Friday, May 31, 2019

CrossFit Dumps Facebook After Deplatforming

The popular lifestyle and exercise company CrossFit permanently pulled its Facebook and Instagram accounts last week following the social-media giant’s deletion of a user group that posted testimonials and information about its low-carb, high-fat diet.

In an official statement, CrossFit explained its reasoning: “Facebook’s action should give any serious person reason to pause, especially those of us engaged in activities contrary to prevailing opinion.”

The statement further noted, “Facebook … serves as a de facto authority over the public square, arbitrating a worldwide exchange of information as well as overseeing the security of the individuals and communities who entrust their ideas, work, and private data to this platform. This mandates a certain responsibility and assurance of good faith, transparency, and due process.”

CrossFit is by no means a politically conservative company, but the fact that its promotion of a unique dieting regimen that may have run counter to popular opinions got it flagged by Facebook’s censors serves to once again highlight the social-media giant’s issue with free speech.

Facebook aims to control the very speech that allowed it to become the world’s largest social-media platform.


Media Deploying Language Gymnastics to Serve Left-Wing Goals on Abortion

“Pregnancy Kills. Abortion Saves Lives.”

That was the headline on an absurd opinion article in The New York Times, deploying Orwellian language to turn the abortion debate on pro-lifers and comfort those who support abortion on demand.

While the conversation over Alabama’s new abortion law has drawn out some wild arguments from the left, it’s easy to miss the less obvious ways the media reinforce the pro-abortion side.

The media, cleverly and often subtly, use rhetorical adjustments to reinforce left-wing ideas under the guise of objectivity.

It’s not just on the abortion issue that the media kowtow to the left in the terminology they use in charged public debates.

For instance, The Guardian, a British outlet, recently updated its style guide to reinforce the idea that challenging prevailing left-wing ideas about man-made climate change is fundamentally illegitimate.

From now, house style guide recommends terms such as ‘climate crisis’ and ‘global heating’

Few topics, however, draw out media bias like abortion, where the concerns of pro-life Americans are left on the back page or uncovered, and a magnifying glass is put on anyone who challenges pro-abortion orthodoxy.

Not only is coverage of abortion highly skewed, but it’s clear that the language used to describe it is made to soften the reality of what the practice is, while diminishing the concerns of those who believe fundamental rights are being violated.

NPR, which is of course publicly funded, recently updated its language guidelines for reporters. Here are some of the terms now off-limits for NPR journalists: pro-life, late-term abortion, fetal heartbeat, partial birth.

Instead they are to use terms such as “intact dilation and extraction” (to describe a partial-birth abortion) and “medical or health clinics that perform abortions” (instead of simply “abortion clinics”).

The phrase “abortion doctor” also would drop off the list of acceptable phrases. Instead, NPR reporters are instructed to list the doctor’s name and write that he “operated a clinic where abortions are performed.”

If anything, the attempt to use more scientific language to describe abortions, such as “intact dilation and extraction” in the place of “partial birth abortion,” at best merely confuses readers as to what actually is being performed.


Thursday, May 30, 2019

Supreme Court limits free speech claim in arrests

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said an individual cannot make a claim that he was arrested in retaliation for exercising his free speech if police had probable cause for his arrest.

The ruling is a victory for law enforcement, which argued in favor of a bright line rule that officers could follow that would also defeat possible frivolous claims from defendants objecting to their arrest.

The case concerned a man in Alaska who says he was arrested in retaliation for speech that is protected under the First Amendment. At issue before the court was a question that has divided lower courts: if police have probable cause to make an arrest, does that defeat a claim of retaliatory arrest?

The man, Russell Bartlett, was arrested in 2014 in Alaska while attending the Arctic Man festival, an extreme ski and snowmobile event held annually in the Hoodoo Mountains.

Although police and Bartlett maintain different accounts of what happened before the arrest, there is no dispute that after an altercation, Bartlett was arrested for disorderly conduct.

Charges against him were later dropped, but he sued, arguing that he was arrested because he spoke out against the officers.

Bartlett's lawyer points to video that captured part of the event and says the trooper's account of the arrest is dishonest.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals had previously ruled in favor of Bartlett, holding that probable cause didn't preclude a claim of retaliatory arrest.

The ruling was 7-2, with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissenting. Justices Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas did not join all aspects of the majority opinion.

During oral arguments last year, Chief Justice John Roberts at one point suggested sympathy for the officers that day, referring to the event as being "10,000 mostly drunken people" in the middle of nowhere. Roberts wrote the majority opinion Tuesday.

Justice Samuel Alito, on the other hand, worried during arguments about finding a line that would toss out frivolous claims but protect claims with merit, such as a journalist who wrote something critical of a police department and then later is given a "citation for driving 30 miles an hour in a 20-25 mile an hour zone."


Penalizing truth

Teresa Seeberger rented rooms in a house she owned in Davenport, Iowa. When Seeberger learned that her tenant’s fifteen-year-old daughter had become pregnant, she told the tenant that she and her daughter would have to leave. When the tenant asked why, Seeberger said: “You don’t even pay rent on time the way it is . . . now you’re going to bring another person into the mix.”

The eviction was legal because the local ordinance banning housing discrimination does not extend to landlords who operate on a scale as small as Seeberger did.

However, the Davenport Civil Rights Commission determined that providing the truthful reason for the eviction violated a ban on statements that reflect discrimination on the basis of familial status (the applicable language of the Davenport ordinance mirrors the federal fair housing law). An Administrative Law Judge initially recommended nearly $50,000 in damages and fines against Seeberger.

The Iowa courts, including the state Supreme Court, agreed that Seeberger’s speech alone violated the law. However, the damages and fines were set aside because they were assessed on the basis of the eviction (legal) rather than the speech (deemed to be illegal).

Earlier this month, the Center for Individual Rights (CIR) filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court. It asks the Court to review the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision upholding the finding against Seeberger.

It strikes me as outrageous that a landlord, or anyone else, could be punished for truthfully stating the reasons why she took a legal action. Indeed, I don’t believe the First Amendment permits the state to punish truthful statements of the reasons for illegal actions.

If an employer fires someone because of his race, the action is unlawful. If that employer says the discharge was due to race, it has made a statement against interest. However, it can’t be punished for its speech — only for its conduct.


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Muslim-friendly Leftists horrified that they too can be censored

A Muslim murderer was "graceful and humble". Yuk!  But the censorship was quickly lifted

Canada’s most popular television show’s Twitter account was suspended some time in the early morning of Friday, May 24. While most English Canadians might not know it, Radio-Canada’s Tout le monde en parle has more than one million regular viewers every Sunday night.

Twitter user Timothée Forest (@TimRForest) posted the notice he received from Twitter while bragging in French that he reported TLMEP’s account for “apologizing for terrorism” by featuring an interview with Omar Khadr.

TLMEP’s Guy Lepage tweeted early Saturday afternoon that the account was restored. He quoted Twitter’s comment: "Unfortunately, it looks like your account got caught up in one of these spam groups by mistake.”

"If TLMEP can be suspended over a tweet that simply promoted an interview that many far-right tolls disagreed with, the implications for those of us who have opinions that challenge right-wing rhetoric are enormous"

On April 21, TLMEP had Omar Khadr for an interview that was challenging and critical. Lepage didn’t shy away from difficult questions, including asking Khadr to react to footage of a young Khadr crying as he was being interrogated in his role of the death of U.S. medic Christopher Speer.

Khadr smiled. He was graceful, humble and explained how he endured his many years in detention at Guantanamo Bay, including two years in solidarity confinement, and how it impacted him.

The reaction from the far-right was swift. Far-right media personality Ezra Levant accused Radio-Canada of insulting Quebecers for choosing to air the interview on Easter Sunday. Hundreds of far-right trolls flooded my own feed when I shared the interview with a positive tweet.

The pressure that they exerted to report TLMEP was enough to convince the social media platform to temporarily suspend TLMEP’s account. Even if Twitter ultimately decided it was an error, it’s a sound victory for the trolls and a deeply distressing example of the limits of free speech on a private social network


UK: The Oxford Union can invite who it likes

Audiences can be trusted to hear even the most unpleasant views.

The Oxford Union, Oxford University’s famous debating society, time-honoured seat of free debate and political argument, is now ‘appeasing fascism’, apparently. The Boycott the Oxford Union campaign has condemned the Union for giving a platform to ‘fascists’.

Considering the historical implications of the word ‘fascist’, we should probably be careful when deploying it. Unfortunately, the Oxford Union boycotters are taking a different approach. The ‘fascist’ figures who have been invited to the Union include Katie Hopkins, Steve Bannon and Tommy Robinson.

For all their many faults, I’m not aware that any of these speakers have called for the overthrow of democracy, a fairly integral aspect of fascist ideology. To my knowledge, they are not concerned with limiting free speech, either – another thing fascists tend to do.

