Monday, October 31, 2022

Responses to Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter

Trolls are descending upon Twitter en masse even though the platform’s new boss has not yet changed its content moderation policies.

Last week, the world’s richest man, tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, finalised his deal to take over Twitter.

He immediately fired the CEO and CFO and there are also rumours of mass lay offs planned for the near future.

Musk has been calling for greater rights to free speech on the social media app and there are fears that former president Donald Trump will be allowed back onto the platform, as well as trolls.

Now Twitter’s head of safety and integrity, Yoel Roth, has revealed that within hours of the leadership change, trolls have tried to take advantage of the situation.

“Over the last 48 hours, we’ve seen a small number of accounts post a ton of Tweets that include slurs and other derogatory terms,” Roth tweeted. “To give you a sense of scale: More than 50,000 Tweets repeatedly using a particular slur came from just 300 accounts.”

Roth warned that most of the accounts were “inauthentic” — likely bots or fake accounts — and those accounts had subsequently been banned.

“We’ve taken action to ban the users involved in this trolling campaign – and are going to continue working to address this in the days to come to make Twitter safe and welcoming for everyone,” he wrote.

In a tweet on Friday, Musk addressed fevered speculation of mass reinstatements of banned accounts and revealed a decision had not yet been made.

“Twitter will be forming a content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints,” he wrote. “No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes.”

In a message to advertisers on Thursday, Musk insisted the platform “cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences” and that Twitter must be “warm and welcoming to all”.

However, Musk is a self-confessed “free speech absolutist” and several people have already made the decision to quit the platform.

After the takeover, Musk made a post that simply said “the bird is freed”.  This caused many to worry that the company’s moderation policies would be thrown out the window.

Musk completed the on-again, off-again, USS44 billion takeover deal late Thursday.

Musk signalled the deal was on track this week by changing his Twitter profile to “Chief Twit” and posting a video of himself walking into the company’s California headquarters carrying a sink. “Let that sink in!” he quipped.




Sunday, October 30, 2022

Free speech under attack at Berkeley law school

What is happening now at Berkeley ought to shame especially those who believe in free speech and oppose discrimination.

Nine law student groups at the law school have managed to amend the university's bylaws to ban any speakers who support Israel or Zionism.

These are not groups that "represent only a small percentage of the student population," according to the Jewish Journal. They include Women of Berkeley Law, Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, Middle Eastern and North African Law Students Association, Law Students of African Descent and the Queer Caucus.
Berkeley Law's dean, Erwin Chemerinsky, a progressive Zionist, has observed that he would be banned under this standard, as would 90% of his Jewish students
Despite his statement that he would be silenced under the change in bylaws, Dean Chemerinsky responded to Marcus, claiming that not all student groups have banned pro-Israel and Zionist speakers.

This prompted Marcus to counter: "Would it be okay for only 5% or 10% of the campus to be segregated? What percentage of the Berkeley campus should be open to all? Shouldn't it be 100%?"
Marcus further rebuts Chemerinsky's assertion of a campus that does not discriminate: "Chemerinsky misses the point when he insists that all clubs admit Jewish students as members. No one denies this. Nevertheless, an unmistakable signal is sent to those same students when they are told that they would be barred from appearing as invited speakers. This sends a clear signal: Jews are not welcome, unless they deny their support for Israel which, for many, is an integral element of Jewish identity."
What do students have to fear from hearing arguments on all sides of an issue? If a university does not protect free speech, it becomes an agent of censorship, even propaganda.




Friday, October 28, 2022

Has speech on Twitter become freer?

Billionaire Elon Musk has shared a cryptic tweet after he is understood to have sealed a $US44bn ($A68bn) deal to takeover Twitter.

“The bird is freed,” Mr Musk tweeted on Friday afternoon, sparking a lot of debate about what that could mean for the social media platform.

Twitter users responded by suggesting this might mean previously suspended accounts, such as the one belonging to former US President Donald Trump, could be reinstated.

Mr Musk’s tweet generated at least 19,000 replies and more than 170,000 likes within minutes of being posted.

Mr Musk sealed a $US44bn deal to buy out Twitter on Friday, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Twitter’s chief executive, Parag Agrawal, and chief financial officer Ned Segal are no longer with the company, unnamed sources said, as the Tesla founder takes the reins.




Thursday, October 27, 2022

The Fascist Left blocks free speech at UC Davis

A conservative speaker event at the University of California, Davis was canceled after a fight between about 100 protesters and counter-protesters, including Antifa and the Proud Boys, broke out near the venue, university officials said.

It said that according to reports, some of those who took part in the melee wore apparel labeled 'Proud Boys' and that witnesses reported people with Antifa, a contraction for so-called anti-fascists, were also involved.

The event Tuesday evening was put together by a student organization affiliated with Turning Point USA, a group that organizes young people on college campuses to engage in conservative activism, UC Davis officials said in a statement Wednesday.

The university said the brawl began before a speech by Stephen Davis, who is known as 'MAGA Hulk.'

At UC Davis, the groups fought among themselves, used pepper spray, knocked over barricades and removed traffic cones, UC Davis said. The university didn't report any injuries.

'Some in the crowd used barricades to beat on the glass of the (off-campus) UC Davis Conference Center, where about 30 people were inside waiting for the event to begin,' it said.

Conservatives, including reporter Andy Ngo, shared video of a woman who said she'd been maced by members of Antifa during the brawl.

Student Affairs staff who were on site determined there was grave danger should the event continue and the student organization agreed to cancel the event out of concern for people´s safety, it said.

'It is unfortunate that the event could not proceed as planned,' UC Davis said. 'As a public institution, UC Davis values and supports freedom of expression as rights guaranteed to every citizen.'




Canadian pastor jailed for holding church during COVID welcomes pardon, blasts Trudeau

A clergyman from Alberta, Canada, who was repeatedly imprisoned after not closing his church praised a plan from the province's new premier to pardon and compensate those arrested and fined over COVID-19 protocols.

"It's a step in the right direction, but I would like to see it being done," Pastor Artur Pawlowski told Fox News Digital in a phone interview.

Pawlowski, who is now running for political office after becoming leader of the Alberta Independence Party in September, has endured multiple dramatic arrests during the pandemic, including once in the middle of a busy Calgary highway on his way home from church and again on the tarmac of the Calgary International Airport after a speaking tour in the U.S.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, who was sworn in on Oct. 11, is the first Canadian leader to apologize for discrimination against the unvaccinated in Canada, which has seen some of the strictest COVID-19 mandates in the world.

Earlier this year, Pawlowski spent 51 days in jail after being arrested following a speech to truckers who were blocking the U.S. border crossing in Coutts, Alberta, in protest of Canada's vaccine mandate. The pastor told Fox News Digital after he was released that he was abused and humiliated by prison authorities, and that some guards tried to convince other inmates to hurt him, but that they refused.

Many of the charges against Pawlowski were dropped in June upon his appeal, but he still has outstanding fines totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars for keeping his church open and feeding the homeless in defiance of the government.

Pawlowski, who worries that Canadians have become complacent about what he says is growing tyranny in the country, said he never would have come to Canada after growing up under communism in Poland if he had known what he would have been facing.

