Friday, September 28, 2018

Debate over campus free speech back before House

Republican lawmakers are continuing to spotlight policies on college campuses they say restrict free speech. During a hearing today, members of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hear from free speech advocates, some of whom will call on Congress to step in, and at least one who will chide conservatives for partisan rhetoric and ask lawmakers to stay out of it.

— Joseph Cohn of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, will rail against so-called speech codes, or policies that in some way restrict protected speech. He will argue that protected speech includes “overbroad” anti-harassment policies and “free speech” zones, which limit rallies, demonstrations and speeches to small or out-of-the-way parts of campus and often require permits from college officials, according to his written testimony.

— Cohn will ask House lawmakers to support a proposal from Sen. Orrin Hatch. The bill, introduced in February, is called the Free Right to Expression in Education Act, S. 2394 (115), and would ban the use of free speech zones. “There is no silver bullet that will resolve every threat to free speech on campus,” Cohn plans to tell lawmakers. “Congress can, however, take steps that will dramatically reduce such cases.”

— Also slated to testify against free speech zones is Ken Paulson, dean of the College of Media and Entertainment at Middle Tennessee State University and president of the First Amendment Center at the Newseum. But, unlike Cohn, Paulson says the solution is educating the public about the value of free speech, not legislation.

— “There are some who see free speech infractions and ask for Congress to do something. But with all due respect, this is not about legislation,” Paulson writes in prepared remarks. “You can’t try to zone protests off your campus if you appreciate the value of petition and assembly.”

— The issue hasn’t yielded much in the way of policy from Capitol Hill, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed last week to continue fighting campus policies that limit speech. “We must put an end to this nonsense. It is time to put a stake in its heart," he said. The issue is also on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ radar. "Too many administrators have been complicit in creating or facilitating a culture that makes it easier for the 'heckler' to win,” DeVos said last week.

— But Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PEN America — a nonprofit that works to protect free expression worldwide — will challenge the Justice Department’s approach to campus free speech, telling lawmakers the issue must not become “politicized or partisan.”

— Nossel wrote in prepared remarks that while the Justice Department has raised important concerns, “accompanying these interventions with rhetoric castigating progressive students as snowflakes, vilifying campus administrators, and wrongly suggesting that attacks on free speech target only the right, the genuine constitutional concerns that ought to be at the heart of these efforts become clouded over by ideology and divisive rhetoric.”


Australia: Conservative party bludgeoned by Leftist government for allowing anti-Muslim speech

The lies and misrepresentations of the Leftist press are incredible.  The senator sad that the "final solution" to Muslim problems was democracy, not gas ovens.  It was a pro-democracy speech, not a pro-Nazi speech

Queensland's corruption watchdog has ruled Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and three opposition MPs have no case to answer over the removal of resources from Katter's Australia Party.

Ms Palaszczuk stripped the party of extra parliamentary staff after state KAP MPs refused to denounce federal Senator Fraser Anning for using the Nazi-associated phrase "final solution" during his first parliamentary speech.

In response, KAP Qld leader Robbie Katter referred the premier to the Crime and Corruption Commission claiming she had broken the law by using the extra resources as leverage in urging the KAP to renounce the senator's speech.

He also referred Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington, Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mander and LNP member for Warrego Ann Leahy after they called for the premier to withdraw the funding.

The CCC found the LNP MPs had no case to answer, and said the premier may have technically breached the law by threatening to remove the extra funding if the KAP MPs didn't renounce the speech.

"The premier's answer allegedly contained an implied threat to withdraw KAP staffing resources with the intent to influence KAP parliamentary members in their vote," the watchdog said in a statement.

However it also found the relevant section of the criminal code wasn't meant to apply to statements made in parliament.

"The CCC acknowledges that the government of the day has authority to determine appropriate resourcing for ministerial and other office holders."

"The CCC is of the view that parliament is the appropriate entity to decide the propriety of its own proceedings"

The anti-corruption body recommended setting up an independent body to decide resource allocation to parties.

The resources were initially allocated to the KAP during the last term of government when Labor relied on its two votes in the minority government at the time.


Thursday, September 27, 2018

Twitter Implementing European-Style Hate Speech Bans

Will it stop toxic behavior or just encourage more demands for censorship?

Twitter's leadership announced this morning that it is broadening its bans on "hateful" conduct to try to cut down on "dehumanizing" behavior.

The social media platform already bans (or attempts to ban, anyway) speech that targets an individual on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, and a host of other characteristics. Now it intends to crack down on broader, non-targeted speech that dehumanizes classes of people for these characteristics.

Here's how the company's blog post describes the new rules: You may not dehumanize anyone based on membership in an identifiable group, as this speech can lead to offline harm.


Dehumanization: Language that treats others as less than human. Dehumanization can occur when others are denied of human qualities (animalistic dehumanization) or when others are denied of human nature (mechanistic dehumanization). Examples can include comparing groups to animals and viruses (animalistic), or reducing groups to their genitalia (mechanistic).

Identifiable group: Any group of people that can be distinguished by their shared characteristics such as their race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, serious disease, occupation, political beliefs, location, or social practices.

As a private platform, Twitter can decide that it does not want to make space for speech it finds unacceptable. Newspapers and other media outlets have often declined to run letters to the editor or otherwise provide platforms for speech that uses such "dehumanizing" language. It's their right to do so.

Both Twitter's blog post and Wired's coverage of the rule change point to the research of Susan Benesch of The Dangerous Speech Project as an inspiration for the new rule. Yet while one might think an organization that says certain types of speech are actually dangerous would be pro-censorship, that's not really what the group is about.

While The Dangerous Speech Project does say that "inhibiting" dangerous, dehumanizing speech is one way to prevent the spread of messages meant to encourage violence and hatred toward targeted groups, that's not what the group is actually encouraging. It says outright that efforts to fight "dangerous" speech "must not infringe upon freedom of speech since that is a fundamental right." It adds that "when people are prevented from expressing their grievances, they are less likely to resolve them peacefully and more likely to resort to violence."


No free speech in Spain

In the United States, the protection of speech can be traced back to the foundation of the country, hence its prominent and purposeful inclusion as part of the first amendment to the Constitution. Over the course of two hundred plus years that freedom has been tested, and political and civil society leaders from different generations – from George Washington to Frederick Douglass to Cesar Chavez – worked to ensure the tradition of speaking truth to power remains a pillar of the American Republic.

An opposite approach has been taken in Spain, where current law treats peaceful protest as a public security concern, assigns heavy fines for acts of civil disobedience and criminalizes speech online, giving security services extraordinary powers, while limiting citizen protections.

Broadly condemned by the UN special rapporteur charged with protecting freedom of peaceful assembly, the New York Times’ Editorial Board summed up the most infamous of recent laws restricting basic freedoms by saying it had ‘no place in a democratic nation, where Spaniards, as citizens of the European Union, have more than a virtual right to peaceful, collective protest.’

As political tensions have risen between Madrid and Barcelona over last year’s independence referendum, the restrictions on free speech and assembly have gone into overdrive. Leaders of two of Catalonia’s largest civil society organizations have languished in preventative custody since October 2017 on charges of sedition, even though video evidence disproves the charges, which have been condemned internationally. And nine former members of Catalonia’s government and parliament are also jailed, even while their colleagues who chose exile rather than arrest  – including Catalonia’s former president Carles Puigdemont – live freely across Europe.

But measures to quash basic freedoms in Catalonia have not been aimed solely at political and civil society leadership, rather they have targeted dissent more broadly, including the right to protest, debate, and even artistic expression, with Spain recently assuming the dubious distinction of incarcerating more artists than any country in the world.

Much of the justification of repression by Spanish authorities comes in the form of comparing pro-independence leaders and organizations to the Nazis, a spurious accusation


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Trump tweet mocking Stormy Daniels was free speech, not defamation, judge says

A federal judge cast doubt Monday on a defamation claim Stormy Daniels filed against President Donald Trump for a tweet questioning the credibility of the adult-film actress.

Judge S. James Otero of U.S. District Court in Los Angeles said the Trump tweet that gave rise to Daniels’ lawsuit looked to him like free speech that “lies at the heart of the First Amendment.”

“This is the type of political discourse and commentary that takes place in elections all the time, and I’m troubled that there’s a claim here for defamation,” Otero said.


Stealing lawn signs attacks free speech

By Caroline Burley

MN: Freedom of speech is under attack in Duluth. My Republican lawn signs repeatedly have been attacked this election season. First, the hardware was removed from two of my signs, and they were left lying on my lawn. Then some of my signs became slanted. Finally, on the afternoon of Aug. 28, seven signs were stolen from my yard.

People in Duluth live in fear of saying something that might offend someone. Twice, a pickup has followed me home. Perhaps the driver didn't like the bumper stickers on my vehicle. Intimidation is illegal.

