Wednesday, August 23, 2017





Is it worth keeping this thing in jail for 24 years?



Bring back the death penalty

A heartbroken father has released the harrowing footage of his son's murder in a bid to get knives off Britain's streets.

Lauric Lebato, 22, was stabbed in the back by Sulaiman Sillah when a fight broke out at a party on February 11.

The attack inflicted horrific injuries on Lauric and caused him to bleed to death at the property in Leicester.

His father Tagbeu Lebato has now made an emotional film with Leicestershire Police to highlight the damage knives can have on families and communities.

He also shared pictures of his son and said he was devastated by the loss and said 'his life finished' when Lauric was stabbed

Sillah, 20, of Leicester, was jailed for life with a minimum sentence of 24 years at Birmingham Crown Court after being found guilty of murder.

Speaking on the video, he said: 'You have just watched my son Lauric being stabbed to death.

'I told you it would be shocking. But how do you feel? How do you feel about that knife that took our lives?

'I do not ask you to pity my life. I have no need of your pity. Instead, I ask you to think about that knife that took the life of my beautiful little boy.

'Now, think about another knife that may one day take your life or the life of someone close to you.

Sillah, who claimed he acted in self-defence, was also found guilty of wounding with intent on another occasion.

Jurors also convicted Sillah's friend, Sheriff Oluwa, 20, of violent disorder.

A court heard Oluwa had been threatening people with a large combat knife on the night but had pleaded not guilty to the charge.

On February 11, Sillah and Oluwa, both originally from London, attended a fellow De Montfort University student's birthday party in a basement flat.

Around 15 members of the Manor House Gang from London also attended the party, including Mr Lebato.

A row broke out between the Leicester student group and the Manor House Gang and the fight spilled out into the street, where Oluwa threatened other people with a long combat knife before being sprayed with a foam fire extinguisher by Mr Lebato.

Sillah then ran at Mr Lebato from behind with a knife but Mr Lebato managed to dodge out of his way at the last minute and flee across the road before he was stabbed.

In the film, Mr Lebato said his life has been destroyed by the death of his son after moving from their former home in Ivory Coast to give Lauric a better future'.

'I was born into a very poor family in the Ivory Coast. We had very few things and very little money, but I had a dream that one day I would have a child.

'When that moment came I would take my child far, far away to a different culture, a different place, where I would bring my child up to be a happy, successful and safe person.

'Lauric was born in the Ivory Coast. He was and always will be in my mind a beautiful, happy little boy.

'Five years later, having saved and saved, I fulfilled my dream. We broke that link with my home country, with poverty, and with my family, and Lauric and I set up home together in London.'

SOURCE





Georgia judge forced to RESIGN for saying “nut cases tearing down monuments equivalent to ISIS destroying history”

What Judge Hinkle wrote was true. But the idea that he had to resign because he was biased is ridiculous. There is no indication that any of his judicial opinions were biased. But there are innumerable leftist judges all over the country who legislate leftist politics from the bench. No one ever rebukes them for it or calls them biased, and the damage they do is immense. If all biased judges were forced to resign, hundreds of hard-left judges would be stepping down.


“Gwinnett Judge Resigns After ‘Snowflakes’ and ‘Nut Cases’ Posts,” by Doug Gross, Loganville Patch, August 17, 2017:

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA — A Gwinnett County magistrate judge and longtime local politician has resigned from his court position after being suspended over controversial posts he made on Facebook.

Jim Hinkle, a part-time judge who has served on the court for 14 years, resigned Wednesday, Chief Magistrate Judge Kristina Hammer Blum said in a written statement. Blum had suspended Hinkle indefinitely after his Facebook posts came to light on Saturday.

“For 14 years, Judge Hinkle has dutifully served this court,” Blum said in her statement. “He is a lifelong public servant and former Marine. However, he has acknowledged that his statements on social media have disrupted the mission of this Court, which is to provide justice for all.”…

In other posts, Hinkle has condemned Islam as a violent religion.

By Wednesday morning, Hinkle appeared to have either deleted his Facebook account or set it to a private setting. But the Atlanta Journal Constitution captured images of his posts before he did so.

“In Charlottesville, everyone is upset over Robert E. Lee statue. It looks like all of the snowflakes have no concept of history,” Hinkle wrote Saturday. “It is what it is. Get over it and move on. Leave history alone – those who ignore history are deemed (sic) to repeat the mistake of the past. In Richmond, VA, all of the Confederate monuments on Monument Ave. have people on horses whose asses face North. PERFECT!”

Later, he wrote “The nut cases tearing down monuments are equivalent to ISIS destroying history.”…

In her statement, Blum made clear the suspension came because the posts jeopardized Hinkle’s position as an unbiased arbiter of the law….

SOURCE






National Parks Issue Statement on Confederate Monuments

As the American left pushes to purge the nation of Confederate statues and memorials, the National Parks Service is making clear the statues at Gettysburg battlefield are not going anywhere.

Katie Lawhon is the senior advisor for the park service when it comes to Gettysburg, and she says the statues “are important” and allow the park service to “historically and objectively tell the stories the monuments commemorate.”

Lawhon reassured the Reading Eagle that the statues would not be moved.

Barb Adams, who volunteers at Gettysburg, said watching the statues being vandalized and/or removed around the country breaks her heart. She said, “It’s just so upsetting to me—these men, these soldiers fought for what they believed in.”

SOURCE





UK: 'Left-leaning' National Trust head cautiously admits: 'We have alienated traditional members'

The outgoing head of the National Trust has admitted that the organisation has alienated "traditional visitors" in the wake of rows over Easter egg hunts, gay pride badges and flapjacks.

Dame Helen Ghosh, who takes over as Master of Balliol College, Oxford University, next April, said that while Trust membership was healthy "sometimes some of our perhaps more traditional visitors have felt that they are not being catered for as they once felt that they were.”

She told Radio 4's The World This Weekend: “Sometimes I see signs that our places, or things going on, that perhaps tread too far in one direction than another. “It is sometimes the case that we appeal too much to one audience, and not enough to another."

Dame Helen, who succeeded previous director general Dame Fiona Reynolds in 2012, continued: “I haven’t got a specific example in mind. I think what I’m describing is that in order to be open-armed to welcome the widest possible group of visitors to our places, sometimes some of our perhaps more traditional visitors have felt that they are not being catered for as they once felt that they were.”

The Trust has endured a torrid summer, during which it has faced criticism for requiring volunteers to wear gay pride badges, the public ‘outing’ of Robert Wyndham Ketton-Cremer, former owner of Felbrigg Hall near Cromer, and a change in the recipe for it’s celebrated flapjacks.

Earlier in the year, the Trust was accused of "airbrushing faith", after the word "Easter" was dropped from the annual egg hunt it runs with Cadbury.

Speaking on Radio 4, Sir Roy Strong, a former director of both London’s Victoria & Albert museum and the National Portrait Gallery, was damning in his assessment of the Trust.

He blamed successive “left-leaning” director generals, and suggested it may be time for the organisation - which attracts more than £500 million in annual funding - to be “broken up”.

Sir Roy, 82, said: “If you go to a National Trust house or property, you’re being almost told what to think, and how we ought to react.

“They’re obsessed with children, play areas, fun things at Easter and Christmas, and so on. “The signs are that the National Trust is being turned into a branch of the leisure industry.

“Within the last 20 years it’s really begun to alienate its own public. They’ve had two director generals, both competent in their own ways, and a balance has gone. Both were left-leaning”.

“My own view [is that] it’s too large, and therefore it’s kind of alienating a lot of its members. I think there is a big discrepancy between the historic houses and gardens which certainly the present DG is possibly embarrassed about, and landscape and coastline, and it may well benefit from splitting.

“So much of what they do sounds like the Blair government in exile. It’s ticking the boxes against the disabled, the aged, LGBT, the ethnic communities and the rest of it, and something gets lost along the way.”

The National Trust attracts 20 million visitors per year to its 775 miles of coastline, 248,000 hectares of land and more than 500 historic houses, castle, monuments, gardens and nature reserves

SOURCE






Blaming the victims in Europe

There is a variety of diseases beleaguering poor Eurocrats such as commoners’ realism, rationality and that nasty airborne virus of enlightenment transmitted by freedom of speech. But the disease most vexing is xenophobia.

As the then UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres suggested, xenophobia was an emerging European condition. In 2015, he wrote: “Europe needs to remain a continent of asylum … There are some distressing indications of rising xenophobia in some places in Europe … a lack of recognition of the fact that all societies are becoming multicultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious.” In his first London speech as UN Secretary-General, Guterres criticised “national sovereignty agendas” and urged people to “fight xenophobia” and “hatred of Muslim communities”.

