Thursday, August 31, 2023

The trans threat to freedom: Gender ideology relies on censorship to survive

The UK was historically a bastion of free speech. Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin were once rightly given safe haven in London. Here, they were totally free to publicly articulate their desire to see capitalism violently overthrown – including within the very nation that had taken them in.

Compare and contrast that with today. Now in the UK, it is near impossible to challenge the idea that a man cannot be a woman, and vice versa. Anyone who objects to gender ideology can be cancelled, have their bank account closed, be subject to police harassment or even potentially prosecuted.

Incredibly, the situation could get even worse under a Labour government. The Labour Party – supported by some Conservative MPs such as Theresa May and Alicia Kearns – has long pledged to classify misgendering someone as a ‘hate crime’ and to introduce a blanket ban on ‘trans conversion therapy’. Essentially, this would mean that anyone who refuses to affirm the desire of trans people to transition could be subject to prosecution.

The consequences of this would be staggering. Could it apply to parents and therapists, for example? Would anyone who advises caution before going down a life-changing medical path find themselves with a criminal record? This extraordinary proposal would bring the state right on to the therapist’s couch and into the family living room.

It should come as no surprise that politicians in thrall to the trans movement are proposing authoritarian policies in the name of ‘trans rights’. This is, after all, a fundamentally anti-liberal, regressive ideology. It goes well beyond campaigning for the right of individuals to articulate whatever identity they wish.

Even during those dark days when homosexuality was outlawed in the UK, it was not illegal to present as another gender. Britain, after all, has a long tradition of transvestitism among both men and women. Rather than liberate people from repressive laws, trans ideology seeks to impose a whole range of oppressive obligations upon society at large. It is but one branch on a wider tree of allied ideologies – including critical race theory and extreme environmentalism. The ultimate objective of these movements is to forcibly restructure society and to severely restrict the expression of competing views.

There are two key reasons why political liberals, from whatever points on the ideological spectrum they have emerged, should be deeply concerned about the rise of trans ideology. First is the way in which it further divides society into alleged ‘oppressor’ and ‘oppressed’ groups. The aim is to politically mobilise those it has given victim status (regardless of whether or not those individuals wish to be classified in this way). It does this through the promise of various political privileges, such as the legal right to gender self-identification, in the case of the trans movement.

The granting of such a privilege would, of course, have wide-reaching implications. Namely, it would allow biological males claiming to be women into spaces and activities traditionally reserved for females. It also opens the door to other fantastical forms of self-identification that could, in turn, become the basis for legal protection and special benefits. Using the logic of the trans movement, who could argue that I, a white-skinned man, cannot identify as a totally different ethnicity? Or that a middle-aged man couldn’t identify as a teenage girl?

Second, trans ideology is predicated upon the belief that people’s own perception of their gender should take precedence over objective, biological factors. In other words, gender trumps sex. Hence the slogan ‘transwomen are women’. To accept this ‘truth’ of someone having been born into the wrong body, it is demanded that we suspend our powers of judgement. We must not verbally contradict this new, constructed reality.

This movement then accords with the postmodernist view that language is a form of coercive power. It is therefore legitimate to restrict what can be expressed to prevent supposed psychological harm. LGBT charity Stonewall, for example, wants more state intervention to suppress what it judges to be ‘hate speech’. It defines ‘transphobia’ as ‘the fear or dislike of someone based on the fact they are trans, including denying their gender identity or refusing to accept it’. Hence the demand that misgendering (namely, correctly sexing) a trans person should be classified as a ‘hate crime’.

Even discussing the legitimacy of trans ideology is seen as denying the dignity of trans people. Labour MP Nadia Whittome has stated: ‘The very act of debate [on the trans issue]… is an effective rollback of assumed equality and a foot in the door for doubt and hatred.’ She is joined by Tory MP and fellow trans-rights authoritarian Alicia Kearns, who announced, somewhat ironically, during a parliamentary debate: ‘This is not something we should have to debate.’

The logic of these politicians’ positions is that the greater limitation placed on our capacity to challenge trans ideology, the more free trans people will be. Free speech is thus, for them, a zero-sum game. Where does this leave the foundational principles underlying liberal democracy?

The trans movement relies on authoritarian tactics to survive. The only way to coerce us into accepting this ideology’s logic is to change the way we think and to control the language we use. Yes, trans people must have the right to express themselves as they see fit, but so must the critics of trans ideology. Anyone who values liberty should be alarmed at what is happening in the name of trans rights.




Wednesday, August 30, 2023

The Latest Jackbooted Big Tech Censorship

Google-owned YouTube recently announced that it is expanding its COVID-specific censorship practices to now include all “medical misinformation.” According to the new guidelines, only medical information that comports with what is currently approved by local health authorities or the World Health Organization will be deemed appropriate to post.

That which runs counter to the accepted narrative will be subject to censorship and removal according to three broadly and ill-defined categorizations of “medical misinformation.” Those categories of supposed “misinformation” are as follows: prevention misinformation, treatment misinformation, and denial misinformation.

YouTube’s new policy implicitly advises self-censorship, as it states: “Don’t post content on YouTube if it contains any of the [above information].”

We’re old enough to remember the compromised history of the WHO during the coronavirus pandemic and the misinformation the UN organization was guilty of pushing — as were the CDC and Dr. Anthony “The Science” Fauci himself. That included misinformation such as that the COVID vaccines prevented infection or the spread of COVID and that the Wuhan lab leak was a quack conspiracy theory. One would have thought this would have caused YouTube to back off its medical information suppression efforts. Of course, that would only be the case if those running YouTube were actually concerned about maintaining a platform where truth can be discovered and error exposed; a platform that believes in free speech.

However, as investigative journalist Michael Shellenberger observed, “YouTube isn’t a social media platform, it’s a propaganda platform.” Exactly.

