Thursday, February 28, 2019

Clarence Thomas has a point about free-speech law

By Cass R. Sunstein (A moderate Leftist)

WITH HIS stunning plea for reconsideration of New York Times v. Sullivan—the landmark free-speech decision insulating the press, and speakers in general, from most libel actions —Justice Clarence Thomas has ... performed a public service. Not necessarily because he’s right, but because there’s a serious issue here.

To see why, imagine that a lawyer, a blogger, a talk-show host or a newspaper lies about you, and in the process destroys your reputation. Your accuser might say that you are a pedophile, a drug peddler, an arsonist or a prostitute. In an hour, the lie goes around the world.

If you count as a public figure, does the Constitution really mean that the law cannot provide you with any kind of redress?

Thomas doesn’t think so. He was writing in a case brought by Kathrine McKee, who accused Bill Cosby of rape. Cosby’s lawyer responded to her accusation by trying to destroy her character. Among other things, he called her a liar. McKee brought suit, saying that she had been defamed.

Because McKee was involved in a public controversy, she counted as a public figure. Under New York Times v. Sullivan, decided in 1964, she could not win unless she could demonstrate that Cosby’s lawyer had “actual malice,” which means that he knew he was lying, or that he acted “with reckless indifference” to the question of truth or falsity.

It’s really hard to demonstrate that, so McKee’s lawsuit was bound to be dismissed.

Thomas is an “originalist”; he believes that interpretation of the Constitution should be settled by reference to the “original public meaning” of its terms. He offers considerable evidence that at the time of ratification, those who wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights were comfortable with libel actions—and did not mean to impose anything like the “actual malice” standard.

A defamed individual (including a public figure) needed only to prove that a written publication was false and that it subjected him to hatred, contempt or ridicule. And for 170 years, the Supreme Court never held that the First Amendment forbids the states from protecting people from libel.

Thomas concludes that New York Times v. Sullivan, and the many subsequent decisions implementing it, were “policy-driven decisions masquerading as constitutional law.”


'Fearless Girl' statue arrives in Australia

This statue seems to be particularly pleasing to feminists and anti-capitalists generally.  As such it would be a good target for retaliation against the attacks on historical statues that have been mounted by Leftists.

If Leftists can attack and deface statues and memorials of Australia's early settlers, why should not patriots attack and deface images valued by the Left?  It would be an important message to Leftists that they should be wary in their constant recourse to violence lest they ignite retaliatory violence against themselves and what they value.  It needs to be made clear to them that they don't have a monopoly of violence

The sort of thing that could be done would be to plaster red  paint over the statue and add a message:  "Beware the blood-lust of socialism". But conservatives are kind and forgiving people so I doubt that anything like that will happen

A bronze statue which has become a powerful symbol of gender equality has been unveiled at Melbourne’s Federation Square.

The ‘Fearless Girl’ statue was revealed to excited crowds at the landmark this morning, with many praising the creation as an “inspiration.”

The creation was unveiled this morning. (Nine/Supplied)
“I think it’s really good that the statue is in Australia, because it can inspire young girls to make a difference,” one member of the gathering crowd said.

The sculpture, by US artist Kristen Visbal, is an exact replica of one installed in New York City to oppose the Wall Street bull two years ago.

“She should symbolise supporting women in leadership positions, equality, equality of pay, the general wellbeing of women,” Ms Visbal said of her artwork.

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers is one of three companies who joined forces to buy the statue for the city, ahead of International Women's Day on March 8.

A total of 25 statues will be produced and placed across the globe.


Everything I have said above applies a fortiori to the USA of course.  People who demonize the independence struggles of the old South and destroy its monuments seem to have an opportunity here to receive some of their own back

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The price of free speech can make a winner out of a shameless troll

Living in a free society can be a bummer.

Consider former Rep. Kiah Morris, D-Bennington. Someone (no one knows who) broke into and vandalized her house and car. Someone (everyone knows who; he’s proud of it) bombarded her online with obscene and threatening racist messages such as, “every time you attend a political rally … I will troll the hell out of you. Maybe I’ll bring a friend or three with me.”

Until finally, insecure in her own home, the only African-American woman in the Vermont Legislature quit the seat to which she would have been re-elected last November.

Morris, who did harm to no one, is the loser here. So is her family. So are her constituents who wanted her to represent them. So are the other legislators who valued her participation.

The winner? Her tormentor, Max Misch, a self-described “white nationalist” who will not be charged with a crime for harassing Morris.

A bummer, all because what Max Misch did is free speech.


Politicians need to have a lot of backbone.  Look at the daily torrent of hate speech aimed at Mr. Trump.  He does not resign over it

Free-speech suit against ASU goes on despite new state law

Legal arguments continue in a First Amendment lawsuit against Arkansas State University even after a university attorney said Friday that the policy under challenge will be revised to comply with a newly passed law prohibiting "free speech zones" on college campuses.

The law addresses what are to be considered public forums on college campuses. Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday signed into law Senate Bill 156, which states that public colleges and universities "shall not create free speech zones or other designated outdoor areas of campus outside of which expressive activities are prohibited."

The law is to take effect 90 days after final adjournment of the legislative session, which is currently underway.

"We'll comply with it," said Brad Phelps, general counsel for the Arkansas State University System. "It will require some modifications and changes, and we will take those steps accordingly."

ASU now allows speeches and demonstrations in specified outdoor "free expression areas" between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Monday through Friday. The university policy states that 72 hours' notice is needed for requests to use other campus areas for such activities.

The legal challenge to ASU comes from student Ashlyn Hoggard and a chapter of Turning Point USA, a conservative political group.

Their lawsuit claims that in October 2017 an ASU official and a police officer ordered Hoggard and a representative of Turning Point USA, who had set up a recruiting table, to leave the campus's Heritage Plaza and stop speaking with students. The lawsuit states that a police officer "informed Ashlyn that she had violated the Student Conduct Code by engaging in speech outside of the speech zones."

The lawsuit alleges violation of the rights of freedom of speech and legal due process.

The university has said in court filings that plaza tables were reserved for registered student organizations and "specifically deny that all expressive activity on ASU's campus is limited to the Freedom of Expression Areas."

Tyson Langhofer, lead counsel for Hoggard and the Turning Point USA chapter, said the goal of the lawsuit "has always been to have the policy changed."

He said his clients are "open to discussing a settlement with them, absolutely." But he added that there are pending legal issues not affected by any future ASU policy changes.

"Even if they modified it now, there would still be a live controversy for the court to decide, which is the question of whether, when they applied that policy as it previously existed, did that violate Ms. Hoggard's constitutional rights?" said Langhofer. He said there are no plans to drop the lawsuit.


Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Changing Reality With Words

The reinvention of vocabulary can often be more effective than any social protest movement. Malarial swamps can become healthy “wetlands.” Fetid “dumps” are often rebranded as green “landfills.”

Global warming was once a worry about too much heat. It implied that man-made carbon emissions had so warmed the planet that life as we knew it would soon be imperiled without radical changes in consumer lifestyles.

Yet in the last 30 years, record cold spells, inordinate snow levels, and devastating rains have been common. How to square that circle?

Substitute “climate change” for “global warming.” Presto! Any radical change in weather could be perceived as symptomatic of too much climate-changing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Suddenly, blizzards, deluges, and subzero temperatures meant that typically unpredictable weather was “haywire” because of affluent Westernized lifestyles.

Affirmative action originated as a means of making up for past prejudices against the African-American community, which comprised about 12 percent of the population.

By the late 1960s, slavery, Jim Crow, and institutionalized segregation were finally considered unique stains on the American past, to be redeemed in the present by set-aside programs in college admissions and hiring predicated on racial considerations.

The problem with affirmative action is that the very name implies redress for historical wrongs that could be “affirmed” by compensatory action for a particular minority of the population. But lots of other groups wished to be included in an ever-expanding catalog of the oppressed.

Mexican-Americans were soon added on the basis on past biases. Yet weren’t Asian-Americans discriminated against in the past as well, especially during the construction of the railroads in the 19th century and during the Japanese-American internments of World War II?

Then, a host of other nonwhite groups—especially newly arriving immigrants with no prior experience of supposed American racism—sought inclusion in set-aside categories. By the 1980s, a new and vaguer term, “diversity,” had increasingly replaced “affirmative action.”

Diversity meant that it was no longer incumbent upon job or college applicants to claim historical grievances or prove that they were still victims of ongoing and demonstrable discrimination from the white-majority population. Diversity also meant that members of any group that declared itself nonwhite—from Arab-Americans to Chilean-Americans—were eligible for advantages in hiring and college admissions.