The unions in Duluth dominate School Board and City Council elections, which are supposed to be nonpartisan. Unions should not be allowed to contribute to political campaigns.

Signs are an expensive part of a campaign. Nine signs at $50 each are a theft of $450.

My signs supported people of the highest integrity who have the qualifications for the offices they are seeking. If the candidates the thief supports cannot win fairly, they do not deserve to win.


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Actor James Woods, one of Hollywood’s leading conservative voices, has been locked out of his Twitter account over a months-old tweet

Woods was shut down on Thursday. The reason was a jokey July 20 meme he circulated that was claimed to come from Democrats and encouraged men not to vote in the upcoming mid-term elections. The meme said ‘#LetWomenDecide and #NoMenMidterm.

Twitter claimed the meme could be considered material that would suppress votes or deliberately deceive, according to the Associated Press.

Twitter and its CEO, Jack Dorsey, have been accused of shadowbanning conservatives or axing their accounts. Dorsey has denied intentional discrimination but has admitted his company is left-leaning.

The tweet was posted July 20 included a hoax meme that said it came from Democrats and encouraged men not to vote in the midterm elections, which led the micro-blogging site to shut him down after it was considered to be material that would suppress votes or deliberately deceive, reports Associated Press.

Woods received an email offering to restore his account if he deleted the offending tweet.  Woods declined. “Free speech is free speech – it’s not Jack Dorsey’s version of free speech,’ Woods said.


'Major victory' for freedom of speech in Hawaii

A federal judge has said "aloha" to a law in Hawaii that forces pregnancy centers and pro-life doctors to advertise for the abortion industry.

The ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Derrick K. Watson comes in light of this year's Supreme Court NIFLA v Becerra decision affirming free speech.

"Pro-life pregnancy centers cannot be forced to provide free advertising to the abortion industry consistent with the First Amendment, but that is precisely what Hawaii has done here with this law," says attorney Elissa Graves of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the organization representing parties in both the Hawaii case and NIFLA v Becerra. "Federal law under the Church and Weldon Amendments prohibits discrimination against pro-life doctors and their staff based on their beliefs about abortion."

The Hawaii case is known as Calvary Chapel Pearl Harbor v Suzuki. ADF attorneys challenged Senate Bill 501 (later retitled Act 200) on behalf of Calvary Chapel Pearl Harbor's pregnancy center, "A Place for Women in Waipio," and the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, which has five pregnancy center affiliates in Hawaii.

Act 200 required pro-life pregnancy centers to direct women to a state agency that provides abortion referrals and funding. It would have required pro-life centers to post large signs or provide notice to clients that the state of Hawaii "has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services," which include abortion-inducing drugs.

But in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in NIFLA v Becerra, the Hawaii attorney general agreed that the compelled speech mandate at the heart of the law was unconstitutional. On Thursday, District Court Judge Derrick K. Watson held as much when he declared that portion of the law unconstitutional and permanently enjoined the state of Hawaii from enforcing it.


Monday, September 24, 2018

Must not disrespect Hollywood fiction

AN online clothing company has been forced to remove a costume from their site in the lead up to Halloween following severe social media backlash.

The costume, reminiscent of the outfit worn by the handmaids in the dystopian television series The Handmaid’s Tale, but with a ‘sexy’ twist, sparked controversy online for trivialising the message of the show and sexualising the handmaids — who are subjected to rape in the fictional totalitarian state, Gilead, in an attempt to repopulate society in the face of a rapidly declining birthrate.

The handmaids in the show are recognised by their long red dresses, white bonnets and red capes.

The outfit has also been used as a symbol for protesting women’s rights. Recently, a number of demonstrators wore the outfit to protest President Trump’s Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh.

A picture of a model wearing the sexy version of the costume on featured a red minidress paired with a revealing red cape and a white bonnet. The model also wore sky-high black stilettos.


Making a Living with Free Speech

Free speech protections in the United States are pretty far reaching, including protections for commercial free speech and occupational free speech. If you make your living by giving tours or lecturing students or instructing trainees, the First Amendment still applies.

Unfortunately, many states encroach on that freedom of expression when it comes to occupational licensing. The Institute for Justice is currently representing Jon and Tracy McGlothian of Virginia, who are challenging their state’s requirements that they be licensed and otherwise regulated for operating a vocational training business.

The case highlights an odd aspect of Virginia law, by which the McGlothians can offer instruction for hobbyists, but not would-be professionals:

As it turns out, in Virginia, you can teach anyone anything—except how to earn an honest living. Any Virginians can legally teach hobbies like yoga or karate. But, incredibly, Virginians who teach job skills without a state license can face criminal charges and tens of thousands of dollars in fines.

Jon and Tracy learned firsthand that getting permission to teach means going through an expensive, time-consuming and byzantine application process. Over the last two years, they’ve spent thousands of dollars and dozens of hours putting together a heavy binder to prove their fitness to teach, but they keep getting rejected and asked to provide more and more information.

These restrictions, of course, act as a barrier to entry that shields existing vocational training operations from competition. Similar policies are unfortunately common across the country—regulations theoretically meant to protect consumers are proposed and supported by current members of a profession as a way to artificially limit the number people competing with them.


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Twitter’s Initial Classification of 'Illegal Alien,' 'Criminal Alien' as Hateful Shows Social Media's Censorship Potential

Twitter made headlines recently when it denied the Center for Immigration Studies, a nonpartisan group, the ability to promote four tweets that — according to Twitter — contained “hateful content.” What was that hateful content? The legally correct phrases “illegal alien” and “criminal alien.”

To be clear, those who follow the Center for Immigration Studies on Twitter were able to see these tweets, but the organization was prevented from paying Twitter to disseminate the posts beyond its own followers. Twitter subsequently decided that the group could promote the tweets after it protested.

In recent years, those on the progressive left has decided to censor terms that, despite being accurate and legally correct, do not meet their views of the prevailing political orthodoxy.

They prefer terms such as “undocumented immigrant” that are intended to disguise the illegality of aliens who cross our borders without permission. The difference in meaning between these terms is actually crucial when understanding and correctly discussing different types of immigration.

As noted in a previous article, “Under federal law, any individual in this country who is not a citizen is an alien. And any alien who is here without permission is here illegally. End of story.”

The terminology is clearly correct under both immigration law and Supreme Court precedents, but the left understands that controlling language and content is the key to controlling public discourse.


You protest, you pay: Australia's Federal Education Minister bids to bolster free speech at universities

Students and activists who protest at campus events would have to pay for their own security under a plan being pressed upon Australia's major universities by federal Education Minister Dan Tehan.

Mr Tehan put the idea to Group of Eight vice-chancellors on Thursday night as they met to discuss a string of incidents that the Morrison government believe show free speech under threat.

That included a speech by controversial author Bettina Arndt to the Sydney University Liberal Club, which was charged for security. The event was targeted by left-wing students opposed to Arndt's view that there is no such thing as a "rape crisis" on Australian university campuses.

Last month the University of Western Australia cancelled a talk by American transgender sceptic Quentin Van Meter, saying the organisers had been unable to provide the risk paperwork in time.

"We've seen some examples where groups have tried to prevent forums taking place, and I think what we have to ensure is that where that is happening, there is an ability - especially on our university campuses - for those events to go ahead," Mr Tehan told Fairfax Media on Friday.

"We want to make sure that there are procedures and structures in place that mean events can occur ... and not be put in jeopardy because of increased security costs.

"It might well be those people who seek to disrupt [who] might have to end up bearing some of the responsibility of the financial cost. It should not be based solely on those who want to run events [having to pay]."

Mr Tehan acknowledged the Sydney University event ultimately went ahead as planned, but said the problem was becoming more frequent and should be dealt with right away. But the vice-chancellors told Mr Tehan they already have measures to protect free speech on campus.

"They said they have policies in place, they’ve agreed to provide me with those policies," Mr Tehan told Fairfax Media.

Sydney University vice-chancellor Michael Spence was unable to attend the meeting with Mr Tehan. But in a statement, a university spokeswoman said: "We'd be interested to hear any suggestions the minister has in practice for charging a crowd of protesters, only some of whom may be members of the university."

The Sydney University Liberal Club was charged $475 for security for the event. But it never had to foot the bill - it was paid by Victorian Liberal Party president Michael Kroger, who cut a cheque for $5000 to cover all the event's costs.

Asked how to enforce a "you protest, you pay" policy, SULC president Jack O'Brien said one could "identify key protesters and the key organisations that ran the protest", and send them the bill. "We want to see a bit of action on this," Mr O'Brien said on Friday. "It's a bit disgraceful."


Friday, September 21, 2018

Must not promote jobs to males only -- even if males are the most likely to be interested

THE social media giant has been accused of being the architect of discrimination and giving “new life” to sexism in a string of targeted ads.

