Friday, October 30, 2020

Norwegian police ‘apologize’ for ordering local to take down drawings of Prophet Mohammed he put up in defense of free speech

Norwegian police have admitted they were wrong in asking a local man to tear down cartoons of Prophet Mohammed which he had hung around the town in response to the gruesome murder of a teacher in France.

A man in his 40s, who wished to remain anonymous, printed out cartoons of Prophet Mohammed and hung them around the town of Kongsberg last week. He chose popular places like the local mall and cinema, as well as bus stops, to make sure the cartoons would be seen by as many people as possible.

The man explained to the public broadcaster NRK that he wanted to highlight the importance of freedom of expression and that “Islam cannot have any special protection in a free society.” He added that he wanted an “honest conversation about Islam without people getting labeled as racists and fascists.”

While the individual, who is also a father to small children, according to media reports, admitted that he wanted to see if the cartoons would provoke any reaction from police, he said he did not expect four officers to come knocking at his door the very same day.

He told the Human Rights Service NGO that police were concerned that Muslims would be offended by the drawings. The officers argued that the posters were put up without a permit, so they ordered him to take them down and to never do anything like that again, the man said. According to him, the officers even threatened him with legal action.

UNI's president cites free speech in overruling student leaders, allowing anti-abortion group to form on campus

University of Northern Iowa President Mark Nook has ruled that a local chapter of the national Students for Life of America organization, an advocacy group that opposes abortion, will be allowed to form a student group on campus.

"This was a decision that ultimately came down to the First Amendment and students' right to not only free speech, but free assembly," Nook said in an interview Tuesday with the Iowa City Press-Citizen. "And if we don't protect that right for any group, then we can't protect it for every group."

Nook's ruling overrules an earlier decision by UNI student government, which denied Students for Life's application to form a group on campus. The student government had said the group could create a hostile environment and would not be formed in "good faith," a requirement for student groups to form under UNI policy.

Although not all members of the student government agreed, the majority decision of the student Supreme Court wrote that Students for Life's application was "lacking in evidence of being an equitable, just and welcoming student organization for our students and community found on campus of the University of Northern Iowa."

Students for Life leaders appealed the decision to President Nook last week, and Nook weighed in on the matter in a letter to students government leaders and a representative of the Students for Life group Sunday, overturning the previous decisions.

Nook wrote that the student government overlooked the school's policies protecting free speech and appeared to make its denial "based on the content of the student organization's viewpoint, speech and assumed potential activities."




Thursday, October 29, 2020

YouTube, Vimeo Remove Conservative Entrepreneur’s COVID-19 Video

The online video platforms YouTube and Vimeo have censored a video of “The Bill Walton Show” about the danger of COVID-19 shutdowns for violating standards enforced by each company.

YouTube removed the 47-minute video of the program in which Walton interviews Jay Richards, one of three authors of the book “The Price of Panic: How the Tyranny of Experts Turned a Pandemic into a Catastrophe.”

YouTube banned the video Oct. 18, saying it “violated their community standards and their COVID-19 medical misinformation policy,” Walton, host of “The Bill Walton Show” and a trustee of The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview Friday.

Walton, a successful business leader, investor, and entrepreneur, has produced 96 episodes of the show. From its inception in 2017, he said, YouTube never before had removed his content.

The episode in question, “‘Paying the Price of Panic’ with Dr. Jay Richards,” argues that “the harm caused by the lockdown vastly exceeds the benefits of protecting people from COVID-19,” Walton said.

“That is not to say that we should not be careful,” Walton said, “ … but I am saying you can carefully protect the vulnerable while at the same time opening up the country.”

Richards, an assistant research professor in the School of Business and Economics at The Catholic University of America, wrote “The Price of Panic” with William Briggs, a mathematician and scientist who was a professor of statistics at Cornell University Medical School, and Douglas Axe, a professor of molecular biology at Biola University.

The true danger of state and local governments’ response to COVID-19 “ultimately is the loss of political and religious freedom,” Richards said on Walton’s show.

“When governments use emergencies historically in order to extend their power over more and more of society, it’s very rare in which they actually retreat from that power,” Richards, also a senior fellow at the think tank Discovery Institute, said.

Upon the video’s removal, Maureen O’Donnell, digital producer for “The Bill Walton Show,” emailed YouTube on Oct. 20 to explain that she had read the platform’s “COVID-19 Medical Misinformation Policy” and thought the Walton program complied with it:

I have read the COVID-19 Medical Misinformation Policy and believe that our video does not violate any of the categories. The video you took down was a promotion of a book that is being published by a reputable publisher written by [three] prominent scholars. If you would please give me specifics as to which one of the categories that was violated, it would be helpful and give me better clarification.

YouTube had not responded to O’Donnell’s email by Monday, but on Oct. 21 posted “appeal rejected” on the show’s YouTube channel without further explanation.

ASU student journalist removed over Jacob Blake tweet sues university in fight for free speech

The Walter Cronkite Blaze Radio station manager who was removed last month after she posted a tweet that sparked student outcry has filed a lawsuit against Arizona State University, claiming the university violated her free speech rights by removing her from her role because of her tweet.

Rae’Lee Klein, a senior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, on Aug. 29 had shared on her personal Twitter account a New York Post article that brought to light the sexual assault charges against Jacob Blake, a black man who was shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Aug. 23.

The caption of her now-deleted tweet had read: “Always more to the story, folks. Please read this article to get the background of Jacob Blake’s warrant. You’ll be quite disgusted.”

Despite immediate intense student backlash at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and demands that she resign, echoed by the Blaze Radio student board’s unanimous vote for her removal, Klein refused to resign.

The lawsuit, which names the school, Interim Dean Kristin Gilger, and ASU as defendants, claims that the university violated Klein’s First Amendment rights and Arizona state law by “refusing to allow [her] to continue as station manager of The Blaze because of the content of her tweet.”




Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Words mean nothing when those on the left use them in arguments

Comment from Australia

It’s easy to win an argument if you’re a leftist. All you need to do is change the rules of language as you go.

Plenty of allies will assist in this slippery enterprise. For example, then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard famously claimed in 2012 that Liberal leader Tony Abbott hated women.

“The leader of the opposition says that people who hold sexist views and who are misogynists are not appropriate for high ­office,” Gillard railed in parliament.

“Well, I hope the leader of the opposition has got a piece of paper and he’s writing out his resignation. “Because if he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia, he doesn’t need a ­motion in the House of Representatives. He needs a mirror.“

At the time, misogyny was defined as a hatred of women.

This seemed an unfair accusation to level against Abbott, whose mother, wife, daughters, sister and female colleagues have never known him to exhibit any gender-specific loathing.

So the Macquarie Dictionary stepped in to help, softening the meaning of “misogyny” to now indicate a mere implication of “prejudice” against women.

“Gillard‘s critics no longer have semantics on their side,” the Guardian’s Lizzy Davies gloated. See? It’s just that easy.
But the cultural left doesn’t stop at changing definitions.

They’ll also change words and phrases, rebranding various unpopular commie concepts so those abominations may be more easily marketed.

That’s why “socialism” became “social justice”, “global warming” became “climate change”, “East Germany” became “Victoria” and “advanced confinement-grade dementia” became “Joe Biden”.

It’s also why “riots” became “peaceful protests” and “violent Marxist stormtroopers” became “Black Lives Matter”.

Words mean nothing to these people, except as shields or weapons. That’s “progressives” for you.

Parents back headmistress of £40,000-a-year Kent girls' boarding school in racism row after students demand she apologise for saying the word 'negro' in black history month assembly about how language has changed

Parents have backed the headmistress of a £40,000-a-year Kent girls' boarding school after students demanded she apologise for using the word 'negro' in a school assembly.