"You're not allowed to question governments, you're not allowed to question the mainstream media, just like during my childhood when I was growing up behind the Iron Curtain in Poland under the boots of the Soviets," he said




Wednesday, October 26, 2022

"Political Correctness Watch" censored

If you try to access PCWatch via Google, you get some lurid and quite false warnings about it.  Enough to put most people off accessing the blog. If you just access it directly using the usual link in the list of blogs below, you will still get straight through.

Anyway, I always create a backup whenever I post something so that should enable continued access to the blog.  I normally upload backups only once a month but from now on I will upload them daily. So see for that




Monday, October 24, 2022

Official Australian weather forecaster wants people to stop referring to it as the BOM

It's an abbreviation of "Bureau of Meteorology" but maybe it sounds a bit explosive

Not content with changing historical data to protect the image of Climate Change (sorry ‘homogenising weather data and closing stations with the hottest temperatures’), the Bureau of Meteorology decided to ditch its nickname ‘the BOM’.

Originally, the BOM wanted to be known simply as ‘the Bureau’ – which sounds like the perfect name for the weather arm of a dystopian dictatorship.

The BOM promptly started behaving like a pack of totalitarians by leaning on Twitter to ‘rectify’ the situation where ordinary users took up their ‘preferred Twitter handles’ @TheBureau_NSW and @TheBureau_AU. Twitter suspended or ‘freed’ those accounts.

The BOM’s narcissism ended in a backflip, with ‘The Bureau’ saying that people can refer to them in ‘any way they wish’.




Sunday, October 23, 2022

Olympic swimming star Sharron Davies suspended from her job after showing an interest in transgender issues

Poisonous bureaucrat Aedan Wolton alleged she was transphobic. But Social Work England looks pretty bad too

image from


Olympic swimming star Sharron Davies last night joined free speech and women's rights campaigners calling for the sporting quango's diversity chief, Aedan Wolton, to be fired or resign.

Mr Wolton, whose taxpayer-funded job is to 'tackle inequalities' in sport, had accused a former colleague, Rachel Meade, of making 'transphobic' posts on her private Facebook page.

She had shared links to news articles, including from The Mail on Sunday, about transgender issues, also to blogs and petitions surrounding the national debate over whether people should be allowed to self-identify their gender.

Mr Wolton's single complaint to the regulator Social Work England led to the mother-of-two being suspended from her job at Westminster City Council for a year.

In a humiliating climbdown, last week, Social Work England dropped its case against the 54-year-old, who said the 'last two years have been nothing short of an Orwellian nightmare for me and my family'.

Toby Young, from the Free Speech Union, said: 'It's ridiculous that she was put through two years of hell on the strength of a single complaint




Friday, October 21, 2022

A free speech controversy in Australia

The current consideration by the Australian Human Rights Commission of a complaint by Green Senator Mehreen Faruqi against fellow Senator Pauline Hanson is a reminder that Section 18C remains a source of contention in the debate in Australia over freedom of speech.

The complaint arose out of an exchange where Senator Faruqi described Queen Elizabeth II as ‘the leader of a racist empire’ and Senator Hanson responded that Senator Faruqi should ‘piss off back to Pakistan’.

The Human Rights Commission will treat the complaint as based, at least in part, on Section 18C which makes it unlawful to do an act that is reasonably likely to, amongst other things, offend or insult another person or group of persons because of their race, colour or national or ethnic origin. There are certain exemptions but these are subject to the qualifications that the conduct must be reasonable and in good faith, questions the answers to which are obviously subjective and might only be determined after lengthy legal proceedings. Apart from the time involved in this kind of litigation, the cost may well be substantial for a person against whom a complaint has been brought, whether or not the complaint is finally made out, reflecting Voltaire’s truism that he had only been ruined twice in his life, once when he lost a lawsuit and on the other occasion when he was successful in a legal action.

The real objection to Section 18C has always been that it is sometimes impossible to have a robust public debate without offending or insulting persons or groups, some of whom may have a very high level of sensitivity. As Justice Harlan of the US Supreme Court said in a 1968 judgment, ‘the state has no right to cleanse public debate to the point where it is grammatically palatable to the most squeamish amongst us’.

It is said by the defenders of Section 18C that it is necessary to protect individuals and groups against ‘hate speech’. The term ‘hate speech’ is now used by many people to mean no more than expressions of opinion with which they do not agree. Genuine hate speech has, of course, always been subject to the criminal law which makes it an offence to incite violence against individuals or groups or the destruction of their property on any grounds, including race and nationality.

One of the most contentious aspects of Section 18C is that it can be – and has been – used to suppress expressions of political opinion. There is a crucial difference here from the law of defamation where it is a complete defence to prove the truth of the statements that are the subject of complaint. But Section 18C is not concerned with truth or falsity. If a statement is offensive or insulting, it does not matter whether it is true or not. Take as an example the statement that in and around 1915 up to 1.5 million Armenians in Turkey died, particularly through forced deportation to desert areas, because of the policies of the then Turkish government. There is certainly historical evidence for this assertion but it has been fiercely disputed by Turkish regimes ever since. Many Turks would be offended and insulted by claims of an Armenian genocide but the truth or otherwise of the allegation would be irrelevant to any complaint made by them under Section 18C.

In 2017 the Turnbull government tried to amend Section 18C to deal with some of these problems but the proposed changes were rejected by the Senate where the government did not have the numbers. It might be noted that not a word in support of the amendment attempt was heard from the bevy of legal academics and bureaucrats who are vociferous in their proposals for a national bill of rights. This is because their bill of rights, although it would presumably provide for a right to freedom of speech, would not override provisions such as Section 18C. The solution to Section 18C is not a bill of rights but simply not to enact that kind of legislation in the first place.

The justification for limiting freedom of speech should be a difficult test to meet. As another American jurist, Oliver Wendell Holmes, said in a 1919 judgment of the US Supreme Court: ‘I think that we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expressions of opinions that we loath… unless they so imminently threaten immediate interference with the lawful and pressing purposes of the law that an immediate check is required to save the country’.

What about the Nazi salute used by some of the spectators at a recent first-grade soccer match? Certainly offensive to many people but does this justify a lifetime ban on their attendance at future matches? Holmes would probably say this was not required to save the country. The same might be said about those who deny the existence of the Holocaust – an utterly absurd contention in the face of an avalanche of historical evidence to the contrary and obviously offensive to the Jewish community but arguably not a reason to make the expression of such a view unlawful as Section 18C would do.

Senator Faruqi is, of course, perfectly entitled to make a complaint to the Human Rights Commission and that body will consider the complaint on the basis of the existing law, including Section 18C. That does not alter the fact that Section 18C is a bad law and should be repealed. The right response to speech that one finds offensive is one’s own speech. Freedom of speech lies at the heart of a political system based on parliamentary democracy but it is easily eroded by provisions like Section 18C and, once weakened, difficult to restore to its true value.




Thursday, October 20, 2022

Legal group puts 12 universities on notice about free speech violations

Universities have established ‘a police state on campus,’ legal group says

A nonprofit dedicated to free speech and civil liberties sent letters to twelve universities which demanded that they change their free speech policies to protect student voices.

The Southeastern Legal Foundation informed twelve universities recently that their policies “operate to deter conservative and libertarian students from sharing their views on campus.”

Specifically, campus “[b]ias reporting systems and bias response teams stifle free expression by establishing a police state on campus, where students who cannot bear to hear views they disagree with report their conservative and libertarian classmates to campus administrators.” Bias systems and teams allow individuals to anonymously report complaints about other individuals.