This time the social media giant has been slammed for targeting certain job ads exclusively at men by encouraging advertisers in certain male-dominated industries like law enforcement, roof tiling and truck driving to exclude women from their ads targeting on the site.

Social rights campaigners in the United States have claimed Facebook is “shutting out” women from hearing about job opportunities and accused it of giving “new life” to discrimination.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a complaint with the US labour equality watchdog alleging that Facebook “consciously encouraged” employers to exclude women from their digital recruitment efforts.

“In creating and carrying out these targeting mechanisms, Facebook has created and profited from a powerful tool for discrimination against female and other non-male job applicants,” the complaint said.

“Facebook has long known that employers and employment agencies were using its platform to discriminate on the basis of gender, and (has) encouraged that behaviour, rather than eliminating it.”

The complaint was filed on behalf of three female job seekers and the Communications Workers of America Union.


Stanford Removing Catholic Saint Junipero Serra's Name From Campus to Avoid Offending Native Americans

According to an announcement from the university earlier this week, Stanford will soon be removing Junipero Serra’s name from a number of campus buildings and areas.

So far, it appears that the areas to be renamed include Serra Mall (the pedestrian and bike mall outside the university that serves as their mailing address), the Serra dormitory, and an academic building. Although Serra Street (located on campus) will keep its name, there are plans for new educational displays and “other efforts” to “more fully address the multidimensional legacy of Serra and the mission system in California.”

Father Junipero Serra is best known for being the 18th-century founder of the California missions. He was canonized a saint by the Catholic Church in 2015.

The decision to scrub Father Serra’s name was made by a committee comprised of students, faculty, staff, and alumni, which presented its ideas to the Stanford Board of Trustees. The board accepted the committee’s recommendations, along with university president Marc Tessier-Levigne’s suggestion to honor Stanford’s founder by renaming Serra Mall as “Jane Stanford Way.”

Progressive committee members felt that in spite of the significant role Junipero Serra played in California history, his “mission system inflicted great harm and violence on Native Americans.”


There are apparently many statues of Father Serra in CA so this one may not be a big loss

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Don’t censor hate speech at Yale

James Kirchick ’06, a former member of the Yale Independent Party and current candidate for the Yale Corporation, wasted no time before throwing a jab at the Party of the Right when he returned to the floor of Yale’s Political Union on Tuesday.

The Yale Political Union invited Kirchick to debate the topic “Resolved: Hate Speech is Free Speech.” In recent months, he has emerged as a divisive figure on campus and among alumni as he campaigns to garner the 4,266 signatures necessary to secure a spot on the ballot for the alumni fellow elections next year. Since he was not one of the two candidates nominated this year by the Alumni Nominating Committee — a body appointed by the Association of Yale Alumni — he must petition to make the ballot.

Kirchick, a journalist and foreign correspondent, has made headlines for his campaign, which advocates for the restoration of free speech and “basic liberal” values at Yale. He announced his campaign in late spring in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal titled, “I’m Running to Restore Yale Values.”

During the debate on Tuesday, Kirchick argued that hate speech has not been well-defined and should not be regulated or censored.

“Attempts to define hate speech and limit it as many do is nothing more than an attack on First Amendment rights,” he said. “Freedom of expression and speech is the most fundamental right of a free society.”

Kirchick touched on a number of topics during his speech, which lasted for approximately 15 minutes. He argued that the absence of restrictions on speech has significantly benefited marginalized communities and that the media cannot move to censor hate speech while simultaneously fighting for a free press.

“Unfettered free speech, including so-called hate speech, helps marginalized communities,” Kirchick said. “The gay rights movement, like the movements for African American civil rights and women’s rights, would not be where they are today if it wasn’t for unfettered free speech.”


Leaked NPR Emails: Don’t Call Kermit Gosnell an ‘Abortion Doctor’

National Public Radio’s own past reporting called Kermit Gosnell an ‘abortion doctor.’ But when the makers of a new film wanted to pay to use the phrase on air, no dice.

Early last month, John Sullivan, executive producer of the new film Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer (in theaters Oct. 12), reached out to National Public Radio to purchase a sponsorship for the Peabody Award-winning interview show, Fresh Air.

Sullivan, who was prepared to spend as much as six figures, crafted his ad copy to answer the question you’re probably asking: Who is Gosnell? The proposed ad was as follows, “Support for this NPR program comes from the film Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer. The film is the true story of abortionist Kermit Gosnell. A story the mainstream media tried to cover up because it reveals the truth about abortion.”

No dice. According to e-mails provided to The Daily Beast, NPR’s representative ran it up the legal flagpole and came back with a disappointing answer. In addition to other minor tweaks to the wording, their response stated, “The word ‘abortionist’ will also need to be changed to the neutral word ‘doctor.’”

Seeking to find an acceptable compromise, Sullivan (who co-directed Dinesh D’Souza’s first two documentaries) next proposed simply using the term “abortion doctor.” This is a descriptive term that is morally neutral, he reasoned. Still, NPR refused to approve Sullivan’s compromise language. It was “Philadelphia doctor Kermit Gosnell” or bust.

For the filmmakers, this was a deal-breaker. “Our movie isn’t about a podiatrist or a cardiologist or a proctologist,” said producer Phelim McAleer. “It’s specifically about a doctor who performs abortions.”

When asked to comment, NPR’s Senior Director of Media Relations Isabel Lara explained, “Sponsor credits that run on NPR are required to be value neutral to comply with FCC requirements and to avoid suggesting bias in NPR’s journalism.”


Accurate descriptions = bias???

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Sessions Says Justice Dept. Has Helped Preserve Free Speech on Campuses

Attorney General Jeff Sessions made clear on Monday that the Justice Department will oppose colleges and universities that stifle free speech on campus, a cause championed by conservatives who say their voices are silenced in higher education.

“Today, freedom of speech and thought have come most under attack on the college campus,” Mr. Sessions said at a forum on free speech in higher education hosted by the Justice Department. “The most important time to defend a valued right is when it is being attacked or eroded.”

Mr. Sessions said the Justice Department has written so-called statements of interest in four lawsuits against colleges and universities over free speech-related cases, including at the University of California, Berkeley; Pierce College in Los Angeles; Gwinnett College in Georgia; and the University of Michigan. The Justice Department has sided with students in the cases who say campus policies have stifled their ability to speak freely.

Mr. Sessions said the statements of interest, legal tools used to interject the federal government in private disputes, have had an effect. Michigan changed its policy, and in other cases, judges allowed the lawsuits to go forward after the Justice Department stepped in, he said.


South Dakota colleges to take 'more aggressive' approach to free speech, regents say

The South Dakota Board of Regents plans to change free speech policies after a nationwide effort to push for stronger language at schools across the country during the last year.

But Kevin Schieffer, South Dakota's Board of Regents president, says pending updates to free speech policies at public universities aren't the result of any one particular outcry.

"Many of the changes are really clarifying in nature," Schieffer said. "But some take a decidedly more aggressive approach to ensuring free speech, particularly to ensure harassment or other Title IX kinds of policies do not go too far in curbing free speech."

The South Dakota Board of Regents is asking for public comment about seven potential changes to free speech policies at its universities by Oct. 3. The board is also considering changes related to the student code of conduct, funding of student organizations, politics activities, how facilities are used and acceptable use of information technology systems.

"There have been numerous high-profile speech cancellations in other parts of the country that raised free speech concerns," Schieffer said Monday. "Also I think it's fair to say that there is a growing feeling out there that Title IX demands regarding sexual harassment, excessive 'political correctness,' etc., are all converging to make speech less robust on campuses than it has been historically."


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

UK: "White" is dangerous word

I believe that “whiter than white” was originally an advertising slogan for a laundry powder so it actually refers to washing.  It has nothing to do with race. It is one of those rare advertising slogans that became part of common usage -- as with "Where's the beef?" in the USA

A senior [London cop] could face the sack for alleged racist language after using the phrase “whiter than white” in a briefing to colleagues.

He could face an internal investigation for gross misconduct — the most serious disciplinary offence. Sources said the detective superintendent addressed colleagues about the need to be faultless and above reproach in carrying out inquiries, saying that they needed to be “whiter than white”.

The Met later received a complaint about his comment and passed it to the police watchdog for investigation.

The officer has now been placed on restricted duties while the Independent Office for Police Conduct investigates. He has been told the inquiry may take up to 12 months to complete.

A highly respected officer, he strenuously denies any wrongdoing and is co-operating fully with the investigation. He is attached to the Met’s anti-corruption squad, the Directorate of Professional Standards, a policing branch portrayed in the BBC drama Line Of Duty.

Insiders said the internal investigation shows the extent to which the police misconduct process has got out of hand.

One said: “There was no bad intent in this comment, it may have been a poor use of language but this is not what the misconduct process is for. This is not corruption, this is not serious wrongdoing. There should be informal ways of dealing with this, particularly at a time when we are so short of experienced officers.”