Unlike affirmative action, diversity meant that approximately 30 percent of the country—in theory, more than 100 million Americans—were suffering as aggrieved minorities, regardless of income or class.

If united simply by shared nonwhite victim status, the resulting new pan-minority group could prove a far more formidable catalyst for particular political agendas.

“Illegal alien”—a term still used by official government agencies—described any foreign national residing in the U.S. without government sanction. But when the numbers of those who fit the old classification grew, and the number of people invested in relaxed immigration policies expanded across the political spectrum, the term gradually metamorphosed.

If “alien,” a Latinate word deriving from the idea of “other” or “different,” sounds too outer space-like, why not substitute “immigrant”? Yet “illegal immigrant” still sounded as if breaking federal immigration laws was somehow a serious legal matter. So the vague “undocumented immigrant” superseded the old term.

As the numbers of those crossing the southern border grew and the power of those invested in expanded immigration—employers, identity politics activists, Democratic operatives, the Mexican government—peaked, even more euphemisms emerged to downplay illegality.

Often, “undocumented” was dropped, leaving just “immigrants”—conflating applicants who waited years for legal entry with those who swarmed the border illegally.

Increasingly we now hear just “migrants”—a vague term that further divorces illegal immigration from reality by conflating the acts of leaving and entering the country.

Democrats used to self-identify as “liberals.” The Latin etymology means “free,” as in the context of “free” thinkers not burdened by oppressive traditions, ideological straitjackets, and unworkable norms.

But the problem with “liberal” is that even conservatives occasionally used the term, as in “classical liberals” who judged issues by facts and reason rather than rigid orthodoxy.

Moreover, “liberal” included little notion of evolution and advancement. So gradually, “progressive” has eclipsed the stuffy “liberal.”

“Progressive” infers an activist, not a neutral, ideology—one that is always moving the country in the supposedly correct direction.

After all, who favors “regression” in any field over “progression,” an inherently positive noun implying beneficial advancement?

A liberal Democrat was once someone seen as a free thinker. But “progressive” implies that one is more action-orientated and has an evolutionary agenda, not just a methodology.

Beware of euphemisms. Radical changes in vocabulary are usually admissions that reality is unwelcome or indefensible.


Cartoon of Serena Williams ruled OK

A controversial cartoon depicting tennis player Serena Williams “spitting the dummy” following her US Open loss last September has been backed by the Australian Press Council.

“The council considered that the cartoon uses exaggeration and absurdity to make its point but accepts the publisher’s claim that it does not depict Ms Williams as an ape, rather showing her as ‘spitting the dummy’, a non-racist caricature familiar to most Australian readers,” the council said on Monday.

The cartoon, which sparked worldwide controversy for its alleged bias, racism and stereotyping, depicted the tennis star jumping in the air, with a broken racquet and baby pacifier on the ground.

In the cartoon, by Mark Knight in the Herald Sun, an umpire is shown saying, “Can you just let her win?” to a woman standing on the other side of the net.

It referred to an incident during the tennis grand slam final between Williams and Japan’s Naomi Osaka on September 9.

Williams, who was seeking a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title, was given a warning for a coaching violation before incurring a point penalty for smashing her racket.

After accusing the umpire of being “a thief for stealing a point from me”, she was docked a game.

In a statement, the Australian Press Council acknowledged some readers found the cartoon offensive but accepted there was a sufficient public interest in commenting on Williams’ behaviour and sportsmanship during the pivotal match.


Monday, February 25, 2019

PETA is lambasted on social media for 'insensitive' attack on 'Google Doodle' honoring Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin on what would have been his 57th birthday

Their love of animals is warped.  They seem to ally it with hatred for people

PETA is being widely mocked on social media after it vilified Google for honoring wildlife conservationist Steve Irwin on what would have been his 57th birthday.  

The combative animal advocacy group - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals - took aim at the search engine after it featured a 'Google Doodle' with illustrations of Irwin working with crocodiles and other animals at the Australia Zoo on its home page on Friday.

'#SteveIrwin was killed while harassing a ray; he dangled his baby while feeding a crocodile & wrestled wild animals who were minding their own business,' PETA wrote on Twitter.

'Today’s #GoogleDoodle sends a dangerous, fawning message. Wild animals are entitled to be left alone in their natural habitats.'

The tweet was met with strong backlash from Twitter users praising Irwin's wildlife preservation efforts and accusing PETA of hypocrisy given the high euthanasia rates in the organization's animal shelters. 

PETA later doubled down on its criticism of Irwin, writing in two tweets: 'Steve Irwin’s actions were not on target with his supposed message of protecting wildlife. A real wildlife expert & someone who respects animals for the individuals they are leaves them to their own business in their natural homes.

Several fans pointed out that when Irwin 'wrestled' crocodiles, he did so to move them out of areas where they were likely to be hunted.

Others shared how the Australian enthusiast's passion for wildlife inspired their own animal activism.

One woman tweeted: 'Steve Irwin and his family reclaim land for animals and run a massive wildlife rescue. His life mission was to save animals and educate people about them. I’m one of many vegetarians who rip out their hair when @peta weighs in. Shame on you,' one woman wrote.


Taco eating is RACIST!

Radical Democrat Rep. Rashida Tlaib went on twitter to curse out a bar crawl in Detroit saying, “This is some racist bullsh*t.”

Radical Rashida is a modern day Democrat.

Rashida was cussing about a bar crawl with tacos. The taco eating REALLY gets all hot and bothered.

The bar crawl was announced on December 21 so it’s not clear why Rashida is making such a stink out of it now. But it REALLY bothers her!

"This is some racist bullshit (yep I cursed again...get over it!) right here. Who is sponsoring it? @onemichigan can help organize some of us to call it out. Our kids and families can't be exposed to these types of disgusting events"


Sunday, February 24, 2019

Win in Washington State: Judge Strikes Down Unconstitutional ‘Cyberstalking’ Law Chilling Free Speech

Great news out of Washington state: a federal judge has ruled that the First Amendment protects speech on the Internet, even from anonymous speakers, and even if it’s embarrassing.

EFF has been fighting this statute for a long time. It’s a prime example of how sloppy approaches to combatting “cyberstalking” can go terribly wrong. As we explained in an amicus brief filed in this case by EFF and the ACLU of Washington, the law could potentially block the routine criticism of politicians and other public figures that is an integral part of our democracy.

Online harassment requires careful and sophisticated solutions, but this law instead banned using all “electronic communications” intended to “embarrass” someone that are made anonymously or repeatedly or include an obscenity. It’s easy to think of a host of perfectly reasonable criticisms that could be criminalized by this vague and overbroad law: one politician publishing various lists of questionable decisions made by an election challenger; a series of newspaper editorials arguing that a city official should be scorned because of misconduct; or an activist posting multiple videos of a lawmaker doing something unsavory.

This is all valuable speech that is protected by the First Amendment, and no state law should be allowed to undermine these rights. We are pleased that the judge has agreed.


Does a World War I Memorial Violate the Establishment Clause?

In the American Legion v. American Humanist Association, the Supreme Court will weigh in on whether a state’s maintenance of a 93-year-old World War I memorial that includes a 40-foot cross is an “establishment of religion” in violation of the First Amendment.

While the Constitution’s command that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” is straightforward, the Supreme Court’s establishment clause jurisprudence is anything but clear.

To determine whether a government action runs afoul of the First Amendment, the Supreme Court has developed a number of tests, looking for “excessive entanglement” of government with religion, an endorsement or disparagement of a particular faith tradition, or government coercion, while also weighing the history and context of the challenged religious practice or display.

The Supreme Court has applied these tests inconsistently, giving the lower courts little guidance about how and when to apply the various tests. All this leads to unpredictable results.

In a dissent from the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear Rowan County v. Lund last term, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote: “[t]his court’s establishment clause jurisprudence is in disarray.”

The fact that the Supreme Court took up the American Legion case might be a signal that a majority of the justices agree with Thomas.

In the case at hand, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit held that the war memorial, the Peace Cross in Bladensburg, Maryland, violates the establishment clause, concluding that the size and prominence of the cross convey government endorsement of Christianity and that the state’s maintenance of the cross is an excessive entanglement with religion.

The veterans group contends that the Supreme Court should clarify what the appropriate test is for judging establishment clause claims, urging the justices to adopt the coercion test (asking whether the government used its power to force particular religious beliefs or practices on its citizens, or to require financial support for a particular religion) and to jettison the others.


Friday, February 22, 2019

Is it free speech to tell someone to commit suicide?

A little more than a week after starting her sentence, the debates continue. As Michelle Carter’s legal team prepares an appeal of her involuntary manslaughter conviction, the nation considered the legal and social issues raised by her case.