Samantha Price, head of Benenden School, which Princess Anne attended, used the term during a speech on Black History Month to show how language around black people had changed.

Afterwards she received complaints from some senior girls who claimed negro was as offensive as the n-word and her use of it could make pupils think they could do the same.

In response, she said: 'The original name contains an offensive word and by using this word in this context I was attempting to show how far language around black people has come since then.

'However, in hindsight I recognise it was not necessary to use the specific word and I accept that by using this word at all I have caused offence to some pupils. Clearly, this was never my intention and I unreservedly apologise for that error.'

But parents leapt to her defence and said it was not necessary to apologise for trying to educate pupils about the history of racial inequality.

One parent, a leading surgeon of Asian ethnicity, called Mrs Price a 'wonderful headmistress' who was trying to promote 'education and debate'.

Mrs Price explained how, when it began in 1926, Black History Month was known as 'Negro History Week' in America.

During the assembly she also said there was an 'important debate to have' over whether the commemoration was needed in the modern world since 'black history should be fully immersed in UK culture by now'.




Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Trump campaign press secretary temporarily suspended on Twitter over mail-in voting tweet

The Trump campaign’s national press secretary had his Twitter account suspended Thursday, just hours before the presidential debate, after he tweeted about his experience of being sent absentee ballot materials intended for someone else.

National press secretary Hogan Gidley tweeted about receiving an envelope in the mail that was addressed to someone else, by the name of “Daniel.”

"Got ‘my’...uh…”Daniel’s” ballot in the mail?!? Who is that? Apparently it’s a former tenant who hasn’t lived in the unit for 8 YEARS!!! But yeah, sure...the mainstream media is correct...unsolicited vote-by-mail is ‘totally safe.'”

He attached a screenshot of an envelope postmarked from the D.C. Board of Elections and marked “Your Official Ballot.” Separately it was marked “Official absentee balloting material -- first-class mail.”

Gidley was temporarily suspended by Twitter for violating the social media platform’s rules -- specifically those about “violating our rules against posting misleading information about voting.”

“You may not post content providing false information about voting or registering to vote,” it said.

“I, like many other Americans, received a ballot in the mail that was not meant for me, and that proves what the president has been saying is one hundred percent correct -- that there are serious issues with the Democrats’ plan for universal, unsolicited mail in voting,” Gidley told Fox News.

“Irrationally, inexplicably suspending my Twitter account simply for tweeting about the incorrect ballot is completely insane, and it won’t cover up the fact that Democrats changing the way we vote just weeks before an election is dangerous and fraught with the potential for massive fraud,” he said.

The Trump campaign told Fox that Gidley appealed the decision, but that appeal was rejected. Gidley then deleted the tweet in question, and has since had his access restored

Women slam Tampax over tweet celebrating the 'diversity of all people who bleed' amid calls for boycott

You can't win

Tampax has faced a backlash online after saying that 'not all people with periods are women'. The tampon company tweeted in support of transgender people and insisted that 'not all women have periods'.

The company said: 'Fact: Not all women have periods. Also a fact: Not all people with periods are women. Let's celebrate the diversity of all people who bleed.

But some feminists online accused Tampax's owner, Procter & Gamble, of 'erasing' women with their message.

Others praised the company for the inclusivity and show of support to trans people in the tweet.

Among those stoking the flames online were Laurence Fox, who wrote: 'I'm genuinely interested to know who at Tampax thought it might be a good idea to gamble your entire client base (Biological Women) against this anti-factual and anti woman, virtue vomit.'

Others online questioned the science of the statement, saying only women have uteruses.

It led to calls to boycott the popular brand by customers who feel they are being 'erased' by the message.




Monday, October 26, 2020

Twitter Blocks Daily Signal’s Kenosha Video With ‘Sensitive Material’ Warning

Twitter put a “sensitive material” label Thursday on The Daily Signal’s news video showing businesses burned by rioters in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The Daily Signal’s three-minute video, released late Wednesday, highlights some of the destruction wrought by rioters on the nights of Aug. 23 and 24.

The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation.

Twitter’s “sensitive material” warning does not remove the content from the platform, but does make the material harder to access by requiring users to click on the “view” button on the warning label.

The Daily Signal’s video features images of Car Source, a Kenosha car dealership torched by rioters; B&L Office Furniture, which was leveled by arson; and parts of the Uptown neighborhood where much of the violence occurred.

The Daily Signal later Thursday asked Twitter to remove the “sensitive material” warning.

Twitter responded Thursday night, saying that the social media giant had moved The Daily Signal’s request to the platform’s support team “for further review.”

GOP Senators Subpoena Twitter, Facebook CEOs Over Biased Censorship

It looks like Senate Republicans might finally be stepping up to the plate when it comes to holding social media companies like Twitter and Facebook accountable for their apparent bias against conservatives. On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to compel the CEOs of the two companies to testify about their censorious practices.

With Democrats choosing to boycott the hearing, the GOP-controlled committee voted to subpoena Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey if they did not agree to appear voluntarily. The lawmakers wish to hear from the two CEOs about “the suppression and/or censorship of two news articles from the New York Post,” according to the document. They are also asking for information regarding the two platforms’ policies around moderating content “that may interfere” with federal elections.

Both social media companies suppressed the dissemination of a story published by the New York Post, which provided information regarding a hard drive that belonged to Hunter Biden, son of former Vice President Joe Biden, who is currently running for president. The story discussed emails found on the hard drive that showed a potential link between the Biden family and shady business deals involving the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). It also showed evidence that the younger Biden had been engaging in sexually inappropriate behavior with underage girls.

While Joe Biden and his close friends and allies in the corporate press have tried to spin the revelation as Russian disinformation, the Directors of National Intelligence and the FBI debunked this narrative. Both Twitter and Facebook claim that they scuttled the story because it contains “misinformation” and “hacked materials.” Yet, neither have backed up their claim.

Moreover, there was no “hacked material” in the New York Post story — it was information taken directly from Hunter Biden’s hard drive.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Twitter Blue Checks Mock Trump's 'Coyote' Remark and It Ends Disastrously for Them

Twitter blue checks who tried to mock President Trump for saying “coyotes” smuggle children across the southern border of the United States learned the hard way that Trump was not actually talking about the animal.

“Did @realDonaldTrump just say 545 kids they can’t find their parents for came over through ‘cartels and coyotes’?!” asked Dar’shun Kendrick, a corporate attorney and state representative in Georgia who supports Joe Biden. “How the hell does a coyote bring a whole human across the border?!”

Another Twitter blue check who seems not to be aware of the term is Harvard college student David Hogg.

It would be funny if they were the only ones unaware that a “coyote” is a paid human smuggler who assists illegal immigrants trying to cross the border. In fact, many anti-Trump blue checks on Twitter were completely ignorant about the term:

These people were so desperate to criticize Trump for using a term they actually didn’t know the meaning of. It’s kind of the perfect metaphor for Joe Biden supporters. They hate Trump so much they’ll criticize him over an issue they clearly aren’t well informed about.

Twitter Blocks Daily Signal’s Kenosha Video With ‘Sensitive Material’ Warning

Twitter put a “sensitive material” label Thursday on The Daily Signal’s news video showing businesses burned by rioters in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The Daily Signal’s three-minute video, released late Wednesday, highlights some of the destruction wrought by rioters on the nights of Aug. 23 and 24.

Twitter’s “sensitive material” warning does not remove the content from the platform, but does make the material harder to access by requiring users to click on the “view” button on the warning label.

Twitter users, and not the platform itself, usually flag tweets they say includes sensitive content. This is sometimes a “coordinated effort by trolls on the left” who report tweets as a means to suppress content they don’t agree with, Lyndsey Fifield, The Heritage Foundation’s social media manager, said.