In UN and EU documents, the defence of Western sovereign borders is curiously portrayed as hatred of Muslims. One might consider strong borders indispensable to the protection of all peaceful citizens residing in Western countries, Muslims included. But in anticipation of member states adopting a global compact on migration next year, the UN has proposed a global campaign to “counter xenophobia”. Despite struggling with a concise, standard definition of the term, it appears that members regard xenophobia as the chief obstacle to Western populations accepting a policy of porous borders.

The EU and UN worked in unison to defend open borders across Europe against clear evidence that the policy facilitated jihad. Thousands of migrants claiming Syrian refugee status were neither Syrian nor refugees. Once again, the EU has joined the UN to campaign against xenophobia.

In January, European Council president Donald Tusk described three chief threats to the EU. The second threat in Tusk’s analysis is “anti-EU, nationalist, increasingly xenophobic sentiment in the EU itself”. Note the word association. Tusk might have praised the remarkably peaceful response of Europeans to mass migration from the Islamic world. He could have thanked European people for their immense generosity and tolerance, despite the multiple jihadist attacks and assaults committed against them. He could have acknowledged the socioeconomic burden imposed on European citizens by the EC. He might have conceded humbly that EU chiefs were too hasty in prosecuting an open-border policy in an age of transnational jihad. He might have shown empathy for the victims of Europe’s open-border policy and sympathised with the understandable counter-reaction. Instead, Europe’s political leaders treat the natives as collateral damage in their pursuit of an open-border utopia.

Spain is the latest casualty of the EU’s open-border policy. In the hours before the latest jihadist strike, the Spanish maritime service intercepted more than 600 people trying to cross the Mediterranean from Morocco.

And there is the related problem of official denial.

When Spain tried to push illegal immigrants back from the Spanish-Moroccan border in 2015, the Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner, Nils Muiz­nieks, suggested the push-backs could be a human rights violation. He claimed there was no direct link between migration and terrorism.

Oxytocin might offer relief from denial about open-border policy and the development of Islamism as a Western condition, but the truth does too. In 2004, a terror cell orchestrated the slaughter of 191 innocents in Madrid. Of the three men convicted of murder and attempted murder in the Madrid bombings, one was a Spaniard and two were Moroccan. In the years that followed, Spanish authorities uncovered several terrorist plots by Moroccan immigrants. On Saturday, The Sun newspaper reported that last week’s attacks were orchestrated by a terror cell that includes about a dozen Moroccans recently returned from Syria.

Should Eurocrats find the link between mismanaged migration and terrorism unclear still, consider Brussels, Paris, Nice, London Bridge and Borough Market. Or go transatlantic for a tour of the Boston bombings before heading Down Under where four recent fatal terrorist attacks were perpetrated by refugees.

Most migrants and refugees make fine citizens. The story of modern Australia is a migrant story, no matter how many Greens councils try to deny it by banning Australia Day. But the balance between mass migration and social harmony is a delicate one. It is put at risk by ideologues who pursue an open-border policy without assessing the consequences.

The unelected bureaucrats staffing the EU and UN risk turning the free world into a wasted asset. If the emergence of a European population resistant to open-border zealotry has come as shock, it is because Eurocrats are so far removed from the people they claim to serve. The bulging register of thought crimes that every PC comrade carries around in his head shields him from the intolerable realism of the dissenting masses. But shouting xenophobia at realists won’t stop terrorism. And it won’t protect the free world from those determined to make us unfree.

SOURCE





Stop Smearing Sebastian Gorka

White House counterterrorism advisor Sebastian Gorka has been the subject of severe criticism in recent months. With the departure of Steve Bannon from the administration, many are calling for Gorka to be fired next. A recent piece in Rolling Stone questioned the validity of his Ph.D. and labeled him something of a neophyte and an extremist. The Forward tied Gorka to a right-wing Hungarian secret society called Vitezi Rend.

These stories make for great political attacks, but are they valid? And, perhaps more importantly, setting aside all of the charges against him, are Gorka's views on terrorism and how our nation should combat it prudent?

First, let's examine the accusations on anti-Semitism and secret societies. Gorka, on the record, has denied being a member of the Vitezi Rend. He was also called an anti-Semite, and a video used to incriminate him was conveniently edited to remove his condemnation of the world's oldest hatred. Still, he's gone on the record and denied this allegation, too.

There's no evidence that Gorka has ever expressed anti-Semitic views.

There isn't any reliable evidence that Gorka has ever expressed the extremist views he's accused of holding or been a member of a secret society.

The questions raised about Gorka's qualifications seem suspect as well. He earned a Ph.D. from Corvinus University. Whatever the quality of that pedigree, it was sufficient to land Gorka a position as an adjunct faculty member at Georgetown University and positions with a host of other respected institutions like the Marine Corps University Foundation and the Council for Emerging National Security Affairs (CENSA).

Ben Rhodes, a senior national security advisor during the Obama administration, had shockingly thin qualifications for the job.
Even if his credentials have been inflated, it's worth remembering that the previous White House relied on Ben Rhodes for international security counsel, and his background was shockingly thin, focused mostly on creative writing.

Gorka's worldview, similarly questioned, is perhaps the most important piece of this puzzle. He has written forcefully about the threats Islamists pose to the West and devoted his career to understanding the nature of these threats, while working to raise alarm bells about the despicable ideology that has been gaining popularity throughout the Muslim world.

He's been right to do so.

Gorka's influence can be felt at all levels of this administration. In his inaugural address, President Trump promised to "eradicate the Islamic State." He didn't say degrade, manage, or contain. He said eradicate. That's important. So is the Trump administration's willingness to name the threat facing our people – radical Islamism.

This represents a welcome change after eight years of leading from behind and "strategic patience" that got us nowhere. While the Obama administration dithered as the Arab-Islamic world erupted into conflagration, Gorka reminds us that ignoring our enemies as they rise to power is just as dangerous as disengagement from our friends as they fall from it.

I met with Gorka recently at the White House and he mentioned how the struggle against communism, wherein his father was tortured by the authorities, was akin to the battle against modern day Islamism. Inspired by his father, he's fighting this generation's ideological struggle.

Gorka has a solid grasp of the ideology that threatens our safety and security.

A dispassionate review of Gorka's background and work indicates that he is simply a right-wing Hungarian. Hungary has produced its fair share of racists and anti-Semites, but there's absolutely no reason to believe Gorka is one of them. His credentials are no less impressive than others who have served the White House in similar capacities.

Importantly, in order to win the war against radical Islamism, we must develop a thorough understanding of its ideology. Gorka has a solid grasp of that ideology, and all of us in the United States should be thankful that he is lending his expertise to advance our safety and security. Attacks on Gorka's character do nothing to make our nation safer. His work on combatting radical Islamists most likely will.

SOURCE

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Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Nazi Fears and ‘Hate Speech’ Hysteria are Being Amplified to Attack Civil Liberties

It doesn’t take courage to denounce Nazism. Moreover, it appears many of the people incessantly proclaiming how anti-Nazi they are, happen to be the same folks who have the most to answer for when it comes to all sorts of transgressions against the world over the past couple of decades. That said, I’ll give my my quick two cents on the Nazi, white supremacist hysteria currently being amplified by the corporate media.

The general proclivity to obsess about how one’s group, whether it be a nation, political tribe, or race/religion is superior to all others represents such an immature and unconscious way of seeing the world, it’s really hard for me to believe so many people still see reality through such a lens. This type of thinking tends to attract very insecure people. People who cannot look at themselves individually and be proud of the person they see. As such, they scurry around looking for a group with an established superiority myth which they can then latch themselves onto in order to feel better about themselves.

The good news when it comes to Nazism/white supremacy, at least here in the U.S., is that most people appear to be at least conscious enough not to fall for the most basic and primal type of tribalism — i.e., finding a race-based superiority cult attractive. In contrast, the more nuanced superiority cults, such as those based on mindless nationalism or political identity, are far more entrenched here at home, and present a much greater danger to our future.

Before some of you lose it, I wrote "mindless" nationalism for a reason. I think it’s completely normal and healthy for everyone to love and appreciate their own national/regional culture, this is not what I’m referring to. I’m talking about the hordes of mindless automatons who simply fly the American flag and constantly profess their super-sized patriotism, while being completely unaware of the multitude of evil and anti-American actions being done both at home and abroad in their names. It doesn’t seem to matter to these types that their government is acting in total opposition to the Constitution they ostensibly claim to uphold. These people might be less shallow than a self-professed Nazi, but they are far more dangerous to decent, ethical Americans at home, and billions of innocent people abroad. Political party tribalists represent a similar threat, as I’ve discussed on many occasions.

