countries have implemented changes in their domestic laws in response to U.N. sexual orientation and gender identity recommendations.


Glen Cove’s Proposed Code Of Conduct Sparks Debate Over Facebook & Free Speech

GLEN COVE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Lawmakers on Long Island are getting ready to vote on a controversial proposal, which involves whether the local government can dictate what its workers share on social media.

As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, freedom of expression has never been freer than it is online, but what you post can pose a problem in the workplace.

Following the lead of private companies, Glen Cove is about to launch its own Facebook page. But first, the mayor is drafting a code of conduct that would restrict publicly posted comments from city workers.

“We don’t want them to put things up there that aren’t correct, that are inaccurate in some way, that will mislead the public,” Mayor Timothy Tenke said.

Nothing would be allowed that might “negatively affect the public perception of the city, office of the mayor or individual departments.” But that has some city council members concerned about free speech.

“We want to ensure that employees have their first amendment rights and do not feel that’s being trampled on,” City Councilman Joseph Capobianco said.

Capobianco argues municipalities are different from private companies and employees, as citizens, have the right to comment on their government.

“I think there should be no restrictions on their ability to comment on the job we are doing,” he said.


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Transgender Social Media Star Slammed for Appropriating Black Culture with Pink Wig

A popular transgender social media beauty expert is being accused of appropriating black culture by wearing a pink wig.

Nikita Dragun, popular for her stylish sexual appropriation of the female gender, is a social media star with 2.3 million Instagram followers and 1.2 million YouTube subscribers.

But, when he posed wearing a pink wig in an Instagram photo, Dragun sparked allegations of cultural appropriation, “Allure” magazine reports:

“Her latest Instagram photo is recalling those allegations of racial insensitivity after the wig Dragun is wearing prompted some commenters to accuse her of cultural appropriation.

“In the photo, Dragun is seen posing in Harajuku, wearing a wig in a cotton-candy-pink shade — an appropriate aesthetic choice since she's holding a huge cloud of candyfloss. What's not appropriate, some commenters are saying, is the style of the wig: long twists that many viewers felt too closely resembled locs [dreadlocks].”

Dragun has self-identified as being of Mexican-Asian descent.

“Allure” notes that the transgender icon has been accused of similar transgressions against black culture in the past:

“Some commenters spoke up when she posted a photo wearing a look that resembled cornrows; she also sparked arguments in the comments when she posted a photo of herself wearing a multicolored wig that many insisted are locs and, thus, appropriation.”


Seaside bakery is blasted over 'political correctness' for selling Gingerbread People rather than traditional Gingerbread Men

A bakery has sparked a debate on political correctness after re-branding its Gingerbread men 'Gingerbread people'.

The owners of High Street bakers JL Bean in the seaside town of Cleveleys near Blackpool decided to make their biscuits gender neutral last year.

But the decision has recently caused a backlash, with some customers claiming it is political correctness gone mad.

Jeff Dugdale was astonished when his wife told him about the new rule at the bakers, which was founded in 1933 and is the oldest in the town.

He told the Blackpool Gazette: 'Seemingly now you have to call gingerbread men 'gingerbread persons' when ordering. 'As far as I can see there is no law in place for this type of PC nonsense.'

His wife asked for a gingerbread man she was told it 'wasn't a gingerbread man' but a 'gingerbread person' and 'that was how they had to be advertised'.

Over 100 regular customers then took to social media to complain.

Bakery boss Paul Lewis told the newspaper: 'My wife just put this little 'gingerbread persons' label on them as a whim, and that was last year.

'It was never anything to do with political correctness and we've not really had any comeback until now.

'I noticed the comments on Facebook and most of them were quite jokey but I was surprised at how seriously some of the people were taking things. I think maybe there's been a bit of a misunderstanding.'

Wife Charmaine Lewis added: 'It was nothing meant by it. It was tongue in cheek.


Friday, May 18, 2018

Does it dehumanize middle-aged white men to refer to them as  "Gammon"?

Middle aged white men tend to go pink in complexion as they age.  Some English Leftists refer to such people as "Gammon" because Gammon (roasted ham) is also pink.  With age, most people move to the Right so it is also a political comment

Gammon is now being used to mock right-wing males over their supposed red faces and 'fleshy' builds

Labour supporters have been accused of mocking right-wing males by likening the colour of the meat to their supposed red-faces.

A social media user first used the term during BBC's Question Time debates on Brexit in 2016. He said he had grown tired because the "Great Wall of Gammon" have had their way long enough.

His tweet read: "Whatever happens, hopefully politicians will start listening to young ppl after this. "This Great Wall of gammon has had its way long enough."

The following year, social media users continued to share pictures of men who appeared red faced, all middle-aged, white and male, with the phrase "Great Wall of Gammon".

