Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Cultural Revolution Comes for the National Anthem

First they kneeled for “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Then they toppled a statue of Francis Scott Key. Now they want to purge the anthem entirely. 

A recent Yahoo! News article outlined the ballad's “problematic background” and suggests it be replaced by a song with a “less troubling history and a more inclusive message.”  

Historian and scholar Daniel E. Walker said the calls for revision are about America living up to its creed. 

“I do side with the people who say that we should rethink this as the national anthem, because this is about the deep-seated legacy of slavery and white supremacy in America, where we do things over and over and over again that are a slap in the face of people of color and women,” Walker said in the article. “We do it first because we knew what we were doing and we wanted to be sexist and racist. And now we do it under the guise of ‘legacy.’”

The problem with the anthem, writes reporter Lyndsey Parker, goes back to Key’s “bigoted background.” Key was born to an aristocratic family on a Maryland plantation. He owned several slaves and, as a lawyer, prosecuted both black and white abolitionists. The article also cites Key’s friendship with President Andrew Jackson and brother-in-law Roger Taney, the fifth chief justice of the Supreme Court and author of the majority opinion in the Dred Scott decision, as evidence of racism. 

But others argue that Key publicly spoke out against slavery.

“Key was an early and ardent opponent of slave trafficking,” writes historian Marc Leepson. “By all accounts, Key treated his own slaves humanely, and freed several during his lifetime. What’s more, he had a deserved reputation for providing free legal advice to impoverished free blacks and slaves in Washington.”

There is evidence that Key's contemporaries agreed. When a respected leader in the free African-American community passed away, a long trail of men on horseback followed his casket to the cemetery, all of them African-American except for Key. Even an abolitionist newspaper admitted that Key’s decision to ride with the mourners as a lone white man “evinces an elevation of soul above the meanness of popular prejudice, highly honorable to Mr. Key’s profession as a friend of men of color.” Likewise, the Rev. John T. Brooke, a friend of Key’s, described him as a “true friend to the African race.”

Nonetheless, the woke mob has "cancelled" both Key and the anthem he penned.

It’s not the first time groups have urged the song to be ditched. In 2017, the California chapter of the NAACP urged Congress to remove “The Star-Spangled Banner,” calling it “anti-black” and “wrong.” A year earlier, the New York Times ran a piece with the headline, “Is the National Anthem Racist?” and pointed to lyrics in the anthem’s rarely-sung third stanza which includes the lines, “No refuge could save the hireling and slave/From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.” Key’s words referred to those the British had enslaved aboard their ships and during the war of 1812, both black and white—including freed slaves.

As for a replacement, suggestions include "Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which some consider the “Black national anthem,” and John Lennon’s “Imagine.” One soccer club in Tulsa, Oklahoma announced they will play Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” before games instead of the national anthem.

As the movement gains momentum, it remains to be seen whether Key’s words will yet be sung in the land of the free and the home of the brave.


When scientific truth is racist

The MOST unwelcome truth that riots REDUCE support for the Donks

A perfectly sholarly article was attacked because its conclusions were inconvenient. Must not criticize rioters.  To do so is "racist"

A man actually lost his job for  pointing out reality

David Shor is a 28-year-old political data analyst and social democrat who worked for President Obama’s reelection campaign. On May 28, Shor tweeted out a short summary of a paper by Princeton professor Omar Wasow. The research compiled by Wasow analyzed public opinion in the 1960s, and found violent and nonviolent protest tactics had contradictory effects. Shor’s synopsis was straightforward:

It is easy to see why a specialist in public opinion whose professional mission is to help elect Democrats while moving the party leftward would take an interest in this research. But in certain quarters of the left — though not among Democratic elected officials — criticizing violent protest tactics is considered improper on the grounds that it distracts from deeper underlying injustice, and shifts the blame from police and other malefactors onto their victims.

One universal fact of political life is that people tend not to enjoy highlighting faults committed by their own side, and often respond to others bringing up behavior they don’t want to defend outright by deflecting blame. Conservatives are united less by a zeal to affirm every one of Donald Trump’s actions than a reluctance to denounce them. Likewise, while few leftists go so far as to explicitly advocate violent or destructive acts, refraining from criticism of violent protests is, among parts of the far left, almost a social norm.

And so, despite its superficially innocuous content, Shor’s tweet generated a sharp response. To take one public example, Ari Trujillo Wesler, the founder of OpenField, a Democratic canvassing app, replied, “This take is tone deaf, removes responsibility for depressed turnout from the 68 Party, and reeks of anti-blackness.” Shor replied politely:

"The mechanism for the paper isn’t turnout, it’s violence driving news coverage that makes people vote for Republicans. The author does a great job explaining his research here:

https://twitter.com/owasow/status/1265709670892580869?s=21 "

Trujillo Wesler repeated the accusation of racism (“YOU need to stop using your anxiety and ‘intellect’ as a vehicle for anti-blackness”), and then tagged Dan Wager, the CEO of Civis Analytics, the firm employing Shor, “Come get your boy.”

At least some employees and clients on Civis Analytics complained that Shor’s tweet threatened their safety. The next day, Shor apologized for tweeting Omar’s paper:

Civis Analytics undertook a review of the episode. A few days later, Shor was fired. Shor told me he has a nondisclosure agreement preventing him from discussing the episode. A spokesperson for Civis Analytics told me over email, “Out of respect for our employees and alumni, Civis does not publicly discuss personnel matters, and we don’t plan to comment further.”

Over the weekend, “Progressphiles,” a progressive data listserv, announced it was kicking Shor out, according to another member of the group. Shor, who did not respond to comment, has been a member of the group but has not posted there in two years. The entire reason for his removal is the controversy over his “racist” tweet:


Monday, June 29, 2020

White supremacist, the new meaningless term of abuse

Below is just one example of a term that is now flung about widely by the Left. Overuse has deprived "racist" of much of its force so now all conservatives from Trump down are alleged to be "white supremacists"

 I have myself been called a white supremacist for no obvious reason.  I have always said that I think China will be -- at least economically -- supreme by the end of this century so that is a pretty odd idea for a white supremacist.  Many of my descendants will be frantically learning to speak Mandarin, I think.  Or maybe Cantonese.

The whole idea is pretty incoherent to start with.   There are a lot of whites in humble occupations.  Are they supreme? To group all whites together under one heading is a great overgeneralization.  It is in fact a Leftist habit to lump lots of people together into such broad categories. They are incapable of dealing with individuals. So "white supremacist" is really a Leftist concept. White supremacists mainly exist in Leftist imaginations. Conservatives are more interested in the individual

There are no doubt some people who believe that whites are superior to all other groups but that too is incoherent.  Superior in what way?  Superior at sprinting?  Hardly. Superior in IQ?  Jews and the Chinese have better claims there. If you are to use "white supremacist" as a term, you surely have to ask "In what respect"?  The term says nothing unless it is expanded

Emancipation Memorial Paid For by Former Slaves Is...White Supremacy

I mean for those who thought this was just about Confederate statues, I don’t know what to tell you. It was never about that—anyone could see this from miles away. The Left will bait the wider public with a carrot, like slamming Confederates because it’s not like they’re attacking the Founding Fathers, and then take a hard turn to…tearing down statues to the Founding Fathers. Right now, the lefty mob, which has marched unopposed for days, vowed to tear down the Emancipation Memorial in Lincoln Park because it’s racist. It’s a statue of Abraham Lincoln, our greatest president, with a freed slave. It was commissioned by former slaves. How is this racist? I’m not kidding. We have one Ph.D. student wrote in The Washington Post that the monument of the president who spearheaded the 13th Amendment, which forever abolished slavery, is white supremacy:

In the District of Columbia, there is no shortage of commemoration for Lincoln. There is perhaps no person (with the exception of George Washington) in the United States who has more memorials, buildings, roads, towns and counties named in his or her honor.

Of the major commemorative markers to Lincoln in D.C., the most troubling is the Emancipation Memorial (also known as the Freedmen’s Memorial Monument to Abraham Lincoln), which sits in Lincoln Park, steps away from the U.S. Capitol. The statue features a standing Abraham Lincoln with the Emancipation Proclamation in his hand over a kneeling newly freed African American man. But this monument has been the subject of some controversy since its unveiling in 1876 because of who originated the idea of the monument, who paid for it and who ultimately designed what it would look like.

The monument was paid for almost exclusively by formerly enslaved people, who from 1865 onward raised more than $16,000 for the building of the statue. According to the story told and retold in newspapers at the time, on the day after Lincoln’s assassination, Charlotte Scott, a formerly enslaved black woman living in Marietta, Ohio, gave her first earnings as a free woman to build a monument to Lincoln. From there, more donations grew and then became a national movement when the Western Sanitary Commission, the wartime relief agency, took control and publicized the idea of for a monument from the freedmen in honor of Lincoln. A New Orleans Tribune article from Aug. 10, 1865, proclaimed: “On the spot where Freedom’s ‘best defender fell,’ let his name and the cause for which he died be most highly honored.”

