Friday, January 31, 2020

Ohio Senate *Unanimously* Votes to Protect Free Speech on Campuses!

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Senate just unanimously passed the CCV-backed FORUM (Forming Open and Robust University Minds) Act to protect free speech on college and university campuses.

"By passing SB 40, the Ohio Senate is sending the clear message that every student's voice matters," said Aaron Baer, president of Citizens for Community Values. "In recent years, we’ve witnessed university officials in Ohio and across America stifle the speech of pro-life and conservative groups. SB 40 will protect these students by creating a level playing field for ideas. It doesn't favor any viewpoint or ideology, but ensures all speech is equally protected."

In a 33-0 vote, the Ohio Senate just voted to:

Protect peaceful assemblies, protests, speakers, and displays on campus.

Prohibit “Free Speech Zones” on college campuses.

Prohibit shutting down events or other expression via a “Heckler’s Veto.”

Require colleges and universities to have a free speech policy, and report violations of free speech on campus to the General Assembly.

"We want to thank the bill sponsors Senator Andy Brenner and Senator Rob McColley, and the entire Senate Chamber for protecting the right of every student to have the opportunity to engage in open and honest discussion, no matter his or her political party.

The bill now moves to the Ohio House for consideration.

Email from Citizens for Community Values:

'We have free speech': Danish PM avoids direct response to China over flag controversy

Freedom to mock China!

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen cited freedom of speech in Danish society as she reacted for the first time to demands by the Chinese Embassy in Denmark for an apology over a satirical drawing of the Asian country’s flag.

China’s representation in Denmark has demanded that newspaper Jyllands-Posten apologize for a cartoon depicting each of the five yellow stars of the Chinese flag as a coronavirus. The drawing was published in Monday's edition of the newspaper.

Frederiksen commented briefly on the matter on Tuesday prior to a Social Democratic parliamentary party meeting, Jyllands-Posten reports.

“I have nothing else to say about it other than that we have a very, very strong tradition in Denmark, not only for free speech, but also for satirical drawings, and that will continue in the future as well. It is a well-known Danish position, and we won’t change that,” she said.

The PM did not respond directly to the Chinese calls for an apology.

“I just want to say from Denmark and the Danish government's side, all we have to say is that we have freedom of expression in Denmark -- also to draw,” Frederiksen said.


Thursday, January 30, 2020

Kmart blogger mum tearfully defends herself against racism accusations for saying 'white is right' in a post about a QUILT COVER

A woman has tearfully defended herself after she was accused of being a 'racist' for saying 'white is right' about her new doona quilt cover.

Claire, from Tasmania, has been creating lifestyle content for her popular Instagram account The Kmart Lover as a hobby.

With more than 100,000 followers, her well-established page focuses on affordable fashion and home styling such as décor, furniture and bedding.

But over the weekend, Claire came under attack by cruel trolls who labelled her a 'racist' and a 'white supremacist' after she shared her thoughts on her new king-size waffle quilt cover.

'I wasn't going to address this... but as you can probably tell, I'm sad, but that's not from the thing that happened last night. It's from my sister Krista's beautiful words and the outpouring of love and support that you guys have given me,' she said.

'I've got a bad headache, I put it down to the stress that's come from here. I'm not racist, I was purely talking about a bloody doona cover, and it does hurt, it hurts me.

'I put some time into my page, it's my page, I don't get paid to tell you where the item is from. I don't get paid to give you a swipe up link. I don't get paid to show you what it would match with and so many of you ask things like that and I give you my views on it.'

After speaking out, Claire hit back at the nasty trolls by sharing a snap of herself sitting on her white quilt cover in her white Kmart outfit.

Claire was left in tears after receiving nasty remarks for sharing her thoughts about a doona

'This is me. On my white waffle quilt cover in my white outfit... Just a girl on a bed in what she considers a cool outfit sharing her love for home styling and fashion,' she said.

'Unshowered, heavy eyes from a bad headache, no make-up. Nothing more, nothing less. This week I have been trolled as being racist for saying "white is right" about the depicted doona cover.

'I could stay quiet as some of you have suggested and not respond to any of these remarks but that is not me. I am strong. I am independent and I am taking a stance against this small minority of society that feel this behaviour is ok because it is not.'

Claire has since updated her caption to: 'Can you beat a white quilt cover for a relaxing entrance to a bedroom? I love it.'


Free speech wins as California DMV says Fulham soccer fan's 'Come on You Whites' vanity plate is OK

A soccer fan’s request for a personalized license plate celebrating his favorite team was granted Tuesday after scoring a free speech victory against the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), which initially determined the slogan might be deemed offensive.

Jon Kotler, a lawyer and constitutional scholar at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, has been a devoted fan of the London-based soccer team Fulham Football Club. He wanted to show his support with a vanity plate of the team's slogan: “Come on You Whites.”

But he ran into a roadblock when the DMV rejected his request for the vanity plate using an acronym for the team’s slogan, “COYW,” claiming it could carry “racial overtones" and “connotations offensive to good taste and decency.”

The slogan is inspired by the white jerseys that Fulham soccer players wear. European soccer clubs are often referenced by their uniform colors: London club Chelsea F.C. is called The Blues, while Liverpool F.C. is nicknamed The Reds.

“The freedom to speak as one wishes in the face of government opposition to it is central to what it means to be an American,” Kotler said in a news release after the victory. “My only regret is that it took a lawsuit to force the state of California to do what the law required of it.”


Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Australia: When a government says a white man is black, dissenters have to be fired

WHAT a scandal. Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt now threatens to sack a whistleblower who called out "Aboriginal historian" Bruce Pascoe as a white.

The whistleblower in Wyatt's sights is Josephine Cashman, an Aboriginal businesswoman on his advisory council. That's because Cashman claimed Pascoe, author of the bestseller "Dark Emu" and star of an upcoming MSC series, is a fake Aborigine, and she says she has plenty of evidence.

Genealogical records on suggest all of Pascoe's ancestors are of English descent, and Pascoe refuses to say which is actually Aboriginal.

Indeed, his story keeps changing. Once he identified as white, until a reviewer of his first novel said it would have been better had Pascoe been black.

Once he claimed that one of his mother's grandmothers was Aboriginal, before admitting she was English. Now he claims he's descended from several tribes, including the Boonwurrung of Victoria, Tasmanian Aborigines and the Yuin of NSW.

But his claims have been rejected by the Boonwunrung Land & Sea Council, the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania and members of the Yuin, and now even the Yolngu of Arnhem Land.

Elder Terry Yumbulul says his fellow Yolngu want Wyatt to investigate Pascoe's "claim to Aboriginal ancestry" and what he's gained from an identity "he has been unable to verify".

Yumbulul, like the Boonwurrung and the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania, also rejects Pascoe's claims — based on false citations and exaggerations — that Aborigines weren't hunter-gathers but farmers in "towns" of "1000 people".

"There is no evidence of it in our art, languages or songlines," says Yumbulul, who accuses Pascoe of causing "concerns about our ancient cultures, our ancient traditions, our precious stories".

So what's Wyatt's reaction? It's to defend white Pascoe and
seemingly threaten Aboriginal Cashman with the sack. Wyatt told the Guardian Australia that Pascoe's Aboriginality was "being played out publicly" when "we should deal with (it) within communities".

He said he could ask one of his advisers to quit "I have to think of the greater good of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people."

Really? Is truth to be sacrificed for the "greater good"? And where's this "greater good" when Aborigines are being stripped of their past and even their right to say who is of their tribe?

No Liberal MP should tolerate what Wyatt seems to have in mind. If Cashman goes, so should he.

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail" of 27 January, 2020

Australia: Labor MP Tanya Plibersek is slammed by her own supporters for saying schoolkids should pledge loyalty to Australia

The Left are NOT patriotic

Former deputy Opposition leader Tanya Plibersek has been slammed by her own supporters for arguing all school children should pledge their loyalty to Australia.

Ms Plibersek took to Twitter on Saturday to share an article about her ideas ahead of her Australia Day address at the Sydney Opera House on Sunday.

The Federal Labor MP argued patriotism is about acceptance and lending a hand rather than exclusion, but was harshly criticised by users on her own side of politics.

She said the incredible spirit of generosity from Australians during the latest bushfire ravaged summer was the best example.

'This has been patriotism at its practical best; patriotism as the thread connecting us all as Australians.'

On Sunday she will call for all school students to be taught the Australian citizenship pledge, which states: 'From this time forward, I pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people, whose democratic beliefs I share, whose rights and liberties I respect, and whose laws I will uphold and obey.'

Ms Plibersek's remarks quickly became trending online with many of her supporters rejecting the idea as American and old fashioned.

'Are you just trying to lose the next election? (This is) all things I loathe about America. Going to vote in the religious bigotry bill too? Just to really break my Labor heart?' a woman said.

