Wednesday, November 22, 2017



Free Speech Isn't Free: Rioters are Costing College Campuses Millions

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
When Charles Murray or Milo Yiannopoulos visit a college campus, administrators don’t just worry about the effect that inflammatory speech might have on their students. They aren’t only concerned about being swept up in the higher education free speech debate, or playing host to a scandal that could taint their school’s reputation for months.

 There’s also the cost — which can climb into the millions of dollars.

Colleges, especially public colleges, often shell out enormous amounts of money to provide additional layers of security when controversial speakers visit. If schools are lucky, contentious events will go smoothly. If they aren’t, there could be violent protests, injuries, campus damage and weeks of negative press coverage.

University of California at Berkeley, a historic flashpoint for the free speech debate rooted back to the 1960s, has spent at least $2.5 million on security surrounding controversial speakers since February, says Dan Mogulof, the school’s assistant vice chancellor for public affairs.

That’s $200,000 for Yiannopoulos in February, $600,000 for Ann Coulter (whose appearance was ultimately cancelled by the sponsoring student groups), and at least $600,000 for conservative commentator Ben Shapiro in September. Yiannopoulos’ latest appearance, part of Berkeley’s “Free Speech Week,”will cost upwards of a $1 million, Mogulof estimates.

The University California system even chipped in, covering at least $300,000 of the costs associated with Free Speech Week.

At Berkeley, preparing for a speaker event is a serious undertaking — the university police department painstakingly gathers intelligence before an event, then makes recommendations to the administration for what kind of security might be necessary. Minor considerations — like whether the event is scheduled for daytime or evening, and how many exits the venue has — play a key role in shaping the security plan.

“Universities like Berkeley — public universities, particularly with the demographics that we have and the kind of campus climates we foster — represent for many people on a certain part of the political spectrum everything that’s wrong with the country,” Mogulof says. “You spring that all together, and you’re going to get a lot of attention. And a lot of what these folks want more than anything is attention.”

SOURCE


CA: Compelled speech about abortion under challenge

Compelled speech is clearly not free speech

Abortion foes behind the clinics known as “crisis pregnancy centers” want the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a California law requiring the clinics to inform their patients about the availability of abortions. But if they win the California case, they could lose much more in 16 other states, where laws require doctors to tell patients that abortions could harm them.

The clinics, backed by nationwide groups opposing abortion, argue that the notification mandated by California — that the state makes abortion and reproductive care available at little or no cost — violates their freedom of speech by compelling them to “advertise” abortion and send a message with which they disagree.

SOURCE


Tuesday, November 21, 2017


Facebook is still struggling with the difference between hate speech and censorship

On Nov. 11, thousands of people marched in the streets of Warsaw, Poland, to celebrate the country’s Independence Day. The march attracted racist and neo-fascist groups as well as individuals from all over Europe emboldened by the global rise of the far right. International news was flooded with images of the more menacing attendees: young men bearing signs that proclaimed white supremacy, engulfed in a sea of red flares and smoke.

One collection of such images, published on Facebook by a renowned photojournalist in Poland, was taken down by the social media’s content moderators, once again raising questions about censorship and the platform’s confusing policies on hate speech.

Chris Niedenthal, a family friend of mine, attended the march to practice his craft, not to participate, and posted his photos on Nov. 12, the day after the march. Facebook took them down. He posted them again the next day. Facebook took them down again on Nov. 14.

Niedenthal himself was also blocked from Facebook for 24 hours. “I was, quite naturally, furious when Facebook first deleted my post, and censorship immediately came into mind,” he said. “More important, I felt it was censorship for the wrong reason: A legitimate professional journalist or photojournalist should not be ‘punished’ for doing his duty.”

The images’ disappearance spurred multiple news articles and outrage in Poland, where official censorship reigned for decades under Communist rule. Some Facebook users speculated that the platform was helping quash unflattering portrayals of the march.

Niedenthal’s images showed a young woman, a child, and an older person among the participants. But some of the most striking were those of young men covering their faces with masks and scarves that bore the insignia of nationalist organizations, soccer hooligan groups, and the Celtic sign, often a symbol of white supremacy. Gazes intense, fists raised.

Facebook told Quartz that the photos, because they contained hate speech symbols, were taken down for violating the platform’s “community standards” policy barring content that shows support for hate groups. The captions on the photos were “neutral,” so Facebook’s moderators could not tell if the person posting them supported, opposed, or was indifferent about hate groups, a spokesperson said. Content shared that condemns or merely documents events can remain up. But that which is interpreted to show support for hate groups is banned and will be removed.

Other users had flagged the album as undesirable content, and, each time that happened, a Facebook content moderator took down the photos. Facebook said it was likely a decision of two different members of its 7,500-member team, who are located all over the world and not necessarily in Poland, where they may have had more insight into events on the ground.

Eventually, after Niedenthal protested, Facebook allowed the photos to remain on the platform. Facebook apologized for the error, in a message, an

SOURCE






Big Brother is watching you

Twitter has become Orwell's "Big brother"  -- monitoring you  even when you are OFFLINE.  The aim is reasonable enough but the method is obnoxious

Twitter has announced it will be monitoring its users’ behaviour “on and off” the social media platform, in a bid to tackle hate speech.

Anyone affiliated with extremist organisations will be suspended according to the new policy, which will come into force on 18 December.

The new rules state:  “You also may not affiliate with organisations that - whether by their own statements or activity both on and off the platform - use or promote violence against civilians to further their causes.”

Twitter users will also be banned from using “hateful images or symbols” in their profile images of headers.

“You also may not use your username, display name, or profile bio to engage in abusive behaviour, such as targeted harassment or expressing hate towards a person, group, or protected category,” the rules state.

“You may not engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so. We consider abusive behaviour an attempt to harass, intimidate, or silence someone else’s voice.

“You may not direct abuse at someone by sending unwanted sexual content, objectifying them in a sexually explicit manner, or otherwise engaging in sexual misconduct.”

SOURCE




Monday, November 20, 2017


Boston free speech rally draws supporters, protesters

30 Stormtroopers arrested

A few dozen free speech advocates rallied peacefully Saturday on Boston Common but just like last summer's event, they were outnumbered by counterprotesters.

The "Rally for the Republic" event was held by conservative groups Resist Marxism and Boston Free Speech despite being denied a permit by the city. Police surrounded the gathering.

Rally speakers gathered at a bandstand on the Common warned that free speech was under threat and accused Antifa and Black Lives Matter groups of being terrorist organizations. White hats with the phrase, "RESIST MARXISM," were thrown into the crowd, many of whom wore pro-Trump apparel, and criticized the media and left-leaning groups for labeling them as hateful.

"I'm here because I support the ideas of free speech and the republic," said rally attendee Alex Moffett, 23, of Burlington, Massachusetts. "There are many people on the other side who believe their ideas are right and are perpetuating violence in the name of those rights." Moffett identifies as a Republican.

One of the speakers, Tammy Lee, said free speech needs to be "known, practiced and given to all."

"We, as a nation, are broken," Lee said. "We must begin to listen to each other, and not just look with our eyes and minds closed"

At least 100 counterprotesters showed up.

"It's really inspiring and awesome to be out here and to be with all these people who're rallying for a cause," said counterprotester Adrian Lee, 19, a sophomore at Boston University. "A lot of people label Antifa solely on their violence but don't realize that they're all out here for a good cause, too."

Resist Marxism has denounced white supremacism repeatedly and publicly. But the August rally came shortly after deadly violence erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia, and it drew thousands who said they feared white nationalists might show up anyway.

Some clashed with police, and more than 30 had been arrested.

Rallygoer Brandon Navom, who claims he was fired from his job before the last free speech rally because his employers found out he planned to speak, described the August event as a "travesty."

"The government suppressed our peaceful gathering," said Navom, 37, of Williamstown. "I believe that societies which engage in discourse and spread logic and reason are peaceful societies."

No injuries were reported at Saturday's rally and counterprotest, and a total of three people were arrested— two for disorderly conduct and the other for assaulting a police officer.

SOURCE






Court Rules Platforms Can Defend Users’ Free Speech Rights, But Fails to Follow Through on Protections for Anonymous Speech

A decision by a California appeals court on Monday recognized that online platforms can fight for their users’ First Amendment rights, though the decision also potentially makes it easier to unmask anonymous online speakers.

Yelp v. Superior Court grew out of a defamation case brought in 2016 by an accountant who claims that an anonymous Yelp reviewer defamed him and his business. When the accountant subpoenaed Yelp for the identity of the reviewer, Yelp refused and asked the trial court to toss the subpoena on grounds that the First Amendment protected the reviewer’s anonymity.