The men and women who raised the money, however, did not choose the design of the monument.


On the day of the dedication, Frederick Douglass, the African American civil rights advocate, gave a speech where he spoke of his ambivalence of a statue that solely praised Lincoln, and in an offhand remark said that the statue “showed the Negro on his knee when a more manly attitude would have been indicative of freedom.”

The statue fed a narrative that men like Lincoln led emancipation, rather than showing how the struggle for freedom was driven by the millions of African Americans who fought for their liberation from the institution of slavery.


While this doesn’t mean that we need to tear down the Emancipation Memorial, it does require that we recontextualize it to ensure that it gives voice to those who have been left out and acknowledges the very people who paid for it in the beginning.

Okay, well, at least there’s no call for it to be destroyed or so it seems. Former slaves paid for it, Frederick Douglass was there to dedicate it, and somehow, it’s white supremacy because it’s too focused on, I don’t know, the man who was president during our nation’s more dire and destructive crisis. Nuance cannot be afforded. It has to be what the woke crowd deems suitable now and retroactively applied…to late 19th Century America. That’s not how this works, but that’s also the point. It’s erasure. The Left hates this country and its history and in order to destroy the American cultural identity, it needs to be torn down, burned, and rewritten within the of this hyper-left-wing revisionist prism. To destroy one’s enemy, strip them of their cultural identity. That’s the long war the Left is waging. Luckily, authorities put barricades to protect the monument.


Censorship: Twitter Claims Trump Tweet About Upholding the Law Is 'Abusive' and Boosts Competitor Parler

Twitter is determined to get itself in trouble it seems. While Big Tech claims to not be in the business of censorship, they continue to censor Republicans on a daily basis. Twitter’s new favorite target is Donald Trump. On Tuesday, Twitter put a warning over the president’s tweet about upholding law and order and hid the tweet from view. If you want to read it, you must click on their warning.

How can a tweet about upholding the law be “abusive”? Autonomous zones are not legal. Citizens are not allowed to set up pseudo-countries in the middle of American cities and ignore our laws and violate public safety. Using force to disperse such action is required by our laws. Twitter marking this tweet as “abusive behavior” is beyond the pale. It was probably the same people who decided to fact-check a joke meme the president tweeted.

But Twitter got what was coming to it and Parler, an alternative platform similar to Twitter, began trending at number one on the censor-happy Twitter. Thousands of people began announcing their new handles at Parler. Even some lawmakers got into it.

After Twitter banned meme-maker Carpe Donktum (probably for being too popular and having his memes retweeted by the president) other high-profile conservatives began jumping ship as well, saying they aren’t long for the Twittersphere.

But the alternative site won’t really take off until the president deletes his Twitter account and moves. With that one action, every media network would have to follow him and so would everyone else, including the left. And social media isn’t any fun in an echo chamber, so Parler can’t work properly unless everyone migrates. Maybe instead of regulating Twitter, the president could just make it irrelevant. That would be fun to watch. Set up your Parler account now just in case. (I’m @MeganFoxWriter on Parler).


Sunday, June 28, 2020

Science Blogger Deletes Site After Doxxing Threat by 'New York Times'

A well-known science blogger writing for Slate Star Codex has reluctantly shuttered his blog because a reporter for the New York Times insisted on publishing his last name. Psychiatrist Scott Alexander (his first and middle name) was interviewed by New York Times tech reporter Cade Metz for a nice article on his eclectic blog and the community of writers who feed it. When Alexander realized that Metz was going to publish his last name, he begged him not to do it. The psychiatrist had a thriving practice and doxxing him would put his livelihood in danger. He had also received several death threats from his writings from some who disagree with his politics.

In short, the New York Times was about to ruin his life, so Alexander felt he had no other option than to delete his blog.

Slate Star Codex:

When I expressed these fears to the reporter, he said that it was New York Times policy to include real names, and he couldn’t change that. After considering my options, I decided on the one you see now. If there’s no blog, there’s no story. Or at least the story will have to include some discussion of NYT’s strategy of doxxing random bloggers for clicks.

It may be the Times policy to include real names when it comes to people they want to doxx, but they somehow lose sight of that policy when quoting numerous anonymous sources when trying to destroy conservatives.

The Washington Free Beacon questions whether that policy even exists.

Alexander and others interviewed by Metz told the Free Beacon that they do not believe Metz wanted to write a “hit piece.” But Metz did insist that Times guidelines compelled him to disclose Alexander’s real name, derailing an interview with the blogger.

There is little evidence that such a policy exists at the Times, which has granted anonymity or pseudonymity to an Apple news executive, a left-wing podcaster, and even other subjects of Metz’s story. This confusion, Alexander’s fear of national news attention, and the resultant backlash on social media—and even among the Times‘s own alumni—raise uncomfortable questions about the power that the media have to ruin lives—and the cavalierness with which that power has recently been exercised.

It’s understandable that Alexander would want to remain anonymous when you consider the rabid fanaticism of his enemies.

SSC has also developed a reputation for free and open discussion, which has sometimes caused Alexander to butt heads with others, particularly the Internet’s large and vocal progressive feminist contingent. He strongly criticized a perceived tendency in modern feminism to demonize “nerd entitlement” in one particularly controversial 2015 post, and has also argued that imbalanced gender outcomes are not driven exclusively by prejudice.

Alexander’s public views are broadly liberal with some libertarian influence, but his controversial arguments have attracted the ill will of what Aaronson called “social media mobs who despised Scott and wanted to end his blog because of political disagreements”—part of what made Alexander wary of the article.

We live in an age where destroying people’s lives has become an organized spectator sport. The techniques used to destroy people date to the early modern age with Mussolini using his job as a radio commentator to reach mass audiences, denouncing those who disagreed with him.

Joseph Goebbels used newspapers and magazines to accomplish the same thing. Today, it’s the same way with the internet — just different tools. But the kinds of people attracted to the sport of doxxing haven’t changed at all. They are fascists all. And they’re tearing this country apart with no thought to the consequences except the exercise of raw power.

The Times, which has become one of the participants in the destruction, thinks that the ends they seek are so noble, the means are unimportant. It may be to reporters at the Times. But for many, it’s jobs, their homes, their families, their hard-won reputations, and in some cases — their lives.


UK: Rebecca Long-Bailey has been sacked as shadow education secretary by Sir Keir Starmer, after sharing an article containing "an antisemitic conspiracy theory"

This thing was a major contender for leadership of the Labour party

A spokesman for the Labour leader confirmed he had asked her to step side and stressed his commitment to "restoring trust with the Jewish community".

The spokesman said: “This afternoon Keir Starmer asked Rebecca Long-Bailey to step down from the Shadow Cabinet. The article Rebecca shared earlier today contained an antisemitic conspiracy theory.

“As Leader of the Labour Party, Keir has been clear that restoring trust with the Jewish community is a number one priority. Antisemitism takes many different forms and it is important that we all are vigilant against it.”

Earlier today Ms Long-Bailey had shared an interview with the actress Maxine Peak, in which she claimed Israelis taught American police the technique that killed George Floyd.

In the interview Ms Peak said: "The tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services.”

The Israeli police force has firmly denied such claims.

Drawing attention to the article on Twitter, Ms Long-Bailey described the actress as "an absolute diamond", but later insisted she did not endorse "all aspects" of the interview.

It is understood that a replacement shadow education secretary will be announced within days.


Friday, June 26, 2020

Must not diss Calabria

An easyJet ad that described Calabria as being largely devoid of tourists because of the threat of the mafia and a history of earthquakes has angered the southern Italian region. "For an authentic taste of Italian life, there’s nothing better than Calabria," the ad on the British airline’s website said.

"The region suffers from a distinct lack of tourists because of its history of mafia activity and earthquakes."

The advertisement said that Calabria was also largely neglected by tourism because of “the lack of iconic cities such as Rome and Venice capable of attracting the Instagram crowd."

An MEP who comes from the town of Cosenza in the heart of Calabria accused the airline of insulting the region, which forms the toe of the Italian boot in the far south of the country


No, silence is not violence

“The slogan ‘Silence is Violence,’ which has appeared in Black Lives Matters protests in the US, UK and around the world, is a powerful and emotive message. It is also, however, a danger to freedom of speech — the same freedom that has been central to struggles for liberty and against oppression. …

Free speech must always involve the right to offend, to speak what you believe to be true regardless of what others think. The flip side of free speech is that you must have the right to be silent when you choose — particularly when somebody is trying to compel you to speak as instructed.”


Thursday, June 25, 2020

Hate-speech laws are no friend of minorities:  The Scottish case

‘Nothing is more apt to surprise a foreigner than the extreme liberty which we enjoy in this country of communicating whatever we please to the public…’ Thus wrote Scottish philosopher David Hume in 1742, extolling free speech as ‘the common right of mankind’.