But Google isn’t the only Big Tech company ramping up content censorship. Meta-owned Facebook is still outsourcing its censorship policing to “neutral” “fact-checking” organizations in an effort to claim Facebook itself is not engaged in any efforts to suppress content. Well, as we’ve noted ad nauseam, these “fact-checking” outfits are anything but neutral; rather, they are almost all leftist organizations that Meta is funding to suppress conservative content on Facebook.

One such “fact-checking” outfit is the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), hired by Meta to the tune of $740,000 a year. RMIT is responsible for blocking and deplatforming a number of Australian journalists — of course, all in the name of preventing “misinformation” or for some other dubious reason.

Elon Musk recently weighed in by calling for transparency: “Facebook is manipulating the public almost everywhere on Earth. That is why they won’t open source their algorithm.”

Speaking of Musk, for his buyout of Twitter, now known as X, the billionaire entrepreneur repeatedly expressed his desire to ensure the social media platform would serve as a beacon for free speech. Unfortunately, it appears that beacon isn’t shining so brightly lately.

Musk recently touted what amounts to a “fairer” censorship. Concerned over advertisement dollars, Musk is apparently seeking to assuage the concerns of advertisers who don’t want to be associated with “problematic” posts, and so he therefore is willing to engage in censorship of certain subjects or terms — it’s just that he will also censor leftists. He announced that the term “cis” would be banned from the platform, as he declared it to be considered a slur. He’s pretty much right about that.

Even so, Musk will compromise with the Left by enforcing its “preferred pronouns” rules in exchange for censoring certain words conservatives may find offensive. But conservatives aren’t asking for censorship of anyone. We care about the fundamental principle of freedom of speech on a public platform.

The fact of the matter is, Big Tech censorship will only get worse, as upholding the narrative matters more than contending for the truth.




Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Mike Rowe Doubles Down on Apple’s Speech Suppressors

Patriot Post content is constantly being suppressed by social media platforms, the most recent example being the effort by the Facebook speech suppression commissars to prevent our 750,000 followers on that platform from seeing our content.

Sometimes the adolescent cadre of leftist speech suppressors endeavoring to bury conservative commentary and analysis step into a deeper hole than they anticipated. Such is the unfolding case with Apple’s podcast platform, which is threatening to cancel “The Megyn Kelly Show” because of her defense of women. Apparently, Kelly has been very vocal in her objections to women being forced to compete against males pretending to be females, and then having to shower with them.

Enter our friend, Mike Rowe, who tends to be conservative/libertarian in his views. He posted a video of Kelly daring Apple to deplatform her and an image of himself displaying that video while noting: “If it comes to that, I’d march with her. Would you?”

Like Kelly, Rowe’s social media presence reaches millions of followers. As he sometimes does when he has stepped up to defend what we should ALL defend, in this case free speech, he chooses an example from some emotionally incontinent objector and eviscerates them to highlight the absurdity of their objection.

Rowe notes that “most agreed that the underlying issues — free speech and women’s rights — were worth defending and answered in the affirmative.” However, he posted the following objection from one Jessica Pranger:

“Nope, not for one second would I stand next to this farce of a woman. Mike, your desperate grabs at popularity are embarrassing. Stay in your lane, please. I thank you in advance for not inserting your bullcrap pandering for women in any other scenario that includes women. You don’t belong and you most certainly are not choosing the right woman to be in complete support of. She is a brainwashed, phobic, fear driven, fear mongering blow hard… much like the faction you love pandering to so much. You and your ilk are so off base that I am actually embarrassed for you.”

And we’re off! Here are some excerpts from Mike’s response:

"Obviously, you’re not the only one to dislike Megyn Kelly [or] admonish me for wandering “outside my lane.” The question is, do you care at all about the underlying issues? If not, that’s okay, but if you’re going to share your feelings with 6 million people, why not take a moment to include some actual thoughts? Specifically, some thoughts on the right to speak freely, and the right for women to compete fairly? Those are the issues in question, not your feelings about Megyn or me. Unless of course, your feelings are the only thing you have to share?

You say that Megyn is not the “right” woman to follow, or offer my “complete support” to. I didn’t say that Megyn has my “complete support.” All I said was that I’d stand with her on the underlying issues; just as I would stand with you, if you were muzzled by a big tech company for publicly supporting the rights of women. …

As for your personal comments about Megyn Kelly, I don’t share your view that she is a “farce” of woman, but even if I did, I’d support her right to speak freely, and her daughter’s right to use a locker room free of biological men. Do you? Who knows? You haven’t said. All you’ve argued here, is that I’m pandering to women. You seem to believe that because I’m not a woman, I have no right to hold an opinion on anything related to women. If so, am I also precluded from expressing an opinion on slavery, simply because I’ve never been a slave, or owned a slave? You advise me to “stay in my lane” in much the same way people used to tell women and minorities to “know their place.” That strikes me as a convenient way for people to silence those with whom they disagree, without offering an actual argument.

I get it. The world is tired of celebrities using their platforms to weigh in on the headlines. … Why then, would a celebrity, or a company for that matter, knowingly put their fans and customers in such a position? Why did Bud Light make it so hard for so many of their customers to support them? Why did Target? As I type this, I see that Alice Cooper has been dropped by a cosmetics company for suggesting that children are not in a position to decide for themselves what gender they are. And poor Carlos Santana … he doesn’t know what to do. A few weeks ago, he declared during a concert, “a man is a man, and a woman is woman.” … So, did Carlos Santana wander outside his lane? Did Alice Cooper? Or, did they take a highly principled position on a topic that mattered deeply to them, and exercise their first amendment rights?

I’m worried that we’ve entered into a time when the experts disagree on every serious topic, where journalism has been replaced almost entirely by editorial partisanship, and everyone on both sides of every issue believes the “science has been settled” in whatever way confirms their own beliefs. Climate change, Covid, mask and vaccine mandates, immigration, homelessness, transgender rights, criminal justice, reparations … the certainty is everywhere. Mostly though, I’m worried that people — and corporations — are determined to silence the opposition, rather than make any attempt to persuade, or even put forth a rational argument.