The Daily Signal’s video features images of Car Source, a Kenosha car dealership torched by rioters; B&L Office Furniture, which was leveled by arson; and parts of the Uptown neighborhood where much of the violence occurred.

The video recalls that riots erupted in Kenosha following a white police officer’s shooting of a black man.

The Daily Signal later Thursday asked Twitter to remove the “sensitive material” warning.

Twitter responded Thursday night, saying that the social media giant had moved The Daily Signal’s request to the platform’s support team “for further review.”

Twitter notified The Daily Signal late Friday that it had removed the “sensitive material” warning on the video.




Friday, October 23, 2020

Free Speech Activist Attacked in SF Now Faces Same Censorship He Was Rallying Against

Free speech activist and organizer Phillip Anderson was violently assaulted at a Saturday rally against Big Tech censorship in San Francisco. The assailant has since been arrested and charged with a hate crime, but Anderson’s main concern is the online censorship he says ensued after video and reports of the assault went viral online.

The event, organized by Anderson’s group Team Save America was set to be a demonstration against censorship by Big Tech, but Anderson says it resulted in exactly the type of speech suppression he and his group were organizing against.

“We were gonna have a free speech rally. We weren’t even gonna mention Donald Trump. We weren’t gonna mention a Democrat. It was just gonna be Big Tech.”

“That was all. And they wouldn’t let us do it.”

Anderson says he got banned from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in quick succession on Sunday night with little to no explanation after being vocal online about the attack he suffered at the hands of an Antifa activist, who knocked out his teeth.

“We were gonna have a free speech rally. We weren’t even gonna mention Donald Trump. We weren’t gonna mention a Democrat. It was just gonna be Big Tech.”

He says it began with a notice on Sunday that his Facebook had been banned for 30 days. A screenshot of the notice provided to Human Events cites posts advertising the event that “didn’t follow [Facebook’s] community standards” against “dangerous individuals and organizations.”

But “an hour later,” Anderson says his Facebook was shut down completely.

Anderson showed Human Events evidence of at least one instance where a tweet of his, including a video of the assault, was shared to a Facebook account and flagged by Facebook as “False information” that had been “checked by independent fact-checkers.”

“I’m like you’re saying it’s false information that a man hit me in the face and my teeth came out my mouth like are you serious right now?” Anderson said.

Free speech group scolds WIU after employees shut down Students for Trump voter registration drive

Speech First, an activism group devoted to defending free speech in higher education, has issued a letter to Western Illinois University, calling it out for “blatant viewpoint discrimination” following an altercation between students and staff on campus earlier this month.

The incident took place on October 2 when a group of students who are a part of the organization Students for Trump held a voter registration drive on campus.

The student group was shut down by employees of the university and others, however, telling Students for Trump they were not allowed to hold the drive on campus, according to various reports on the incident.

The campus employees and others had formed a human barricade, preventing other students from interacting with the registration drive, according to a detailed letter from Speech First documenting the incident and videos posted on social media.




Thursday, October 22, 2020

Facebook suspends account of Ukrainian lawmaker and Rudy Giuliani associate who made claims about a second laptop linked to Hunter Biden

Andrii Derkach posted to Facebook on Friday to say there is a 'second laptop' involving evidence of corruption and connected to the Bidens, The Daily Beast reported.

In the post Derkach says that laptop 'was given to Ukrainian law enforcement' and that Burisma representatives were now serving as 'witnesses in criminal proceedings.'

The Ukrainian parliamentarian said: 'The facts that confirm international corruption are stored on the second laptop. This laptop was handed over to Ukrainian law enforcement officers, and the "workers" themselves are now witnesses in criminal proceedings.'

Wikipedia bans editors from expressing support for traditional marriage

Wikipedia has decided to restrict its editors from expressing opposition to same-sex marriage on its platform ­— a decision that comes months after co-founder Larry Sanger said the site’s neutrality policy was “dead.”

Volunteers who write and edit Wikipedia’s articles can no longer include on their profile page any “userbox” — a badge expressing their beliefs — that is against gay marriage. For example, one such userbox states, “This user believes marriage is between one man and one woman.”

The decision was made after a recent discussion where “predominantly left-wing editors” argued such a stance was “discriminatory” and against site policy, according to Breitbart.

The discussion began after an editor, Adam Cuerden, suggested that just one userbox be deleted, calling it “pretty explicitly homophobic” and citing a site guideline prohibiting “inflammatory or divisive” content in userboxes. Soon, he suggested that other userboxes in favor of traditional marriage should also be deleted.

The move led site administrator “Ad Orientem” to resign, according to The Christian Institute, which noted that the administrator pointed out that the decision was “clearly inconsistent” with the project’s commitment to neutrality and condemned hostile comments about traditional marriage supporters




Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The Dispatch Compromises Free Speech

One of Big Tech’s primary means of speech control is the “fact-checker,” which in practice serves only as an opinion monitor. Even the concept of a “fact-checker” is dubious on its face. It presumes as not only plausible but common that which our nation’s Founders recognized as impossible — a wholly unbiased arbiter of truth. Wisely, our Founders recognized the folly of those who would in the name of “truth” seek to control and limit unwanted speech, hence the existence of the First Amendment and its protection of our God-given right to freedom of speech.

One of the latest incidents comes from Facebook, which censored an ad from the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List this past Friday over the claim that the ad had been fact-checked as false by “independent fact-checkers.” The trouble is that the ad, which claimed that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris support abortion “up to the moment of birth” as well as support taxpayer funding of abortion, was in fact true.

More troubling still was who the “independent fact-checker” was that erroneously labeled the ad “partly false,” giving Facebook the cover for censorship. The culprit was the relatively new media outlet The Dispatch. Created just last year by long-time Beltway political pundits Jonah Goldberg and Steve Hayes, the media site is little other than a bastion for Beltway establishment never-Trumpers to ply their trade under the “conservative” banner. The question is, no matter how anti-Trump one may be, if “principled conservative” is what one claims, how can one make a mistake of this magnitude on such a foundational conservative policy position like being pro-life?

After three days of blowback, Hayes finally ran damage control by admitting the fact-check was “not justified,” dubiously blaming it on a publishing and editing error.

Think Tank: Censor Conservative Media

Mainstream media outlets loathe the fact that the majority of Americans no longer trust them as sources of unbiased and nonpartisan news. This resulting distrust in the MSM has pushed many Americans to find their news from alternative sources online and across social media — something we in our humble shop have provided, by the way, since 1996.

Well, that’s not acceptable, say the gatekeepers of information. The German Marshall Fund (GMF), a think tank founded in Washington, DC, in 1948 with the objective of helping European nations combat the disinformation efforts of communists, has released a report ironically promoting the suppression of information. This is, of course, the same strategy communist nations used to squelch inconvenient ideas in their own populations.

As The Wall Street Journal editorial board observes, “Naturally, the report has a solution: Stop Facebook users from seeing content that rudely challenges elite views. The authors conclude that ‘de-amplifying — or adding friction to — the content from a handful of the most dangerous sites could dramatically decrease disinformation online.’ Presumably Facebook can swap in unimpeachable sources like CNN.”

The MSM, which has increasing become little other than the propaganda wing of the Democrat Party, loudly laments the fact that social media has allowed for the growth of alternate, often conservative, media outlets. Thus, the call for statist control of the news media and suppression of conservative voices.

The fault for the American people’s loss of trust in the MSM has everything to do with the fact that the MSM has become filled with activist “journalists.” These operatives see the promotion of a leftist agenda rather than the objective sharing of the news as their primary purpose. They see their jobs as working to change the world rather than communicating facts without regard to who they may hinder or help. That dereliction of duty created a vacuum conservative news organizations sought to fill, and now the Left’s response is to silence us rather than compete in the realm of reporting and ideas.




Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Twitter removes 'misleading' tweet from top Trump Covid adviser Dr Scott Atlas that said masks don't work

In the tweet shared on Saturday, Atlas wrote: 'Masks work? No.'

Atlas, who has been on the coronavirus task force since the pandemic began in the US, then used examples of areas where he said 'cases exploded even with mandates'.

Atlas included the following locations in the tweet: Los Angeles, Miami, Hawaii, Alabama, France, Philippines, United Kingdom, Spain and Israel.

Masks and facial coverings are used to prevent people who have the virus from infecting others.

Twitter subsequently removed the tweet, but Atlas followed up with a response to the censorship.

'That means the right policy is @realDonaldTrump guideline: use masks for their intended purpose - when close to others, especially hi risk. Otherwise, social distance. No widespread mandates. #CommonSense,' Atlas wrote.

A Twitter spokesperson told CNN that the tweet was removed because it violated the company's Covid-19 Misleading Information Policy.

Twitter said that Atlas violated the policy that prohibits users from sharing false or misleading content related to the pandemic that could lead to harm.

UK: Disagreement is now ‘misinformation’

Ofcom is Britain's regulator for communications services -- broadband, home phone and mobile services, TV and radio

Ofcom’s definition of misinformation is so broad it includes advice that was once given out by health chiefs.

Ofcom has never been a champion of free speech. But it is now clear that it is actively policing legitimate debate about Covid-19.

While it is perhaps no surprise that TV channels broadcasting conspiracy theorists like David Icke have been sanctioned by Ofcom for Covid misinformation, the regulator’s definition of misinformation is shockingly broad.

According to a recent Ofcom survey, the most commonly heard piece of ‘misinformation’ was that ‘Face masks / coverings offer no protection / are harmful’. Of course, many will remember that earlier on in the pandemic, the World Health Organisation said there was not enough evidence to support wearing masks. In the UK, deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries warned back in March that people wearing masks could put themselves ‘at more risk’. But since the government guidance has changed, Ofcom now classifies this as misinformation.

Another piece of ‘misinformation’ is that ‘the UK Covid death toll is much lower than claimed’. But this again reflects something which is the subject of intense debate. Back in August, Public Health England lowered the official Covid death toll by 5,000 – well over one in 10 deaths at the time – after it was revealed that its definition was including people who were unlikely to have been killed by Covid. That is not fake news.

It is becoming increasingly clear that anything which does not contribute to the climate of fear around Covid or lend support for ever-more restrictions can be dismissed as ‘misinformation’




Monday, October 19, 2020

Twitter Still Won't Unlock The New York Post's Account

Twitter is still refusing to unlock the New York Post's account after censoring The Post's reporting earlier this week. The social media giant censored news articles from The Post in a decision that sparked outrage from critics who accuse Twitter of interfering in the election on behalf of the Biden-Harris campaign.

The New York Post revealed bombshell emails reportedly uncovered from a laptop belonging to Hunter Biden that expose details regarding Hunter Biden's overseas business dealings and profiteering off his relationship to Vice President Joe Biden. In a kneejerk liberal reaction, Twitter banned the reports and spent the subsequent hours giving various justifications for the decision.

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey didn't apologize for the election interference but did apologize for the way the company handled the censorship. Twitter announced a change to the Twitter Rules that will now allow the Post to share its reporting on the Biden family.

The new rules will permit hacked content to be shared on Twitter so long as the hackers or individuals acting in concert with the hackers are not the ones directly sharing the content. The Post notes that Twitter hasn't responded to an inquiry asking how the company determined its stories on the Biden family were based on "hacked materials."

Despite the rules changes, The Post says it's still locked out of its Twitter account as of Friday evening.

Critics are not happy with Twitter's election interference and suppression of the free press with less than three weeks to go before the presidential election.

Facebook censors Tiffany Trump, blocking users from sharing her Twitter posts on its site

Facebook has apologized after tweets posted by Tiffany Trump were blocked from being shared on Facebook, blaming the labelling on 'an error'.

On Friday Facebook users noticed that they were unable to share the 27-year-old Georgetown law graduate's tweets on the platform.

They received a message saying: 'This URL goes against our Community Standards on spam:'

The restriction was lifted after several hours, after the New York Post noticed the issue and asked Facebook for comment.

A Facebook spokesperson told The Post: 'The URL was incorrectly flagged by our automated systems as spam. We have corrected the error.'

The social network did not ban links to the Twitter accounts of Trump's other adult children, including sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, who are known for more frequently posting political content.

The issue came after Twitter and Facebook were strongly criticized for blocking news reports relating to a New York Post expose of Hunter Biden's emails.




Sunday, October 18, 2020

Disney slap racism warnings on classic films Peter Pan, Dumbo and The Jungle Book due to 'negative racial depictions and mistreatment of people or cultures'

Disney has slapped racism warnings on some of its most iconic movies including Peter Pan and The Jungle Book.

Viewers are now alerted to sensitive scenes involving what it perceives to be racial or outdated ethnic stereotypes.

A disclaimer reads: 'This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures.

'These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now. Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together.'

Classic films and TV shows have received intense scrutiny this year as Black Lives Matter protests thrust racial issues under the spotlight.

In June Sky plastered 'outdated values' disclaimers on 16 of its films as recent as the 2016 remake of the Jungle Book.

In relation to The Aristocats - a film about a group of musical felines - Disney warns viewers about a scene where one of the cats, who is voiced by a white actor, chants out stereotypical Chinese 'words' while playing the piano with chopsticks +6
In relation to The Aristocats - a film about a group of musical felines - Disney warns viewers about a scene where one of the cats, who is voiced by a white actor, chants out stereotypical Chinese 'words' while playing the piano with chopsticks

Movies to include the warning are 1970 musical comedy The Aristocats, 1955 canine love story Lady and the Tramp and 1960 adventure Swiss Family Robinson.

In relation to The Aristocats - a film about a group of musical felines - Disney warns viewers about a scene where one of the cats, who is voiced by a white actor, chants out stereotypical Chinese 'words' while playing the piano with chopsticks.

Meanwhile Peter Pan viewers are warned that Native Americans Indians are referred to as 'redskins'.

US dictionary Merriam-Webster redefines the term 'sexual preference' as OFFENSIVE after Amy Coney Barrett used it and was criticized by Democrat senator who said sexuality is not a choice

As many people have pointed out, 'sexual preference' was for a long time the normal Leftist way of referring to homosexuality but suddenly it has become "wrong". Mazie Horono is very radical so she is shifting the whole discussion in a far left direction

The new term appears to be "sexual orientation" but I imagine that will become incorrect too -- because it fails to stress that homosexuality is inborn

Merriam-Webster dictionary has updated its definition of 'sexual preference' to an 'offensive' term one day after Amy Coney Barrett's use of the phrase was slammed during her SCOTUS hearing.

The reputable dictionary's fifth definition of the word 'preference' cites 'orientation' and uses the example of 'sexual preference'.

On Wednesday, this definition was updated to explain that the use of preference in relation to sexuality is 'offensive'.

The change came hours after Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono said Barrett's appointment to the Supreme Court would pose a threat to LGBTQ rights and used the judge's use of the term 'sexual preference' as evidence of this concern.

Hirono said the phrase is highly offensive to the LGBTQ community and is used by 'anti-LGBTQ activists' to suggest sexuality is a choice rather than an unchangeable part of an individual's identity.