The trial court ruled that Yelp did not have the right to object on behalf of its users and assert their First Amendment rights. It next ruled that even if Yelp could assert its users’ rights, it would have to comply with the subpoena because the reviewer’s statements were defamatory. It then imposed almost $5,000 in sanctions on Yelp for opposing the subpoena.

The trial court’s decision was wrong and dangerous, as it would have prevented online platforms from standing up for their users’ rights in court. Worse, the sanctions sent a signal that platforms could be punished for doing so. When Yelp appealed the decision earlier this year, EFF filed a brief in support [.pdf].

The good news is that the Fourth Appellate District of the California Court of Appeal heard those concerns and reversed the trial court’s ruling regarding Yelp’s ability – known in legal jargon as “standing” – to assert its users’ First Amendment rights.

In upholding Yelp and other online platforms’ legal standing to defend their users’ anonymous speech, the court correctly recognized that the trial court’s ruling would have a chilling effect on anonymous speech and the platforms that allow it. The court also threw out the sanctions the trial court issued against Yelp.

We applaud Yelp for fighting a bad court decision and standing up for its users in the face of court sanctions.  Although we’re glad that the court affirmed Yelp’s ability to fight for its users’ rights, another part of Monday’s ruling may ultimately make it easier for parties to unmask anonymous speakers.

After finding that Yelp could argue on behalf of its anonymous reviewer, the appeals court agreed with the trial court that Yelp nevertheless had to turn over information about its user on grounds that the review contained defamatory statements about the accountant.

In arriving at this conclusion, the court adopted a test that provides relatively weak protections for anonymous speakers. That test requires that plaintiffs seeking to unmask anonymous speakers make an initial showing that their legal claims have merit and that the platforms provide notice to the anonymous account being targeted by the subpoena. Once those prerequisites are met, the anonymous speaker has to be unmasked.

EFF does not believe that the California court’s test adequately protects the First Amendment rights of anonymous speakers, especially given that other state and federal courts have developed more protective tests. Anonymity is often a shield used by speakers to express controversial or unpopular views that allows the ensuing debate to focus on the substance of the speech rather than the identity of the speaker.

Courts more protective of the First Amendment right to anonymity typically require that before unmasking speakers, plaintiffs must show that they can prove their claims—similar to what they would need to show at a later stage in the case. And even when plaintiffs prove they have a legitimate case, these courts separately balance plaintiffs’ need to unmask the users against those speakers’ First Amendment rights to anonymity.

By not adopting a more protective test, the California court’s decision potentially makes it easier for civil litigants to pierce online speakers’ anonymity, even when their legal grievances aren’t legitimate. This could invite a fresh wave of lawsuits against anonymous speakers that are designed to harass or intimidate anonymous speakers rather than vindicate actual legal grievances.

SOURCE



Sunday, November 19, 2017


Two words that may not be spoken in the same breath

Leftists hate everything that is normal in their own society -- which leads to them championing everything that is abnormal in their own society -- such as homosexuals and Muslims.  They want to be on the side of both those groups.  But what if Muslims despise homosexuals?  A problem?  Not for a Leftist.  You have lots of Freudian defence mechanisms to use.  A good one is compartmentalization.  You just never mention or even think about the two in the same breath.  Tim Blair mocks that below in his commentary on the people who voted "No" to homosexual marriage in Australia's recent plebiscite. You would never guess who they were:   Excerpts only below:


“Why did western Sydney overwhelmingly vote no?” asks academic Andy Marks, who subsequently spends several hundred words avoiding the obvious answer.

The assistant vice-chancellor at Western Sydney University continues:

    Here's the breakdown on the across western Sydney's 10 federal electorates. On the "no" side of the ledger: Blaxland 73.9 per cent, Chifley 58.7, Fowler 63.7, Greenway 53.6, McMahon 64.9, Mitchell 50.9 and Werriwa 63.7 per cent.

    Barring Mitchell, "no" dominated in all Labor held seats. Longstanding MPs, Jason Clare, Ed Husic, Chris Hayes, Michelle Rowland and Chris Bowen might well be considering the implications with respect to the social dimension of the party's broader policies. Or not ....

Instead of "engaging with an incredibly complex debate on cultural values with the sophistication it deserves", we ask "who will think of the cake makers". It's time to recognise the consequences, political and otherwise, of the shifting epicentre of Australian conservative values.

Marks is right that Western Sydney, as a region, is no longer “a homogenous whole”. But he declines to join a “complex debate on cultural values” that recognises the massive Islamic homogeneity within certain Western Sydney suburbs.

Instead, ridiculously, he apparently includes the opinions of non-English speaking Muslims within the broader category of “Australian conservative values”. Similarly evasive is the ABC

SOURCE





Taylor Swift doesn’t need to condemn Trump

Taylor Swift sicced her lawyers on blogger Meghan Herning last month for her September PopFront article in which she alleged that Swift’s new single, ‘Look What You Made Me Do’, contains neo-Nazi imagery and a ‘defence of white privilege and white anger’.

The article began by questioning the claim made by neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer that Swift is a neo-Nazi sleeper agent, before nevertheless moving on to compare Swift to Hitler.

Swift’s lawyers pointed out that, no, she isn’t into the alt-right; she can’t control her height, blondeness or general Aryan looks; and she denies the tenuous links conspiracists have made between her lyrics and Hitler imagery – like Herning’s suggestion that in the ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ video, ‘Taylor lords over an army of models from a podium, akin to what Hitler did in Nazi Germany’.

On 6 November, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) swooped to Herning’s defence, saying it will be representing the blogger, and that Swift can’t sue Herning for defamation because opinions are ‘not capable of being proved true or false’.

Indeed, as ridiculous and incomprehensible as the article was, Swift is wrong to turn to legal action. Herning has the right to say idiotic things online. Swift and her legal team either have a shallow understanding of the First Amendment, or assume they can use money and power to intimidate bloggers.

Nevertheless, the obsession with Swift’s ‘hidden agenda’ is bizarre, and it isn’t just confined to the more crackpot sections of the internet. This week, Marie Claire demanded an explanation from Swift for her decision to remain apolitical during the 2016 presidential election. Apparently, as Swift doesn’t talk politics, feuds with the Kardashian-West clan, and writes from the perspective of someone wounded and vengeful, she must be wearing a MAGA hat at night, if not a swastika on weekends.

For the past 12 years, Swift has managed to channel the the homegrown charm of Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, with a dash of the Nashville country music scene, while gallivanting around New York with Lena Dunham and Karlie Kloss types. By sidestepping politics, she’s shown she doesn’t have to choose between past and present, or sever old ties as she laps up fame and money. She’s a pop star, and although she wields sizeable influence, she has no obligation to be political.

Essentially, the charge against her is that she hasn’t participated in the ‘denouncing Trump’ dog and pony show. This isn’t about her being apolitical, it’s about her failing to endorse socially acceptable liberal policies and candidates.

Worse still was Swift’s refusal to celebrate Hillary Clinton. The message is not so much chime in on politics, Taylor; it’s why weren’t you a #nastygal in #pantsuitnation? Why won’t you freak out about Trump along with the rest of us?

No matter how toxic politics becomes, it’s okay for artists to attempt to keep something sacred. Art can reflect headlines, or be fuelled by them, but it can still stay in a different realm, exempt from the mudslinging contests that make us all weary, miserable enemies. For us peevishly to demand otherwise shows that we want politics to permeate – and taint – every aspect of our lives.

By staying apolitical, Swift is making a shrewd business decision, and protecting herself from critics who are determined to find messages in her music that she never put there in the first place.

SOURCE



Friday, November 17, 2017


US opposes Nazi speech, but will vote no at UN to banning it

The United States government wants you to know: It really, truly doesn’t like Nazis.

At the United Nations this week, the U.S. plans to vote against a yearly resolution that condemns the glorification of Nazism, State Department officials said Wednesday. Although it may seem counterintuitive — who wouldn’t want to condemn Nazis? — officials said free speech protections and other problems with the resolution make it impossible for America to support.

Introduced by Russia, the resolution calls on all U.N. nations to ban pro-Nazi speech and organizations, and to implement other restrictions on speech and assembly. That’s a non-starter in the U.S., where First Amendment protections guarantee all the right to utter almost anything they want — even praise for Adolf Hitler’s followers.

The United States votes against the resolution every year, along with just a handful of others, while the European Union nations and some others typically abstain. The resolution always passes overwhelmingly, usually with little fanfare.

But this year, the “no” vote from the U.S. is likely to create more of a stir, given it’s the first rendition of the vote since President Donald Trump entered office. Trump adamantly denies any secret affinity for white supremacists. Yet his blame-on-both-sides response to violence in August at a white nationalist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, gave fodder to Trump critics who say he’s insufficiently critical of neo-Nazis.

So U.S. officials are working overtime this year to try to explain that no, America doesn’t support pro-Nazi speech — but can’t vote for a resolution that calls for outlawing it, either. The vote is scheduled for Thursday in the U.N. General Assembly’s human rights committee.