Unfortunately, Scotland’s free-speech tradition would be gutted by key provisions in the government’s Hate Crime Bill, introduced in April. It endangers even serious public-policy debates about important – and sensitive – issues touching on ‘age, disability, race, religion or… perceived religious affiliation, sexual orientation, transgender identity and variations in sex characteristics’.

If passed, the bill would criminalise a broad range of communications ‘relating to stirring up hatred’ based on these characteristics, with draconian seven-year prison terms. Departing from a key precept of Hume’s celebrated ‘common right’, the bill would impose such severe punishment even when the speaker had no negative intent, so long as the expression is deemed ‘likely’ to ‘stir up hatred’. Worse yet, the bill even outlaws the mere ‘possession’ of ‘inflammatory material… with a view to communicating [it] to another person’.

In our polarised political climate, a limitless range of communications about taboo topics can be potentially ‘inflammatory’, which means that the policing thereof will depend on the subjective discretion of the enforcing officials. David Hume warned against punishing the ‘abuse’ of free speech by ‘giving very large discretionary powers to the court to punish whatever displeases them’. And while he acknowledged that ‘the unbounded liberty of the press’ could lead to dangers, he thought that such overbroad restrictions were a cure worse than the disease.

In this case, the bill’s censorial ‘cure’ is worse than the disease of ‘prejudice’, which its proponents commendably target. No matter how well intended, such vague and subjective restrictions – even when formally neutral – tend to perpetuate and entrench the values of dominant in-groups and further marginalise out-groups.

Unfortunately, British history is no exception to this dynamic. And one does not need to go all the way back to 1697, and the execution of the irreverent Edinburgh student Thomas Aikenhead for blasphemy, to find examples.

One might argue that the Scottish Hate Crime Bill is aimed at preventing the sort of racial discrimination that fuelled colonial censorship.

But given their inherent vagueness and overbreadth, even well-intentioned hate-speech laws are prone to majoritarian bias in enforcement. In 1965 the British Race Relations Act introduced important anti-discrimination protections for minority groups. But section six also prohibited ‘incitement to racial hatred’. The first person to be prosecuted for this offence was a black man. Several other black Britons were prosecuted for anti-white hatred, including leaders of the Black Liberation Movement. In 1968, one such leader was sentenced to a year in prison for a speech decrying anti-black discrimination by whites who were ‘vicious and nasty people’. In contrast, such a prominent anti-immigrant crusader as Enoch Powell was left alone. Perhaps the ultimate irony was that this law, which was intended to restrain the neo-Nazi National Front, has also barred expression by the Anti-Nazi League.

There is also reason to fear how Scottish police will enforce the pending bill. At the 2017 Glasgow Pride parade, two ‘anti-fascist’ LGBTQ activists were arrested for ‘breaching the peace with homophobic aggravation’. Their crime? Holding a placard with the words ‘These faggots fight fascists’, which clearly was meant to – and ‘likely’ to – empower rather than offend the gay community. In 2014 Police Scotland tweeted that it would ‘monitor comments on social media and any offensive comments will be investigated’, after an English pundit offended Scottish sensibilities on Twitter. The bill would let loose police and others to comb through social media on the hunt for the innumerable tasteless and intemperate tweets that someone could interpret as ‘likely’ to stir up hatred, with an incalculable chilling effect.

While it has narrow exceptions to safeguard discussion of religion and sexual orientation, the Hate Crime Bill could also pit various groups – including the very marginalised groups that it purports to benefit – against each other in a free-speech race to the bottom. For instance, members of religious communities (including minorities) with traditional beliefs about gender identity and sexual orientation might well still risk punishment for expressing their moral convictions. But women, members of the LGBTQ community or transgender persons could plausibly also be punished for critiquing those religious communities because of their traditional views. This is not idle speculation. In 2017, two British street preachers were arrested and initially convicted for preaching from the Bible, including statements that were deemed ‘insulting’ to LGBTQ persons and Muslims. Conversely in 2016, a leader of a French LGBTQ rights organisation was fined 2,300 euros for calling the president of an organisation that defends traditional family values and opposes same-sex marriage a ‘homophobe’.

As Scottish justice secretary Humza Yousaf stressed in introducing the bill, ‘We all have a responsibility to challenge prejudice’. But human-rights activists around the world have concluded that speech that challenges prejudice may well be more effective than censorship in promoting the ‘inclusive and respectful society’ that Yousaf appropriately endorsed. In the words of veteran LGBTQ-rights campaigner Peter Tatchell: ‘The most effective way to defeat bigoted ideas is not by proscription but by challenging and exposing them.’ As it happens, David Hume also championed this ‘more speech’ approach, explaining that citizens ‘being every day more accustomed to the free discussion of public affairs, will improve in the judgment of them, and be with greater difficulty seduced by every idle rumour and popular clamour’.


Wrongthink will be spellchecked

In response to the BLM movement, comedy, film and beer have been ‘cancelled’ due to their ‘problematic’ nature. The latest purge reveals how terrifyingly easy it is to use technology to cancel those who transgress the dogma of wokeism.

Netflix removed Chris Lilley’s back catalogue because of his racial depictions;  only the pretentious schoolgirl Ja’mie and Lunatics survived — for now.

Little Britain wasn’t so lucky, as many streaming services hit delete — their creators saying they were “very sorry” because of their portrayal of “characters of other races.”

Other cancellable racial offences include Basil Fawlty accidentally ‘mentioning the war.’ At least John Cleese had the fortitude to stand up for his comedy and his famous series will be reinstated — albeit with “extra guidance.”

And, after being temporarily blown away from HBO Max, Gone with the Wind will return with an introduction to place “the film in its multiple historical contexts.” Hopefully, this can be skipped like those pathetic anti-piracy ads at the start of legally-purchased DVDs.

But it is not only fiction receiving the cancellation treatment.

Coon cheese (named after its founder who developed a new ripening process) was briefly targeted,  before the comedian who tweeted whether we were still cool with the name was cancelled himself when his past comments on diversity in acting surfaced.

Woke bible The Guardian – after cheering the drowning of Edward Colston’s statue – is experiencing a digital pile-on because their paper was founded “using profits from a cotton plantation that used slaves.”

And if all this cancelling has made you thirsty please do not reach for a cold one from the Colonial Brewing Co.,  as the name is deemed so offensive a bottle shop chain pulled it from their shelves.

If only people employed the Microsoft Word ‘inclusiveness’ option to check their work for bias. This check pinged my article for using ‘schoolgirl’ — suggesting the more ‘inclusive’ ‘schoolchild.’

I suppose those are just more words to add to the blacklist. No wait, tech companies have been replacing terms such as, ‘blacklist’, ‘master’ and ‘whitelist’ for less “racially-loaded terms.” And yes, the inclusiveness checker also pulled me up for using ‘blacklist.’

Unfortunately, the AI of PC-checking does not transfer to images. If it had perhaps Kellogg’s would not have been guilted into issuing a statement explaining why the Coco Pops mascot is a monkey. Apparently using a cartoonish, cap-wearing chimp to sell brown food is racist.

All this removing of content, adding warning labels, and language policing was achieved with a few keyboard clicks and some outrage. If this pitiful pandering to the easily hurt continues all art, comedians, and food will eventually be deleted.

But until then it is time to order a slab of Colonial brew, make a toasted Coon cheese sandwich, and flick on Gone with Wind.


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Australia: Must not tell truth about George Floyd

Should TV station fire the football great Sam Newman?

The controversial footy figure’s explosive comments about George Floyd have ignited a campaign to have him sacked at Channel 9.

Sam Newman has been pushing the envelope — and largely getting away with it — for 40 years as a radio and TV personality. But has he finally gone one step too far?

A groundswell of opposition to the 74-year-old former AFL star is developing after his recent comments about George Floyd, an American man who died while being held by police in Minnesota.

While describing Floyd’s death as “disgraceful”, Newman suggested the pedestal he was being put up on as the face of the Black Lives Matter movement was wrong because of his history.

“George Floyd … is piece of shit,” Newman said on his podcast You Cannot Be Serious. “He has been in jail five times, he held up a pregnant black woman with a knife, he’s a drug addict, he’s a crackhead and he’s a pornstar.”

“He’s dead because of the police brutality and it never should have happened. But I am telling you who George Floyd is, now they’ve made a monument about him and he’s a piece of shit”.

The comments have ignited a furious response on social media, with Channel 9 — which recently brought back the long-time star of the AFL Footy Show in a weekly segment on its Sunday Footy Show program — under pressure to sack Newman.


England rugby could ban Swing Low, Sweet Chariot because of slavery links

Rugby union bosses in England are to carry out a review into the “historical context” of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot – an anthem regularly sung by thousands of fans during matches at Twickenham.

The song has its roots in American slavery in the 19th century, which many supporters may be unaware of.

England’s governing body, the Rugby Football Union, has said it wants to educate fans about its origins, as well as undertaking the review.

It comes after global Black Lives Matter protests, including in the UK, about racial inequality in the wake of the police killing of unarmed black man George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The anthem has been sung by fans since the late 1980s, but it dates back to its credited author, Wallace Willis, who was a freed Oklahoma slave.