If you were on this page twelve years ago, you know that I was boycotted by a big trade organization called the TRSA. … Basically, the Textile Service and Rental Association was upset with me because I had “wandered outside of my lane,” and participated in a campaign that promoted disposable shop towels. … When I refused to apologize, or distance myself from the people who hired me, the TRSA published a list of everyone I did business with — Discovery, Ford, Wrangler, Caterpillar, Viva, and Kimberly Clarke — and then called for a general boycott of all things related to Mike Rowe. In short, they tried to silence me, and then they tried to destroy me. It scared the hell out of me, and I fought back — on this very page — and they eventually went away. I wonder, though, what would happen today? And to be clear, I’d prefer not to find out. But not if it means forgoing my right to speak freely, or standing by, while women’s fundamental rights are being cast aside, or being told to shut up or else.

To sum up, Jessica, this page is “my lane,” and you are a guest on it. To be sure, you’ve said some rude and unpersuasive things, but I would never ban you or block you for those reasons. On the other hand, it’s worth remembering that this page is not really my property. This page belongs to Facebook, and you and I are both here with their permission. Tell me, if they were to close “my lane” because of this post, would you object? Would you join me in protest? Or would you celebrate my banishment?

That was the question inherent in Megyn Kelly’s video. I’ve answered it as best I can. You should, too.

Love, Mike"




Monday, August 28, 2023

British Health Service is accused of 'trying to erase women' as dozens of trusts sign up to Rainbow Badge scheme that marks down hospitals for using words like 'mother'

Dozens of hospitals have signed up to be graded by trans rights charities who tell them to stop using the terms 'mother' and 'woman'.

Angry MPs have called for ministers to step in after 77 trusts joined the NHS Rainbow Badge Scheme, which rewards them for dropping 'gendered language' from policies, forms and signs.

The trusts gain points for referring to maternity patients as 'clients' and calling cervical screening clinics 'colposcopy' instead of women's health.

A former Cabinet minister last night accused the NHS of being 'willing to erase women so they can please radical ideologically-driven campaign groups'.

The scheme is commissioned by NHS England but run by vocal trans rights lobbying groups including Stonewall and the LGBT Foundation, who carry out the grading.

They also tell hospitals to introduce gender-neutral toilets and get medics to ask patients their pronouns, leading to fears that the lobby groups are dictating NHS policy.

Staff who just want to treat patients and so speak out against the NHS's focus on gender identity are branded homophobic and transphobic, while facing 'tougher consequences' from bosses.

The revelations will deepen concerns about gender ideology becoming embedded in the health service, after a Mail investigation found that even patients who only temporarily identify as women are allowed into female-only wards.

And it comes even though health bodies have been warned by ministers to rethink their close ties with the likes of Stonewall.

A source close to Health Secretary Steve Barclay told the Mail last night: 'Any scheme which does not recognise the role of women and biological sex in the NHS directly contradicts ministerial steers and raises serious questions of propriety.

'The Secretary of State has been very clear that women should be called women and freedom of speech upheld. He expects that guidance to be followed.'

Former Cabinet minister Ranil Jayawardena said: 'It's extraordinary to learn that the NHS are prioritising pronouns over patient care.

'Surely the simple biology that women are mothers is not lost on today's NHS management?

'It seems that the NHS is willing to erase women so they can please radical ideologically-driven campaign groups. Ministers must step in now.'

The NHS Rainbow Badge scheme was initially devised as a way for staff to show they supported LGBT+ people, by wearing a small enamel pin badge bearing the NHS logo and the pride rainbow.

But it has been turned by NHS England into an 'assessment and accreditation model' to grade trusts according to their inclusivity.

NHS England agreed a £220,000 deal whereby leading charities would grade health organisations on their inclusion work – even though some of them have highly contentious views on gender ideology.

Stonewall supports people being allowed to 'self-identify' as the opposite sex while the LGBT Foundation helped write a recent guide for health bosses that said patients have no right to know if they are being treated by transgender medics.




Sunday, August 27, 2023

The Biden Administration Is Stepping Into a Fight Concerning Your Free Speech

On Monday, Biden’s Solicitor General appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to hear cases pertaining to two laws that have the potential to change the way Americans express themselves on social media platforms. Texas House Bill 20 and Florida Senate Bill 7072 were both signed into law by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2021. While the two bills are significantly different, both share the same goal: They stand up against Big Tech’s censorious behaviors. They also share the fact that the Biden administration wants to shoot them down and use them as an example to deter any other states from protecting online free speech.

Both bills crack down on the aggressive content moderation that occurs on social media platforms and requires the platforms to explain their content-moderation processes to the public. The legal battles that have surrounded TX HB 20 and FL SB 7072 have been long and have made their way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, where they have sat with little to no recent media attention, until this week.

President Biden’s Solicitor General, Elizabeth Prelogar, filed an amicus brief to the highest court in the land, arguing that they should consider the cases against Texas and Florida, claiming that their objectives are unconstitutional. Ultimately, the Biden appointee argues for the First Amendment rights of the social media platforms.

This argument that the Solicitor General makes is the exact opposite of the argument being made at the state level in favor of these laws. They are intended to protect the First Amendment rights of the people who maintain these inalienable rights. After all, the Constitution does not afford these rights to corporations and companies, but rather to the American people.

The lawsuits brought by NetChoice, a trade group representing Meta, YouTube, and other Big Tech companies, only solidify the assertion that these social media platforms are attempting to maintain a unilateral right to censorship from the Constitution’s free speech guarantee.

Both pieces of legislation were crafted after many blatant cases of censorship on social media platforms, especially surrounding conservative political speech. The laws attempt to challenge Big Tech and the outsized control they hold over the digital public discourse.

The laws also highlight the hypocrisy of social media platforms and their claim that they are simply bulletin boards or conduits for user speech and that they maintain no editorial component. This claim insulates these entities from liability under Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. Although it is evident that because they clearly engage in censorship, these platforms do obviously operate in an editorial capacity.