If the conviction of a young woman who ordered her boyfriend to “get back in” an exhaust-filled pickup that killed him is heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, some lawyers say she has a good chance the ruling will be overturned.

The Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) recently upheld the guilty verdict in the novel case that raises questions about assisted suicide and free speech.

Michelle Carter, 22, is serving a 15-month sentence for urging Conrad Roy III to commit suicide. Carter was 17 when Roy, 18, took his own life in his pickup truck in a Fairhaven parking lot nearly five years ago.

Last summer, Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz ruled Carter caused his death. In convicting the teenager of involuntary manslaughter, the judge focused his ruling on Carter’s text to Roy to “get back in” after he climbed out of his truck as it was filling with carbon monoxide and told her he was afraid.

The judge said those words constituted “wanton and reckless conduct” under the manslaughter statute.

“She did not issue a simple additional instruction: Get out of the truck,” the judge said.

Within days of the unanimous ruling by the seven SJC justices, Carter’s lawyers, retired U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner, and Daniel Marx, both of Fick & Marx LLP, filed an appeal with the nation’s top court.

“It’s a longshot, but a lot shorter longshot than most cases because it raises very substantial speech issues,” said Harvey Silverglate, a Boston criminal defense and civil liberties litigator. “It’s a case that can be argued equally well on both sides. But the lawyers for this girl have the better argument. If it’s about speech in a criminal case, where every doubt has to be indulged in favor of the accused, then this conviction cannot stand.”

The question for the Supreme Court justices, Silverglate said, is whether the words Carter texted to her boyfriend are classified as protected speech or criminal speech.


Must not comment on women's bodies

A high school in Wisconsin, America, will no longer give out awards to cheerleaders based on physical attributes, including recognition for having the largest backside and biggest breasts, district officials said.

An annual cheerleading banquet held for at least the past five years at Tremper High School in Kenosha doled out awards ranging from “most improved” to “hardest worker”, with at least 100 of the girls’ relatives, friends and members of the Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) in attendance.

But according to a year-long investigation by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), other gag awards at the banquets that were “meant to be funny”, according to the school’s principal, included the “Big Booty Judy” award for having the largest buttocks and a “Big Boobie” citation for the cheerleader with the biggest breasts.

Another accolade called the “String Bean Award” was also given to the skinniest cheerleader, according to a letter sent on Wednesday to district officials demanding that the cheerleading coaches be disciplined and that “robust, mandatory anti-harassment” training be required for all district employees.

“We urge KUSD to release written guidelines prohibiting school officials from commenting on students’ physical appearances or making other remarks about their bodies or sexuality,” according to the letter, which adds that the ACLU will continue to explore all legal remedies if the steps are not taken.


Thursday, February 21, 2019

Anti-BDS laws don’t infringe on free speech

Texas’ anti-BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) law opposing commercial boycotts against Israel is being challenged on the basis that it violates the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech.

We at the Zachor Legal Institute disagree with this position and also reject the notion that the BDS campaign is a civil rights movement.

Zachor Legal Institute supports the First Amendment and encourages states and the federal government to implement and enforce anti-discrimination laws that focus on combatting BDS.

These laws are narrowly tailored anti-discrimination laws similar to many other anti-discrimination laws that protect, among other categories of people, women, racial minorities and LGBTQ individuals. All of these laws balance the right to free speech with the government’s obligation to protect classes of people from discrimination.

In a recent case, an Arkansas federal judge ruled that Arkansas’ anti-BDS law is constitutional and not a violation of free speech. This judge, for the first time in a challenge to a state anti-BDS law, analyzed relevant case law and subsequently came to the correct conclusion.

In response to the BDS movement’s discrimination against Israel, Texas and other states enacted laws that generally prohibit the state from using taxpayers’ money to contract with or invest in businesses that engage in commercial discrimination against Israel. Twenty-six states currently have anti-BDS laws, and additional states are considering adopting similar laws.

Anti-BDS laws do not and are not intended to restrict an individual’s right to speak against Israel. Rather, the laws target the discriminatory commercial nature of the BDS boycott campaign.


Philadelphia: Mummer Accused of Playing Jay-Z in Blackface Is, in Fact, Black

On Tuesday, as the Mummers Parade festivities were moving from your television screen to drunken celebrations down on Two Street, a scandal began unfolding involving a local Mummers troupe and its purported use of blackface. Except — says the performer being accused — there was no blackface.

The skit in question came to us courtesy of Finnegan New Years Brigade Comic Club, which previously ran afoul of public opinion with a 2016 routine making fun of Caitlyn Jenner.

This time around, Finnegan took aim at City Hall and last year’s kerfuffle over Made in America. A man wearing a big gold chain and a dark jacket with “JAY-Z” written on the back led a Pinocchio-nosed “Mayor Kenney” around on all fours by a dog leash. At one point, Kenney struck a puppy-begging pose, and Jay-Z pats him on the head. The commentators on TV chuckled and one made a joke about things “getting political.”

But no one was joking about it on social media. Video of the routine, seen above, began circulating on Instagram and Facebook, and judgment was swift and harsh. Here are some excerpts from just one post, which was viewed more than 18,000 times before it became unavailable on Facebook:

“Well look up the Origin of the Mummers Parade Big Fella …” wrote one commenter. “Racist As Fuck. Can’t Stand it myself.”

“I hope Jay Z sees this and pulls Made in America,” wrote another.

On Wednesday morning, we reached out to Michael Inemer, a representative of the Goodtimers Comic Club, the umbrella group under which Finnegan is organized. He seemed perplexed when we asked him about all this talk of blackface, and he said it was the first he heard of it.

“That was a black American!” Inemer insisted. “We’re not allowed to use blackface!”

A few minutes later, my phone rang. The man on the other end of the call explained that he was the one who played the part of Jay-Z and that he is, in fact, black.

“If it looks like I’m in blackface in the video, then people need to get new cameras,” he told us, explaining that he had “Jay-Z” written in white paint on his face. “This is how people’s reputations are ruined. You have to be careful with this stuff.”


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Russian site censored by Facebook

After the constant fake news about Russia in Congress, it is surely fair for Russia to answer back

Three online video channels designed to appeal to millennials have collected tens of millions of views on Facebook since September. But the pages pushing the videos do not disclose that they are backed by the Russian government.

The pages are run by Maffick Media, a company whose majority stakeholder is Ruptly, a subsidiary of RT, which is funded by the Russian government. Although Maffick Media has hired contractors and freelancers in Los Angeles in recent months, the company is not registered in the US, it is registered in Germany.

Facebook suspended the pages on Friday, saying it would reach out to the people running them to ask that they disclose where the pages are run from and their affiliation with their parent company in order to get back on the platform.

The move was an unusual one for Facebook. The company does not require users to provide information about parent companies, but it is rolling out ways to try to increase transparency about who runs popular Facebook pages, and it has been taking aggressive steps to tackle covert government-backed information operations on its service. In 2016, a Kremlin-linked troll group ran a network of pages designed to look like they were operated by real American activists.

The Maffick Media pages appear to have fallen into a gray area for Facebook. The pages do not include information about their links to the Russian government, but they were not previously required to.

Maffick runs three Facebook pages, Soapbox, which focuses on current affairs, Waste-Ed, an environmental channel, and Backthen, a history channel whose focus includes what it views as western imperialism. Together, the three pages have more than 30 million video views, though they've only been operating for a few months.


Words ‘mother’ and ‘father’ banned from school forms in France

A change to a law in France will see schools unable to refer to a child’s parents as their “mother” or “father” on school documents, instead the titles will be replaced with “parent 1” and “parent 2”.

The amendment was passed in parliament as part of the country’s Schools of Trust law and aims to reduce the discrimination faced by same-sex parents.

“To prevent discrimination, school enrolment, class registers, parental authorisations and all other official forms involving children must mention only Parent 1 and Parent 2,” the amendment reads.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s Republique en Marche party backed the change, with MP ValĂ©rie Petit saying this amendment of the wider law recognises “children’s family diversity in administrative forms”.

“We have families who find themselves faced with tick boxes stuck in rather old-fashioned social and family models,” Ms Petit said.

“For us, this article is a measurement of social equality.”

But not everyone was impressed with the amendment, with conservatives and Christian groups arguing the phrase parent 1 or 2 “dehumanises” parents.

A number of conservative MPs denounced the change, calling the amendment “frightening” and claiming it disrespected heterosexual parents.

There is still potential for the change to be rejected by the majority-Senate and if this happens it would return to France’s National Assembly for further consideration.