A spokesman for the Plain English Campaign said: “As the phrase means ‘morally beyond reproach’ and is used in that context with that intent, it seems fairly ludicrous that the officer in question is being investigated at all, let alone for ‘gross misconduct’. ”


Far-Left Lunacy: New iPhone Being Slammed as ‘Sexist’

It’s a routine as old as Apple product launches — disappointment at Apple product launches. In fact, there’s often outrage at Apple product launches, although this is usually the realm of rabid techies.

According to the New York Post, feminists are beyond angry that the screens on the new iPhones are larger. The backlash includes everyone from a member of the U.K. Parliament to a prominent sociology professor and New York Times writer.

The new iPhones released this week were from the XS line, where the screen ranges in size from 5.8 inches to 6.5 inches. The iPhone SE — which retained some of the features of newer iPhones while retaining the 4-inch screen and smaller form factor of older models — was discontinued.

“In so much design and technology development the default standard is always that which suits a man,” Jess Phillips, a Labour MP, told The Telegraph. “Companies have got to get better at recognizing that their idea of normal should account for all their customers.”

That may have been the worst comment inasmuch as you could reasonably interpret it as featuring the implied threat of some sort of government officialdom coming down on Apple for its product decisions (“Companies have to get better”). It was hardly the only remark from a prominent feminist on the new iPhones that was woefully divorced from reality, however.

Take prominent sociologist and Times writer Zeynep Tufekci:

"We want to reach as many customers as we can with this incredible technology," Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller said, without irony, while Apple phased out the *only* phone I can hold without risking dropping.

Schiller’s remark actually was made regarding the iPhone XR, which comes at a lower price, so that’s an interesting point to make from a sociology professor who probably uses the word “contextualization” more than a few times a week. (I’m guessing from prior experience here; I apologize to Tufekci if she’s extirpated that word from the standard linguistic toolkit of the sociology prof.)

I find it interesting, however, that she — “without irony” — notes that Apple has failed “to reach as many customers as we can” by phasing out “the *only* phone I can hold without risking dropping.” Solecism, meet solipsism.

Caroline Criado Perez, a noted U.K. journalist and feminist, took it a step further when she said that Apple will literally be injuring her with this decision.

According to The Telegraph, Perez, “the feminist campaigner behind the Millicent Fawcett statue in Parliament Square and the Jane Austen ten pound note, said she developed repetitive strain injury from using a phone which was too big for her hand.

“She told The Telegraph: ‘I genuinely have RSI from having an iPhone 6, and it went as soon as I switched to an iPhone SE.

“‘It genuinely does affect women’s hand health, women do buy more iPhones than men, it just baffles me that Apple doesn’t design with our bodies in mind. “‘We should be furious about this, we are paying just as much money for it as men for a product that doesn’t work as well for us.'”

Here’s why they shouldn’t be furious, however: The iPhone SE was always an average seller at best, accounting for 9.8 percent of sales in 2016. That declined by well over 50 percent in 2017. It was a niche product for individuals who didn’t want a larger phone.

That niche is clearly no longer a profitable one, indicating this isn’t something that “genuinely does affect women’s hand health” but the hand health of a very small minority of users — and that would be true even assuming every SE buyer was purchasing it for health reasons, which is almost certainly a false assumption.

If women were a majority of iPhone buyers and this was a major health issue, Apple (and other manufacturers) wouldn’t be moving to bigger screens and bigger phones exclusively. That’s how markets work — something that I freely admit escapes most sociology professors I’ve met but that should probably be of more than a passing interest to government officials and journalists.

Will these individuals realize they’re extrapolating their individual experiences and projecting them onto women as a whole, girding their personal outrage in the armor of a wider social movement all for the added benefit of press attention?


Monday, September 17, 2018

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says conservative employees 'don't feel safe to express their opinions' and feel 'silenced' by their liberal colleagues

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said in a new interview that the company is so liberal, conservative employees don't feel 'safe' to speak up - and he wants that to change.

Dorsey, who has previously denied Twitter censors conservative tweets, made the comments during an interview with NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen for Recode Media.   

'We have a lot of conservative-leaning folks in the company as well, and to be honest, they don't feel safe to express their opinion at the company,' he said. 'They do feel silenced by just the general swirl of what they perceive to be broader percentage of leanings within the company, and I don't think that's fair or right.'

Dorsey went on to say that he wants to make sure everyone who works at Twitter can express themselves. 'No matter where they come from and what their background is,' he added. 

Last month, California Rep. Kevin McCarthy accused the social networking site of censoring conservative voices.

The interview was published days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke about looking into tech companies like Twitter, Google and Facebook about the censorship allegations

Dorsey said in response, according to the New York Post: 'We don't consider political viewpoints, perspectives or party affiliation in any of our policies of enforcement decisions. Period. Impartiality is our guiding principle.'


He was slower than others to climb on the anti-Alex-Jones bandwagon

Censoring 'Black-ish' was a craven move to satisfy Trump's base

Interesting.  It seems that the ABC network has got its eye on Trump supporters.  They are a huge demographic so it is amazing that the networks have not previously tried to get pro-Trump eyes in front of their advertisers.  So we read below of an anti-Trump show being cancelled.  Will self-interest make the networks begin to abandon their constant anti-Trump hysteria?  Chasing nearly half the population away from your station sure is dumb

(CNN)"Black-ish" creator Kenya Barris is the latest public figure refusing to be owned by our current political climate. Like Colin Kaepernick, he will not sacrifice his voice to conform to a system that caters to President Donald Trump and his supposedly profitable fan base. Barris recently told The Hollywood Reporter he is departing ABC, a network the magazine describes as led by executives "forthright about their desire for more red-state programming since Trump's win," for Netflix.

Barris revealed that his last straw with ABC was the network's shelving -- and as the magazine adds, all but erasing from existence, with scripts and copies nowhere to be found -- "Please, Baby, Please," a "Black-ish" episode that included news footage of NFL players protesting, Charlottesville and Trump (which had been scheduled to air on February 27). The network jettisoned the episode reportedly because executives "feared they'd be alienating the very population they'd tried so hard to court."


Sunday, September 16, 2018

It is now a thoughtcrime to criticise transgenderism

Professors are being blacklisted for questioning the trans ideology.

Professors are facing calls to be sacked for holding impure thoughts. No, not in the long-forgotten past. Not in Saudi Arabia or some other fundamentalist state or totalitarian regime. Here, in the UK, in 2018. The accused – all of whom are women – would once have been burned for heresy. Now their names are added to secret lists. Universities are warned that they are harbouring dangerous blasphemers.

The crime of these modern-day heretics is defending women’s rights. One, Professor Rosa Freedman, an expert in human-rights law at the University of Reading, has argued that biological males should not have access to women’s refuges. Another, Professor Kathleen Stock, from the University of Sussex, has questioned – merely questioned – whether the category of woman should be expanded to include men who identify as women. For this, they have been accused of spreading ‘hate speech’ and have been branded a threat to the safety of students.

According to a report in The Times, trans-activist Natacha Kennedy is behind a blacklist of academics who challenge the view that biological men can be women. The now infamous list, gathered together on a closed Facebook group, provides targets for transgender activists. Activists can then attack these targets’ jobs by organising student boycotts or filing complaints and hate-crime reports.

All the targets of Kennedy’s campaign are women. It is hard to see the crusade against them as anything other than misogynistic.

The naming and shaming of heretical academics is designed to silence critics of transgender ideology by dragging them, in the words of one activist, ‘over the fucking coals’.

Forcing academics to remain silent or say things they don’t believe to be true on threat of losing their livelihoods is McCarthyism writ large. Today, defending academic freedom means wrestling universities back from a social-justice agenda and restating the importance of ideas. Universities should be home to intellectual conflict rather than ideological conformity.


‘Facebook groups are not full of hate’

Jamie Bartlett on how the British Online Forums Bill threatens internet freedom.

This week, UK Labour MP Lucy Powell proposed a bill designed to curb the supposed glut of disinformation and hate speech online. The Online Forums Bill would order social-media firms to publish the names of any secret forum with more that 500 members – Facebook currently allows users to set up secret groups that are hidden from non-members. It would also make moderators of all Facebook groups legally responsible for the content published within them. The bill has received cross-party support and is just the latest in a long line of proposals to regulate speech on the net.

Spiked caught up with Jamie Bartlett, director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at Demos and author of The People vs Tech, to talk about the bill.

spiked: Lucy Powell claims that many of these secret Facebook groups are set up with ‘malign motives’, which ‘normalise hate’. But is there anything inherently hateful in these groups?

Jamie Bartlett: No, of course not. Inevitably, some hateful groups exist. When you have been the target of abuse from these groups, as have MPs like Powell, perhaps that leads you to believe that’s all they’re about.