To summarize, Nazism has become almost as discredited as slavery within the minds of most humans. Meaning, it’s such a patently grotesque, childish and unconscious ideology, it can and will only attract very small pockets of people. In fact, given the rampant corruption, wealth inequality and societal decay we’re experiencing in these United States, I’m somewhat encouraged that the movement is as small and insignificant as it is. Of course, I could be wrong about all of this (we’ll have to see how things unfold if the empire collapses chaotically), but that’s how I see it at the moment. Should that ever change, of course I will fight Nazism, or anything similar with all my energy. In contrast, I think other forms of mindless tribalism, political and nationalistic, are far more likely to cause major disasters in the years ahead.

If I’m right about what I wrote above, why is the corporate media acting so hysterically in response to this small collection of hateful misfits?

A lot of really terrible people are trying to reinvent themselves by hyping up the Nazi threat. I’ve discussed this dangerous phenomenon in recent posts, but it’s important enough to keep hammering home.

Lesson number one. Don’t let terrible people get away with moral preening about some relatively insignificant Nazi threat when these are the very same people who have run this country and much of the world into the toilet bowl. Lesson number two. Don’t allow authoritarians to manipulate your emotions about white supremacy (or any other threat for that matter) as an excuse to take away cherished civil liberties. These types have been selling us on giving away our rights since 9/11, and they continue to use any threat they can to take away those that remain. Free speech is the holy grail for tyrants, and anyone who suggests we give up speech to protect ourselves presents a threat to us all. I came across two examples of this today in the normal course of my reading.

First, an attorney who works for UCLA named K-Sue Park, wrote an op-ed published in The New York Times titled, The A.C.L.U. Needs to Rethink Free Speech. It’s one of the most incoherent, authoritarian pieces I’ve read in a while and, although a painful read, you should definitely check it out. It doesn’t take much logic to recognize that her call for the government to decide which speech is acceptable and which is not, is actually far more dangerous to society than a few hundred Nazis getting together in Virginia, irrespective of the terrible loss of life.

Another example of this authoritarian impulse was penned by Leonid Bershidsky in his Bloomberg article, Facebook and Twitter Are Too Big to Allow Fake Users. To be fair, this article was written before the Charlottesville attack, so I would not characterize him as using the attack to push this narrative, but it’s a wildly dangerous view nonetheless. He writes:

"Social networks should be obliged to ban anonymous accounts. If they refuse to do so voluntarily, government regulators should force the issue."

This is a completely unhinged response to the problems of "trolling, fake news and cyberbullying," which he identifies. It’s the equivalent of taking a nuclear bomb to a knife fight. As someone who spends a great deal of time on Twitter, I can tell you that some of the most insightful and humorous accounts I follow are anonymous. This makes total sense because most people have jobs, and people with jobs can be easily fired or ostracized. Not because they’re writing pro-Nazi tweets, but because everything is essentially political these days, and if your boss happens to be a member of a different political tribe, it could affect your career. Did we already forget what happened to James Damore?

If social media companies suddenly banned anonymous accounts, the entire internet and discourse on it would instantly become 90% less interesting, creative and dynamic. Much of the promise of the web would be crippled by such a policy, and humanity would be far worse off for it.

Such a policy would crush political speech online, and limit it largely to those who create political content professionally. I could see why people in power would want to do this, but I can’t grasp how anyone else could be so naive to support such a agenda.

Ultimately, we need to recognize that fear is our biggest enemy. The corporate media tries to keep us in a constant state of fear, because it’s in a state of fear where we are most vulnerable and hence easily manipulated. Don’t succumb to fear. Stand strong, be courageous and don’t every give up liberties because some pundit tells you it’s what you need to do to fight whatever enemy they happen to be hyping at the moment.

SOURCE






Swedish police Chief: The Antifas, Not the Nazis, Start the Violence

This is a refreshingly realistic appraisal — especially coming from Sweden — of who the agents of violence are in political demonstrations.

The Nordic resistance movement, NMR, will not be the major problem when the national socialist organization demonstrates in Göteborg on 30 September. “On the contrary, it will be left-wing extremists who will start riots,” says Erik Nord’s Senior Officer to Radio Sweden.

The Nordic resistance movement, NMR, has applied for a demonstration near the Bokmässan (The Book Fair) in Gothenburg this autumn. According to GP, it is estimated that there will be approximately 1,000 participants.

The police previously announced that there is no legal basis for denying the organization of demonstration a permit. This is now confirmed by Erik Nord, Chief of Police for greater Gothenburg.

It would have been possible (to deny a permit) if the purpose of the demonstration was to create disorder.

But, according to Nord, it is not the national socialist organization that will be the big problem, but their left-wing opponents. “My general picture is that it is not this demonstration that will pose the greatest danger to order and security. We will certainly get riot-like situations around the demonstration. But these will first and foremost be instigated by the so-called counter-demonstrators. Then it’s our job to keep them apart to make sure that both gatherings can take place,” says Erik Nord to Kulturnytt.

It is precisely this the police in Charlottesville were alleged not to have done, and so did not protect the permitted demonstration and separate the different groups. Instead it allowed the left-wing extremists to attack the nationalist demonstration.

Erik Nord also points out that the lack of police resources is not reason enough to say no to demonstrations, and that the viewpoints in Sweden are designed in a way so that everyone can express their views.

It was Erik Nord who recently said he wants to revoke passports and citizenships for Islamic terrorists.

SOURCE





Wyoming Judge Appeals To Nation’s Highest Court After Losing Job For Being A Christian

"Does a state violate the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause or Free Speech Clause when it punishes a judge who has discretionary authority to solemnize marriages because she states that her religious beliefs preclude her from performing a same-sex wedding?" That’s the question Judge Ruth Neely from Pinedale, Wyoming, wants the Supreme Court to answer.

On August 4, she filed a petition with the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), asking them to review a March 7, 2017 ruling from the Wyoming Supreme Court. That ruling handed down a public censure and effectively removed her from a circuit court magistracy for answering a reporter’s question.

Each year about 10,000 such petitions are filed. Of these, only about 80 cases will be heard. But Neely’s petition already stands out above the crowd, giving her a far better chance than most.

That’s because SCOTUS does not usually take cases merely because a lower court got it wrong. They tend to take cases that fill three requirements. First, the case should be clean and uncomplicated. Second, they address important and emerging questions of constitutional law. Third, cases they take must have nationwide and far-reaching implications. Neely’s case scores high on all counts.

All Neely Did Was Answer a Hypothetical Question
Cases as clean-cut as Neely’s rarely come before the Supreme Court. There is only one fact that underlies the whole case, and this is not under dispute, but freely stipulated by both sides: On a Saturday morning in early December 2014, in answer to a direct question, she told a reporter she was unable to perform same-sex weddings because of her religious convictions.

The whole thing boils down to those words, and those words alone—spoken outside of business hours and outside of the courtroom setting. Neely did not then, nor any time since, take any official action towards a same-sex marriage. Nor has she ever spoken again on the issue.

Over the course of the last 33 months she has turned down numerous speaking invitations and remained mute on the subject. This self-discipline now helps to make hers one of the cleanest cases possible. There is one conversation between herself and one reporter, and nothing else to muddy the waters. If you want to isolate the question of free speech and free expression, it cannot get any more isolated than that. Score one for Neely.

This Is Also Cutting-Edge Constitutional Law
As for emerging constitutional law, Neely’s case is on the cutting edge. The telephone conversation with a reporter happened more than six months before SCOTUS voided marriage law across the United States with the Obergefell v. Hodges opinion, but she anticipated a question that would arise in its aftermath.

What prompted the reporter’s phone call was the case of Guzzo v. Mead that brought same-sex marriage to Wyoming by vacating Wyoming marriage statute (20-1-106). By the fall 2014, four federal circuits had struck down marriage laws within their jurisdictions, but none had spelled out the specifics of what should replace them.

Changing marriage law is not like changing the speed limit. Speed limits are a balancing act between individual freedoms and public safety. Marriage law is about the very foundations of human existence. While there is a reasonable compromise between 60 and 70 miles per hour, there is no halfway ground between a sexual understanding of marriage and an asexual understanding of marriage.

So the question Obergefell has raised across that land is this: can we craft laws that permit the peaceful coexistence of mutually exclusive views? Or must the disfavored view be driven out of public life altogether?

Banning Faithful Christians from Public Life
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) rules, which the American Bar Association has pushed on the judicial ethics commissions of numerous states, have the predictable effect of driving anyone with a sexual understanding of marriage out of government service.