The letters ask for the policies to be abandoned or revised to ensure that students have the ability to speak their minds in their college setting.




Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Furious dad LOSES IT as Australian workplaces are told to stop using the words FATHER and MOTHER: 'Stop spending our money on this crap'

An angry dad has unleashed at workplace advice to stop using the word 'father' and 'mother' in a bid to be more inclusive.

Sydney-based queer health organisation ACON, which is primarily funded by the NSW Government and also receives money from the ABC, advised workplaces to abandon the terms to promote LGBTQ inclusion.  

The lobby group has suggested the words 'mother' and 'father' be replaced with 'primary caregiver' and 'secondary caregiver'.

In a training video, HR staff were told to avoid using gendered terms when writing office policies to make sure gender norms are not reinforced.

'When we continue to use terms that buy into that, such as 'maternity leave', 'paternity leave', 'mother', 'dads', all of these terms, that's reinforcing those gender norms,' the video states.

'So using terms like 'primary caregivers', 'secondary caregiver', making sure we're not referring to partners using gender terms like 'mother', like 'dad', is really important.'

Radio 2GB host Ben Fordham, who is also a father, slammed the initiative as a 'crack pot idea' being pushed by an organisation with an 'official relationship with the ABC'.

'This is a group that doesn't want anyone saying 'mothers' or 'fathers'. If you're taking advice from this mob, you need a check up,' Fordham wrote on Facebook.

ACON, which stands for AIDS Council of NSW, receives $13million in government funding every year and $4million from organisations who sign up as members.

'Pay them out of your own pocket. Because we don't consent to our money being spent on this crap.'

Listeners were quick to share their opinions in the comments.

'I am a Mother, a Grandmother and I will be dammed if I will be identified as anything other than that. I am a woman and proud of it,' one woman wrote.  

'It's diminishing my much treasured role as a mother and I will not bow to this insanity,' a second agreed.

'It's time to ban lobby groups and the funding to ABC - they do not represent all Australians so all Australians should not be paying for them,' a third commented.




Private all-boys school has encouraged teachers to use gender neutral language instead of the terms 'boy' or 'young man'

Principal Deborah Frizza of St Bede's College in Menton, in Melbourne's southeast, said in a letter to staff this week that the school was looking to change the language it uses following updated Victoria Child Safe Standards.

'Can I ask that we start to use gender neutral language in our communications where possible?' the letter read, reports The Herald Sun. 'I know it can be challenging when communicating with the parents of senior students and calling them 'children', so if anyone has a better gender neutral term than this, please let me know.

'The use of the term 'student' rather than 'young man' or 'boy' can easily be made. I'm yet to find an alternative for 'Beda Boy' (graduated students), and given the history of this term, we would need to think carefully on any changes here.'

Following some backlash in the media, the college confirmed that 'at no stage' were teachers instructed not to use the gender-specific terms at all.

'There are, and will continue to be, boys, young men and 'Beda Boys' within our College community,' a statement from the school on Monday read. 'At the forefront of our minds is, and will remain, the inclusion of all students at St Bede's College.'

Victoria's updated Child Safety Standards say schools must: 'Pay particular attention to the needs of children and young people with disability, children and young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, those who are unable to live at home, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex children and young people'.

School campuses across the country are increasingly sparking debate as they make changes to become more inclusive.

Northlakes High School on the NSW Central Coast was recently accused of 'going woke' when they installed 'He/They' and 'She/They' signage of their toilet block.

In South Australia schools must allow transgender students to use the bathroom they feel comfortable with or provide them a private bathroom.




Monday, October 17, 2022

Elon Musk ‘wants free speech to reign on the internet’: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Elon Musk would likely push for more free speech on Twitter should the Tesla CEO purchase Twitter, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, said.

Musk has been locked in an ongoing legal battle with Twitter after backing out of a deal to purchase the social media platform. The judge overseeing the case paused proceedings Thursday after Musk proposed to move forward with the original agreement to purchase Twitter for $44 billion.

"He appears to be a guy that wants free speech to reign on the Internet," Paxton told Fox News. "I welcome somebody getting into the marketplace that will just allow people to speak freely and not try to limit them based on what their political positions are or their religious positions."

"Those are sacred rights and sacred ideas that our founders built this country on," Paxton added.

The attorney general has been fighting his own legal battles against social media giants. A federal appeals court on Sept. 16 ruled in Paxton's favor and lifted a block on a Texas law that prohibits social media companies from banning users' posts based on their political leanings.

NetChoice and the Computer and Communications Industry Association, whose members include Facebook, Twitter and Google, had sued Texas after the legislation was passed. The plaintiffs argued that the law was unconstitutional and that it violated their First Amendment rights to curate the content that appeared on their platforms.

But Paxton believes tech companies censoring posts is the violation. "We're talking about people being able to express their opinions," he told Fox News. "If we do not stop this, we are going to lose the ability to have practically free speech in this country … which means that there's huge advantages for people that have more liberal views than there are for those that have more conservative views."

"So, now the Fifth Circuit said, 'hey, wait a minute, you don't have the ability to, or discretion to edit out comments that you don't like or that you don't agree with as a company,'" Paxton said.

The case centered on themes related to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The 1996 statute shields internet companies from lawsuits related to content posted to their websites by third parties.

In other words, Facebook, for instance, would be protected if a user published defamatory or libelous content.

"Originally that was set up to allow them to be sort of like a billboard or like a place you could post information," Paxton told Fox News. "They were not considered a publisher, so they were not responsible for what people put on those sites, and therefore, they couldn't be sued for defamation or libel."

But now, social media companies are acting as a publisher by censoring content — particular conservative-leaning content — while still benefiting from the legal protection, Paxton said.

"If they can basically squelch free speech and viewpoints — conservative, Republican views — they can give Democrats a huge advantage across the country in all races, from local to presidential," he told Fox News.

"They're arguing, one, that they're not a publisher, they can't be sued, but then they're acting in the role of publisher," Paxton continued. "And so, when these states come in and try to regulate that, they argue both sides."

"Our argument is, if you're going to avail yourself of the protections of Section 230, and claim that you are not a publisher, then you can't act like publisher and discriminate against viewpoints," Paxton said. "You shouldn't then be allowed to protect yourself from defamation or libel because other publishers can't do that."




Sunday, October 16, 2022

The Left’s ESG Movement Is Coming After All Americans

Americans were just issued a dire warning after “Dilbert,” a comic beloved by many over the years, was dropped from 77 publications after over three decades.

Created by cartoonist Scott Adams, “Dilbert” uses satire to poke fun at traditional office life on a number of issues, which recently included “ESG.”

As this particular comic strip explained, the ESG movement seeks to use a new set of criteria—environmental, social, and governance—to evaluate businesses and consumers based on how well they align with the progressives’ woke priorities, including climate radicalism, gender ideology, gun control, and even abortion on demand.

Probably not by coincidence, “Dilbert” was dropped from many major publications after pointing out the lunacy of such policies. There’s no doubt its culture-shaping commentary will be missed by many that enjoyed the subtle humor. What is not so subtle, however, is the ESG movement, which has used the Left’s fear-driven, systemic cancel culture to trigger major workplace policy changes and squeeze the syndication outlets for popular cultural figures like Dilbert.

But why should you care about what happens to successful cartoonists or in corporate boardrooms?