It has also become crystal clear that these platforms operate in an editorial capacity in conjunction with the federal government and federal agencies. The releases of the Twitter Files confirmed what many suspected: that the federal government and its various agencies have been working in tandem with these Big Tech companies for years. From the government’s involvement in removing COVID-19 “misinformation” on platforms, to the FBI working in tandem with Twitter to promulgate certain narratives, to the suppression of certain politicized stories, such as Hunter Biden’s laptop, during the 2020 election season.

It would only make sense that the natural progression of these events would lead to the Biden administration working to squash the laws that would make it more difficult for them to control what Americans can say, see, and have access to on social media platforms.

It would behoove the Supreme Court to follow the lead of Justice Clarence Thomas, who has criticized Section 230’s legal protections given to online platforms and likens these social media platforms to common carriers. If Texas’ or Florida’s laws are upheld by the Supreme Court, it would be a landmark win for free speech and First Amendment rights in the digital age.




Friday, August 25, 2023

Riley Gaines says TikTok removed a video in which she never even spoke a single word

In the video, Gaines can be seen eating cereal while a video plays in which an individual announces their pronouns and then proceeds to rattle off a massive list of bizarre self-descriptions.

"I am a white transmasculine, femme, nonbinary, temporarily mostly able-bodied, neuro-divergent, obsessive compulsive, chronically ill, culturally Jewish, Unitarian Universalist, nonmonogamous, demilowromantic, greydemibisexual, survivor of acute and complex trauma, millenial, and cat parent in mental health recovery," the person declares in the video.

"Poor cat," Gaines wrote earlier this month when sharing the video on X.

Gaines is a former University of Kentucky swimmer who has been speaking out against allowing men who identify as women to compete in women's sports.




Thursday, August 24, 2023

‘So Many Are Afraid to Speak Up,’ Sage Steele Says of Leaving ESPN

Sage Steele was an 11-year-old girl watching the 1984 Olympics when she decided to become a sportscaster. Some 39 years later—16 of them with ESPN—the mom of three is leaving the sports network that made her vision a reality.

When people ask why she would leave ESPN, Steele is blunt: No one should have to choose between their dreams and free speech.

“It’s broken my heart,” the former “SportsCenter” co-host says now about how things unfolded at ESPN.

The self-described military brat may not have expected the “cutthroat” environment of sports broadcasting, but the bigger surprise was how differently she was treated for her conservative views. Steele’s outspokenness on the company’s vaccine mandate, race, transgender sports, the George Floyd riots, and other cultural flashpoints landed her in surprisingly hot water.

Hauled into private conversations with ESPN “brass,” Steele was warned to keep her mouth shut.

“All I ever wanted was consistency,” Steele told podcaster Megyn Kelly in a two-hour conversation Thursday that spanned her rocky relationship with Disney-owned ESPN, adding:

And if we are allowing my peers to go on social media—much less on our own airwaves—saying things … that have nothing to do with sports that are political … then I should be allowed on my personal time to give my opinion on my experiences personally, without telling others what to do. … [T]here were different rules for me than everyone else.

In 2021, after she openly blasted the network’s vaccine mandate, ESPN sent Steele home (though it disputes, to this day, that it was a suspension) for violating its unspoken “ban on discussing politics.” The condition to come back: Steele has to apologize, something she says she did not want to do.

“I fought,” she says. “I fought and I begged and I screamed, and I was told that if I want to keep my job, I have to apologize. … I knew there was a line somewhere. I just didn’t know where it was until I crossed it.”

When she returned to work she was terrified, Steele admits now, saying that the workplace had become openly hostile. What bothered her most, she insists, is “the hypocrisy of the rules.”

“You can’t have it both ways,” she says. “You can’t preach diversity and equity and inclusion and tolerance, and then cut people off because they don’t believe the way that you say they’re supposed to believe because of the color of their skin or their gender. It is wrong. And I’m done.”

By 2022, Steele says, she finally had enough. Putting her $3 million salary, credibility, and personal skin on the line, she sued the sports behemoth. Among other things, the lawsuit claimed “Steele was punished not only for exercising her constitutional right to free speech but the content of that speech.”

“I feel like God has put me here for a reason,” Steele said recently, “not just the way He made me, but … to get out there and have this conversation and to call out the hypocrisy, because that is what it is. And until someone has the courage to call it out on a larger platform, this will continue. And frankly, there are so many people who are afraid to speak up.”

Until then, she argues, more people will face the persecution she did:

Normally, you know, especially for a biracial woman who had made it in a man’s industry, the Left would be celebrating you for speaking so openly and taking it. But no, you said the wrong thing. You see, you’re entitled to an opinion just so long as it aligns with their views on race. That’s the problem. Even you as a biracial woman can get slammed, can get criticized, can be called all sorts of terrible things because your views on race only count if they align with theirs.

“I refuse to be quiet about this anymore,” Steele adds. “I don’t care anymore because this is my experience. … I’m allowed to feel the way I feel. When you try to silence me, I’m done.”




Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Pro-Life Activists Can Proceed With Freedom of Speech Lawsuit, Court Rules

On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that a lower court was wrong to dismiss a lawsuit brought forward by pro-life activists who argued that the city violated their First Amendment rights by arresting them for writing a slogan on a sidewalk in 2020.

In August 2020, police arrested 22-year-old Erica Caporaletti, a student at Towson University, and Warner DePriest, a 29-year old D.C. resident. According to The Washington Post, the two were writing “Black Pre-Born Lives Matter” with chalk on the sidewalk outside a D.C. Planned Parenthood. It is reportedly illegal for people to write on public or private property without a permit.

Shortly after, the pro-life activists sued D.C., arguing that their constitutional rights were violated because it allowed others to paint slogans like “Defund the Police” during the Black Lives Matter protests.

In 2021, a district court dismissed the lawsuit. This week, the appeals court ruled to allow the lawsuit to move forward.

