Friday, June 30, 2023

Michigan Tries to Muzzle Its Citizens

Canada has long been a bastion of cowardice where free speech is concerned, and it appears that our neighbor to the north has now infected the border state of Michigan.

Last week, the Democrat-controlled Michigan House passed an alarmingly vague, restrictive, and punitive package of bills to reclassify certain offenses as hate crimes. As the Detroit News reports, the bills would “designate the defacement of synagogues, churches or cemeteries as a crime separate from ordinary destruction of property.”

So far so good, right? No one wants to see our houses of religious worship targeted and defiled, right? But wait. There’s more. The Detroit News continues, “The Michigan Hate Crime Act, which passed 59-50 in the Democratic-controlled House, would replace Michigan’s 1988 ethnic intimidation law so that more categories of people fall under the law’s protections.”

Hmm … more categories of people? What categories might those be? Were there certain races or ethnicities that weren’t covered by the 1988 law?

As it turns out, no. The proposed new law would expand the original law to include protections based on — wait for it — sex, sexual orientation, age, gender identity, or physical or mental disabilities. (Religion, ethnicity, and race were already protected under the original law.)

It gets worse. As The Daily Wire reports:

The bill, HB 4474, is part of a package of legislation that would replace Michigan’s existing Ethnic Intimidation Act and make it a hate crime to cause someone to “feel terrorized, frightened, or threatened.” Under the bill’s framework, “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” are included as classes protected against intimidation. If passed, the hate speech legislation would make violators guilty of a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of $10,000.

Republicans who voted against the package were well short of stopping it. HB 4474 passed 59-50. Now it’s on to the Democrat-controlled Senate, and then to Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s desk for passage, despite the vagueness of some of the terms left undefined in the bills — terms such as “intimidate” and “harassment.”

“We are setting our citizens’ disagreements up to be criminal prosecutions,” said Hillsdale-based State Representative Andrew Fink.

Another vocal critic, former federal judge William Wagner, offered this grim prediction: “Make no mistake about it. Those advocating for this legislation will wield these policies as a weapon capable of destroying conservative expression or viewpoints grounded in the sacred. … Proponents use these laws to silence and financially cripple those who dare to adhere to a different viewpoint and oppose their agenda.”

Needless to say, free speech in Michigan has never been more imperiled. And the state’s attorney general, Dana Nessel, must be feeling downright giddy about it. Nessel, a hard-left lesbian, was among those testifying in support of the legislation, arguing that by restricting people’s right to express their opinions, the legislation will reduce crimes that are perpetrated out of bias toward the victim. “These hate crime laws are murder prevention,” she hyperbolized.

In other words, Nessel thinks taking away people’s constitutional rights will make them less angry and less dangerous.

She couldn’t be more wrong. Speech is more than merely a means of communicating thoughts and ideas. It should also be seen as a pressure-relief valve, a means of venting and blowing off steam instead of resorting to violence.

We made this point a couple of years back when Twitter was being run by Jack Dorsey and having a field day with its censorship of conservative opinion. At the time, we wrote: “If we seem a bit obsessive about Big Tech’s efforts to selectively silence political speech and thereby restrict the marketplace of ideas, it’s for good reason. Media censorship breeds frustration, because it eliminates what we might call a pressure-relief valve. When we as citizens have no voice, we stew and we simmer, and sometimes we boil over.”

That same reasoning, of course, holds for state censorship — and even more so, we would argue, because of the stakes. Whereas Big Tech can do little more than kick inconvenient truth-tellers off its platforms, the state can fine us or put us in prison.

As frustrating as it is, Big Tech firms aren’t barred by the Constitution from censoring or shadow-banning speech that they deem hurtful to their sensitivities. Remember: The First Amendment begins, Congress shall make no law, not, Big Tech shall impose no restriction.

The Founders understood the importance of free speech — and especially free political speech. Because in its absence, and even more so in its suppression, we ultimately get political violence.

Which is why Michigan’s HB 4474 is not only unconstitutional — it’s idiotic.




Thursday, June 29, 2023

Around 250 Hollywood figures, spanning movies, TV, and music, have signed an open letter that asks top tech companies to silence differing views on certain aspects of the transgender narrative, including gender reassignment surgeries for minors.

Notable names like Amy Schumer, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, Jamie Lee Curtis, Judd Apatow, Patrick Stewart, and others, support the letter.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) sent it to the CEOs of Meta, YouTube, TikTok, and Twitter.

The letter suggests a systemic failure on these platforms to moderate “hate, harassment, and anti-LGBTQ disinformation,” linking the alleged lack of oversight to an increase in real-world violence against transgender individuals.

In essence, the letter asks these platforms to limit voices that don’t fully support childhood gender transitions, which could be seen as a massive infringement on freedom of speech.

The signatories focus on practices like ‘deadnaming’ and ‘misgendering’, questioning the platforms’ strategy against content they regard as disinformation about healthcare for transgender youth.

This demand is reminiscent of how tech companies have previously handled divergent opinions on topics like the 2020 election or the COVID-19 origin.

However, public sentiment may not align with these celebrities.

A recent poll by Summit Ministries and McLaughlin & Associates found that 61% of U.S. voters worry about the early exposure of children to transgenderism and LGBTQ+ themes. About 63% of respondents believe the proponents of such exposure have a specific cultural agenda.

Another poll revealed that 73% of respondents prefer businesses to stay neutral on political and cultural issues, with over half willing to boycott companies that strongly promote these agendas.

This aligns with a poll by The Trafalgar Group and Convention of States Action, which found that 62% want corporate neutrality during Pride month, and 41% have boycotted a company for taking ‘woke’ stances.




Tuesday, June 27, 2023

The sex that dare not speak its name

Who would have thought there would come a time in human history when educated adults could not answer a simple question: What is a woman?

Between the silences and stammers, languishes the simple answer – a woman is an adult human female.

What is astonishing is that so many cannot, or rather, will not, provide this answer.

It is as if there is a force at work within society to diminish, downgrade, and even extinguish women as a sex. What purpose could that serve? To me, it represents a vicious and evil misogyny. While women continue to protest against discrimination, many support the greatest discrimination of all – a movement that seeks to eradicate the concept of woman as female from our language and our social lexicon. Everything unique about the feminine, the female, and womanhood is being debased in service of this goal.

The claim is that society is seeking the concept of inclusion, where a tiny minority of men who wish to identify as women should be described and treated as though they really are women, even though biology disagrees. But why should the world (and sanity) be turned upside down supporting something that is still considered a tragic mental illness from which people long to recover from?




Monday, June 26, 2023

Alarming attack on "misinformation" in Australia


Who is to decide what is misinformation?  The government?  Much that was called misinformation about Covid subsequently was vindicated as truth.  We may have to rely on the High Court to strike this arrogance down

Digital platforms – including social media, search engines, and dating sites – could face fines of up to $6.8m under proposed new laws aimed at combating misinformation online.

Under historic new legislation proposed by the government, digital platforms could face penalties of up to $6.88m for failing to address systemic disinformation and misinformation.