Controversial feminist commentator Clementine Ford also slammed the idea.

'Huge fan Tanya, but I think there are more elegant and less nationalistic ways to codify good citizenship here,' she said.

Ms Ford then argued Labor Leader Anthony Albanese was not being a good citizen when he pledged to keep Australia Day on January 26. 

Other people pointed out the pledge is already made by immigrants who become Australian citizens.

One man remarked 'that the left are eating their own' and remarked that the behaviour was proof they were uneducated.


Tuesday, January 28, 2020

New York high school sparks public storm over free speech about Israel

On January 9, the Ethical Culture Fieldston School — an elite private school in the Bronx known for its diversity and progressive values — fired JB Brager, a 31-year-old history teacher. Brager, who is Jewish, had expressed views on Twitter that were anti-Zionist and in support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Brager’s firing appears to be the latest instance in a trend, trickling down from colleges to high schools, in which educators whose politics challenge the mainstream Zionist narrative about Israel are punished for their political views.

“To me, what makes a good teacher is making clear my views and helping my students argue against me,” Brager (who uses they/them pronouns) tells me, in their first comments to a reporter since being fired. “I feel strongly that one should be able to teach students of all different political belief systems, but that doesn’t mean I have to change my beliefs.”

Brager’s dismissal followed a series of tweets they posted in November 2019 regarding a recent incident involving a speaker at a school assembly. Kayum Ahmed, an adjunct law professor at Columbia University and a division director at Open Society Foundations, gave a talk at Fieldston about apartheid South Africa. In response to a question from a student, Ahmed discussed the phenomenon of victims becoming perpetrators.

In a video of the talk posted by the right-wing Washington Free Beacon, which has played a key role in drawing national attention to this incident, Ahmed said that “the Jews suffered in the Holocaust and established the State of Israel. Today they perpetuate violence against the Palestinians that are unthinkable… the victims of the Holocaust and violence have become perpetrators of injustice against Palestinians.”

The Free Beacon and Tablet reported that some parents took issue with the comments. Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), told the Free Beacon, “To blame the victim in this manner was really outrageous and these virulent views — saying that Jews who escaped the Holocaust are now the perpetrators of injustice — has [sic] no place in our society and certainly not in our schools where we’re educating young people.”


‘F**k Trump’is respectful dialogue??

The highly paid chief equity and inclusion officer at taxpayer-funded Kellogg Community College — who posted a picture of himself on social media in December holding a protest sign that read “F**k Trump” — will apparently face no formal sanction.

Trustees at the Battle Creek college heard comments that both denounced and supported Jorge Zeballos when they held a meeting last week, but they took no action.

Responding to an email inquiry from Michigan Capitol Confidential, a KCC spokesman said Tuesday the college “doesn’t comment publicly on confidential personnel matters.”

Zeballos’ 2019-20 salary as the college’s leading promoter of inclusivity is $98,033, KCC revealed in response to a Freedom of Information Request from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

By contrast, KCC’s president, Adrien Bennings, is paid $167,500, and the faculty pay scale for 2019-20 tops out at $91,480.

Zeballos removed the Facebook post, which promoted his participation at a Battle Creek rally protesting an appearance by President Donald Trump in December, after it drew criticism. He said in a statement that the protest sign is protected by the First Amendment, but he understood that, because of his position, it had repercussions for the college.

“I deeply regret posting the picture on my Facebook page and the controversy it has generated," Zeballos said in a Jan. 3 post on his Facebook page.

“I strive to have respectful dialogue on some of the most challenging issues with anyone who holds an opinion different than mine,” Zeballos said.


Monday, January 27, 2020

Fighting for free speech
An Oxford professor is provided with security guards after she received threats from trans activists who hate her views on sex and gender.

Actors call on other actors to denounce and effectively blacklist Laurence Fox after he criticised the excesses of woke culture.

A UK university employs conversation monitors to listen out for, and reprimand, ‘racial microaggressions’.

And that’s all in just the last few days. Anyone who denies that there’s a crisis of freedom of speech is lying to themselves. The culture of intolerance is growing. It must be resisted.

In 2020, let’s stand up for the right to think, say, write and tweet freely. For the right to dissent from orthodoxies old and new and to express our convictions openly, however unpopular they might be. The health of public life and of democracy itself depends on the free exchange of ideas and beliefs.


How 'Happy Australia Day' became an offensive term

Wishing somebody a 'Happy Australia Day' could be determined as offensive, according to advocates in the indigenous community. 

Kado Muir, who is a leading advocate for Aboriginal culture, heritage and awareness said the phrase was an 'ignorant gesture', reported in 2019. He said the annual debate, which has been reignited in 2020, brings sadness to his heart.

'This issue is extremely divisive and sensitive to all Australians,' Mr Muir said. 'I know White Australia is guilty and fragile. I know Black Australia is broken and angry.' 

He called on Australians to rise above the 'base destructive emotions' in the debate and instead shift focus onto the aspects that unite the country.

Leading Aboriginal campaigner Cheree Toka said many people traded in the term 'Australia Day' for 'Survival Day'. She said the national day of commemoration on January 26 was a sad day for First Nations people.

She said she saw the raising of the Australian flag as the moment Aboriginal history and culture was threatened.

The 28-year-old has been pushing for the Aboriginal flag to be flown atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge all year round.

As it stands, the flag is flown for 18 days a year, of which one of those days is on Australia Day.

Despite the 105,000-strong petition to raise the flag permanently, Premier of NSW Gladys Berejiklian has stood firmly against pressure.

Thousands of Australians are expected to protest the national holiday as Australia Day celebrations kick off today.

January 26 marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the 'First Fleet' to Sydney Cove, carrying mainly convicts and troops from Britain.

For many indigenous Australians, who trace their lineage on the continent back 50,000 years, it is 'Invasion Day', the start of Britain's colonisation of Aboriginal lands and their brutal subjugation.


Sunday, January 26, 2020

Oxford professor gets bodyguards after threats from transgender activists

A feminist professor at Oxford University was given two security guards to protect her from potentially violent transgender activists furious over some of the things she wrote on her website, according to a report Friday.

Selina Todd, a historian who focuses on the lives of working-class women, received threats after writing that trans people sometimes “harm the rights of women,” according to the UK Telegraph.

“I get frightened by the threats in lectures,” she told the paper. “You can’t help but worry. It’s had a huge impact on me. You don’t expect to be defending yourself the whole time from complaints or threats of violence.”

Todd said the presence of “two big burly guys” at her lectures is designed to protect her from threats verified by the school — and quite a handful of students who recently began showing up in trans activists T-shirts and calling her “transphobic.”

On her website, Todd writes, “Like every other gender critical feminist I know, I encountered the current debate about whether transgender people should be able to self-identify as such (without fulfilling other legal and medical requirements) from the instinctive standpoint that I wanted to support transpeople’s rights,” according to

“But after months of research, I concluded that this position would harm the rights of women, because so often what is being asked for is free access to women-only spaces.”

After some students discovered the statement, faculty members began receiving “daily” complaints from activists demanding that she be fired.


The ugliness of the cultural-appropriation debate

A fashion brand has been denounced for putting white models in cornrow wigs.

Japanese fashion brand Comme des Garçons has been accused of cultural appropriation for sending white models down the runway wearing cornrow wigs during Paris Fashion Week. Hairstylist Julien d’Ys said he was inspired by ‘Egyptian princes’ and meant no offence, but he has since apologised for causing ‘hurt’.

While in days gone by it might have been acceptable just to laugh at the pretentiousness of these fashionistas (the clothes are as much an eyesore as the wigs), nowadays hairstyles can become a cultural crime, if worn by people of the wrong race. Kylie Jenner and Katy Perry have both caught flak for culturally appropriating cornrows in recent years. White people who wear dreadlocks have also come under fire. They are accused not of looking silly, but of plundering other cultures and perpetuating white supremacy.

In the topsy-turvy world of wokeness, challenging this alleged form of ‘racism’ results in the strict policing of racial boundaries. Artists and designers are, in effect, told to avoid finding inspiration in cultures that are not ‘their own’. In this way, culture becomes racialised, and yet this is presented as enlightened and progressive. What’s more, alleged left-wingers find themselves talking about trivialities like hair, while the real material issues affecting ordinary people are downgraded.

Indeed as the Comme des Garçons row rumbled on, members of the CGT union and some gilets jaunes were protesting outside the Mobilier National, where a Hermès catwalk show was taking place. One of the protesters cracked an egg on a Vogue editor’s head. Strangely, these protesters were more concerned about cuts to their pensions than the cultural crimes that may or may not have been committed on the catwalk.


Friday, January 24, 2020

‘Cancel Culture’ Comes to Science

An unhappy side effect of the digital age is “cancel culture.” Anyone with an attitude of moral superiority and a Twitter account can try to shut down an event where opinions he dislikes are likely to be spoken. For several years the National Association of Scholars has inveighed against this infantile form of protest, which undermines free expression of ideas and legitimate debate. Now the cancel caravan has arrived at our door.