“The First Amendment prohibits the government from favoring some speakers over others. Access to public fora must be open to everyone and to every message on the same terms. The District may act to prevent the defacement of public property, but it cannot open up its streets and sidewalks to some viewpoints and not others,” Judge Neomi Rao, who was nominated by former President Donald Trump, wrote in the opinion.




Monday, August 21, 2023

How Big Tech tried to silence my voice

Peta Credlin is opposed to "Voice", a forthcoming Left-led referendum in Australia designed to privilege blacks

On August 3, Sky News posted my night’s editorial on Facebook, substantiating the argument that the Uluru Statement is a lot more than just the PM’s one-page poster. A week later, the Big Tech censors blanked it out, plastering this statement where the video used to be – “False information. Checked by independent fact-checkers” – and a link to a document from a hardly unbiased partnership between the RMIT and the ABC.

In the document, the RMIT-ABC “fact-checkers” simply asserted that the Prime Minister, the Uluru Statement’s authors and the NIAA had denied my claim. They were completely oblivious to six years of previous statements by the authors who said otherwise, and disregarded the NIAA’s earlier written confirmation, from its FOI legal team, that Document 14 was indeed the full Uluru Statement.

A clear case of fact-checkers ignoring inconvenient but relevant facts, and Big Tech then blocking anything that’s doesn’t pass the RMIT-ABC test of political correctness.

This is not the first time Big Tech has censored arguments against the voice. Facebook has previously blocked an Institute of Public Affairs discussion featuring senators Jacinta Price and James McGrath. It’s also blocked a post from Advance Australia stating that the voice conferred “special rights” on Indigenous people, again citing RMIT-ABC fact-checkers, despite former judges making the very same point.

It’s wrong for Facebook to cancel views it doesn’t like, rather than be the platform for free speech that it used to claim to be, and letting people judge for themselves.

But think just how much worse this will get if the Albanese government’s proposed bill against mis­information and disinformation passes. Politically correct censorship will become routine if Big Tech faces multimillion-dollar fines for posting material that faceless government officials think is misleading or false. Especially with formerly free speech that the PM himself claims is “misinformation” because it doesn’t fit the political case he’s trying to make.

So far, there’s no suggestion that Big Tech has blocked any pro-voice advocacy, notwithstanding any number of social media posts that it’s racist to vote No or false claims that the official No campaign was using AI to fake Indigenous opposition to the voice.

This voice debate has become quite a dangerous moment for our country. There’s the PM committed to implementing “in full” a statement that he hasn’t fully read, in a bad case of endorsing the cover but not the contents.

There’s the risk Australians may be pressured by moral intimidation and weight of advertising into abandoning our historic commitment to being, in Bob Hawke’s words, a country with “no hierarchy of descent” and “no privilege of origin”. And then there’s the threat to free speech, justified on the grounds that any dissent from the Big Government, Big Business, Big Sport and Big Tech line is somehow “misinformation”.

As a newspaper columnist with my own TV show, I’m not after sympathy. And it’s hard to defend the more extreme statements that difficult subjects always elicit. Yet if free speech is not for everyone, ultimately, it is for no one.




Sunday, August 20, 2023

An old joke but a dangerous one

The Bachelorette star Georgia Love has spoken for the first time since the 'casual racism' scandal that saw her removed from on-air duties at Channel Seven.

The former newsreader, 34, made headlines for the wrong reasons in late 2021 when she posted a video asking whether a cat was on the menu at a Chinese restaurant after seeing the animal in the window.

Georgia, who opted to stay silent in the wake of the scandal, finally spoke to to Stellar magazine this week to call out cancel culture while also apologising for her actions.

'I hate the term cancellation. To think that we have the ability to cancel somebody – whether that means from their industry, their job, their family and friends. We don't have the ability to do that,' she said.

Georgia said cancel culture is unfair because people aren't afforded the opportunity to defend themselves in the 'heat of the moment'.

Georgia also lamented about the fallout from the scandal, telling the magazine: 'I had my dream job. I felt so lucky every day to be doing what I loved and what I had dreamed of for so long.'

'So to have lost that on-air job – I stayed working at Seven, but I was taken off air in the fallout – was probably the hardest thing for me, because I've always put a lot of emphasis and focus on my work and my career.'

Despite this, Georgia said she never meant to 'purposely upset or offend anyone', and is 'deeply sorry' for the upset it caused, adding: 'I've done a lot of reflection. I've learnt a lot.

Georgia posted the controversial footage in September 2021 while she was visiting a Chinese restaurant in her Melbourne hometown.

Filming a cat sitting behind the window of a the eatery, Georgia wrote: 'Shop attendant or lunch?!'

Critics claimed the footage was offensive and perpetrated a harmful stereotype about Chinese people.




Friday, August 18, 2023

Two “drag queens” have lost their landmark legal fight over free speech

They are not beyond  criticism

Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal member Jeremy Gordon ruled on August 10 that drag queens Johnny Valkyrie and Dwayne Hill were not vilified by Lyle Shelton in multiple blog posts and a video podcast in November 2020.

The blog and podcast referred to the children’s holiday entertainment event called ‘Drag Queen Story Time’ organised by the Brisbane City Council and Rainbow Families at the Brisbane City Council Library at Brisbane Square on January 12, 2020.

Rainbow Families Queensland engaged Mr Valkyrie to dress as drag queen “Queeny” and Mr Hill to dress as his stage persona “Diamond” and they performed for up to 20 kids aged between two and eight years old.

In throwing the case out of the tribunal in his 76-page decision Mr Gordon ruled that all five separate “heads” of vilification alleged by Mr Valkyrie and Mr Hill had failed.

“The belief of those in the hypothetical audience that when performing drag queen story time the complainants were involved in some sort of child abuse or pedophilia, would not have come from anything in the respondent’s published material but from something else,” Mr Gordon said in his reasons.

Mr Gordon also said another complaint that Mr Shelton had vilified drag queens generally also failed.