It became a popular spiritual song in the early 20th century and was popularised again among folk musicians during the civil rights movement of the 1960s.


Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Eskimo Pie racist: Company behind controversial ice cream acknowledges ‘derogatory’ name

The native people of the Arctic (including Canada, Alaska and Russia) have several subgoups --  Yupik, IƱupiat, Chukchi etc -- who appear similar but who regard themselves as different and distinct.  The Inuit are just one of the subgroups concerned.  They speak several different but related languages.

Noting their similarities, English-speakers for many years referred to them all as "Eskimos".  Gradually, however, a view developed that such a usage was ignorant:  Native peoples should be referred to by their own name for themselves.  So in Canada, but not in Alaska, the name of just one such group -- Inuit -- was adopted to refer to them all.  That seems just as ignorant as referring to all the different groups as Eskimos but it was generally accepted as an improvement.

The word "Eskimo" does appear to be of native origin so is simply a convenient collective term for a group of related people.  Calling it derogatory is essentially just a creation of Leftists.  So Leftist agitation has made it seem derogatory to many of the people concerned.  It would be amusing if "Inuit" came under similar attack at some time

The makers of Eskimo Pies, a popular ice cream in the US, has announced they will be changing the name of its product after years of controversy.

The vanilla and dark chocolate coated ice cream has been loved by Americans since 1920 however the term Eskimo is considered an offensive term used to describe Inuit people, or people who are native to Alaska and other Arctic regions.

In a statement to Rolling Stone, the head of marketing for the brand’s parent company, Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream admitted the term is “derogatory”.

“We have been reviewing our Eskimo Pie business for some time and will be changing the brand name and marketing,” she said. “We are committed to being a part of the solution on racial equality, and recognise the term is derogatory. This move is part of a larger review to ensure our company and brands reflect our people values.”

The changes will be implemented by the end of the year and the company will also cease using the Inuit character in the ice cream’s marketing material.


Zoom acknowledges that it suspended activists' accounts at the ChiComs' request

Teleconferencing company Zoom acknowledged it shut down the accounts of several activists and online commemorations of the Tiananmen Square massacre at China's request. The revelation followed media reports, citing Hong Kong and U.S.-based activists, who found their accounts suspended.

Zoom confirmed the reports, in a blog post Thursday, saying China had notified it in late May and early June of four public gatherings hosted on the platform.

According to the post, China asserted the activities were illegal and requested the events and hosts' accounts be terminated. Zoom said it determined a majority of participants in three of the events came from China and shut them down. The host accounts for the gatherings were then suspended.

None of the three accounts — two belonging to U.S.-based activists and the third to a Hong Kong activist — were based in mainland China.


Monday, June 22, 2020

Cleansing the scientific literature ... again

Scientific evidence that blacks are more aggressive must be obliterated

Seven years ago I wrote about Danish psychologist Helmuth Nyborg and the attempts to "unpublish" a study he had already published. At first thought, the idea seemed strange to me:

I was initially stumped by the ruling that Dr. Nyborg must withdraw his study from the scientific literature. How can one withdraw an already published study? Then the penny dropped. Most journals are now published online, and cash-strapped university libraries have been phasing out their paper subscriptions. (Frost 2013)

I and many others complained to the Danish minister responsible for that decision, and it was reversed.

Now, the same thing is happening again, in the heart of the Free World:

An article claiming that skin pigmentation is related to aggression and sexuality in humans will be retracted, Elsevier announced today. The study, "Do pigmentation and the melanocortin system modulate aggression and sexuality in humans as they do in other animals?" was published online in Personality and Individual Differences, an Elsevier journal, on March 15, 2012.

The study's authors, John Rushton and Donald Templer, both deceased, hypothesized that skin color was related to aggression and sexuality in humans. It has been cited just nine times in eight years, according to Clarivate Analytics' Web of Science. (Retraction Watch 2020)

According to Google Scholar it has been cited fifteen times. Anyway, a study’s worthiness isn't decided by a show of hands, either now or in the future. Opinions change, and fringe science may eventually become mainstream. Or vice versa.

That brings me to another point. For eight years that study was legitimate. Now, it no longer is. Thanks to George Floyd.

Actually, his death was only a pretext. The mob feels no differently today than it did before May 25. What has changed is its ability to get what it wants ... with no pushback. Let’s not kid ourselves. This is a power grab by people who already have much power over the most important aspect of human culture—the flow of information. If you control a few chokepoints, you can get most people to believe almost anything.

“Power” may not be the right word. The aim is not simply to control institutions but rather to control how we perceive and understand reality. These are people who believe that ideas matter, and they want control over ideas, even in the scientific literature (!).

I don't wish to judge whether Rushton and Templer were "right." Once a study has passed peer review and been published, that judgement belongs solely to the reader. Personally, I feel they were right in some respects and wrong in others. They were right to argue that darker-colored animals tend to be larger and more aggressive, this being true not only between species but also within species:

Ducrest et al. (2008) reviewed data on over 40 wild vertebrate species showing that within each species, darker pigmented individuals averaged higher levels of aggression and sexual activity than lighter pigmented individuals, with a larger body mass, more resistance to stress, and greater physical activity when grooming. The relationship between coloring and behavioral dominance was robust across three species of mammal (African lion, soay sheep, and white-tailed deer), four species of fish (mosquito fish, guppy, green swordtail, and Arctic charr), four species of reptile (asp viper, adder, fence lizard, and spiny lizard), one amphibian species (spadefoot toad) and 36 species of bird.

In captive Hermann's tortoises (Eurotestudo boettgeri), another reptile species, Mafli, Wakamatsu, and Roulin (2011) found darker shell coloration predicted greater aggressiveness and boldness. Darker individuals were more aggressive in male-male confrontations and bolder towards humans, independent of body size and ambient temperature. (Melanin based color traits are a criterion in mate choice.)

Validation of the pigmentation system as causal to the naturalistic observations was demonstrated by experimentally manipulating pharmacological dosages and by studies of cross-fostering (Ducrest et al., 2008). Thus, melanocortin hormone levels predicted the amount of testosterone and other sexual steroids along with concomitant increases (or decreases) in aggression and sexual behavior. Placing darker versus lighter pigmented individuals with adoptive parents of the opposite pigmentation did not modify offspring behavior. (Rushton and Templer 2012)

Yes, melanin does correlate with aggressiveness, especially male aggressiveness. Unlike Rushton and Templer, however, I don't believe the correlation is causal, at least not wholly. It probably began as an accidental association: newborns are generally less pigmented, and this has resulted in a mental association of lightness with weakness and immaturity. Conversely, darkness is associated with strength and maturity. The age difference in pigmentation has been amplified by sexual selection in many species, particularly polygynous species where males have to compete against each other for access to females

We humans make the same mental association, particularly darker-skinned humans. Among them, the contrast between infant and adult pigmentation is striking:

There is a rather widespread concept in Black Africa, according to which human beings, before "coming" into this world, dwell in heaven, where they are white. For, heaven itself is white and all the beings dwelling there are also white. Therefore the whiter a child is at birth, the more splendid it is. In other words, at that particular moment in a person's life, special importance is attached to the whiteness of his colour, which is endowed with exceptional qualities.

According to the same concept, it is also claimed that a newborn baby is not only white but also a soft being during the time between his birth and his acceptance into the society. Furthermore, during this entire period, he is not considered a real person, and this may go so far that parents and society may do away with him at will for reasons that are peculiar to each social group. Having been done away with, these beings are considered to return automatically to the place where they came from, that is, to heaven. (Zahan 1974, pp. 385-387)

This mental association may have become a factor in the struggle by men for mates. In highly polygynous societies, such as those of sub-Saharan Africa, darker-skinned men would be seen as more masculine, and threatening, by other men ... and by women.  Among human populations, darkness of skin correlates significantly with the polygyny rate, even after adjusting for latitudinal variation in skin color (Manning et al. 2004). It looks like selection has favored a darker color in adult males, particularly in a context of intra-male rivalry for mates, and this selection has probably occurred in many species.

I may be wrong. Perhaps Rushton and Templer were wrong. Perhaps nobody knows the truth on this point. That's why we don't unpublish scientific studies. No one has the last word in intellectual debate, and that's how things should be.

Elsevier is aware of the taboo it's treading on:

It is a general principle of scholarly communication that the editor of a learned journal is solely and independently responsible for deciding which articles submitted to the journal shall be published. In making this decision the editor is guided by policies of the journal's editorial board and constrained by such legal requirements in force regarding libel, copyright infringement and plagiarism.  An outcome of this principle is the importance of the scholarly archive as a permanent, historic record of the transactions of scholarship. Articles that have been published shall remain extant, exact and unaltered as far as is possible. However, very occasionally circumstances may arise where an article is published that must later be retracted or even removed. (Elsevier 2020)

Until now, unpublishing wasn’t even “very occasional.” I know of a few cases where a paper was retracted shortly after publication. But eight years after? That just wasn’t done. Now it’s been done. The taboo has been broken, and we're going to see more and more "removals."