We are holding a conference co-sponsored by the Independent Institute in Oakland, Calif., in early February. It is meant to be an exchange among scholars on the problem of “irreproducibility” in the sciences—fake science or failed science, or something-is-missing science. It’s a big problem these days, but there’s no agreement on what to do about it. Our goal is bring together experts who have diverse and often conflicting views to see if they can come to some agreement about how to improve the situation. The conference is titled Fixing Science: Practical Solutions for the Irreproducibility Crisis.

But one scientist, armed with a keyboard and contempt for contrary opinions, has set out to cancel our conference. Leonid Teytelman has busied himself writing to the speakers at the event to warn them away. And he has found fellow censors who agree the conference is “problematic.” Our critic calls us “clever and dangerous.”

How so? Once a Twitterstorm starts, the reasons multiply. Our list of speakers includes no women. (All declined our invitations.) Our initials share three letters with the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, or Nasem, therefore we are “deceptive.” Wikipedia describes us as a “conservative” organization. We are also accused of “climate denialism,” and of having invited some climate-change skeptics to speak.

The truth is that we are a traditionalist group of scholars who hold to a rigorous standard of open-mindedness on controversial issues in the sciences. We welcome critiques from anyone who agrees to play by the rules of rational argument, openness and scrupulous use of evidence. That’s clever, I suppose, but dangerous only to those who balk at giving the “other side” a voice. Our Twittering critic sees our conference as a sneaky way to legitimate views that he regards as akin to blasphemy—ironic for a man accusing us of politicizing science.

So far, the conferees have held fast. Some of the responses are inspiring. One scientist wrote: “The science fields badly need whatever we can accomplish at this conference in the way of understanding and solving the HUGE problem of irreproducibility.” Another batted away the critic by explaining: “If conservatism means antipathy to post-modernism, identity politics, political orthodoxies, and assaults on Enlightenment values and the Rule of Law, then count me in.”

We may lose one or two speakers who are unwilling to defy the mob. We can bear that. The real story here is the degree to which intellectual intolerance and political dogmatism have found a home in the natural sciences. Mr. Teytelman, who holds a doctorate in computational and experimental biology and who works in the area of replication, is someone who does worthy science and deserves to be taken seriously on matters within his competence. But he becomes unhinged at the thought of “conservatives” or “climate skeptics” getting a seat at the table. And he is far from alone.


Free speech and Fake News

Our Constitution is unlike any other. It guarantees American citizens rights and freedoms that were not seen anywhere in the civilized world when it was established. Freedom of the press was guaranteed, as was free speech. In protecting both free speech and freedom of the press, I doubt our Founders could have imagined the state we find ourselves in today with our media.

For three years now major media outlets have complained about how President Donald Trump calls them "fake news." Yet they follow up by constantly speaking and printing "fake news," totally failing to see why the public perception of the media is falling into the toilet. Let me give you just one recent example, as space does not allow me to detail the fake news stories from just this month alone.

Monday saw thousands of Second Amendment supporters (approximately 20,000) gather around the Virginia State Capital. The governor, based on "intelligence" (apparently not his), declared a state of emergency due to the threat of violence. As it turns out, there was no violence, but regular folks, including minorities, showed up to express their concern about the proposed gun laws being considered by Virginia legislators. Police were present but not in huge numbers that I could see on TV.

If you watched CNN, CBS, or MSNBC that day, you would have thought, at any minute, there would be violence, bloodshed, and a mass KKK white supremacist riot. According to these pundits, heavily equipped and armed riot police were tensely waiting for the violence to break out. CBS reported there had been violence all week in advance of the rally. There was not!

MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell fretted about the mob of white supremacists that would show up, resulting in another Charlottesville racist riot. I could go on, but you see where I'm going with this. How can citizens know when they're being told fact and not hyperbole or outright lies? We need freedom of the press to have a free society. But what happens when the media abuses that power?

Free speech also needs to be truthful and factual. False reporting and deliberate lying regarding facts will only cause our country to be more divided. Maybe that's why they're doing it.


Thursday, January 23, 2020

German ‘Speech Police’ Announce Taboo Term Of 2019: ‘Climate Hysteria’

That’s right, last week a panel, made up of four pompous linguists and one journalist, chose “climate hysteria” as Germany’s taboo word (un-word) of 2019.

The Unwort des Jahres (un-word of the year) is a new or recently popularized term used in Germany which a panel deems “violates human rights or infringes upon Democratic principles.”

According to Wikipedia, “The term may be one that discriminates against societal groups or might be euphemistic, disguising or misleading. The term is usually, but not always, a German term. The term is chosen from suggestions sent in by the public.”

Over the years, like so many other institutions, the volunteer panel has leaned to the left and has been choosing words that tend to cast conservatives and the right political spectra in a negative light.

Last week, the panel selected “climate hysteria” as the un-word of the year. Taboo because it “defames climate protection efforts”


KFC ad slammed for ‘gender stereotypes’ and ‘sexist grooming of boys’

The fast food giant’s latest ad, which shows young boys “ogling” a woman’s cleavage, has been slammed as “tired” and “sexist”.

The ad recently came to the attention of Collective Shout, a grassroots movement against the objectification of women, and was called out for its unhealthy stereotyping.

The 15-second commercial for KFC’s Zinger popcorn box opens with a young woman checking her appearance in the reflection of a parked car window.

As she leans forward to adjust her cleavage, the window rolls down to reveal a very unhappy mother and two young boys staring open-mouthed.

The woman “saves” herself from further embarrassment by saying “did someone say KFC?” – a catchphrase that is part of a series of ads showing people using KFC to get out of awkward situations.

According to Collective Shout spokesperson Melinda Liszewski, the ad “grooms young boys” as it plays on certain “sexist” behavioural expectations.

“The ad is a play on tired old stereotypes, where young women are sexually objectified for the benefit of men – even young boys – and the males are helplessly transfixed when confronted with the opportunity to ogle a woman’s body,” she said.


Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Man’s anti-Trump licence plates banned following backlash

A Texas teacher has been ordered to remove the “JAIL 45” license plate from his car amid threatening messages about his protest against US President Trump, according to reports.

History teacher Jerry Balkenbush, 43, initially got permission from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for the plate stating his blunt views on Mr Trump, the 45th president of the United States, he told local media in Fort Worth.

But a month later, he was told he had 30 days to remove it after it was revoked following complaints that it was derogatory, WFAA said.

“My license plate is peaceful. It does not harm anybody,” Mr Balkenbush told the station.

“If we can’t protest the government, then what direction are we headed towards?” ...

“There is a fine line between expressing one’s political opinions and offensive speech officially sanctioned by the State of Texas on license plates,” Brandon Rottinghaus, a political-science professor at the University of Houston, previously told the paper.

“The state doesn’t want to be liable for confrontations resulting from unhappy drivers who see messages offensive to them. Some motorists who see these plates would smile but others would be angry.

Many others defended his freedom of speech even if they did not approve of the message.

“Disagree with your politics. But you should be allowed to keep the tags,” Marv Gaby Mitchell wrote, while Jim Nowell said: “Don’t like your plate but you should have the right to display it.”


Flickr censorship

As I am a conservative writer it was sort of inevitable that I would be censored on social media.  And I am.  Facebook bans all mention of my Greenie Watch blog and Imgur has erased quite a few of my pictures that have conservative relevance,

But now have joined the party.  I put the picture below up on my Flickr site ( ) recently.  They have removed it.  I wonder why?

Hmmm ... I see it is back up

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

UK: Sheffield students paid to tackle racist language on campus

A university is to hire 20 of its own students to challenge language on campus that could be seen as racist.

The University of Sheffield is to pay students to tackle so-called "microaggressions" - which it describes as "subtle but offensive comments".

They will be trained to "lead healthy conversations" about preventing racism on campus and in student accommodation.

Vice-chancellor Koen Lamberts said the initiative wanted to "change the way people think about racism".

The students will be paid £9.34 per hour as "race equality champions", working between two and nine hours per week to tackle "microaggressions" in the university.

These are described as comments or actions which might be unintentional, but which can cause offence to a minority group.

It gives examples of what it means by microaggression - such as:

"Stop making everything a race issue"

"Why are you searching for things to be offended about?"

"Where are you really from?"

"I don't want to hear about your holiday to South Africa. It's nowhere near where I'm from"

"Being compared to black celebrities that I look nothing like"

Rather than being about controlling people's speech, the university says it is "opening up a conversation".