If anything, the people who want to limit free speech here are the Boycott the Union campaigners. At the Steve Bannon event in November 2018, they attempted to block the public from entering the debating hall. They said Bannon’s views are so dangerous that people should be prevented from even hearing them. Apparently, the attendees didn’t have the capacity to evaluate Bannon’s ideas for themselves and should be told what to think by the student activist mob.

More than a century before the rise of the Nazis, the German-Jewish poet Heinrich Heine prophetically wrote, ‘Where they burn books, they will also burn people’. Earlier this month, when Katie Hopkins took part in a debate on free speech at the Oxford Union, activists were chanting, ‘Build a bonfire, build a bonfire, put the Union on the top, put the Nazis in the middle and we’ll burn the fucking lot’.

Now, these students are not literally burning books or trying to burn down the Oxford Union. They are not fascists. But they share the book-burning mentality. There is nothing remotely progressive about this. They seem to view everything they believe as inherently progressive and everything they oppose as fascistic. They seem to think that their own position must win out at all costs. It is unsurprising that this should lead to calls for violence and destruction.

In the end, these boycotters are driven by a low view of humanity. If a genuinely fascist movement were to emerge, I think the British people can be trusted to recognise its dangers, and reject it. They rejected fascism emphatically in the Second World War, when huge sacrifices were made to destroy German and Japanese totalitarianism. They would most likely do so again.

These boycotters should cut it out. Let the Union invite who it wants. If some speakers’ opinions are obviously wrong and hateful, then audiences should be trusted to hold them to account.


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

We must have the right to mock Muslimness

A proposed new definition of ‘Islamophobia’ would severely curtail public debate.

Here’s one of the weirdest things about 21st-century Britain: we have a real problem with radical Islam and yet politicians want to make it harder for us to talk openly about Islam.

Islamist extremism is on the rise. A minority of Muslim Brits have embraced a super-intolerant version of their religion. It is not uncommon to see groups of shouty young men and veiled young women marching in the streets and claiming Islam will one day conquer the UK. And how does the political class respond? By clamping down on critical discussion about Islam. By essentially ringfencing Islam from the rough and tumble of everyday debate, dissent and plain old mick-taking.

It’s crazy. Imagine if in the 1970s and 1980s, when bombs were going off in London, Birmingham and Guildford, the government forbade critical discussion of Irish republicanism. The equivalent of that is happening now. The very religion that many extremists claim to be inspired by – however cynical those claims might be – is being shielded from free, frank debate.

This week, leading police chiefs have expressed their concerns about the latest top-down attempt to stifle debate about Islam. In their view, it isn’t only odd and illiberal to shush criticism of Islam – it is positively dangerous since it could hamper efforts to investigate radical Islamic groups. Martin Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), has warned that a new definition of Islamophobia could undermine counterterror policing.

He is referring to the definition put forward by the All-Party Parliamentary Group and backed by the Labour Party, the Lib Dems, and the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. This definition of Islamophobia says it is a prejudice that is ‘rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness’. The problem with this definition is clear: it doesn’t only target bigotry against Muslims, which everyone agrees is a terrible thing; it also demonises critical commentary about Islam, about a mere religion, about ideas.

‘Expressions of Muslimness’ could include everything from wearing the niqab to campaigning for Sharia law to saying homosexuality is offensive to Allah. Those are all ‘expressions’ of Islamic belief. Are we racist if we criticise them? Are we racist if we say the niqab is a backward, archaic garment? Or if we say Sharia law has no place in the UK?

Free-speech campaigners are worried that the new definition will curtail perfectly legitimate discussion. Now the police are worried, too. Hewitt, in a letter to Theresa May, said the new definition could ‘undermine many elements of counterterrorism powers and policies’. He says that both he and Neil Basu – assistant commissioner at Scotland Yard – are concerned that the definition will limit the police’s ability to stop and search people at ports, to keep an eye on extremist literature, and to outlaw terrorist groups. They fear cops will be accused of targeting ‘expressions of Muslimness’ if they question people arriving from Muslim countries or if they raise concerns about a pamphlet promoting hateful views of ‘infidels’.

Let’s leave to one side the irony of the police criticising a new censorious definition of Islamophobia because they’re worried it will interfere with their own censorious policy of clamping down on extremist literature. The more worrying thing right now is that it has fallen to cops – and more strikingly, to counterterror cops – to make the case against a new, blasphemy-deflecting form of censorial control. Hewitt says society should aim to ‘protect Muslims and not Islam’. And he’s right about that. Everyone will agree that hatred or discrimination against Muslims is an immoral form of prejudice. But criticism of Islam – even hatred of Islam – is something very different.

In a free society, all of us should have the right to criticise religion. If ‘expressions of Muslimness’ – otherwise known as Islam – are protected from criticism, then we will be witnessing the return of blasphemy law by the backdoor. Only where our old blasphemy laws, abolished in 2008, protected Christianity from ‘contemptuous, reviling, scurrilous or ludicrous’ commentary, the new underhand blasphemy laws would protect Islam.

Many others share the police chiefs’ concerns that the new definition will have a devastating impact on public discussion. A memo leaked from Whitehall suggests the government’s own equality advisers are worried about the new definition. They point out that the law currently defines ‘race’ as a matter of skin colour, nationality or ethnic origin. To include religious belief in the definition of race – so that criticism of Muslimness would become a form of ‘racism’ – would rip up equality law as we know it and throw open the door to severe authoritarian controls on legitimate public debate about religion.

Trevor Phillips, the former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, says the definition could prevent the government from investigating schools suspected of inculcating their pupils with an intolerant Islamist worldview. Such problems would become ‘unexaminable’, he says, because the people being examined could easily say: ‘You are attacking my expressions of Muslimness and that’s racist.’

The new definition would be bad for Muslims, too. The majority of Britain’s Muslims are, of course, not extremist. And many of them will balk at the idea that their religion needs special protection from debate. Some will worry that singling out Islam in this way, elevating it above all other belief systems by surrounding it with its own censorious forcefield, could actually increase antagonism towards the Muslim community from certain quarters.

For too long now, the word ‘Islamophobia’ has been used to shut down debate. Secularist speakers have been hounded off campuses on the jumped-up basis that their criticisms of Islam are ‘racist’. People who raise concerns about Islamic terrorism are too often written off as ‘bigots’. The new definition will make all of this worse by officially endorsing the nonsense idea that anyone who doesn’t like the niqab or the Koran or anything else about Islam is a horrible, hateful bigot. The definition will be discussed in parliament tomorrow. It is reported that Theresa May will reject it on free-speech grounds. She must. She’ll get a lot of flak from campaigners, of course, but it’s the right thing to do. No one should ever be demonised, exiled from polite society or punished in any way whatsoever simply for criticising or mocking a religious ideology.


In defence of ‘hate speech’

Lou Perez

Facebook is deleting ‘hate’, and it includes everything from jokes to political dissent.

When I started out in comedy, I never thought, ‘One day, Lou, if you work hard enough, develop your craft, and keep grinding…you’ll be defending “hate speech”’.

But that’s exactly what I’m doing in We the Internet TV’s latest mini-documentary, Five Reasons Why We Need Hate Speech. With controversial figures like Louis Farrakhan recently banned from Facebook, does the principled fight for free speech rest on this humble comedian’s shoulders? (Oh, I hope not.)

At least I’m in good company – I even got help from former national president of the American Civil Liberties Union, Nadine Strossen, and Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Glenn Greenwald.

See, some people think restricting free speech is the way to stop bigotry and bullying. I think the best way to answer bigots and bullies is with more speech.

Spoiler alert: ‘hate-speech’ laws, as Strossen points out in her book Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship, ‘consistently have been enforced to suppress unpopular views and speakers, including political dissent and minority speakers’.

No matter the platform – be it social media, or a college campus, or even an entire continent – hate-speech regulations lead to abuse, confusion, and growing numbers of people weaponising the regulations as a form of vigilante justice to shut down speakers, end careers, and occasionally even justify real violence.

That’s because hate speech is whatever you want it to be. It has no specific definition. That is why such disparate figures as highly respected academic Camille Paglia and white nationalist Richard Spencer – not to mention provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, author Ben Shapiro, philosopher Christina Hoff Sommers, and the ACLU’s Claire Guthrie Gastañaga – have all been branded preachers of hate. The term has become a catch-all for any speech that anyone hates, whether it’s virulent white nationalism or reasoned social commentary defending civil liberties.

As the head writer and executive producer for We the Internet TV, an internet comedy news channel with hits (and misses) on all major online platforms, I push boundaries for a living. After all, if you don’t offend some audiences, do you even satire, bro?

That means I am frequently bumping up against the self-appointed censors of social media with their ever-updating algorithms and metastasising free-speech codes. Facebook, like a member of the European Union, has been particularly active in trying to root out hate speech. Which means it is targeting just about everyone.

We ran a poll on our Facebook page asking fans, ‘Have you committed “hate speech” yet on Facebook?’. Sixty-four per cent said, ‘Yes’.