Because it’s not stopping there—the ESG movement is set on taking over culture and business to control working Americans through its radical and at times bizarre scoring system, which punishes or rewards people based on their race, sexual orientation, carbon footprint, or wokeness.

Small-business owners, investors, and consumers are the real targets of this rage against our culture and normal business practices. The ESG scorekeepers are looking closely at everything we do to identify “victims” and “oppressors.”

Think of it as an alternative accounting system using social media and corporate governance to punish those citizens and businesses that don’t fit into the Left’s woke ideological vision for the future.

If you don’t comply, they can work to drive away your customers, dry up your capital, and publicly shame you.

Need a fresh example?

In a House Financial Services Committee hearing in late September, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., asked CEOs of major banks whether they would go along with her ESG agenda and commit to stop funding fossil fuels. Unsurprisingly, they all declined and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon even admitted that her plan “would be the road to Hell for America.”

Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, followed up and asked the CEOs whether they believed their banks had done enough to “atone” for their part in slavery.

Earlier in September, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul called for credit card companies to start categorizing purchases consumers make at gun stores. Soon after, companies like Visa, Mastercard, and American Express announced that they would fall in line and start tracking purchases.

This could essentially result in the creation of a de facto gun registry, maintained by private companies, that progressives could use to target law-abiding gun owners.

On Sept. 19, the corporate communications company Twilio announced that it would be laying off 11% of its workforce. Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson of course clarified that these layoffs would be made through an “Anti-Racist” lens. Under ESG policies, companies like Twilio will be rewarded for considering race, not merit, when making personnel decisions.

While this is just one of the early examples of woke governance policies, there will be plenty of other examples in businesses and companies of all sizes.

Dilbert was right; this is absurd, just not funny. So what can be done?

Over a dozen states—including Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee—have already fought back by protecting their states’ pensions, investments, and contracts, but more needs to be done to counter the ESG movement.

The federal government must also be kept in check with progressives like Tlaib hellbent on turning this into federal policy and President Joe Biden’s bureaucracy trying to use the Securities and Exchange Commission to do just that.

Whether you are Adams or an average American looking to make an honest living, ESG hurts everyone. Citizens and CEOs alike need to call out ESG when they see it, and unite to reject its implementation from the boardroom down to the factory floor.




Friday, October 14, 2022

Brazilian teacher is fired from Catholic school after she was filmed doing Hitler salute while teaching a writing class

No word on what she intended by it

An 11th grade teacher was fired Tuesday from a Catholic school in Brazil after she made a Nazi salute.

Josete Biral was standing behind her desk in the classroom Saturday when she extended her right arm forward, as seen in a video recorded by one of the students at the Holy Family School in the southern municipality of Ponta Grossa.

Biral was wearing a t-shirt of the Brazilian national soccer team, a flag and buttons that supported President Jair Bolsonaro, who is running for reelection.

A male student was at her desk and then walks to the back of the classroom when she makes the anti-Semitic gesture that salutes Adolf Hitler.

Biral's firing was confirmed to Brazilian news outlet G1 by the school and her attorney, Alexandre Jorge.

Jorge said the video was taken out of context and was recorded by students who shared opposing political views.

He added that Biral was playing the Brazilian national anthem when she held her arm out and that she does not condone Nazism.

'Some students who [support] the candidate [Luiz Inacio] Lula started wanting to induce this side that she was making the symbol of Nazism.'

Holy Family School director Sister Edites Bet told the outlet first learned of the incident on Monday after the video had gone viral.

'It was certainly an act of imprudence on the part of the teacher and the school has already taken the first internal measures with her according to what our regiment says,' she said.

The gesture is known as the Hitler salute or Sieg Heil Salute and was used as a greeting in Nazi Germany.

Use of the salute is considered a crime in Brazil and is punishable with a prison sentence.

The Ponta Grossa Civil Police had not opened an investigation as of Tuesday.




Thursday, October 13, 2022

More censorship in Australia

Big Tech companies are not at all hesitant about being openly biased in how they operate as publishers of online content.

This month the Institute of Public Affairs attempted to promote a research video featuring Senators James McGrath and Jacinta Price and leading intellectual Dr Anthony Dillon, explaining why establishing a voice in the constitution would permanently divide Australia by race.

When the IPA attempted to pay a fee to Facebook to promote this research to a wider audience it was rejected on the basis that it would breach Facebook’s policies about social issues, elections or politics.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, asserts that ‘any advertiser running ads about social issues, elections or politics’ must include a ‘paid for by’ disclaimer on these ‘ads’. How the research video discussing racial equality violated Facebook’s policies was never mentioned. The farce was at least acknowledged by Facebook when it removed its ban – only to reimpose it a few hours later.

Attempting to cover its tracks, Facebook leaked their version of events to the Guardian, which defended the censorship: ‘The IPA warriors might have saved their outrage for another day if they had just read the fine print. It was not the content of their ad that was the problem. Facebook’s rules require ads which have political content to carry a “disclaimer, disclosure, and ad labelling”’, they wrote. Except, three days later in a story published in the Australian Facebook again changed their version of events.

Facebook finally came clean and admitted they were wrong to have removed the ban on the promotion of the IPA’s video, although they wrongly continue to maintain that the content of the IPA’s video required a disclaimer to begin with. A Facebook spokeswoman said: ‘The ad was live for a short period of time in error, but was removed as soon as we realised it was missing the disclaimer.’

Facebook’s admission of error is significant, because if even Facebook cannot figure out how their vague rules work, how can they be trusted to control what people say in the digital public square? It also reinforces the perception of millions of Australians that Big Tech companies are putting their fingers on the scales on the likely forthcoming Voice referendum, which raises questions about the integrity of that referendum.

Behaviour like this from Facebook has been encouraged by governments. In recent years a consensus has emerged among political leaders that Big Tech companies should be given more power and responsibility to undermine freedom of speech online. Former Liberal federal minister for communications Paul Fletcher’s misinformation and disinformation laws, announced just before the May federal election, would have given regulators extraordinary new powers to force digital platforms to crack down on ‘harmful’ disinformation.

Similarly, the not so Conservative government in the UK is pressing ahead with its Online Safety bill, which will force digital platforms to censor ‘lawful but harmful’ content. New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has even likened online speech to ‘weapons of war’. In an address to the UN General Assembly, Ardern called on parties to take the ‘collective will’ to ‘bring us back to order’. One could be forgiven for thinking the type of order Ardern has in mind is one in which mainstream voters aren’t allowed to disagree with her government.

What happened to the IPA’s research video is an exemplar of what is one of the most significant challenges to freedom in our time. At a time when Australians are being asked to permanently enshrine race in the constitution, foreign-owned Big Tech mega corporations are asserting their power to control how that debate will be held, or if there will be a debate at all.




Wednesday, October 12, 2022

PayPal Stock Plunges Despite Pulling Controversial Policy Fining Users $2,500 for ‘Misinformation’

PayPal’s stock dropped more than 6 percentage points on Monday after reports emerged that the firm may attempt to fine people $2,500 for spreading “misinformation” via the platform.

Over the weekend, the company told The Epoch Times that “PayPal is not fining people for misinformation and this language was never intended to be inserted in our policy,” adding, “An [acceptable use policy] notice recently went out in error that included incorrect information,” the statement said.