Friday, October 16, 2020

Facebook shuts NZ party's page before polls over COVID-19 misinformation

Facebook shut down the page of a fringe New Zealand political party on Thursday, days before a general election, for sharing what the company called misinformation about the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The newly formed Advance NZ Party's page was taken off because of "repeated violations" of Facebook's policy on misinformation about the virus that could lead to imminent physical harm, Facebook said in a statement.

"We have clear policies against this type of content and will enforce on these policies regardless of anyone’s political position or party affiliation," it said.

Advance NZ said Facebook's action was "election interference".

“This is a cynical example of election interference by an American-owned social media outlet that has no business performing any such operation in our sovereign nation," party co-leader Billy Te Kahika said in a statement.

The party has stirred controversy with an anti-vaccination stance and has also called for an end to coronavirus lockdowns. It has said the case fatality rate of the virus is "not unlike that of seasonal influenza".

Advance NZ is seen getting about 1% of the vote, according to the latest opinion poll, which would mean it will have no impact on the election outcome.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who leads the Labour Party, is seeking a second term in the Oct. 17 polls on the back of her success in eliminating the coronavirus in the country of 5 million with lockdowns and social distancing.

US election 2020: Why Facebook, Twitter went too far censoring anti-Joe Biden report

At a campaign rally, Donald Trump called Joe Biden a ‘corrupt politician’ after Facebook and Twitter censored a bombshell US report that alleged Mr Biden met with Ukrainian business associates of his son, Hunter

The most contentious election in modern US history is only weeks away, and the decision by Facebook and Twitter to censor an article criticising Donald Trump’s rival Joe Biden has been divisive.

It started as a great day for Donald Trump, with revelations Joe Biden’s son was apparently running a “massive pay for play” racket with a corrupt Ukrainian company when his father was vice president.

But when Big Tech plunged headfirst into the US election, censoring negative reporting about Mr Trump’s Democrat presidential opponent and thereby confirming every Republican fear about social media bias, it was like Christmas and a birthday with another “miracle” COVID cure thrown in.

Ask any fence-sitting American why they might be leaning towards a Trump-vote and you are likely to hear a variation of this answer: I don’t want to be told how to think and I don’t trust the Washington establishment.

There have been few bigger irritants to the Trump White House than the “Russia Hoax”, which has become the catch-all for the repeated probes that led to Democrats’ unsuccessful impeachment attempt.

The central claim of Mr Trump’s impeachable “abuse of power” was that he had asked the newly installed Ukraine president to investigate the highly unqualified Hunter Biden’s richly paid role on the board of a corrupt energy company.

It seems reasonable to question how and why this happened, but Americans were told they didn’t deserve to know the answers.

First, the Biden 2020 camp called another early “lid” and avoided any probing questions from the press.

Then a Facebook executive smirked that the Post story was “eligible to be fact checked by Facebook’s third-party fact checking partners” and that “In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform”.

Finally Twitter stopped the story from being shared, locking Post accounts and even that of White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

By night-time a jubilant Mr Trump stripped off his tie and looked ready to take off even more on a rally stage in Iowa – a state where he shouldn’t have been in such a good mood given he handily won it in 2016 and is currently in a dead heat.

About the same time Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was trying some damage control, but it was widely seen as too little too late.

“Our communication around our actions on the @nypost article was not great. And blocking URL sharing via tweet or DM with zero context as to why we’re blocking: unacceptable,” he tweeted.




Thursday, October 15, 2020

Censorship is more dangerous than conspiracy theories

In yet another outrageous attack on free expression, Facebook has banned groups and pages linked to the QAnon conspiracy theory.

QAnon is based on the social-media posts of an anonymous user, Q, who claims to have high-level security clearance in the US government. QAnon supporters claim that Q is sending them coded messages about Donald Trump’s war with the ‘deep state’, which they believe is run by Satan-worshipping paedophiles.

More recently, QAnon fans have alleged that Covid is a hoax and that Trump catching it is all part of a plot to have Hillary Clinton arrested. This conspiracy theory only gets more elaborate and bonkers as time goes on. But that doesn’t mean its exponents should be censored.

Facebook’s latest purge, carried out by its ‘Dangerous Organisations Operations team’, follows a previous round of bans on QAnon accounts in August. Twitter similarly removed numerous QAnon-linked accounts in July, citing their potential to inflict ‘offline harm’.

There are many reasons to be concerned about the impact of conspiracy theories on public life and democracy. But we should be challenging mad ideas with rational arguments, not with censorship.

ASU journalism student sues university, claiming First Amendment violation in fallout from controversial tweet

An Arizona State University journalism student is suing the school after she says she was removed from leading the student-run radio station over a controversial tweet.

The lawsuit claims that the university violated Rae’Lee Klein’s First Amendment rights to free expression by refusing to allow her to continue as station manager of Blaze Radio because of her tweet.

The university, in a statement to The Arizona Republic on Tuesday, refuted that claim, saying, “Klein’s conduct in the aftermath of the tweet — rather than the tweet itself — meant that she was no longer able to perform the job for which she was hired.”

But Klein said she was first scolded about her tweet and later scolded for her media appearances and conversations with elected officials as her situation gained attention.

"They were first upset by my free speech and now they’re upset that I’ve become this cause célèbre for free speech, so it’s just disappointing to see them keep taking the same stance and not want to work or correct the situation," Klein told The Republic.

Jack Wilenchik, Klein’s attorney, filed the complaint in U.S. District Court on Monday against ASU, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Kristin Gilger, Cronkite interim dean.

Klein faced swift backlash from within and outside her radio station after a tweet she posted in the aftermath of police shooting Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Aug. 23. Klein shared a New York Post article with graphic details from a police report accusing Blake of sexual assault.

The Aug. 29 tweet, deleted later, was captioned, “Always more to the story, folks. Please read this article to get the background of Jacob Blake's warrant. You'll be quite disgusted.”

Many interpreted her tweet as justifying or excusing police brutality against Black people. Klein defended it as sharing truthful information and an additional perspective, as journalists are taught.

The radio station board quickly voted to remove Klein, but Klein refused to step down. In the weeks of turmoil following, Klein said she was told that she could not stay on as station manager and was offered several other job alternatives.




Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Keir Starmer: enemy of free speech

Starmer is leader of the British Labour party

Anyone who cares about free speech should be chilled by Labour leader Keir Starmer’s refusal to criticise the outrageous police investigation of conservative campaigner Darren Grimes.

Police are investigating Grimes for an interview he produced for his YouTube channel with historian David Starkey. In it, Starkey made comments which were widely denounced as racist.

Starmer said on LBC this morning that, although tolerance is important, ‘as a general proposition, there is a line. When people go over the line it’s right that it’s investigated… I think it does sometimes have to involve the police unfortunately.’ He even said that ‘in some cases prosecutions’ are needed.

Starmer’s position is disgraceful. The Labour leader is justifying a shameful assault on free expression. He is supporting the prospect of criminal charges for offensive speech. And it wasn’t even Grimes who made the offensive remarks.

A Matter of Free Speech & Tyranny of Facebook

I live in Wisconsin. There has been an anti-mask group on Facebook that has been a good resource for posting and messaging about mask mandates etc etc etc.

Overnite, Facebook deleted the entire Group, which had at last count over 50,000 active members. I suspect for political reasons. There was nothing on there that was objectionable at all. Mainly business owners and individuals standing up for there rights. Just DELETED THE ENTIRE GROUP OVERNITE.

I attempted to contact the White House on their link to share Social Media Censorship but its no longer taking new cases.

This is the worst censorship I've ever seen in my life, that I am aware of. Blatant political move. Gotta shut down this company for these types of abuses.




Tuesday, October 13, 2020

'We may slip sometimes': Western Australia university leaders talk free speech after whistleblower saga

The leader of a Perth university which sued a whistleblower for speaking out about questionable international student intake practices says “we may slip sometimes” but freedom of information was taken very seriously.