All resolutions in the General Assembly committees are nonbinding and don’t impose any legal requirements on member nations. But American support for resolutions that contradict domestic law could end up being used as arguments in U.S. federal court, and officials worry about undermining national law enforcement efforts.

SOURCE


Women's Boobs Are Not Free Speech, Says Federal Court

Because 'traditional moral norms' trump civil liberties

To protect public health, safety, and morals, the government has an important interest in preventing women from going topless, a federal appeals court has ruled. And the importance of keeping lady breasts out of public view overrules any First Amendment or equal protection issues that such a policy raises.

But at least one dissenting judge felt differently, describing our topless protagonist as having "engaged in the paradigm of First Amendment speech—a public protest on public land in which the participants sought to change a law that, on its face, treats women differently than men."

The case (Tagami v. City of Chicago) stems from the 2014 ticketing of Sonoko Tagami, who took to the Chicago streets with only opaque body paint over her bare breasts to celebrate "GoTopless Day" that year. Tagami was issued a $100 citation for violating the city's ban on public indecency, which prohibits the public display of female breasts and of all bare butts and genitals. After losing her challenge to the citation, Tagami filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Tagami's suit argued that banning women from going topless in public while allowing men to do so is a violation of the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause as well as her First Amendment rights. Neither the district nor appeals court agreed, dismissing Tagami's claims.

In a November 8 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit held 2–1 that the city's rules don't violate women's constitutional rights. "Chicago's public-nudity ordinance regulates conduct, not speech," wrote Judges Diane Sykes and Frank Easterbrook for the majority. And while "some forms of expressive conduct get First Amendment protection," this doesn't apply unless the conduct is inherently expressive.

SOURCE


Thursday, November 16, 2017



Australia: Shoe advert that featured topless models wearing just their knickers with the slogan 'fancy a pair?' is banned for being 'degrading' to women



A shoe firm’s ad campaign - featuring female nudity alongside the phrase ‘fancy a pair?’ - has been banned for being ‘degrading’ to women.

Watchdogs ruled that the multimedia adverts for Goodwin Smith Shoes - accompanied by an image of three models wearing just knickers - ‘objectified’ women.

An investigation was launched after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received nine complaints about ads for the Lancashire-based firm.

The breasts of one of the women in the email were exposed, while the second covered her chest with her arm with her nipple exposed and the third posed in front of the others holding a pair of shoes over her chest.

The company’s website also included the claim ‘Fancy a pair?’ and was accompanied by an image of two women who were topless, wearing only knickers and covering their breasts with shoes.

Redfoot Shoes, trading as Goodwin Smith said that the campaign had attempted to portray a ‘fantasy concept’ in which the men were portrayed as being confident’, and was not meant to degrade women.

But the ASA found that the ads breached rules regarding social responsibility as well as harm and offence, and banned them from appearing again.

SOURCE


DePaul University officials scuttle ‘Free Speech Ball,’ citing possibility of hate speech

A private Catholic college in the Chicago area preemptively banned a “Free Speech Ball,” saying the conservative/libertarian demonstration was likely to get out of hand.

An administrator at DePaul University wrote the school’s Young Americans for Liberty chapter just four days prior to the date of the event, saying permission was denied for fear it could foster “an environment which invites hate,” according to Campus Reform.

Campus administrators apparently declined to elaborate on their reasoning and similarly failed to reply to a YAL official to elaborate on the school’s threat to hold rebellious students “accountable” should they go ahead with the planned event, Campus Reform reported.

“Administrators have accused us of ‘providing a platform for hate’ without providing anything to back up their claims,” DePaul YAL chapter president Thomas Barry said, Campus Reform reported. “What we’ve been trying to establish is a platform for free speech. Somehow it seems that those two ideas are seen as one and the same here at DePaul.”

DePaul has found itself in the crosshairs of free-speech advocacy groups before, with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education blasting the institution in September 2016 as perhaps the “worst” university in the U.S. when it comes to creating an environment hostile to free speech.

SOURCE

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


Plain truth can be hate-speech on Quora

I responded to the following question on Quora.com:

"Why has the free movement of people between Canada, Australia, New Zealand & the UK not been implemented? There are similar population sizes, common language, & social, political, economic, & educational systems are all based on the British model"

I replied:

"Australia and NZ don’t want the blacks — too crime-prone"

Quora deleted my reply on the grounds that it violated their Be  Nice, Be Respectful policy

I wrote in response to them:

"Since when is the truth simply expressed disrespectful? The alternative is BS"

On behalf of Quora, Amelia then replied:

"Thanks for your email. We'll be more than happy to clarify our moderation decision here.

Your content was in violation of our Be Nice, Be Respectful policy. This core Quora principle requires that people treat other people on the site with civility, respect, and consideration.

More specifically, your content contained what we consider to be hate speech:

Users are not allowed to post content or adopt a tone that would be interpreted by a reasonable observer as a form of hate speech, particularly toward a race, gender, religion, nationality, ethnicity, political group, sexual orientation or another similar characteristic. Questions and question details about generalizations in these topics should be phrased as neutrally and respectfully as possible.

Our decision is final, and your content will not be reinstated"

My closing comment:  "I imagine Amelia is just an apparatchik at Quora so shares the current politically correct hysteria about any mention of blacks that fails to praise them -- but her action deprives their questioner of the answer to his question. 

Is that what Quora is about?  Is it a cover-up service or an information service?  No American is in any doubt about the black crime-rate so why can it not be mentioned in an objective information context?  I have had many articles published in the academic journals of the social sciences on questions about race and racism but such discussions must be kept from the general public, apparently. So I suppose that this episode is just another example of Leftists having big problems with the truth -- JR. 



Do you have a problem with The Simpsons' Apu? This comedian does

Indians are the most highly paid ethnic group in America so any "stereotyping" has clearly not harmed them

"I hate Apu," the actor Kal Penn says in a new documentary about the penny-pinching, Squishee-slinging, thickly accented convenience store owner on one of the most celebrated TV shows in history. "And because of that, I dislike The Simpsons."

The feelings of South Asian-Americans toward the character and the show he inhabits are the focus of The Problem with Apu, a documentary debuting in the United States on November 19. The brainchild of the actor and stand-up comic Hari Kondabolu, a lifelong lover of The Simpsons, the film wrestles with how a show praised for its incisive humour – over the years, it has explored issues like homophobia and political corruption – could resort to such a charged stereotype. Making matters worse is the fact that the Indian character is voiced by a non-Indian (albeit an Emmy-winning) actor, Hank Azaria.

"Everything with Apu is like this running joke," Kondabolu, 35, said in a phone interview. "And the running joke is that he's Indian."

SOURCE



Tuesday, November 14, 2017



Stupid Leftist hysteria about Russia generates an attack on free speech

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that Russia would respond in kind to what he said were Washington’s measures to restrict the freedom of speech of Russian media organizations operating on U.S. soil.

Putin said however that possible plans to retaliate by declaring U.S. media operating in Russia as foreign agents may be “a little too harsh,” and that the Kremlin was still formulating its exact response.

Kremlin-backed broadcaster Russia Today has been told to register in the United States as a “foreign agent.” U.S. intelligence officials say the broadcaster tried to influence the U.S. presidential election on the Kremlin’s behalf, an allegation the broadcaster and the Kremlin deny.

Speaking to reporters at the end of an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Vietnam, Putin said: “An attack on our media in the United States is an attack on freedom of speech, without a doubt. We’re disappointed.”

“But we will have to formulate some kind of response and it will mirror,” the measures adopted by U.S. authorities towards Russian media in the United States, Putin said.

SOURCE




Facebook slaps 'adult content' ban on... a robin redbreast card: Artist stunned after social media giant brands innocent images as 'sexual'


Maybe the term "breast" in the name of the bird was the problem

It's been condemned for allowing users to post pornography and other vile videos – but now Facebook has bizarrely banned a traditional Christmas card of a robin redbreast and two other seasonal paintings of a stag and a squirrel.

Artist Jackie Charley was hoping sell them through her Facebook shop but a message popped up rejecting them owing to their possible ‘sexual’ and ‘adult’ content.

It read: ‘It looks like we didn’t approve your item because we don’t allow the sale of adult items or services (eg sexual enhancement items or adult videos).’

Facebook confirmed they are investigating the matter to see if there has been an error

As Ms Charley’s charming cards have no content even remotely of an adult nature, she is mystified by the decision.

Mrs Charley repeatedly contacted Facebook by email to ask them to overturn the ban but received no reply.