The government has released a draft framework to empower the Australian Communications and Media Authority to hold digital platforms responsible for misleading or deliberately deceptive information online.

Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland said the proposed legislation was aimed at protecting Australians from the growing threat.

“Mis and disinformation sows division within the community, undermines trust, and can threaten public health and safety,” she said.

“The Albanese Government is committed to keeping Australians safe online, and that includes ensuring the ACMA has the powers it needs to hold digital platforms to account for mis and disinformation on their services.”

The Communications Legislation Amendment (Combating Misinformation and Disinformation) Bill would give the media regulator greater powers to act on systemic issues.

For the first time, the ACMA would be empowered to access documents from digital providers related to misinformation and disinformation on their platforms.

The proposed authority would not extend to the content of private messages sent online.

The bill targets endemic misinformation and disinformation issues which pose a serious harm to Australians, and it would allow the ACMA to fight continued noncompliance from digital providers.

If platforms allow the spread of harmful lies and propaganda to continue, the regulator would be able to register enforceable industry codes with a maximum penalty of $2.75m or 2 per cent of a company’s global turnover (whichever is greater).

Should the code of practice prove insufficient, the ACMA would be able to implement an industry standard which would carry maximum penalties of $6.88m or 5 per cent of global turnover.

The proposed powers would apply to digital platforms accessible in Australia, including search engines, social media sites, dating sites, and web forums.

The ACMA would be focused on encouraging services to implement strong systems to tackle misinformation and disinformation rather than regulating specific content.

Unlike the eSafety Commissioner, the regulator would not have the authority to request the removal of posts or content.

The proposed legislation enacts key measures recommended in the 2021 ACMA report on the adequacy of digital platform measures to combat disinformation.

Public consultation on the draft bill will begin on Sunday and conclude on August 6, with the legislation to be introduced later this year.

“This consultation process gives industry and the public the opportunity to have their say on the proposed framework, which aims to strike the right balance between protection from harmful mis and disinformation online and freedom of speech,” Ms Rowland said.

“I encourage all stakeholders to make a submission and look forward to introducing the Bill into parliament later this year, following the consultation process”.




Thursday, June 22, 2023

The courage to ‘speak the truth’

Roger Karge writes from Australia

A recent Spectator Australia article by Victorian Liberal MP Beverley McArthur, in which she criticised Geelong Council’s decision to cancel Australia Day, brought the wrath of the usual suspects – the Leftist media including the Guardian – but also surprisingly, and sadly, a rebuke from her Party Leader, John Pesutto.

McArthur had only rightly pointed out that:

‘Cancelling Australia Day is code for saying we are not a good nation. We are not worth celebrating’ and, ‘Geelong councilors will not allow one day to reflect upon the wonderful things that have been enabled via colonisation by a democratic nation… In cancelling Australia Day, it has given in to the oppression of identity politics, of victimhood. In so doing, it fails to applaud the successes of the Aboriginal people in this modern nation.’

McArthur is said to have commented further that:

‘Should we also say sorry for hospitals, roads, mobile phones, ready food at supermarkets, homes, running water, electricity for light and warmth, indigenous-only medical centres, aged care, and court processes?’

Pesutto is reported to have distanced himself from McArthur’s comments by saying:

‘I do not accept that as a statement, I think it is hurtful to Indigenous Victorians and Indigenous Australians. I think it’s incumbent on everyone to engage in debates about Indigenous Australians and the great contribution our First Nations people have made it [sic] our country in a very respectful way. There are ways to conduct this debate without causing hurt or offence.’

Less surprisingly, Marcus Stewart, a Victorian Nira illim bulluk Aboriginal man, also attacked McArthur, describing her as:

‘…another unknown politician saying something offensive at our expense as they try to make a name for themselves. Should Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people be saying thanks for the invasion of our lands and massacre of our people?’

The irony of Stewart’s and Pesutto’s own ‘hurtful’ and somewhat ignorant comments is not lost on many of us educated Speccie readers.

Stewart, in his public role as co-chair of Victoria’s First Peoples’ Assembly, is well within his rights to critique McArthur’s policies and claims, but he discredits his case by disrespectfully attacking her personally.

He also criticised McArthur by asking, ‘Should Torres Strait Islander people be saying thanks for the invasion of [their] lands…?’

Well, they should say thanks, because that is what they do every July 1. This is the date on which Torres Strait Islanders celebrate the Coming of the Light, a commemoration of the day in 1871 when the London Missionary Society introduced Christianity into the islands. Christian values are some of McArthur’s ‘wonderful things that have been enabled via colonisation’, the celebration of which her critics now perversely label as ‘hurtful’.

And how do we know that the Coming of the Light is as important and as celebratory to Indigenous people in the Torres Strait as Australia Day is to Australians generally? Because the Victorian government’s website Deadly Story tells us so.

This website was legislated under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 to, ‘satisfy the requirement that all Aboriginal children in out-of-home care are to be provided with a cultural plan’.

Pesutto should be aware of this legislation, shouldn’t he? If even the Victorian government acknowledges an Indigenous Torres Strait Islander celebration of the coming of colonisation, why can’t McArthur’s critics acknowledge and support defenders of Australia Day?

Similarly, other prominent Liberal Indigenous Australians have publicly made claims similar to McArthur’s without censure by the Liberal Party or Aboriginal activists.

Warren Mundine has offered a nuanced perspective on the topic. He recognises that there were negative impacts on Indigenous communities due to colonisation, but that our discourse ‘shouldn’t be just negative stuff all the time’ because Australia is ‘one of the most successful countries when it comes to improving the lives of Indigenous people’.

Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, another influential Liberal-aligned Indigenous voice, has also contributed to the conversation without attracting the ire of the party. Price ‘does not see herself as a victim to white people or the idea of colonisation’ but rather, ‘She “speaks the truth” when it comes to Indigenous people helping themselves with their own problems, instead of pointing the finger and laying blame elsewhere.’




Wednesday, June 21, 2023

UK: Free speech, protected beliefs and discrimination: Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) lays out the 'ground rules' that apply in the workplace

Over the last few years, we've seen an increase in the number of clients asking for advice on how to deal with staff who have expressed views on their social media accounts which are at odds with the organisation's ethos or have upset other members of staff. Despite the fact there's a lot of decided cases on this issue, it can be difficult to draw firm conclusions because each case turns on its own facts and there's no 'one size fits all' approach.

However, we do now have some helpful guidance, courtesy of the EAT in Higgs v Farmor's School. In that case the EAT had to determine whether an employee had been discriminated against because of her Christian and gender critical beliefs, or because of the way she had expressed those beliefs in a social media post.


Mrs Higgs worked in a secondary school as pastoral admin and work experience manager, positions which put her in direct contact with children. She re-posted someone else's post on her Facebook page which objected to the government's consultation on relationship & sex education in primary schools. The post said that it normalised single sex relationships, presented gender as a matter of choice, suppressed Christianity and "brainwashed" children.