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Federal bill raises many free speech concerns

A Leftist wish-list: It will not get past either the Senate GOP or President Trump

The more that comes out about congressional Democrats’ gargantuan, 571-page “For the People Act of 2019,” the more reason there is to oppose it.

David French, an attorney who focuses on constitutional law, recently warned in National Review Online that the bill could be better named “the ‘Constitutional Lawyers Enrichment Act,’ because the passage of the law would trigger a full decade (at least) of litigation on numerous constitutional fronts.”

Bradley A. Smith, chairman of the Institute for Free Speech, warns the bill would “place sweeping new limitations on speech” and “does so in a very complex, vague, and unintuitive manner.”

French and Bradley both warn provisions touted as preventing coordination between candidates and independent political action committees have far greater reach. Bradley warns the PAC restrictions “apply to literally any civic or membership organization” that engages discussion of legislative issues and public affairs.

“For advocacy groups, unions, and trade associations, several of the limits proposed in H.R. 1 would operate as a total ban on speech,” Bradley writes.

He says many routine communications made today by advocacy groups would be illegal even though most “have nothing to do with election campaigns. Rather, groups will be silenced when trying to participate in public debate on important policy issues.”

That silencing would occur, Bradley writes, because the “promote, attack, support, oppose” (PASO) standard mandated in the Democratic bill is overly broad and “a green light for the government and even private litigants to impose huge legal costs on almost any group’s effort to communicate about politics and issues — except through the speech of candidates and parties themselves


Australia: Sport Minister sorry for appearing to make fun of overweight people

Federal Sport Minister Bridget McKenzie has apologised for appearing to mock overweight people at a national obesity summit in Canberra.

The deputy leader of the Nationals apologised after being photographed puffing out her face and rubbing her stomach while standing next to a banner advertising Friday's summit.

Ms McKenzie blamed her actions on a bad reaction to breakfast.

"The issue of obesity is a matter I take very seriously and would never triavisie [sic] it - or to add in any way to stigmatisation," she tweeted.

"I sincerely apologise for this very unfortunate photo taken as I demonstrated how my stomach felt after scrambled eggs reacted w yogurt I had just eaten."


Monday, February 18, 2019

UK: Student Who Said ‘Women Don’t Have Penises’ Was Barred From Free Speech Debate

A student who faced repercussions after re-tweeting ‘women don’t have penises’ last year has been barred from a free speech debate over ‘security concerns’.

Angelos Sofocleous posted the statement on social media last August, facing backlash immediately afterwards as people called him transphobic and ignorant for his views.

As a result, he was sacked from his role as president of Humanist Students and assistant editor of Durham University’s philosophy society journal – and now he’s been barred from a free speech debate at Bristol university.

The student wrote in the Spectator that he was supposed to be taking part in a panel hosted by Bristol University’s Free Speech Society on Wednesday (February 13), but has now been ‘de-platformed’.

He wrote:

Bristol students’ union refused to accept me as a speaker, forcing the free speech society to cancel their invitation to me in fear that my presence might spark protests. The SU went on to claim that ‘public disorder is highly likely.’

Sofocleous has also been very vocal on social media since his barring, saying the university’s decision proves their is an inherent problem with free speech on campuses around the country.


Kentucky GOP backing free speech bill aimed at universities

A Republican-backed bill that would prohibit limited “free speech zones” on Kentucky’s college campuses wouldn’t apply to Western Kentucky University, which doesn’t follow the practice.

Under Senate Bill 117, Kentucky’s public universities and colleges would be required to adopt policies granting students and faculty “the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, learn and discuss any issue.”

The legislation is sponsored by a group of Republican lawmakers including state Sen. Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green.

Among other provisions, SB 117 would also prohibit students and faculty from “substantially” obstructing or interfering with “the freedom of others to express views they reject so that a lively and fearless freedom of debate and deliberation is promoted.”

College campuses would also have to commit to maintaining “a marketplace of ideas where the free exchange of ideas is not suppressed because an idea put forth is considered by some or even most of the members of the institution’s community to be offensive, unwise, disagreeable, conservative, liberal, traditional, or radical,” the bill’s text reads.

Some of the bill’s provisions, such as a ban on disinviting guest speakers to campus based on the content of their speech, are already prohibited under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, college administrators cannot arbitrarily decide which speakers students are allowed to invite to campus.


Sunday, February 17, 2019

Mother is no longer gender-specific term, British government lawyers say

Mother is no longer a gender-specific term that applies only to women, lawyers on behalf of the Government have said.

A barrister representing the Department of Health made the remarks at a High Court hearing over whether a transgender man can be recognised as a “father” on his child’s birth certificate.

The man, who was born a woman and is identifiable only as TT for legal reasons, became pregnant after undergoing successful fertility treatment despite already being legally recognised as a man.

He has taken the General Registar and the Government to court after he was told he had to be cited as the child's mother, not father, on the birth certificate.


Canada:  Asperger’s links to Nazis causes society to consider name change

Shocking new revelations that the namesake of Asperger’s syndrome was an accomplice to the Nazi murder of children has spurred the Asperger’s Society of Ontario (ASO) to considering changing its name, but it is encountering resistance.

Detailed information that has come to light over the past few months about Dr. Hans Asperger has “certainly raised red flags both within our community and with the Asperger’s Society of Ontario board of directors,” the organization said in a statement to The CJN.

The ASO is “in the process of considering our options in this regard and will let our constituents know once we’ve made a decision. “We do not want to be aligned with someone associated with the Nazi regime.”

But a decision to rebrand “cannot be taken lightly and requires the development of a strategy that incorporates discussion and consultation with our community and experts in this field.”

Asperger’s syndrome has long been considered a mild form of autism. In 2013, the name was dropped from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) and is now defined as autism spectrum disorder, or ASD.

However, “many in our community have not embraced the change,” the ASO noted in its statement, adding that when the DSM-5 was published, the society made “a strategic decision” not to rebrand, partly because awareness of Asperger’s syndrome had become “much more mainstream” thanks to public education, and also “since it was increasingly becoming part of popular culture.”

The controversy surrounding Asperger, an Austrian pediatrician and professor, surfaced some years ago, but found new traction this spring, following the publication of a story in the New York Times by Edith Sheffer of the Institute of European Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and of a study in the journal Molecular Autism by Herwig Czech, an expert in the history of medicine at the University of Vienna.

They revealed that in Vienna, following the absorption of Austria into the Third Reich in 1938, Asperger co-operated with the Nazi regime and was rewarded for his loyalty with career opportunities.


Friday, February 15, 2019

NZ Restaurant is branded 'incredibly racist' for calling a group of customers 'Asians' on their receipt

A restaurant has been branded 'incredibly racist' after a young waitress from a rural town called a group of customers 'Asians' on their receipt.  

The new waitress used the description to identify a group in order to serve them because their table at The Falls Restaurant & Cafe in West Auckland had no number.

Stuff NZ reported one woman from the restaurant group had found it 'racist' and said the restaurant didn't apologise or acknowledge it while they were there.

'As a group of 'Asians' born in this country, we were truly shocked at the restaurant for their incredibly racist service,' the unnamed woman was quoted as saying.

Daily Mail Australia rang the cafe and found a representative who wished to give their side of the story but was afraid to give his name. 'It was an unintentional and honest mistake,' the man said by telephone from the cafe on Monday morning.

The man said the waitress was a 'newbie', a young girl who came to Auckland from a rural town 'up north' and had only recently started employment.

'It's a different area, not as sophisticated or advanced as Auckland,' he said.

'She's a newbie and we talked to her, retrained her, done an apology, we have given her a warning as well.

'We do not believe in racism. On the contrary, we are being targeted by people calling us "curry munchers" which we are thinking of taking action regarding.

'We do not believe in any way in any discrimination in operations or towards customers. We do not practice racism in the business in employing staff or in any way towards customers.' 

After media reports revealed a photograph of the receipt with the word 'Asian' typed near the top, social media exploded. 

'Casual racism is still racism' wrote one Twitter commenter, while others moved to defend the restaurant or criticise the media reports for making a fuss.

'This isn’t racism and now this poor waitress might lose her job,' wrote Kim Brown on Facebook.

'I work in... a busy cafe. I write descriptions like this all the time,' wrote Janelle Taniwha, defending the restaurant.

'Asian lady with short hair. Blonde mum with child... and I most definitely am not racist. I am however describing how someone looks so my work mates can deliver the coffee/food to them. You have to identify people in hospo. Get over it,' she added. 


Radio newsreader fired for ‘great big black b**tard’ on-air gaffe wins $30,000 payout

But gets compensation for being fired -- because he really didn't mean it!