But before, the firm had expanded its policy to prohibit “the sending, posting, or publication of any messages, content, or materials” that “promote misinformation” or “present a risk to user safety or wellbeing.”

Individuals who violated the policy could face a fine of $2,500 taken from their PayPal account for each violation. That policy was supposed to go into effect on Nov. 3.

Users were directed to PayPal’s user agreement, which states in part that PayPal can take a number of actions if users participate in restricted activities, such as holding their money in balance indefinitely. It also says that “you will be liable to PayPal for the amount of PayPal’s damages caused by your violation of the Acceptable Use Policy” at the amount of $2,500 per violation.

That money will cover internal administrative costs for PayPal to monitor and track violations and damage to PayPal’s brand, among other costs, according to the agreement.

Former high-level executives at PayPal sharply criticized the policy.

“A private company now gets to decide to take your money if you say something they disagree with. Insanity,” former PayPal President David Marcus wrote on Twitter.

Elon Musk, the head of Telsa who co-founded PayPal decades ago, said that he “agreed” with Marcus’s Twitter post.

Over the weekend, users on Twitter called for a boycott of PayPal and users indicated that they stopped using the payment company’s services. After PayPal’s mea culpa, critics of the firm did not appear convinced that the policy was issued in error.

Dan Held, the former chief of growth marketing for cryptocurrency exchange Kraken, wrote that users should delete accounts with the payment services provider.

“PayPal freezing funds for thought crimes is despicable,” he wrote over the weekend.

As of Monday morning trading, the San Jose, California-based firm’s stock slumped 5.5 percent. It’s down more than 50 percent in 2022.

Several weeks ago, PayPal banned a group named “Gays Against Groomers” that some LGBT activists claimed to be a “hate group.”




Twitter Blocks FL Surgeon General Post Warning of 'Increased Risk of Cardiac-Related Death' from Vaccine, Then Makes a Huge Reversal

On Friday Florida’s Surgeon General Dr. Joe Ladapo tweeted about cardiac risks related to the COVID vaccine. Twitter blocked the post, but then later allowed it, which has prompted many to once again criticize Twitter for censorship practices.

Ladapo tweeted information about risks associated with the vaccine, particularly for young men, Politico reported.

“Today, we released an analysis on COVID-19 mRNA vaccines the public needs to be aware of. This analysis showed an increased risk of cardiac-related death among men 18-39. FL will not be silent on the truth,” he tweeted along with a link to a press release and a guide from the state’s health department with more information.

The information that Ladapo provided outlined how the Florida Health Department had run its own case series to look into the risks and safety of the vaccine.

“This studied mortality risk following mRNA COVID-19 vaccination,” the release from the health department reported. “This analysis found there is an 84 percent increase in the relative incidence of cardiac-related death among males 18-39 years old within 28 days following mRNA vaccination.

Individuals with preexisting cardiac conditions, such as myocarditis and pericarditis, should take particular caution when considering vaccination and discuss with their health care provider.”

But after blocking Ladapo’s tweet with this information and the surgeon general’s warning about the vaccine, Twitter restored the post on Sunday, Politico reported.

“Our current misleading information policies cover: synthetic and manipulated media, COVID-19, and civic integrity. If we determine a Tweet contains misleading or disputed information per our policies that could lead to harm, we may add a label to the content to provide context and additional information,” Twitter’s post outlined, Politico reported.

Despite a lack of explanation on Twitter’s part about the decision to block and then unblock Ladapo’s tweet, it seems to be a pretty clear case of hysterical censorship from the social media platform.

Though it has its “misleading information policies,” the fact that Twitter blocked Ladapo’s tweet showed that it might indeed have a tendency to just block anything it may disagree with because Ladapo’s warning about the vaccine was not hysteria. There have been multiple studies linking cardiac problems to the vaccine.

Ladapo and the Florida Health Department were not going out on a limb when they decided to run a study on the vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also warned about cardiac issues related to the vaccine.

The CDC’s studies did not show as drastic a risk as the Florida study, but nonetheless, it has been acknowledged for months that the vaccine has cardiac risks, particularly for young men, like myocarditis, which is an inflammation in the heart muscles.

“Myocarditis and pericarditis have rarely been reported. When reported, the cases have especially been in adolescents and young adult males within several days after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna),” the CDC reported.

The American Heart Association also warned of this risk.

“Across all ages, the risk of developing vaccine-related myocarditis was nine times higher for men than women. Males ages 16-19 faced the highest risk, with young men ages 20-24 having the second-highest risk,” the AHA reported. “The risk of developing myocarditis among males ages 16-19 after a third dose was about 1 in 15,000.”

Even BMJ, a British medical journal that is published by the British Medical Association, has warned of cardiac risks with the vaccine.




Monday, October 10, 2022

Australian radio jock blasts newspaper for trying to 'ruin' him by pressuring advertisers to pull out of his radio show for saying 'spaz'

Kyle Sandilands has blasted a Sydney newspaper for 'manufacturing' a story about advertisers threatening to pull out of his radio show.

The Daily Telegraph has been pushing an anti-Kyle agenda in recent days, claiming there has been widespread outrage over his use of the word 'spaz' last week.

In reality, most listeners of The Kyle and Jackie O Show weren't offended by the term - which the publication called an 'ableist' slur - and only a handful of disability activists on Twitter have complained about it.

He said he was genuinely sorry if any regular listeners were offended by his words, but made it clear the story was a beat-up intended to 'ruin' him, adding that the station's advertisers only spoke out under pressure from The Daily Telegraph.

The Daily Telegraph had sought comment from blue-chip advertisers Bunnings and Vodafone distancing themselves from Sandilands' remarks, which were made during an on-air rant about KIIS FM's publicity team last Thursday.

The majority of Kyle and Jackie O's major advertisers, including McDonald's, Coles, Telstra, Uber, Jetstar and Chemist Warehouse, have ignored the story.




Sunday, October 09, 2022

Nine Line Apparel ‘Florida Strong’ T-shirt ad rejected by Facebook

A retired US Army captain says he’s hit a firewall trying to advertise efforts to raise money for Floridians devastated by Hurricane Ian — and it’s called Facebook.

Tyler Merritt, CEO of Savannah-based Nine Line Apparel told “Fox & Friends” this week that his patriotic clothing company’s push to bring in cash for hurricane victims by selling a “Florida Strong” T-shirt have been rejected by Facebook.

He said he believes there’s a “trend” of anything appearing to be “conservative” getting flagged by the social media giant, adding he finds it “horrible — especially now [when] we’re trying to come together and saying, ‘Hey, let’s go help our friends in Florida.’”

“There is an algorithm out there that is targeting organizations like ours, in my opinion — and there’s no individual that we can reach out to” to complain to,” he fumed.

Merritt said his company has run similar altruistic initiatives to aid victims of natural disasters and is no stranger to Facebook’s suspect policies.

“They have you reach out to them and say, ‘Hey, would you please allow this advertising to go forward?’” he said. “It doesn’t actually make mention of any political individual initiative, but most of the time it falls on deaf ears, or we do not get responses.”

He said that he and his team have reached out to Facebook and its parent company Meta to get a clearer answer of their policies – to no avail.

“It seems that there is a trend that anything that is deemed conservative gets flagged, gets hindered and gets stopped,” said Merritt.