Neely’s case is not the only one of this type. Under similar rules in Washington state, Superior Court Judge Gary Tabor was "admonished" by the Commission on Judicial Conduct for publicly announcing he would not perform any same-sex marriages. As part of the discipline, he effectually agreed to perform same-sex marriages if he were to perform any at all. While this case largely slid under the radar, Neely’s case has raised the issue to national attention. It is time to address this question head on.

Such gag orders and compelled speech are driving people out of government service either directly, or by the mere threat of sanction. Should SCOTUS allow this trend to continue it would set a dangerous precedent for the future of any group with a disfavored view.

If You’re a Judge, You Can’t Voice Your Opinions?
Finally, the far-reaching implications of the Neely case are hard to overstate. The Wyoming Supreme Court, guided by SOGI theory, assumed that every Wyoming judge must, without exception, not only recognize the legality of same-sex marriages (which Neely does), but also personally perform them. This, despite there being no written law, anywhere, which requires this.

But the court went farther still. They next asserted that any judge whose speech questions this unknown and unwritten law is, by the mere act of speaking, undermining "public confidence in the judiciary." If a judge can be censured and removed merely for speaking disagreement with an unwritten law, what would prevent any judge, anywhere, from being punished and removed for speech disagreeing with any actual law or constitutional provision?

Is it constitutional to remove a judge who merely speaks in favor of removing the right to keep and bear arms? Should all those judges who publicly favored same-sex marriage before Obergefell vacated the laws of most states have been censured and removed? What about judges (either pro-life or pro-abortion) who openly acknowledge that Roe v. Wade was a legal abomination? Shall they be purged from our courts?

These questions are not just rhetorical. They are real. Wyoming’s censure of Neely opens the door to these absurdities and many, many more. It is high time we step back from the brink. Neely’s petition gives SCOTUS an opportunity to take in the big picture. What we do today will have far-reaching implications for the free speech of all public servants, and all citizens in general, long after same-sex marriage recedes into the footnotes.

SOURCE





Is an escape from censorship possible?

With Facebook and Twitter banning or vanishing offensive accounts, Google manipulating search results, Youtube "demonetizing" videos they don't like, and now domain name registrar GoDaddy unregistering web sites they disapprove of, those of us who reject PC groupthink desperately need an alternative.

Fortunately, we may have one: ZeroNet. I was lucky to attend a ZeroNet presentation recently at a Linux Users Group; here's a summary of what I learned. (Fair warning: my understanding or recollection may be inaccurate.)

First, you may be familiar with the BitTorrent technology used to distribute "pirated" music (and legitimate content like Linux CDs). The idea behind BitTorrent is that everyone who has a copy of the file makes it available on the Internet; when someone wants a copy, they download it in pieces from all over rather than from a single web server. This is all automatic, and invisible to the casual user.

Now, imagine that peer-to-peer sharing technology applied to web pages. Every time you read WendyMcElroy.com, your computer announces that you have a copy, and others can download it from you. Again, this is invisible to you. But it makes the web much harder to censor -- for example, if even one copy of a web page gets through the Great Firewall of China, before long everyone in the country can read that "banned" web page. (Or so the theory goes...it's still early days for testing.)

Next, imagine that domain names on this net are not allocated by central domain-name registrars...but instead are recorded on a blockchain, the same technology used by Bitcoin to maintain its ledger. The blockchain is public, distributed, with an immutable history and no central point of control. Just as no one can take your Bitcoins from the blockchain, no one can take your domain name. When I chatted with some Bitcoin enthusiaists a few years ago, they proposed this as one of the first non-monetary uses of blockchain technology. Now it's happening.

The chap who gave the presentation said that ZeroNet also has a social-networking component. It sounds a bit like Reddit, except without any central authority. Once you start a discussion group, you control it, and no one else can ban it.

I think this is the next step in the radical decentralization of the Internet, and for me it may be the most exciting development since Bitcoin. This is the ideal response to the social-justice pecksniffs* who want to ban offensive content from the web. I'm looking forward to installing it and giving it a spin.

SOURCE






An extraordinary example of bureaucratic over-reach in authoritarian Britain

A man with Down’s syndrome whose wife was ordered by their local council to stop having sex with him has received £10,000 in damages for a breach of his human rights.

The man, 38, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was considered unable to consent to sex, even with his partner, to whom he has been married for five years.

His wife was ordered to end their sexual relationship and threatened with criminal prosecution if she refused. She moved out of their shared bedroom and withdrew physical affection that might be interpreted as leading him on.

SOURCE

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Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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Monday, August 21, 2017






Free speech concerns as extreme-right evicted from web

A sweeping crackdown by US internet and social media companies on neo-Nazi and white supremacist material has sparked warnings in America that the web's grand promise of free speech is on the rocks.

Over the past week, Vanguard America, Daily Stormer and other such ultra-right racist groups and their members known for extremely violent and offensive postings and websites were essentially scrubbed from the public web.

Major internet companies took action after the groups came out in support of a violent right-wing rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that ended with the death of a counter-demonstrator and shocked the nation.

Daily Stormer and its founder Andrew Anglin, who openly promotes Adolf Hitler, saw web host GoDaddy shut their website. Google did the same after they moved. They were blocked a third time by another web host, after reopening with an ostensibly safe Russian domain name.

Then Cloudflare, which provides an essential security service to millions of web hosts and sites, also said it would block Daily Stormer.

Others found their Facebook and Instagram accounts frozen. Google cut the app for social media site Gab, a favorite venue for far-right groups.

And in one of the more ignominious moments, white supremacist Chris Cantwell was booted off dating site OkCupid on Thursday.  "At OkCupid, we take the truth of everyone's inalienable rights very seriously," said chief executive Elie Seidman. However, Seidman said, "the privilege of being in the OkCupid community does not extend to Nazis and supremacists."

But such moves raise the question: should the private companies that control most web services have the power to make such decisions?

Are the internet and social media services now such an indelible part of our daily lives that people should have the right to make full use of them, like they do highways, electricity, and police protections?

Electronic Frontier Foundation, a leading think tank and lobby for civil liberties in the digital world, denounced what it called "dangerous" censorship by GoDaddy, Google and Cloudflare.

"We must also recognize that on the internet, any tactic used now to silence neo-Nazis will soon be used against others, including people whose opinions we agree with," they said.

"Protecting free speech is not something we do because we agree with all of the speech that gets protected. We do it because we believe that no one -- not the government and not private commercial enterprises -- should decide who gets to speak and who doesn't."

The action of Cloudflare was even more significant because of the centrality of its position on the web. When Cloudflare shut down Daily Stormer, Anglin was essentially forced to reopen Daily Stormer on the less easily accessed "dark web."

Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince admitted the capricious nature of his decision in an email to staff, and the broader questions it raised. "My rationale for making this decision was simple: the people behind the Daily Stormer are assholes and I'd had enough," he said. "Literally, I woke up in a bad mood and decided someone shouldn't be allowed on the internet."

"No one should have that power," he continued. "We need to have a conversation about who and how the content online is controlled."

Gab, which resembles Twitter as a micro-blogging platform, was launched last year by libertarian free speech advocate Andrew Torba and has more than 200,000 users now, according to spokesman Utsav Sanduja.

Much of its content has a strong right-wing bias, including openly white supremacist and neo-Nazi postings, though Sanduja says they have far-left users as well, and a lot of non-political content.

Nevertheless, it was a distinct surge in right-wing hate postings that led Google Play, the Android phone app store, to drop Gab last week. "Social networking apps need to demonstrate a sufficient level of moderation, including for content that encourages violence and advocates hate against groups of people," a Google spokesperson told AFP.

Sanduja called it censorship pure and simple, noting that the US Constitution unequivocally protects the right to free speech, even if deemed offensive.

"Google, Apple, Twitter... the sheer amount of people on their sites makes them absolutely integral to the democratic process," he argued. "The Supreme Court has ruled, hate speech is free speech, and it's protected speech," he said.

"Gab is trying to ensure that users have these constitutionally afforded rights. These giant corporations are taking them away from people."

SOURCE






Another charming multiculturalist



A man has been arrested in connection with the gruesome murders of his sister and cousins - all under the age of 10 - who were found dead inside a Maryland home. Antonio Williams, 25, was taken into custody by local police late on Friday night and cops say he has confessed to the killings.

Williams lives on Brooke Jane Drive, which is the same street as the home the three little girls were found dead in that morning in Clinton, Maryland.

He had been left at the home to look after the girls - his sister, six-year-old Nadira Withers, and cousins nine-year-old Ariana Decree and six-year-old Ajayah Decree - by his mother, Andrena Kelley.

The cousins were from Newark, New Jersey and are the daughters of the suspect’s mother’s cousin.

The bodies were reportedly found by Kelley who then called the police. The victims were suffering from stab wounds and pronounced dead on the scene.