WA university vice chancellors were questioned in September about transparency and freedom of speech policies at a Committee for Economic Development Australia panel where Murdoch vice chancellor Professor Eeva Leinonen said she “absolutely” believed in academic freedom and freedom of speech.

It comes about three months after Murdoch withdrew all its legal claims against Associate Professor Gerd Schröder-Turk who blew the whistle over “moral concerns” about international student recruitment practices at the WA university in ABC’s Four Corners segment titled ‘Cash Cows’ in May 2019.

The university refuted Mr Schröder-Turk's claims and later sued the mathematics academic for what could potentially have been millions of dollars.

In June, Dr Schröder-Turk said he and the university had decided to drop all legal claims against each other as part of an agreed resolution.

Associate Professor Schröder-Turk had been supported by more than 50 Laureate professors around the country, who signed an open letter calling for the university to drop its case against him months before the institution did.

At the CEDA event, Professor Leinonen said universities had academic freedom and freedom of speech constrained in their policies, strategies and enterprise agreements.

“We also have a national model code for freedom of speech and academic freedom that universities are currently considering whether to adopt or adapt that code and that is a requirement by the current government that we consider that code,” she said.

“So we are taking it very seriously and, you know, we may slip sometimes, but it actually is not intentional. We absolutely believe in academic freedom and freedom of speech.”

Incorrect logic

Scotland Yard has vowed to continue its investigation of a Brexit blogger yesterday – despite facing a freedom of speech backlash.

It refused to back down amid fury from politicians and free speech campaigners at the decision to probe Darren Grimes for allegedly stirring up racial hatred in an interview with historian David Starkey.

During the interview, shared on Mr Grimes's YouTube channel, Dr Starkey said 'slavery was not genocide, otherwise there wouldn't be so many damn blacks in Africa or in Britain, would there?'

The incendiary remark led to a police investigation of Dr Starkey, 75.

But it has now emerged that Mr Grimes has been asked to attend a police interview under caution to respond to accusations of stirring up racial hatred, an offence which carries a potential penalty of seven years in prison.

The 27-year-old Tory blogger, who came to prominence as a pro-Brexit campaigner, admitted he should have 'robustly questioned' the historian about his comments, but said the decision to investigate him raises 'serious repercussions for freedom of expression'.

Home Secretary Priti Patel yesterday tweeted: 'Decisions of the police to investigate particular cases are clearly an operational matter... but as a general principle, it's important the law protects freedom of speech.'

Former Home Secretary Sajid Javid wrote on Twitter: 'David Starkey's comments were appalling. But, the idea that it's appropriate to go after journalists for the remarks of their interviewees is plainly absurd. For the sake of our cherished free press, I hope the Metropolitan Police reconsider.'

Monday, October 12, 2020

Yelp's New 'Anti-Racist' Flagging Policy Is Raising Eyebrows

On Wednesday, the user-powered, restaurant rating giant Yelp announced that they would be adding a new feature to their crowd-sourced review system.

The new system claims that it will target businesses that have been accused of racist behavior or "egregious, racially charged actions" so that potential customers will know ahead of their patronage whether that business is powered by bigots.

"Today, we’re announcing a new consumer alert to stand against racism," the company said in a tweet. "In the last few months, we’ve seen that there is a clear need to warn consumers about businesses associated with egregious, racially-charged actions to help people make more informed spending decisions."

Of course, there was no further explanation about what types of accusations would be taken seriously and which would be discredited. They simply said that they would link to whatever material could maybe provide more context.

"Now, when a business gains attention for reports of racist conduct, Yelp will place a new Business Accused of Racist Behavior Alert on their Yelp page to inform users, along with a link to a news article where they can learn more," Yelp claimed innocently.

The lack of definition behind "racist conduct" left many scratching their heads after enduring months of mob mentality taking hold of the public square and deeming anything and everything "racist" without justification or evidence.

The Black Lives Matter movement and their allies believe that anyone who does not subscribe to the purity of Critical Race Theory is a racist and further believes that all white people are, in fact, born racist.


The newspaper article below has presented uncritically a "report" from a Greenie outfit. So it is written from a Greenie viewpoint. It accepts global warming as known truth, not the poorly supported theory that it is.

It is a testimony to how infinite repetition can make such a claim into accepted wisdom. Dr Goebbels lives again: If you tell a big enough lie often enough people will believe it.

It is however sad proof of how the real scientists -- climate skeptics -- have lost the PR battle. The Leftist stranglehold on most of the media and the educational system is hard to beat

Mr Trump has spoken of arranging a public debate between Warmists and skeptics. That might be what we need to restore well-deserved doubt in people's minds

A new report finds that dozens of climate disinformation ads have run on Facebook in the first half of 2020.

Produced by a variety of conservative groups, ads have received a total of 8 million views.

The report, produced by the climate group InfluenceMap, accuses climate-denialist groups of using Facebook's advertising platform to spread disinformation, 'intentionally seeding doubt and confusion around the science of climate change.'

The ads were predominantly targeted at men, people in rural states and Americans over the age of 55.

Most raised doubts about the science of climate change, including denying there's consensus or certainty about it, and attacked the credibility of climate experts.

Launched by Dylan Tanner on the eve of the Paris climate accords in 2015, InfluenceMap analyzes how corporations influence climate change opinion and policy.

Its newest report, 'Climate Change and Digital Advertising: Climate Science Disinformation in Facebook Advertising' found 51 climate-denial ads running on Facebook between January and June 2020.

The spots cost a total of $42,000 to run and received a total of 8 million impressions, though it's not clear how many people saw them in total.

InfluenceMap says that while the ads were produced by a variety of right-wing groups - such as Prager University, Turning Point USA, and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy - the ultimate source of funding 'is often opaque.'

To date, only one ad was removed by Facebook before it was scheduled to end.

Craig Strazzeri, chief marketing officer at PragerU, denied the company was running disinformation ads.

'Apparently 'disinformation' means anything Facebook or the left disagrees with,' he told The Guardian. 'The ad in question is an educational video on the truth about the Green New Deal.'


Sunday, October 11, 2020

Twitter announces changes to combat misinformation around voting

Twitter announced on Friday that it is making changes to its platform to help combat misinformation around Election Day and voting.

In a blog post, the social media site said it is adding new labels, warnings and prompts under tweets that falsely claim a candidate has won or tweets that incite violence or interfering with election results.

Additionally, the company will not allow users to ‘like’ or retweet posts from candidates if they have a misinformation or violation label attached.

The adjustments comes after users complained that fact-checking labels, often tied to tweets made by President Donald Trump, were not enough to counter false and misleading information ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

‘Twitter has a critical role to play in protecting the integrity of the election conversation, and we encourage candidates, campaigns, news outlets and voters to use Twitter respectfully and to recognize our collective responsibility to the electorate to guarantee a safe, fair and legitimate democratic process this November.’ the blog post reads.

‘As with any other product change, we will learn, observe, and iterate based on the impact of these changes, to inform both our strategy around future global elections and Twitter’s overall product experience

Since 2018, Twitter has already introduced several measures to protect the integrity of elections and combat misleading information.

This includes banning all political ads, adding Election Labels to candidates’ accounts, and labeling doctored photos or video as ‘manipulated media.’

It also added labels and warnings to potentially harmful misleading information about the coronavirus pandemic and mail-in voting.


Sexy onions

Facebook blocked an advertisement for onion seeds for being ‘overtly sexual’. The Seed Company, based in St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, posted an ad for Walla Walla onion seeds on Facebook last month

Facebook blocked the ad with a message stating products could not be positioned in an ‘overtly sexual manner’

However, on September 25, the social media platform suddenly pulled the ad, allegedly for its sexual suggestiveness.