A radio newsreader’s on-air use of the words “great big black b**tard” to describe pop singer Michael Jackson’s father were inappropriate but “did not amount to a racial slur” worthy of sacking, a tribunal has ruled.

Peter Hand, a journalist with Campbelltown’s C91.3FM in Sydney’s southwest, was let go from the local radio station last year after he accidentally used the phrase during a discussion with afternoon presenters Christian McEwan and Annabella Leone.

The Fair Work Commission heard that the newsreader would sometimes interject with lighthearted “fact checking” outside of the periodic news bulletins.

On the day in question, the hosts were discussing news that Joe Jackson had been hospitalised, when McEwan asked whether they were talking about Michael Jackson’s father Joe or the British musician with the same name.

“Hold on, wait,” McEwan said to Leone. “Is Joe Jackson his dad, or is he that guy that sings Is She Really Going Out with Him? You know that song?”

During the brief back-forth, Hand cut in, “Joe Jackson is a pale little … fellow … and Jackson, the father of Michael, is a great big black b**tard.”

“But they’re both called Joe, right?” McEwan asked.

Immediately realising his mistake, Hand said, “I don’t know, but, ah, you don’t want to be confused. And when I say b**tard I mean he’s a b**tard, it’s on the record. He treated his kids badly and … that’s what caused Michael’s problems.”

The King of Pop’s father Joe died of pancreatic cancer aged 89 at a Las Vegas hospice on June 27, 2018.

The trio quickly moved on from the comments but Hand later asked to come back and make an on-air apology stating, “Anyone who knows me would know that I did not mean it the way it could be taken”.

“He was, and it’s fully on the record, that he was a terrible man to his children and in many ways,” Hand said. “So what I said was to … to highlight that, not to highlight anything else. I am personally upset about what came out but, ah, I apologise.”

Hand was sacked for breaching sections of the Commercial Radio Code of Practice relating to racial discrimination and offensive language, and for failing to “promptly” report the incident to management.

He filed an application for unfair dismissal, with Fair Work senior deputy president Jonathan Hamberger this week ruling in his favour and ordering compensation.

“I am not satisfied that, when viewed in its proper context, it is accurate to describe what the applicant said as a ‘racial slur’,” Mr Hamberger said in his decision.

“The term ‘black b**tard’ is deeply objectionable because it implies either that the person in question is reprehensible because he or she is black, or that black people are generally reprehensible.” But it was “quite clear” from listening to the audio, Mr Hamberger said, that Hand was “not using the phrase in this way at all”.

“It was, in effect, not in dispute that the person in question was reprehensible, but there was some doubt about his identity,” he said.

Hand had “tried to point out” that the singer was white “while the reprehensible person in question is black”. “It is completely clear that no racist slur was intended,” he said.

“Michael Jackson’s father was reprehensible because of the way he had (allegedly) treated his children — it had nothing at all to do with his colour.”

Mr Hamberger said that while the conduct “did not amount to a valid reason for dismissal, it was nevertheless misconduct”.

“He should not have used the words he did, and he should have reported the incident more promptly,” he said. “Accordingly, I have decided to reduce the amount of compensation payable by $15,000, leaving a figure of $29,084 plus superannuation.”


Thursday, February 14, 2019

Must not joke about breasts

Australian TV personalities joke about Dolly Parton's famous assets

The Today show has been trying to win back female viewers after Karl Stefanovic's personal life turned into a PR disaster last year.

But it seems Channel Nine's breakfast show still has a way to go, after panellists Tony Jones and Tom Steinfort made crude comments about Dolly Parton's breasts on Tuesday morning.

During a segment about the recent Grammy Awards, which saw Dolly perform a rendition of Jolene with her goddaughter Miley Cyrus, Tom surprised viewers by remarking: 'She is age defying and gravity defying!'

Entertainment reporter Brooke Boney attempted to laugh off the bizarre statement, responding: 'I beg your pardon, Tom Steinfort!'

Meanwhile, Tony wasn't discouraged from making his own rude joke, blurting out: 'Seeing those two on stage, I thought, was fantastic... and Miley of course.'

The cringeworthy moment was made worse by the fact a third male panellist, weatherman Steve Jacobs, burst into fits of laughter.


Katy Perry Forced To Apologize For ‘Blackface’ Shoes: ‘What is WRONG with you?’

Singer Katy Perry apologized and removed her shoe collection from both Walmart’s and Dillards’ websites amid backlash that it resembled “blackface.” Perry famously stumped for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

Perry issued this statement on Tuesday: “I was saddened when it was brought to my attention that it was being compared to painful images reminiscent of blackface. Our intention was never to inflict any pain. We have immediately removed them.”

Katy Perry: It’s ‘Modern Art’

Perry and her brand management group, Global Brands Group, said they meant no offense with her shoe collection, which was released in 9 different colors “as a nod to modern art and surrealism.”

Sources told TMZ that Katy Perry and her team decided to pull the shoes “in order to be respectful and sensitive” to public outcry.

The shoes, which retailed for $129, featured two blue eyes, a triangular gold nose, and red lips. The black shoes were the ones that set off the racism firestorm.

The blackface imagery has always been controversial, but it has taken on special significance recently after reports surfaced that Virginia’s Democrat governor Ralph Northam may have worn blackface in a 1985 medical school yearbook. Northam denied that the man in the yearbook photo was him, and refuses to resign.

Not surprisingly, Katy Perry was widely slammed over her “blackface” shoes on social media.


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Department store pulls ‘Fake News’ T-shirt after journalist complains on Twitter

A US department store says it will remove a “Fake News” T-shirt from sale after a reporter complained on Twitter that it “delegitimises” journalists.

New York-based reporter Allison Kaden from TV station PIX11 tweeted a photo of the offending T-shirt she spotted in a Bloomingdale’s on Sunday afternoon.

“Hey @Bloomingdales, this isn’t funny or fashionable,” she wrote. “It further delegitimizes hard working journalists who bring REAL news to their communities.”

A Pew Research poll in September 2018 found more than two-thirds of Americans believe the media are biased, with that figure rising to 86 per cent among Republicans.


Federal Court: University Of Iowa Illegally Discriminated Against Christian Student Groups

Court documents revealed the public university kept a ‘watch list’ of student groups on probation. All of the groups on the list were religious.

On Wednesday, a federal court ruled that the University of Iowa had illegally targeted religious groups for requiring their leaders to follow their faith. As such, Business Leaders in Christ (BLC), a Christian student group on the University of Iowa’s campus, secured a permanent place on campus.

At the hearing February 1, it was clear the university had not only kicked BLC off campus because of their expression of faith, but had targeted and blacklisted 31 other student groups— only religious ones. The court ruled that the university must stop its unequal treatment of religious student organizations in the name of “anti-discrimination.”

Under the university’s policy, “religious registered student organizations are not permitted to require their leaders to agree with and live by the organization’s religious beliefs.” This blatant government animus against religious groups on taxpayer-funded college campuses is a direct violation of students’ First Amendment rights and demonstrates significant disdain for religious people, who have every right to gather and express their faith on a public campus.

Many names on the blacklist include mainstream groups of various faiths, most of which operate in colleges and universities nationwide, such as: Chabad Jewish Student Association, Athletes in Action, Campus Bible Fellowship, Christian Legal Society, CRU, Muslim Students Association, and InterVarsity Graduate Christian Fellowship.

Before the ruling, the University of Iowa claimed they had not been discriminatory at all:

However, it was clear from court filings that the university intended to kick all the religious groups off campus if courts gave them a favorable ruling. How ironic that while in trial defending themselves from the evidence showing the university had discriminated against BLC and other student groups because of their religious beliefs, the watch list demonstrates the university has been doing exactly the same thing. Thankfully, the federal court saw right through this.

In a statement, Eric Baxter, vice president and senior counsel at Becket, a nonprofit law firm representing BLC, said, “The university wanted a license to discriminate, and Judge Rose said no way. This ruling is a win for basic fairness, but it is also an eloquent plea for civility in how governments treat Americans in all their diversity. As a governmental body bound by the First Amendment, the university should have never tried to get into the game of playing favorites in the first place, and it is high time for it to stop now.”


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Gucci removes absurd "blackface" garment

Gucci has apologized for any offense caused by a turtleneck-style sweater after it received complaints the item resembled blackface.

Gucci confirmed that it immediately removed the $890 black wool sweater from its online and physical stores.

The neck portion of the sweater, which has a mouth opening surrounded by a band of red, is shown pulled up over the lower half of the Caucasian model’s face.


Padma Lakshmi is accused of 'cultural appropriation' for wearing her hair in cornrows

Being a brown lady is not enough.  You have to be the right shade of brown

Padma Lakshmi is getting grilled on social media for her choice of hairstyle on the most recent episode of Top Chef.