Williams has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of second-degree murder. Cops say he has confessed to stabbing and killing his relatives.

SOURCE






What Swedes Give Up for ‘Free’ Money

When the state treats childrearing like a job, make sure you don’t run afoul of the boss

I moved to Sweden for love, not money, but I was happy to learn that merely living in this social democracy also entitled me to paid parental-leave benefits. Who could object to free money, handed out by the government to all Swedish parents? Then I became a father.

Two hundred years ago, Sweden was a nation of smallholding farm families, many of whom were poor enough to prefer emigrating to North Dakota or Minnesota. Today, workers in Sweden are offered a welfare smörgåsbord of free health care, subsidized housing, paid leave, unemployment benefits, job training and pensions. This system of interlaced welfare programs is the government’s attempt to realize a political and social ideal that has seemingly universal acceptance among Swedes, known as trygghet.

Although trygghet is usually defined as security or safety, neither of these translations carries the implications about the future that trygghet projects. To be trygg is to feel so comfortable and certain in a secure, predictable environment that you can relax, express yourself and grow. Trygghet is what Swedish parents are expected to give their children, and ensuring that they do so is the function of the most prized component of the Swedish social-welfare state, the parental benefits system.

For one year after the birth of our son, the government’s social-insurance agency will pay 80% of the salary my Swedish wife earned as a lawyer working in public service. I was surprised to learn that I, too, could receive parental benefits, for up to six months, at the generous minimum level. Only after a recent family crisis did I understand why.

Six months ago, my 2-year-old niece broke her leg. The physician who treated the girl told my brother-in-law that his daughter would be given a full-body CT scan. The doctor insisted that the procedure was mandatory, but not for any medical reason. Rather, the Swedish social-services administration requires such scans to look for evidence of child abuse. While the doctor did note that the broken leg was the result of an accident, he told my brother-in-law the matter was “out of my hands.”

When the girl’s parents refused to subject her to this unnecessary procedure, the hidden machinery of the Swedish welfare state sprang into motion. My brother-in-law and his wife were required to attend multiple interviews with social workers and to submit friends and neighbors in their small town for questioning. Social workers even inspected their home. Suddenly, decisions as benign as what milk to buy seemed potential evidence of parental deficiency. My in-laws feared their two children might be taken from them.

In Sweden, the state reserves for itself ultimate responsibility for children’s well-being. As a parent my job is to give my kids the trygghet necessary to become productive, tax-paying members of Swedish society. This is why I receive financial support and medical benefits. The state is paying me to be a parent. I am, in effect, an employee—and if I do a poor job, my responsibility as a parent might be taken away from me.

Social services never found grounds to continue their investigation of my brother-in-law’s family beyond the preliminary steps. Nevertheless, they had been made to feel belittlement, confusion and embarrassment, simply because they disagreed with the authorities. These reflexive feelings of guilt and shame are another, far subtler and more insidious mechanism for enforcing conformity.

The Swedish word for this cultural phenomenon, lagom, has recently appeared in the international press, mistranslated as moderation or self-restraint. Lagom is actually a uniquely Swedish conception of common sense, according to which the best way of acting is always inextricable from how you expect your neighbors to act. Lagom is what everyone thinks everyone else thinks—whether about milk, welfare or what constitutes good parenting.

The mere fact of being investigated by a social-services agency placed my brother-in-law’s family outside lagom. No one needed to accuse them of anything, and that was the point. No reasonable person should ever do anything suspected of being unreasonable.

Some parents insist, as my wife and I do, on having their own ideas about raising children. In our opinion, anesthetizing a 2-year-old girl and subjecting her to radiation for an unnecessary medical procedure is not lagom. Does this mean we can’t accept parental support from the state? Does this mean we can’t live in Sweden?

Although the welfare state is often debated in economic terms, we have yet to put a price on self-determination or freedom of conscience. What I once thought was free money may cost more than I am prepared to pay.

SOURCE





Australia: This is why I'll be voting 'no' to same-sex marriage

Article by Dr Kevin Donnelly below, a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University.  I will also be voting No in the national ballot -- because I don't think a homosexual union can ever be a marriage and because homosexuals can already  enter into other arrangements which give them the normal privileges and obligations of marriage-- JR


There's no doubt that central to the concept of family is a definition of marriage involving a man and a woman for the purpose of procreation. With only minor exceptions over some hundreds of years and across all the major religions, this is how marriage has been, and continues to be, defined.

It's also true that about 98 per cent of Australians identify as heterosexual and according to the 2011 census figures only 1 per cent of Australian couples are same-sex, with surveys suggesting only a minority want same-sex marriage. There are more important issues to worry about.

What exactly would change for same-sex couples if they could marry?

We should also forget the Safe Schools' postmodern, deconstructed definition of marriage where gender and sexuality are fluid and limitless and individuals are free to choose whatever they choose to self-identify as.

No matter how much gays and lesbians might want to wish otherwise from a physiological and biological point of view, only men and women can have children. Such is the nature of conceiving and giving birth that to pretend otherwise is to deny how nature works.

To put it bluntly, gays and lesbians are physically incapable of procreation and having their own children. For them to believe otherwise is to deny the life choice they have made and to believe they should be entitled to something normally associated with biological parents.

It's also true that the ideal situation is where children are raised by their biological parents instead of conception involving a third party donating sperm or paying a surrogate mother. As any parent well knows, the intimate and unique bond between a biological parent and his or her child is primal in its force.

No wonder children conceived by donor sperm now have the legal right to discover their true parentage and less privileged countries such as Thailand and Cambodia are banning surrogacy.
Breaking News Alert

Parents who have conceived naturally as a key aspect of what it means to be married also know that children require a male and a female role model if they are to fully mature and develop as young adults.

Both genetically and emotionally, and what is expected socially, men and women are different. While much has been done to promote equality of the sexes the fact is that boys need strong, male role models.

This I know from personal experience after losing a father to alcoholism and domestic violence as a young child and missing out on the love and companionship that only a father can provide.

In the same way, despite the campaign by feminists to erase gender stereotyping, young girls generally copy their mothers and express themselves in a feminine way. As a general rule, boys are more physical than girls and less emotionally demonstrative.

Forget the mantra that equality only occurs when all sexes are the same – it is possible to be equal but different.

Changing the marriage act to include same-sex couples radically redefines and alters the meaning of a sacred union that provides more than just a physical and emotional connection.

Such is the special union of body and spirit involved in a marriage between a man and a woman that it necessitates a unique ritual and sacred compact that should not be weakened by being radically redefined as argued by same-sex activists.

The argument that the marriage act should not be radically redefined is based on the fact that gays and lesbians already enjoy all the rights and privileges of de-facto couples. Long gone are the days when gays and lesbians were ostracised or discriminated against.

There's no doubt that we are living in a time of significant social change, where social institutions such as marriage that have stood the test of time are being critiqued and undermined.

While some argue the benefits of such change, including increased autonomy, freedom and diversity, there is also an obvious downside. The English poet T. S. Eliot argues, "by far the most important channel of transmission of culture remains the family: and when family fails to play its part, we must expect our culture to deteriorate".

While not being as strident as Eliot it is true that family is central to a society's continued prosperity and growth. And central to the concept of family is the traditional definition of marriage.

SOURCE

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Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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Sunday, August 20, 2017



Anti-immigration protesters attacked by hundreds of far-Leftists as they march through the streets of Barcelona just one day after deadly terror attack in the city

The anti-immigration protesters are described by the sensationalist media as members of the Falange, the Fascist organization that kept dictator Franco in power for many decades, though Franco himself was not a member of it.  The Falange does still exist in Spain -- getting about 1% of the vote in national elections -- but we have no means of knowing the party connections of the protesters.  It could all be just media beatup. There are just not many Falangists left and you would not have to be a member of the Falange to be angry about Muslim immigration to Spain after the recent terrorist attacks there.

But even if we do assume that the protesters were Falangists, that does NOT of itself  indicate that they were racists.  From the Roman empire to this day, Southern Europeans have been little concerned about race.  Italian dictator Mussolini did for quite a time have Jews prominent in the Fascist party for instance.  Mussolini eventually proclaimed some widely-ignored anti-Jewish laws only after Hitler pushed him into it. And there is great sympathy for Israel in Italy to this day.

And the Falange of Franco's day were not concerned about race either.  Their primary foci were anti-communism and pro-Catholicism.  So to procalim that these anti-immigration protesters were racists would be ipso facto unfounded, though the media will no doubt say otherwise

The one thing we can conclude is that, like Hitler's Brownshirts,  Leftist thugs will emerge to attack those they disagree with wherever that might be.  It is they who are the Nazis, not the critics of Islam



Far-right activists were met by a huge crowd of anti-fascist protesters as they marched in Barcelona one day after a terror attack killed 13 people in the city. 