Nobody knows the exact numbers on this because they’re secret, but I’d be confident that the overwhelming majority of secret groups are either perfectly mundane, just people getting together to talk about a hobby, or activist groups. Lots of LGBT groups, for instance, will be secret because they know they might be targeted by people if the group were made public. Or anti-fascist, or libertarian groups, who don’t want other people turning up and trolling them, ruining their space of free assembly. That is how the overwhelming majority of how these secret groups are used.

The one thing she’s really not thinking about is, I guarantee you, if liberal Britain asks for this power, then illiberal Turkey, illiberal Russia, will be asking for it, too. And can you imagine how happy the Russian government would be to know about the existence of a secret Sergei Skripal support group or a Pussy Riot fan group on Facebook.

spiked: One of the key proposals in the bill is to make moderators responsible for what is published in the groups they manage. What are the implications of this?

Bartlett: It is essentially the same problem: finding a small problem and inadvertently punishing lots of innocent people with the ‘solution’. So when it comes to holding moderators to account, I understand the idea, you do have Facebook groups where hateful, malicious, untrue content is being shared. But if you put the responsibility for that on to a moderator, you’re going to end up landing all sorts of helpless, hapless hobbyists with the same level of legal responsibility as a newspaper editor.


Friday, September 14, 2018

Facebook Jail – Yet Again!

Conservative Christian Bill Muehlenberg writes:

As soon as I tried to open my Facebook page this morning I knew instantly what to write about. You see, here I am, languishing in Facebook jail – once again.

Yep, sitting in jail, twiddling my thumbs, wondering what to do – for an entire 30 days! Sure, I have done my time in the past with shorter stints in the sin bin – a day, or two or three. Various “transgressions” have meant that the FB censors had to act it seems.

But an entire month – really? Wow, what did Bill do that was so despicable? Threaten to assassinate a top political leader? Post pictures with raw, degrading pornographic content? Try to defend the most wicked forms of child abuse? Try to tell deliberate and flagrant lies with impunity?

Um no – evidently it was far, far worse than that. But the really bizarre thing is, it seems NOT to have been a post by me at all. Although it seems to have been someone else’s, I don’t even know what they posted. I only briefly saw a quick image of it, and it was not anything I did. So I am completely kept in the dark by the FB overlords, and have been given the boot, with zero recourse of action or right of reply.

Let me make this clear. Here is the bottom line in this case: someone else can post something FB does not like, and do it on a page that is not your own, yet you can STILL get slammed by FB anyway – even for a whole month. That makes as much sense as sharing a flat with a guy who robs a bank and gets caught. Because you happen to share accommodation with him, you too will be jailed.

That’s it. Just like the KGB operated. Just like how the Stasi used to work. The knock on the door at midnight. Carried away into a van in the dark, never to be heard from again. While folks suffered far worse under the Communists and the Nazis of course, the basic principles are not all that different.

For those wanting a few more details on this, it seems it was absolutely nothing I wrote or posted. It seems to have been on some other FB page. And I did not even get to see clearly what this horribly offensive post was all about. Someone else posted, and I am found guilty by association.

It seems that the latest fracas was due to something posted by someone else on the ‘Its Official’ website which I think is about safe schools and the like. As is often the case, folks seem to make me an admin for their page. It is not as if I am asked, or have asked myself to be an admin, quite often.

Life is busy enough as is. But it can be handy in some cases to be made an admin if it means I can occasionally post something directly on other FB group pages. So if my memory serves me right, I may have posted a handful of times on this particular site. Otherwise I have nothing at all to do with it.

Nonetheless, I am now a goner! No trial, no hearing, no chance to defend myself, no chance to offer my side of the story – straight to the slammer for a month. So this is how FB treats its loyal customers? So this is how FB is going to get new members? So this is how FB is going to ensure healthy customer relations? So this is why we should stay on FB?

There are of course many other alternatives to FB. Various social media sites exist, and they seem to be growing – slowly but surely. A while ago for example I joined MeWe. I also managed to take around 300 FBers with me. Many of us have accounts on both sites as yet, but it simply gets worse each passing day with FB, so a backup is needed.

So far MeWe has censored nothing of mine, nor has it banned me nor blocked me. It seems to actually believe in the fundamental right of free speech, unlike FascistBook. And all this is not just a case of sour grapes on my part. I have lost count of the number of friends who also have been treated like criminals by FB, all because they dare to share non-PC truth.

See you there. Otherwise, I might see you in a month on PCbook.


Australia: Politician slams egotistical feminist

I had a previous comment on this on 7th

A politician has shared an airline experience of his own in response to an academic who complained about being called 'miss' by a flight attendant.

Peter Phelps, a Liberal Party member of the New South Wales Legislative Council since 2011, targeted Philosophy PhD Siobhan O'Dwyer in a Wednesday Twitter post.

'Oh my God, Qantas I just got "Welcome abroad, Mister Phelps" despite my boarding ticket clearly stating that it is "Doctor Phelps",' Dr Phelps, who has a PhD in Australian History, wrote.

'So I just said "Thank you" .. because I'm not a massive academic feminist prat whose time is spent looking for patriarchal insults where there are none.'

Dr Phelps followed up the post with an additional comment that the experience 'destroys her ex post facto justification that "it would never happen to a man".'

Dr O'Dwyer sparked controversy with a viral tweet last week in which she slammed Qantas for not calling her 'doctor' during her flight.

The lecturer then accused the airline of 'everyday sexism' and complained she was deluged with hate mail for her Twitter post about the incident.


Thursday, September 13, 2018

Twitter Suspends Conservative Comedian Steven Crowder

Conservative comedian Steven Crowder was suspended by Twitter on Wednesday for allegedly violating the site’s “hateful conduct” terms.

According to screenshots posted on Crowder’s blog, Twitter initially suspended his account for 12 hours for posting a video where an intern crashes an LGBT meet-up at SxSW and pretends to identify as a computer.

Crowder said he assumed his account was suspended because the video did not bleep out the word “faggot,” but when the video was re-uploaded with the word bleeped, his account was suspended for an additional seven days.

“Reminder, the video has soft bleeps, information blurred,” the blog post about the suspension states. “Twitter still suspended three accounts of our studio team, for daring to share the content. At all.”

Conservatives on Twitter are rallying behind Crowder with the hashtag “#FreeCrowder,” insisting that the suspension is further proof of Twitter’s bias against conservatives on its platform.



Her school tried to silence her faith
“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.”

That’s the Bible verse, John 16:33, that Colorado Mesa University student Karissa Erickson planned to include in her graduation speech.

Karissa was selected as one of two students to give a speech at her nursing program’s pinning ceremony. As a Christian, she wanted to acknowledge her faith and the role it plays in her life during her speech. After telling a few funny stories about her experience in the nursing program, Karissa planned to talk briefly about overcoming adversity, closing with the verse above.

The only guideline Karissa had been given for the speech was that she and the other student speaker had to keep their combined remarks to 10 minutes. Karissa had no reason to believe that her brief expression of faith would be a problem.

Unfortunately, she was wrong.

When Karissa submitted her speech for review, she discovered that school officials wrongly believed that they had to censor all religious speech on campus to avoid offending anyone.

One official went so far as to threaten Karissa with “repercussions” if she refused to remove the Bible verse, saying the nursing “program will not tolerate [this Christian content].”

That’s when Karissa decided to reach out to Alliance Defending Freedom.

Through God’s provision and your prayers and support, we were ready to act when we received Karissa’s call for help.

ADF attorneys sent a letter to the school, explaining that the First Amendment allows religious remarks at graduation ceremonies and that censoring Karissa’s religious speech was unconstitutional.

Praise God that the school was quick to recognize and correct its mistake!

The school acknowledged that students invited to speak at the ceremony “should speak uncensored.” As a result, Karissa was able to speak freely at her pinning ceremony in May.

Via email

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Cartoonist Mark Knight hits back after he is slammed for his 'racist' cartoon of Serena Williams

An Australian cartoonist who was slammed online after publishing a 'racist' cartoon of Serena Williams after her US Open final defeat has hit back at his critics.

Herald Sun editorial cartoonist Mark Knight defended the controversial illustration, which was published in the Melbourne-based newspaper on Monday.

In lamenting 'the world's gone crazy', Knight said he simply made the drawing after witnessing 'the world's greatest tennis player spit the dummy'.     

'It's a cartoon about poor behaviour. It's nothing to do with race,' Knight told radio station 3AW

'I'm sorry it's been taken by social media and distorted so much.'

Knight said he had sought to reply to comments made by people on social media 'but they don't listen'.

The Herald Sun has also backed Mr Knight in the face of international criticism.

The paper's editor, Damon Johnston, said Knight's cartoon had shown how 'a champion tennis player had a mega tantrum on the world stage'. 'It had nothing to do with gender or race,' he said in The Herald Sun.   