The Bravo host has been accused of cultural appropriation for wearing her hair in cornrows for the episode filmed at the University of Kentucky's basketball arena in Lexington last June.

She completed the look with a casual white tank top - colloquially known as a 'wife beater' - and silver hoop earrings.

When the episode aired on Thursday night, a number of viewers took to social media to express concern over the hairstyle, which has been worn by black women for centuries.

'Padma's hairstylist must have a vendetta against her with theses struggle cornrows,' one woman wrote on Twitter when the episode aired.

Another tweeted at Lakshmi: 'Your hair is an awful example of cultural appropriation. No, no, no.'


Monday, February 11, 2019

FDA Crackdown On Calling Almond Milk 'Milk' Could Violate The First Amendment

The Food and Drug Administration ended a public comment period on Monday over whether it should continue to allow plant-based products to use words like  "milk" and "cheese" in their labeling. This followed public statements by FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who quipped last year that almond milk should not be called milk because "an almond doesn't lactate."

The FDA's possible change in approach pits the powerful dairy industry against the makers behind up-and-coming alternative milks, like almond, coconut, soy, and oat. Between 2012 and 2017, sales of non-dairy milks grew over 60%, with almond milk taking a 64% market share. During that same period, dairy milk sales dropped by 15%, according to Mintel.

Last week, the Institute for Justice entered the fray and submitted its own comment, warning that the labeling ban "would confuse consumers, harm small businesses across the country, and raise serious First Amendment concerns."

"If a consumer is confused about the source of a product labeled `almond milk,' then he has bigger problems than being confused about which milk to buy," said Institute for Justice Senior Attorney Justin Pearson, who authored IJ's comment to the FDA. "The government does not have the power to change the dictionary."


Why ex-Starbucks boss Howard Schultz doesn’t like the word ‘billionaire’

Howard Schultz is one of the richest people on the planet — but don’t ever call him a billionaire to his face.

The former Starbucks CEO, who has an estimated net worth of $4.7 billion, made some surprising comments during a recent Q and A on wealth with journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin.

When he was asked whether billionaires had “too much power in American public life”, the discussion took a bizarre turn, with Mr Shultz taking issue with the common and factual term “billionaire”.

“The moniker ‘billionaire’ now has become the catchphrase,” the 65-year-old said in response. “I would rephrase that and say that people of means have been able to leverage their wealth and their interest in ways that are unfair.

“And I think that speaks to the inequality but it also directly speaks to the special interests that are paid for people of wealth and corporations who are looking for influence and they have such unbelievable influence on the politicians who are steeped in the ideology of both parties.”

His statement has gone viral on Twitter, with social media users quick to share a laugh at the billionaire’s expense.


Sunday, February 10, 2019

Naughty Neeson

Must not have normal reactions

The red carpet at the premiere of Liam Neeson’s newest film has been abruptly cancelled amid fallout from the actor’s comments about decades-old thoughts he had about killing a black person.

Organizers of the New York premiere of Cold Pursuit informed journalists that interviews and photo opportunities had been panned on Tuesday afternoon, just hours before the event was supposed to start.

The Lionsgate film’s screening will continue as planned despite the star revealing he had an urge to murder a black person after his friend told him she'd been raped by a man of the same race.

Liam Neeson today denied he was a racist but failed to apologize as he faced the world for the first time since admitting he wanted to kill a random black man after a friend was raped.

He made the astonishing admission as he discussed his latest film, Cold Pursuit – about a father's quest for revenge against a drug baron after his son is killed.

The movie is out in the US on Friday and will be released into UK cinemas on February 22, but it is not yet known if he will attend the UK premiere.

The actor, 66, appeared on Good Morning America in New York Tuesday and revealed he had sought help from a Catholic priest after spending a week prowling the streets with a cosh to murder a 'black b*****d'.

Neeson said he 'understood' the hurt his words had caused but insisted: 'I'm not racist, this was 40 years ago. I had a primal urge. I was trying to show honor for a friend I dearly loved, in a medieval fashion'.

The star, who was later hugged and kissed by black audience members on the Live with Kelly and Ryan show, said he had gone to church when he became 'scared' and realised he had wanted to 'unleash' murder on a stranger for his friend, who he said died five years ago.


The problem with 'hate speech' laws

When Facebook posts lead to Federal Court proceedings, a parliamentary inquiry, and a bankruptcy, something has gone seriously wrong with Australia’s ‘hate speech’ laws.

This is made clear by the news that Cindy Prior — the plaintiff in one of the most infamous Section 18C cases — has been declared bankrupt after failing to pay $250,000 of legal costs to the students she sued.

To recap: in 2013, three Queensland University of Technology (QUT) students were asked to leave an ‘Indigenous only’ computer lab by (then) staff member Prior.

Two of the students subsequently posted about the incident on Facebook; and three more became involved after they commented on the posts.

The comments were removed after Prior complained to QUT, but she subsequently complained to the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) — then sued, alleging the five students breached 18C, and QUT and their employees violated section 9 of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Two students settled, paying Prior $5000. The other three won their case in court, and Prior ultimately dropped her action against QUT.

Those who support repealing or amending 18C might welcome the news of Prior’s financial distress as rightful comeuppance. But there is no good news out of this situation.

Prior should not be absolved of responsibility: she was ultimately the one who decided to pursue court proceedings that always carry the risk of a financial loss.

But if not for the existence and current terms of Section 18C, Facebook posts would not be able to be turned into a legal weapon that landed university students in years of legal strife and has now left a woman bankrupt. One of the students even filed an affidavit denying he was the author of the posts attributed to him.

The trivial nature of the original complaint, compared to the ultimate havoc wrought in the lives of all involved, demonstrates what a damaging law 18C is.


Friday, February 08, 2019

Sweetheart is an offensive term?

When I use it, I mean it affectionately. An excerpt below from Australia's Married At First Sight TV program

During Wednesday's episode, Mike faced a viewer backlash for describing Jessika Power as an 'attractive young girl' and calling Elizabeth Sobinoff 'sweetheart'.

Elizabeth was particularly affronted by the term, responding: 'Sweetheart? Um... '

Mike, 44, later apologised but was nonetheless roasted by MAFS fans on Twitter.

'If Mike calls one more of these girls "sweetheart" I'm going to throw something,' one person tweeted.

Another wrote: 'Calling a woman sweetheart... Am I the only one that finds that condescending?'

A particularly angry viewer said that Mike, who hails from the Gold Coast, sounded like a 'stupid old fart' by using the term.


Must not claim there are only two "genders"

Whatever "genders" may be. For most of my life only foreign words had gender

A popular online gamer who regularly broadcasts on streaming platform Twitch claims she has been permanently banned from the platform for stating her “beliefs” that “there are only two genders”.

HelenaLive says her partnership with the video game streaming platform — owned by Amazon — was terminated and her account shut down after her comments were deemed “offensive toward the transgender community”.

The website lets gamers broadcast their live action to fans, which typically includes a split screen so viewers can see the player as well as the gameplay.

Users can be banned for a range of indiscretions ranging from overtly skimpy outfits to offensive speech.

In an email from Twitch, later posted online by HelenaLive, the streaming service said it was her third strike in as many months, citing she had been reported twice “for hateful conduct in the last two months”.

“Your recent behaviour has proven your lack of understanding of what hateful speech is and how it may affect your community on your channel,” the email said.

“Several of your statements have been found offensive towards the transgender community, and we don’t tolerate this kind of behaviour.”


Thursday, February 07, 2019

A far-Leftist comes unglued

A prominent US political activist and author is sparking anything but joy after she made racist remarks about Marie Kondo.

Barbara Ehrenreich, a 77-year-old author, is under fire after tweeting: “I will be convinced that America is not in decline only when our de-cluttering guru Marie Kondo learns to speak English.”

Kondo, 34, became affectionately known as the decluttering guru after the publication of her organisational guide, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. But she shot to international and viral fame after the release of her eponymous Netflix show.

But Ehrenreich’s post about the decluttering guru went too far.   “It says a LOT about our current moment when basically anyone could come out saying super racist sh*t and it seems plausible they’ve been thinking it all along,” writer Celeste Ng tweeted.

Ehrenreich deleted her original tweet, but in a follow-up post, she doubled down on her remarks in a bizarre attempt to justify them.

"I confess: I hate Marie Kondo because, aesthetically speaking, I’m on the side of clutter. As for her language: It’s OK with me that she doesn’t speak English to her huge American audience but it does suggest that America is in decline as a superpower.

Her non-apology only stoked further outrage online.