Members of the extreme Falange group congregated on Las Ramblas boulevard this afternoon before being met by hundreds of counter-demonstrators waving flags and banners.

Tensions were so high that armed riot police were called in to separate the groups as violence broke out.

Pictures show demonstrators shouting in each other's faces and fighting in the streets as tempers boiled over.

One photograph shows an anti-fascist punching a Falange supporter in the face amid a scuffle in the crowd. The punched man, who was wearing a T-Shirt emblazoned with the far-right slogan, 'Do not stop until you conquer', was later seen with a black eye.

He was later seen with a fellow protester whose face and hands were covered in blood after he had been hit in the nose.

The chaotic scenes took place near the scene where yesterday a van ploughed into pedestrians in an attack that also left more than 100 injured.

Falange took to the streets to 'protest Islam' and blame Spain's immigration policy for the attack.

A post on the group's website said: 'No one was fooled into thinking that the policies of multiculturalism and #RefugeesWelcome wouldn’t end like they did in Las Ramblas in Barcelona.'

Falange abandoned the demonstration after it was stormed by counter-demonstrators and had to be escorted away from Las Ramblas by police.

SOURCE






It’s clear now: the left only hates certain kinds of neo-fascism

Rarely has the hypocrisy of the West’s ostensible liberals and leftists been as violently exposed as it has been this week. Between Charlottesville and Barcelona, between their fury over the former and their embarrassment at the latter, we have gained a glimpse into today’s extraordinary double standards over extremists who loathe liberty, democracy and swathes of mankind. If the extremists are white and fond of the swastika, they’ll be roundly condemned, organised against, transformed into a focal point for the activities of a flagging left. But if they’re Muslims, if it’s a misogynistic, homophobic caliphate they want to build, if their targets are ‘kuffars’ rather than pinkos or black people, they will be frowned upon, of course, but never raged against. Never organised against. They will be treated more forgivingly, and explicitly so. It’s clear now: leftists only dislike certain kinds of neo-fascism.

Even before the barbarism in Barcelona, even before that Islamist terrorist mowed down scores of people, killing 13, the discussion about Charlottesville had become unhinged. What was in truth a nasty but small demonstration by white-power losers was transformed into the second coming of the Third Reich. Where most leftists and liberal commentators respond to Islamist barbarism with a sad emoji or a national flag on their Facebook page, they responded to Charlottesville with historic hyperbole. They shared images of Brits landing in France to fight Nazis, implying they were the heirs to such fighting. America mirrors Germany in the 1930s, they claimed. The self-flattery was off the scale, as if their breaking a nail as they tweet a piss-taking meme of Richard Spencer is comparable with those working-class men who left their families to fight in the Spanish Civil War or join the Greek resistance. The left’s blowing-up of Charlottesville is directly proportionate to its loss of focus and principle: it spies in these pathetic neo-Nazis a force it might resuscitate its fortunes in opposition to; a thing it might define itself against.

But if the treatment of Charlottesville and its vile car attack as a return of Nazism looked questionable before Barcelona, it looks mad after it. Yes, there are extremists in the West who have declared war on our fellow citizens, our liberties and our democracy. But they aren’t American hillbillies who once tried to read Mein Kampf — they’re Islamists, Muslims who subscribe to an extraordinarily intolerant interpretation of their religion and who increasingly think little of slaughtering anybody whose values run counter to theirs, whether it’s French cartoonists, Berlin Christmas shoppers, British pop fans, or crowds in Nice celebrating Bastille Day and the birth of modern mass democracy. These people’s violent misanthropy makes America’s white-nationalist movement look like a hippy outfit in comparison. A suspected hard-right fanatic killed one person at Charlottesville, in a foul assault on life and liberty; Islamists, if we add Barcelona, have killed more than 460 people in Europe in the past three years. Four-hundred-and-sixty. Let that sink in.

And yet after Barcelona, as is the case after every Islamist attack, there has been an awkward, shuffling silence in left and liberal circles. There is media coverage, of course. Lots of it, as there should be. There are condemnations and offers of solidarity with Barcelona, and so on. That’s all good. But politics? Anger? A demand that we recognise the gravity of the threat posed by Islamists and get together to do something about it? Calls for confrontation with Islamist movements, demands that we ‘Punch an Islamist’, in the same way American leftists have promoted ‘Punch a Nazi’? No.

On the contrary, we are encouraged to be sad about Islamist attacks but never active in relation to them. ‘Don’t look back in anger.’ Consider how swiftly the Manchester barbarism has drifted from Britain’s national consciousness. It wasn’t even three months ago, and yet this slaughter of 22 pop fans by a man who subscribed to an ideological worldview that is as ugly, if not uglier, as that spouted by American white nationalists is fading from national memory. That is a direct consequence of the cowardly, apolitical, even anti-political climate that is always cultivated after Islamist attacks: we are always invited to ‘move on’ because dwelling on such extremist violence would raise too many awkward questions.

The difference is alarming: Charlottesville was instantly institutionalised as a turning-point event. It was folded, in mere days, into a 21st-century political narrative about a resurgent far right (an overblown threat) and the need for a more serious, anti-fascist left. It became a morality tale, swiftly. After Islamist attacks, in contrast, we’re openly warned against doing anything like that. Don’t look for lessons. Don’t make it a moral issue. Don’t politicise it or get too angry about it, because apparently that’s what ISIS wants. Mourn it and carry on with life as normal — that’ll show ’em. This urge to moralise small neo-Nazi protests in the US while de-moralising, depoliticising and fundamentally defusing the problem of Islamist extremism, even though this extremism is a far more destabilising force, has to be explained. What drives this alarming double standard?

It’s fear. Cultural fear. Fear of us, the masses, and what we will get up to if society green-lights an honest discussion about the Islamist problem. And fear for Muslims, whom too many on the left infantilise and treat as incapable of hearing robust discussion about problems in their communities. (It has always struck me that there is more racism in certain leftists’ desire to protect Muslims from testy debate than there is in alt-righters’ misplaced fury with all Muslims: at least the latter treats Muslims as adults, open to criticism, rather than as children who need strictures against Islamophobia to guard their fragile feelings.)

And so where leftists insist after Islamist attacks that we mustn’t hold all Muslims responsible, or make such violence into a focal point for politics, or get too angry, after Charlottesville they said the precise opposite. ‘White culture’ did this. Let’s organise our political lives around it. Let’s get angry, really angry. They’re more comfortable confronting handfuls of American neo-Nazis because they can do so without engaging the bovine, untrustworthy little people and without threatening to raise questions about the ideology of multiculturalism and its divisive, increasingly violent impact in Europe.

They have declared a ridiculous, self-flattering war on neo-Nazism precisely as a distraction from the real problems facing Western society today, to which they have no answers, and are uncomfortable even with the questions.

SOURCE





Mob Rule Prevails in Toppling of Confederate Statue



Following the ugly incident that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, this past weekend, an unruly mob took out its anger on a century-old statue in North Carolina.

It is a perfect example of how tribal and identity politics are raging out of control in America, and how radicals will continue to ratchet up their tactics to match one another.

While the media spent its time connecting riots to the political right, the hard left continued to step up its tactics to promote social discord, as it has been doing for years.

On Monday afternoon, a crowd of people in an "Emergency Durham Protest" marched down Durham’s Main Street, then made its way to the Durham County Courthouse.

The Herald Sun reported that organizations like the "Triangle People’s Assembly, Workers World Party, Industrial Workers of the World, Democratic Socialists of America, and the Antifa movement" were at the rally.

One of the participants, Eva Panjwani of the Workers World Party Durham, said in an interview:

This is really an opportunity, this moment of Charlottesville, to see what side of history we are choosing to side with. This is not a call to make someone to feel guilty or ashamed. This is a call to say this is an ask from people of color to say which side are you on.

"We need to shun passive, white liberalism," Panjwani said.

The larger group was comprised of people demonstrating with various left-wing slogans such as a "No Trump, No KKK, No Racist USA" banner, pro-socialist Che Guevara shirts, and numerous odes to abolishing capitalism.

One individual held a sign that said, "Cops and clan go hand in hand," as the group marched past police officers.

The crowd gathered in front of the courthouse and decided to target a statue that was created in memoriam to "the boys who wore the gray." That is, the North Carolina soldiers who fought for the Confederate Army in the Civil War.

What followed was a scene reminiscent of the French Revolution or the war in Iraq.

The rage-filled protesters tore down the statue and proceeded to kick and desecrate it. The surging mass of people hooted and hollered as individuals took turns spitting on and flipping off the generic visage of a young Southern soldier.