HBO Cancels 'Confederate' Series Before a Single Script Is Written

Back in the summer of 2017, America was in the grips of a media-fueled panic about Confederate flags and statues, which after 150 years were suddenly the source of all evil because Hillary lost. And in the middle of all that hysteria, the hapless writing duo of David Benioff and D.B. Weiss announced they were making a new show for HBO called Confederate. (If it seems odd that HBO was still in business with the two of them, remember that in 2017 they hadn't ruined Game of Thrones yet.)

Here's how Benioff & Weiss described Confederate:

"The series takes place in an alternate timeline, where the southern states have successfully seceded from the Union, giving rise to a nation in which slavery remains legal and has evolved into a modern institution. The story follows a broad swath of characters on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Demilitarized Zone — freedom fighters, slave hunters, politicians, abolitionists, journalists, the executives of a slave-holding conglomerate and the families of people in their thrall."

It was an alternate history story, just like hundreds of science fiction stories and novels over the last century: "What if [historical event] had turned out another way? How would the world be different now? What if all the things we take for granted in our everyday lives aren't the natural order of things, but mere whims of history?" The most recent example of such a story is Amazon Studios' The Man in the High Castle, based on the Philip K. Dick novel in which the Axis Powers won World War II, and by the early '60s the Nazis and the Japanese share control of North America.

What if the bad guys won? What would've happened after that? As I was naive enough to ask at the time: A lot of people fought and died to end slavery in America. The outcome of the Civil War was not a foregone conclusion. It could’ve been very different.

What’s wrong with exploring that idea? What’s wrong with art?
Thank goodness we had social media to remind us that even asking such questions is racist:

With Game of Thrones EPs David Benioff and D.B. Weiss now tethered to Netflix via a mega-bucks overall deal, HBO president Casey Bloys officially confirms to TVLine that the pair’s long-gestating, controversial slavery drama Confederate will not be moving forward.


Monday, January 20, 2020

Australia: Victorian State government to launch an attack on free speech about sex-change

The Victorian government intends to pass a law very soon that may see ordinary citizens imprisoned if they speak up against the chemical, psychological and physical mutilation of confused adolescents. Labor Attorney-General-Hennessey wants to outlaw conversion practices. They are defined in her discussion paper about the proposed Bill as

…any practice or treatment that seeks to change, suppress or eliminate an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, including efforts to reduce or eliminate sexual and/or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same gender, or efforts to change gender expressions.

Queensland already has a similar bill before its parliament. It would authorise imprisonment for those who perform what is called conversion “therapy” in that state. Such therapy is defined as a treatment or other practice that attempts to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. That’s very broad. While it is directed to those who provide a health service it includes “alternative” ones, and  will very arguably capture pastors, concerned family members, or other lay people who attempt to dissuade a young person they know from embarking upon a “transition” from their natal sex to its opposite.

More HERE 

Leftist site bans climate skeptics

And its boss is having a wonderful time with the bushfires

Last week, New Matilda announced that we have banned climate deniers (and those who deny the links between the bushfire crisis and climate change) from commenting on our website, and on our various social media channels.

It received a strong response, mostly supportive. And then, a video I filmed on Kangaroo Island of a trailer load of koalas arriving at an emergency triage centre went seriously viral (it's been seen by around 1.5 million people so far)... and the comments section has gone ballistic... and for the interim at least, we have nothing like the capacity necessary to moderate the platform. So that will be a work in progress.

Over the next few days, I'll be writing a feature on the fires on Kangaroo Island, focussed around the 'Farm Units' - an extraordinary group of men and women who operate independently from officials to fight the fires. We'll also have more coverage from our usual broader cross section of areas - as you might expect, our pretty humble resources have been heavily focussed on the bushfire crisis.

Via January 15, 2020 email from New Matilda --

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Facebook labels man’s post praising faggots at his local butchers 'hate speech’


A man who heaped praise on a local butcher’s faggots on social media got a shock when he was accused of 'hate speech'.

Morriston resident Paul Lynch innocently wrote his post on Facebook in which he paid tribute to the meatballs produced by butchers - Thomas’ of Morriston .

But the post fell foul of Facebook moderators, who removed the post, and after reviewing it, upheld the original decision, informing Mr Lynch that the post ‘goes against our community standards on hate speech’.

The original post read: “If you’re not buying Thomas’s Of Morriston the butchers on Morriston Cross’ faggots on a Tuesday are you even a monkey?”.

The post is likely to have come to the attention of administrators for the use of the word ‘faggot’, which in America particularly can be used as a term of abuse.

The use of the word ‘monkey’ may also have alerted the social media platform, as it can also have a derogative racial meaining.

However, Mr Lynch’s post was a reference to the meatballs with herbs produced by the butchers, and a commonly-used nickname for people living in the Swansea suburb, the ‘Morriston monkeys’.


Facebook says 'denying existence' of trans identities on platform is 'hate speech'

In a move that mirrors Twitter's recent update to its user rules forbidding "misgendering" on the platform, Facebook has updated its terms of service to say that "denying existence" of self-determined gender identities will be considered "hate speech."

According to internet and tech watchdog Reclaim the Net, the social media giant "quietly updated its Community Standards on 'hate speech' and prohibited 'statements denying existence' based on 'gender identity.' Since Facebook users can enter custom gender identities, this update means that denying the existence of a potentially unlimited number of gender identities could now result in a permanent account ban."


Friday, January 17, 2020

Students have Charter-protected free-expression rights on campus, Alberta appeal court rules

EDMONTON — Alberta’s top court has concluded that students have Charter-protected free expression rights on campus, in a ruling related to a $17,500 security fee a student group would have had to pay to hold an anti-abortion rally at the University of Alberta.

“There has long been confusion about the status of universities — specifically, whether they count as ‘government’ for the purpose of the Charter — and (Monday’s) decision helps push this issue in the proper direction, at least in the free-expression context,” said Emmett Macfarlane, a constitutional law expert at the University of Waterloo, in an email.

Macfarlane said the court’s decision “also serves as a warning to universities across Canada that it may be unacceptable to use ‘security costs’ as cover to dodge these ‘free-speech controversies.’ Although the appellants did not receive a meaningful remedy for this breach, other universities should now be put on alert that they may have constitutional rights obligations in the free-speech context and that shutting down expressive activity by using potential security costs as an excuse may not fly.”


Free Speech Club takes UBC to court for cancellation of Andy Ngo event

The UBC Free Speech Club (FSC) and The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) are filing a lawsuit against UBC for cancelling an FSC event due to safety concerns.

Andy Ngo, an editor-at-large of right-wing media website The Post Millenial, was scheduled to give a talk entitled “Understanding Antifa (Anti-fascist) Violence” at UBC Robson Campus on January 29. But the university cancelled the event because of unspecified safety and security concerns.

Shortly after receiving word of the cancellation, the FSC and Ngo collaborated with JCCF to write a letter to UBC on December 31 that said they will take legal action if UBC does not revoke the cancellation by January 10.

On January 13, the JCCF and FSC followed up with statements on social media and the JCCF website saying they will be taking legal action.

“I am deeply disappointed in the direction UBC has taken. By not reinstating our event, they are telling the world that free speech doesn’t matter,” said FSC Director Angelo Isidorou in the JCCF statement. “… As is demonstrated over-and-over elsewhere, appeasing Antifa ideologues only emboldens them to make more demands. Their goal is to silence opposition through intimidation and violence.”


Thursday, January 16, 2020

Conservative commentator’s appearance canceled, triggering free speech fight

The decision to cancel a conservative columnist’s appearance at an event hosted by the University of Maine College Republicans has drawn criticism on social media as infringing on free speech rights.

Michelle Malkin – a former Fox News contributor, conservative columnist and author who has expressed anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim views – was scheduled to speak at the Portland Sheraton at Sable Oaks in South Portland Friday.

“Mission accomplished, cowardly free speech hater,” Malkin tweeted Tuesday in response to a tweet urging people to call the hotel and ask them to cancel the event. “I hear you got an assist from Univ. of Maine officials, too. Taxpayers should know their $ is being used for cancel culture campaigns against #AmericaFirst students and speakers.”

Blair Mathisen, the front desk supervisor at the hotel, said the event was canceled, but he couldn’t comment further on why or who made the decision.

Jeremiah Childs, a student at the University of Maine and organizer of the event, said in an email Tuesday that the university “called and threatened the hotel we were hosting.”

He said he is working on finding a new venue and the event “will happen no matter what.”

The university said in a statement that it did not pressure the hotel into canceling the talk.

“The freedom of expression, assembly, and the free exchange of ideas are rights that are protected in university policy for all UMaine students,” Dan Demeritt, a spokesman for the university, said in the statement.

He said the University of Maine College Republicans is no longer an official student group as its account was deactivated last fall after the group lost its faculty adviser.

“As a result any event hosted by these students would not be an official university function,” Demeritt said. “The university communicated that status in response to questions about an event that had been scheduled by UMaine students at the Portland Sheraton at Sable Oaks, but did not suggest that the event be canceled.”