Matt Zarb-Cousin, Jeremy Corbyn's former spokesman also used the term to describe a man who was protecting Jacob Rees-Mogg, and had become red faced after protesters interrupted his speech.

Mr Zarb-Cousin said on Twitter: "So the full video of the Jacob Rees-Mogg incident shows a middle aged gammon in a white shirt violently attacking protesters as they start to leave after a non-violent disruption."

Is the insult racist?

Tweeters replying to Mr Zarb-Cousin's tweet reignited the row over the weekend.

Joining the furore, Northern Irish MP Emma Little-Pengelly said the term is racist because it singles out people with a certain "skin colour".

She said: "I'm appalled by the term 'gammon' now frequently entering the lexicon of so many (mainly on the left) & seemingly be accepted.

"This is a term based on skin colour & age - stereotyping by colour or age is wrong no matter what race, age or community. It is just wrong.”


Georgia Passes limited Campus Free-Speech Law

By Stanley Kurtz

On May 8, Georgia governor Nathan Deal signed into law a bill (SB 339) providing important protections for campus free speech at public universities in his state. The bill, skillfully moved through the legislature by its sponsor, Senator William Ligon, is based on model campus free-speech legislation published by Arizona’s Goldwater Institute. (I co-authored that model, along with Jim Manley and Jonathan Butcher.)

On the one hand, Georgia’s Campus Free Speech Act is a very important step forward. On the other hand, Georgia’s public universities worked overtime to remove some critical protections from the bill. That means we’re likely to see another round of legislative jousting over campus free speech in Georgia next year.

Let’s first count up the positives.

Georgia’s new campus free speech law discourages speaker disinvitations by guaranteeing that public universities are open to any speaker whom a student group or members of the faculty have invited. The law also instructs the Board of Regents to establish a range of sanctions for speaker shout-downs. The new law then sets up an annual oversight system under control of the Board of Regents (and therefore independent of the university administration) to ensure that administrative discipline for shout-downs, and for other violations of free expression, is properly carried out. The new law also instructs the Board of Regents to assess administrative successes or failures at maintaining a posture of institutional neutrality on matters of public controversy. The Regents are also instructed to suggest remedies for any failings on this point.

The annual oversight report on the administrative handling of free speech, discipline for shout-downs, and institutional neutrality, is to be submitted to the governor, the legislature, and the public. A bad report would give legislators reason to reconsider the universities’ annual appropriation. A report that whitewashed genuine problems would subject the Board of Regents and those responsible for appointing them to public criticism.

Despite these important advances, Georgia’s public universities managed to strip SB 339 of provisions that would have decisively banned so-called free-speech zones. Georgia’s public universities have a disturbing history of suppressing speech by restricting it to tiny “zones.” It is shameful that Georgia would pass a campus free-speech law that fails to definitively outlaw these zones.

This is especially so since Attorney General Sessions made news last fall by singling out the use of free-speech zones to prevent an Evangelical Christian student at Georgia Gwinnett from speaking to fellow students about his faith. The Justice Department has filed a “statement of interest” in that case. And I’ve written about the particular hostility shown by administrators at Georgia’s public colleges toward Christian speech.

SB 339 does contain some limited provisions that may make it more difficult for universities to construct such zones, but that outcome is highly ambiguous and far from assured. There is no doubt that Georgia still needs to act decisively to outlaw campus free-speech zones.


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Australia: Hardline feminist Clementine Ford's Lifeline speech is CANCELLED after thousands demanded the charity remove her as keynote speaker for tweeting 'all men must die'

Clemmie is a troubled soul.  On her own admission she had a mental health crisis recently. Definitely not someone to be advising others

Suicide prevention group Lifeline has cancelled an event featuring hardline feminist Clementine Ford after a petition against her appearance attracted almost 14,000 signatures.

A petition, set up last month, argued her previous tweets saying 'kill all men' and 'all men must die' made her unsuitable to address the 'Recognise, Respond, Refer' event in Melbourne on May 29.

A Lifeline spokesman Alan Woodward said the event, which was to be moderated by former Ten newsreader and Australian #MeToo campaigner Tracey Spicer, was cancelled because they regarded it as 'divisive'.

'The decision was made following feedback we had received and our assessment the event had drawn strong views,' he told Daily Mail Australia on Tuesday morning. 'We felt we couldn't proceed in the spirit of open discussion as intended.'

One woman questioned how Lifeline could give her a platform, considering many men with mental health problems relied on the service.

'It's hard enough for men to call a helpline to talk about how they are feeling,' she said on the Facebook page of former Labor leader Mark Latham. 'Now I feel men may not utilise this important lifeline for them.'


Don't Mention Jesus or Bible, University Tells Graduation Speaker
A nursing graduate at Colorado Mesa University was told she could not mention Jesus or read a Bible verse during remarks she was supposed to deliver at a pinning ceremony.