Some replied cheekily, ‘Not yet’. Still others wrote of being ‘Zucced’: being suspended from the platform when posts run afoul of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s community standards. In Facebook jail, you’re forced to spend time in the real world without the ability to check Facebook! (Which makes me wonder: when you’re allowed back on, do you have to do the digital version of going door to door, informing neighbors on your feed that their posts are being ‘liked’ by a hate-speech offender?)

I never thought it could happen to me. But then Facebook struck down a We the Internet TV post, because it went against its ‘community standards on hate speech’.

So, I guess, this is my version of going door to door.

What was the hateful speech in question? Another poll, actually. We asked, ‘Whose fault is Hurricane Florence?’.

More than 16,000 Facebook users weighed in before Facebook prematurely closed the poll. Of those who responded, 25 per cent blamed ‘Donald Trump’. The other 75 per cent blamed ‘The Gays’… Because those were the only two choices we gave.

I know it’s never good when you have to explain a joke – but, considering hate is on the line, here goes:

Last September, the Washington Post ran a headline claiming that President Trump ‘is complicit’ in hurricanes. It reminded me of preachers in recent memory who have blamed hurricanes on gay people. (Before heading out each morning, I still ask my gay neighbour whether I should take an umbrella.)

Guess I should have explained the joke. Of course, Facebook is free to censor whomever and whatever it wants. Zuckerberg might call his product ‘the digital equivalent of the town square’, but it’s still – for the time being – his sovereign platform to regulate.

Either way, you become pretty sceptical of a censor’s good intentions when it’s your work they’re censoring. If allegations of hate speech can be wielded to make even a well-meaning comedic post disappear, what else and who else can they remove?

Facebook gave a partial answer to that question in early May when it banned Yiannopoulos, Farrahkhan, InfoWars and a number of its contributors for being ‘Dangerous Individuals and Organizations’. If you didn’t see those permanent zuccs coming, the real fun is only starting. Because Facebook has plans to ‘also remove content that expresses support or praise for groups, leaders, or individuals involved in these activities’. With definitions like these, I wonder if simply saying, ‘I don’t think Facebook should have banned them’ will be interpreted as expressing support. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. You may want to start an office pool.

Even though I am producing satire in an age when the president of the United States threatens Saturday Night Live with federal investigation for mocking him, I don’t fear being martyred by the state any time soon. I can even petition Trump directly on Twitter – @ him with some memes wrapped in the Bill of Rights. Lenny Bruce never got to do that.

In fact, while the rest of the world attempts (and fails) to legislate the hate away, the US Supreme Court consistently upholds constitutional protections for hate speech. I am thankful to be living – and making comedy – in a time when our First Amendment rights have never been stronger.

No, when it comes to censorship, I find myself less worried about the government and more worried about everyone else. Because what good is a First Amendment if the culture doesn’t embrace the principle? You don’t have to like my post, but please don’t remove it, or me.


Monday, May 27, 2019

Assange, Free Speech And The Espionage Act

An interview with former FBI special agent Asha Rangappa


The Justice Department has indicted Julian Assange under the Espionage Act for passing along secret military and diplomatic documents. The indictment has alarmed many journalists and free speech proponents, but there are many who believe Julian Assange is a case of one in the information you put out put lives at risk. Asha Rangappa is a former FBI special agent and frequent guest on our program. Asha, thanks for being back with us.

ASHA RANGAPPA: Thank you for having me.

SIMON: Certainly, a debate over whether Julian Assange is a whistleblower or a journalist or, for that matter, a Russian operative, but he did receive and publish classified information, and that is the backbone of investigative journalism sometimes. Doesn't this indictment endanger that?

RANGAPPA: So I would say that it's the law that endangers that. The Espionage Act is very broadly written. It doesn't make distinguish - or it doesn't make distinctions between categories of people that can receive and publish information and under what circumstances. So it does create this blanket prohibition that would impact journalists. And it's for this reason the First Amendment implications that the government has typically refrained from pursuing it in these kinds of - or similar kinds of cases. But I think that - the fact that it's an overbroad law ought not mean that actual criminals go free. And I think this is where the Justice Department has come down on this, that if you had the Venn diagram, Julian Assange himself is not a journalist. He was not engaged in bona fide newsgathering or publication and put national security at risk intentionally, and so they're going after him. But, you know, it does bring these issues to the fore that have been there the whole time with this law in the books.

SIMON: I mean, you're part of journalism now, in a sense, a commentator on so many platforms. And, you know, stories are reported based on information from sources, and a lot of that stuff is leaked. Doesn't this deter people from furnishing information if they think they might get indicted for it?

RANGAPPA: So I think the issue would be, does it have a chilling effect, is what you're asking, and it might. And I think that the answer is that the law ought to be updated. I think rather than placing the blame on the Justice Department, the question is, why hasn't Congress updated this law, particularly in the information age when incredibly damaging information can be put out there by bad actors like Julian Assange?

One thing I will say is that this indictment goes to some lengths to make clear that Assange was not a passive recipient of classified information the way that a journalist who is receiving, you know, an anonymous leak might be, that he was actively participating in the solicitation encouragement of - in the process of getting this information illegally and also that he disregarded warnings from government officials that not redacting the names of sources, which were not relevant to the newsworthiness of what he was actually reporting about the government, that he disregarded that and exposed those people anyway. So I do think this distinguishes it from most journalists.


The War on History Comes for George Washington

They finally came for George Washington. The perpetual war on history now has the father of our country in its sights as the San Francisco Board of Education considers removing a mural of Washington from a local school.

If the board succeeds in politicizing Washington, whose legacy was once so secured and uniting that his home at Mount Vernon was considered neutral ground during the Civil War, then we have clearly crossed the Rubicon of social division.

Critics of the mural point out that, in addition to Washington, it also depicts slaves and Native Americans—and one of the Native Americans appears to be dead.

They have called the artwork offensive, and the school board says it “traumatizes students” and “glorifies slavery, genocide, colonization, manifest destiny, white supremacy, oppression, etc.,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

But the original intent of the mural was actually the exact opposite.

It was painted in 1936 by artist Victor Arnautoff, a man of the left in his own time who, according to historian Fergus M. Bordewich, wanted to depict Washington in a less glamorized way by including images of disturbing realities. Bordewich explained:

[Arnautoff] included those images not to glorify Washington, but rather to provoke a nuanced evaluation of his legacy. The scene with the dead Native American, for instance, calls attention to the price of ‘manifest destiny.’ Arnautoff’s murals also portray the slaves with humanity and the several live Indians as vigorous and manly.

Those who condemn the murals have misunderstood it, seeing only what they sought to find. They’ve also got their history seriously wrong. Washington did own slaves—124 men, women and children—and oversaw many more who belonged to his wife’s family. But by his later years he had evolved into a proto-abolitionist, a remarkable ethical journey for a man of his time, place, and class.

No matter to the modern iconoclasts. It’s too much to expect one to think about what one is rushing to destroy. Obliterate now and ask questions, well, never.

This is just the latest example of attempts to purge American history of its historical figures. Not only is this trend wildly misguided—how destroying statues and paintings bring an end to racism and prejudice is never fully explained—but it also cheapens the debate over America’s past by ignoring nuance.

From the beginning, it was clear that this movement had far less to do with genuinely criticizing past historical figures, but instead reflected the need of modern radicals to feel good about themselves and think they are “doing something” to stop oppression, be it real or imaginary.

Reflection and thoughtfulness are uncomfortable impediments to those who never dare question whether they are on the “right side of history.”

The Washington mural may come down in San Francisco, but the real damage is not being done to the art. It’s being done to the legacy of Washington, to ourselves.

The past is an easy target for iconoclast bullies, but if Americans don’t want them to keep winning, they will have to begin standing up and speaking out against them.

If not, the destruction of our statues and artwork will merely be symbolic of the destruction done to our country at large.


Sunday, May 26, 2019

Google Engineer Slams Company's 'Outrage Mobs'

Once again the tech giant demonstrates its commitment to leftist nonsense.  

In a letter recently published in Medium, Google software engineer Mike Wacker called out his company over its leftist intolerance. “If left unchecked,” Wacker argued, “these outrage mobs will hunt down any conservative, any Christian, and any independent free thinker at Google who does not bow down to their agenda.”

Wacker describes an Orwellian-like climate at Google where the mere expression of personal opinions that don’t comport with leftist social justice ideology are treated as dangerous and threatening. For example, one of his fellow Republican employees was reported for saying nice things about popular University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson. He received a written notice stating, “One Googler raised a concern that you appeared to be promoting and defending Jordan Peterson’s comments about transgender pronouns, and this made them feel unsafe at work.” Seriously.