Australia: Must not disrespect George Floyd

Controversial media personality Sam Newman has spoken out about the life-changing phone call which ended his 35-year partnership with Channel 9. The former Geelong AFL great announced on Friday night he had left the network, claiming it was 'mutual decision'.

The 74-year-old has since revealed it was his podcast tirade about George Floyd, first reported by Daily Mail Australia that sparked his departure.

In the rant Newman called Floyd, whose death while in police custody sparked mass Black Lives Matter protests across the U.S. and the world, a 'piece of sh*t'.

When the call from the network came through at 3pm on Friday, Newman knew the writing was on the wall, he revealed on Saturday.

'The station rang me and said: ''We are getting a bit of blow back from some of your comments'' and I said: ''Well, I don't want to put the station in an invidious position, anymore than I have in the past'',' he told the Herald Sun.

'I said: ''I am very happy, if it will solve anything for you, very happy to withdraw forthwith from appearing on the network''.'  He said the network agreed it would be for the best.

'Whether I beat them to it or they were going to say that anyhow is irrelevant,' Newman said.

Newman made the comments about Floyd on his podcast 'You Cannot Be Serious', alongside fellow footy great Don Scott and journalist, Mike Sheahan. He insisted he was talking about Floyd's criminal record and that people should have focused on condemning police brutality. 

Speaking on his podcast 'You Cannot Be Serious', alongside former AFL great Don Scott and footy reporter Mike Sheahan, Newman teed off on Floyd. 

'George Floyd, who is a piece of sh*t incidentally,' he began before his co-hosts attempted to intervene.

'You know who George Floyd is? He has been in jail five times, he held up a pregnant black woman with a knife, he's a drug addict, he's a crack head and he's a porn star.'

Records showed Floyd had been arrested nine times for mostly drug and theft offences, and served several short prison sentences.

His most serious offence was aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon, in which he and other suspects forced themselves into a woman's home and Floyd held a pistol to her abdomen. He served four years in prison for the crime.

His autopsy found high levels of fentanyl in his system and evidence of recent use of methamphetamine which the initial examiners said 'contributed to his death'.

Newman said he will continue to work on the podcast with his co-hosts saying there are still 'a hell lot' of people who agree with his views.


Sunday, June 21, 2020

Katie Hopkins, conservative commentator, permanently banned from Twitter

The things she says would once have been regarded as commonsense.  There is a list of her views here

Far right UK commentator, former newspaper journalist and The Apprentice contestant Katie Hopkins, dubbed ‘the world’s most hated woman’, has had her Twitter account suspended just hours after having her blue tick removed by the social media site.

Twitter confirmed that the suspension would be permanent.

Ms Hopkins was removed to “keep Twitter safe”, according to the social media platform. “Keeping Twitter safe is a top priority for us,” Twitter said in a statement.

“Abuse and hateful conduct have no place on our service and we will continue to take action when our rules are broken. “In this case, the account has been permanently suspended for violations of our hateful conduct policy.”

In her final tweets before the ban, she celebrated hitting 1.1 million followers and urged her fans to follow her on Instagram.

The social network did not, however, say which tweets Ms Hopkins had posted to result in the ban.

Ms Hopkins is well-known for both her outspoken media appearances and controversial right-wing viewpoints.

It’s not the first time she’s been suspended by the social media giant — in January, she was kicked out of the platform for a week.

A petition to have Ms Hopkins removed from Twitter had recently received more than 75,000 signatures on Change.org. Twitter users have largely celebrated her absence.


Australia: Margaret River's Colonial beers ripped from shelves over name controversy

A chain of bottleshops in the eastern states will no longer stock Margaret River brewery Colonial Brewing Co's beers after complaints about the brand name.

A Melbourne-based writer said it was through his advocacy that the Blackhearts & Sparrows chain of stores made the decision to no longer stock the product.

"This is small in the scheme of things, not like anyone has solved racism ...," Shaad D'Souza wrote on Instagram.

"Change is generally meaningless without structural change but I appreciate it — I have been emailing Blackhearts (a shop I like) and other booze retailers on and off about how stupid and degrading 'Colonial Beer' is.

"A lot of people call for 'civility' when advocating for things we care about but sometimes being a bratty little bitch in public really gets things done."

Blackhearts & Sparrows' owners said the decision was made in light of recent events, both in Australia and around the world. Staff and customers had also reached out with their concerns.

"While we appreciate that the people behind Colonial Brewing had no malicious intent in their choice of brand name, words have power. We’ve had discussions with Colonial in the past with concerns about their name, but with their branding remaining the same our decision was clear," they said.

"'Colonial' is still a problematic word that speaks to a broader history of colonialism and colonisation that has caused irreversible harm to the First Nations people in Australia and Indigenous populations around the world."

The team running the business decided if they could make their stores a more inclusive place for all by no longer stocking the line of beer, it was a step they were willing to take.

Colonial Brewing Co managing director Lawrence Dowd said in light of the current climate and recent events, the brewery acknowledged the significant stress and angst surrounding the Black Lives Matter community built to bring justice, healing and freedom to black people across the globe.

"We have had significant messages and comments regarding our name, we want you all to know; we hear you," he said.

"The brand and name Colonial Brewing Co was inherited in 2008 when purchased what was at the time a small microbrewery in Margaret River – it was not chosen, or intended to celebrate

"The name Colonial was given to the brewery as it was one of the first to establish itself in the well-regarded wine region of Margaret River, colonialisng the wine region with one of the first craft breweries."

He said over the past six months Colonial Brewing Co had undertaken a process to review and understand the options to approach the name, considering its historical meaning.

It is now a national Australian-owned brand, with the Port Melbourne expansion giving it the ability to brew up to 7 million litres.


Friday, June 19, 2020

Now you can't say 'GRUBS': Politician who used the colourful language to describe young criminals is reprimanded in parliament

"Grub" is Australian slang for a low-life person

A politician has been chastised for using the word 'grubs' in parliament when referring to youth crime in his electorate.

Liberal Queensland MP Sam O'Connor was pulled up on his use of the term on Tuesday while speaking about the issue of crime in his seat of Bonney in the Gold Coast's western suburbs.

The parliament's deputy speaker Jess Pugh also said it was 'unparliamentary' to quote a father - whose 17-year-old son was allegedly stabbed to death outside a Surfers Paradise supermarket - as saying the justice system 'sucks'.  

'I want to raise the concerns of my community about the level of crime in our suburbs,' the 28-year-old MP began his speech at the state's legislative assembly.

He said he had run a community crime forum at a pub in his area attended by 200 locals - many of whom expressed their concern about the subject of youth crime.

'Stories of juveniles getting caught and getting a slap on the wrist means residents feel like there is no point even reporting a crime - it means these kids will often laugh off the possibility of ever being held to account for their actions,' he said.

'Two very special people came along that night too - Brett and Belinda Beasley. Brett and Belinda lost their 17-year-old son Jack, last December.'

Five teenagers stand charged with the murder of Jack Beasley - who was allegedly stabbed to death when another group of boys approached him outside an IGA supermarket on Surfers Paradise Boulevard.

'The young men charged with Jacko's murder have been granted bail and that shattered the Beasleys' faith in our justice system,' Mr O'Connor said.

'Brett summed it up saying, It's a kick in the guts, but that's the system. It absolutely sucks.'

'Member, that is unparliamentary language and I ask you to withdraw,' Ms Pugh responded.

The member for Bonney continued talking about Mr Beasley's parents setting up a foundation to fight back against knife crime - but was again warned about his use of language.

'They have set up a foundation to change the culture of knife crime and to reform a system that is putting no fear in these grubs,' he said.

'Member you have used unparliamentary language again,' the deputy speaker responded. 'Even if you are quoting, you cannot use unparliamentary language. I ask you to withdraw.'

Mr O'Connor told Daily Mail Australia he had asked the state parliament's Table Office for clarification about accepted parliamentary terms. 


Lidia Thorpe thinks Victoria should be renamed over ties with Queen Victoria

An Aboriginal activist and former MP wants the state of Victoria to change its name under a new treaty with Australia's First People.

Lidia Thorpe, who represented the Greens in the Victorian Legislative Assembly in 2017 and 2018, is calling for the change because the state is named after British Empire ruler Queen Victoria.

'Anything that's named after someone who's caused harm or murdered people, then I think we should take their name down,' she told The Herald Sun.  

Ms Thorpe, the first Aboriginal woman to be elected to the Parliament of Victoria, believes Indigenous groups and the state government should consider the idea during treaty talks. 

'It could even stay the same if that's what people want, if that's part of the negotiation outcome of a treaty where everyone gets to understand both sides,' Ms Thorpe said.

Her comments come as Black Lives Matter protests spark calls to tear down monuments linked to Australia's colonial past across the country. 