The university made it clear that references to Jesus would not be tolerated. But it reconsidered after being threatened with a lawsuit by Alliance Defending Freedom.

Karissa Erickson was one of two students selected from the nursing class to deliver remarks at the ceremony. She was instructed to turn in her remarks before the event for an administrative review.

She concluded her remarks with these words:

“God has always has a purpose. I find comfort in Jesus’s words, and I pass them on to you. John 16:33: ‘These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world.’”

Ms. Erickson was told by three university officials that they would have to “look into whether it was okay or not to mention religion.”

Two days later, she was instructed in an email to “take out the last section where you start (sic) that you find comfort in Jesus’ words and cite a Bible verse.”

“Speeches should be free of any one religious slant,” one university official told her. “We just have to be professional and careful in a public ceremony as some people don’t appreciate those references.”

Ms. Erickson was also told the university did not allow Bible verses or remarks about any specific religion because “someone might get offended,” Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Travis Barham wrote in a letter to the university.

“She (the university official) made it clear that Miss Erickson had to remove references to Jesus and the Bible verse from her speech or ‘there will be repercussions. This program will not tolerate it,’” Barham wrote.

Barham said the university has a fundamental misunderstanding of the First Amendment.

“America’s Founding Fathers regularly opened public ceremonies with prayer, and federal appeals courts have consistently ruled that universities can do the same at their graduation ceremonies,” Barham said in a prepared statement.

Colorado Mesa University came very close to what would have been a very costly and embarrassing legal battle.

“We applaud the university for quickly recognizing that the First Amendment protects a graduating student’s right to mention her faith in her own speech and has never required universities to purge ceremonies of all things religious,” Barham said


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Australia: It’s racist for white people to lodge complaints…

By Bernard Gaynor

About: "Offending White Men: Racial Vilification, Misrecognition and Epistemic Injustice"  by Louise Richardson-Self"

It ended with these words:

"As such, members of the culturally dominant group must commit to engaging with resistant imaginings with a critical openness to the other and their testimony, and they must develop their capacities as listeners and a propensity to epistemically esteem the other in recognition of their alterity, if we are to prevent such injustices in the future."

If you don’t understand any of that, don’t worry. I don’t really either. But let me attempt to unpack it for you anyway.

As far as I can tell, according to Louise Richardson-Self, a lecturer in philosophy and gender studies at the University of Tasmania, I am a racist because I lodged a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission regarding Linda Burney’s statement that opponents to 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act were ‘white men’.

One way of arriving at that conclusion was reading the abstract of her latest work, Offending White Men: Racial Vilification, Misrecognition and Epistemic Injustice:

"In this article I analyse two complaints of white vilification, which are increasingly occurring in Australia. I argue that, though the complainants (and white people generally) are not harmed by such racialized speech, the complainants in fact harm Australians of colour through these utterances. These complaints can both cause and constitute at least two forms of epistemic injustice (willful hermeneutical ignorance, and comparative credibility excess). Further, I argue that the complaints are grounded in a dual misrecognition: the complainants misrecognize themselves in their own privileged racial specificity, and they misrecognize others in their own marginal racial specificity. Such misrecognition preserves the cultural imperialism of Australia’s dominant social imaginary—a means of oppression that perpetuates epistemic insensitivity."

The second and perhaps easiest way to get there was the fact that my name is mentioned 21 times in the 25 misery-filled pages of feminist woe that make up this little ‘study’.

Louise also made a few other comments that caught my eye.

"For instance, in the very first sentences of her work she implied that the Racial Discrimination Act is flawed because it permits a person of any race to lodge a complaint. No doubt, that’s evidence of some kind of ‘imaginary’ yet all-too-real white privilege and, after all, she did go on to note that white people are lodging complaints because of the ‘ostensibly’ neutral language of the Act."

And she does have a point: what’s the bloody point of a Racial Discrimination Act if white people can complain?

Fortunately, the courts have interpreted the Act in such a way that labelling somebody a white so-and-so is not deemed to be racist because the majority of Australians are white.

That makes sense in a totally progressive way. It also explains, by the way, why the Australian Human Rights Commission did nothing with my complaint against Burney.

It is perfectly fine to claim that the only people who want to get rid of this Act are white but it is decidedly risky to make an assessment about the race of those who want to keep it.

And it’s also racist to ‘celebrate’ Australia Day, but it is hunky dory to get up on a stage on ‘Invasion Day’ and claim that white Australians are responsible for land theft, child stealing, state-sanctioned murder and that the nation as we know it should be burnt to the ground.

And the reason for this is simple: according to Louise, holding the view that all should be treated equally before the law is nothing more than white privilege and fails to understand that such concepts constitute ‘cultural imperialism’.

Louise even went out of her way to make this clear, stating:

Here I am assuming that the complainants genuinely believe that ‘white vilification’ and non-white vilification are qualitatively equivalent.