A parent complained to the school and Mrs Higgs was asked about the post. She said that she was "not against gay, lesbian or transgender people" but did object to government policy and wanted to raise awareness of this. She said that she didn't regret making the post, but acknowledged that she should have used her own words to express her feelings. She made it clear that her views wouldn't impact on how she interacted with children at the school.

The school dismissed her for gross misconduct. It said that she had breached its written code of conduct which prohibited 'illegal discrimination' and social media posts which could bring the school into disrepute. The school said that her language was 'inflammatory' and 'quiet extreme' and amounted to harassment. She lost her appeal and brought a claim against the school for direct religion/belief discrimination or harassment.

The tribunal dismissed her claim. It said that she had been dismissed for the way in which she had expressed her protected beliefs - not because she held those beliefs. It said that a reasonable reading of her post was that she was homophobic and transphobic. Mrs Higgs appealed.

EAT decision

The EAT said that protection isn't limited to allowing people to hold specific beliefs. Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion) and Article 10 (freedom on expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights gives people a right to 'manifest' those freedoms too. Manifest in this context means making their beliefs known to others through their actions or words. However, these rights can be limited or restricted by law, to meet a legitimate aim, and where it's necessary in a democratic society. In a work context, legitimate aims are usually linked to the rights and freedoms of other people or the reputation of the employer.

Applying this to the facts of the case, the EAT said that the tribunal should have asked itself whether Mrs Higgs was dismissed because of, or for a reason that related to, the way she had expressed her protected beliefs. To answer this it needed to decide if there was a close enough connection between Mrs Higg's beliefs and her post. The tribunal hadn't properly answered this question and had made a fundamental mistake by viewing her behaviour through the 'prism' of the employers views.

The key question was whether the school could justify limiting Mrs Higg's right to express her beliefs in the way it had. The tribunal hadn't answered this and the EAT remitted the case to the tribunal to determine.

Why this case matters

Although we don't know whether Mrs Higgs will ultimately succeed with her claim, the EAT set out some basic principles all employers need to be aware of. These are:

    The right to hold a belief (religious or otherwise) and express views on it are essential, whether or not the belief in question is popular or mainstream, and even if its expression offends others.

    Those rights are qualified and can be restricted by law to the extend needed to protect the rights and freedoms of others (legal restrictions will include employer policies and procedures, provided they are accessible to staff and explain what could happen if they disobey the rules). An employer has to objectively justify any restrictions it imposes on its staff and, provided it can do so, it will be able to discipline staff if they express themselves inappropriately.

    But, each case has to be assessed individually. While it may be appropriate to limit what some people can say on their own accounts, that doesn't mean that everyone's rights should be limited. [This suggests that employers should avoid 'blanket' rules that apply to all members of staff.]

    In all cases, an employer needs to ask itself (1) whether its rules etc are important enough to justify being limited? (2) Are the rules connected to that objective? (3) Is there a less intrusive way of achieving the same objective? And (4) whether the severity of the rules on the employee are more important than the objective.

    To help employers weigh up those questions, they should consider what the employee has said or done, the tone used, the employee's understanding of the likely audience, whether they've made it clear that their views are personal and whether that presents a reputational risk to the business, whether those views could impact vulnerable service users or clients, and if there is a potential power imbalance between the employee (and their role) and those whose rights are being intruded upon.

Our view

Whilst it is true that we have more in common than that which divides us, it's not easy for employers to deal with fundamental differences in values or beliefs between colleagues or people they come into contact with.

Whilst its sensible to have policies in place which set out the standards of behaviour you expect your staff to follow, it's important not to be too restrictive about what they can say, or do, in their own time, particularly where their comments or profile don't reference you as their employer. Employees are entitled to hold and express views on controversial matters of public interest even when those views offend, shock or disturb others or don't align with your EDI values.

It's also worth evaluating your approach to disagreement. Organisations that expect and welcome dissenting views are likely make better decisions and be be mentally healthy places to work. They provide an environment where employees are able to speak up, whether they're sharing ideas, asking questions, expressing concerns or acknowledging mistakes. These environments provide 'psychological safety' and allow staff to bring their whole self to work.

Of course, that doesn't mean that they can say what they want about other people. All colleagues should treat each other with respect and courtesy - particularly when they have a difference of opinion.




Tuesday, June 20, 2023

YouTube says it removed Jordan Peterson interview of RFK Jr. for violating vaccine policy

Social media giant YouTube took down an interview of Democrat presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. claiming that chemicals in the water are turning kids transgender.

On Sunday, both Kennedy and podcast host Jordan Peterson tweeted that the video-sharing website had taken down their interview from an episode of Peterson’s show and accused the social media platform of censorship and interfering with a presidential campaign.

“What do you think… Should social media platforms censor presidential candidates?” Kennedy asked on Twitter. “My conversation with [Peterson] was deleted by [YouTube].”

“Luckily you can watch it here on [Twitter] (thank you [Elon Musk]),” Kennedy added, going off in a Twitter thread.

“Maybe you can help me figure out what ‘misinformation’ was in this interview,” Kennedy tweeted.

“Now [YouTube] has taken upon itself to actively interfere with a presidential election campaign,” Peterson tweeted.

Kennedy’s campaign told Fox News Digital that although “vaccines are not a major priority for Mr. Kennedy in this campaign, he will be happy to debate the issue with any prominent proponent of the conventional view.”

“Even so, there are troubling indications in published research of serious safety issues with vaccines in general, but especially the Covid shots,” they continued.

“The real issue for Mr. Kennedy is regulatory capture and corporate influence over government. He is in favor of properly conducted, unbiased, transparent safety testing of all vaccines.

A Google spokesperson told Fox News Digital YouTube “removed a video from the Jordan Peterson channel for violating YouTube’s general vaccine misinformation policy, which prohibits content that alleges that vaccines cause chronic side effects, outside of rare side effects that are recognized by health authorities.”




Monday, June 19, 2023

A Georgia man successfully sued Facebook after his account was permanently banned for allegedly violating the social media network’s child exploitation rules

“I woke up one Sunday morning, I tapped on my Facebook icon, and I was locked out," Jason Crawford told WAGA this week.

Crawford said the only explanation for his Facebook account being terminated was a quick pop-up message that said he had violated the platform's child exploitation standards.

"It just gave me the briefest snapshot of saying that I had violated their standards on child sexual exploitation," he said. "And then it went away."

Crawford admitted that his account had been suspended in the past over posts about politics. However, he said that he had not done anything that would violate the child exploitation rules.

"I had, I don’t even know how you quantify it, pictures, videos, posts that, you know, come up as memories that I like to look at from time to time. You know, all that kind of stuff that I wasn’t willing to let a bunch of bullies take away from me for no reason," he explained.

They don’t want you to see this … Big Tech does its best to limit what news you see. Make sure you see our stories daily — directly to your inbox.

Crawford wanted to clear his name and get his Facebook page back. He attempted to contact Facebook, but found it impossible.

He said, "It was as if I didn’t exist and Facebook was operated by a bunch of ghosts or something."