On Google’s anonymous reporting channels, Wacker noted that he has been reported twice for statements that were “perceived as hateful/incendiary/inflammatory.” And what were these terrible statements? In one instance Wacker had written that “the definition of ‘Google’s values’ that matter is the one used by Google’s activists, who could only be described as ‘nonpartisan’ in the same sense that the Women’s March could be described as inclusive towards pro-life Jewish women.” The horror.

It is clear that at Google, tolerance is not a two-way street. After all, the last time a Google engineer stepped outside the hive mind, he was fired.


UN Says Alexa, Siri Voices Are Harmful Stereotypes: Report claims that the female AI voices reinforce negative gender stereotypes

Feminists want to shut up female voices???    

A recently released report from the United Nations serves as a classic example of the often worthless nature of the anti-American world body. The UN’s Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization contends that female-voiced artificial intelligence (AI) assistance programs, such as Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, are damaging to society because they reinforce gender stereotypes.

The report asserts that the AI assistants’ default female names and voices send the message that women are “docile and eager-to-please helpers, available at the touch of a button or with a blunt voice command like ‘hey’ or ‘OK.’” In fact, the UN laments, “The assistant holds no power of agency beyond what the commander asks of it. It honors commands and responds to queries regardless of their tone or hostility.” Maybe this is because these AI assistants are simply computer programs designed to respond to user commands, or they’d otherwise be useless.

As Saniye Gulser Corat, the direct of gender equality at UNESCO, explains, “Obedient and obliging machines that pretend to be women are entering our homes, cars and offices. Their hardwired subservience influences how people speak to female voices and models how women respond to requests and express themselves. To change course, we need to pay much closer attention to how, when and whether AI technologies are gendered and, crucially, who is gendering them.”

Not surprisingly, Amazon defended its decision based on actual scientific research that found customers generally prefer a gentler female voice. “We carried out research and found that a woman’s voice is more ‘sympathetic’ and better received,” said Amazon’s “Smart Home” division chief Daniel Rausch.

Nevertheless, we’d venture to guess that if the AI assistants’ voices were defaulted as male, these same UN busy-bodies would warn us of reinforcing masculine gender stereotypes such as dominance or authority. “Toxic masculinity!” they’d shout.

What makes this report even more ridiculous is the fact that customers are often free to change these default AI voice settings to male should they desire to do so. Is it any wonder that so many of us see the UN as little more than an expensive joke?


Friday, May 24, 2019

Free speech for ersatz products?


Should vegan "meat" be allowed to call itself meat?  Only if it identifies itself for what is is, it seems to me.  Otherwise it is deception.  "Vegemeat" should arouse no objection, for instance

Here's the real proof that these meat substitutes taste like the real thing: The meat industry, unnerved by the potential for poached profits, aspires to wipe the word “meat” off the meat substitutes’ packaging. The industry persuaded Missouri to ban use of the word for any product not derived from slaughtered cattle or poultry. A half dozen states have followed suit, while parties that include Tofurky and the American Civil Liberties Union are suing to overturn Missouri’s law on First Amendment grounds.

Greed is ugly, even when masquerading as a truth-in-advertising crusade. The meat industry should lose its campaign against free speech and the lessons of history. I’ll leave it to the Missouri plaintiffs to argue the former. As for history, we’ve been down this anti-competitive road before, amid similar corporate hysteria.


Case of 'white supremacist' professor raises debate about free speech vs. hate speech on campus

A University of New Brunswick professor accused of being a white supremacist should have the academic freedom to pursue whichever ideas he wants, according to one academic.

"We should be free, all of us, to explore ideas as we will," said Mark Mercer, a philosophy professor at Saint Mary's University in Nova Scotia, and the president of the Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship.

He told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti that university culture is based on the principles of open and free inquiry so that people can form their beliefs and values "according to evidence and argument, and not according to social or psychological pressures."

"As soon as there are … restrictions on the content of our ideas, beliefs, or values, then that potentially imposes conformity, prevents people from inquiring openly and freely."

Ricardo Duchesne teaches sociology at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John, N.B. Outside of the classroom, he has appeared on far-right podcasts and Youtube channels, and penned articles where he writes about the "relentless occupation of the West by hordes of Muslims and Africans," and asserts that "only out of the coming chaos and violence will strong White men rise to resurrect the West."

Facebook's hate speech ban is 'part of the problem' with online division, expert warns
In 2015, the University of New Brunswick defended Duchesne after a racism complaint.

But in May, the school said in a statement it's investigating allegations, after an article in the Huffington Post called Duchesne a white supremacist.


Thursday, May 23, 2019

Reddit Commenter's Fight for Anonynmity Is a Win for Free Speech and Fair Use

This is a very strange verdict.  Since when was Reddit a U.S. government instrumentality?  Unless it is, the 1st Amendment does not apply to it.  And since when did the first amendment work to conceal facts anyway?  It frees up speech. Only privacy legislation could have had the desired effect here

A fight over unmasking an anonymous Reddit commenter has turned into a significant win for online speech and fair use. A federal court has affirmed the right to share copyrighted material for criticism and commentary, and shot down arguments that Internet users from outside the United States can’t ever rely on First Amendment protections for anonymous speech.

EFF represents the Reddit commenter, who uses the name “Darkspilver.” A lifelong member of the Jehovah’s Witness community, Darkspilver shared comments and concerns about the Jehovah’s Witness organization via one of Reddit’s online discussion groups. Darkspilver’s posts included a copy of an advertisement asking for donations that appeared on the back of a Watch Tower magazine, as well as a chart they edited and reformatted to show the kinds of data that the Jehovah’s Witness organization collects and processes.

Earlier this year, Watch Tower subpoenaed Reddit for information on Darkspilver as part of a potential copyright lawsuit. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, a group that publishes doctrines for Jehovah’s Witnesses, claimed that Darkspilver’s posts infringed their copyright, and that they needed Darkspilver’s identity to pursue legal action.

EFF filed a motion to quash the subpoena, explaining that Watch Tower’s copyright claims were absurd, and that Darkspilver had deep concerns that disclosure of their identity would cause them to be disfellowshipped by their community. Accordingly, Watch Tower’s subpoena could not pass the well-established “Doe” test, which allows a party to use the courts to pierce anonymity only where they can show that their claims are valid and also that the balance of harms favors disclosure. The Doe test is designed to balance the constitutional right to share and access information anonymously with the right to seek redress for legitimate complaints.

In a hearing earlier this month, Watch Tower argued that they met the requirements of the Doe test, claiming that their copyright was infringed and also that the Doe test did not apply because Darkspilver is not a U.S. resident. On Friday, May 17, Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim rejected the latter argument, holding that the First Amendment can apply even if a Doe is not in the U.S. The court noted that because Darkspilver’s speech was on a U.S. company’s platform and has a U.S. audience, silencing them would have unavoidable domestic ripple effects. As Judge Kim explained, “The subpoena here was issued by a court in the United States, on behalf of a United States company (Watch Tower) and was directed against another United States company (Reddit). Moreover, the First Amendment protects the audience as well as the speaker.”


New Zealand political party criticized for defending free speech

ACT is a libertarian/conservative party.  The current NZ government is Leftist and is using the recent shooting in NZ to pass restrictive laws

“The response to my recent comments on free speech proves we cannot trust government to enforce hate speech laws”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Speaker Trevor Mallard is the latest to denounce my views and try to shut down any criticism of those who would take away our right to freedom of expression.

“Imagine if the state had even greater powers to punish speech at its disposal.

“The Government, emboldened by the Twitter mob, would now be using that power to investigate and punish a sitting MP’s genuinely-held views.

“Hate speech laws turn debate into a popularity contest where the winners get to silence views they don't like by using the power of the state.

“We find ourselves in an astonishing situation: an MP can vigorously campaign to take away our right to freedom of expression, but, if another MP criticises them, Parliament’s Speaker says they are a bully.

“Freedom of expression is one of the most important values our society has. It cannot be abandoned because anyone, let alone Parliament’s Speaker, weighs in with accusations against anyone who defends it.

“ACT will continue to defend the critical principle that nobody should ever be punished by the power of the state on the basis of opinion.”


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Facebook restores Candace Owens’ page after suspension, claims it was ‘an error’

Candace Owens’ Facebook page has been restored after a brief suspension after she made a post that liberal policies encourage black fatherless households that contribute to black poverty rates.

And now Facebook is claiming it was all a mistake.

When reached for comment during the suspension, Facebook Public Policy Manager Joshua Althouse told Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning via an email that her post’s removal and account suspension were “an error.”

Althouse added, “the content and her account are being restored.”

But was it really an error? And if so, was it a technical error or an arbitrary human error?

At first, Owens was told on Facebook that “This post goes against our Community Standards. It looks like some you posted doesn’t follow our Community Standards.”

Owens responded on Twitter, declaring, “Facebook has allowed every post that has falsely and horribly accused @realDonaldTrump of white supremacy to remain on its platform. But when a black woman begins discussing the TRUTH—which is that liberal policies have systematically ruined black homes—they censor. Unfair!”