“There is a difficulty in that, for there to be a contravention of section 124A the incitement to hatred or serious contempt would need to be on the ground of the sexuality or gender identity of drag queens,” he wrote.

“On the evidence I have heard and seen, some drag queens are transgender persons and some are persons with homosexual sexual orientation, but a substantial proportion of drag queens are neither,” he wrote.

The duo complained of vilification as individuals – alleging that Mr Shelton asserted that dressed as drags queens they were dangerous to children, and were child sex offenders – and also vilification of groups of persons where they were member such as drag queens, transgender people, homosexual or LGBTIQ+.

State laws make it illegal to incite hatred towards, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule for persons or groups of people on the ground of sexuality or gender identity.

The decision states that Mr Shelton falsely stated that Mr Hill was “a porn star” and was in the “sex trade industry”.

Mr Hill told the tribunal that he had never been involved in the pornography or prostitution industries and that while he performs as a drag queen under the name Diamond Good-Rim this is only for adult shows, and when working with children he only uses the name ‘Diamond’.

Mr Valkyrie complained to the Queensland Human Rights Commission in January 2020 about Mr Shelton’s blog post in January 2020 which Mr Valkyrie complained “described me as dangerous for children as I am transgender, homosexual and do drag”.

Six months later Mr Hill made a complaint based on the same material to the QHRC, and later both complaints were referred to QCAT.




Thursday, August 17, 2023

‘Egregiously Obvious’ That Biden Admin Violated First Amendment Rights, Tech Policy Expert Says

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, recently tweeted a lengthy thread in hopes of exposing Americans to the so-called Facebook Files.


Jordan, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, also has tweeted about other parts of the “Facebook Files.”

Asked by The Daily Signal what the most shocking discovery is so far, Jake Denton, research associate in The Heritage Foundation’s Tech Policy Center, replies that “none of this really came as a surprise, necessarily.” (The Daily Signal is The Heritage Foundation’s news outlet.)

“It’s egregiously obvious they were violating our First Amendment rights,” Denton says of the Biden administration, adding:

There’s this huge interplay collusion between Big Tech and big government, and then a week later, no one’s talking about it. And I think that the shock factor has gone away, because we just keep seeing it happen.

If you’re looking for one element of the [document] drops that kind of stand out from all of them, [it] is the correspondence trying to take down a meme, which kind of just shows you the comedic scale that this has reached, where you have government employees whose daily job is to scroll through Facebook [and] Twitter and critique a meme’s role in the information environment.

Mark Zuckerberg heads Meta, parent company of Facebook. Entrepreneur Elon Musk, who bought Twitter in October, recently renamed it X.

Denton joins today’s episode of “The Daily Signal Podcast” to discuss the secrets exposed by the “Facebook Files,” why Americans should be concerned, and what the revelations say about the relationship between social media companies and the Biden administration.




Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Pink censorship

A hallmark of every dictatorial regime is an inability to withstand scrutiny. From the emperors of antiquity to the tyrants (both tin-pot and tech-savvy) of today, what absolutist rulers throughout human history all have in common is an extremely low tolerance for criticism. No matter the nature of their regime—a Latin American junta, an East Bloc nomenklatura, or an African kleptocracy—among the very first actions that the aspiring authoritarian takes upon seizing power is to silence those who might point out his shortcomings.

“Authoritarian” is the word that first comes to mind upon reading the open letter addressed to the country’s largest social media platforms earlier this summer, calling on them to “Stop the Flow of Anti-Trans Hate & Malicious Disinformation About Trans Healthcare.” Organized by the Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD, two of America’s leading LGBTQ rights groups, the letter, which was signed by over 250 celebrities including Jamie Lee Curtis, Elliot Page, and Patrick Stewart, faults Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Twitter for “a massive systemic failure to prohibit hate, harassment, and malicious anti-LGBTQ disinformation on your platforms [that] must be addressed.”

Like their effort earlier this year reproaching The New York Times over its coverage of transgender issues, this latest missive on the part of HRC and GLAAD is heavy on adjectives and short on facts. In a glaring tell, the word “dangerous” appears four times to describe various types of constitutionally protected expression. So too does the term “hate speech,” which the Supreme Court, under both liberal and conservative majorities, has continuously refused to recognize as a legal category.

Examples of such “hate speech” that the signatories want banished from the internet include “targeted misgendering and deadnaming,” the latter being the practice of referring to a transgender person by their birth name rather than their chosen one. In a footnote, the letter links to an article declaring that the “relentless misgendering of Dr. Rachel Levine,” an assistant secretary for health and the first openly transgender Senate-confirmed government official, “is violence.” You know, violence, a category that now includes punching someone, stabbing them, and using the name on their birth certificate.

To be sure, deliberately misgendering and deadnaming are rude. But it’s difficult to see how banning such practices from the digital public square would not lead to banning whatever any other group of aggrieved people happens to consider offensive. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is called all sorts of nasty names on the internet. Why should Levine, a public official who routinely uses her platform to push dubious policies regarding the provision of puberty blockers and hormones to gender dysphoric youth, be legally protected from insult but not the dishonorable woman from Georgia? The letter’s organizers unwittingly reveal this slippery slope with their insistence that tech companies “urgently take action to protect trans and LGBTQ users on your platforms (including protecting us from over-enforcement and censorship).” In other words, free speech for me but not for thee.

To justify its call for a vast censorship regime, the letter asserts that online “disinformation and hate” have played “an outsize role in the sharp increase in real-world anti-transgender targeting and violence.” Yet it provides no facts to connect these two phenomena. And it undermines its own claim completely by linking to three of the very videos it claims are provoking violence against trans people—an act that, if we were to take the letter’s argument seriously, would itself constitute a punishable form of “violence.”

From the people who told you that Hunter Biden’s laptop was Russian disinformation and the lab leak theory was a racist lie, here’s the latest update on ‘medically necessary healthcare for transgender youth.’