Must not mock Obama

Twitter suspended former Army Ranger and Benghazi hero Kris Paronto over the weekend for mocking former President Barack Obama and liberals after another Twitter account claimed that Obama killed Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

The incident happened after a far-left Twitter account told Robert J. O'Neill — the Navy SEAL who is credited with killing bin Laden — that it was Obama who killed the Islamic terrorist.

Paronto responded by mocking the tweet, writing: "OMG ??!! Did you just tell the guy who Shot Bin Laden that @BarackObama did it ?? BWAHAHAHA. Thank you for verifying that BHusseinObama worship and TDS causes liberalists to skip retard and go straight to potato. #YouAreAnIdiot #NeverGoFullRetard"

Shortly after writing the tweet, Twitter forced Paronto to delete the tweet and suspended his account:

Paronto also slammed Obama on Friday after the former president suggested that outrage over the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was the result of "wild conspiracy theories."


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Schools are stretching the bounds of ‘hate speech’ to the breaking point

You will not be surprised that a man named Professor James Livingston of Rutgers University is white, and that he indulges, from time to time, in that whitest of all white-people preoccupations: complaining that his favorite authentic ethnic establishment has been discovered by white people. So Professor Livingston, a white, liberal intellectual, began to complain about the white people standing between him and his authentic Harlem experience — on Facebook.

“I hereby resign from my race,” he posted, suggesting that the white gentrifiers of Harlem be remanded to the suburbs, where they would presumably be damned to dine at Bennigan’s.

“OK, officially, I now hate white people,” Livingston wrote on his Facebook page last month. “I am a white people [sic], for God’s sake, but can we keep them — us — us out of my neighborhood? I just went to Harlem Shake on 124 and Lenox for a Classic burger to go, that would [be] my dinner, and the place is overrun with little Caucasian a–holes who know their parents will approve of anything they do. Slide around the floor, you little s–thead, sing loudly, you moron. Do what you want, nobody here is gonna restrict your right to be white.”

Professor Livingston received a nastygram from representatives of Rutgers’ terrifyingly named Discrimination and Harassment, Workplace Violence, Sexual Misconduct and Retaliation Complaint Process. Not since James Bond faced off against the Special Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion — S.P.E.C.T.R.E. — has such a cumbrously named committee entered the public discourse. At least Blofeld had the wit to make an acronym out of his.

And now Professor Livingston may be punished in some as-yet-undetermined fashion. (The original decision is being reconsidered after public criticism.)...
Professor Livingston is not being punished by Rutgers because he is a vicious anti-white racist. He is being punished for embarrassing the institution — because somebody complained. The reason why we see so many social-media mob attacks is because institutions such as Google help to ensure that they work.

Rutgers should learn to stand up for itself and for its faculty, even when it is not inclined to do so. They are going to need standing up for, and nobody else will do it.


No matter which side you are on in the matter of renaming the Washington Redskins, this letter is hilarious

Here is an e-mail sent to Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune after an article he published concerning a name change for the Washington Redskins

Dear Mr. Page: 

I agree with our Native American population.  I am highly insulted by the racially charged name of the Washington Redskins.  One might argue that to name a professional football team after Native Americans would exalt them as fine warriors, but nay, nay.  We must be careful not to offend, and in the spirit of political correctness and courtesy, we must move forward.

Let's ditch the Kansas City Chiefs, the Atlanta Braves and the Cleveland Indians.  If your shorts are in a wad because of the reference the name Redskins makes to skin color, then we need to get rid of the Cleveland Browns.

The Carolina Panthers obviously were named to keep the memory of militant Blacks from the 60's alive.  Gone.  It's offensive to us white folk.

The New York Yankees offend the Southern population.  Do you see a team named for the Confederacy?  No!  There is no room for any reference to that tragic war that cost this country so many young men's lives

I am also offended by the blatant references to the Catholic religion among our sports team names.  Totally inappropriate to have the New Orleans Saints, the Los Angeles Angels or the San Diego Padres.

Then there are the team names that glorify criminals who raped and pillaged.  We are talking about the horrible Oakland Raiders, the Minnesota Vikings, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Pittsburgh Pirates!

Now, let us address those teams that clearly send the wrong message to our children.  The San Diego Chargers promote irresponsible fighting or even spending habits.  Wrong message to our children.

The New York Giants and the San Francisco Giants promote obesity, a growing childhood epidemic.  Wrong message to our children.
The Cincinnati Reds promote downers/barbiturates.  Wrong message to our children.
The Milwaukee Brewers.  Well that goes without saying.  Wrong message to our children.

So, there you go.  We need to support any legislation that comes out to rectify this travesty, because the government will likely become involved with this issue, as they should. Just the kind of thing the do-nothing Congress loves.

As a diehard Oregon State fan, my wife and I, with all of this in mind, suggest it might also make some sense to change the name of the Oregon State women's athletic teams to something other than "the Beavers (especially when they play Southern
California.  Do we really want the Trojans sticking it to the Beavers???
I always love your articles and I generally agree with them. As for the Redskins name I would suggest they change the name to the "Foreskins" to better represent their community, paying tribute to the dick heads in Congress.

Author unknown

Monday, September 10, 2018

Danger ahead

Brendan O'Neill

First Facebook and YouTube and now Twitter: all the social-media giants have banned Alex Jones and Infowars. Many so-called liberals are cheering these acts of corporate censorship, this unilateral enforcement of correct-speak by some of the most powerful corporations on Earth.

This is folly of epic proportions. These people are giving a green-light to Big Tech to install itself as the moral arbiter of public discussion. Because let’s face it: the internet, particularly social media, is where public discussion takes place today. It is the new public square.

Asking unaccountable capitalists to control what may be said in this public square is wrong and dangerous. We’re entering an era of outsourced censorship, where the terrible things once done by the state – the silencing of dissenters, the punishment of the eccentric – is now done by Silicon Valley suits.

Who knows which ideas will next be branded ‘hate speech’ – that is, ‘verboten’ – by these corporate censors. It will happen. Soon. They have been given the power by foolish liberals to act as judge, jury and executioner on online speech, and they will use that power.


Apple Pulls Alex Jones’s Infowars From Its App Store

Apple Inc. removed Alex Jones’s Infowars website from its App Store late Friday, eliminating one of the few remaining digital platforms available to the right-wing provocateur.

The technology company took down five apps affiliated with Infowars for violating its app-developer guidelines, an Apple spokeswoman said. Those guidelines preclude apps that deliver content that is “offensive, insensitive, upsetting…or in exceptionally poor taste.” That includes “mean-spirited references or commentary” about religion, race, sexual orientation and gender.

Infowars won’t be allowed to return to the App Store, the spokeswoman said. She declined to say what Infowars content violated Apple’s policies or when the company made the decision.

The removal came a day after Twitter Inc. permanently banned Infowars and its founder, Alex Jones, from its social-media platform. That followed previous content removals from Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube.

Last month, Apple helped trigger the wave of removals of content related to Mr. Jones, taking down Infowars listings from its podcast directories. But it continued to offer apps affiliated with Infowars in its store, saying it supports all points of views on its App Store so long as developers follow its guidelines.

Mr. Jones has argued that Silicon Valley is suppressing his First Amendment rights and trying to stifle conservative viewpoints.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said this week he plans to examine what the Justice Department has called intentional efforts to restrict voices on social media.


Sunday, September 09, 2018

Baltic countries want Walmart to remove Soviet-themed shirts

Because they claim to have all the answers to society's ills, Communists often seem "cool" to young people -- hence these shirts

Three Baltic countries have lashed out at retail giant Walmart for selling online T-shirts and other products with Soviet Union emblems on them, and demanded that the goods be removed.

Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were forcibly annexed by Moscow in 1940 and remained part of the Soviet Union until its collapse in 1991, except for a brief occupation by Nazi Germany 1941-1944. Lithuania has been taking a particularly hard line against its communist-era legacy, banning all Soviet symbols as well as Nazi ones.

"Horrific crimes were done under the Soviet symbols of a sickle and hammer," the Lithuanian ambassador to the United States, Rolandas Krisciunas, wrote Wednesday to Walmart. "The promotion of such symbols resonates with a big pain for many centuries."

"When the Soviet Union occupied Lithuania, hundreds of thousands of our citizens were killed, exiled, tortured, raped, separated from their families. Similar fates struck dozens of millions of other innocent people, including children, across Europe and across the globe," the ambassador wrote.

There was no immediate reaction from the retailer


Drop the C-word to reduce anxiety and over-treatment, say experts

Medical researchers are calling for the word 'cancer' to be dropped from some doctor-patient conversations in a bid to reduce patient anxiety and harm from over-treatment.

Time to stop telling people with low risk conditions that they have ‘cancer’ if they are unlikely to be harmed it.

The appeal in today’s BMJ follows mounting evidence that patients who are told they have “cancer” for low risk conditions more often choose surgery than those whose condition is described with terms such as “lesions” or “abnormal cells”.