Must be VERY careful in criticizing Islam

The patriarch of the family behind the Chicago Cubs has apologised after an online media outlet published emails in which he took part in racist comments and conspiracy theories.

Some of the emails Splinter News published Monday featured Joe Ricketts making Islamophobic comments, such as “Islam is a cult and not a religion.”

Others included conspiracies about former President Barack Obama’s birthplace and education.

Ricketts, who founded TD Ameritrade, apologised for the emails.

“Sometimes I received emails that I should have condemned. Other times I’ve said things that don’t reflect my value system,” the 77-year-old Ricketts said. “I strongly believe that bigoted ideas are wrong.”

Joe Ricketts and two of his sons, Pete Ricketts and Todd Ricketts, have long been influential figures in conservative politics. Pete Ricketts, who is the Republican governor of Nebraska, can be seen cautioning his father in some of the emails.

Cubs’ Chairman Tom Ricketts issued a separate statement saying his father’s emails don’t reflect the values of the Cubs.


Wednesday, February 06, 2019

The Wanton Slaughter of Free Speech in America

Long-time readers will remember Michael Hansen, a.k.a. "The Dane", a Danish-American documentary maker who produced two ground-breaking movies, Killing Europe and Killing Canada. He was scheduled to show the latter film in Canada, but the venue cancelled the showing at the last minute. Ironically enough, he was then booked to speak in Ottawa about what happened to Killing Canada, and the implications for free speech, but that appearance was also cancelled at the last minute.

His experiences in Canada prompted him to examine the state of free speech in the USA. The result was a movie called Killing Free Speech. He showed an early version to local representatives of the border patrol officers' union in San Diego, and they liked it so much that a screening was planned for the national organization in Washington DC. However, when word got out about what was happening, that showing was - you guessed it - cancelled.

Late last year Mr. Hansen released his final version of the movie. You'll see quite a few familiar faces among those interviewed for the film - Bill Warner, Jim Hoft (of Gateway Pundit), and Diana West, among others. My favorite parts were his interviews with Antifa members and anarchists, and especially his trip to the southern border to talk to border patrol agents and see for himself the sorry state of our border security.

Here's what he said about his movie in his press release:

Allow me to introduce myself: I'm Michael Hansen.

I just put out a movie called "Killing Free Speech". It's about the Left's attempt to control the narrative through an all-out assault on free speech. Its operatives range from Antifa in the streets to politicians in the upper echelons of the Democrat Party.

One consequence of this process manifests itself in what is happening at the border, and, more importantly, the false narrative being pushed by the Left about the border issue.

In my movie I accompany the border patrol on location and let the facts speak for themselves.

The border patrol union liked the movie so much that the San Diego chapter arranged a screening for its agents and those of other law enforcement agencies. They also wanted to set up additional screenings for local chapters of the border patrol union in Texas.

However, after the media heard about the event, these were the headlines.

Now as to their claims of white nationalist. I'm not sure if they are referring to this guy this guy or that guy.

.It is completely fake news - in the articles they never actually identify who these alleged "white nationalists" are.

Other than proving the movie right about the fake news media, why did these "journalists" do it?

Because they wanted to shut down a movie that actually gives the border patrol a voice about the realities at the border.

Sadly enough, the media articles accomplished their intended purpose. The national border patrol was put under so much pressure that any additional screenings were taken off the table. Thus, for the time being, the media have been able to silence the border patrol.

Which brings us to the government shutdown and the border wall.

Why is the Democrat Party so dead set against the border wall that they are willing to shut down the government?

In my movie, border patrol agents demonstrate that a border wall will work.

Because of this, I have decided release my movie to the public for free viewing until we get the wall.

Now, making movies isn't cheap, and I am not Michael Moore with millions of dollars of Soros funding. I did this all by myself, so please make a donation. Your contribution will allow me to make another movie for the 2020 election.


CBS censors pro-flag, anti-Kaepernick ‘Just Stand’ Super Bowl ad

A veteran-owned apparel company’s pro-flag Super Bowl TV ad that punches back at Nike's promotion of Colin Kaepernick and his national anthem protests has been rejected by CBS.

According to the firm, Nine Line Apparel, CBS was apparently not satisfied the firm could pay for the 45-second ad, despite having annual revenues of $25 million. A spokesman for Nine Line charged that CBS didn’t like the ad’s content.

The ad features soldiers, first responders, and images of military graves decorated with American flags and gives credit to them for protecting the rights of those like Kaepernick to protest.

It appears to open up where the ad Kaepernick narrated and starred in ended.

Nike’s minutelong ad, which debuted at the beginning of the 2018 NFL season to great fanfare and controversy, shows Kaepernick at the end saying, “So don’t ask if your dreams are crazy. Ask if they are crazy enough.”

The ad celebrated sports achievers but was controversial because it featured the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, who started a wave of political protests by kneeling during the National Anthem to protest the treatment of minorities.

Nine Line Apparel’s ad opens with, “Don’t ask if your loyalty is crazy. Ask if it’s crazy enough.”

It is narrated by Benghazi survivor U.S. Marine Mark Geist. “Some people think you’re crazy for being loyal, defending the Constitution, standing for the flag. Then I guess I’m crazy,” he said in it.

“For those who kneel, they fail to understand that they can kneel, that they can protest, that they can despise what I stand for, even hate the truth that I speak, but they can only do that because I am crazy enough,” he adds.

Nine Line Apparel CEO Tyler Merritt ripped the rejection of his ad.


Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Another University Just Blocked Ben Shapiro From Speaking

On Thursday, members of Grand Canyon University's Young Americans for Freedom chapter were told that they would not be able to host conservative pundit Ben Shapiro on campus. The GCU administrators told the students that Shapiro was just too "cut throat" and divisive, according to YAF. Additionally, they reasoned that a Shapiro appearance would not be good for the school long-term, hoping to maintain its culture of unity, love, and respect.

YAF scoffed in response.

"By caving to an unseen mob and ignoring the popularity of Shapiro among its student body, Grand Canyon University just played itself and deserves whatever negative response this brings," Young America's Foundation Spokesman Spencer Brown said after the school's announcement. "GCU has abandoned the sentiment of its own proclaimed values, deluded itself into acting like the liberal campuses it claims to differ from, and blindly accepted the Left's ludicrous argument that Shapiro's presence somehow damages students, campuses, or debate."

GCU YAF noted that it will continue to work with YAF "to seek a reversal of this absurd decision."

Shapiro has faced intolerance at campuses all across the country. When he arrived to speak at UC Berkeley in September 2017, he was met with hundreds of angry protesters. Nine people were arrested and a few of them were even brandishing weapons. Police had to wear riot gear. Thanks to all the heightened security demands, the whole affair cost $600,000.

Some of the protesters outside the venue were chanting about how Shapiro was a "fascist," which highly amused the speaker. "I have spent my entire career standing up to fascism," Shapiro told his audience. "Antifa is fascist. I am not a fascist."

At least Shapiro was allowed to show up. Months earlier Berkeley cancelled an event with conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos, again citing security issues.


US Congressman Wants Reporter Sued Over Common Figure of Speech

Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar called for a local reporter to get sued after appearing to take a figure of speech in her article literally.

The Arizona Republic published an article on Saturday detailing Kelli Ward's surprise victory over the weekend to become the Arizona GOP's next chairwoman. Ward, who has mounted primary challenges from the right in past elections, is expected to take the state party in a more conservative direction ahead of the 2020 elections.

In the opening paragraph of the article, author Yvette Sanchez described Ward as a "bomb-throwing conservative."

"Kelli Ward, the bomb-throwing conservative former state senator and loyalist to President Donald Trump, upended the race to lead the Arizona Republican Party by beating the establishment favorite and incumbent GOP chairman, Jonathan Lines," the paragraph reads.

The phrase "bomb-throwing" is a widely used phrase in political media to describe harsh rhetoric or strongly-worded exchanges between individuals. Nowhere in the article did Sanchez appear to suggest Ward had thrown actual bombs.

However, Gosar, a representative of Arizona's 4th congressional district and a longtime Ward ally, accused Sanchez of defamation.

"Yvonne you defamed Kelli by accusing her in print of literally throwing bombs. Falsely accusing someone of a crime is defamation. You made no attempt to portray that as a metaphor but present it as fact. You should be sued. #fakenews," Gosar tweeted Sunday.


Monday, February 04, 2019

Mary Poppins branded racist by US academic - for 'blacking up' in iconic sweeps' rooftop scene

Dame Julie Andrews’s performance as Mary Poppins is racist, says a US academic who accuses her of ‘blacking up’ when her face is covered with soot as she dances with chimney sweeps.