When Owens tried to open up a ticket and get her privileges restored, she was told, “No one else can see your post. We have community standards to encourage people to respect themselves and connect with each other in any way that’s respectful to everyone.”

Finally, after getting a lot of attention for the meritless suspension, Facebook restored the account on May 17, telling her, “It looks like we made a mistake and removed something you posted on Facebook that didn’t go against our Community Standards. We want to apologize and let you know that we’ve restored your content and removed any blocks on your account related to this incorrect action.”

Owens has close to 1 million followers on Facebook, and for a brief time they essentially had their newspaper censored. So, the harm done was not merely to Owens, it was all of her followers as well. Think of all the work it takes to get to 1 million followers, too.

Censorship is wrong and so is discrimination in services provided, whether on the basis of race, sex or politics. It’s time for conservatives to get serious about this issue.


Communist China Edits Pastor's Sermon, Deletes 'God Made Heaven and Earth'

As further evidence of Communist China's continuing persecution of Christians, a pastor's sermon was edited by government officials who required him to remove the sentence "God made Heaven and Earth and created everything," and also demanded that he include more Chinese and pro-Communist Party references, the religious liberty watchdog group Bitter Winter reported.

The pastor is from Shangqui city in the Henan province, according to, a member of the Salem Web Network. He leads a Protestant church that is registered with the Chinese government.

“The censorship of sermons is a common occurrence in today’s China,” said Bitter Winter’s Xin Lu. The churches that register with the government's "Three-Self Patriotic Movement" must submit their sermons to authorities for review. This is "one of the reasons millions of Chinese Christians worship in illegal unregistered churches," said Xin Lu.

The Three-Self movement is run by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). For churches to operate legally, they must join the movement and follow its rules. The Three-Self movement "reserves the right to censor and control their churches to the extent they deem necessary and appropriate," reported The Gospel Coalition.

The pastor in Shangqui city was told that his Bible quotes must include "Chinese interpretations," and sermons must "examine Scripture within the context of Chinese culture," reported on May 8.

“We’re in a very difficult position now,” the pastor said. “By making us write these ‘sinicized’ sermons, isn’t the CCP forcing us to tell lies and go against the Lord’s words?”

Bitter Winter reported that the Communist government “wants all sermons to be in accord with the Party ideology” and its “current policies.”

“[Sermons] should always praise the goodness of leaders and beauty of China’s nature,” stated Bitter Winter. “Sermons should include topics like the revolution or the Communist Party’s faultless leadership and kindness as the reason for the good life of China’s citizens.”


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

How Politico twists Trump on ‘Free Speech’

Jack Shafer, Politico’s senior media writer, has a big screed on how Trump twists free speech.  I don't have the time to untwist Shafer in full but I thought I might look at just the first thing that Shafer used in his attack on Trump. Did Trump call defenders of free speech "foolish people"?

It's an extract from a speech in 2015.  Here is what Trump actually said:

“We’re losing a lot of people because of the Internet, and we have to do something. We have to go see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what’s happening. And we have to talk to them. Maybe in certain areas closing that Internet up in some way [audience member cheers]… Somebody will say, ‘oh, freedom of speech, freedom of speech.’ These are foolish people. We have a lot of foolish people. We have a LOT of foolish people.”

Trump does as usual speak in a rather muddled way but his followers understand him well enough and a seasoned political writer should be able to do that too.  Once you know the whole context, it is clear that what Trump is referring to is the way social media managers censor conservative writing -- and he wants to shut that censorship down.  The foolish people are the ones who say that you cannot shut that censorship down because that would breach free speech.

So it is Shafer who is doing the twisting -- not Trump.  But misleading people is the bread and butter of the Left.  They rely on it

Having previously established himself the foe of the First Amendment—calling defenders of free speech on the internet “foolish people,” coercing White House staffers into signing nondisclosure agreements, attacking the mainstream press as the enemy of the people and urging the jailing of flag-burners—Trump has seemingly switched sides. Now he’s presenting himself as a free-speech proponent, introducing a new White House web survey whose purported fact-finding goal is to “advance FREEDOM OF SPEECH” and deter bias on social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook by getting you to file a complaint about how they’ve treated you.


Community Has Perfect Response After Group Demands Courthouse Crosses Removed

Messing with Texas: It’s an inadvisable thing. The Freedom From Religion Foundation is finding that out from the people of San Jacinto County.

This time, the subject of the lawsuit is the San Jacinto County Courthouse in Coldspring, which apparently has four crosses. This is enough for the Wisconsin-based organization to threaten to sue the county, which is about an hour north of Houston, unless it removes the religious ephemera.

Instead of kowtowing, however, county residents decided to let the FFRF know what was what.

According to Fox News, the county judge and four commissioners voted unanimously to keep the four white crosses on the building last week.

Then, members of the community showed up in droves to protest the FFRF’s legal maneuvering against the county. Speakers at the event, which drew hundreds of people, roundly condemned the atheist group.

Cloresa Porter, a local resident, said that “the devil is alive” and “political correctness is a one-way ticket to hell,” according to Fox. Terry Holcomb, an area preacher, was even more blunt: “Go suck a tailpipe,” he told the FFRF.

Yes, those are some pretty heavy words, but when you have an organization that’s throwing its legal weight behind suing a small Texas county because said organization has a twisted view of the Establishment Clause, I’d be angry too.


Monday, May 20, 2019

Houston high school gets fierce backlash for hosting THUG DAY where white students wore basketball jerseys, chains, fake tattoos and cornrows

Must not admit that a thug you encounter is likely to be dressed that way.  Reality must be covered up

A predominantly white Houston high school has cancelled the remaining day of its spirit week after receiving flack for hosting a 'thug day' for rising senior week.

Approximately 30 students at Memorial High School in Hedwig Village dressed as 'thugs' for the special day by wearing chains, jerseys, sported fake tattoos and even put their hair in cornrows.

As of 2017, the school is said to be 66% white with just 2% of students identifying as black.

'Memorial High School's 'thug' day for rising senior spirit week... yes this ACTUALLY happened TODAY at an actual high school but y'all keep saying 'racism isnt a problem anymore'... right alright,' said a woman who initially shared photos of the day.

Her post has been shared almost 17,000 times and has brought a series of comments from previous students sharing that the school has a history of insensitive days.

The same initial poster shared images from 2015 that show that the theme has been carried out for a few years.

Administrators at the school sent a statement home to parents and admitted that they had approved the day.


Facebook Blocks Trump Board Member for Pro-Life Post Contrasting Trans and Pro-Choice Arguments

On Wednesday, Trump 2020 advisory board member Jenna Ellis Rives shared a pro-life post from blogger Matt Walsh, pointing out how transgender activism undermines key pro-choice arguments. Facebook flagged the post for "hate speech."

"Facebook continues to suppress conservatives critiquing the progressive left and calling out their hypocrisy," Rives told PJ Media. "We never see this kind of suppression when it's actual hatred from the left, for instance, attacks against Mike Pence for his Christian beliefs."

"Facebook's 'community standards' simply mean they are in the business of censoring conservative thought," she added.

The post merely included a photo of a hilarious Matt Walsh tweet. Walsh noted key pro-choice arguments about abortion being a woman's right, so only women can speak about the issue. He also referenced arguments used by transgender activists, celebrating biological men who identify as women as being "real women."

"Gender is a social construct but I am woman hear me roar but anyone can be a woman but no uterus no opinion but transwomen are women but I demand women's rights but men are women but men are scum but drag queens are beautiful but appropriation is evil," Walsh tweeted.

Indeed, transgender activism does undermine many central tenets of feminism, and radical feminists have condemned the idea that men can "become" women by identifying themselves as such.

Lesbian feminist Julia Beck has spoken out against transgender activism as a "Trojan horse" that will remove key rights from women. Miriam Ben-Shalom, the first lesbian to be reinstated to the Army after getting booted out for her sexuality, emphatically denied any connections between Trump's new military transgender policy and Don't Ask, Don't Tell. She found such comparisons offensive.

Yet the post pointing out the incongruity of transgender and feminist arguments was branded "hate speech" on Facebook. When Rives posted it, the social media platform warned: "your post goes against our Community Standards on hate speech."


Sunday, May 19, 2019

Police Were Called In Florida By A Man Who Felt ‘Uncomfortable’ About A Joke That Was Told At A Comedy Club

Comedian Ahmed Ahmed is an Egyptian-American, and was performing at the Off the Hook Comedy Club in Naples, Florida, when he made the joke.

The Blaze Reports:

A video of the joke was posted on Facebook by the club after the bizarre call.

“Clap if you’re from the Middle East,” Ahmed said, which elicited applause from many in the audience.

“All right. We got a handful of us in here, nice,” he responded.

“But, hey, it only takes one of us… to tell a joke,” he said.

That was enough for a man in the audience to think law enforcement involvement was warranted. The Collier County Sheriff’s Department later released the audio of the call to the public.