"What I learned is the way you submit your appeal, or whatever, is through your own profile, your own account," he told the Atlanta station. "If you don't have an account, you have no way of submitting it, so it’s like a dog chasing its tail."

Crawford, who is a lawyer, launched a lawsuit against Facebook's parent company Meta Platforms in August 2022. In the complaint, Crawford accused the tech giant of being "negligent" for banning him from the social media platform "based on a violation that did not occur."

Crawford said he was also banned from Instagram and WhatsApp – which are both owned by Meta Platforms.

Meta Platforms allegedly did not respond to the lawsuit, and the judge ruled in favor of Crawford.

"Defendant was properly served with process in this action in according with Georgia law. … Defendant has failed to respond thereto as required by law; this action has automatically become in default; Defendant has failed to open the default as a matter of right within 15 days of the day of each Defendant’s default; and default judgment is demanded against Defendant," the ruling reads, according to BizPac Review.

“Plaintiff’s injuries and damages, as hereinabove described, were directly and proximately caused by the negligence of Defendant. The Court concludes that Plaintiff has endured great mental pain since Facebook unjustifiably and unreasonably shut down his account and that his pain and suffering will likely continue. The Court further concludes that Plaintiff is entitled to just and adequate compensation for his injuries and for his past and future damages," the ruling states.

The judge ordered Meta Platforms to pay $50,000 to Crawford.

Crawford said that Facebook finally restored his account. "I felt a little bit vindicated, and they activated my account again," he said.

A Facebook attorney allegedly told Crawford that his account had been hacked.

However, Crawford said that Meta Platforms has not paid him a dime yet. "Every step of the way, Facebook is choosing not to do the right thing," Crawford declared.

"It feels like a poke in the eye, and it feels like they're continuing to poke in the eye," he said. "Poke the local court system in the eye. Poke me in the eye. Poke other users in the eye, and it’s time that they at least respect our legal system."

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox 5 Atlanta.




Sunday, June 18, 2023

Free Speech Advocates Blast Elizabeth Gilbert For Pulling Book Set In Russia

Damned if she does and damned if she doesn't

After receiving “an enormous, massive outpouring” of “anger, sorrow, disappointment and pain” from Ukrainian readers about the decision to publish a book set in Russia, Elizabeth Gilbert said on social media she was indefinitely delaying the release of her book The Snow Forest.

While some fans called it a compassionate move, others wondered what precedent this creates for free expression and self-censorship.

In a statement, PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said Gilbert’s decision was “well-intended” but ultimately “wrongheaded.” Several fellow authors took to Twitter to express their confusion and dismay, including Lincoln Michel who wondered whether “no book should be set in historical Russia now? . . .  A novel about people resisting the USSR no less?”

And Rebecca Makkai wrote, “So apparently: Wherever you set your novel, you'd better hope to hell that by publication date (usually about a year after you turned it in) that place isn’t up to bad things, or you are personally complicit in them.”

In Unherd, Leigh Stein wrote that the “idea that a novel about a family fleeing religious persecution from Communists is in any way ‘pro’ Russia is not only absurd, it’s also the exact same argument of potential ‘harm’ wielded by the crusading book banners in American schools.”

In the Guardian, Francine Prose called Gilbert’s decision “unsettling” and said, “If we are to ban the cultural products of countries who are attacking, or who have attacked, smaller, weaker nations and innocent populations, there would be almost nothing left for us to read.”




Friday, June 16, 2023

Research Group Pulls Study on ‘Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria’ in Children as a ‘Social Contagion,’ as Authors Blame Transgender Activists for Forcing Retraction

A research firm that publishes independent scholarly articles has retracted a paper that details more than a thousand parents’ concerns that their children were pressured to change their genders. The paper’s authors are saying their study was redacted due to blowback from a transgender community angered by its findings.

The article, titled “Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria: Parent Reports on 1655 Possible Cases,” was written by a Northwestern University psychology professor, Michael Bailey, and the head of Parents of Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria Kids, Suzanna Diaz. Ms. Diaz’s organization acts as a support network for parents of children with gender dysphoria.  

The paper surveyed more than 1,500 parents about their experiences of caring for children and young adults who have transitioned. It details “rapid onset gender dysphoria,” a “controversial theory” that “common cultural beliefs, values, and preoccupations cause some adolescents (especially female adolescents) to attribute their social problems, feelings, and mental health issues to gender dysphoria.”

The paper itself received some criticism online. One professor at Indiana University, Lorenzo Lorenzo-Luaces, said in a tweet viewed more than 50,000 times that the “terrible” paper is “transphobia masquerading as science” and deserved retraction.

“I hate that this got published,” the professor wrote on Twitter. “I’ve said this before but I’d love to contribute to the community fighting back against this.”

The paper was retracted by Springer Nature, an independent scholarly database, which Mr. Bailey says “sets a dangerous precedent.”

“The vitally important question of how best to help gender-dysphoric youth, whose numbers have sharply increased, is one of the most urgent questions in medicine today,” Mr. Bailey wrote in a letter to the Springer publishers, objecting to the retraction. “We must promote such ground-breaking research, not quash it.”

Mr. Bailey also said that this decision will harm the publishers’ reputations should they not walk back from the retraction. “To silence the critical conversation around gender issues will result in harm to Springer’s important position as a source for fair, unbiased publication of scholarly articles addressing the urgent gender issues facing society today,” he wrote in his letter to the publishers.

Mr. Bailey did not reply to a request from the Sun for comment.

The reason for the retraction, Springer claims, is that the authors did not receive the informed consent that is necessary for publishing such data.

“The Publisher and the Editor-in-Chief have retracted this article due to noncompliance with our editorial policies around consent,” the publisher wrote in a retraction notice. “The participants of the survey have not provided written informed consent to participate in scholarly research or to have their responses published in a peer reviewed article. Additionally, they have not provided consent to publish to have their data included in this article.”

Following the survey of parents, Mr. Bailey and Ms. Diaz analyzed the research findings in order to come to the determination that ROGD is “a socially contagious syndrome” spread mostly online between disaffected or mentally ill adolescents and young adults. The authors note that “these youths were disproportionately (75 percent) natal female,” meaning born female.

During their research, the authors found that there were social and institutional pressures placed on parents after their children began exhibiting signs of gender dysphoria. “Parents reported that they had often felt pressured by clinicians to affirm their adolescent or young adult child’s new gender and support their transition. According to the parents, adolescent and young adult children’s mental health deteriorated considerably after social transition.”

Mr. Bailey and Ms. Diaz offer two hypotheses for the rapid increase in gender dysphoria among children and young adults.

The first, they say, is that transgender people are simply receiving the care they have always needed, but are only now being recognized by the medical community. “There has not been an increase in the actual number of gender dysphoric adolescents, but more of them are being recognized and referred to gender clinics,” the authors hypothesize. They note that those who take this view tend to support the rights of children and young adults to transition both socially and medically.

The second hypothesis is that there has been a genuine increase in the number of children and adolescents who believe that they themselves are transgender amid social debate about the issue and the prevalence of press coverage of transgender people.