“There is a growing body of evidence that describing a condition using more medicalised labels, including the use of the term ‘cancer’, can lead to an increased preference for more invasive treatments,” says Professor Kirsten McCaffery of the University of Sydney who co-authored the BMJ analysis with colleagues from Bond University and the Mayo Clinic in the US.

“This supports calls to remove the cancer label, where it is appropriate.”


Friday, September 07, 2018

PA GOP Official Resigns — "Let's See How (NFL) Baboons Get Paid When White People Stop Paying Salaries"

It is wrong to call the black footballers baboons because they are in fact human beings -- albeit rather dim ones.  Had she said that they were LIKE baboons in some way, she might have been on better ground

Carla Maloney might be angry at the situation of National Anthem kneelers, and it’s her first amendment right to say whatever she wants, but it comes with consequences. She is a public official and her words matter, especially within her community.

How can you lead your constituents when you publicly denigrate the people following you. You should be trying to find ways to speak on the subject to bring people to your side in a more educated and informative way. This was pure stupidity, no doubt, out of frustration.

The Beaver County Republican Committee accepted Carla Maloney’s resignation as secretary and an elected member on Friday, according to a post on its website. The Facebook comments, which include a complaint about “reverse racism,” according to the Beaver County (Pa.) Times, have drawn heightened attention as midterm elections draw closer and a new professional football season begins amid White House criticism of players kneeling to protest police brutality against black people.

“The views expressed in her posts are abhorrent and have no place in reasonable public discourse,” the committee said. “We denounce these comments in the strongest terms possible.”

She has apologized


Academic called Miss instead of Doctor on a Qantas flight says she's victim of sexism

An academic who slammed Qantas after a flight attendant mistakenly called her Miss instead of Doctor claims she is the victim of 'everyday sexism'. 

Dr Siobhan O'Dwyer, an Australian academic with a PhD in Philosophy, said the incident would never have happened if she was a man.

Reflecting on the incident after her posts went viral last week, Dr O'Dwyer said the public response from her string of tweets had been 'pretty hateful'.

'The vitriol in my feed at the moment is staggering,' she wrote to her 3,300 followers.

Dr O'Dwyer defended her post, saying it was not about ego, but rather 'highlighting one of a thousand instances of sexism that women encounter every day'.


I am rarely called "Doctor", even though I have a science doctorate, and it never bothers me in the slightest.  If it ever arises, I tell people to call me "John".  And that is pretty normal in Australia.  So what I think we see here is just another angry feminist.  If she was an Australian  man she would not have bothered about it.

She's not much of an academic, either.  She can't spell common words.  In her tweet she said: "Copping so much flack for this tweet".   She presumably means "flak", originally a wartime term for antiaircraft fire -- adopted from the Germans, for whom it is an abbreviation of  "FliegerAbwehrKanone" (anti-aircraft gun) -- JR

Thursday, September 06, 2018

The Internet Doesn’t Need a Fairness Doctrine

The article below shows how not to address bias and bigorty in the social media but it leaves open a better way. A simple prohibition on erasing or limiting political posts would increase the speech available with no loss to other speech.  Only advocacy of violence and defamation should be censored

Another day, another call for government intervention in free speech on the Internet. President Trump recently took to Twitter to decry supposed censorship of conservatives. He suggested that Google and “others” were censoring conservative voices and burying good news about him in search results. Furthermore, he warned that “this is a very serious situation” that will be “addressed” — perhaps with government action.

The genesis of these tweets is an article from PJ Media. The story reports that 96 percent of Google search results for the word “Trump” returned results from left-leaning news sites. Even though the article admits the results are “not scientific,” the story confirmed the biases of many on the right and instantly gained traction. (In fairness, the author of that article has since expressed opposition to any efforts by government to regulate speech online.)

Lou Dobbs highlighted the findings on his TV show in a segment with pro-Trump social-media personalities Diamond and Silk. The duo have been touted as prime examples of social-media censorship after claiming they were censored by Facebook. Echoing the rhetoric of both Dobbs and the president, White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow then stated that the administration is looking into regulating Google.

While claims of liberal bias in the media or Silicon Valley are nothing new, the desire for the government to intervene is alarming.

The supposed justification for regulating big-tech companies comes from the market power they hold. Advocates of government intervention believe that consumers have no real alternatives to sites like Google and Facebook. (Apparently, they’ve never heard of Bing or Yahoo!) As the argument goes, the government must act to make sure that all Americans can speak and be heard on these platforms.

It wasn’t so long ago that Republicans were rightly rejecting these arguments when they were made in support of the Fairness Doctrine.

The Fairness Doctrine was first introduced by the Federal Communications Commission in 1949. It required broadcasters “to afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views on issues of public importance.” In other words, if a radio station aired a conservative view, it would have to provide equal time for an opposing liberal view.

This regulation started as an attempt to make sure both sides of a debate were heard on government-controlled airwaves. But soon after its passage, it became a tool to silence critics and political opponents.

Presidential administrations from Kennedy to Nixon used the Fairness Doctrine to maximum effect. The administration could use the doctrine to demand equal air time any time one of the president’s policies was criticized. This not only allowed the president nearly endless opportunities to express his viewpoint, but took time away from his opposition. Eventually, wary of the burdensome government demands, many stations simply stopped airing political commentary altogether.

As one member of the Johnson administration put it: “Our massive strategy was to use the Fairness Doctrine to challenge and harass right-wing broadcasters and hope that the challenges would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too expensive to continue.”

They were right.

It wasn’t until the Reagan administration that the Fairness Doctrine was finally repealed in 1987. It’s no coincidence that Rush Limbaugh debuted his radio program a year later. The end of the Fairness Doctrine set off an explosion of conservative ideas over radio airwaves. In 1987, just 7 percent of AM radio stations were devoted to talk radio or public-affairs programming. Just seven years later, that number had increased to 28 percent.

Today, many on the right seem to want a Fairness Doctrine for the Internet. Creating one would demean one of Reagan’s great achievements and give government yet another tool to crack down on its critics.

While President Trump may not like CNN coverage or Google search results of his name, granting the government the power to control search results is asking for a whole host of unintended consequences. Do Diamond and Silk want the government to mandate that they provide time for opposing views on their YouTube channel? Would Lou Dobbs jump at the idea that his online content be paired with videos promoting an opposing view? Would supporters of President Trump (or the president himself) want a Democratic president to have the power to police the Internet?

Even if a platform did bias their algorithm against conservatives, a company has every right to edit the content on its platform. What’s more, a solution exists outside of government regulation: If Google isn’t giving the results Trump supporters want, they can easily switch to Bing, Yahoo!, or DuckDuckGo in seconds and at no cost.

The freedom and choice the Internet provides have allowed for an explosion of different opinions and content available to people around the world. Empowering the government to provide “balance” is not only impractical, but a mistake that could massively backfire — likely against the very people pushing for it.


Australia: Sydney University ‘puts price on free speech’

The Sydney University Liberal Club says vice-chancellor ­Michael Spence has “put a price block” on free speech after he refused to foot the bill for security at an event featuring controversial conservative Bettina Arndt.


As universities face dealing with protesters intent on shutting down speaking events, the club faces a bill of almost $500 to cover security for the event next week.

Ms Arndt, a prominent sex therapist and author, is on a ­national tour. Her talk, “Is there a rape crisis on campus?”, seeks to debunk claims universities are a hotbed of sexual assault.

Club president Jack O’Brien wrote to Dr Spence on August 24, asking for the university to waive security costs for the public event as a sign of support for controversial discussions on campus. He cited La Trobe University’s decision to cover security costs for Ms Arndt to address its Liberal Club in support of free speech.

Dr Spence declined, saying the Liberal Club would be treated the same as every other club that had to pay for security.

Yesterday, Mr O’Brien ­accused Dr Spence of hypocrisy for outwardly welcoming free speech but lumping students stoking debate with the costs of security to deal with protesters.

“It’s just hypocritical for Dr Spence to talk about the importance of free speech yet be so willing to put a price block on conservative students having events,” he said. “He’s being held hostage by the politically correct, and it’s as if he’s happy to financially shut us down.”

The club also faces a $150 room booking charge, and will charge $5 entrance. Mr O’Brien said the event would go ahead.

A spokeswoman for Dr Spence said the club’s treatment was consistent with all other clubs and societies on campus when there was a protest threat.

“We recognise that one of the fundamental roles of the university is to be a place where ideas can be freely discussed, including those that some may view as controversial,” she said.

“As such, the Sydney University Liberal Club has been approved to host a talk by Bettina Arndt next week ­addressing campus culture.”


Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Texts, Emails Reveal That Police Were Told Not To Engage Protesters Who Pulled Down 'Silent Sam' Statue

Newly obtained text messages and emails reportedly reveal that police officers were instructed to stand aside as on August 20 protesters toppled the “Silent Sam” statue placed at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in 1913 in memorial of alumni who served in the Confederate Army.