The scene in which Poppins joins Dick Van Dyke’s Bert and his fellow sweeps on a rooftop for the song Step In Time is one of the best-loved moments in the 1964 Disney classic.

But writing in the New York Times under the headline ‘Mary Poppins, and a Nanny’s Shameful Flirting With Blackface,’ Professor Daniel Pollack-Pelzner attacks the scene. Not surprisingly, the film’s legions of devoted fans have reacted with disbelief.

The literature professor acknowledges that Poppins’s face is covered with soot because she has gone up the chimney with her charges, Michael and Jane Banks.

But he writes: ‘Her face gets covered with soot, but instead of wiping it off, she gamely powders her nose and cheeks and gets even blacker.’

He also links the scene to racism in the books by PL Travers, particularly in the 1943 novel Mary Poppins Opens The Door when a housemaid screams at a sweep: ‘Don’t touch me, you black heathen.’

He writes: ‘The 1964 film replays this racial panic in a farcical key. When the dark figures of the chimney sweeps Step in Time on a roof, a naval buffoon, Admiral Boom shouts, “We’re being attacked by Hottentots!” and orders his cannon to be fired at the “cheeky devils”.

‘We’re in on the joke, such as it is: These aren’t really black Africans; they’re grinning white dancers in blackface. It’s a parody of black menace; it’s even posted on a white nationalist website as evidence of the film’s racial hierarchy.’

Extraordinarily, Pollack-Pelzner has even found fault with the recently released sequel Mary Poppins Returns, starring Emily Blunt.

He said he was surprised by the song A Cover Is Not The Book because of its reference to a wealthy widow called Hyacinth Macaw, who wears ‘only a smile’ plus ‘two feathers and a leaf’.

In the original 1934 book Mary Poppins, the character is a ‘scantily clad negro lady’ who addressed the nanny in a ‘minstrel dialect.’ The racial references were removed in a 1981 revision of the book.

Fans online have reacted with fury to the professor’s views. One derided the piece as ‘a candidate for the stupidest New York Times article for some time’.


Controversial HBO host Bill Maher accused of 'blatant racism' after asking ex-CIA black GOP congressman Will Hurd if he was collecting intelligence at 4am outside a Popeyes Chicken

Implying that as a black he would be haunting a fried chicken outlet

Controversial HBO host Bill Maher is facing calls to quit after asking an ex-CIA black GOP congressman if he was collecting intelligence at 4am outside a Popeyes Chicken.

Maher, 63, was presenting Real Time on Friday night when he made the comment during a discussion with Will Hurd, a Republican congressman representing Texas’ 23rd District.

He asked Hurd, who is black, why he is a Republican to which Hurd, 41, replied: 'I’m a Republican because I believe in limited government.' 'I’m a Republican because I believe in the rule of law. I’m a Republican because I believe in economic opportunity.'

Maher interjected: 'They don’t do that. I’m just asking why you’re a Republican? Because they’re not good at the debt, that was their big thing. You said limited government, they don’t do that. They took over the Congress in 2011 and they raised the debt a trillion dollars a year.

'They’re not good at national defense—the president’s a traitor. What’s in it for you? What is in the Republican Party for you? You were in the CIA!'

Hurd replied: 'I was in the CIA for almost a decade. I was the dude in the back alleys at four o’clock in the morning collecting intelligence on threats to the homeland.'

To which Maher hit back: 'That’s where you’d collect it, huh? Wow. By the Popeyes Chicken?'

The response sparked outrage online where one person commentated: 'How many time is Bill Maher going to get a pass for his racist comments?' Another added: 'Popeyes chicken to Will Hurd. Pathetic, the left never suffers consequences for blatant racism.'

Others posted sarcastic shocked memes, writing: 'Bill Maher said something racist again?'


Sunday, February 03, 2019

Democrats on Natural Resources Committee Want to Delete ‘So Help You God’ From Witness Oath

Democrats on the Committee on Natural Resources of the U.S. House of Representatives have proposed a cut to the oath taken by witnesses who testify before the committee.

Democrats would remove the phrase, “so help you God.”

Currently, witnesses who appear before the House Committee on Natural Resources are administered the following oath before testifying:

“Do you solemnly swear or affirm, under penalty of law, that the testimony that you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?”

In the draft of the proposed new rules for the committee, however, the last four words, “so help you God,” are bracketed in red, indicating that the committee has proposed to delete them.

According to Fox News, who first obtained the draft, “the full committee is set to vote on the new language this week, and the rules would take effect immediately if adopted.”

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) was not pleased with the potential change in language, and compared the Democratic Party to “the party of Karl Marx.”

“It is incredible, but not surprising, that the Democrats would try to remove God from committee proceedings in one of their first acts in the majority,” Cheney told Fox News. “They really have become the party of Karl Marx.”


‘Outrageous and appalling of Nike to allow the name of God on a shoe’

But "piss Christ" is OK

A petition is demanding Nike recall a shoe which is offensive to the Muslim community because it resembles the word “Allah” in Arabic.

The petition says it’s “outrageous and appalling” of the global shoe brand to allow the name of God on the sole of the Nike Air Max 270, “which will surely be trampled, kicked and become soiled with mud or even filth”.

The petition, which has more than 22,000 signatures at the time of writing, was created by Saiqa Noreen who referred to a similar instance in 1997 when Nike recalled a shoe which also was said to resemble the word “Allah”.

Nike said in a statement published by Bloomberg the logo was a stylised representation of the Air Max trademark. “Any other perceived meaning or representation is unintentional,” the company said. “Nike respects all religions and we take concerns of this nature seriously.”


Friday, February 01, 2019

Liberals Censor Free Speech About Diversity

Another day, another innocent person is destroyed by the social media mob for an innocuous expression of free speech.  The apostles of diversity police our speech and aggressively enforce a speech code according to “politically correct” liberal dogmas.

First it was Congressman Steve King (R-IA), who was wrongly ostracized by his colleagues for wondering when the term Western Civilization became offensive.  A week later it was 15-year-old Nick Sandmann, a junior at Covington Catholic High School, who was confronted at the March for Life by a “tribal elder” banging a drum. 

Next in the hot seat was the president of the University of Notre Dame, Father John I. Jenkins.  He kowtowed to the Native American Student Association by agreeing to cover up 12 large murals that depict Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the New World.  

The latest victim of self-appointed guardians of diversity was the 78-year-old liberal journalist Tom Brokaw, the longtime NBC anchor.  Brokaw, an icon of television news, is also known for chronicling the “greatest generation” of Americans who won World War II and came home to build the greatest country in the world.

In a rare appearance Sunday on Meet the Press, Brokaw commented that “Hispanics should work harder at assimilation. They ought not to be just codified in their communities, but make sure that all their kids are learning to speak English.”

The response to Brokaw’s good advice was fast and furious, to borrow a phrase from the Mexican gun-running operation approved by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

Aura Bogado, who is described as an investigative immigration reporter at Reveal, said Brokaw was “arguing classic white supremacist talking points in a deeply racist rant on national television.”  Julio Ricardo Varela, the founder of, said “It really was a punch in the gut to a lot of people.”

Brokaw’s fellow commentator on Meet the Press, PBS NewsHour’s Yamiche Alcindor, said: “We need to adjust what we think of as America.  The idea that Americans can only speak English, as if Spanish and other languages wasn’t always part of America, is in some ways troubling.”

People who cannot speak, understand, read and write English will never be able to advance socially, economically or politically in our country.  It’s not true that “Spanish and other languages” were “always part of America,” given that none of the Founding Fathers spoke or wrote in Spanish.


Texas A&M free speech policies garner national recognition

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) recently awarded Texas A&M University with its highest possible rating for free speech policies, making the campus the first and only university in the state to earn the distinction.

Texas A&M earned the “green light” ranking after a review of its written policies showed its rules fully align with the First Amendment. A&M is one of 45 universities nationwide to be granted the honor.

Administrators said they are determined to protect civil and constructive campus demonstrations and events that take place every year despite provocative speakers and events which have plagued campuses across the country.

“The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s speech ratings have become a measuring stick by which colleges and universities can assess their openness to speech and assembly on their respective campuses,” said Dr. Daniel Pugh Sr., vice president for Student Affairs at Texas A&M, who led the effort to attain the designation.

College campuses are a natural place to discuss and debate controversial issues, he said, adding that such exposure to different ideas is a critical part of the educational experience. 

“We feel our policies and procedures not only represent our core values, but affirm to our campus the vital role of free speech and assembly in educating students about the world’s challenges so they are best prepared to form their own opinions and assume leadership positions in areas that matter to them,” Pugh said.