Facebook insiders yesterday suggested the ban was an error, but a spokesman would only say the firm was investigating the matter

SOURCE


Monday, November 13, 2017

I called a trans boy a girl by mistake... and it may cost me my job as a teacher: Maths tutor suspended after praising pupil using the wrong gender

A teacher has been suspended and could face the sack after he ‘accidentally’ called a transgender pupil a ‘girl’ in class when the student identifies as a boy.

Joshua Sutcliffe, 27, who teaches maths at a state secondary school in Oxfordshire, said ‘Well done girls’ to the teenager and a friend when he spotted them working hard.

He apologised when corrected by the pupil, but six weeks later he was suspended from teaching after the pupil’s mother lodged a complaint.

Following an investigation, he has been summoned to a formal disciplinary hearing this week to face misconduct charges for ‘misgendering’.

According to documents seen by The Mail on Sunday, he also faces claims that he is breaching equality policies by referring to the pupil by name rather than as ‘he’ or ‘him’.

The £30,000-a-year teacher said he was ‘distraught’ and had been reduced to tears as teaching was his life, and he branded the actions of the school as ‘political correctness gone mad’.

SOURCE



A sly assault on the freedom of the press in Britain

Some in the House of Lords want to muzzle reporters

It seems like aeons ago now, but at the beginning of this year there was a battle over press freedom in the UK. The government carried out a public consultation over whether or not to implement Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry and Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act – which would have effectively coerced publications into signing up for state-backed regulation. The conclusions were never revealed, but when the Conservative Party won the election (sort of) with a manifesto which pledged to drop Section 40 and Leveson 2, it seemed like the battle had been won.

However, those determined to undermine the free press will not be deterred. And this week a particularly sly attempt was made by peers in the House of Lords to limit the liberty of the press and impose state regulation.

An updated version of the Data Protection Bill is currently passing through parliament. It aims to give individuals more control over their personal data and penalise companies that misuse it – not unreasonable in this internet age we live in. But some peers have hijacked the bill and tabled amendments that would restrict journalists’ ability to investigate wrongdoing.

Historically, there have always been exceptions for journalists when it comes to laws concerning data protection. This basically meant journalists could gather and use personal information, so long as they did so in the public interest, to the end of a worthwhile investigation. The peers’ proposed amendments would undermine this by elevating privacy over public interest, making it easier for individuals to have investigations shut down before the results of them can be published.

Even worse, other amendments to the bill would mean publications would be protected by the public-interest exception only if they were signed up to the state-backed press regulator, Impress. Impress, which is backed by the tabloid-hating Max Mosley, is the only regulator approved by Royal Charter. Most publications adhere to the independent IPSO.

If approved, these amendments would have very serious consequences. As the National Media Association (NMA) said, it is the existing exemptions to data protection which ‘enable investigative journalism and protection of sources’. The NMA says: ‘The amendments would give powerful claimants with something to hide fresh ammunition to pursue legal claims and shut down legitimate public-interest investigation into their activities.

All UK news media operations – broadcast, print or online – would find themselves under incessant legal challenge. This would endanger all reporting of news, features and other editorial material and even the keeping of archives.’

The fact is that journalists cannot do their jobs unless they are free to dig and discover.

SOURCE




12 November, 2017

Congress’s end run around a pillar of online free speech

FREE-SPEECH ADVOCATES—including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology—are afraid that a bill currently making its way through Congress could significantly weaken existing protections for online speech.

In the United States, one of the most critical planks supporting free expression online is a section of the 1996 Communications Decency Act known as Section 230, often referred to as the “safe harbor” clause. The EFF describes it as “the most important law protecting internet speech.”

Section 230 states that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” In a nutshell, this clause gives any online service provider immunity from legal liability for the content that its members or users post (unless it involves either criminal activity or intellectual property).

This means that platforms like Facebook and Twitter and Amazon can’t be sued if one of their users publishes something that is libellous or offensive. But it also protects much smaller platforms and online communities from similar kinds of liability, and digital news companies and online publishers from being taken to court for the comments that readers post on articles.

The risk is that if those protections are weakened, publishers will decide it’s not worth it to host any user-generated content at all, which could significantly reduce the amount of reader interaction in the form of crowdsourced and collaborative journalism.

The bill that the EFF and others are so concerned about is called the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act or SESTA, which would amend Section 230. The bill was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee this week.

According to its main sponsor, Republican Senator Bob Portman from Ohio, the legislation will make it easier to crack down on sex trafficking, which is facilitated in some cases through online services like Backpage, a provider of adult classified-ad listings that is currently facing a potential grand jury indictment.

Most people would agree that bringing an end to sex trafficking is a noble goal—although there are those who disagree about whether SESTA will be able to do so (some experts believe it could actually expose sex trafficking victims to more harm, and make it more difficult to stop the practice by driving it underground). But in the process of reaching that goal, the proposed law could blast a large hole right through the free-speech protections of Section 230.

SOURCE




Sunday, November 12, 2017


Congress’s end run around a pillar of online free speech

FREE-SPEECH ADVOCATES—including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology—are afraid that a bill currently making its way through Congress could significantly weaken existing protections for online speech.

In the United States, one of the most critical planks supporting free expression online is a section of the 1996 Communications Decency Act known as Section 230, often referred to as the “safe harbor” clause. The EFF describes it as “the most important law protecting internet speech.”

Section 230 states that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” In a nutshell, this clause gives any online service provider immunity from legal liability for the content that its members or users post (unless it involves either criminal activity or intellectual property).

This means that platforms like Facebook and Twitter and Amazon can’t be sued if one of their users publishes something that is libellous or offensive. But it also protects much smaller platforms and online communities from similar kinds of liability, and digital news companies and online publishers from being taken to court for the comments that readers post on articles.

The risk is that if those protections are weakened, publishers will decide it’s not worth it to host any user-generated content at all, which could significantly reduce the amount of reader interaction in the form of crowdsourced and collaborative journalism.

The bill that the EFF and others are so concerned about is called the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act or SESTA, which would amend Section 230. The bill was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee this week.

According to its main sponsor, Republican Senator Bob Portman from Ohio, the legislation will make it easier to crack down on sex trafficking, which is facilitated in some cases through online services like Backpage, a provider of adult classified-ad listings that is currently facing a potential grand jury indictment.

Most people would agree that bringing an end to sex trafficking is a noble goal—although there are those who disagree about whether SESTA will be able to do so (some experts believe it could actually expose sex trafficking victims to more harm, and make it more difficult to stop the practice by driving it underground). But in the process of reaching that goal, the proposed law could blast a large hole right through the free-speech protections of Section 230.

SOURCE





US free speech tracker aims to ‘calm things down’

This could be very useful but the devil will be in the detail.  Will it only be events that the Left dislikes that will be catalogued?  A fairly run catalogue would reveal the overwhelmingly Lefist presence behind censorship

Scores of masked individuals deliberately setting fires and throwing fireworks in the grounds of the University of California, Berkeley in protest against a planned speech by far-right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos. A Princeton University professor receiving death threats and going into hiding after videos of a commencement speech in which she criticised Donald Trump went viral. A Middlebury College faculty member suffering a neck injury and concussion after violence erupted at a talk by the controversial social scientist Charles Murray while she attempted to moderate.

Infringements of free speech on US university campuses are now being catalogued as part of a project from researchers at Georgetown University that aims to assess the condition of free speech in American higher education, civil society and state and local government.

So far 62 incidents, in which free speech has been challenged or compromised during or since 2016, are listed on the publicly available Free Speech Tracker. The majority of these took place on university campuses.

The project will also host public forums and interviews to collect views about the struggle to sustain First Amendment values.

Sanford J. Ungar, a journalist and former president of Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland, is director of the initiative. He said that the tracker already highlights an interesting trend: the same “lightning rods” are involved in many of the events.

“It is as though copycat crimes – copycat invasions of the First Amendment – are taking place around the country. I’m hoping that we’ll all be able to learn lessons from those and figure out what we have to do to prevent this from getting out of hand,” he told Times Higher Education.

Two such prominent lightning rods are Mr Yiannopoulos and Richard Spencer, president of white supremacist thinktank the National Policy Institute and one of the featured speakers at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this year that resulted in the killing of a protester opposing the far Right.

Mr Ungar said that part of the tracker’s value was to put instances involving such figures on campuses in a wider context so that people could see that free speech challenges are “a truly national phenomenon”.

“People always say that the reason that university students have to confront these issues is that they have to be ready to participate in civil society, they have to act like grown-ups. You look at what’s going on in civil society, as reflected by the tracker, and the grown-ups aren’t doing so well,” he said.

“I hope that my project will, in due course, have some concrete suggestions or proposals about how to organise our future dealings with free speech so as to calm things down a bit,” he added.