I’ll take her assumption away. Racism against a white person is exactly the same as racism against any other person.

Louise obviously disagrees and, instead, yearns for a world where people are treated differently as a result of their skin colour.

There is a word for that worldview. Unfortunately, it has lost all meaning today because it’s been completely high-jacked by feminist loonies intent on cultural suicide…


Twitter Censors Chevron Play

An email from Phelim McAleer


We are facing a backlash - just because we want to tell the truth.

Twitter is now trying to stop us from spreading the news about my new play. Yesterday my wife Ann, who is a producer on the The $18-Billion Prize, created a Twitter Moment to try and bring attention to the show.

But Twitter intervened and made sure no one could retweet the tweet, in fact they couldn't even view Ann's tweet because according to Twitter it contained "potentially sensitive content".

Yup - that's right - a play that is almost exclusively relying on court transcripts is not safe for sensitive eyes. They really do not want the truth out there.

This is disgraceful but unfortunately it's not surprising. Twitter and the left just don't want the truth to be known. The $18-Billion Prize has faced opposition from the moment I decided to bring it to San Francisco. No one would rent us a theater and not one publicist or lighting designer in the whole city would work with us. They want to shut down the truth but I'm not going to let them.

The show will go on. We are going to have our preview on Friday night and our grand opening on Saturday but we need your help to ensure this happens. Please go and buy a ticket and if you can't make it to San Francisco give a donation - you can buy a poster or a script. Anything you give will be used to ensure the truth about how the world's biggest fraud was carried out by "environmentalists" and how the mainstream media supported them in their deception.

The mainstream media are trying to ignore the play - we haven't had one request for an interview even though they promoted the fraud all along. Now that I'm exposing the fraud they all want to look the other way. So let's make sure the coverup stops here. Please go to and make sure the truth can get on stage in San Francisco.

Phelim McAleer

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Psychologists: ‘There is no alternative to free speech’

Colleges and universities across the country are struggling with the question of who decides what is acceptable speech on campus. When does a controversial topic become hate speech? When should it be allowed as free speech?

Two Cornell researchers say psychological science’s extensive study of bias offers an important lens through which to view these conflicts, as we strive to understand and reduce them.

There is no alternative to free speech, say co-authors Stephen Ceci and Wendy Williams in “Who Decides What Is Acceptable Speech on Campus? Why Restricting Free Speech Is Not the Answer.” Their analysis appeared May 2 in Perspectives in Psychological Science as the lead article in the issue.

“There is no alternative to free speech, because every controversial topic has a substantial group of people who view it as hate speech,” said Ceci, the Helen L. Carr Professor of Developmental Psychology. “If we define unacceptable speech in terms of topics students say should be banned because they make them feel marginalized or uncomfortable, then we remove all controversial topics from consideration.”

Added Williams, professor of human development: “Feeling discomfort and angst at hearing words is not a legal reason to shut down other people’s rights to say those things.”

Since the 1950s, psychological science has demonstrated that many types of bias can prevent opposing sides from accepting the validity of each other’s arguments, the authors say.

Selective perception makes opponents on an issue literally see things differently. In 1954, researchers showed a film of a 1951 football game – Princeton versus Dartmouth, well-known for its competitive, rough play – to two groups: one of Princeton fans and the other of Dartmouth boosters. Each team’s supporters saw the majority of flagrant violations as having been committed by opposing players.

For people with selective bias, “it’s not just that they interpret their perceptions differently; they actually see different things,” Ceci said.

In “myside” bias, people look for evidence that supports their opinions and ignore or downgrade evidence that contradicts them. “Blind-spot bias comes from deep identification with a cause. We believe we are especially enlightened, while our opponents’ affiliation with the opposite side leads them to be biased,” Ceci said. Similarly, na├»ve realism makes people feel their views are grounded in reality but their opponents’ are not.

These and many other biases explain why a sizable percentage of students favor banning nearly every controversial topic, the authors said.


NZ: Auckland politician Derek Battersby apologises to fellow board members

His comments on Asian drivers, women and police shootings were widely condemned by politicians and political commentators.  A Stuff poll showed nearly two thirds of the public thought he should resign.

Battersby apologised shortly after the posts came to light, and he later sent a formal apology to his fellow politicians that has now come to light.

Whau Local Board member David Whitley said Battersby's apology was enough as it humbled Battersby by turning around and saying he had made a mistake.

"He can be a grumpy old man."

Whitley said Battersby had made a lot of effort in the community and it was a bit over the top for someone who has done so much.

Whau Local Board member Catherine Farmer said Battersby's apology only came about because he was forced to recognise his own behaviour.

"Until then he believed his behaviour and words were completely acceptable which they weren't."