The authors write that mentally ill children and young adults come to the incorrect conclusion that they “believe that they are transgender, and that they must undergo social and medical gender transition to resolve their issues.” Mr. Bailey and Ms. Diaz write that ROGD is “a culture-bound syndrome, which did not exist until recently, when transgender issues began to attract considerable cultural attention.”




Thursday, June 15, 2023

JK Rowling has blasted a university in America for saying a lesbian is 'a non-man attracted to non-men'

'Non-man (formerly known as woman)': JK Rowling hits out at US university after it declared a lesbian as 'a non-man who is attracted to a non-man'

The Harry Potter writer, 57, slated the US medical school for the new definition in its LGBTQ guide.

The guide states that 'lesbian' should not just include women but also non-binary people, according to a report by The Sun.

It therefore refers to lesbians as 'a non-man attracted to non-men'.




Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Breastfeeding goes woke: ‘It feels as if they want to erase women and mothering’

In a growing number of areas in the US, staff at hospitals and other organizations that cater to new mothers ask that words like “chestfeeding” be used — and are frowning on “mother” and “father” in favor of phrases like “birthing people.”

The new language coincides with the increase in transgender and non-binary people who are parents, and experts say places like La Leche League — which has been devoted to helping mothers breastfeed since more than 60 years — have fallen victim to “wokeness.”

“‘Mother’ is the first word most babies will say and the word is often very similar in all languages [even] with completely different cultures, histories and backgrounds,” said Karleen Gribble, an adjunct associate professor at Western Sydney University. “The word ‘mother’ holds a lot of meaning. Using generic words for parents also makes it hard to advocate for maternity leave and paternity leave.”

A specialist in the study of what she calls “sexed language“ and its importance, especially when it comes to new mothers and their babies, Gribble told The Post that the language around pregnancy, birth, lactation, breastfeeding and newborn care is being “desexed” as a result of politically correct policies not only in the US but in the UK and Australia — and it’s hurting poor and vulnerable mothers the most.

“If you can’t name [women or mothers] and if you have to use dehumanizing language like menstruators, uterus-havers and cervix-owners, it is all the more confusing and demoralizing, Gribble said.

The changes — especially in language and attitude — have trickled down to some mothers who are chafing at this new reality.

“We’re inventing all these new phrases for something natural,” Texas mom Elise Full, 34, a mother of three who is currently breastfeeding her 2-month-old, told The Post.

“I’ve been in the hospital and heard them refer to ‘chestfeeding’ and ‘human milk’ rather than breast milk. I’ve been asked by some medical professionals, ‘If words like ‘Mom’ were not used would you come back?’ — and I’ve said no,” Full said. “I am biologically a woman. I don’t understand why that’s up for debate.”




Monday, June 12, 2023

Now ALL new editions of PG Wodehouse's novels are given blanket trigger warning by publishers over concerns they contain 'outdated language, themes or characterisations'

No awareness of the past allowed.  Amusing that the Soviets banned Wodehouse too.  But in the books the aristocrats are dumb and the smart guy is the butler.  So Wodehouse actually glorifies the worker. Is that wrong and if so why?

Publishers have issued the works of PG Wodehouse with a blanket trigger warning over concerns that it contains 'outdated' social attitudes.

Novels including Leave it to PSmith and Something Fresh have both been reissued by their publisher, Penguin, with a caution, despite the fact that neither have been flagged for potentially offensive or contain racist terminonlogy.

All news editions of Wodehouse's work will come with warnings saying that his novels depict obsolete attitudes, the Telegraph reported.

The trigger warning issued by Penguin read: 'Please be aware that this book was published in the 1920s and may contain language, themes, or characterisations which you may find outdated.'

The move comes after publishers rewrote Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster books to remove 'unacceptable' prose, in April.

A note in the reissue of Thank You, Jeeves explained that publishers 'sought to edit, minimally, words that we regard as unacceptable to present-day readers'.

The warning adds that the changes ‘do not affect the story’ of the novel, which is the first full-length work to feature Jeeves and Wooster, who were portrayed by Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry in a 1990s ITV adaptation.

Edits were also made to last year's edition of Right Ho, Jeeves, which also contains a cautionary warning.

In the 1934 book, a racial term used to describe a ‘minstrel of the old school’ was culled.

Wodehouse isn't the only author whose books have been purged of language that might offend modern readers, novels by both Agatha Christie and Ian Fleming have also been reissued.

Racist terminology was taken out of Fleming's work, meanwhile Christie's work was changed more drastically.

A whole passage in Christie's Dead on the Nile, which described a British tourist venting her frustration at a group of children, was removed during a recent issue.




Sunday, June 11, 2023

Pronoun book recommended for infants among free literature to be given to children by city of Las Vegas

The City of Las Vegas has partnered with JetBlue's "Soar with Reading" program to install vending machines in community centers across the city that provide free books to children. Some of the books in the program, however, appear to promote gender and racial ideologies.

The program, which was launched in 2011, has book-vending machines in Washington, D.C.; Detroit, Michigan; Fort Lauderdale, Florida, New York City, New York; San Francisco, California; and Newark, New Jersey.

JetBlue describes the program as an initiative that "captures kids’ imaginations through reading" and "provides brand new books to children with limited access to book ownership."

Upon review of the program's book list, some of the literature promotes controversial ideologies. For example, "The Pronoun Book" is recommended for ages 0-3. The book is described as "illustrations of a diverse cast of people and simple text that introduces their pronouns, perfect for readers both young and old."

An editorial review on Barnes & Noble's website also listed the book as enforcing "the message that gender identity and pronouns cannot be derived from appearance."

A book called "Black Boy Joy," recommended for ages 10-14, is written by 17 "acclaimed Black male and non-binary authors" and speaks about "the power of joy and the wonders of Black boyhood." A review from Publisher's Weekly on Amazon said the book discusses "subjects such as friendships, gender identity, and family" and is an "exuberant celebration of carefree Black experiences."




Thursday, June 08, 2023

The Big Tech Censorship Machine Is Running in 2024

Meta slapped 180-day suspensions last week on the Instagram accounts of people working for Democrat Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s presidential campaign—before a single message had been posted from those accounts. This came shortly after LinkedIn shut down Republican candidate Vivek Ramaswamy’s account, apparently for expressing disfavored opinions on China and climate change.

This censorship should worry anyone who cares about democracy in America. It isn’t only antidemocratic; it’s a thumb on the scale that could easily tip a tightly contested election.

After Mr. Ramaswamy tweeted about his ban, LinkedIn claimed it was a mistake and lifted it. And on Sunday, Meta lifted its ban against Mr. Kennedy’s personal Instagram account, which had been in place since 2021, and said it had removed restrictions on his campaign as well.

But what happens if these platforms impose similar restrictions in future—perhaps at a moment critical to the election? Under current law there is little recourse. The Federal Election Commission’s process is arcane, slow and generally feckless. In October 2020, weeks before the election, Twitter and other platforms famously censored stories about Hunter Biden’s laptop by the New York Post and others and locked the account of Donald Trump’s press secretary after she linked to that story. These acts of censorship might have affected the election’s outcome.