Ahmed said that the police were very cordial when they spoke to him about the call. “They couldn’t have been nicer,” he said, adding that one of them remarked to him, “Don’t change anything, keep doing what you’re doing.”

The man who called the police said that he had been given tickets to the show for free.

“I’ve told that joke about 1,000 times around the world,” Ahmed said to ABC News. “Whatever he heard and what I said are two different things.”


BBC Slammed for Mistranslating 'Yahudi' as 'Israeli'

A lying denial that some Arabs are explicitly antisemitic

The BBC has defended its translation of the Arabic word Yahudi (Jew) as "Israeli" in its recent documentary film One Day in Gaza.

North West Friends of Israel in the UK expressed dismay on Tuesday after BBC Two aired a program titled One Day in Gaza and mistranslated the word "Yahudi," which means "Jew," as "Israeli."

"When Palestinians use the word 'Yahud' [sic] they mean 'Jew.' It does not mean Israeli," the NW Friends of Israel Twitter account said. "Why do you mistranslate 'Yahud?' Are you scared of showing that Palestinians want to kill Jews?"

A section of the BBC program includes in interview with a young Palestinian man who uses the term "Yahud" in Arabic three times and in each instance it appears in in a subtitled translation as "Israelis."

Arabic media throughout the Middle East does not use the term "Yahud" to refer to Israel, but rather "Israel" written in Arabic letters. On any day numerous articles at newspaper like Al-Ghad in Jordan illustrate this. Even Hamas writes "Israel" in its official press release for media, not "Yahud."


Friday, May 17, 2019

Actor Stephen Fry Accused of White Supremacy for Making OK Gesture

Last week the Chicago Cubs banned a fan for playing the Circle Game, claiming he was actually being a white supremacist. They fell for the hoax that the OK gesture is actually something bad. And NBC News even blurred out the guy's hand so the infection wouldn't spread, or maybe so the audience couldn't see that it was just an OK sign.

Now the idiocy has crossed the pond. The other day Stephen Fry, the actor, writer, and Most British Person Ever, tweeted this:

 Are you A.O.K? Our friends are supporting @MindCharity this Mental Health Awareness Week, 13th - 19th May. Follow them to find out more. 👌#mentalhealthawarenessweek#MHAW19

Innocent enough, yeah? He's just trying to be a good guy, right?

Wrong! Emma Kelly, Metro (UK):

...While Stephen was just trying to raise awareness and drum up support by sharing the universally recognisable OK symbol, others piped up to claim it was a sign of the alt-right.

One person wrote: ‘Stephen and friends – You might want to be super careful using this symbol if you don’t want to be confused with white supremacist creeps. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that even the kindest of intentions can be taken out of context.’

Another replied: ‘Are you aware that this hand symbol can be misinterpreted as support for white supremacy'?

For his part, Fry has given the correct and only response to such foolishness:

PS: I really will not allow the simple 👌 gesture to belong to the moronic dogwhistling catfishing foghorning frogmarching pigsticking dickwaving few who attempt to appropriate it for their own fatuous fantasies. T

Exactly. Racists don't own that gesture. Some pranksters decided to associate a harmless hand sign with racism to prove how gullible some people are, and some people proved them right.


Free speech under fire from social media giants

This week, representatives from Facebook, Google and Twitter will join with European leaders and the prime minister of New Zealand to launch a chilling proposal to curb free speech across the internet. Americans should be alarmed. Internet freedom is being extinguished fast in Europe. How long will it survive in the U.S.?

Social media titans such as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have more influence over our freedom than Supreme Court justices or U.S. presidents. But these internet executives are selling out core American principles for the almighty dollar. They’ll do whatever a host country demands. In China, Russia and even capitalist Singapore, internet freedom is already dead, without a murmur of protest by Zuckerberg and others.

Standing alongside French president Emmanuel Macron on Friday, Zuckerberg said, “The question of what speech should be acceptable and what is harmful needs to be defined by regulation, by thoughtful governments.” You read that correctly — Zuckerberg’s endorsement of censorship, a total repudiation of America’s commitment to freedom of expression, the freedom that tops our Bill of Rights.

Of course, Zuckerberg was talking to Europeans. Until these foreign governments finalize their censorship regulations, Facebook is relying on leftist groups such as Avaaz to finger accounts for being “divisive.” In Spain, France and Italy, Facebook is already removing accounts expressing populist views on NATO, immigration, Muslims and other controversies.

Government must not limit who speaks in the public square. Google, Facebook, Twitter and others — though private sector companies — are the new public square.


Thursday, May 16, 2019

Christian witness is Disorderly conduct?

A campus administrator ordered Chike Uzuegbunam to stop what he was doing.

But Chike wasn’t breaking the law. He was simply distributing Gospel literature to any interested fellow students. And he was doing so peacefully.

Apparently that wasn’t acceptable at Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) in Lawrenceville, Georgia. So, campus administrators restricted Chike to two small speech zones. These zones made up less than 0.0015 percent of campus and were only open 10 percent of the week.

As absurd as the requests were, Chike obeyed these unconstitutional restrictions and reserved one of the speech zones. But as soon as he spoke in it, campus administrators found a new way to silence him. This time, an officer approached Chike and said that he was engaging in “disorderly conduct” under GGC’s speech code.

Chike was silenced again. For peacefully sharing the Gospel message.

This is America. You have the right to speak freely. And that’s especially true for students on public college and university campuses where all ideas should be welcome, not just those that campus officials consider acceptable.

But right now, campus administrators across the United States are limiting speech. Like GGC, they are using speech zones and speech codes to stop speech they don’t like.

That’s what happened to Chike. But he didn’t sit on the sidelines while his rights were violated. Chike drew a line.

With the help of Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys, Chike filed a lawsuit against GGC. Soon after, the school filed a motion to dismiss the case, calling Chike’s speech “fighting words”—a category meant for speech that incites violence.

The Gospel is not “fighting words.” That’s a slanderous claim against all Christians who simply want to speak about their faith. The Gospel is a message of love.

Thankfully, Chike never gave up fighting for his freedom. And today, ADF attorneys will be defending him at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

This kind of thing isn’t supposed to happen in America. From the beginning, the Founders of our nation envisioned a new kind of public square in which the rights of the people to speak freely would be protected by law.

But today, this vision of freedom is in jeopardy.

Across America, many seek to drastically reshape society. And in the process, they want to abolish freedom and silence speech. No amount of compromise will be enough to satisfy them.

Day by day, it is becoming clearer that Christians who speak about their faith will not be tolerated in many places. They will be silenced and punished—even on public college and university campuses—the very places where the free exchange of ideas is supposed to thrive.

But students don’t check their constitutionally protected freedoms once they set foot on campus.

ADF attorneys have a 100% success rate when challenging anti-free speech zones, like the one Chike is facing.

Email from Alliance Defending Freedom --

Site for donations

Expert Psychologist Blocked on Twitter for Expressing Clinical Opinion on Transgenderism

On Saturday, Ray Blanchard — the Ph.D. psychologist and adjunct professor at the University of Toronto who served on the working group for gender dysphoria (the persistent condition of identifying with the gender opposite your biological sex) for the DSM V, the gold standard of definitions helping psychologists diagnose disorders for patients — tweeted out his clinically-informed opinion on transgender identity.

He still affirmed the controversial idea that sex-change surgery is the "best treatment" for "carefully screened, adult patients, whose gender dysphoria has proven resistant to other forms of treatment," but he opposed "treating" children who may change their minds. (Even this position is debatable, as people who have undergone sex-change surgery after persistent gender dysphoria have later rejected their transgender identity and lamented the mutilation of their bodies.)

After this qualified statement of support, Blanchard explained his clinically-informed opinion that "sex change surgery should not be considered for any patient until that patient has reached the age of 21 years and has lived for at least two years in the desired gender role."

Blanchard defended this restriction by explaining the roots of gender dysphoria.

Blanchard's position showed a true understanding of these issues and clinical support for what he sees as the proper treatment for gender dysphoric people. Activists can disagree with him, but his positions are scientifically based, rational, and based on his professional experience.

It seems transgender activists reported his tweets to Twitter, and the company chose to ban him. Helen Joyce, an editor at The Economist, called this decision "unreal."

"Ray Blanchard served on the gender dysphoria working group and chaired the paraphilia working group for DSM V," Joyce tweeted. "He is a world expert in the field. Twitter has just suspended his account for a thread setting out his findings from A lifetime of research. Unreal."

Update: After about 24 hours, Twitter freed Blanchard from Twitter jail and apologized "for any inconvenience this may have caused." Yet to some degree, this was a non-apology. The company went on to defend its error, saying, "Twitter takes reports of violations of the Twitter Rules very seriously. After reviewing your account, it looks like we made an error."

It looks like you made an error?! You banned a Ph.D. psychologist who helped write the book on gender dysphoria, for his clinical opinion on gender dysphoria and transgender identity. More than this is required.