‘Listings may not position products or services in an overtly sexual manner,’ a notice to the seed and garden supply business read.

The post, which advertised onion seeds for $1.99 CAD reads: ‘An extremely sweet, mild and large onion that is easy to grow from seed. ‘Its large size and excellent flavour make it ideal for slicing, salads, frying, baking, onion rings, and sauces.’

McLean took to the company’s Facebook account on Saturday to post about the bizarre situation.

‘Just got notified by Facebook that the photo used for our Walla Walla Onion seed is “Overtly Sexual”.Can you see it?’ he wrote, along with a laughing emoji.

McLean asked for the social media platform to review the ban, but he did not hear any response.

However, after he went to the Canadian national media with the story, Facebook reversed the decision.

Meg Sinclair, head of communications for Facebook Canada, told The Canadian Press the mistake was due to an algorithm mix-up.

‘We use automated technology to keep nudity off our apps, but sometimes it doesn’t know a Walla Walla onion from a, well, you know,’ she said.


Friday, October 09, 2020

Fake Fact-Checking

Recently, I released a video that called California’s fires “government fueled.”

A few days later, Facebook inserted a warning on my video: “Missing Context. Independent fact-checkers say this information could mislead.”

Some of my viewers now feel betrayed. One wrote: “Shameful, John … what happened to you!!? Your reporting was always fair … [but] your … fires story was so … unfair, even Facebook tagged it.”

A “fact check” from Facebook carries weight.

Worse, Facebook says that because my video is labeled misleading, it will show my content to fewer people.

This kills me. My news model counts on social media companies showing people my videos.

I confronted the fact-checkers. That’s the topic of my newest video.

Facebook‘s “fact check” links to a page from a group called Climate Feedback that claims it sorts “fact from fiction” about climate change.

It posted this complaint about my video: “Forest fires are caused by poor management. Not by climate change.” It calls that claim “misleading.”

It is misleading.

But I never said that! In my video, I acknowledged: “Climate change has made things worse. California has warmed 3 degrees over 50 years.”

I don’t know where Climate Feedback got its quote. Made it up? Quoted someone else?

Facebook lets activists restrict my videos based on something I never said.

Now, Facebook is a private company that can censor anything it wants. I understand the pressure it feels. All kinds of people demand that Facebook ban posts they don’t like.

There’s no way Facebook can police everything. The site carries billions of posts.

I wish it’d just let the information flow. People will gradually learn to sort truth from lies.


In Hong Kong you can now be censored for talking about free speech

A primary-school teacher in Hong Kong has been sacked for talking to her pupils about free speech and the Hong Kong independence movement.

The teacher stands accused of asking children ‘what is freedom of speech?’ and what they think is behind the rise of the Hong Kong independence movement.

Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam, appointed by Beijing, defended the sacking, saying there was a need to remove ‘bad apples’ from education. ‘We do not allow independence and other unlawful ideas to creep on to campuses’, she added.

Hong Kong is supposed to have a degree of autonomy until 2047, but Beijing has become increasingly interventionist in recent years. Now apparently even discussing the fact that millions of Hong Kongers oppose China’s authoritarian takeover is enough to fall foul of the authorities.

Over the past year, protesters and opposition politicians have faced mass arrests and police brutality. The introduction of a new security law in June has made the crackdown even harsher.

Beijing’s terrifying repression of Hong Kong is a powerful reminder not to take free speech or democracy for granted.


Thursday, October 08, 2020

Eskimo Pie to change its ‘derogatory’ name

An almost 100-year-old ice cream brand has settled on a new name for its Australian version saying “now is the time for change”.

Multiple brands have announced their decision to rebrand or rename products with “racist” or “offensive” packaging and labelling.

An iconic Australian ice cream brand is changing its name, saying it’s “committed to being a part of the solution on racial equality”.

Peters Ice Cream has told it will change its name from Eskimo Pie to Polar Pie.

“Peters Ice Cream is committed to being a part of the solution on racial equality and we acknowledge that now is the time for change,” a spokesperson for Peters said in a statement.

“Eskimo Pie is a brand which has been within our portfolio for many decades and has a loyal consumer base who adore the product. We have chosen to rename the product ‘Polar Pie’ as this retains a strong association back to the original brand and product idea – a frozen treat you eat much like a pie – with your hands and hence the name Polar Pie!”

According to Peters website, Eskimo Pies are the oldest ice cream in the company’s range, and were introduced to Australia in 1923 by the Peters family.


The Fight for Free Speech

Walter E. Williams

The violence, looting, and mayhem that this nation has seen over the last several months has much of its roots in academia, where leftist faculty teach immature young people all manner of nonsense that contradicts commonsense and the principles of liberty.

Chief among their lessons is a need to attack free speech in the form of prohibitions against so-called hate speech and microaggressions.

Here are examples of microaggressions: “You are a credit to your race.” “Wow! How did you become so good in math?” “There is only one race, the human race.” “I’m not racist. I have several black friends.” “As a woman, I know what you go through as a racial minority.”

It is a tragic state of affairs when free speech and inquiry require protection at institutions of higher learning. Indeed, freedom in the marketplace of ideas has made the United States, as well as other Western nations, a leader in virtually every area of human endeavor.

A monopoly of ideas is just as dangerous as a monopoly in political power or a monopoly in the production of goods and services.

We might ask what is the true test of a person’s commitment to free speech?

The true test does not come when he permits people to say those things he deems acceptable. The true test comes when he permits people to say those things that he deems offensive. The identical principle applies to freedom of association; its true test comes when someone permits others to voluntarily associate in ways that he deems offensive.

While free speech has been under attack, we are beginning to see some pushback. More than 12,000 professors, free speech leaders, and conservative-leaning organization leaders have signed “The Philadelphia Statement.”

The 845-word document says in part:

Similarly, colleges, and universities are imposing speech regulations to make students ‘safe,’ not from physical harm, but from challenges to campus orthodoxy. These policies and regulations assume that we as citizens are unable to think for ourselves and to make independent judgments. Instead of teaching us to engage, they foster conformism (‘groupthink’) and train us to respond to intellectual challenges with one or another form of censorship. A society that lacks comity and allows people to be shamed or intimidated into self-censorship of their ideas and considered judgments will not survive for long. As Americans, we desire a flourishing, open marketplace of ideas, knowing that it is the fairest and most effective way to separate falsehood from truth. Accordingly, dissenting and unpopular voices—be they of the left or the right—must be afforded the opportunity to be heard. They have often guided our society toward more just positions, which is why Frederick Douglass said freedom of speech is the ‘great moral renovator of society and government.’

The recognition of the intellectual elite attacking free speech is not new. In a 1991 speech, Yale University President Benno Schmidt warned:

The most serious problems of freedom of expression in our society today exist on our campuses. The assumption seems to be that the purpose of education is to induce correct opinion rather than to search for wisdom and to liberate the mind.

Tyrants everywhere, from the Nazis to the communists, started out supporting free speech rights. Why? Because speech is important for the realization of leftist goals of command and control. People must be propagandized, proselytized, and convinced.

Once leftists have gained power, as they have in most of our colleges and universities, free speech becomes a liability. It challenges their ideas and agenda and must be suppressed.

Attacks on free speech to accommodate multiculturalism and diversity are really attacks on Western values, which are superior to all others. The indispensable achievement of the West was the concept of individual rights, the idea that individuals have certain inalienable rights that are not granted by government. Governments exist to protect these inalienable rights.

It took until the 17th century for that idea to arise and mostly through the works of English philosophers such as John Locke and David Hume. And now the 21st-century campus leftists are trying to suppress these inalienable rights.