SOURCE

Friday, November 10, 2017


Air Force Academy Graffiti: Yup, It Was Another Hate Hoax

Remember in late September when Air Force Academy supremo Jay Silveria was a media sensation for denouncing racism following obviously Trump-inspired racist graffiti at the prep school the Academy runs for jocks and affirmative action cases? NPR wrote:

‘You Should Be Outraged,’ Air Force Academy Head Tells Cadets About Racism On Campus

Yeah, well, whaddaya know? It was another Hate Hoax.

From Denver 7 News:

One of the black cadets allegedly targeted by racial slurs scrawled on a whiteboard at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School was responsible for the incident, Air Force Academy officials announced Tuesday.

Officials say the cadet admitted to writing the messages on the whiteboard outside the dorm rooms of five black cadet candidates. The cadet is no longer at the school…

SOURCE







Furious vegans in Australia



A LIGHT-HEARTED sign above a Woolworths meat display has sparked online debate after one customer slammed it as “disrespectful”.

“What do you call a cow with no legs? Ground beef,” it reads.

Customer Lesley Millward shared a photo of the sign, taken at Woolworths in the Adelaide suburb of Glenelg, to the supermarket’s Facebook page on Sunday night. “What a disrespectful & insensitive bunch who work at Woolworths Glenelg,” she wrote.

The post was shared more than 1100 times and attracted more than 12,000 comments before being deleted, with some people agreeing with Ms Millward but many defending the supermarket and sharing their own animal jokes.

“What do you call a deer with no eyes? No idea,” wrote Melanie Smith, while Mara Henry asked, “What do you call a cow with three legs? Lean beef.”

‎Simone Camilleri said she was “happy to see your staff have a great sense of humour”.

“Don’t worry about the ‘offended’ people,” she wrote. “I think a lot more people would be offended if you took it down! Can’t please everyone. This joke is a golden oldie and I support it.”

But John Smith argued that “people used to find jokes about black people funny too”. “Not in this day and age, time to move into the 21st century mate, this is distasteful at best,” he wrote.

Woolworths responded by saying it takes “all feedback on board”. “While we understand our team’s lighthearted touch with the display, we would never intentionally offend anyone,” the company wrote.

SOURCE




Thursday, November 09, 2017




No Arrest in Kansas State Hate Hoax

A black Kansas man has admitted he put racist graffiti on his own car as a Halloween prank that got out of hand, police said Monday.

Photographs posted on social media Wednesday showed the car covered with racial slurs against blacks and messages that included “Go Home,” ”Date your own kind,” and “Die.”

The vehicle, covered in graffiti scrawled with washable paint, was parked Wednesday at an apartment complex near Kansas State University and the incident fueled racial tensions at the university and in the community.

An emergency meeting of the Black Student Union called that evening drew concerned administrators and community leaders as well as students. Kansas State held a Facebook Live event the next day with worried parents. The university stepped up patrols on campus. The FBI opened a civil rights investigation into a possible hate crime.

But on Monday the Riley County Police Department issued a news release saying the 21-year-old owner of the vehicle, Dauntarius Williams, had told investigators that he was responsible for the graffiti.

Authorities concluded that charging him for filing a false report would “not be in the best interests of the citizens" Meaning: "Because he is black"

SOURCE


Taylor Swift under fire after threatening to sue blogger over 'alt-right' article

Taylor Swift and the American Civil Liberties Union are butting heads.

The organisation sent Swift's legal team a strongly worded letter denouncing her threat to sue a California blogger who accused the singer of supporting the white supremacy movement. The ACLU made the letter public on Tuesday.

"This is a completely unsupported attempt to suppress constitutionally protected speech," ACLU of Northern California attorney Michael Risher told Entertainment Weekly.

The spat began when Meghan Herning wrote a piece on the obscure culture blog PopFront that accuses Swift of supporting racist eugenics and compares the singer to Adolf Hitler

The main takeaway is that some white supremacists may have embraced Swift's popular lyrics and music videos as supportive of their beliefs, and that Swift is racist for not publicly decrying them.

Herning specifically focused on Swift's new hit single Look What You Made Me Do, which Herning claimed seems to offer "subtle, quiet white support of a racial hierarchy." She wondered if the song serves "as indoctrination into white supremacy" for young girls.

In response, Swift's legal team sent a letter to Herning, who serves as the executive editor of PopFront, demanding a retraction of the story, which it called "provably false and defamatory." The letter said Swift is "prepared to proceed with litigation" if the story isn't retracted.

The letter, while menacing, didn't legally require anything of the blogger. It was the first step toward a defamation lawsuit, which would be hard for Swift to win. Given that she is a public figure, not a private person, she would have to show in court that the blogger made the statements with "actual malice" - in other words, knowing they were untrue and publishing them specifically to destroy the pop star's character.

 People in Swift's position rarely prevail in defamation lawsuits, but it's not uncommon for celebrities to use cease-and-desist orders, which have no force of law, to suppress negative stories.

The ACLU fired back with a letter on Oct. 25, claiming neither Herning nor PopFront would remove the article and that Swift's arguments don't hold water.

"The blog post is a mix of core political speech and critical commentary; it discusses current politics in this country, the recent rise of white supremacy, and the fact that some white supremacists have apparently embraced Ms. Swift, along with a critical interpretation of some of Ms. Swift's music, lyrics, and videos," the letter stated.

SOURCE

Wednesday, November 08, 2017



US judge says “global de-indexing order” against Google threatens free speech

Canadian courts can't rule the Internet—at least not outside Canada.

A US federal judge has stopped a ruling from the Canadian Supreme Court from going into effect in the US. The Canadian order would have ordered Google to de-index all pages belonging to a company called Datalink, which was allegedly selling products that violated the IP of Vancouver-based Equustek.

When the order came down earlier this year, Google filed a lawsuit in US federal court seeking to render the Canadian order unenforceable stateside. Google called the Canadian order "repugnant" to the First Amendment, and it pointed out that the Canadian plaintiffs "never established any violation of their rights under US law."

Equustek never showed up to defend itself in the US court case, making a Google victory all but assured.

On Thursday, US District Judge Edward Davila made it official, granting a preliminary injunction that will stop Equustek's hard-won Canadian ruling from being enforced in the US. Davila held (PDF) that the order violated Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which prevents online platforms from being held responsible for content posted by others.

SOURCE



Elizabeth Warren supports "no censorship" on college campuses

She's pretty far Left so that is something of a surprise.  She is the most probable Democrat Presidential candidate in 2014 so it is also reassuring. Whether she would translate words into actions is the doubt

THE U.S. SENATE waded into the debate about free speech on college campuses Thursday, as a panel of experts offered their views on what has emerged as an increasingly controversial issue on college campuses.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions convened the hearing amid a national debate on how to protect free speech on campuses, including by protecting the rights of those who may harbor hateful views.

Toward the end of the committee hearing, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, one of the signatories on that letter, said colleges should not prohibit speakers no matter how extreme their views are. She also condemned extremists on the right and the left who use violence against people they disagree with.

Warren, D-Mass., gave the example of right-wing intellectual Charles Murray, who she called an extremist who wears a “fancy suit and peddles racist junk science about how white men are biologically speaking intellectually superior to everyone else.” She encouraged people to challenge his views.

“As someone who worked as an academic researcher for decades, I think that spouting fake science is extremely corrosive to public policy and should be called out in public at every possible opportunity,” said Warren, who spent most of her life in academia, including many years teaching law at Harvard University.

Still, she rejected censorship.

“I think it’s dangerous to suppress speech. First, suppression can backfire. Instead of shutting up individuals with disgusting views it becomes a launching pad to national attention,” Warren said. “Bigots and white supremacists can make themselves out to be First Amendment martyrs and grow their audiences. And second, suppression suggests weakness, It makes us sound afraid, that we’re afraid we can’t defeat evil ideas with good ideas.”

SOURCE

Her comments on Prof. Murray do her no credit.  They are just typical Leftist abuse. How relevant is it that he wears a fancy suit?  And Murray does NOT claim that white men are superior intellectually to everyone else.  Murray is well aware of the higher average IQ scores among Jews and East Asians.  A quote from him: "I have always thought that the Chinese and Japanese civilizations had elements that represented the apex of human accomplishment in certain domains".  His first wife was actually Asian. A pretty strange white racist!

Tuesday, November 07, 2017



Trump-supporting restaurant closed down by the Left

One wonders that they didn't realize how much hate they would attract

Nearly a month after closing the doors to their restaurant near the University of Arizona, the owners of Cup It Up American Grill are speaking out about what happened, while the community debates what free speech really means.

On Oct. 6, the Cup It Up store co-owners shared political views via its business’ Facebook account. The post began, “It’s time Cup it Up American Grill made a statement," and continued to list causes they believed in and supported, and those they did not.

The post declared support for President Donald Trump, drug screenings for welfare recipients, repealing Obamacare and more. The post also said the restaurant did not believe in kneeling for the national anthem, global warming, fake news and other issues.