Monday, May 14, 2018

Laurier free speech advocate Lindsay Shepherd honoured in Ottawa

When graduate student Lindsay Shepherd stood up to her professors at Sir Wilfrid Laurier University last fall, she didn’t know she would become the focus of the fiery debate over free speech on campus.

She never expected she would end up being ostracized by her peers or that when she travelled to another university for a conference, the student union there would feel compelled to open a “healing space” for those upset by her presence.

“On the one hand, you had the general public who were completely supportive of my position and its implications, and then there were my fellow grad students … who all of a sudden thought I was a transphobic, white supremacist Nazi and completely flipped,” Shepherd told a gathering in Ottawa on Saturday as she accepted the 2018 Harry Weldon Canadian Values Award from the public policy group POGG Canada.

Shepherd was hauled before a discipline committee at Laurier last October after she chose for a seminar on grammar to use a video of controversial University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson being interviewed on TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin. Shepherd, who recorded the discipline hearing and later shared it with the media, won an apology from the university for her treatment.

Since then, Shepherd has been targeted by leftist activists and Antifa protesters. Downtown Waterloo was plastered with stickers urging the university to “(expletive) expel Lindsay Shepherd already.”

The experience has hardened Shepherd, who said she used to lean to the left politically but is now frightened by the left and “political correctness.”

“This is the culture and times that we’re living in,” she said. “It’s a culture of victimhood. It’s a culture, really, of losers.”

The remark drew cheers from the audience, which was overwhelmingly white and older. One man sported a red “Trump is my President” T-shirt and a “Make Canada Great Again” cap.

The talk also featured University of Ottawa professor Janice Fiamengo, whose planned lecture in March at the Ottawa Public Library was met by protesters who blocked access to the library and eventually scuttled the talk by pulling the fire alarm.

There were no protests at Saturday’s gathering, which was held in a meeting room at the Best Western Hotel on Carling Avenue.

Edgar Simpson, president of POGG Canada (It stands from Peace, Order and Good Government), said it’s important that free speech advocates like Shepherd be heard.

“We bring up the issues that are not being talked about,” Simpson said. “Unfortunately, today, as soon as the  politically correct side is stated, that’s the end of the discussion.

“Well, we beg to differ.”


Lawsuit claims UM disciplinary code curbs free speech

A new free speech advocacy group, Speech First, has filed a federal lawsuit against the University of Michigan, alleging the U of M's disciplinary code is unconstitutional.

Specifically, the lawsuit claims the U of M's speech code and its bias response system chills free speech and expression and violates the First Amendment.

"We believe that the school maintains policies and has taken action that have the purpose and effect of limiting speech that certain students may find offensive," said Nicole Neily, president of Speech First.

"Terms like 'bullying', 'harassment' and 'bias-related misconduct' are very vague so it's very difficult for students to know what they can be in trouble for," said Neily.

The lawsuit says U of M defines harassment as "unwanted negative attention perceived as intimidating, demeaning, or bothersome to an individual."

According to the lawsuit, the U of M Bias Response Team, which receives complaints of bias and is charged with investigating and possibly punishing them, says bias "can be a hurtful action based on who someone is as a person. The most important indication of bias is your own feelings."

The lawsuit said that  because the U of M definition of bias is highly subjective, "any student who offers an opinion that may be deemed by another student to be 'hurtful' to his or her 'feelings' risks an investigation from the university’s disciplinary apparatus and the potential for punishment ranging from 'restorative justice' and 'individual education' to formal disciplinary action."

"They're not just going with what's objectively offensive. It's what somebody perceives," said Neily. "So under that regime, the most sensitive student effectively dictates the terms under which others may speak."

Neily said even if a student isn't punished, just the prospect of an investigation may deter some from expressing unpopular or controversial views.


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Male Professor Faces Discipline for Telling a Female Professor a Joke

Jokes are very risky these days

Last month, a King’s College professor told a harmless joke on an elevator during an International Studies Association conference — and now, he’s facing disciplinary charges.

According to an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Professor Richard Ned Lebow was on a crowded elevator when Simona Sharoni, a professor of gender studies at Merrimack College, asked him what floor he needed, and Lebow jokingly answered, “ladies’ lingerie.”

Seems harmless, right? At the very least, nothing to write home about, right? Apparently not. Sharoni got so offended by the joke that she filed a complaint with the International Studies Association. “I am still trying to come to terms with the fact that we froze and didn’t confront him,” she wrote in the complaint.

It gets worse: ISA actually determined that Lebow’s joke had violated the group’s code of conduct.

After finding out he was under investigation, Lebow attempted to resolve the matter himself — adult-to-adult and bureaucracy-free — by writing to Sharoni. He didn’t exactly apologize but he did insist that he “certainly had no desire to insult women or to make you feel uncomfortable,” adding that what he had said was simply a “standard gag line” that he’d heard often when he was young in the 1950s.