The act of vandalism continued unabated, as authorities stood by and watched. Durham Police put out a statement saying that they did not interfere with the toppling because it happened on "county property, where county law enforcement officials were staffed."

In the aftermath, some of the protesters took pictures in front of the crumpled-up bronze statue that had been pulverized in the fall.

Targeting this statue was seemingly an odd choice. It portrayed no individual specifically and was erected as a tribute in 1924 to the young boys, by that time old men, who had donned the uniform of the failed Confederate rebellion.

However, the attack was fitting as a mirror to the "alt-right" march that had taken place at the foot of a Gen. Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville. The individuals portrayed by the monuments were simply irrelevant.

This isn’t a battle over ideas or the Confederacy’s place in American history, it’s sheer and mindless identity politics.

American towns and cities are now increasingly being besieged by agitators who flaunt the law, direct their hate toward fellow citizens, and openly attack the crucial principles at the heart of the American way of life.

The resounding message that these events send is that in 2017, it’s impossible for this country to accept people of different creeds and points of views. You are either on the "right side of history," as President Barack Obama said, or you are on the wrong side.

The narrative is increasingly join us, or be crushed.

Perhaps the protesters should pay more attention to what happened in our Civil War, which claimed more lives than all of our other wars combined.

Perhaps they should study the leaders who, however imperfectly, tried to bind regions and people together to move on from a civil feud that pitted brother against brother and American against American.

And perhaps they should have studied the people, like Lee and President Abraham Lincoln, who tried to piece the shattered puzzle of American nationhood back together.

Alas, those concepts were lost in a sordid trampling of an old, barely noticed statue. Unless leaders pay increased devotion to denouncing and taking action against these lawless demonstrations, mob rule is here to stay.

SOURCE





"Allahu Akhbar" now heard in Finland

The attacker was described by police as "a youngish man with a foreign background."

Stab victim Hassan Zubier, 45, was slashed repeatedly as he tried to help an injured woman who died in his arms during yesterday's bloody rampage in Turku, Finland.

'We were strolling around the square when we suddenly heard someone screaming. I turned around. I saw a guy stabbing a woman with a knife while she lies on the ground,' Mr Zubier told Swedish daily Expressen from the Turku hospital.

'I rushed to help her and tried to stop the blood flow. Others gave her heart and lung assistance.'

The attacker then turned to slash at Zubier's girlfriend. He said that he rushed between her and the armed man and was stabbed twice.

Mr Zubier, a Swedish national, said that the attacker then moved away and he returned to the injured woman who he believed was dying on the ground.

'I try to stop the violent bleeding from her throat. Then he stabs me with the knife again. The woman is so badly injured and she dies in my arms,' he said.

Mr Zubier said that he has been stabbed in his neck, in his chest, at the side of the chest and on the back of his shoulders.

'My left hand is seriously injured. A nerve is injured, it is not certain that they can save the arm. I'm going to the MRI now, the doctors will then decide what to do.'

Mr Zubier and his girlfriend were on holiday in Turku. They were planning to have taken a cruise ship back to Stockholm on Friday night. 

Two people have been killed and at least eight wounded after a man armed with a knife stabbed several people on Market Square before he was shot by armed police.

Eight people were taken to hospital following the stabbings, including a woman who was pushing a pram. Some of the victims are in a critical condition.

Within three minutes of the attack beginning, police shot a man in the leg before arresting him.

They are now on the hunt for more potential suspects.

At least one person was pictured lying bleeding and motionless on the pavement among other victims in the southwestern city of Turku.

Chief of police Seppo Kolehmainen said the attack was not currently being treated as terror-related, but said such a motive cannot be ruled out.

The attack began at 4.02pm, officials said, with the suspect arrested at 4.05pm.

All of the victims in the attack are adults, Turko hospital chief said. 

President of Finland Sauli Niinisto speaks to journalists as he arrives for a prayer service at the Turku Cathedral for the victims of the stabbing attack which began today at 16:02

Police and emergency services rushed to Turku in response to the attack. 'International terrorism' has not been ruled out as a motive, the police chief for the area said

Finnish police said they were reinforcing security nationwide, with additional patrols and boosted surveillance following the stabbings.

Interior Minister Paula Risikko told Helsingin Sanomat she did not yet know whether the attack was related to terrorism.

The arrested suspect is being treated in hospital.

Speaking to US broadcaster CNN, Kent Svensson, 44, said: 'This guy had this huge knife in his hand - and several times he was stabbing this person. People were just running everywhere.

'This guy was just constantly stabbing. He was just turning around, flinging his knife everywhere. There were people lying everywhere. 'People were screaming and running.

'We were just talking about what happened in Barcelona. 'We thought we were safe in Finland. And then this happens.

'The woman was on the ground. She was dead. It's just awful. 'I can just see this huge knife in his hand and he's just stabbing.'  

In a video purporting to show the aftermath of the attack, people can be seen fleeing in the street.

It was also reported that a man was heard screaming 'Allahu Akbar' during the attack, but others have stressed this was merely misheard Finnish.

Turun Sanomat said police were inspecting departing trains and buses. 

'The government is following the situation in Turku closely and a police operation is under way,' tweeted Prime Minister Juha Sippila ahead of a cabinet meeting.

'Police are looking for other possible perpetrators of the crime in Turku,' security forces wrote on Twitter. 'They ask the population to leave and avoid central Turku.' 

According to local media site Uutiset, police tweeted: 'Several people stabbed in central Turku. People are requested to avoid the city centre.' Moments later a suspect was shot in the leg and arrested.     

Ilta-Sanomat, meanwhile, is reporting that people in the street tried to prevent the attack as it was going on.  One is reported to have used a baseball bat to strike the attacker. 

The attack comes just a day after at least 14 people were killed and over a hundred hurt in terror attacks in Catalonia.

SOURCE





The Group That Got Ignored in Charlottesville

The "alt-right" is evil. White supremacism is evil. Neo-Nazism is evil.

But the media have remained largely silent about another group: Antifa. Antifa is a loosely connected band of anti-capitalist protesters generally on the far left who dub themselves "anti-fascist" after their compatriots in Europe. They've been around in the United States since the 1990s, protesting globalization and burning trash cans at World Trade Organization meetings. But they've kicked into high gear over the past two years: They engaged in vandalism in violence, forcing the cancelation of a speech by alt-right popularizer Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of California, Berkeley; a few months later, they attacked alt-right demonstrators in Berkeley; they attacked alt-right demonstrators in Sacramento, California, leading to a bloody street fight; they threw projectiles at police during President Trump's inauguration; they attacked pro-Trump free-speech demonstrators in Seattle last weekend. They always label their opponents "fascists" in order to justify their violence.

In Charlottesville, Antifa engaged in street violence with the alt-right racists. As in Weimar, Germany, fascists flying the swastika engaged in hand-to-hand combat with Antifa members flying the communist red. And yet, the media declared that any negative coverage granted to Antifa would detract from the obvious evils of the alt-right. Sheryl Gay Stolberg of The New York Times tweeted in the midst of the violence, "The hard left seemed as hate-filled as alt-right. I saw club-wielding 'antifa' beating white nationalists being led out of the park." After receiving blowback from the left, Stolberg then corrected herself. She said: "Rethinking this. Should have said violent, not hate-filled. They were standing up to hate."

Or perhaps Antifa is a hateful group itself. But that wouldn't fit the convenient narrative Antifa promotes and the media buy: that the sole threat to the republic comes from the racist right. Perhaps that's why the media ignored the events in Sacramento and Berkeley and Seattle — to point out the evils of Antifa might detract from the evils of the alt-right.

That sort of biased coverage only engenders more militancy from the alt-right, which feels it must demonstrate openly and repeatedly to "stand up to Antifa." Which, of course, prompts Antifa to violence.

Here's the moral solution, as always: Condemn violence and evil wherever it occurs. The racist philosophy of the alt-right is evil. The violence of the alt-right is evil. The communist philosophy of Antifa is evil. So is the violence of Antifa. If we are to survive as a republic, we must call out Nazis but not punch them; we must stop providing cover to anarchists and communists who seek to hide behind self-proclaimed righteousness to participate in violence. Otherwise, we won't be an honest or a free society.

SOURCE

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Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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Friday, August 18, 2017



Misusing Robert E. Lee

On April 12, 1861, the day secessionists in South Carolina bombarded Ft. Sumter to fire the shots that opened the American Civil War, then-Colonel Robert E. Lee was perhaps America's most accomplished soldier

Lee had served with distinction in the Mexican War, leading a reconnaissance patrol that discovered the means by which the Americans defeated the Mexicans at the battle of Cerro Gordo. He had served as Superintendent of West Point, had supervised the construction of numerous coastal fortifications, and most recently, Lee Robert E. Lee Statuecommanded the forces that captured abolitionist John Brown and the gang that had attempted to seize the government arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia and start a slave rebellion.