It concluded with, “If you disagree with this post, please share it with 100 friends and we won’t be expecting you any time soon!” The restaurant’s university-area address was listed at the end of the statement.

The post incited a rapid response from the Tucson community. By the following Monday, Oct. 9, the three owners — Julian Alarcon, Jay Warren and Christopher Smith — had agreed to permanently close the restaurant.

According to Alarcon, who said he had no part in the post, the choice to close was in a large part over the backlash, but primarily out of concern for their employees' safety.

“Let's be perfectly clear, the restaurant is closed because the post that Chris and Jay made," Alarcon said. “The negative backlash, although some of it was really bad, it wouldn’t have been a major concern if they had just put maybe a few of those ideas on there... we alienated too many people.”

According to Warren, many of the employees had already chosen to quit out of disagreement with Warren and Smith’s beliefs. 

When asked what motivated the post, Warren said it was a combination of things. He cited the shooting in Las Vegas and the gun-control discussion it invoked, the political climate in general and the feeling of being engulfed in all that was going on in the world at the time.

“The number one thing was the national anthem and the NFL kneeling," he said. “I’m not going to say it got out of control, but it grew. The post grew from what was going to be a simple few statements..."

The post, and the community’s negative reaction to it, prompted Ana Henderson of the Pima County Republican Party to respond via the party’s official Facebook page. Her statement, which began, “Take a stand Tucson!” called on people to “take action in support of their freedom," and rally in support of Cup It Up.

Chairman of the Pima County Republican Party, David Eppihimer, took issue with Cup it Up's closure. “It is just a tragedy that the place had to close because of the disrespect at the U of A community toward freedom of expression; of ideas not leftist,” he said.

SOURCE







My pro-free speech views made me the target of a smear campaign at Vassar College

William A. Jacobson

My lecture against squeezing out free speech from colleges got me smeared. The students who smeared me got a safe space complete with coloring books and markers.

I became the campus-wide object of hate at Vassar College for defending free speech

It will come no surprise that campuses face a free-speech crisis at many levels.

From speech codes to kangaroo campus courts to lack of faculty political diversity, non-progressive voices are being pushed off campus.

But there is an aspect of the free speech problem that gets most of the headlines because of the viral videos.

From UC Berkeley in the west to Middlebury College in the northeast, and at dozens of colleges and universities in between, we have seen speakers disrupted, shouted-down, shut-down and threatened. Almost all such speakers were right of center, and almost all of the perpetrators were progressive students.

At Cornell University, where I teach at the law school, former Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum was heckled and Tea Party activist Michael Johns was forced to hold his appearance at a secret location due to threats of disruption.

I have watched these anti-free speech mobs from a distance, and from a news perspective. At my website, Legal Insurrection, I’ve written about many dozens of such incidents which started with attacks on Israeli and pro-Israeli speakers going back almost a decade and now have migrated into the mainstream.

I have given many lectures on campuses, mostly focusing on opposing the academic boycott of Israel and on the subject of anti-Semitism.

But I’m not a household name. And I’m not particularly controversial, although I do stick out at Cornell as one of only a small number of openly politically conservative faculty members.

So despite my campus speeches and conservative politics, I never really thought the anti-free speech mob would come for me. Until they did, at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

I previously spoke at Vassar in 2014 about academic freedom and the Israel boycott, at the invitation of the Vassar Conservative Libertarian Union. That small group, numbering fewer than 20 students on a campus of 2400 students, invited me back to speak on Oct. 25, 2017, on the topic of “hate speech” and free speech on campus.

That topic was important to me, particularly after the Charlottesville torch march and subsequent riots and killing of a young woman. I feared that the normal tension between free speech on campus and the desire to create an atmosphere where all groups would feel welcome, would sway campus politics towards greater speech restrictions.

My speech was to be titled “Hate Speech” is Still Free Speech, Even After Charlottesville. That title, which is an accurate statement of the law, focused on the dilemma of constitutional rights versus campus inclusiveness goals. Through clerical error, VCLU filed for funding of the speech under a different name, An Examination of Hate Speech and Free Speech.

Regardless of title, the planned discussion of “hate speech” as protected speech set in motion a smear campaign against me and attempts to stop my speech that left me feeling like I was going through an out-of-body experience.

A student activist group at Vassar, with the help of Vassar student government, spread false claims to the entire student body that event information was shared by me “on multiple white nationalist websites,” that there was “active encouragement for other white nationalists to come to the event,” and that there was a need to “protect the people that this speaker has targeted in the past.” None of this was true.

Two forums were held attended by over 200 students, faculty and staff, for the purpose of planning how to prevent ME from harming students. The claim reportedly was made at that forum that the “speaker himself is trying to incite violence.” That was a lie without any factual basis.

The student activists put together a research team to pore though my thousands of blog posts in order to falsely portray me as the equivalent of a Richard Spencer-type character. Being mainstream right-of-center became the equivalent of being a neo-Nazi or White Supremacist.

So complete was the demonization that one event poster was defaced by putting horns on my head.

Students put together a safety plan for the day of my speech that reads like parody, but was real. It included the now-common “safe spaces,” but also safety and emotional support teams. The Library was designated one such safe space and “will provide coloring books, zine kits, markers, construction paper etc.,” per a campus email. In case students had trouble finding a safe space, “Safe(r) spaces will be occupied by designated Vassar students with glowsticks.”

This all was surreal.

And then the Vassar student government moved in to kill the event, demanding in a letter from the Executive Board that Vassar’s president prevent me from appearing:

“We strongly urge you, on account of students undergoing serious and real pain, to take our words and ideas seriously, and work towards breaching the contract, ultimately preventing him from coming to campus on Wednesday... We urge you to think critically about these things. Rather than just engaging the abstract, we urge you to understand how these ideas have physical implications for the safety and well-being of real students on this campus..."

I was permitted to appear, under heavy security.

The event itself was as wonderful as the demonization campaign was awful. The room was at capacity of 200 students, with an overflow crowd in the hallway. The students listened to me discuss constitutional principles of free speech, how those principles do and do not apply at private colleges and how we should aspire to make campuses the most free places, not the least free.

There were no disruptions, not even from the 2-3 dozen students dressed all in black as a protest. Almost all students stayed to the end of the 45 minute lecture and 120-minute Q&A.

This Vassar experience left me shaken.

Because I committed to discussing free speech and the constitutional protection of even hateful speech, I was made the object of hate by student activists who whipped the campus into a frenzy.

Why would any right-of-center student, faculty member or guest speaker want to endure what I had to go through? For that matter, why would any liberal defender of free speech want to undergo such a smear campaign?

And isn’t that the point? While I was permitted to speak, the message was sent that support for the 1st Amendment and freedom of speech is not welcome. To get to speak on these sensitive yet critical topics means you have to run the gauntlet of anti-free speech progressives.

The mob didn’t stop me from speaking. But the damage was done.

SOURCE



Monday, November 06, 2017



When Disagreement Is Evil

Erick Erickson
   
Many members of the political press are very liberal.  Increasingly, in fact, left-wing blogs and commentary sites serve as a training ground for political reporters. Reporters float in and out of progressive institutions gaining the veneer of objectivity, but they never are. And with their increasingly strident progressivism fueled by being in a progressive hive, it becomes easier and easier to portray conservatives as not wrong but evil.

Consider the gubernatorial election in Virginia. Just last week, a Democratic member of the Virginia legislature was caught on tape calling Republicans “evil.” The crowd cheered. Concurrently, Democrats were running an ad not against Ed Gillespie, the Republicans’ gubernatorial nominee, but against his voters.

The ad featured a man in a Ford truck with a “Don’t Tread on Me” Gadsden flag license plate on the front. At the rear of the truck was a Confederate battle flag and a “Gillespie for Governor” bumper sticker. The man driving the truck was trying to run over Muslim, Hispanic, and black children. It was how Democrats see not just Gillespie voters but Trump voters.

The ad stands in stark contrast to the real world. There, where evil goes by the name “radical Islam” and not “Republican,” a Muslim man killed eight people driving up a pedestrian walkway in New York City. The contrast between the fever dreams of the Democrats and reality could not be more striking. In Democrat rhetoric and dreams, Republicans in general and Trump voters in particular are the racist, evil monsters who run over Muslim children. In reality, a Muslim terrorist ran over a diverse group of people in New York City.

The reaction of the press corps who knows not a truck driver was predictable and swift after the New York City attack happened. They openly worried about a backlash against Muslims. Then they congratulated themselves for noting that the white guy in Las Vegas had a bump stock, which Congress has yet to ban. But, they noted, at least the New York terrorist had no guns. Of course, had Congress banned the bump stock the American citizen in Las Vegas would still have had a constitutional right to guns. But had Democrats not created the diversity visa program, there would have been no terrorist running over people in New York City. That is the reality they choose to ignore.