City of Melbourne councillor Nicholas Reece said monuments dedicated to Melbourne co-founder John Batman could be up for review through his hand in hunting Aborigines in Tasmania.

'There's a number of monuments and statues to John Batman in Melbourne, and I think there's a case to be made around perhaps them being given a less prominent place in our city,' he told 3AW.

A 50-year-old statue of Captain Cook in Cairns is under threat after activists petitioned for it to be torn down over the British Royal Navy captain's treatment of Aboriginal people when his ship landed in Australia.

The petition claims the statue is a 'slap in the face to all indigenous people', saying Cook's legacy was one of 'forced removal, slavery, genocide and stolen land'.

Two other statues of the explorer, both in Sydney, have already been defaced as Black Lives Matter protests shine a light on racial inequality.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton told 9News he wants the statues to stay.

'I don't think ripping pages out of history books and brushing over parts of history you don't agree with or you don't like is really something the Australian public is going to embrace,' he said. 'There are good and bad parts of our history. You learn from that.'

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has also voiced his support for the statues to stay. 'You can't rewrite history, you have to learn from it,' he told Sydney radio 2GB. 'The idea that you go back to year zero of history is in my view, just quite frankly unacceptable.'

Mr Morrison has previously said he wanted to help the public to gain a better understanding of Captain Cook's historic voyage.

'That voyage is the reason Australia is what it is today and it's important we take the opportunity to reflect on it,' Mr Morrison said.


Thursday, June 18, 2020

No Wrongthink Allowed: A large Birmingham church loses a lease over its pastor liking pro-Trump social-media messages  

The largest church in Birmingham, Alabama, has lost its home thanks to the anti-racism ministers of woke and their charge of wrongthink. You see, Chris Hodges, pastor of Church of the Highlands, committed the unforgivable “sin” of “liking” several social-media postings that supported President Donald Trump. A teacher, Jasmine Clisby — who freely admits to not attending Hodges’s church nor being able to “see into Pastor Chris Hodges’s heart,” and who “would be upset if it comes off as me judging him” — still felt the need to issue a complaint to the Birmingham Board of Education for his “culturally insensitive” “likes.”

Church of the Highlands, whose diverse congregation of 60,000 has been meeting for the past six years at Parker and Woodlawn High Schools for its Sunday services, had its lease with the city terminated following a vote by the education board initiated by Clisby’s complaint.

Furthermore, as Family Research Council President Tony Perkins writes, “The church’s Christ Health Clinic will also be banned from operating, according to the Birmingham Housing Authority, who also decided Monday to ban volunteer workers.” Justifying its dubious decision, the housing authority argued, “Commissioners agreed that Pastor Hodges’s views do not reflect those of [the Housing authority] and its residents. … HABD and Campus of Hope staff will continue to work with other faith-based organizations in the community to identify resources that will replace the services that were provided.”

So much for the freedom of speech and diversity of thought. It would be one thing if it was a private company that elected to end a relationship with the church over the pastor’s opinions. But for the city to do it is a fundamental violation of Hodges’s and the church’s First Amendment rights. Government officials are punishing the expression of political opinion. That’s beyond the pale. This is not America; this is 1984.


Coco Pops racism row: Former British Leftist MP says breakfast cereal is racist

How can the Coco Pops monkey be racist? Only if one believes that monkeys represent black people, which many Lefties seem to believe. So clearly lefties are the racists and they are projecting their racism onto the rest of us.

I am pretty sure that the motivation for the monkey was deliberate.  Advertisers like to populate their time on the screen with "aspirational" images.  Images of a black person would be hopeless for that.  With very rare exceptions, nobody wants to be black or sees blackness as desirable.  The monkey was an image that was at least was pleasant

Cereal giant Kellogg’s has been accused of racism by a former MP in Britain who has questioned why its popular breakfast treat Coco Pops is promoted with a monkey, while its white coloured stablemate Rice Krispies has three fair-skinned characters splashed on its box.

The former Labour politician Fiona Onasanya, who was jailed last year after she lied to police about a speeding ticket, wrote to the Kellogg’s demanding answers and shared her claims on social media.

She says there is no difference between the two cereal products other than flavour and colour.

“As you are yet to reply to my email,” the disgraced former MP wrote in a tweet directed at the brand.

“Coco Pops and Rice Krispies have the same composition (except for the fact CPs are brown and chocolate flavoured).

“So I was wondering why Rice Krispies have three white boys representing the brand and Coco Pops have a monkey?”

In response to the claims Kellogg’s said it stands in support of the black community and conceded it was important discussions are raised to improve racial equality.

“The monkey mascot that appears on both white and milk chocolate Coco Pops, was created in the 1980s to highlight the playful personality of the brand,” the company said, according to Daily Mail UK.

“As part of our ambition to bring fun to the breakfast table, we have a range of characters that we show on our cereal boxes, including tigers, giraffes, crocodiles, elves and a narwhal.

“We do not tolerate discrimination and believe that people of all races, genders, backgrounds, sexual orientation, religions, capabilities and beliefs should be treated with the utmost dignity and respect.”

A number of responses to the tweet addressed the accusation.

“The monkey is called Coco,” one said. “Remove the monkey and they are just called pops.”

And another: “The cacao tree from which cocoa beans and hence cocoa powder is derived is native to the Amazon Basin where there are monkeys.”

The claims come on the back of a global uprising which has reignited the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd, who was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis.


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Twitter system to identify 5G coronavirus conspiracy tweets goes haywire

A new system designed to limit coronavirus misinformation has suffered constant errors, drawing scorn and mockery from users

One month after promising to impose warning labels on misleading tweets about coronavirus, Twitter is still failing to accurately distinguish factual information from fake news.

Starting in early May, the company has been using artificial intelligence (AI) to identify misinformation and apply mild or strong warnings depending on how "dangerous" it is, aiming to expand them to other topics in future.

The policy is part of an ongoing attempt to clean up Twitter's service, which has already entangled both it and its rivals Facebook and Snapchat in a furious row with US President Donald Trump.

But since then Twitter's misinformation labels have frequently lapsed into farce, wrongly catching obscene jokes, factual news headlines and complaints about false claims while leaving die-hard conspiracy theorists untouched....


Influencer uses blackface photo to show solidarity with BLM movement

An Algerian influencer has been called out over a “disrespectful” post in which she uses blackface to show her support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Souhila Ben Lachhab is just one of several influencers who have been slammed for painting their face black, supposedly to show solidarity with the movement in response to George Floyd’s death.

The black Minneapolis man was killed in police custody, with his death triggering worldwide protests against racism.

But instead of taking to the streets for peaceful demonstrations, some people have taken a different approach – painting their faces black.

Blackface traces its roots from 19th century minstrel performers who darkened their skin to play characters that promoted negative stereotypes about black men and women.

Lachhab shared a post to Instagram of her sporting half a face of blackface, writing in the cation that it was to show “we are one”.

“Just because we are black on the outside, doesn’t mean that we are black on the inside,” she wrote. “Racist people are the true black heart ones. They are black on the inside, though they do not know it.”

But Lachhab’s followers quickly pointed out that she had missed the point with her post, labelling it wildly offensive.

“Somebody take her phone and delete this,” one person wrote, while another added: “Blackface is sourced from racism, you can express your solidarity without painting yourself. “Blackface is considered racist and offensive and disrespectful, educate yourself for f**k’s sake,” one person commented.

She’s not the only influencer who has been called out over a misplaced attempt to show solidarity to the movement. Tania Saleh shared a photo of her face photoshopped onto a black woman’s body, writing in the caption: “I wish I was black, today more than ever.


Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Jailed for what they believed, not for anything they did

Four neo-Nazi "diehards" convicted of being members of the banned terrorist group National Action have been jailed.

Former Miss Hitler beauty pageant contestant Alice Cutter and her former partner Mark Jones were convicted of membership of a terrorist group after a trial in March, alongside co-accused Garry Jack and Connor Scothern.

Sentencing at Birmingham Crown Court on Tuesday, Judge Paul Farrer QC told Jones he had played "a significant role in the continuation of the organisation" after its ban in December 2016.

Turning to Cutter, he said she "never held an organisational or leadership role" but was a "trusted confidante" of one the group's leaders, as well as being in a "committed relationship" with Jones.

National Action, labelled "racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic" by the former home secretary Amber Rudd, was banned in December 2016 after a series of rallies and incidents, including praise of the murder of MP Jo Cox.

Cutter, 23, who entered the Miss Hitler beauty contest as Miss Buchenwald - a reference to the Second World War death camp - had denied ever being a member, despite attending the group's rallies.

Jurors were shown messages in which the waitress joked about gassing synagogues, using a Jew's head as a football, and exclaiming "rot in hell" after hearing of Ms Cox's murder.


Netflix subscribers slam hit film The Help for its 'white savior' narrative and demand for it to be REMOVED - as it tops the US most-watched list

Netflix subscribers are urging the streaming service to remove the Oscar-winning historical drama The Help as they accuse the hit film of having a 'white savior' narrative.