The greatest problem with the letter concerns “disinformation,” a deliberately elusive term the cynical purposes of which my colleague Jacob Siegel has exhaustively diagnosed, and which appears nine times throughout the text. By “disinformation,” the signatories appear to mean anything questioning the advisability of what they euphemistically term “medically necessary healthcare for transgender youth”—that is, sex changes for children. But like “fake news,” its MAGA equivalent, “disinformation” is in the eye of the beholder. Take the letter’s bald-faced assertion that “every leading medical and psychological association affirms the safety and necessity of gender affirming healthcare for trans people, including youth.” Britain’s National Health Service, Sweden’s Board of Health and Welfare, and the Finnish Health Authority—all of which have drastically limited the use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones on minors after conducting extensive reviews of their effects—would beg to differ.




Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Scots could face criminal records for calling someone a 'grumpy old man' under SNP's plans for barmy new laws that make ageism a hate crime

Calling someone 'old' could land Scots with a criminal record under new woke laws being introduced by the SNP to tackle 'ageism'.

From next year, the definition of a hate crime will be extended to include threats or abusive language which focus on someone's age.

Critics have warned that being rude or mocking someone for being old – or young – could result in a 'hate crime' conviction, punishable by a prison sentence or hefty fine.

The radical change is part of Humza Yousaf's draconian Hate Crime and Public Order legislation, which he first mooted while he was Justice Secretary.

Under the Act passed during the Covid crisis in 2021, offences are considered aggravated if they involve prejudice on the basis of disability, sexual orientation, transgender identity or variation in sex characteristics.

It also created new offences of 'stirring up hatred' – which previously applied only to race – meaning Scots could break the rules in the privacy of their own home. Now, new guidance has disclosed that age is to become a protected characteristic from next year.

Under the change, the SNP's own Mhairi Black could fall foul of the legislation. Last week she dismissed those who don't agree with her views on transgender rights as '50-year-old Karens'.

Last night, Toby Young, general secretary of the Free Speech Union, said: 'The notion that describing someone as a 'grumpy old man' or a 'callow youth' should be a hate crime is ludicrous.

'How does the Scottish Government propose to police this? It still hasn't activated the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act because Police Scotland doesn't have the resources to investigate the deluge of complaints it will receive, with thousands of neighbours and ex-lovers accusing each other of hate crimes.

'Not a single 'hate crime' set out in the Act has been prosecuted. Adding 'ageism' to the list is therefore just meaningless blather, typical of this zombie government.'

Scottish Conservative deputy justice spokesman Sharon Dowey said: 'Despite its good intentions, this Bill is riddled with ridiculous legislation that risks turning innocent comments into hate crimes.'

According to Police Scotland, current laws cover any existing offence motivated by prejudice relating to race, religion, disability, sexual orientation and transgender identity. Inciting racial hatred and racially motivated harassment are stand-alone hate crime offences.

The legal definition of hate crime is 'any crime understood by the victim or any other person as being motivated (wholly or partly) by malice or ill will'.

A document released by the Scottish Government last week stated: 'In Scotland, hate crime law will be changing in 2024 to include age.'

It is the latest controversy surrounding the laws. In 2017, a public consultation asked whether homeless people, those who use food banks, refugees or – alarmingly – paedophiles, should also be protected by the legislation. Drug users and travellers were also suggested as possible protected groups.

The SNP's hate crime legislation has raised concerns that it will stifle free speech and debate.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: 'The new offence of stirring up hatred in relation to age requires behaviour that is threatening or abusive.  'Being rude to someone because of their age would clearly not meet this threshold.'




Monday, August 07, 2023

Popular NASCAR driver, 25, suspended indefinitely for liking a meme about George Floyd on social media

Must not speak of the sainted petty criminal George Floyd with anything but reverence

A popular and rising NASCAR driver was suspended indefinitely for liking a meme about George Floyd on social media.

Noah Gragson was suspended indefinitely by his team – the Legacy Motor Club on Saturday.

"We have made the decision to suspend Noah Gragson effective immediately regarding his actions that do not represent the values of our team," Legacy Motor Club said in a statement. "Josh Berry will drive the No. 42 entry for this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan."

NASCAR not only agreed with the decision to suspend Gragson, but also suspended him indefinitely.

"NASCAR fully supports Legacy Motor Club’s decision to suspend Noah Gragson," the racing association stated. "Following his actions on social media, NASCAR has determined that Gragson has violated the Member Conduct section of the 2023 NASCAR Rule Book and has placed him under indefinite suspension."

Gragson issued an apology online following his suspension.

"I am disappointed in myself for my lack of attention and actions on social media," Gragson said on Twitter. "I understand the severity of this situation. I love and appreciate everyone. I try to treat everyone equally no matter who they are. I messed up plain and simple."

Gragson allegedly liked an insensitive meme about George Floyd on Instagram.

TMZ reported, "The image shows the live-action version of Sebastian the crab from 'The Little Mermaid,' with Floyd's face superimposed. A caption reads, 'Under Da Knee, Under Da Knee.'"

A little over two weeks after Floyd's death in May 2020, NASCAR announced it had banned the Confederate flag at all of its events and properties.

"The presence of the Confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry," NASCAR said at the time. "Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community it creates is what makes fans and sport special."

This was Gragson's first full season racing in the Cup series and he is 33rd in the standings after 22 starts.

The 25-year-old driver was awarded the Xfinity series "Most Popular Driver" award last year.

JR Motorsports said of Gragson last December, The Las Vegas native won eight races in the No. 9 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet in 2022, including a record-tying run of four consecutive in the month of September. He led the team not just in victories, but also set an organizational record with 1,010 laps led along with a series-high 21 top-five finishes."




Sunday, August 06, 2023


Newsguard is a censorship organization. They claim to identify misinformation in the media and offer their services to other media organizations as a way of filtering out "wrong" reports from their coverage.

What constitutes misinformation is however controversial and one wonders how Newsguard arrives at its conclusions.