Free Speech Or A Threat? Vermont Supreme Court Decision Highlights Continuing Tension

Last week, the court overturned the conviction of a man who put Ku Klux Klan flyers on the Burlington homes of two women of color. The court said the state didn’t prove the action met the threshold of ‘threatening behavior.’

The decision highlights the on-going tension around protecting speech even when it's potentially threatening or hateful.

In 2015, two women found KKK flyers at their homes. None of their neighbors had gotten them.  The flyers show a robed Klansman, holding a burning cross and the phrase “join the Klan and save our land.”

Police arrested and charged William Schenk with two counts of disorderly conduct. He pleaded guilty, but the supreme court later overturned his conviction.

In its decision, the court said prosecutors didn't prove that Schenk's actions went far under Vermont's disorderly conduct statue to be threat.

Jared Carter, an assistant professor at Vermont Law School, said the state had to prove that Schenk’s actions — leaving the flyers — constituted an immediate threat to the two women.

“And that since the activities here were primarily speech — the delivery of some fliers, heinous fliers but speech nonetheless — the state, as a matter of fact, and a matter of law could not meet its burden of proof,” Carter said.


Friday, May 11, 2018

“People are muzzled”: why Australia isn’t discussing unsustainable immigration

Many Australians are reluctant to publicly criticise our unsustainable immigration intake due to fears they will be labelled a racist or white supremacist, a new study has found.

The paper by The Australian Population Research Institute  found that 65% of participants think that those who publicly question mass migration are seen as xenophobic. It seems debate is being suppressed as a result, with freedom of speech falling by the wayside.

“What’s interesting is a large chunk of people want immigration reduced,” explains Catharine Betts, who wrote the report.

“But when asked do you feel uncomfortable talking about this, a lot of them say they are. They’re worried people will get the wrong idea. People are muzzled.”

The study also exposed an increasing chasm between how the political elite and the general public conceptualise population policy. Though 54% of those surveyed want an immigration cut and 74% think Australia is full, only 4% of politicians publicly favour migration restrictions.


Sent to jail for a minority opinion

Authorities in western Germany arrested serial Holocaust denier Ursula Haverbeck on Monday after the 89-year-old failed to show up at prison last week to start her sentence.

"After the convict failed to report to the relevant penal institution within the deadline, prosecutors in Verden on May 4, 2018 issued an order to execute the sentence and have charged police with its implementation," prosecutors said. Police found Haverbeck at her home on Monday and transferred her to prison to begin her two-year term.

Haverbeck was sentenced for incitement by denying the mass murder of millions of Jews during the Nazi era in Germany.

Haverbeck, who  German media often refers to as the "Nazi Grandma," has never spent time in prison despite several previous convictions for denying the Holocaust, in which six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis between 1941 and 1945.

She was supposed to start her prison sentence in the town of Bielefeld last Wednesday.


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Must not praise marriage

The judge chairing the public inquiry into undercover police who had sex with their activist targets has caused an outcry by saying that officers were less likely to enter illicit relationships if they were happily married.

Sir John Mitting’s “old-fashioned” views angered those who were duped into relationships, marriage and even having children with police officers who infiltrated the environmental and animal rights protest movements. His comments, and wider unease over his handling of the inquiry, are likely to lead to a boycott of proceedings by victims.

The inquiry has already cost more than £9 million but is not expected to hear any evidence until next year. It was ordered in 2014 by Theresa May as home secretary, but has been beset by delays.


People with disabilities are not disabled people -- go figure

AN ADELAIDE television host who offered to organise a charity event for children with disabilities has been criticised for the language he used in his Facebook post.

Andrew ‘Cosi’ Costello is the host of Channel 9’s South Aussie With Cosi travel show and is a former breakfast radio host.

He was a contestant on the 2008 season of The Biggest Loser and has won several awards for his documentary reporting on homelessness.

On Monday, Costello posted a message to his 100,000 Facebook followers, offering parents of children with disabilities a free day out at the movies.

“I’m looking for 50 South Aussie families living with a child with a disability. I want to shout you all a free day out at the movies! If you have a disabled child or even better, tag anyone you know in this position that deserves a free day out,” he wrote.

“I’m lucky enough to have healthy kids so I want to help those that find life a bit harder with their kids. Life’s tough for these SA families so I’m pumped to be able to ease the burden for a few hours.”

The post was accompanied by a photo of Costello with one of his daughters.

But the radio host has been criticised for using the term “disabled child”.

He was contacted by a parent of a child with a disability, who recommended he amend his post to use the phrase “children with a disability”.

“I know you mean well, but can you please at least consider using appropriate language,” the woman wrote.


Wednesday, May 09, 2018

"Colonial" is a bad word

Here we go again: The 92-year-old George Washington University mascot known as the “Colonial” should be removed, a student petition says, because it is “offensive.”