In their mostly large cities, progressives and the press have isolated themselves from others. It is far easier for a progressive to avoid daily contact with a conservative than it is for a conservative to avoid progressives. It is also far more likely that a Republican will encounter more diverse voices in his party than a Democrat will. Democrats have made pro-life and traditional marriage supporters unwelcome in their party. Republicans have both pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage supporters among them.

Democrats talk a great game on tolerance and diversity, but they increasingly view anyone who thinks differently from them as evil. They can do so only because they have chosen the superficial diversity of color and gender over the more complex diversity of thought.

SOURCE



University Melts Down After A Sorority Girl Dressed As Pocahontas For Halloween

Pocahontas was a rather sympathetic character so one might  have thought that this was praise for her people

The governing body of University of Oklahoma sorority’s system condemned one of its members on Thursday for dressing up as Pocahontas for Halloween.

Reagan West, a member of OU’s Pi Beta Phi chapter, decided to dress up as a “Pocahottie” for Halloween as a way to stick it to political correctness, according to a now-deleted tweet.

The backlash against this costume decision was overwhelming on social media, with many leftists encouraging harassment against the offending sorority member.

Here’s my SWEET Halloween costume that justifies I’m related to Pocahontas … who was raped as a young girl. Yay cultural appropriation !!! pic.twitter.com/6JG1JeU2Vd — Davan (@DavanRaby) November 2, 2017

One of the leaders of the harassment against West was that of an account with the handle @sydnerain, a Native American student at Oklahoma.

In an unhinged tweet thread now hidden behind a private account, @sydnerain told her followers to “drag” the sorority member for being a “white supremacist.”

“I’d like to kick off Native American Heritage Month with this drag because y’all need to know we are not playing with you. This has to stop,” sydnerain declared.

“Here we observe the settler [West] at her finest: aware of the harm she will commit to an entire community, she goes for it, like a bitch would,” another tweet read.

The thread earned hundreds of retweets and likes before she locked her account.

West herself issued an apology following the outrage against her costume. “I am truly sorry if I unintentionally offended anyone in the Native American community with my Pocahontas Halloween costume,” West said in her statement shared on Twitter. “It was never my intent to be disrespectful.”

SOURCE


Sunday, November 05, 2017



Canadian holocaust memorial fails to mention Jews

by Dan Bilefsky

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, center, touring the newly inaugurated National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa last week. Credit Canadian Prime Minister's Office

The architecture of Canada’s new National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa is both symbolic and haunting, with six concrete triangles depicting the stars that Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany, and that marked millions of them for extermination during World War II.

But while the structure’s design embodies Jewish suffering during the Holocaust, a plaque placed outside it failed to mention Jews or anti-Semitism, an omission that has drawn furious criticism.

The plaque outside the memorial — the country’s first national Holocaust monument, 10 years in the making and inaugurated by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week — paid tribute to the “millions of men, women and children murdered during the Holocaust” and the “survivors who persevered and were able to make their way to Canada after one of the darkest chapters in history.”

The omission of any mention of Jews in the inscription was immediately seized upon by opposition politicians, rights advocates and the Israeli news media. Some groups turned to social media to express criticism. The plaque was removed.

The Times of Israel headline blared, “Canada Holocaust memorial omits any mention of Jews, anti-Semitism.”

David Sweet, a lawmaker from the opposition Conservative Party, asked Canada’s Parliament, “How could the prime minister permit such a glaring omission of reference to anti-Semitism and the fact that the millions of men, women and children who were murdered were overwhelmingly Jewish?” He added: “If we are going to stamp out hatred of Jews, it is important to get history right.”

SOURCE




British government orders civil servants to avoid calling taxpayers 'he' and 'she' or assuming a 'Mr' is male so transgender people are not offended

Civil servants should avoid using gendered pronouns like 'he' and 'she' or assuming someone with the title 'Mr' is male, according to the latest government directives.

The rules, which apply to all Whitehall departments, are intended to avoid causing offence to people whose chosen gender does not identify with their biological sex.

The Service Manual is produced by the Cabinet Office and used by government departments to design their websites. ­­

In the section on gender it advises: ‘You should address the user as “you” where possible and avoid using gendered pronouns like “he” and “she”.’

Pronouns are allowed in some cases, the document states, but civil servants should never guess a person’s gender from their title.

Philip Davies, MP for Shipley, called the directives - which were last updated in December 2016 and remain current - 'politically-correct claptrap'.

SOURCE



Friday, November 03, 2017


Poll: 71% of Americans Say Political Correctness Has Silenced Discussions Society Needs to Have, 58% Have Political Views They’re Afraid to Share

The Cato 2017 Free Speech and Tolerance Survey, a new national poll of 2,300 U.S. adults, finds that 71% Americans believe that political correctness has silenced important discussions our society needs to have. The consequences are personal—58% of Americans believe the political climate prevents them from sharing their own political beliefs.

Democrats are unique, however, in that a slim majority (53%) do not feel the need to self-censor. Conversely, strong majorities of Republicans (73%) and independents (58%) say they keep some political beliefs to themselves.

It follows that a solid majority (59%) of Americans think people should be allowed to express unpopular opinions in public, even those deeply offensive to others. On the other hand, 40% think government should prevent hate speech. Despite this, the survey also found Americans willing to censor, regulate, or punish a wide variety of speech and expression they personally find offensive

SOURCE







PragerU Sues YouTube For Discriminating Against Conservative Videos

Anti-discrimination law probably applies

Those blackballed from social media platforms for sharing views dissenting from prevailing progressive Silicon Valley orthodoxy have to date had little recourse against the tech speech police. That is why PragerU’s newly filed suit against Google and Google-owned YouTube alleging unlawful censorship and free speech discrimination based on the educational video purveyor’s conservative political viewpoint has the potential to be groundbreaking.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in California, details upwards of 50 PragerU educational videos that YouTube has, in PragerU’s view, unjustifiably slapped with “restricted mode” or “demonetization” filters, violating its First Amendment right to free speech. These filters limit or otherwise prevent viewers, based on characteristics like age, from consuming content deemed “inappropriate.”

Basic Conservative Ideas Are Totally ‘Inappropriate’?

The videos in question cover a wide range of subjects from national security and foreign policy, to the Second Amendment and abortion—that is, the very political speech that our courts have argued is at the core of the First Amendment

The censored videos fully comply with the letter of YouTube’s Terms of Use and Community Guidelines.” Moreover, PragerU illustrates that comparable videos from non-conservative sources like BuzzFeedVideo, CNN, and “Real Time with Bill Maher” have not been subjected to such filters.

Leaving aside the inherent subjectivity for a moment, if PragerU’s content is “appropriate,” and other publishers are able to upload similar content without being penalized, then what better explanation is there for YouTube’s censorship than viewpoint discrimination? PragerU’s dealings with YouTube over its content restrictions only strengthen the validity of this question.

SOURCE



Thursday, November 02, 2017


Incorrect name for an Irish hospital

In Greek mythology, a phoenix is a long-lived bird. A phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor

Simon Harris has been urged to rename the Phoenix Children’s Hospital after medical chiefs warned it was insensitive to parents of deceased children whose organs were incinerated after being kept without permission.

The chosen name of the €1 billion national children’s hospital on the campus of St James’s Hospital in Dublin 8 was announced by the health minister last Monday.

It has since emerged that on October 12 the medical board of the three children’s hospitals in the capital warned Eilish Hardiman, chief executive of the body now known as Phoenix Children’s Health, that the name was unsuitable.

They said it would cause confusion at international meetings because there is already a Phoenix Children’s Hospital which is a well-known academic centre in the United States.

“Many also felt that the name was very insensitive to the families of the children whose organs were retained and subsequently incinerated, and would serve as a constant reminder to these families of their loss,” Shoana Quinn, chairwoman of the Joint Medical Board of Crumlin, Temple Street and Tallaght, wrote.

Dr Quinn said that the board had voted unanimously to reject the name.

In 1998 many bereaved Irish parents learnt that the organs of their dead children had been removed and retained by the hospitals where they died, in some cases being sold for research or incinerated with hospital waste. The discoveries led to the €20 million Dunne inquiry, whose report was never published, and a new national post-mortem policy.

Brendan Howlin, the Labour leader, said last night that Mr Harris should rename the hospital.

SOURCE


Feds: Racist graffiti, arson at south KC church were cover-up for theft by black employee

A maintenance man at a south Kansas City church spray-painted racist graffiti on the front entrance and set a fire inside — all to cover up his theft of money to buy crack cocaine, according to documents filed in federal court on Monday.

Nathaniel D. Nelson was charged in U.S. District Court with committing an arson inside the adjoining cultural center at the predominantly black Concord Fortress of Hope Church, where he was also a member.