Yet in August 2021, the FEC ruled in Twitter’s favor. The commission claimed there was no proof that the company was trying to influence the election, and a Twitter official swore the company hadn’t “received any communications from or had any communications with representatives” of the Biden campaign. That seems to have been false. A Twitter email obtained by journalist Matt Taibbi revealed later that the Biden team and Twitter were in close contact in October 2020 and were working together to censor specific posts—some concerning Hunter Biden. But the practical point is that the FEC didn’t issue its ruling until nine months after the 2020 election—far too late to make a difference.

In any case, the only issue the FEC had authority to decide was whether Twitter’s censorship of the Hunter Biden story counted as a campaign contribution. The true legal stakes are much higher. The real question is one for the courts, not the FEC: What rights do social-media platforms have under the First Amendment? Are they more like television networks or telephone networks?

Television networks are First Amendment speakers, equivalent to newspapers. They can choose to create a political brand and explicitly favor or disfavor any candidate they want.

Telephone networks don’t have such a right. They also are private companies, but the law treats them as common carriers, which are forbidden to discriminate on the basis of political opinion. AT&T can’t cut off a political campaign’s access to telephone services; Verizon can’t block antiabortion calls as contrary to community standards. In exchange, telephone networks receive a huge legal prize: No one can sue them for what people say using their networks. That is an immunity of which Fox News and its competitors can only dream. Because of its First Amendment right as a speaker, a television network can be sued for defamation, invasion of privacy and other torts.

Bizarrely and uniquely, internet platforms get the best of both worlds. When accused of censorship, they claim to be First Amendment speakers, constitutionally entitled to discriminate against viewpoints they dislike. And the courts have almost invariably agreed. But companies such as Meta and Google don’t pay the price for that privilege. When it comes to who is responsible for what is said on their platforms, they insist they are like telephone networks—immune from lawsuits. Congress awarded them that immunity through Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act.

The mistake lies not in this immunity, but in giving the behemoth social-media platforms the protections accorded to First Amendment speakers. A social-media post is far more public than a telephone call, but no one thinks Meta is speaking through Instagram stories. No one thinks Microsoft—LinkedIn’s owner—is speaking when users network with one another on that platform. These networks carry millions of people’s communications, which is why they should be protected from defamation suits, like telephone networks. But it is a mistake to view them as First Amendment speakers, entitled to censor with impunity.

As Justice Clarence Thomas recognized in an important solo concurrence in Biden v. Knight First Amendment Institute (2021), the big internet platforms “are at bottom communications networks,” and hence the right solution is to treat them like telephone companies and enact “laws that restrict [their] right to exclude.” Congress should amend Section 230, but not to make the platforms liable for what users say. The amended Section 230 should make the platforms liable if they censor a political campaign or any speech based on its political viewpoint.

Florida and Texas have already passed such laws, but courts have put those laws on hold, and it isn’t clear states have the power to regulate nationwide social-media platforms. That is why Congress needs to act. A new federal law should not only offer damages to those censored; it should offer expedited injunctive relief, so candidates can fight off censorship when it counts.




Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Slaying the Censorship Leviathan


One year ago, I joined the states of Missouri and Louisiana and several other co-plaintiffs to file a suit in federal court challenging what journalist Michael Shellenberger has called the censorship-industrial complex. While much of the press cooperated with the state’s censorship efforts and has ignored our court battle, we expect that it will ultimately go to the Supreme Court, setting up Missouri v. Biden to be the most important free speech case of our generation—and arguably, of the past 50 years.

Prior government censorship cases typically involved a state actor unconstitutionally meddling with one publisher, one author, one or two books, a single article. But as we intend to prove in court, the federal government has censored hundreds of thousands of Americans, violating the law on tens of millions of occasions in the last several years. This unprecedented breach was made possible by the wholly novel reach and breadth of the new digital social media landscape.

My co-plaintiffs, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya and Dr. Martin Kulldorff, and I were censored for content related to COVID and public health policy that the government disfavored. Documents we have reviewed on discovery demonstrate that government censorship was far more wide-ranging than previously known, from election integrity and the Hunter Biden laptop story to gender ideology, abortion, monetary policy, the U.S. banking system, the war in Ukraine, the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and more. There is hardly a topic of recent public discussion and debate that the U.S. government has not targeted for censorship.

Jacob Seigel, Matt Taibbi, and other investigative reporters have begun to document the anatomy of the censorship leviathan, a tightly interconnected network of federal agencies and private entities receiving public funding—where much of the censorship grunt work is outsourced. The “industrial” in censorship-industrial complex should be understood literally: censorship is now a highly developed industry, complete with career-training institutions in higher education (like Stanford’s Internet Observatory or the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public), full-time job opportunities in industry and government (from the Virality Project and the Election Integrity Partnership to any number of federal agencies engaged in censorship), and insider jargon and euphemisms (like disinformation, misinformation, and “malinformation” which must be debunked and “prebunked”) to render the distasteful work of censorship more palatable to industry insiders.

Our lawyers were in court last week arguing for a preliminary injunction to halt the activities of the censorship machine while our case is tried. I will spare you a full account of the government’s endless procedural wrangling, obfuscation, attempts to hide, delays, and diversionary tactics in this case—futile efforts to dodge even the most legally straightforward aspects of discovery, such as our request to depose former Biden Press Secretary Jen Psaki. So far, the government has been caught hiding discovery materials, which the judge chastised them about before ruling against their motion to dismiss, reminding the government that the limited discovery so far would widen once the case went to trial.

The government’s lawyers were not able to block the deposition of Anthony Fauci, however, who had to answer some pointed questions about his COVID policies for the first time under the threat of the penalty of perjury. Dr. Fauci seemed to suffer from a strange syndrome of “sudden-onset amnesia” during his deposition, as I have described elsewhere.

Buy aside rom these procedural scuffles, the more important aspects of this case are the government censorship activities we have already exposed. For example, our documents demonstrate how a relatively unknown agency within the Department of Homeland Security became the central clearinghouse of government-run information control—an Orwellian Ministry of Truth. My fellow citizens, meet the Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency—better known as CISA—a government acronym with the same word in it twice in case you wondered about its mission. This agency was created in the waning days of the Obama administration, supposedly to protect our digital infrastructure against cyberattacks from computer viruses and nefarious foreign actors. But less than one year into their existence, CISA decided that their remit also should include protecting our “cognitive infrastructure” from various threats.

“Cognitive infrastructure” is the actual phrase used by current CISA head Jen Easterly, who formerly worked at Tailored Access Operations, a top secret cyber warfare unit at the National Security Agency. It refers to the thoughts inside your head, which is precisely what the government’s counter-disinformation apparatus, headed by people like Easterly, are attempting to control. Naturally, these thoughts need to be protected from bad ideas, such as any ideas that the people at CISA or their government partners do not like.