“The use of ‘Colonials,’ no matter how innocent the intention, is received as extremely offensive by not only students of the University, but the nation and world at large,” the petition reads. “The historically, negatively-charged figure of Colonials has too deep a connection to colonization and glorifies the act of systemic oppression.”

If the petition gets 500 signatures, the Student Association will have to respond, according to The Hatchet. It currently is just two signatures shy of that figure.


Syracuse University expels fraternity involved in racist video

It was intended for private viewing only.  It was so extreme that it should have been obvious that it was satirical.  It was ridiculing racism.  But satire is often lost on the Left.  They are too full of rage to have much of a sense of humor.  Extreme abuse -- as at the White House correspondents' dinner -- is their idea of funny

Syracuse University has permanently expelled the Theta Tau fraternity after footage emerged earlier this week of its members participating in a racist and anti-Semitic skit, Chancellor Kent Syverud said in a video statement Saturday.

Theta Tau leadership was informed of the university's decision earlier Saturday, Syverud said, noting the school had suspended the fraternity soon after being made aware of the footage, which he called "racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, ableist and sexist."

Students on the Syracuse campus this week were outraged after The Daily Orange, an independent student newspaper, obtained and posted a video in which a fraternity member makes another one swear to hold onto hatred for African-Americans, Hispanics and Jews, using racial slurs for those groups.

Later, another student, using a derogatory word for Jews, makes a veiled reference to gas chambers in Nazi Germany


Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Chinese Commenters Push Back Against Claims That Chinese Prom Dress Is 'Cultural Appropriation'

Last Saturday, a random 18-year-old named Keziah tweeted out a picture of herself wearing a Chinese dress with the caption “PROM.” A random man named Jeremy Lam retweeted her photo with the caption “My culture is NOT your goddamn prom dress.” Lam’s tweet went viral and has made Keziah the recipient of thousands of hateful messages accusing her of “cultural appropriation” of Chinese culture.

We’ve come to expect that kind of thing from the Twitterverse. The hatred and oppression of the left is nothing new. But here’s what happened next:

Mixed in with the bullying and the negativity were countless comments from Chinese people coming to Keziah’s defense — and pushing back against the idea of “cultural appropriation.” People from different cultures appreciating one another, these commenters were saying, is a good and necessary thing.

Popular video game designer Mark Kern tweeted, “I am Chinese, thank you for wearing this. Please enjoy.” Chinese Twitter user @thekawaiicrew tweeted, “What good is our culture if we can't share it with others?” @will_morris117 wrote, “You should probably learn about your own culture then. Because no one from China would have a problem with her wearing a cheongsam to a formal event.”

Keziah — showing amazing strength for an 18-year-old suddenly subjected to the bullying of thousands — fought back, echoing the sentiments of the Chinese commenters. “To everyone causing so much negativity,” she wrote on Twitter, “I mean no disrespect to the Chinese culture. I’m simply showing my appreciation to their culture. I’m not deleting my post because I’ve done nothing but show my love for the culture. It’s a f***ing dress. And it’s beautiful.”


I am so glad the girl was not crushed by the abuse.  The Left are so full of hate that they don't care whom they hurt -- JR

Monday, May 07, 2018

'Day for Freedom' protest in London: Milo Yiannopoulos and Tommy Robinson to speak at controversial far-right rally

A band of far-right speakers including Tommy Robinson and Milo Yiannopoulos are expected to speak at a 'Day for Freedom' rally in Whitehall today.

Thousands have registered their interest in an online Facebook event, which suggests controversial YouTubers Count Dankula and Sargon of Akkad will also appear at the event near Downing Street.

Mr Robinson - real name Stephen Yaxley - is the former leader of the English Defence League and a correspondent for Canadian right-wing vlog channel The Rebel Media. 

The rally, which organisers say is to "defend free speech", will begin at Whitehall in central London at 3pm.

Mr Yiannopoulos, often referred to as a leading member of the 'alt right' movement, is a Trump-supporting anti-feminist, recently disgraced for describing victims of child sexual abuse as "whinging selfish brats".

YouTuber Mark Meechan - best known as Count Dankula - is expected to appear. Meechan became an outspoken free speech advocate after he was fined £800 for teaching his girlfriend's pet dog to perform a Nazi salute.

Sargon of Akkad - real name Carl Benjamin - is known for his criticism of feminism, Islam, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the notion of "straight white male privilege".

In March, Mr Benjamin was forced to end a talk at King's College London prematurely when a group of masked "anti-fascist" protesters stormed the building, setting off fire alarms and smoke bombs.

In a statement, Mr Robinson said: "This is bigger than me or any of us as individuals so we have to stand up together to defend our freedom of speech.


No enthusiasm for university free speech code in Britain

The UK’s complex tangle of regulations governing free speech on university campuses should be replaced by one clear set of guidelines for both students and institutions, according to the universities minister.