They have recently taken a shot at "TrialSite", an organization devoted to providing informed commentary on recent output of medical research. Needless to say, TrialSite does often criticize Covid research and finds much of it wanting. So Newsguard has been trying to silence them

TrialSite is not taking it lying down however and have just done a big analysis of Newsguard. I have put up their analysis on my DISSECTING LEFTISM blog, which see. They conclude that Newsguard primarly aims to suppress criticism of government reports




Thursday, August 03, 2023

Furious Rudy Giuliani calls indictment 'vague' and tears into Trump Special Counsel Jack Smith for attacking the free speech of every American

A furious Rudy Giuliani waved around the federal indictment against Donald Trump and banged it onto his desk during an interview tearing into special counsel Jack Smith and defending the former president.

'This this indictment is an outrage,' Giuliani said during an interview with Newsmax's Eric Bolling just after Trump was hit with four federal charges for his bid to overturn then 2020 election. 'These crimes, these are very, very vague crimes.'

The former New York Mayor delivered a message to Smith as he raged and slammed down the 45-page indictment: 'This one will be your legacy. Violating the right to free speech of an American citizen - never mind whether he was president or not. It could be anybody. It could be a homeless person.'

He addressed the special counsel directly: 'You don't get to violate people's first amendment rights, Smith. No matter who the hell you are, no matter how sick you are with Trump derangement syndrome.'

On Tuesday, Trump was indicted on four federal counts, including conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and obstruct the electoral count.




Wednesday, August 02, 2023

Our fight for free speech: At first it was political correctness but now it’s the new McCarthyism

by Evgeny Lebedev

Let me take you back to 2006. An Oxford student named Sam Brown has just asked a mounted police officer a question. “Excuse me, do you realise your horse is gay?” There, among the dreaming spires, he is arrested for making homophobic remarks.

It’s a funny old story, and while I’m glad Britain takes equine offence so seriously, I take greater pleasure in imagining the kind of person who is so sensitive, or in love with power, as to see jovial behaviour as a pretext to get someone into handcuffs.

In 2006 this was an oddity; something incredulous; a plot right out of Monty Python. Brown refused to pay the fine and the prosecution dropped the case. Fast forward nearly 20 years, and absurd stories of the same kind seem to litter our newsfeeds like parakeets in Battersea Park.

Unfortunately, they are no longer so light-hearted. Nor do they end so neatly. When, in 2020, a man was filmed cracking his knuckles outside the window of his car on a US motorway, he was dismissed from San Diego Gas and Electric after the video went viral on Twitter. According to commentators, he had positioned his fingers into a gesture of white supremacy.

We get cancelled for all manner of things nowadays. And, it seems, by all manner of people. The banks can do it, as we now all know (thank you, Nigel), or rabbis taking out adverts in the New York Times to claim that Dua Lipa’s support for Palestinians makes her anti-Semitic.

This is taking place in societies that pride themselves on upholding free expression. There is no end to it, and I haven’t even mentioned author JK Rowling.

Today, the UK finds itself ranked 34th in the world for freedom of expression by Article 19, a British NGO. You read that right. 34th. That’s lower than Ireland (8), Germany (9) and France (23). More chilling is the finding, in its new Global Expression Report, that more than six billion people have less freedom of expression than they had back in 2000. That’s 80 per cent of the world’s population.

Growing up in the Soviet Union means I have never taken free speech for granted. The reason my family invested in newspapers in Britain was because we were admirers of a free press, and with that, freedom to express ourselves. These were values to be upheld, regardless of the cost.

Of course, free speech is also about responsible speech — and those whose liberties know no bounds play a dangerous game. Too often, the media has been found guilty of peddling unsubstantiated stories, putting targets on people’s backs simply because it sells. This imperils our profession — as we saw 12 years ago with Leveson — and compromises freedom itself.




Tuesday, August 01, 2023

Don’t move backward on free speech

The more documents that Big Tech companies are forced to cough up through litigation and oversight, the clearer it becomes that there was in fact a coordinated campaign between social media platforms and the government to suppress speech that is inconvenient for those in power.

This censorship runs counter to our nation’s founding principles. Congress and litigants should keep up the pressure on social media companies to reveal what they did, and safeguards need to be put in place to make sure this never happens again.

The latest revelations of Big Tech-government collusion come from the House Judiciary Committee, where Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) had to schedule a vote to hold Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg in contempt of Congress before Meta finally agreed to meet the committee’s document request. When Meta finally produced the documents, Jordan called off the contempt vote.

Jordan released exactly what he expected to find from Meta: Evidence that Facebook and Instagram suppressed the content of users that the White House had deemed inappropriate.

One April 2021 email from an anonymous Facebook employee to Zuckerberg and former Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg complained of “continued pressure from external stakeholders, including the White House and the press” to suppress unwanted content. In one case, Facebook bragged that it had reduced the reach of a specific Tucker Carlson video on its platform by 50%.

"These documents, and others that were just produced to the committee, prove that the Biden administration abused its powers to coerce Facebook into censoring Americans, preventing free and open discourse on issues of critical public importance," Jordan said in a statement.

While Jordan should continue his investigation, legislation introduced in the Senate last week would essentially legalize the exact suppression of speech Jordan is trying to bring to light. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) unveiled the Digital Consumer Protection Commission Act, a bill that they claim will “rein in Big Tech” by creating a government commission to crack down on “disinformation.”

With this commission in place, a future White House wouldn’t need to send emails directly to the CEOs of Big Tech companies asking to take offensive content down. The Digital Consumer Protection Commission could just do it for them. Warren and Graham claim this commission would be “bipartisan,” but ultimately any commission would be made up of commissioners appointed by a president and those commissioners would have the same partisan bias as the president who appointed them. There simply is no way to create a safe and truly non-partisan speech police.

Between Jordan’s investigation, Elon Musk’s Twitter Files, and the ongoing litigation in federal court in which Louisiana and Missouri have secured an injunction forbidding government officials from coordinating with Big Tech, free speech is much safer now than it was in 2020. Now is not the time to move in the opposite direction with the Digital Consumer Protection Commission Act.