In a telephone interview Tuesday night, Malkin said she was told by hotel management that a university official was among those who called to try and convince them to cancel the event.

In October the university condemned recent posts on the group’s private Facebook page, including a Columbus Day post that said indigenous societies discovered by Christopher Columbus “were corrupted by rampant ritual sacrifice and cannibalism.”


Australia: Qld. move towards taxpayer-supported election campaigns  threatens free speech

Not-for-profits warn laws will end public debate

Background: Queensland will impose Australian-first election campaign spending limits and laws to block large political donations among a suite of integrity reforms announced on Tuesday. Although controversial, many integrity experts argue tipping the balance towards taxpayer-funded elections increases transparency and reduces the influence of large donors. The laws would restrict third-party organisations, including unions, political action groups like GetUp and industry bodies, to spend $87,000 in a single electorate, with an overall cap of $1m. The government would increase payments to candidates from $1.57 a vote to $3 a vote, with the eligibility threshold lowered from 6% of the first-preference vote to 4%.

CHARITIES have warned they will be "silenced" by a Queensland Government crackdown on election spending that could crimp their ability to fundraise and stifle public debate.

In free-speech backlash, not-for-profit groups warned that planned laws will discourage them from advocating on a wide range of issues because they risk being hit with caps on donations and spending.

Unions including the Nurses Union and Together argued that the planned laws could restrict them from campaigning on policy issues that affect their members.

As part of the Palaszczuk Government's plan to limit election spending, groups that spend more than $1000 in a bid to "directly or indirectly" influence votes up to a year before an election would be forced to register as a third party with the Electoral Commission.

These groups would have to disclose donations, face caps of $4000 per donor for political matters every four years and limit their spending to $1 million or $87,000 per electorate. Queensland Law Society president Luke Murphy said the law would have a "chilling effect" on public debate. Many charities backed the plan to restrict election spending by parties, but argued that they should not be caught by the rules.

Queensland Council of Social Service chief Mark Henley warned that the laws could "stifle public advocacy from not-for-profits, including small community groups and charities". The spending limit could include amounts spent on research, polling and staff, as well as advertising, he said.

Greenpeace Australia's Terry O'Donnell said that an ad about "the impact of climate change on the bushfires" would be caught by the laws "even if it does not mention a party or candidate".

Australian Conservation Foundation chief Anthony Moore said that the planned laws would "make Queensland elections more inequitable, by silencing community voices, while letting the largest third party actors — corporations and industry groups — off the hook".

A government spokesman said that they would consider recommendations from a parliamentary committee that is examining the laws.

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail" of 13 January, 2020

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Fast-food outlet accused of crossing the line for using D-word in meatless burger advert

The conservative group One Million Moms is accusing Burger King of “crossing the line” over an Impossible Whopper commercial that uses the “D-word”.

“Burger King is airing a commercial that uses profanity to advertise its Impossible Whopper – a burger made from plants instead of beef,” the group’s website reads. “The language in the commercial is offensive, and it’s sad that this once family restaurant has made yet another deliberate decision to produce a controversial advertisement instead of a wholesome one.”
, which is a division of the American Family Association, called out a commercial that documents the reactions of taste tests of the now-popular meatless burger.

One man, completely stunned by the Impossible Whopper’s tastiness says: “Damn, that’s good.”

Apparently the use of the “D-word” went too far for One Million Moms.

“One Million Moms finds this highly inappropriate. When responding to the taste test, he didn’t have to curse,” the group said. “Or if, in fact, it was a real and unscripted interview in which the man was not an actor, then Burger King could have simply chosen to edit the profanity out of the commercial.”

The group called the ad “irresponsible and tasteless”.


President Trump signs order that may limit free speech at campuses

The writer below is worried that the new regulations will limit criticism of Israel by BDS and others -- but as long as the criticism does not spill over into antisemitism they have nothing to fear.  But BDS operatives are often blatantly anti-Jewish so may rightly be caught

On Dec. 9, 2019, President Trump signed an executive order that would protect Jews from hate crimes at all U.S. universities and colleges. The order would apply Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to Jews.

Acts of anti-Semitism, such as the 2018 shooting at a Pittsburgh Synagogue and hate crimes at universities have spurred the president to sign this order, according to the White House’s Official Statement released on Dec. 11, 2019.

“Anti-Semitic incidents have increased in America since 2013, particularly in schools and on college campuses,” the statement said.

The executive order shows Title VI’s terms of discrimination based on race, color and national origin. The order will extend to anti-Semitism as well, as defined by The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, or IHRA.

“Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities,” the IHRA said.

If a university or college were to violate this order, it would have federal funds cut from it. Suspected crimes have to be reported to the Department of Justice, where they are to be investigated and reviewed, according to Title VI.

This ban on Jewish discrimination would stifle supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, or BDS. This organization opposes the occupation of Israel in the land that they believe rightfully belongs to Palestine, according to its website. The movement focuses on non-violence and does not promote anti-Semitism. The BDS National Committee’s members, for example, include the Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine.

BDS has an active campaign called Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel that has been active since April of 2004. The campaign aims to sever ties in academia with Israel, such as American universities abroad studies in Israel.


Tuesday, January 14, 2020

While conservative speaker draws protest, ‘black radical thought’ welcomed at Bucknell

A few months ago a visit by conservative scholar Heather Mac Donald at Bucknell University prompted massive unrest among the campus community — including a picket line protest of her speech and discussions of blacklisting those on campus who supported her guest lecture.

Yet an upcoming visit by celebrated yet controversial poet and Virginia Tech English Professor Nikki Giovanni, whose body of work includes violent vocabulary regarding race, appears to be largely welcomed at Bucknell.

It’s a contradiction not lost on Bucknell University sociology Professor Alexander Riley, a faculty member affiliated with the Bucknell Program for American Leadership and Citizenship, also known as BPALC, which aims to support free speech and foster viewpoint diversity but has been targeted with aggressive protests on campus, most recently for hosting Mac Donald.

Riley said BPALC is often accused of being “agents of hate,” while progressive invitees brought to Bucknell by leftist campus groups are largely celebrated. He cited as examples the decision to bring Antifa scholar Mark Bray, known for advocating political violence, for a guest lecture in September on the eve of 9/11, as well as the upcoming visit by Giovanni.


2019 was not a good year for freedom of speech

Toby Young

‘Crisis? What crisis?’ That’s often the response of complacent academics when people like me draw attention to the erosion of free speech on campus. For instance, Lee C. Bollinger, the president of Columbia University, wrote an essay for the Atlantic last June entitled ‘Free Speech on Campus is Doing Just Fine, Thank You.’

But is everything rosy in the groves of academe? I thought I’d take this opportunity to look back on the year gone by and see if 2019 was a good or bad one for intellectual freedom in American higher education.

In the Atlantic, Bollinger points out that the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a campaign group that stands up for free speech in universities, found only 11 instances of speakers being prevented from addressing college audiences in 2018. ‘This is a minuscule fraction of the universe of speakers who express their views annually on American campuses,’ he writes. Unfortunately, in 2019 FIRE found the number had grown to 17, an increase of 65 percent. Another thing to note is that ten of these disinvitations were at the behest of left-wing students and only two of right-wing activists.

Still, just 17 instances of no-platforming doesn’t look too bad. And FIRE has some other good news. It maintains a database of campus speech codes in more than 400 of America’s top colleges and universities, giving them each a red, yellow or green light. The number of institutions earning a red light last year — meaning they have at least one policy that clearly and substantially restricts free speech — fell to 28.9 percent, from 32.3 percent in 2018. By contrast, the number of institutions earning a green light — no policies that seriously imperil free speech — rose to 42, up from 35. So even though a quarter of the best schools in the US maintain codes that restrict free speech — and the majority still get a yellow light — at least things are heading in the right direction.

And we should be thankful that the federal government has finally woken up to the fact that there’s a problem, with Donald Trump signing an executive order last March threatening to withhold federal grant funding from those colleges and universities that fail to uphold free speech. Then again, the British government made a similar commitment in 2017, pledging to rescind English universities’ degree-awarding status if they don’t respect intellectual freedom. To date, it’s done nothing to enforce that edict.

But though there was some good news last year, the general outlook remains bleak. Other, more insidious forms of censorship took place that weren’t recorded by FIRE. For example, Portland State University refused to accord ‘permanent status’ to a course taught by Bruce Gilley on conservative thought because it fails to comply with the university’s ‘diversity standard’. That is, in the eyes of the higher-ups, Gilley’s course doesn’t do enough to promote ‘diversity, equity and inclusion’. At Portland State, apparently, ‘diversity’ doesn’t mean diversity of viewpoints and ‘inclusion’ doesn’t extend to teaching students about anyone to the right of Noam Chomsky.