Wednesday, October 07, 2020

YouTube adds disclaimer to Heritage Foundation video on mail-in ballots

YouTube has posted a disclaimer to a video produced by The Heritage Foundation that warns of the potential problems of mass voting by mail.

YouTube didn’t say it disputed any of the facts in the video, which was posted Sept. 2 and details recent problems with mail-in primary elections. The video cites mainstream media reporting and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission on ballots sent back to voters as “undelivered, misdelivered or reported missing.”

However, YouTube posted a disclaimer below the video citing information from the Bipartisan Policy Center that it labels as “Context.”

The disclaimer reads: “Mail-in ballots that meet eligibility and validity requirements are counted in every election. The law requires all valid votes to be counted in every election regardless of how they are cast.”

“This is unfair and ill-informed censorship by YouTube,” Hans von Spakovsky, manager of the Election Law Reform Initiative at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal.

Similarly, YouTube added the same “context” disclaimer to at least two other Heritage videos. One features von Spakovsky in a Newsmax interview about an FBI investigation of mai-in ballots in Pennsylvania; the other includes audio in which von Spakovsky talks about potential disenfranchisement as a result of mail-in ballots.

YouTube previously removed another video produced in 2017 by The Daily Signal, in which Dr. Michelle Cretella, a pediatrician and executive director of the American College of Pediatricians, talked about gender reassignment surgery. The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation


Facebook removes Trump ads that claim accepting refugees from abroad increases COVID-19 risks

Facebook said Wednesday that it had taken down ads from the Trump campaign that claimed without evidence that accepting refugees from abroad would increase risks related to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We rejected these ads because we don’t allow claims that people’s physical safety, health, or survival is threatened by people on the basis of their national origin or immigration status,” Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said in a statement.

The ads included a video of Joe Biden talking about the border, overlaid with text about “the health risks” from an “increase in refugees.” It also alleged that Biden would increase the number of refugees arriving from Syria, Somalia and Yemen by 700 percent. The ads cited no sources.

The Trump campaign began running the ads Tuesday with at least 38 different versions before Facebook determined that the ads ran afoul of the company’s advertising policies.

One version was targeted at Facebook users in Florida and received 5,000 to 6,000 impressions before it was taken down, according to Facebook’s online ad library. Another version targeted people in North Carolina and received 60,000 to 70,000 impressions.

President Donald Trump’s campaign stood behind the ad, asserting again in a separate statement that if Biden were president and allowed in refugees, Americans would be exposed to further risk of Covid-19.


Tuesday, October 06, 2020

The Convergence of Censors

Censorship, once condemned by all ethical people, has now become almost universally popular. From the most totalitarian of governments down to the youngest of adults, it seems everybody without a functional moral compass (which is to say, the great majority) wants to impose their ideas of “right” thinking and “correct” speech on everyone else.

China, of course, is leading the way, with a new Maoist-type campaign to purge schools and libraries of books deemed insufficiently pure, but the West isn’t far behind. In the UK, cops are knocking on doors to intimidate people who made statements online that the cops didn’t like, and early this month a woman in Melbourne was actually arrested for posting on Facebook about a protest against totalitarian “lockdown” orders imposed by the Victorian government.

In the US, the pandemic is only one of many popular excuses for censorship; others include “hate speech”, criticizing the police, and (for social media platforms) either engaging in censorship on their own or not censoring often enough for the tastes of censors.

I know that last is confusing, so let me state it a different way: Some politicians and other control freaks want to censor Facebook, Twitter, et al for engaging in censorship themselves, while others want to censor the same entities for not censoring enough. Yes, it’s complete lunacy, and it isn’t limited to the internet; culture warriors in academia, Hollywood, and even corporate America are firing,expelling, or otherwise ostracizing people for engaging in wrongthink, or even for failing to chant approved party slogans with sufficient enthusiasm.

When I was a librarian, Banned Books Week was little more than an academic exercise; censorship was an intermittent and generally impotent threat proceeding from small numbers of narrow-minded busybodies, which was easily defeated by librarians and other guardians of our shared cultural heritage.

But that was a generation ago, and would-be censors have become numerous, aggressive, well-organized and (most concerningly) popular. Few of those under 30 even understand what free speech is or why it’s important, and the majority or those over that age imagine all sorts of exceptions that they believe should be reasons to violently suppress speech, ranging from “it hurt my feelings”, to “it was said or written by a dead person who did things considered normal then, but which are now mortal sins”, to “it contains ‘bad’ words”, to the ever-popular “But SEX!”

As I wrote last year, the censor-morons (a term coined by D.H. Lawrence, one of many writers now considered “problematic”) are loose; furthermore, they are multiplying like bacteria and have already infested all the centers of power. For now, the courts are mostly still defending the rights of those with enough money, resources, and patience to fight “cancellation” through official channels. But if you will take the time to read all of my essays for this occasion starting in 2012, and working your way up a year at a time to the present, I think you’ll see a very frightening trend. We are watching the advent of a new dark age, and in such times no light is entirely safe from being snuffed out by zealots, speech-cops and bureaucrats whose ideal model for human society is the anthill.


Question “The Science?” Go To Gulag!

In the Soviet Union it was forbidden to dispute the wisdom of the “party line.” That’s because Marxian communism was viewed as the scientifically inevitable progression of mankind. For Marx and Lenin, the “science was settled.” Therefore anyone speaking out against “the science” of the Soviet system must be acting with malice; must actually want destruction; must want people to die.

Anyone voicing opposition to the “settled science” of Marxism-Leninism soon found their voice silenced. Oftentimes permanently.

Ironically, just 30 years after the “science” of Marxism-Leninism imploded for all the world to see, we are witnessing a resurgence here in the US of the idea that to question “the science” is not to seek truth or refine understanding of what appears to be conflicting evidence. No, it is to actually wish harm on one’s fellow Americans.

And while we who question “the science” are not being physically carried off to the gulags for disputing the wisdom of our “betters” in the CDC or the World Health Organization, for example, we are finding that the outcome is the same. We are being silenced and accused of malicious intent. The Soviet Communists called dissidents like us “wreckers.”

Last week on my daily news broadcast, the Ron Paul Liberty Report, we reported on two whistleblowers from inside the CDC and Big Pharma who raised serious and legitimate questions about the prevailing coronavirus narrative. The former Chief Science Officer for the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Dr. Mike Yeadon, has stated that from his experience he believes that nearly 90 percent of the current tests for Covid produce false positives. That means that this massive expansion in “cases,” used to justify continued attacks on our civil liberties, is simply phony.

As Dr. Yeadon said in a recent interview about the Orwellian UK coronavirus lockdown, “we are basing a government policy, an economic policy, a civil liberties policy, in terms of limiting people to six people in a meeting…all based on, what may well be, completely fake data on this coronavirus?”

Is Dr. Yeadon correct in claiming that based on his scientific observation there is no “second wave”? We don’t know. But we do know that his claims that the massive increase in “cases” in Europe used to justify new lockdowns are not in any way being matched with a similar increase in deaths. The EU’s own charts prove this. Deaths remain a flat line near zero while “cases” skyrocket to match the massive increase in testing.

Yet when we reported on Dr. Yeadon’s findings on the Liberty Report last week we found that for the first time ever, our program was removed by YouTube.

YouTube, owned by Google, which is firmly embedded into the deep state, was vague in explaining just where we violated their “community standards” by simply reporting on qualified scientists who happen to disagree with the mainstream coronavirus narrative.

But they did offer this shocking explanation in an email sent to us at the Ron Paul Liberty Report: “YouTube does not allow content that explicitly disputes the efficacy of the World Health Organization.”


It’s not the science that is settled. What appears to be “settled is the impulse to silence anyone who asks “why”?