Friday, October 07, 2022

RNC says Google suppressed more than 22M GOTV, fundraising emails in September, exploring 'legal options'

The Republican National Committee says Google is suppressing get-out-the-vote and fundraising emails by sending millions of GOP election emails to users’ Gmail spam folders, with party leadership threatening to explore legal options to "put an end" to what they call a "clear pattern of bias."

According to RNC officials, emails being sent by the RNC to Republican subscribers who use Gmail accounts in the final days of each month are being sent to spam folders.

An RNC official told Fox News Digital that since Sept. 28, Gmail has "suppressed" more than 22 million RNC emails—358,000 of which were GOTV emails.

On Sept. 28, Gmail spammed more than 3.1 million RNC emails. The next day, Gmail spammed more than 9.8 million RNC emails, and on Sept. 30, Gmail spammed more than 9.97 million RNC mails.

An RNC official told Fox News Digital that Republicans have raised this issue with Google "for months" and said they have received "no resolution."

"Our emails have been suppressed despite concrete changes that have improved overall performance," an official said, noting the RNC, last month, updated their segmentation to factor in recency of click, petition signature, and donation.

"Despite having a significantly positive impact on performance, this appears to have had absolutely no impact on the timing of this end-of-month spamming," the official explained.

The RNC provided Fox News with data showing that party emails go from "strong inbox delivery— 90-100%" down to 0% at the end of the month.

"Every single month, like clockwork, Google suppresses important GOTV and fundraising emails at the end of the month, with zero explanation nor commitment from Google to resolve this issue," RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told Fox News. "We are less than 40 days out from Election Day, and important GOTV emails to our opted-in voters in states that have already started early voting are being systematically sent to spam."

"Enough is enough," she said. "Big Tech bias is undermining the democratic process and the RNC is exploring our legal options to put an end to this clear pattern of bias."

Republican Party officials told Fox News that Google’s "disproportionate suppression of Republican emails constitutes an illegal corporate contribution to Democrat candidates."




Thursday, October 06, 2022

Free speech largely dead or dying at the Ivy League

It is interesting but depressing to me that the more eminent a college or university is perceived to be, the more outrageous are efforts by administrators to stifle individual expression and enforce a numbing conformity of ideas reminiscent of universities in the old Soviet Union or Nazi Germany.

The most prestigious group of schools in America is no doubt the Ivy League, eight elitist and highly selective institutions in seven Northeastern states. In the last decade, Yale attacked and hounded from campus two scholars who dared to defend the right of students to wear Halloween costumes similar to what grade-schoolers don to Trick or Treat. Princeton revived ancient (and already adjudicated) charges of inappropriate sexual conduct against distinguished classicist Joshua Katz in order to punish him for more recent anti-woke criticisms of campus happenings.

Not to be outdone in its efforts to ban impermissible and thereby impure thoughts, the University of Pennsylvania is going after Amy Wax, the Robert Mundheim Professor of Law in Penn’s law school.

Wax defended bourgeois values and argued that civilizations are successful to the extent that they adopt them.
Full disclosure: I consider Amy a friend. We serve together on the National Association of Scholars board. It is indisputable that she is an extraordinary scholar, with degrees from Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Oxford. In addition to her law degree, she possesses an M.D. and is a neurologist.

Amy has won the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award, as well as multiple teaching awards from Penn. She has argued numerous cases before the Supreme Court. For years, Professor Wax was a mainstay in teaching civil procedure to first-year Penn Law students.

Yet the Dean of Penn Law, Ted Ruger, is practically begging Penn’s faculty senate to impose “severe sanctions” (translation: dismissal) on her. To quote the dean, Wax is guilty of “intentional and incessant racist, sexist, xenophobic, and homophobic actions and statements.”

The campaign against Amy began when she co-authored an op-ed in 2017 that defended bourgeois values and argued that civilizations are successful to the extent that they adopt them. Students and fellow faculty members expressed outrage at such provocative thoughts.

Certainly, Professor Wax speaks her mind and says lots of things that make some students uncomfortable. Her current RateMyProfessor teaching evaluations are so-so (an average 2.6 rating on a one-to-five scale)—clearly not the highest, but probably neither the lowest, observed at Penn Law.

One reason: She is a very tough grader. An April 2022 comment from a student in her civil procedure course is revealing:

Tough but fair. Has clear expectations. […] Those who expect top grades for showing up but not doing the work at a graduate level will be disappointed. Treats students like adults, not children who want to be protected from dealing with real-world issues.

Or, as another student from many years ago put it:

Can be rude, can be condescending, but hey, this is law school. Probably the best teacher I ever had.

Professor Wax apparently has a very low tolerance for “snowflakes,” students whose extremely fragile state of mind leads them to want to be protected from hearing uncomfortable words. Amy dares to say in class, for example, that, on average, some racial groups fare better in college than others, a factually accurate statement but one that many view as impermissible because it isn’t “inclusive.”

Great universities are all about challenging students.
Yet great universities are all about challenging students, even deliberately making them uncomfortable so they can confront and evaluate alternative points of view in their quest for true understanding and wisdom. As the University of Chicago’s president Robert Zimmer put it in a 2016 Wall Street Journal op-ed, “Having one’s assumptions challenged and experiencing the discomfort that sometimes accompanies this process are intrinsic parts of an excellent education.” And the practice of law is all about making adversaries uncomfortable.

Probably the most defensible criticism of Professor Wax I have read came in Inside Higher Education from a Penn colleague, Jonathan Zimmerman, an education professor. Zimmerman, correctly in my view, notes, “the best response to Wax is to raise our voices … not to stamp out hers.”

But Zimmerman also argues that professors have “a special duty to treat students and colleagues with decency and civility.” In principle, I agree, but on what planet is Professor Zimmerman residing? I have attended many faculty meetings, luncheons, and cocktail parties where faculty members treated their colleagues with contempt, disrespect, and worse. And it happens sometimes in classrooms, too. Some moderate harassing of students, if done with non-malicious intent, spurs them on to greater efforts to demonstrate their competence and excellence.

To be sure, there are some limits. Professors cannot ethically make up utterly false or unsubstantiated comments like “John is a miserable sadist who beats his boyfriend every night and steals money from charities helping poor persons” (if, in fact, John has no boyfriend, is lovingly engaged to his girlfriend, did no beating, nor stole any money).

And spending 90 percent of one’s class-time ranting about people or politics rather than talking about, say, civil procedure, would be inappropriate, although I have not heard that claim made about Amy Wax.

What can be done about the suppression of expression by legitimate scholars like Professors Wax or Katz?

Looked at from a broad perspective, universities are utterly dependent on third parties for financial support, specifically governments and private philanthropy. Political (governmental) support of universities has fallen as a result of their excessive far-left ideological orientation, as well as familiar problems associated with high tuition fees, mediocre graduation rates, and a growing realization that much collegiate training does little to improve the skills of new adult workers.

It is tempting for state governments to mandate greater viewpoint diversity and the support of free expression in colleges, but, unless done sparingly and carefully, the cure may be worse than the disease. State offices enforcing campus viewpoint diversity might merely raise costs and increase already excessive bureaucracies—and decrease the distinctly decentralized, competitive character of American higher education.

The ultimate solution likely involves reducing financial support for the aggressively woke suppression of ideas, along with the creation of new institutions that are aware of the problems mentioned above—schools like the new University of Austin, which, one hopes, will tolerate brilliant if eccentric and controversial scholars like Amy Wax.




Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Who Decides What Children Read? Authoritarians Slander Parent Groups as “Book Banners”

In a country that protects and praises personal liberty, few charges are more loaded than to call people censors or “book banners.”  Those are fighting words.

Unfortunately, the American Library Association and PEN America, an advocacy group for literary authors, are casually hurling that accusation against school leaders and parent organizations across the country without any concern for whether the charges are reasonable or factually accurate.

The library association and PEN think they can slander others as “book banners” to bully them into acquiescing to their organizations’ preferences, rather than engaging in democratic debate or policy discussions about what books should be required of students and made available to children in school libraries.

There are many places around the world in which large numbers of books are truly banned. In Iran, for example, hundreds of books are legally prohibited, including classic works of literature and philosophy. As the Los Angeles Times describes these bans, “Those who publish, sell or distribute banned books face arrest and imprisonment if caught.”

No one involved in the debate over which books should be required in school curriculums or available in school libraries is advocating banning books, since no one is suggesting that the producers, distributors, or owners of books be arrested or punished.

Rather, the earnest and essential debate is about which books are appropriate for children of different ages; which works have enduring cultural or educational value; and the process by which those decisions should be made in tens of thousands of diverse U.S. schools and districts, which operate under state and local control.

The library association and PEN think that classroom teachers and school librarians should make these decisions unilaterally and unaccountably while parent groups simply want greater public oversight and parental input into these decisions as law and tradition have long allowed and generally encourage.

If we adopt the expansive view of book banning as not having a work physically present in a school library, then we are all book banners.

One hopes that even the American Library Association and PEN would agree that Hustler magazine would not be an appropriate periodical to circulate to children. Neither is the decision by most schools not to carry Donald Trump’s “The Art of the Deal” necessarily evidence of book banning.

Resources and space are finite, so there has to be some process for deciding which books are appropriate. If we define banned as “not shelved” or placed out of the immediate reach of children, then the vast majority of published books have been banned. If we count only works included in official school curriculums, then only a few hundred works in all of human history could be said to be “approved.”

The library association adopts an even more expansive definition of banned books as including any works that are merely “challenged” by parents, administrators, or public officials, a characterization that ironically displays a taste for censorship itself. This is like a politician who denounces any disagreement as treason.

It’s no more acceptable in a pluralistic society governed by representative democracy for elected officials to denounce those who disagree as traitors than it is for the American Library Association to denounce those who challenge the preferences of school librarians as book banners.

Moreover, the charge works in reverse: Librarians are book banners themselves, since they make decisions daily about which titles deserve shelf space.

PEN seems to have adopted a slightly more restricted definition of book banning as works that are removed from or made inaccessible in school libraries or classroom curriculums.

The organization claims to have identified 1,648 titles that have been removed during the 2021-22 school year. But a very quick examination reveals that many of those “banned” books continue to be available in the school libraries from which they have supposedly been removed.

Just starting with the Indian River school district in Florida, which PEN claims to be one of the most egregious censors with 161 books banned during the 2021-22 school year, we quickly find that many of the “removed” books continue to be available in school libraries.

For example, PEN identified “A Certain Slant of Light” by Laura Whitcomb as “Banned in Libraries” in Indian River, but it is nevertheless listed as available in the Sebastian River High School library in that district.

PEN says that the book “All American Boys” was “Banned in Libraries and Classrooms” in Indian River, but the district’s libraries show that they carry seven copies of the book.

That’s just starting with titles beginning with the letter A.

According to news reports, parents groups raised concerns about 156 books in the district’s school libraries, but only five were removed. One of those five that was removed was a collection of short stories called “Grl2grl,” which the publisher describes as “immersed into the minds and hearts of lesbian, bisexual, transgender, gay, queer, and questioning young people” and intended for “young adults,” which does not describe those under 18 enrolled in Indian River schools.  

The American Library Association or PEN may think its judgment is superior to that of parents and school administrators, and that “Grl2grl” should be available in school libraries despite concerns about that work’s appropriateness or merit, but it’s unclear why everyone else should blithely accept their judgments.

No one should accept the American Library Association and PEN calling those who refuse to follow their dictates without question “book banners.”

And no one should tolerate how the library association and PEN inflate the claim of “banning” by counting books that are merely “challenged” or by falsely claiming that books have been removed from school libraries when they continue to be available.

How we determine which books should be required reading and which should be available to children in school libraries is complicated and a matter of dispute—and sensible local control. By reducing that dispute to name-calling and bombastic edicts, the library association and PEN are doing more damage to the intellectual freedom and educational development of children than any parent group is.

If the American Library Association and PEN really want to combat book banning, they could direct their attention to what is occurring in Iran. If they want to engage the democratic process in the United States in a constructive manner, they would be wise to adopt a less authoritarian approach




Tuesday, October 04, 2022

Woke queen Ardern wages war on free speech

Tyranny has had a makeover. It’s no longer a boot stamping on a human face forever. It isn’t a gruff cop dragging you into a cell for thinking or expressing a “dangerous” idea. It isn’t a priest strapping you to a breaking wheel. No, authoritarianism is well dressed now. It’s polite. It has a broad smile and speaks in a soft voice. It is delivered not via a soldier’s boot to the cranium but with a caring liberal head-tilt. And its name is Jacinda Ardern.

New Zealand’s PM, every online liberal’s favourite world leader, has gone viral over the past few days following the circulation of the shocking speech she gave at the UN last Friday. Before the assembled leaders of both the free world and the unfree world, Ardern raised the alarm about a new “weapon of war”. It’s a “dangerous” one, she said. It poses a grave “threat” to humankind. It threatens to drag us headlong into “chaos”. We must act now, she pleaded with the powerful, so that we might disarm this weapon and “bring (the world) back to order”.

What is this terrible weapon, this menacing munition, that Ardern so passionately wants to decommission? It’s freedom of speech.

She was talking about words. Seriously. About ideas, disagreement, dissent. Her speech focused on the alleged scourge of “mis- and disinformation online”. We must tackle it, she said. She acknowledged some people are concerned that “even the most light-touch approaches to disinformation” could come across as being “hostile to the values of free speech”. You’re damn right we are. But global elites must nonetheless root out virtual bullshit because it can “cause chaos”, she said.

And she really is talking about ideas. Modern politicians who wring their hands over “misinformation” or “disinformation” are usually just talking about beliefs they don’t like. So at the UN, Ardern gave climate-change scepticism as an example of one of those “weapons of war” that can cause “chaos”. “How do you tackle climate change if people do not believe it exists?” she asked.

Critiquing climate-change alarmism, calling into question the eco-lobby’s hysterical claims that billions will die and Earth will burn if we don’t drastically cut our carbon emissions, is an entirely legitimate political endeavour.

In treating it as a species of Flat Earthism, as “disinformation”, the new elites seek to demonise dissenters, to treat people whose views differ to their own as the intellectual equivalent of warmongers. Barack Obama also claims that “misinformation” about climate change – which, in his view, includes painting the environmentalist movement in a “wildly negative light” – is a threat to the safety of humanity. Be mean about greens and people will die.

Call me a “weapon of war”, but I believe freedom of speech must include the freedom to be negative – even wildly so – about eco-activists. Activists, by the way, whose hype about the end of the world could genuinely be labelled misinformation. But they are never branded with that shaming m-word. That’s because misinformation doesn’t really mean misinformation anymore. It means dissent. Deviate from the woke consensus on anything from climate change to Covid and you run the risk of being labelled an evil disinformant.