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Even EMOJIs are going gender neutral! Google launches 'merperson' among new phone icons after complaints from politically correct brigade

You might have thought that the emojis phone users send to say how they feel were a bit of fun and not the least controversial.

But even these plain little round faces have caught the attention of the politically correct brigade, and internet giant Google has responded by launching a small army of ‘gender-neutral’ emojis.

Their features and particularly haircuts have been carefully designed to ensure they are seen as neither male nor female.

The gender-neutral faces have been created after accusations of sexism because emojis have usually appeared to be male since they were invented in Japan in 1997.

Among the 53 new icons are several in occupations or situations that are traditionally the reserve of men, such as construction workers and wrestlers

Others would ordinarily be expected to be female, but instead of a mermaid, for example, the emoji is of a ‘merperson’.

Most of the new emojis have mid-length hair that could conventionally be sported by people of either sex.

The new range goes far beyond the original smiley face, and now includes ‘genie’, ‘zombie’, ‘person in steamy room’ and ‘people with bunny ears’.

Google designer Jennifer Daniel told US business magazine Fast Company: ‘Gender is complicated. It is an impossible task to communicate gender in a single image. It’s a construct.’


Montgomery County police are investigating after a video emerged of a white officer using the N-word

Nothing the cop did was criticized.  Just one word was the big offence

Montgomery County police are investigating after a video emerged of a white officer using the N-word during a confrontation with a group of black men.

Bodycam footage captures the female officer defending her use of the offensive slur by suggesting she was quoting their words, before one of the group replies: 'I bet if she didn't have her [police] badge on she wouldn't call us no n******.'

Barry Tucker, who recorded the footage, said they had been waiting to be picked up for work outside of a McDonald's restaurant in Silver Spring when they were accused of trespassing.

Bodycam footage captures the female officer defending her use of the offensive slur by suggesting she was quoting their words, before one of the group replies: 'I bet if she didn't have her [police] badge on she wouldn't call us no n******'

The altercation has been condemned by a Montgomery County police spokesperson as: 'Disturbing and contrary to our department's values.'

Her remarks came after a gas station attendant dialed 911 suggesting there was a group loitering in the area. When the officer, who has not been identified, tries to move the men on, she can be heard saying: 'Y'all want to get out here fast, right?

'So you have more people y'all n******* been trying to do something.'

When one of the men objects to her use of language, she is then heard adding: 'Uh nope that's a quote, those were your words,' before adding: 'What I am doing is repeating your words.'

The group of men say they were waiting to be picked up by a friend for their landscaping job. 

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich released a statement on the video. 'I watched a video of a Montgomery County police officer that circulated around social media earlier today.

'The officer's comments recorded on the video violate the standards which we expect our officers to uphold. There are no circumstances that justify what the officer said.

'All allegations of misconduct surrounding inappropriate actions or language by our employees are investigated by our Internal Affairs Division, at times in concert with other governmental agencies within Montgomery County.

'The matter brought to our attention today is disturbing and contrary to our department's values and our overarching mission to fairly and impartially serve our community.


Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Must not criticize  black lawbreakers?

Amazing racist attack on woman doing the right thing by reporting a black scofflaw

Author Natasha Tynes looks set to lose her book deal after a tweet criticising a Metro employee for eating on the train sparked an online backlash.

Tynes, a Jordanian-American writer and World Bank employee in Washington, tweeted a photo showing the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority employee in uniform, eating on the Red Line.

“When you’re on your morning commute & see @wmata employee in UNIFORM eating on the train,” Tynes tweeted. “I thought we were not allowed to eat on the train. This is unacceptable. Hope @wmata responds.”

Within an hour, transit officials had responded thanking her for “catching” the employee eating and “helping” to “make sure all Metro employees are held accountable”.

Eating, drinking, smoking and littering is banned on Metro buses or trains and in stations.

Social media users immediately slammed the self-described “minority writer” over the post, accusing her of publicly shaming a black woman.

Tynes apologised, deleted the tweet and later set her account to private so that only her followers could see her posts. Her website was also been taken down.

After the controversy, publishing house Rare Birds Books, which was set to distribute Tynes’ upcoming novel, They Called Me Wyatt, released a statement condemning the author and vowing not to publish the book.

“Rare Bird is aware that an author distributed by us, Natasha Tynes, and published by an imprint that is sub-distributed by us, California Coldblood, did something truly horrible today in tweeting a picture of a metro worker eating her breakfast on the train this morning and drawing attention to her employer.

“Black women face a constant barrage of this kind of inappropriate behaviour directed toward them and a constant policing of their bodies.

“We think this is unacceptable and have no desire to be involved with anyone who thinks it’s acceptable to jeopardise a person’s safety and employment in this way.”


The responsible citizen got punished, not the actual lawbreaker.  Black privilege! No longer is there only one law for all

Conservative commentator quits Twitter in disgust

Chris Kenny has abandoned the Twittersphere for good, in a development likely to start a wider conversation among some media types about whether the social media platform is worth it.

In 2014, the Sky News host and The Australian columnist tried, and failed, to quit the “Twitsphere”, as he dubbed it back then, after publishing a column in which he lamented the treatment of women on the social media platform. But within weeks, he was sucked back into the Twitter vortex.

This time around, Kenny’s ­resolve is stronger. His Twitter handle with 40,000 followers suddenly disappeared a month ago, and Kenny tells Diary there’s no going back: “The reason I’m quitting Twitter is that there’s so much toxicity, so much vulgarity and so many lies, you can’t engage without incurring some damage: whether that be frustration, anger, or just resentment at misrepresentations. When you look at it, there’s not many people right of centre who go on Twitter and ­engage. The point was always to engage. But in the end, that ­became impossible.”

“I encourage as many people as possible to get out of it,” he says. “What should be a communal conversation is often just a horrible festering cesspit of hatred, lies and misinformation.”


Monday, May 13, 2019

Must not smile at a noose

What they did hurt no-one and insulted no-one but smiling was still a big deal

A shocking photograph of a group of teachers has sparked major controversy and lead to the group’s suspension from work.

The four female teachers — who work at Summerwind Elementary School in Southern California — were photographed smiling as they pointed to a noose.

The photograph was believed to have been taken by the school principal, Linda Brandts, who then emailed the photograph — as well as a second picture of the noose hanging on a wall in the staff offices — to all employees of the school, with no caption or context.

It was soon circulated on social media, sparking fury from the public, with many demanding the group be fired immediately over the morbid act.

The photo has enraged people across the world, with many condemning the women for appearing to celebrate a tool associated with suicide. “You women disgust me. You have no business in education. You deserve to be fired with professional reprimand,” one person wrote.


Twitter Declares War on Conservatives: More Pro-Trump Accounts Purged Overnight

Last weekend, conservatives discovered that both Twitter and Facebook had launched a grand purge of nationalist-populist (as they prefer to call themselves) users. Alex Jones, Milo, Paul Joseph Watson, Tommy Robinson, and Laura Loomer were all targeted, albeit not all by the same social media at the same time. The bans and suspensions inspired Human Events editor Raheem Kassam to predict that there were more waves to come:

This prediction is right on the money: Monday night, several other rightwing accounts were banned. Among them a parody account of Alexandra Occasio-Cortez, Jewish conservative @OfficeOfMike, and even the @MAGAphobia account whose admin was Jack Posobiec

@JackPosobiec:  I started @Magaphobia as an acct to track violence against Trump supporters all in one place

In its explanation of the ban on the AOC parody account, Twitter pretended that it wasn't made clear in the user's name and bio that it was indeed parody. However, that's not true at all:

@RaheemKassam:  So @twitter has today suspended @AOCPress, which had “parody” in both its name AND its bio. Yet they claim to allow parody in the suspension email itself. Hey @realdonaldtrump your followers are now being mass culled ahead of the election

As former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani rightfully puts it, these purges are nothing less than censorship.

It's clear: liberal Silicon Valley has picked a side with regards to the upcoming 2020 elections. All those who dare disagree are at risk of losing their accounts and therefore their audience.


Sunday, May 12, 2019

Comedian Jay Leno, former host of the Tonight Show on NBC, said he has to be “careful” as a comic because “everybody is very political correct” today

“You’ve got to be so careful when you do this for a living. Everybody is very politically correct. You do a Trump joke, the Trump people get mad. You do a Hillary joke, the Hillary people get mad. College kids, oh my God, so politically correct,” Leno said during a performance at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington on Friday.

Leno told a story about a former Tonight Show intern who asked him if he wanted Mexican food for lunch one day.

“I said, ‘Eh, I don’t really like Mexican.’ And this kid goes, ‘Woah, that’s kind of racist.’ I said, ‘being anti-guacamole is not racist,’” Leno said to laughter from the crowd. “There’s a difference between racism and politically incorrect."

As an example, Leno described his grandfather as “political incorrect – born in Italy, spoke Italian and ate Italian food."