In a speech at a closed-door seminar on free speech on campus, the minister, Sam Gyimah, will suggest the Department for Education oversees the creation of the first new set of guidelines – since the free speech duty was first introduced in 1986 – to “provide clarity”.

Gyimah’s idea would bind both students and universities to a common code of practice on free speech, although there appears to be little enthusiasm for this among either university or student leaders.

Alistair Jarvis, chief executive of Universities UK, will also attend the seminar. He said a recent parliamentary inquiry had found no systemic problems with free speech at British universities.

He said: “Universities are committed to promoting and protecting free speech within the law. Tens of thousands of speaking events are put on every year across the country, the majority pass without incident. [Only the non-conservative ones]


Sunday, May 06, 2018

College Shuts Down Professor over Speech on Science, Free Expression

Adam Perkins, King’s College London lecturer in Neurobiology of Personality, was scheduled to deliver a talk at his institution. But King’s College cancelled the event because they considered it too “high risk.” What was he going to say that was so “risky” that he needed to be shut down?

A version of the speech appears as a new article on Quillette. His theme? “The Scientific Importance of Free Speech.” Whoa, now that’s radioactive.

He starts off with a bang. “We need free speech in science because science is not really about microscopes, or pipettes, or test tubes or even Large Hadron Colliders. These are merely tools that help us to accomplish a far greater mission, which is to choose between rival narratives, in the vicious, no-holds-barred battle of ideas that we call ‘science’.”

Perkins makes an interesting reference to Darwinian evolution. Although one cannot deduce whether or not he’s a critic, and it would be safe to assume not, it is nonetheless interesting that he chose to include natural selection as a subject where scientific “argument” and “debate” are “allowed.”

    "But scientific domains in which a single experiment can provide a definitive answer are rare. For example, Charles Darwin’s principle of evolution by natural selection concerns slow, large-scale processes that are unsuited to testing in a laboratory. In these cases, we take a bird’s eye view of the facts of the matter and attempt to form an opinion about what they mean.

    This allows a lot of room for argument, but as long as both sides are able to speak up, we can at least have a debate: when a researcher disagrees with the findings of an opponent’s study, they traditionally write an open letter to the journal editor critiquing the paper in question and setting out their counter evidence."

Perkins also writes:

    "When one side of a scientific debate is allowed to silence the other side, this is an impediment to scientific progress because it prevents bad theories being replaced by better theories. Or, even worse, it causes civilization to go backward, such as when a good theory is replaced by a bad theory that it previously displaced."

He goes on to discuss socialist rejection of Mendelian genetics, Lysenko’s advocacy of the idea that acquired characteristics can be heritable, as well as the 1986 catastrophe of the Space Shuttle Challenger. Perkins’s conclusion seems to be that society must allow scientific debate on evidence because if it does not, we create an unhealthy scientific environment that will cause harmful real-world impacts.


Amazon protects Third World censors

On Tuesday, Moxie Marlinspike, founder of the secure messaging app Signal, posted a letter sent to him from Amazon threatening to suspend the company’s AWS account for using a technique called domain-fronting on its network. The technique is used to protect messages sent via the Signal’s messaging app from being tracked or censored in countries such as Egypt, Oman, Qatar and UAE, where the service is banned.

The move was admonished by anti-censorship and free speech advocates at the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

“Amazon is acquiescing to their business interests by banning the ability to do domain-fronting on their infrastructure,” said Daniel Kahn Gillmor, senior staff technologist at the ACLU. “What Amazon is effectively doing, by barring domain-fronting, is sending a message that nobody can rely on Amazon to help them enjoy freedom of speech. That’s a sad outcome. Amazon had the opportunity to stand up for the right thing here and they don’t appear to be taking it.”

The action by Amazon follows a similar move by Google, who earlier this year also threatened to push Signal off its platform if it continued to use the domain-fronting technique on its servers.

Domain-fronting, akin to hiding in plain sight, is  used to obscure the true endpoint of a connection. The networking technique, first detailed in a paper (.PDF) by academics at the University of California Berkeley in 2015, uses HTTPS to communicate with a censored host while appearing, on the outside, to be communicating with a completely different, permitted host — in this case, Amazon and Google.

According to the Amazon letter sent to Signal and posted by Marlinspike, Amazon chastised him for using the domain as part of Signal’s domain-fronting routine.

“You do not have permission from Amazon to use for any purpose. Any use of or any other domain to masquerade as another entity without express permission of the domain owner is in clear violation of the AWS Service Terms,” the letter read. “We will immediately suspend your use of CloudFront if you use third-party domains without their permission to masquerade as that third party.”

Marlinspike wrote, “With Google Cloud and AWS out of the picture, it seems that domain-fronting as a censorship circumvention technique is now largely non-viable in the countries where Signal had enabled this feature.