In early 2017, citing the threat from foreign disinformation, the Department of Homeland Security unilaterally declared federal control over the country’s election infrastructure, which had previously been administered at the local level. Not long after that, CISA, which is a subagency of the DHS, established its own authority over the cognitive infrastructure by becoming the central hub coordinating the government’s information control activities. This pattern was repeated in several other government agencies around the same time (there are currently a dozen federal agencies named among the defendants in our suit).

So, what exactly has the government been doing to protect our cognitive infrastructure? Perhaps the best way to wrap your head around the actual operations of the new American censorship leviathan is to consider the vivid analogy offered by our brilliant attorney, John Sauer, in the introduction of our brief for the injunction. This is worth quoting at length:

Suppose that the Trump White House, backed by Republicans controlling both Houses of Congress, publicly demanded that all libraries in the United States burn books criticizing the President, and the President made statements implying that the libraries would face ruinous legal consequences if they did not comply, while senior White House officials privately badgered the libraries for detailed lists and reports of such books that they had burned and the libraries, after months of such pressure, complied with those demands and burned the books.

Suppose that, after four years of pressure from senior congressional staffers in secret meetings threatening the libraries with adverse legislation if they did not cooperate, the FBI started sending all libraries in the United States detailed lists of the books the FBI wanted to burn, requesting that the libraries report back to the FBI by identifying the books that they burned, and the libraries complied by burning about half of those books.

Suppose that a federal national security agency teamed up with private research institutions, backed by enormous resources and federal funding, to establish a mass-surveillance and mass-censorship program that uses sophisticated techniques to review hundreds of millions of American citizens’ electronic communications in real time, and works closely with tech platforms to covertly censor millions of them.
The first two hypotheticals are directly analogous to the facts of this case. The third, meanwhile, is not a hypothetical at all; it is a description of the Election Integrity Partnership and Virality Project.

The censorship activities of the nation’s largest law enforcement agency, which it terms “information warfare,” have turned the FBI, in the words of whistleblower Steve Friend, into an “intelligence agency with law enforcement powers.” But there is no “information warfare” exception to the constitutional right of free speech. Which other federal agencies are involved in censorship? Besides the ones you might suspect—the DOJ, NIH, CDC, Surgeon General, and the State Department—our case has also uncovered censorship activities by the Department of the Treasury (don’t criticize the feds’ monetary policies), and yes, my friends, even the Census Bureau (don’t ask).

In prior precedent-setting cases on censorship, the Supreme Court clarified that the right of free speech guaranteed by the Constitution exists not just for the person speaking but for the listener as well: We all have the right to hear both sides of debated issues to make informed judgments. Thus all Americans have been harmed by the government’s censorship leviathan, not just those who happen to post opinions or share information on social media




Tuesday, June 06, 2023

The Left’s Redefinition of Words Leads to Totalitarianism, Homeschooling Leader Warns

ORLANDO, Fla.—The Left’s tendency to redefine words to silence dissent is a clear tactic of totalitarianism, and conservatives need to fight back, a prominent conservative leader warns.

“They play with words. They played with the word ‘marriage.’ Now, they’re playing with the words ‘man’ and ‘woman,'” and that “ultimately leads to totalitarianism,” Michael Farris, founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association and currently legal counsel at the National Religious Broadcasters, told The Daily Signal. “The changing words, changing meanings, changing morality is a part of the totalitarian culture, because they have to rip everything down in order to build up the new country, the new agenda, the new culture that they want.”

Speaking at the National Religious Broadcasters convention on Tuesday, Farris warned that the Left’s vision is “a world without God” and “a world without freedom.”

Farris, who ran unsuccessfully for Virginia lieutenant governor in 1993, predicted a shift in the other direction, as Americans learn what the Left is doing. He noted the growth of homeschooling following the COVID-19 pandemic as an example.

“The Left is apoplectic about all this,” Farris said. “They just can’t imagine a school system that they don’t totally dominate, that the parents actually have some say over what’s going on.”

Farris also founded Convention of States, and Convention of States Action President Mark Meckler also joined the podcast.

Meckler noted that his organization’s resolution for a convention of states focuses on ways to restrain the size and scope of the federal government, through a balanced-budget constitutional amendment, tax caps, spending caps, and congressional term limits. He argued that as more Americans move to the Right and to the Left, leaving fewer and fewer in the center, federalism becomes the only real answer.

“The problem we’re having today is, so many things are being decided from Washington, D.C., and that naturally makes us hate each other, because half of us are going to be mad at any given time, roughly,” Meckler said. “And so, if you go back to federalism, I think we can keep the country together.”

“We take off a lot of the heat, cool a lot of the pressure, out of the system by just saying New York’s New York, California’s California, and the conservative states are whatever they want to be,” he explained. “That’s the solution. And the only way back to that, that I’m aware of, is to call a convention of states, rejigger the jurisdiction, bring the power back to the states, and let them be who they are.”




Monday, June 05, 2023

Australians could be jailed for three years for hateful social media posts

Australians in the state of Queensland could be jailed for up to three years for sharing social media posts that violate sweeping hate crime laws.

The Criminal Code (Serious Vilification and Hate Crimes) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 proposes tougher penalties for those who commit crimes motivated by prejudice on the grounds of race, religion, sexuality or gender identity.

The proposed laws would increase the maximum prison time for making bigoted statements from six months to three years.

Inflammatory social media posts fall under the purview of the bill, which prohibits the vilification of specified groups through “any form of communication to the public,” including via electronic means.

Sharing a Nazi symbol on social media, or carrying it around publicly, will also result in jail time.

The bill introduced into the Queensland Parliament in March would modify the criminal code to introduce a “prohibited symbols offence”. This would ban the display of hate symbols, including those tied to Nazism and the Islamic State.

As part of the clampdown on hate symbols, Queensland will ban the display of Nazi swastika tattoos. The Queensland government says its hate crime laws will be among the strongest in Australia.

Displaying a swastika is already illegal in Victoria and New South Wales (NSW), with Western Australia set to follow and South Australia also considering the issue. In NSW, it results in a year-long jail term or a $100,000 (£81,000) fine.

Like NSW and Victoria before it, Queensland will exempt Hindus, Buddhists and Jains, for whom swastikas are religious symbols. There will also be an exemption for when hate symbols are used for educational purposes.

The Queensland Law Society (QLS) opposes the increased maximum imprisonment for serious vilification. In its submission to the government, the QLS urged it to closely examine how effective and practical the higher penalty would be.

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) has previously welcomed bans on the Nazi symbol in NSW and Victoria. It also pushed Queensland and other Australian states and territories to move quickly to adopt similar legislation.

“These bans are an important tool to deter open displays of antisemitism and further marginalise racist extremists, and will help strengthen communal cohesion and harmony across Australia,” the AIJAC said in June 2022.




Sunday, June 04, 2023

YouTube Reverses Policy on Censoring Claims of Stolen 2020 Election

YouTube has announced it’s doing a U-turn on censoring content about U.S. elections, with the platform saying it will no longer delete posts questioning the results of the 2020 presidential election, including claims of widespread voter fraud.