The 2011 film, which was adapted from a novel written by author Kathryn Stockett, imagines the relationship between black maids, cooks and nannies during the 1960s, and the white people who they served.

It has become the most-watched movie on Netflix in recent weeks, coinciding with  ongoing protests across the US in the wake of the death of unarmed black man George Floyd at the hands of white cop Derek Chauvin and three other officers who looked on.

Social media users have blasted the film on Twitter, and urged the streaming service to remove it, arguing that there are better films available that address racism throughout history. 

The 2011 film was added to the Netflix catalogue on June 1. It became the number one film on the US website by June 4.

Thousands of Twitter users have voiced concerns about the message portrayed in The Help, which stars Viola Davis, Emma Stone and Octavia Spencer.

Blasting The Help, one Twitter user wrote: 'So The Help is now Netflix most watched movie. One question: WHO is out her watching The Help to understand racism and discrimination?

'The movie isn't going to teach you anything about the injustice faced by black people. Go watch 13th or When They See Us #TheHelp'

Another said: 'I'll be the one to say Netflix releasing The Help after protests and riots in America was not a good move.'

'Instead of watching The Help on Netflix which centers around a white savior complex, watch other works including: When They See Us, 13th, Malcom X, Dear White People, Just Mercy, Watchmen, I am Not Your Negro,' added another.

The hit movie follows a white journalist as she explores the racial prejudice that black people experience in the town where she lives.


Monday, June 15, 2020

Nigel Farage dropped from LBC talk show after Black Lives Matter comment

Nigel Farage has lost his LBC radio show after comparing the Black Lives Matter movement to the Taliban. The station announced that Farage was stepping down with immediate effect.

Officially, LBC gave no reasons for his departure. But insiders claimed there had been pressure from staff and fellow presenters who were furious about his comments.

After the statue of Edward Colston was toppled in Bristol, Farage tweeted: “A new form of the Taliban was born in the UK today. Unless we get moral leadership quickly our cities won’t be worth living in.”

In an appearance on ITV’s Good Morning Britain two days later, the former UKIP leader said: “The slogan Black Lives Matter and wanting to end injustice and inequality is a laudable aim. The organisation Black Lives Matter is a Far Left Marxist organisation whose chief aim is to defund and close down police forces so that we would live under anarchy.”

Making the announcement, LBC said: “Nigel Farage’s contract with LBC is up very shortly and, following discussions with him, Nigel is stepping down from LBC with immediate effect.

However, a friend of Mr Farage said : “He is the third-highest paid presenter on the station because he attracts such big audiences and advertising revenue, so this is not about him being surplus to requirements.

“I think we all know what this is about. There are people who want to take him down just because they disagree with him.”


'Her views are something we would never endorse': Sonia Kruger is DROPPED from a popular podcast - following her controversial comments on Muslim immigration

Given the various attacks on Australians by Jihadis, it is surely reasonable to want to restrict the sub-population they come from

Sonia Kruger has been dropped from Mamamia's beauty podcast, You Beauty. As reported by The Daily Telegraph on Friday, administrators announced on Facebook that they have removed her episode this week on sensitive skin.

The lifestyle website informed followers that the decision was based on Kruger's past comments relating to Muslim immigration, that some found to be 'deeply hurtful'.

In February last year, a tribunal found Kruger, 54, vilified Muslims when she called for Australia to close its borders to followers of Islam because she 'didn't feel safe'.

The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal delivered their decision almost three years after Kruger's explosive comments were made on the Today Show in July 2016.

The tribunal found Kruger's 'vilifying remarks' had the ability to 'encourage hatred towards, or serious contempt for, Australian Muslims by ordinary members of the Australian population'. 

Kruger shocked former colleagues David Campbell and Lisa Wilkinson when she discussed a column written by conservative commentator Andrew Bolt following a terrorist attack in Nice on Bastille Day.

'I mean, personally, I think Andrew Bolt has a point here, that there is a correlation between the number of people who are Muslim in a country and the number of terrorist attacks,' she said.

'Now I have a lot of very good friends who are Muslim, who are peace-loving who are beautiful people, but there are fanatics.

'Personally I would like to see it (immigration) stopped now for Australia. Because I want to feel safe, as all of our citizens do, when they go out to celebrate Australia Day.'

The tribunal decided Kruger was 'calm and measured' in her comments and believed she made it clear she did not think every Muslim person was a fanatic.

'Broadly, the Tribunal accepts that the purpose of the discussion in question was to have a debate about the size of the Australian Muslim population, the levels of Muslim migration and whether an increase in the level of either increases the likelihood of future terrorist attacks in Australia,' the Tribunal said.

'Further, the Tribunal accepts that to have a public discussion on such matters was in the public interest.'

While the tribunal accepted Kruger and Nine acted in good faith and without malice, they could not accept that her remarks were 'reasonable'.


Sunday, June 14, 2020

Merriam-Webster dictionary to revise definition of racism after complaints

It is rare for me to agree with a Leftist but I heartily endorse the claim below that the dictionary definition is inadequate. But my grounds for disagreement differ.

The dictionary definitions below are a highpoint of philosophical inadequacy.  They define racism, in terms of itself!  They effectively say racism is racism.  The whole entry should be scrapped.  I would offer only two definitions that comply with current usage:

1). To the hysterical Left any mention of race is racism and any mention of racial differences is doubly so. Such reactions are irrational however so the most expansive definition I would support is "preference for one group over another".

2). Even that usage, however tends to associate too much with racism. It associates probably harmless attitudes with some of the great evils of history. A more historically-grounded definition would be: "Advocating or practicing harm or disadvantage to other people solely on account of their race". Racism of that sort is exceedingly rare today outside Muslim countries.

In a blow to arguments that end with “well, this is the dictionary definition of racism”, the dictionary definition of racism is being revised.

Editors at Merriam-Webster confirmed on Wednesday that they will revise the word’s definition after a campaign by a 22-year-old Drake University graduate, Kennedy Mitchum.

Mitchum wrote to the dictionary asking it to update its definition. She said that people often use the dictionary definition of racism to argue that something is not racist, on the basis that racism requires a personal dislike of someone based on their race to be real.

In an email to Merriam-Webster, Mitchum wrote: “Racism is not only prejudice against a certain race due to the color of a person’s skin, as it states in your dictionary,. It is both prejudice combined with social and institutional power. It is a system of advantage based on skin color.”

The definition, which incorporates the idea that prejudice alone is not racism (rather, racism requires a system of institutional power behind it in order to function) was put forward by the sociologist Patricia Bidol in the 1970s.

The current definition of racism in Merriam-Webster reads:

    1: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race

    2a: a doctrine or political program based on the assumption of racism and designed to execute its principles

    b: a political or social system founded on racism

    3: racial prejudice or discrimination

Editors have conceded that the entry has not been rewritten in decades. “This entry has not been revised in decades,” Merriam-Webster editor-at-large, Peter Sokolowski, told the Times, adding that the new definition would be an “improvement of the wording”.

Editors added that although the dictionary aims to reflect the real-world usage of a word, rather than a particular viewpoint, “we have concluded that omitting any mention of the systemic aspects of racism promotes a certain viewpoint in itself … It also does a disservice to readers of all races.”



A reader has sent me a better definition:

"A racist is one who practices or desires harm or disadvantage to another people based only on their race"

Two jokes derail a young Australian conservative

The money box joke is explained below and the second joke turns on the fact that "Fuehrer" in German simply means "leader".  To most people who know no German it is known only as a common title of Hitler. 

The student below however did know the meaning of the term and used it in that sense -- to indicate in a jocular way his admiration of a student who was critical of ties with China.  He was saying that he too was critical of ties with China. 

The Australian "Young Liberals" are a conservative group

A young Liberal who was fired as an MP's staffer over 'racist' social media posts has said his sacking was 'unfair' and political correctness has 'gone mad'.

University of Queensland economics student Barclay McGain, 20, said he reached a 'mutual agreement' to leave Coalition MP Andrew Laming's office this week after two offensive social media posts were unearthed.

One was a snapchat which he sent to friends and family showing him holding a money box featuring a picture of an indigenous person with exaggerated features.

The other was a Facebook post in which he called suspended student Drew Pavlou 'Mein Fuhrer' - German for my leader - alongside an altered video of a scene showing Adolf Hitler in the movie Downfall.

In an interview with Daily Mail Australia, Mr McGain - who was suspended from the Young LNP in December over a video of him laughing at a racist joke - apologised for the posts but said he should not have been sacked.

'I think it's unfair. My posts have been misconstrued and misinterpreted,' he said. 'All the things that have been tabled against me have been taken gravely out of context.

'The picture of me holding my stepfather's money box was to display the irony of me being cast in the media as some-one who disrespects indigenous culture when in reality I've grown up for the last 12 years with an indigenous stepfather who always respected an honoured his heritage,' he said.

'The Mein Furer comment to Drew was a joke and in no way insinuates that I sympathise with the despicable actions committed by the Third Reich in WWII. That's not the case.