Another sinister incident at Portland State — which is, admittedly, located in the woke capital of America — was the ‘disciplinary investigation’ of Peter Boghossian, an assistant professor of philosophy, for failing to gain the consent of his human subjects in what became known as the ‘grievance studies hoax’. Boghossian and two colleagues had sent spoof academic papers to journals with names like Gender, Place & Culture to demonstrate that these would publish complete gobbledygook provided the right postmodernist jargon was scattered throughout. They succeeded in getting four papers published, including a monograph accusing dogs of engaging in ‘rape culture’, another suggesting men could reduce their ‘transphobia’ by anally penetrating themselves with sex toys, and a rewriting of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, transforming it into a feminist tract. Of course, it’s nonsense to criticize Boghossian for failing to secure the ‘consent’ of the journal editors in question — the clue is in the word ‘hoax’. Nevertheless the professor was given the thumb-screw treatment by a star chamber of left-wing inquisitors.

More prestigious universities were no less guilty of punishing faculty members who dissented from progressive orthodoxy. At Harvard, Ronald Sullivan’s tenure as dean of Winthrop House was cut short after left-wing students protested about his decision to join Harvey Weinstein’s defense team. Another African American professor, Roland Fryer, was suspended without pay for two years after being accused of making flirtatious remarks to colleagues and creating a ‘hostile work environment’. Many of his colleagues suspect the real reason for his defenestration was that he’d published peer-reviewed research showing that blacks and Hispanics are no more likely to be shot by police officers than whites, rubbishing the inflammatory rhetoric of Black Lives Matter activists.

Then there was the appalling treatment meted out to Amy Wax, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, for having the temerity to argue for a more restrictive immigration policy at the National Conservatism Conference. More than 1,000 students, groups and faculty members signed a petition accusing her of being a ‘racist’ and demanding she be relieved of all teaching duties. Instead of defending Wax’s right to free speech, the dean of Penn Law, Ted Ruger, described her views as ‘repugnant’. ‘I know these statements by Professor Wax have caused pain and outrage to many in the Penn community,’ he wrote in an open letter to the protesters. ‘My colleagues and I pledge to work with you so that together we can heal, and learn from this experience and each other.’

All told, 2019 was not a vintage year for free speech on US campuses. Let’s hope things improve in 2020.


Monday, January 13, 2020

Professor fired for Facebook post suggesting Iran should tweet out list of American cultural sites to threaten

A professor at Babson College was fired Thursday after sharing a Facebook post that suggested that Iran should make a list of American cultural sites to bomb.

The Massachusetts college announced the termination of adjunct professor Asheen Phansey Thursday. He shared a post allegedly mocking President Trump's tweets that threatened to target 52 unnamed Iranian sites, including some that are culturally significant.

Trump tweets came after Tehran threatened to retaliate for the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani last week.

Phansey joked on Facebook that, “In retaliation, Ayatollah Khomenei [sic] should tweet a list of 52 sites of beloved American cultural heritage that he would bomb,” Phansey wrote in the since-deleted post. “Um… Mall of America? Kardashian residence?" USA Today reported.

In a Thursday statement, the school confirmed that the professor was no longer an employee, sharing “Babson College conducted a prompt and thorough investigation related to a post shared on a staff member’s personal Facebook page that does not represent the values and culture of the College. Based on the results of the investigation, the staff member is no longer a Babson College employee.  As we have previously stated, Babson College condemns any type of threatening words and/or actions condoning violence and/or hate.”

Phansey criticized the move in local media reports, saying that he is “disappointed and saddened that Babson has decided to abruptly terminate my 15-year relationship with the college just because people willfully misinterpreted a joke I made to my friends on Facebook.”


PC Specialist ad banned for perpetuating harmful gender stereotypes

An advert for a bespoke PC retailer was banned for perpetuating harmful gender stereotypes of women.

The TV ad for UK retailer PC Specialist, begins with a computer exploding, then shows three men getting excited over using a PC Specialist PC for gaming, making music and coding.

There's a male voiceover throughout: "It's the beginning of the end," he says. "The end of following. It's the start of freedom, individuality, choice. It's an uprising. An insurgence. For the players, the gamers, the 'I'll sleep laters', the creators, the editors, the music makers. The techies, the coders, the illustrators. Bespoke, customised, like no other. From the specialists for the specialists. PC Specialist."

The Advertising Standards Authority received eight complaints from people who said the ad perpetuated harmful gender stereotypes by depicting men in roles that were stereotypically male, and implied it was only men who were interested in technology and computers.

PC Specialist responded to the watchdog to say its customer base was 87.5 per cent male, aged between 15 and 35 years, and "their product, branding and service had been developed for and aimed at that target audience and the characters in the ad therefore represented a cross-section of the PC Specialist core customer base".

Despite this, the ASA upheld the complaint, saying the ad broke new rules introduced last June that mean companies can no longer promote gender stereotypes with their commercials.

"... the ad repeatedly cut to images of only men, who were both prominent and central to the ad's message of opportunity and excellence across multiple desirable career paths," the ASA concluded.

"We therefore considered that the ad implied that excellence in those roles and fields would be seen as the preserve of men. Because of that, we considered that the ad went further than just featuring a cross-section of the advertiser's core customer base and implied that only men could excel in those roles."

PC Specialist has now pulled the advert.


Sunday, January 12, 2020

Brazilian judge orders Netflix to remove comedy depicting gay Jesus

A Brazilian judge on Wednesday ordered Netflix to stop showing a Christmas special that some called blasphemous for depicting Jesus as a gay man and which prompted a gasoline bomb attack on the satirists behind the program.

The ruling by Rio de Janeiro judge Benedicto Abicair responded to a petition by a Brazilian Catholic organization that argued the "honor of millions of Catholics" was hurt by the airing of "The First Temptation of Christ." The special was produced by the Rio-based film company Porta dos Fundos, whose headquarters was targeted in the Christmas Eve attack.

Netflix told The Associated Press it would not comment on the ruling.

Porta dos Fundos also declined to comment on the judge's decision, which contradicted an earlier decision rejecting censorship of the program. The ruling is valid until another court orders otherwise.

Abicair said the program's withdrawal "is beneficial not only to the Christian community, but to Brazilian society which is mostly Christian."

The ruling comes at a time when some civil groups say far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is waging a "cultural war," cutting funding for arts projects that challenge "Christian values" and inveighing against flamboyant carnival celebrations.


University of Connecticut Student Narrowly Avoids Jail For Using the N-Word

Jarred Karal was arrested after he was filmed walking through a parking lot and shouting the word “n*gger.” He was with two other individuals, one of whom was also arrested.

The students claimed they were playing a game centered around screaming vulgar words, but were charged under CGS 53-37, “ridicule on account of creed, religion, color, denomination, nationality or race.”

Karal was originally facing up to 30 days in jail, but a judge accepted Karal’s plea for accelerated rehabilitation, under which he will spend 6 months on probation while completing 20 hours of community service.

The student will also be forced to under go “diversity and bias” training.

At the time of his arrest, some observers noted that the treatment of Karal was at odds with the First Amendment.

University of California at Los Angeles law professor Eugene Volokh slammed the Connecticut state statute under which Karal was charged, labeling it “obviously unconstitutional, because it suppresses speech based on its content (and viewpoint), and because there’s no First Amendment exception for speech that insults based on race or religion.”


Friday, January 10, 2020

From FIRE, Good News on Campus Free Speech

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is out now with a new report. It’s their yearly analysis of speech codes.

While not dealing with our issues specifically, FIRE champions free speech in general for university students across the U.S. in accordance with the First Amendment. Improved academic freedom and free speech overall are of course a boon for objectivity in origins science.

FIRE ranks university speech codes as “red light” for very restrictive, “yellow light” for somewhat restrictive, and “green light” for policies that “do not seriously threaten protected expression.” In the recent report, they note that there has been a drop in the number of universities with red-light policies each year for the past twelve years. That is good news.

They also note, “Sixty-eight university administrations or faculty bodies have now adopted policy statements in support of free speech modeled after the ‘Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression’ at the University of Chicago (the ‘Chicago Statement’), released in January 2015. (Since this year’s report was written, two more institutions have adopted a version of the Chicago Statement, bringing the total to 70.)” That’s no small number! I wrote about the University of Chicago’s stance on free speech back in 2016. Dean of Students Jay Ellison’s letter on the subject is quite stirring.


Australia: Fresh charges laid against University science dean Dianne Jolley over ‘fake’ harassment allegation

Hoaxes such as this in America have often been documented here

A Sydney professor charged for allegedly orchestrating a fake harassment campaign against herself and costing her university more than $157,000 in security measures has opted to remain behind bars rather than apply for bail after being taken into custody on fresh charges on Wednesday.

UTS Dean of Science Professor Dianne Jolley was on bail after her arrest in November for allegedly sending fake threats to herself after the university announced in June it was going to cancel its traditional Chinese medicine course.