“Whenever you would take him out to dinner he always had to point this out because it always amazed him to see people eating out of their ethnic group," Leno said, before doing an impression of his grandfather. "‘Look at that, a Chinese guy with a hot dog, you see that? A black guy with a bagel. A Korean man with a pizza, look at that.’ ‘Stop it, you’re going to get us killed, Grandpa. Stop doing that.’”

Leno said there aren’t many “macho guys” in movies anymore and that the original Shaft as well as its theme song would not be acceptable today.

“You can’t have that Shaft anymore,” Leno said, referring to Richard Roundtree who played John Shaft. He recited some of the lyrics: “Who's the black private dick; That's a sex machine to all the chicks (Shaft).”

“Those words now make people uncomfortable," Leno said to laughter. "Now you have to say, ‘who’s the African American investigator, who enjoys having safe, consensual sex, with strong independent women that work for equal pay (Shaft).’”


Islamophobia – The 21st-Century Weapon To Silence Our Freedom Of Speech

Antisemitism and Islamophobia are often framed in our discourse: as similar phenomena and equal dangers. This framing is both incorrect and problematic.

Let me be clear, bigotry, prejudice, and violence must be called out and combatted forcefully – whether it is directed at Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, or anyone else. Those who traffic in this hatred must be marginalized and, when possible, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

That said, by definition, Antisemitism and Islamophobia refer to two very different phenomena – and should not be lumped together as one and the same.

A phobia is an intense, irrational fear of something that poses no real danger.  Judeophobia is an irrational fear of Jews. Islamophobia is an irrational fear of the Islamic religion or Muslims generally.

Antisemitism is a race-based ideology, rooted in stereotypes – not based on fear, but ancient hatred. One popular definition, explains: “Antisemitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for `why things go wrong.’”

‘Islamophobia’ as a term had existed since the nineteenth century but became prominent in 1989 when Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa following the publication of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses. The fatwa not only imposed a death penalty on Rushdie but also criminalized all the publishers and translators of the book. When Rushdie was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2007 for his services to literature, Iran accused Britain of “Islamophobia,” saying its fatwa still stood.

Since then, the Islamophobic label has been used increasingly to deter and ultimately criminalize any scrutiny of any groups or individuals who happen to be Muslim, even when those are advancing radical or harmful ideas, like Iran’s Ayatollahs.

Following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in 2015, the prime minister of France, Manuel Valls, refused to use the term ‘Islamophobia’ to describe the phenomenon of anti-Muslim prejudice, because, he said, the accusation of Islamophobia is often used as a weapon by apologists for radical Islamists to silence critics.

Like Valls, I have seen how these fabricated accusations of Islamophobia are designed to whitewash, obfuscate, and distract from dangerous and growing radical movements in the Muslim world.

Few stand up publicly today against radical Islam and those who do risk being silenced under the label of Islamophobes. The sword of Islamophobia is wielded to deliberately chill discourse and narrow the free marketplace of ideas. As a result, criticism of Islam, Muslims, and related matters are censored often in favor of the Islamist.

Accusations of Islamophobia have been launched at people from Chelsea Clinton to Bill Maher. I’ve even come under attacks as an Islamophobe in response to my opposition to the Iran Deal, boycott campaigns against Israel and my support of a petition calling out Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib for their Antisemitism and ties to terrorism-sponsoring organizations, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

We cannot let accusations of Islamophobia silence us when we confront and defend ourselves against the radical ideologies that exist in some Muslim communities and are now growing in America. Ideologies that undermine our values and seek to destroy our way of life.

Today, the unfortunate reality is that any time somebody is brave enough to critique a dangerous ideology, the government of a Muslim country, or even a terrorist network, they’re silenced, shut down, and stigmatized for engaging in “Islamophobia.”


Friday, May 10, 2019

Montana governor vetoes free speech bil using an absurd rationale

About the level of logic you expect from a Democrat

Gov. Steve Bullock vetoed a bill Wednesday intended to protect free and peaceful demonstrations in all public outdoor places on college campuses.

House Bill 735 would have ended free speech zones on campuses if free speech was restricted out of the designated areas. The bill acknowledged universities could implement certain limitations. For example, demonstrators would not be allowed to block fire exits.

Republican Representative Mike Hopkins from Missoula introduced the bill, which passed both the Montana House and Senate during this legislative session.

After vetoing the bill, Gov. Bullock released a letter stating, “I have conferred with university leaders in our state and have been assured that their policies are entirely consistent with — and, indeed, promote — our constitutional values of free speech and free assembly. Accordingly, I will not sign into law a mechanism that is weaker at protecting our constitutional freedoms than what current law already provides.”

David Herbst is the state director for Americans For Prosperity — Montana, one of the advocacy groups that supported the bill. He says he was confused when he heard it was vetoed.

“Putting something into state law gives people who are suing another tool to use that can be much cheaper, especially for the courts, than going to, you know, filing suit under the Constitution," says Herbst. "It’s a long, drawn-out and expensive process. But filing under state code gives you those options for seeking remedy if you’re injured by a university policy.”


Australia: Anglican Bishop calls the Bible hate speech

About what one expects of the modern-day Church of England.  Their clergy are mostly just dressup queens.  One assumes that a Reverend gentleman would be aware that what Folau said was a quote from Romans chapter 1.  For his information:  Romans is an epistle from the apostle Paul that is found in the New Testament of the Bible

An Anglican bishop has branded the religious statements of Australian rugby union player Israel Folau as hate speech.

The Bishop of Grafton, the Right Reverend Dr Murray Harvey, said free speech should not be used to vilify others.

"I think there's a difference between free speech and sometimes that can go over the borderline into hate speech," Bishop Harvey said. "Certainly, he's got that right to free speech that we all have, but with rights come responsibilities."

Bishop Harvey's comments followed a hearing this week that found Folau committed a "high-level breach" of the professional players' code of conduct over controversial social media posts.

One of the posts proclaimed hell awaited "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters".

Folau has not apologised or expressed any regrets for the posts, and was awaiting a decision on what his punishment for breaching the code would be.


Thursday, May 09, 2019

The NYT on free speech

Their supercilious writer below, Kara Swisher, is perfectly correct but largely irrelevant. Conservatives such as Mr Trump do often express their concerns in free speech terms but what they are basically objecting to is political bigotry.  They object to Leftists censoring their words.  They object to politically discriminatory treatment.  They object to being discriminated against on social media. 

It cannot be long before conservatives start to us use anti-discrimination law to pull the social media censors up hard.  The range of categories that get anti-discrimination protection is ever widening and it just needs one Southern State government to add conservatives to the list of protected categories for the social media companies to be in big trouble.  It might not even need new legislation

I’m sorry to be the one to have to tell the president, but someone has to: Social media is not the public square, not even a virtual one.

Not Facebook. Not Reddit. Not YouTube. And definitely not Twitter, where a few days after Facebook announced it was barring some extremist voices like Alex Jones, President Trump furiously tapped out: “I am continuing to monitor the censorship of AMERICAN CITIZENS on social media platforms. This is the United States of America — and we have what’s known as FREEDOM OF SPEECH! We are monitoring and watching, closely!!”

He can monitor (yes, that’s definitely a creepy word) and watch all he wants, but it will not matter one bit. Because the First Amendment requires only that the government not make laws that restrict freedom of speech for its citizens.

Here’s the whole text if you need a refresher — and anyway, it’s kind of short: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

With all the loud opinions and screechy videos and belligerent tweets — and that’s just our president on any given Sunday — many people have mixed up the actual free-speech rights of “AMERICAN CITIZENS” with the ability of loudmouths and bullies to spew whatever they like to tens of millions of people any time of day or night.

The confusion is understandable. Those inventive entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, with their smooth libertarian groove and anything-goes tone, let users huff and puff away so much that you would think that they were actually committed to the idea of a free-for-all. And they were, until it became clear that humanity could get really ugly and out of control pretty quickly and turn it into a Free Speech Thunderdome.


Facebook is being sued by a Polish drug prevention group over free speech violation

Facebook’s efforts to shut down harmful and malicious content on its platform have landed it in a European courtroom, after an anti-drug abuse organization in Poland claimed that a freeze on its Facebook Pages is a violation of its rights to free speech.

The Civil Society Drug Policy Initiative (Społeczna Inicjatywa Narkopolityki in Polish, which goes by the slightly unfortunate abbreviation of ‘SIN’) says that it has filed a complaint with the District Court of Warsaw against Facebook for violating articles 23-24 of the Polish Civil Code, which ensures free speech for individuals and organizations.

SIN says that Facebook deleted several of its pages on Facebook and Instagram for violating its community standards in 2018 and 2019. Another page SIN set up after the others were shut down appears to still be up for now.

SIN is asking for Facebook to reinstate its Pages and its followers, and to apologise publicly for its actions.

When contacted for a response, Facebook declined to comment on the case.