Nelson, 48, had previously served time in prison for arson and burglary and was last released in 2011.

According to allegations in the affidavit filed in court to support the charges, Nelson admitted to stealing money from inside the church’s cultural center to buy crack cocaine. Nelson, who is black, said he had spray-painted the racist graffiti and set the fire in an attempt to throw off investigators, according to the affidavit.

Members of the church at 11050 W. Longview Parkway were greeted Sunday morning to the graffiti, which included a slur directed at black people, the letters “KKK” and what appeared to be an attempt at making a swastika.

The fire was set inside the adjoining Concord Cultural Center. Nelson allegedly said he used clothing and paper towels to set fire on a chair in an office. The building’s sprinkler system extinguished the blaze before it spread.

Nelson was captured on a video inside the building’s foyer just before he unplugged the surveillance system, according to documents. But he was unaware of a second system, which recorded video of him outside spray-painting the graffiti, according to the allegations.

He was identified on the video by Deputy Kansas City Police Chief Karl Oakman, who is a member of the church.

According to the allegations contained in the affidavit: Nelson told investigators that he smoked crack inside his office at the church before attempting to break into the finance office, which was the only room he did not have a key for.

When he was unable to break in, he rummaged through two other offices and stole about $230. He left to buy more crack, returned to the church and broke into two vending machines, but was able to get only a few dollars.

He left again to buy more crack, which he brought back to the church to smoke. He allegedly set the fire before leaving.

Nelson told investigators that he attempted to create an alibi by going to a hospital emergency room, but he left when hospital workers wanted him to take a drug test.

Nelson had been convicted of second-degree arson and financial crimes like forgery and passing a bad check, according to Jackson County court records.

On Monday, Nelson was charged with the arson in federal court because prosecutors allege that the building where the fire was set is used for interstate commerce. During a brief court appearance that afternoon, a federal magistrate judge ordered that Nelson remain in custody pending a detention hearing later in the week.

Federal prosecutors are asking that Nelson be held without bond while the case is pending.

SOURCE




Wednesday, November 01, 2017


Will Washington pressure Silicon Valley to quell free speech?

Conservatives have warned for years about the growing anti-speech sentiment in Washington, a trend finding all too much comfort in Silicon Valley.

Twitter recently blocked Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., from promoting a campaign ad. Her "crime?" Being pro-life and attacking Planned Parenthood. The congresswoman claimed she had "fought Planned Parenthood" and "stopped the sale of baby body parts," statements Twitter deemed too "inflammatory." The company worried Blackburn's pro-life stance would "evoke a strong negative reaction."

Is that now the barometer for acceptable speech? If I may offend you, I deserve to be silenced?

Blackburn was certainly not the first pro-life victim of censorship. Live Action President Lila Rose was blocked from advertising on Twitter because she dared to criticize Planned Parenthood. Her ad, which accurately claimed that Planned Parenthood performs over 320,000 abortions a year, was also labeled "inflammatory."

And of course, the abortion lobby's promotion of its services and criticism of Republicans are anything but inflammatory. A glance at Planned Parenthood's Twitter feed leaves you with the misleading message: "Stop the Trump administration's attack on birth control access," as if stores were preparing to stop selling contraception any day now. Apparently, only conservative speech is considered "inflammatory."

And who can forget Facebook's clampdown on conservative news? Company officials allegedly "filtered out stories on conservative topics from conservative sources," a blatant attempt to silence speech they oppose. Congress is now targeting Russian-bought Facebook ads in another effort to restrict purportedly undesirable speech and Facebook appears all too eager to help out.

In many ways, Silicon Valley's anti-speech activism is a betrayal of the simple idea that drove the explosive growth of the Internet as an alternative to traditional, heavily moderated platforms: More speech is in the public interest and everyone has a right to be heard. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media companies have given billions of people an unprecedented platform to speak their minds and listen (or not listen) to various perspectives — liberal or conservative. Between Facebook and Twitter, more than two billion users now use Silicon Valley's products to exercise their First Amendment rights and to freely associate with friend networks, business groups, and political organizations.

Free speech and free association are the foundation of American democracy. Silicon Valley's growing censorship of any speech is an attack on all speech — and a vibrant democracy. Whether you're a pro-life activist or a Planned Parenthood representative, the First Amendment enshrines the same right to free speech. It is not up to Facebook and Twitter officials to dictate which speech is acceptable and which isn't.

Naturally, private enterprises may control speech on their physical and digital premises. But kowtowing to the mob — whether establishment insiders or easily offended snowflakes — is the wrong approach. Such groupthink invites the very government interference the Internet should be free of.

Nor is it the government's responsibility to assume the role of George Orwell's "thinkpol." While Silicon Valley stifles public speech, elected officials increasingly abuse their power to restrict the flow of information. In the 115th Congress, dozens of bills have been introduced to expand federal intrusion into political speech. Some would grant the Federal Election Commission more expansive powers to regulate — and prosecute — campaign contributions and super PAC spending. They would intrude upon all Americans' right to choose whom they associate and speak with.

Others target the elusive specter of "foreign money" as an excuse to burden all political advertising, as if a few more TV ads endanger our democracy.

Democrats primarily lead the anti-speech brigade, but undermining the First Amendment has become bipartisan sport. The Restoring Integrity to America's Elections Act — co-sponsored by seven Republicans — would centralize the FEC's power in a single unelected political appointee. Democrat or Republican, the FEC appointee could weaponize the agency against speech he or she opposed — not unlike Facebook or Twitter.

It boils down to a simple question: Do you want someone else deciding if you get to speak? If you believe you're immune because your speech is "acceptable," while other speech is "unacceptable," then you're missing the point. No individual should ever have the right to silence another's speech with the heavy hand of Big Brother or Big Data.

In the end, the attack on free speech rests upon an inaccurate, insulting assumption: We Americans need to be coddled and shielded from "dangerous" speech. We need our government and corporate overseers to hand down approved speech, as if there is "right" or "wrong" speech. There is only speech. Agreeing or disagreeing with it is still up to us as individuals.

Without it, and without an unfettered freedom to speak even "offensively," our American democracy devolves into Orwellian authoritarianism — only with two thinkpols instead of one.

SOURCE





Australia: You can't say that -- unless you are a Leftist

The latest TV ad to be rolled out by the anti-same-sex marriage lobby has been deemed unacceptable for general viewing, with the commercial television body declaring passages attributed to the controversial Safe Schools sexuality education program can be aired late in the evening only.

Free TV has advised the Coalition For Marriage that its latest commercial warrants an ‘‘MA’’ classification due to “depictions of implied sexual activity and verbal sexual references” and can air only after 8.30pm, or 9.30pm during a sports program or a film classified as ‘‘G’’ or ‘‘PG’’.

The 30-second commercial, which is due to air tonight and features footage of Safe Schools founder Roz Ward speaking at a same-sex marriage rally, includes passages from the Safe School-endorsed OMG I’m Trans and OMG I’m Queer resources, which are available from the Victorian Department of Education and also appear on the websites of some South Australian schools.

The passages include “penis-in-vagina sex is not the only sex and certainly not the ultimate sex,” and “it’s a total lie that all guys have dicks, that all girls have vaginas”, which appear on the screen as text.

The Coalition for Marriage tried to point out to Free TV’s commercial advice arm that the passages had been lifted directly from learning materials approved by various state governments and taught to students from Years 7 upwards. However, it was told the organisation was independent of governments and under the definitions of the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice the material was not appropriate for viewing by minors.

Coalition for Marriage spokesman Lyle Shelton said he was disappointed by Free TV’s stance given the topical nature of the advertisement. “It beyond belief that taxpayer- funded LGBTIQ sex and gender education materials openly made available to students of all ages are given an MA rating for television,” Mr Shelton said. “The issue of these materials, of parents’ rights, and the direct relationship with changing the Marriage Act are there for all to see, and parents should beware.

While the Coalition for Marriage has been heavily criticised for arguing that legalising same-sex marriage would lead to an extensive rollout of Safe Schools-style “radical” sexuality and gender diversity education programs in schools, Mr Shelton said evidence was mounting to support the supposition. “Just this week we have seen footage of the British Prime Minister saying that after redefining marriage they would be pressing ahead with LGBTIQ and gender education in all British schools,” he said, referring to comments Theresa May made last week. “The idea that all of these issues are unrelated is actually laughable.”

Free TV, the industry body representing Australia’s commercial free-to-air television licensees, was embroiled in controversy earlier this year when an ad celebrating Father’s Day was deemed “political” ahead of the same-sex marriage plebiscite.

That was criticised as “political correctness gone mad” by politicians, but Free TV blamed the ad’s creator, not-for-profit group Dads4Kids, for the ad not running, saying they were asked to add an identification tag declaring political content and refused to do so.

SOURCE