The company made the announcement in a blog post on Friday, which comes about two months after it reinstated former President Donald Trump’s YouTube account.

Trump’s account on YouTube was suspended in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, which came as the former president alleged that the 2020 election had been stolen.

YouTube established its “elections misinformation” policy in December 2020, and on Friday said that in the time since it was imposed, the company had removed tens of thousands of videos.

“We carefully deliberated this change,” YouTube said, citing a “changed landscape” in which the 2024 election campaign is in full swing and that removing election-related content could stifle political speech.

“In the current environment, we find that while removing this content does curb some misinformation, it could also have the unintended effect of curtailing political speech without meaningfully reducing the risk of violence or other real-world harm,” the company said.

YouTube pledged that, starting Friday, it will stop removing content that advances claims that “widespread fraud, errors, or glitches occurred in the 2020 and other past US Presidential elections.”

Still, removing content under the elections misinformation policy was just one way in which YouTube has sought to shape political discussions, with other pieces of its content moderation machine remaining intact.

“We are ensuring that when people come to YouTube looking for news and information about elections, they see content from authoritative sources prominently in search and recommendations,” the company said, noting that this is one aspect of its content policy that isn’t changing.

Also remaining unchanged are the broader outlines of YouTube’s election misinformation policy, with the company saying it will continue to remove content that misleads voters about the time, place, means, or eligibility requirements for voting.

YouTube will continue to crack down on “false claims that could materially discourage voting, including those disputing the validity of voting by mail,” as well as on content that calls on people to “interfere with democratic processes.”

A further caveat is that the policy could change as the 2024 election cycle unfolds.

“We’ll remain vigilant as the election unfolds, as we did in 2020, and again in 2022,” YouTube said. “And we have an elections-focused team, including members of our Intelligence Desk, Trust & Safety and product teams, monitoring real-time developments and making adjustments to our strategy as needed.”

YouTube and other social media platforms have been accused of political bias by conservatives and have faced criticism for restricting free speech.




Friday, June 02, 2023

Weaponisation of words

Recently I came across the expression ‘weaponised words’– the idea that words with a standard, accepted meaning can be changed into ‘attack words’. The example the writer gave was ‘fascist’, coined by Benito Mussolini as the name of his National Fascist Party. Since then, the dictionaries have defined it as: ‘a right-wing political system in which people’s lives are completely controlled by the state and no political opposition is allowed’. But that’s not how the word is used today. It has been weaponised and is used by the political left to label anyone who does not agree with them. Anyone who expresses even mild support for conservative or right-of-centre politics can these days be labelled a ‘fascist’.

This is an exceptionally stupid misuse of language. Not only stupid, but dangerous, since it makes it impossible to use the word ‘fascist’ seriously when talking about the real thing – real bullying, freedom-denying authoritarian policies. People using ‘fascist’ are in reality using the word to mean ‘people I don’t like’. Another weaponised word is ‘hard-right’. It’s interesting to note that the media outlets happy to label anyone they disagree with as ‘hard-right’ never use the parallel expression ‘hard-left’. Why? Because this ‘weaponisation of words’ is being done by the left, not the right. Another ‘weaponised word’ is ‘notorious’. The ‘Let Women Speak’ rally in Victoria defending the right of women and girls to have their own safe spaces, and not have transgender persons (often still with penises) come into girls’ change rooms or toilets was recently labelled in one news outlet as ‘notorious’ (as in ‘the now notorious Let Women Speak rally…’) ‘Notorious’ means ‘famous or well known for something bad’.Applying such adjective to a defence of safety for women and girls is an evil ‘weaponisation of words’. In fact, I could even call it a ‘notorious weaponisation of words’.

One of the very worst examples of the weaponisation of words is ‘hate speech’. This began in America and is first recorded in 1938 meaning ‘a speech or address inciting hatred or intolerance’. So, originally ‘hate speech’ didn’t just mean expressing hatred but encouraging hatred in others. But that’s not how it’s being used now. The people who are quickest to label a statement ‘hate speech’ are using it to mean ‘disagreement’. If someone believes men who choose to identify as women are real women – that’s their point of view. It’s a free country, and they can think, and say, what they wish. But if someone else disagrees and says such men are not real women their words are called ‘hate speech’. Untrue. Those words are just disagreement. And disagreement is disagreement, not hate speech. You may dispute the opinion that global warming is catastrophic, or argue that enshrining the Voice in our constitution is a bad idea. And those opinions are likely to suffer from being labelled ‘hate speech’. Someone who supports classic Christian doctrine can find themselves accused of ‘hate speech’, as happened to Israel Folau. The cancellations and the censorship work in one direction only. You can be a hard-core, hard-left Marxist and you will be safe, but if you are right-of-centre and conservative expect to have your words labelled as ‘hate speech’.




Thursday, June 01, 2023

Johns Hopkins medical staff are given guide with FIFTY new pronouns they can use on their ID badges, including 'aerself' and 'faerself'

Johns Hopkins medical staff in Maryland have been given a guide featuring 50 pronoun options to use while at the workplace.

The pronoun guide details the dozens of gender-neutral pronouns medical staff can use while dealing with patients and other employees, including 'aerself' and 'faerself.'

Other gender-neutral pronouns featured on the list are:  xemself, perself, eirself and verself.

The list, seen by, features examples of how to use the pronouns in a sentence, such as 'Ae cleaned the office all by aerself,' and 'I gave faer the key.'

It also lists 'Mx.' as a gender-neutral title that can be used for 'non-binary or gender-diverse people.'

'Always ask the person which they use if possible,' instructs the list by John Hopkin's Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Health Equity.

The pronoun 'Ze' is pronounced 'zee' can also be spelled zie or xe. It is meant to replace she/he/they. 'Hir,' on its part, is pronounced like 'here' and replaces her/hers/him/his/they/theirs.

Moreover, the Per/per/pers pronoun is supposed to be a shortened version of 'person.'

The guide is part of a John Hopkins policy that went into effect in March 2022 allowing staff to use a chosen name that fits their gender identity on their ID badges.

The policy also allows patients to use a chosen name on their wristbands.

Paula Neira, Johns Hopkins Medicine’s program director for LGBTQ+ Equity and Education, said there are two exceptions to the policy - those licensed in Washington D.C. must have badges that match the name on their employee's certification.

Additionally, Maryland State Police requires public safety officers to carry identification that matches their legal names.

Neira, a transgender military veteran, previously served as the clinical program director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Transgender and Gender Expansive Health.

She was the first first transgender Navy veteran allowed to update her discharge documents with her new name, as reported by Fox News Digital.

A Johns Hopkins Medicine spokesperson told on Tuesday the institution is 'committed to fostering a supportive, diverse and inclusive community.'

'As part of this focus and in compliance with Federal and state regulations, we enable our faculty, staff and employees to choose the way their names are displayed on their identification badges,' the statement reads.

'There are many reasons individuals may choose how they are identified, for example, some people may prefer to use a middle name, have cultural distinctions or preferences, or have gender ambiguous names. JHM will continue to provide options to our community to ensure a respectful and inclusive environment.'