WRAL-TV reports that it received 400 pages of emails and texts sent to and from Police Chief Chris Blue around the time of the protest. The texts show that he told someone to “[m]onitor the masked folks,” and “[k]eep our folks off McCorkle place for now.”

At 9 p.m. he reportedly sent a text saying “let’s give them lots of space,” referring to the protesters. “Yes but do not engage w Crowd at statue. Stay way out,” another text said.

The statue was torn down the same night these texts were sent.

The obtained emails also included letters from people who were disappointed with the way the police officers handled the incident.

“Any police force who will stand by, watch a crime committed, and do nothing about it, have failed in their sworn duties to the people,” William Richardson wrote in an email.


Australia: Golliwogs again

When I was a little kid, I had a golly and I thought it was great.  It is sad that kids nowadays mostly miss out

THE Royal Adelaide Show has been forced to remove three award-winning golliwog dolls from a display of handicrafts following a racism outcry on social media.

The three dolls, which are a caricature of black people stemming back to the 19th and early 20th century, won first, second and third place in the handicrafts division but have since been removed from display.

The Facebook group Deadly Yarning from South Australian Aboriginal communities posted images of the dolls at midday on Sunday.

“When you go to the 2018 Royal Adelaide Show Royal Adelaide Show only to see #RacistDolls being awarded 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in the Judging,” the post read.

Dozens of people responded to the post including the official Royal Adelaide Show account, which said “no offence was intended”.

“There are variety of traditional dolls entered in the handicrafts competition including Parisian dolls, Japanese dolls and African dolls, however the dolls above have been removed from the display.”


Comment from an Australian social worker correspondent:  "More golliwog nonsense from lefties telling blacks what they should be offended at.

How can golliwogs be racist when many blacks like golliwogs. Several weeks ago I visited an Aboriginal woman who told me she loved her golly. And I have been in other Aboriginal homes with golliwogs sitting happily on shelves.

Lefties are the true racists, because lefties try so hard to make blacks feel offended. Lefties try to cause offence by proxy. They tell blacks to be offended by conservatives and by western traditions, while pretending they are on the side of blacks, so it is the lefties causing the offence for the blacks, and the smarter lefties know it. They are manipulators.

And they do the same with Muslims; orchestrating offence wherever they can, while making out it is others doing the offending".

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Media’s Not Talking About Time Obama Used ‘Monkey’ Exact Same Way DeSantis Did

“Monkey around. “Monkey with it.” “Monkey it up.”

Have you ever used any of these terms? You’re a horrible racist, at least according to the Democrat Party and much of the media.

Well, that is you’re a white Republican, at least. If you happen to be an African-American candidate who uses the same common term in an almost identical context, you can get off scot-free.

(Oh, no. That might have been offensive to the Scottish.)

We’re talking, of course, about the recent pseudo-scandal surrounding U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, the Republican candidate for governor in Florida.

During a recent appearance on Fox News, the candidate used the term “monkey this up” to mean “mess this up,” while warning voters not to derail the state’s progress by voting for socialism.

“Let’s build off the success we’ve had on Gov. Scott,” DeSantis said. “The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases bankrupting the state. That is not going to work.”

Racism! DeSantis’ opponent, you see, happens to be black — Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. So, instead of recognizing that “monkeying with” something is a pretty common phrase, Democrats attacked the conservative.

“It’s disgusting that Ron DeSantis is launching his general election campaign with racist dog whistles,” griped Terry Rizzo, chairwoman of the state’s Democrat Party.

Disgusting, racist dog whistles. Rizzo’s ears must be finely tuned to detecting those imperceptible offensives after years of practice, but she was strangely silent when another candidate used almost exactly the same “monkey” phrasing a decade ago.

That candidate was Barack H. Obama.

Yes, back in 2008 when Obama was just a lowly senator trying to win the Democrat nomination for president (spoiler: he won; the nation lost), the African-American candidate casually used the term “monkeyed around.”

“It’s not as if it’s just Republicans who have monkeyed around with elections in the past, sometimes Democrats have to,” the future president declared when talking about corruption in politics.

Nobody in the audience gasped. No news reporters fainted from the vapors. No pundits accused Obama of using an off-limits, race-tinged word.


Instagram Makes Free Speech Disappear

Company owned by Navy SEALs banned for criticizing NFL kneelers.

Project War Path, a clothing company owned by Navy SEALs and Army Special Forces combat veterans, Charlie Nash of Breitbart News reported Monday, “has been permanently suspended from Facebook’s Instagram platform for ‘hate speech’ after criticizing NFL players who kneel during the national anthem.”

The post in question read, “This sums it up, Veteran’s defend our freedom and keep us safe. Meanwhile overpaid turds throw a leather ball around in an overpriced stadium and shit on all the men and women who have been killed defending our country.”

Project War Path co-owner Tej Gill, a Navy SEAL veteran, told Breibart “players kneeling really hits home with me and my teammates, I think it’s disgusting, an insult to all veterans, Americans, and especially families of veterans that have been killed and wounded during war.”

The same post on Twitter was not removed but Instagram took it down. As Gill explained to Breitbart, “I tried to reinstate my account, the form I filled out said my account was permanently suspended for hate speech. I have not heard anything back from Instagram since.”

Gill cited “a very aggressive censorship operation that is being conducted by Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the mainstream media.” Instagram, as it happens is owned by Facebook, which purchased the upstart in 2012 and turned it into a profit center.

True to form, as Breitbart noted, Instagram has suspended conservatives such as Tommy Robinson, author Lauren Southern and the comedy group Toughen Up America. Project War Path now joins the ranks of the suspended.


Monday, September 03, 2018

New Film on American Moon Landing Deletes American Flag to “Transcend Borders”

Anything rather than praising America

If one were to point to an iconic moment during the first moon landing in 1969, the primary moment to come to mind would probably be Neil Armstrong’s legendary words, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” However, a close second would probably be the planting of the American flag on the rock orbiting the third rock from the sun.

The flag was a sign that we had achieved a goal declared at the beginning of the decade by John F. Kennedy. The flag was a sign that American ingenuity had triumphed over collectivist ideology in the space race. The flag was a sign that we had set our aim as high as possible and hit it head on.

But alas, that sort of thought is too divisive in 2018 — at least according to Hollywood. According to the U.K. Telegraph, “a new film about (Neil) Armstrong has chosen to leave out this most patriotic of scenes, arguing that the giant leap for mankind should not be seen as an example of American greatness.”

“The film, ‘First Man,’ was unveiled at the Venice Film Festival yesterday, where the absence of the stars and stripes was noted by critics.”

“Its star, Ryan Gosling, was asked if the film was a deliberately un-American take on the moon landing. He replied that Armstrong’s accomplishment ‘transcended countries and borders.'”

Yes, yes it did. And it did so because of American greatness. I really don’t see how that fails to come across, but Gosling has some explanation that sounded a bit like Charlie Brown’s teachers to me.

“I think this was widely regarded in the end as a human achievement (and) that’s how we chose to view it,” Gosling said.

“I also think Neil was extremely humble, as were many of these astronauts, and time and time again he deferred the focus from himself to the 400,000 people who made the mission possible.


Astronaut Chuck Yeager has made some contemptuous comments about the film.

YouTube Cuts Off Conservative News Org’s Ad Revenue Without Explanation

YouTube demonetized the account of the conservative news site Western Journal, accusing the account owners of “duplicating content,” although the Google subsidiary declined to specify what material in particular violated the video platform’s terms of service.

“Youtube demonetized our account and told us the reason was ‘duplication,” said Shaun Hair, executive editor of the Western Journal.

“We had zero copyright strikes and zero community guideline strikes. Not even a recent warning.   Youtube has on three occasions declined to explain or even give a single example of why duplication is other than generic language about copyright rules.”

The Western Journal has previously exposed big tech’s biases through original reporting. In July, analyses commissioned by the site revealed that GOP representatives had been hit by massive declines in Facebook interactions since the social network’s algorithm changes in January. The Western Journal also found that the algorithm change disproportionately impacted conservative websites.

YouTube was among the many Silicon Valley companies to censor Alex Jones and InfoWars earlier this month, deleting the radio host’s channel, which had more than 2 million subscribers and many years’ worth of video content.

The video sharing platform has also censored conservative education project Prager University, putting its informational videos behind “restricted mode” filters, which limit the channel’s visibility to YouTube users. This resulted in PragerU suing the platform.

Other users affected by YouTube’s censorship and sanctions have included Dave Rubin, Paul Joseph Watson, Sky Williams, Steven Crowder, and Diamond and Silk.

YouTube has also banned popular anti-SJW commentator Bearing, gun training demonstrations, and criticism of CNN.