Indeed, one of the most striking things about Ardern’s speech was her claim that if the elites ignore “misinformation”, then “the norms we all value” will be in danger. This is the most common cry of the 21st-century authoritarian – that speech can have a destabilising and even life-threatening impact, especially if it concerns big crises like climate change or Covid-19. So “climate deniers” are a threat to the future of the human race and thus may be legitimately silenced.

“Lockdown deniers” threaten to encourage the spread of viral infection and thus may be legitimately gagged. The spectre of crisis is cynically used to clamp down on anyone who dissents from the new global consensus. Images of Armageddon are marshalled to justify censorship of troublemakers. “Chaos”, as Ardern calls it – that’s what will unfold if your reckless, dangerous ideas are given free rein.

To see how authoritarian the desire to clamp down on “misinformation” can be, just consider some of the other world leaders who likewise used the platform of the UN to call for tougher controls on speech. Muhammadu Buhari, the brutal ruler of Nigeria, focused on his nation’s “many unsavoury experiences with hate speech and divisive disinformation” and joined the calls for a clampdown on the “scourge of disinformation and misinformation”.

Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, bemoaned the “disinformation” against his nation. The chattering classes cheering Ardern for standing up to “fake news” are implicitly cheering Buhari and Lavrov, too. They are as one with that woke queen when it comes to chasing “misinformation” from the public sphere.

Freedom of speech is in peril. And it isn’t only threatened by obvious strongmen – like the corrupt rulers of Nigeria or the theocratic tyrants of Iran – but also by a smiling PC woman who is feverishly fawned over by virtue-signallers the world over.

Ardern’s UN speech exposed the iron fist of authoritarianism that lurks within the velvet glove of wokeness. From her brutal lockdown, which forbade even New Zealand’s own citizens from returning to their home country, to her longstanding war on “extremist” speech, this is a woman who poses as liberal but can’t even spell the word.

If you want a picture of the future, don’t imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever – imagine Jacinda Ardern putting her arm around your shoulder and telling you you’re going to have to sacrifice your liberty to save the world from chaos.




Monday, October 03, 2022

Woe Is the Ivy League on the Constitution and Free Speech

Did you know that the Constitution is a tool of geopolitical gaslighting, and that it furthers a racial crisis and a democratic crisis?

Neither did we. But we didn’t go to Princeton. Because that’s the sort of thing they were saying during a recent Constitution Day panel discussion called “Citizenship and Its Discontents in Our Evolving Democratic Republic.”

Did you know, too, that Princeton — just like every other university that takes federal funds — is required to host an annual event marking September 17 as Constitution Day? On that day, or on an adjacent weekday when the 17th falls on a weekend as it did this year, the Department of Education stipulates that schools are to include “an educational program about the U.S. Constitution for its students.”

Unfortunately, the DOE’s guidelines don’t require these educational programs to say anything good about the Constitution, and so the woke professors at Princeton outsmarted us and trashed that one-of-a-kind document.

“There is a debate in this country as to whether the Constitution should be abolished,” said sociology professor Patricia Fernández-Kelly, who moderated the panel and who clearly doesn’t get out much. A debate about abolishing the Constitution? Really? Maybe there’s one taking place in the Princeton faculty lounge. And, yeah, given that the lounge is located “in this country,” we guess Fernandez-Kelly is technically right.

She went on to argue that “the Constitution doesn’t provide an aspirational program to fulfill.”

Centrist- and right-leaning parents and their Princeton students were no doubt chagrined to find out that when these America-hating panelists weren’t savaging one of the truly great works of Western Civilization, they were taking shots at the Republican Party as the source of what ails us. According to one of those panelists, Rich Benjamin, a cultural critic, anthropologist, and author best known for the book Searching for Whitopia, the Republicans aim to “disrupt the country for ideological ends” and the party holds “anti-democratic sentiments.”

Another panelist, Rhacel Parreñas, added that she “would not put it past Congress — if they [sic] became a Republican majority — to appease white nationalists, those who wish to go back to the time when it had been only whites … could be citizens of this country, and to repeal the citizenship clause of the First Amendment.”

Three cheers for Constitution Day!

Elsewhere in “higher” ed, one of Princeton’s fellow Ivy Leaguers, Columbia, came in dead-last in a ranking of the best and worst college campuses for freedom of speech, scoring a pathetic 9.91 out of 100. As the New York Post reports:

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) released its third annual College Free Speech Rankings for the 2022-2023 school year. In partnership with College Pulse, they surveyed nearly 45,000 students from more than 200 colleges — making it the largest ever survey about campus expression.

The University of Chicago came first for campus free speech, scoring 77.92 points out of 100. Four public universities rounded out the top five: Kansas State University, Purdue University, Mississippi State University and Oklahoma State University.

Kudos to each of those schools for pulling a C.

If there’s a bright side for Columbia, it’s that the school can’t fall off the floor. Indeed, there’s nowhere to go but up. But the school would do well to emulate the University of Chicago, which in 2014 published The Chicago Principles, a brief treatise that said, among other free-speech-supporting things, “The University has a solemn responsibility not only to promote a lively and fearless freedom of debate and deliberation, but also to protect that freedom when others attempt to restrict it.”

The statement concludes: “Without a vibrant commitment to free and open inquiry, a university ceases to be a university. The University of Chicago’s long-standing commitment to this principle lies at the very core of our University’s greatness. That is our inheritance, and it is our promise to the future.”

“The principles,” the Post notes, “have since been adopted by dozens of other institutions, including Princeton and Johns Hopkins University.”

That’s as it should be, but it’s not enough. Why hasn’t every college and university made clear their commitment to free speech? What are they afraid of?




Sunday, October 02, 2022

New Zealand prime minister condemned for calling to regulate free speech as a 'weapon of war' at UN

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern asked the UN, "How do you ensure the human rights of others are upheld, when they are subjected to hateful and dangerous rhetoric and ideology?"

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was blasted for comparing free speech online to "weapons of war" in a recent speech to the U.N. that critics called "authoritarian."

At the U.N. General Assembly on Friday, Ardern announced a new initiative "to help improve research and understanding of how a person’s online experiences are curated by automated processes," saying the work, done in partnership with companies and non-profits, will be "important in understanding more about mis- and disinformation online - A challenge that we must as leaders address."

The prime minister acknowledged that calling to regulate speech online in any way can seem problematic.

"As leaders, we are rightly concerned that even the most light-touch approaches to disinformation could be misinterpreted as being hostile to the values of free speech that we value so highly," she noted. "But while I cannot tell you today what the answer is to this challenge, I can say with complete certainty that we cannot ignore it. To do so poses an equal threat to the norms we all value."

Ardern then asked the audience how they could tackle various challenges if people are allowed to share opposing narratives online.

"After all, how do you successfully end a war if people are led to believe the reason for its existence is not only legal but noble? How do you tackle climate change if people do not believe it exists? How do you ensure the human rights of others are upheld, when they are subjected to hateful and dangerous rhetoric and ideology?" she asked.

Ardern then suggested that online speech is a weapon often used by those with evil intent.

"The weapons may be different but the goals of those who perpetuate them is often the same. To cause chaos and reduce the ability of others to defend themselves. To disband communities. To collapse the collective strength of countries who work together," she claimed.