'If anyone who wants to heavily misconstrue it that way then I apologise that they've taken offense. That was not my intention.'

Drew Pavlou is fighting his suspension by the University of Queensland for allegedly breaching its code of conduct by holding anti-Chinese government protests on campus. 

The 20-year-old, who yesterday left the LNP youth wing to focus on his studies, said he thinks his sacking is 'definitely linked' to the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement after the death of African-American security guard George Floyd.

He railed against the resulting 'cancel culture' which has seen demonstrators in the US and the UK topple statues they deem offensive while streaming services pull old shows they perceive to be racist, including Netflix which has axed Sydney comedian Chris Lilley's work.

'I think this is political correctness gone mad. My gripe with this is that companies are completely virtue signalling and telling us that we can't watch an Aussie icon's comedy without being racist,' Mr McGain said.

'I disagree with that assumption and I don't think them censoring anything on their platforms changes any racial attitudes that still exist today or any issues facing indigenous people today.'


Friday, June 12, 2020

It's OK to mock Conservatives, apparently

In reality, Ms Patel comes across as a rather attractive white woman

The Guardian will not remove a cartoon which portrayed Priti Patel as a bull, despite her describing the image as racist and offensive.

The illustration, by the Guardian’s cartoonist, Steve Bell, depicted Ms Patel and Boris Johnson with horns and rings through their noses.

Speaking in the Commons on Monday, Ms Patel listed her experiences of racism. She spoke of being portrayed as “a fat cow with a ring through its nose, something that was not only racist but offensive, both culturally and religiously”. Ms Patel is a Hindu.

The cartoon was published in March and remains on the Guardian’s website. Responding to the Home Secretary’s comments, a Guardian News and Media spokesman said: “The cartoon was subject to a review by the Guardian’s independent readers’ editor at the time of publication.


Must not speak Chinese to a Chinese person (??)

She was greeted in both Mandarin and Cantonese but neither was any good, apparently

I speak some German and some Italian and during my lifetime I have always found that German and Italian people were pleased when I tried to speak their language.  But we now live in more negative times, it seems

Newly eliminated MasterChef star Sarah Tiong accuses an Australian radio station of 'racism' after being greeted by the host in Mandarin Chinese

Newly eliminated MasterChef contestant Sarah Tiong has lashed out at an Australian radio station after they greeted her in Mandarin Chinese.

In a series of posts on Instagram Stories on Wednesday, the 29-year-old said she 'felt uncomfortable and shocked' by the incident. 

'Today, in an Australian radio interview with Triple M Sunraysia, the host greeted me by saying "ni hao ma",' she explained.

'I do not believe this went to air. However, I felt uncomfortable and shocked. The call was immediately ended. This is racism. What an insensitive, tone deaf thing to say. Please, check yourself and do better.'

A fan then responded to Sarah's post, asking why she thought it was racist, prompting the MasterChef: Back to Win star to explain further.

'It is racist to assume I identify as Chinese and speak the Chinese language,' she continued, after the fan commented that they thought it was 'respectful'.

'Even if I have referenced such heritage or knowledge in the past, it is privileged and ignorant to assume anything about me based on the colour of my skin.

'It is rude and privileged to assume that I understand that Asian language, just because I appear of that descent.'

Sarah continued, revealing the unnamed host had then asked her if it was 'lei ho ma' instead.

'The mere presumption that I speak or want to speak Mandarin or Cantonese with you followed by the flippant dismissal of distinguishing the two different languages is racist,' she added.

'It is not funny, or clever. It just illustrates how deep rooted racial toxicity is in this country, and anyone with a voice in media should know better,' the 38-year-old added.


Thursday, June 11, 2020

Saints' Drew Brees draws backlash for 'disrespecting the flag' comment

METAIRIE, La. -- After earlier sharing a message of unity on social media, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees attracted backlash Wednesday when he reiterated his stance that he will "never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America" during an interview with Yahoo Finance.

Brees' comments came when he was asked during the interview to revisit former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's 2016 protest of police brutality against minorities, in which Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem before games. Brees' remarks on the flag drew a sharp rebuke on social media across the sports landscape, including from Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.

Brees gave a lengthy response to ESPN when asked about the perceived conflict between his statements, including a potential divide in his locker room, where players such as Malcolm Jenkins and Demario Davis are among the leaders of the players' coalition seeking social justice and racial equality.

"I love and respect my teammates, and I stand right there with them in regard to fighting for racial equality and justice," Brees said. "I also stand with my grandfathers, who risked their lives for this country, and countless other military men and women who do it on a daily basis."

An emotional Jenkins, in a video that has since been deleted from social media, said that he was "hurt" by Brees' comments and that they were "extremely self-centered."

"Our communities are under siege, and we need help," Jenkins said in the deleted video. "And what you're telling us is don't ask for help that way. Ask for it a different way. I can't listen to it when you ask that way. We're done asking, Drew. And people who share your sentiments, who express those and push them throughout the world, the airwaves, are the problem.

"And it's unfortunate because I considered you a friend. I looked up to you. You're somebody who I had a great deal of respect for. But sometimes you should shut the f--- up."


PETER HITCHENS: Did YouTube use its Shadow Banners to censor my views?

Last week I was censored, but in a thoroughly modern way. I did not even know it had happened until I was alerted by others.

I still do not know for certain who was responsible. Those who wanted to hear what I had to say did not even know they were being stopped from doing so.

It took place, as so much now does, on the internet. I gave an interview about the Virus Farce to two clever young men, Konstantin Kisin and Francis Foster.

Calling themselves ‘Triggernometry’, they successfully present frequent programmes on the supposedly open-to-all YouTube platform.

This is now owned by the Left-wing internet giant Google and, like almost all such outfits, is based in California.

I said what I have been saying here for months – that the crashing of the economy and the stifling of personal liberty were utterly out of proportion to the danger from Covid-19.

I pointed out they were damaging to public health and to the future of our society. I gave evidence for my view and quoted eminent experts. I do not think I said anything that was false or abusive.

But, within a couple of hours of launching the interview, Konstantin and Francis noticed a very strange thing. It was almost impossible to find, even if you knew where to look.

They went public with the problem and immediately found that plenty of other people were having the same difficulty. The interview just didn’t come up, even if you searched quite hard.

I am pretty sure (but cannot prove) that I was the victim of something called Shadow Banning, which is as sinister as it sounds. Someone had fiddled with the computer codes called algorithms, which guide the searches everyone makes on the World Wide Web.

A number of people, including Toby Young in The Spectator and the LBC presenter Iain Dale, joined a public protest against this. Also on my side was Freddie Sayers of the website UnHerd.

A few days before, he had been brutally informed by YouTube that they were removing an excellent interview he had conducted with Professor Karol Sikora, the distinguished cancer expert.

Prof Sikora had said: ‘When the history books are written, the fear will have done much more damage than the virus, including large numbers of cancer and cardiological patients not being treated and dying unnecessarily.’

This is no doubt controversial. But Prof Sikora is more entitled to say it than most.

UnHerd received a message (beginning cheerily ‘Hi UnHerd’) from a nameless spokesman for something called ‘YouTube Team’.

In some electronic kangaroo court, they had decided the Sikora interview had ‘violated their guidelines’. They did not say why or how. They explained in their message that they did not allow content which promotes ‘violent or dangerous acts’. Prof Sikora didn’t do that. They also warned against material that was ‘shocking, disrespectful or sensational’. Which it also wasn’t.

I have looked at those guidelines and can see nothing which justifies this action. But YouTube almost immediately threw out UnHerd’s appeal against this blatant censoring. UnHerd has some powerful friends and made a big fuss. YouTube eventually gave way, admitted it had made a mistake, and put the interview back. It was all a bit embarrassing.

You can see why they might not want to do that again. Then, within days I, too, was being censored, but in a different way. In both cases, the subject that caused the trouble was criticism of the Virus Panic.

My readers here at The Mail on Sunday, readers of my MailOnline blog and those who follow me as @ClarkeMicah on Twitter, know I have been making this case with facts and logic for months. But millions are unaware there is any dissent from this policy. Does someone want to keep them ignorant?

I’ve had no traceable response from YouTube to my complaints, apart from what looked like an automated reply. But, again, after a considerable fuss, they sort of backed down – the interview is now reasonably easy to find.

But what about people who don’t have my contacts, allies or clout? Their stuff can be taken down or Shadow Banned in silence.

I remember, nearly 30 years ago, the extraordinary day when the mighty Soviet Communist Party newspaper Pravda revealed it had for many years had an official censor in its office, cutting out anything that might upset the Kremlin.

It was no surprise, but it was so blatant that the revelation still had the power to disgust me. Soon afterwards, this shady figure retired, we thought forever.

But it seems the censors have come back and I am not at all comforted that these days they wear sweatshirts and baseball caps, and say ‘Hi!’ before wielding their blue pencils and banishing dissent to the unheard shadows.