On Wednesday, NSW Police revoked the 49-year-old’s bail after charging her with a fresh offence, alleging she had sent another nine letters after her arrest, providing false and misleading information that could make her UTS colleagues “fear for their safety”.

NSW Police said two of those letters were received by UTS on November 27, the same day Jolley appeared at Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court on charges of causing financial disadvantage by deception, giving false information about a person or property in danger and making a false representation resulting in a police investigation.

Jolley did not apply for bail at Sutherland Local Court on Thursday. The court heard she had decided to wait until her solicitor was available to represent her at a bail application hearing at Sydney’s Central Local Court on January 21.

Police allege Jolley launched her fake harassment campaign in July when she made her first report to police about letters she claimed to have received about the closure of the course.

In September, Jolley filed another police complaint claiming a threatening letter and several items of clothing stolen from her home had been left on her car in Sydney’s south.

After a lengthy investigation, police charged Jolley in November, alleging she had been sending the threatening letters to herself.

Jolley pleaded not guilty to the charges in November, her lawyer Aaron Kernaghan telling the media at the time his client had instructed him the harassment campaign was genuine.

“She’s loyal to her university, she’s concerned for her students, she’s looking forward to returning to there,” he said.

Jolley — who specialises in environmental chemistry and toxicology — joined UTS in late 2018.

She remains on paid leave with the university.


Thursday, January 09, 2020

CNN Settles in Covington Lawsuit

Some ill-considered words are coming back to bite them big-time

CNN has reportedly elected to settle its lawsuit with Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann.

Per Fox19, Sandmann originally sought $800 million from CNN, The Washington Post and NBC in total; the dates for the latter lawsuits have not yet been determined. CNN reportedly settled 275 million. The multitude of lawsuits were filed in response to an alleged January 2019 incident at the annual March for Life rally. Nick Sandmann traveled to D.C., along with many of his classmates, for the annual pro-life gathering.

Sandmann garnered the attention of mainstream media outlets when a video that gave the illusion that he was ridiculing Nathan Phillips, a Native American man present at the Indigenous People’s March, which occurred at the same time as the March for Life. Phillips stood in front of Sandmann, who was wearing a Make America Great Again hat, chanting and beating a drum.

Of course, as the full video shows, Sandmann did not harass Phillips in any way. As is typical of the March for Life, these attendees were peaceful. The mainstream media took this video out of context in the interest of defaming a conservative teenager. Mainstream media outlets, which were all widely respected at one time, jumped at the chance to create a racial hoax around an innocent teenager. CNN commentator Reza Aslan even went as far as to say that Sandmann has a punchable face:

The mainstream media's actions in this case were despicable, and set an awful precedent for potential incidents in the future. Nick Sandmann and his family deserve justice to the fullest extent, and the outlets that pushed this blatantly false narrative must be held accountable.


Atheists demand U.S. town remove cross from mural

An organization of atheists and others who oppose religion in public life is demanding that an Illinois town remove a cross from a mural memorializing a famous white 9/11 cross.

But the non-profit First Liberty Institute is advising officials in Effingham, Illinois, to ignore the complaint by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, because the image is protected by U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

The Washington Examiner reported the Wisconsin-based FFRF urged Effingham officials to erase a cross depicted in a mural on an overpass near the town's high school. The image also includes an American flag.

The atheist group complained that a mural "that depicts nothing except a Latin cross alongside the American flag sends a clear message: that patriotism and religiosity are interrelated."


I have received the following email from Amanda Mustafic:

An Illinois community is fighting back against the removal of a cross from a town’s tunnel mural - over 21,000 have signed a viral petition asking Effingham City Council to leave the cross alone. The mural, which is painted on public property, became the center of controversy after the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter Dec. 18 to Mayor Mike Schutzbach, saying that a resident of this area had contacted the group about the mural on the Raney Street overpass, near the Effingham High School football field, according to a piece by The Effingham Daily News.

Jarrett Jones, of Effingham, Illinois, says on the petition, “As a member of the Effingham community I am proud of our heritage. The cross has been a symbol for Effingham as long as I can remember. The tunnel is owned by the city therefor it is not a school religious symbol. It represents the people of Effingham and should be left up to show our pride of the city.” He also worries, “Next they will try to take the giant cross that stands over our great city,” referring to America’s Largest Cross, a roadside attraction which also stands in Effingham.

For real-time signature count on the petition, please visit here

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

UK: Wassailing Morris men defend black face paint against racism claims

Morris dancers have defended blacking their faces to take part in a wassailing ceremony as they insist that the practice is part of their tradition and is not racist. 

Hundreds of people gathered in Westons Cider Mill in Much Marcle in Herefordshire this weekend to take part in the ancient tradition which is thought to bring luck to the apple orchards and ward off evil spirits. 

The Silurian Border Morrismen entertained the crowns with dancing and music and controversially some wore a full face of black paint as part of the ceremony.

But the troupe has defended themselves against criticism, writing on their website:  “Despite modern attempts to imply otherwise, the blackened face has no known racist origins.”

The wassail ceremony has its roots in paganism, the word coming from the Old English greeting wæs hæl, meaning “Be healthy” or “Your good health”.

The ceremony involves placing a cider-soaked piece of cake on the branches of an apple tree, pouring cider over the roots, dancing and singing the Wassail Song.

Accounts of the wassailing of fruit trees were recorded in St Albans in 1486 and Kent in 1586, while the 17th-century diarist John Aubrey wrote of the practice of toast being placed in trees.  Professional wassailers travelled from farm to farm and were usually paid in food and cider.

But there has been growing controversy over the black face paint which Morris dancers have been wearing since the 16th Century.

The Silurian Border Morrismen say that the “true origins of the blackened face are lost in the mists of time, but are widely believed to be simply a form of disguise, possibly to overcome the oppressive anti-begging laws of the 17th century, and the timeless embarrassment of being a morris man.”


Royal Navy adjusts rules to allow Rastafarians to keep their long hair and beards as head of new association calls for end of drug-taking stereotype

The navy must be desperate

The Royal Navy has changed its rules to allow Rastafarians to keep their long hair and beards as the head of a new association has called for the end of the drug-taking stereotype.

The Co-chair of the Defence Rastafarian Network has said work is still required to break the myths around drug use and ethnicity regarding the religious and cultural movement, saying stereotypes must be challenged.

Lieutenant Shabaka Kenyatta, 38, an officer in the Royal Navy, believes many people associate Rastafarians with “the things that people see on TV” such as marijuana and drug taking.

However, Lt Kenyatta, a marine engineer, said there is “zero tolerance for drugs” in the armed forces.

“One of the biggest myths is that all Rastafarians smoke weed. That was one we had to shut down quickly,” he said.

He said another myth is that Rastafarians all have to be black.

“We have to be there to increase awareness that it is not about being black or white,” he told the Telegraph. “It’s open to anyone and everyone, it’s a way of life to follow.”

“You have bald-headed rastas [and] don’t necessarily have to have dread[locks] to be a rasta, you don’t have to be from the Caribbean, Africa or Ethiopia”.

The Defence Rastafarian Network (DRN) was set up in 2017 and comprises almost 300 members from all three services and the MoD civil service. Most come from the army.

Rastafarianism is based on Christianity and can trace a lineage back to the bible.  It developed as a religion and social movement in Jamaica during the 1930s and has no central authority, although Haile Selassie, the Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974, remains a key figure in Rastafari ideology. It was formally recognised as a religion and culture by the MoD about five years ago and is the fastest growing faith in the armed forces.

The DRN seeks to support members and counter what it sees as  “incorrect information on the internet”. It helps the established military welfare organisations and chain of command by providing advice and awareness around the Rastafarian religion and culture.

Having a formal network has allowed the group to speak with a single voice and represent Rastafarian concerns to senior officers. 

Leading Supply Chain Kevin Joseph, 35, a member of the ship’s company on  HMS Prince of Wales, the second of Britain's two new aircraft carriers, said Rastafarianism is: “more about how you live your life; being humble and more down to earth.”

“It’s more a way of life for me than a religion."

He said the military has made changes to accommodate his culture, particularly regarding beards and long hair, and allows Rastafarians to wear turbans.

Relating how he trimmed his beard sufficiently to get an adequate seal on his face mask during his fire fighting course, he said: “The rules say you should be clean shaven (to get a satisfactory seal) so I worked with the instructor. The end result was that he got what he wanted and I got what I wanted.”

Lt Kenyatta, a veteran of numerous operational deployments on both ships and submarines and the first Rastafarian to serve in the Royal Navy, acknowledged his own hair is over a foot long.

He said: “It is not a case of trying to break the rules, it is a tenet of the faith that Rastafarians do not shave and we grow our hair. Your hair is a sign of solidarity and strength.”

He was quick to point out that observing Rastafarian culture has to work alongside operational duties and be safe when operating military equipment. “To some people that stereotype doesn’t really work,” he said.

Leading Supply Chain Joseph said the military is a welcoming place for Rastafarians and the message is slowly getting around regarding their service. “It’s important that we get ourselves out there the right way, so people can see us.

“There’s a lot of people who are willing to join the military but they want to practice their faith and they don’t know that they can join. So that’s why we get ourselves out there.”

Lt Kenyatta says other nations are looking at how the British have incorporated Rastafarianism into military life.

“We have international services looking at us now and by us leading from the front we are influencing policy in different countries.

“To see a minority actually succeeding in something like this it makes a massive difference to some people.”


Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Model banned on Instagram after raising $500k for bushfire appeal with nude selfies

Kaylen Ward, 20, recently announced on Twitter she would send a naked photo of herself to those who could prove they had donated $10 or more to organisations assisting with the catastrophic fires.

The Los Angeles-based influencer and online sex worker, who calls herself the Naked Philanthropist on social media, explained she was motivated to help in any way she could after seeing her social media feeds filled with concerned messages.

“I’m sending nudes to every person who donates at least $10 to any one of these fundraisers for the wildfires in Australia,” Ms Ward tweeted on January 3.

“Every $10 you donate = one nude picture from me to your DM. You must send me confirmation that you donated.”

Ms Ward, who makes a living selling nude photos of herself online, told Buzzfeed she had no idea the tweet would “blow up”.

“I was expecting to raise maybe $1000 but the tweet blew up,” she told the publication.

The model has estimated since Saturday her campaign to raise funds to assist those in catastrophic conditions has raised more than $500000.

Despite having raised a significant sum, Ms Ward has revealed her Instagram page since has been shut down after her tweet was shared to the photo-sharing site.

Ms Ward, who has 50,000 followers on Instagram, claimed her account had been suspended because she had violated guidelines.

The 20-year-old shared a screenshot to Twitter that revealed her page had been disabled because she broke the rules by posting “sexually aggressive content”.

As well as having to deal with her Instagram account being deleted, and a wake of fake accounts popping up capitalising on her notoriety, she has copped backlash from family and friends.

Yesterday she shared a tweet saying both her family had “disowned her” and her boyfriend wasn’t “talking to her”.

Regardless, she said she stood by her decision to help. “My IG got deactivated, my family disowned me, and the guy I like won’t talk to me all because of that tweet. But f**k it, save the koalas,” she wrote.


Influencer's slammed over 'offensive' photos

A professional make-up artist and beauty influencer has been criticised after she shared photos and a video that followers accused of containing “blackface”.

Ghadeer Sultan has more than two million followers on Instagram who have been left shocked by the video, which she uploaded to her page on New Year’s Eve.

The Kuwaiti woman is lip-synching to We Are the World 25 for Haiti sporting a variety of different coloured wigs and skin tones, from light to dark.

“No matter where you are from or what you believe in, we are all children of this world, and we all share it together equally,” she captioned the video.

“Beauty comes in all shapes and colours, so let’s love each other and celebrate our unity. I love u all, happy new year #happynewyear #happy_new_year #2020.”

However, not many people were impressed by Ghadeer’s efforts and shared their outrage at her choice to darken her face.

“Darkening your face, regardless of the context or the circumstances, is always unacceptable because of the racist history of blackface,” one wrote.

“Black face really??? I am disgusted,” another said.

“This is just a straight up black face, which is very offensive and as an educated make-up artist you should know better about that, you want to show your abilities or talent on black skin USE A BLACK MODEL !!! Period,” another stated.


Monday, January 06, 2020

UK: MPs question Labour Deputy leader candidate's suitability to hold high office after claiming 'Zionism is the enemy of peace'

Richard Burgon, the MP for Leeds East,  who announced his bid for deputy leadership on New Years Eve, has come under fire for comments he made about Israel at a Labour meeting in 2014.

Footage of Mr Burgon, who became an MP the following year, recorded at the time shows him declare that “Zionism is the enemy of peace”.

“The enemy of the Palestinian people is not the Jewish people. The enemy of the Palestinian people are Zionists and Zionism is the enemy of peace and the enemy of the Palestinan people," he said.

The lamebrain himself


UBC threatened with legal action over free speech concerns after cancelling event

The University of British Columbia has been threatened with legal action for cancelling a planned speaking event featuring a right-wing U.S. journalist who was expected to discuss leftist extremism.

The event set for Jan. 29 that included Andy Ngo, editor-at-large for the Post Millennial, was cancelled after the Vancouver university says the “safety and security of UBC students, faculty, staff and infrastructure was at risk” over repeated threats of violence.

Ngo and his supporters have contended the threats have come from local Antifa groups — the very groups Ngo was set to discuss.

UBC Free Speech Club executive director Angelo Isidorou, who booked the event, says the university’s decision is troubling.

“It’s just emboldening these groups,” he said. “I think the school is now taking a new direction that we feel is unconstitutional and unethical.”

Isidorou says the contract signed between the Free Speech Club and Ngo was approved by the university in November, and a deposit to book the room at Robson Square was also paid.

But in late December, Isidorou says he got a call from UBC’s chief safety officer Ron Holton, who said the university executive team had decided to cancel the event.

“[He said] they think this is too controversial, the risk is too high, they’ve gotten threats, so they’re going to cancel the event,” he said.

“They just said, ‘that’s that. We don’t know how to handle these protests, and our hope is that by cancelling these controversial events, things will simmer down with these groups and they won’t do it anymore.’ And our reaction to that was negative.”

Isidorou says he’s not aware of any threats towards the university, but the Free Speech Club has received various threats from anonymous accounts.

He argues that’s not enough justification to cancel the event, especially since security for the Ngo event was never discussed.

“I’m always ready for that call where UBC says, ‘we need to bring in guards because it’s going to be dangerous, so we invoice you X amount,'” he said, pointing to past events where the club has paid thousands of dollars for security.

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) sent a letter to UBC president Santa Ono on Dec. 31 threatening legal action for breach of contract if the university does not reinstate the event.

In the letter, the JCCF quotes UBC’s provost and vice president academic Andrew Szeri, who states the university “must be an open forum where members of the university have the freedom ‘to engage in full and unrestricted consideration of any opinion’” in a statement featured on the UBC website.

“Concerns for safety and security must be addressed in accordance with Canada’s rule of law as a free and democratic society,” Marty Moore with the JCCF writes in the letter. “Freedom must not be sacrificed to fear.”


Sunday, January 05, 2020

Appeals Court Says Film Investor’s Suit Targets Free Speech

This seems a stretch

Bassel Ojjeh is a Syrian-American tech executive from Silicon Valley. In 2016, he met Steve Brown, a director who had made several documentaries, including one about Burning Man.

Ojjeh agreed to give $180,000 to help make a documentary about the Syrian refugee crisis. But in April 2018, he sued Brown, accusing him of misappropriating the money and failing to make progress on the film.

So far, it was fairly garden variety business dispute. But Brown found an unusual way to fight back. His attorneys filed a motion to strike the complaint under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, which protects free speech on matters of public interest from frivolous litigation. In effect, they argued that by filing suit, Ojjeh was trying to stifle discussion of Syrian refugees.

“We’ve been working on a very important film on a very important topic,” Brown told Variety. “We put our heart into it. The effect of a lawsuit is to halt the progress, and prevent distribution, and prevent it from getting out there.”

Ojjeh’s lawyers argued that he wasn’t trying to prevent Brown from speaking about Syria. Instead, Ojjeh was suing him because he hadn’t.

“Basically the guy took the money and ran,” says Mark Figueiredo, who represented Ojjeh. “We should have some legal recourse… The gist of the (anti-SLAPP) claim has to concern the speech. This concerns the absence of speech.”

The anti-SLAPP law is generally deployed to defeat defamation and libel lawsuits, and the trial judge rejected Brown’s attempt to apply it to a business dispute.

But Brown appealed, and on Tuesday a three-judge panel of the First Appellate District overruled the trial court, ruling that Brown’s conduct should enjoy free speech protection.

“Defendants’ solicitation of investments from plaintiff and their performance of allegedly unsatisfactory work on the uncompleted documentary constituted activity in furtherance of their right of free speech in connection with an issue of public interest,” wrote Justice Carin T. Fujisaki, for a unanimous court. “The order denying the anti-SLAPP motion is reversed.”

The case was sent back to the trial court for further litigation of the anti-SLAPP motion.

The ruling expands what is considered “speech” for anti-SLAPP purposes, and could create a helpful precedent for defendants in investor fraud suits.

“Investor beware,” Figueiredo says. “If word gets out, no one is going to invest in documentaries anymore.”

The appeals court noted that the Syrian refugee crisis is obvious a subject of public concern, but in a footnote suggested that the ruling could apply to all sorts of films or other “expressive works.”