As America moved inexorably toward Civil War, General Winfield Scott, the highest ranking American general, and a hero of the Mexican War, told President Abraham Lincoln that he wished Lee to command the Union army. Lee, who on March 28, 1861, had ignored an offer of command in the Confederate army was offered the command on April 18, 1861, just six days after Ft. Sumter.

Lee refused the command on the grounds that he was a Virginian and owed his first allegiance to the state he believed was a sovereign entity with the right to stay in or leave the Union as it saw fit. He would, he said, not make war on the Union, but he would defend the state of his birth.

When Virginia seceded from the Union Lee said, "I shall never bear arms against the Union, but it may be necessary for me to carry a musket in the defense of my native state, Virginia, in which case I shall not prove recreant to my duty."

Why would Lee choose the state of Virginia over the United States of America?

While Lee espused the paternalistic attitudes many Nineteenth Century Americans felt toward Africans, it certainly wasn't because he believed slavery was just; he wrote in 1856, "There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil."

Lee wasn't pro-slavery, he believed, as did many others of his day, that the United States of America was merely an association of sovereign states that could, if they chose, leave it or dissolve it.

That this view had been forcefully rejected by his fellow Southerner President Andrew Jackson who wrote in a proclamation rebutting an earlier move by South Carolina to nullify federal law, "I consider, then, the power to annul a law of the United States, assumed by one State, incompatible with the existence of the Union, contradicted expressly by the letter of the Constitution, unauthorized by its spirit, inconsistent with every principle on which It was founded, and destructive of the great object for which it was formed," did not back in 1861 make it any less persuasive to many in the South and even some in the North.

We all know of Lee's legendary conduct of the Civil War campaigns in defense of Virginia, his defeat at Gettysburg and his eventual surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia.

Were Lee's erroneous view of the Union and the Constitution and his conduct of the Confederate armies during the Civil War all we knew about Robert E. Lee there would be little controversy in removing his statues from their places of honor.

But it isn't what Lee did before and during the Civil War that makes him such an important figure in American history - and one that should be honored - it is what he did after the Civil War that earned him the memorials erected to his memory and a place in history that should be honored by all.

When Lee surrendered at Appomattox he also signed a parole document swearing upon his honor not to bear arms against the United States or to "tender aid to its enemies." Lee's surrender and his immediate parole were essential in preventing the Civil War from continuing as a destructive guerilla war that would have continued to rend the country indefinitely.

General Grant's terms provided that all officers and men were to be pardoned, and they would be sent home with their private property - most important, the horses, which could be used for a late spring planting. Officers would keep their side arms, and Lee's starving men would be given Union rations.

General Grant told his officers, "The war is over. The Rebels are our countrymen again." Although scattered resistance continued for several weeks, for all practical purposes the Civil War had come to an end.*

Just six weeks after Lee's surrender at Appomattox President Andrew Johnson issued a Proclamation of Amnesty and Pardon to persons who had participated in the rebellion against the United States. However, there were certain excepted classes and members of those classes had to make special application to the President.

Robert E. Lee was among those excepted, and there were plenty of people in the North, including members of Congress, who wanted to see him tried and executed for treason.

However, there was one man who refused to countenance such a course of action; General Ulysses S. Grant. Grant rightly understood that fulfilling the terms of his parole of Robert E. Lee were essential to healing the wounds of the Civil War.

Just two months after the surrender at Appomattox Lee sent an application to Grant and wrote to President Johnson on June 13, 1865:

"Being excluded from the provisions of amnesty & pardon contained in the proclamation of the 29th Ulto; I hereby apply for the benefits, & full restoration of all rights & privileges extended to those included in its terms. I graduated at the Mil. Academy at West Point in June 1829. Resigned from the U.S. Army April '61. Was a General in the Confederate Army, & included in the surrender of the Army of N. Va. 9 April '65."

On October 2, 1865, the same day that Lee was inaugurated as president of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia, he signed his Amnesty Oath, thereby complying fully with the provision of Johnson's proclamation.

Lee's greatest legacy is not his campaigns, which are still taught at military institutions around the world, but his contribution to national reconciliation.

Although he had ostensibly retired from the national spotlight, Lee became a voice of moderation and patient compliance. In his public letters, a number of which were reprinted in newspapers, he urged that "all should unite in honest efforts to obliterate the effects of war and to restore the blessings of peace."

Lee vowed to do "all in my power to encourage our people to set manfully to work to restore the country, to rebuild their homes and churches, to educate their children, and to remain with their states, their friends and countrymen."

Thus, when Congress ordered the drafting of new constitutions in the former Confederate states and disgruntled southerners contemplated a boycott of the system, Lee announced that it was "the duty of the [southern] people to accept the situation fully" and that every man should not only "prepare himself to vote" but also "prepare his friends, white and colored, to vote and to vote rightly."**

Lee's code of conduct demanded submission to federal authority. With characteristic self-discipline, he put the past behind him and moved forward. Many southerners proved willing to follow Lee's example and through them the United States was not only reunited, but rebuilt into the preeminent military and economic power it is today.

Erasing Robert E. Lee from history - or celebrating him as a symbol of "white nationalism" - is a grave error; not only does it distort history to suit the purposes of elements in society that Lee abhorred, it misuses one of the greatest symbols of the social compact that reunited the country after four years of brother against brother bloodshed and hatred.

SOURCE






How to Break Silicon Valley's Anti-Free-Speech Monopoly

In the wake of the outrageous and possibly illegal firing of James Damore for writing a memo that pushed back against Google's "politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence," the company has been the focus of an eminently deserved torrent of criticism. A fair bit of this critique has gone beyond the particular situation of Mr. Damore to look at the general hostility of the technology industry to conservatives and conservative thought. Unfortunately, what has been lacking from almost all of these cris de coeur is a strategy regarding what to do about it.

    Fortunately, there are some things we can do that could turn the tables on Silicon Valley's leftist censorship and restore free speech to the Internet. But first, some background.

    The evidence of Silicon Valley's hostility to the Right is everywhere. Prominent conservatives from Michelle Malkin to William Jacobson to Dennis Prager (just to name a few NRO contributors) - and an even greater proportion of those whose politics lean farther to the right, many of whom do not have access to mainstream media and rely on social media to fund their work - have seen themselves banned from major Internet platforms or had their content censored or demonetized. In most cases they are not even given grounds for their punishment or means of appealing it. While some more "mainstream" conservatives may not feel excessively troubled by the banning of more provocative voices farther to the right, in taking this attitude they make a tactical, strategic, and moral mistake. They do not understand how the Left operates. When voices farther to the right are removed, mainstream conservatives become the new "far-right extremists" - and they will be banned with equal alacrity.

    In my scholarly work, I write primarily about energy policy, in which electric utilities are usually referred to as "natural monopolies." Government regulation of these utilities has traditionally been justified to avoid having multiple companies building redundant and costly infrastructure and distribution assets.

    For conservatives, the time has begun to think of some major Web services - in particular Facebook, Google, YouTube, and Twitter - in the same way. Yes, they are private companies, just as many utilities are. And yes, these Internet monopolies do not have the same physical-infrastructure advantages that electric-utility monopolies have. But because of their network effects, their dominance and monopoly power are in many ways even starker.

    If I don't like my utility I can put solar panels on my roof and an inverter and battery in my garage, and I can still get power. But if I can't get access to the 2 billion people on Facebook because Facebook doesn't like my politics, my rights of free expression are greatly curtailed.

    And despite the fact that these are private companies, they may be violating free-speech law, as Internet-law professor Mark Grabowski has detailed in the Washington Examiner. In Packingham v. North Carolina last month, the Supreme Court unanimously struck down a North Carolina law barring sex offenders from accessing social-media platforms, with the Court repeatedly and strongly emphasizing that social media are now a crucial part of the public square. As Grabowski notes, California's state constitution protects free speech in some privately owned spaces, such as shopping malls. Arguably, that protection should now extend to social media - and all the major tech companies are headquartered in California.

    But even if such arguments are not brought before the courts, the market-dominance or monopoly issue still remains a potent justification for regulation. The value of a social network such as Facebook grows proportionally with the square of the number of people connected to it (a finding known as Metcalfe's law, promulgated by networking pioneer Bob Metcalfe almost 40 years ago). Eighty-nine percent of U.S. Internet users are on Facebook. Twitter has more than 300 million users and plays a critical gatekeeper and distribution role in the high-speed promulgation of content and news. Google owns 88 percent of total U.S. search revenue. YouTube is similarly dominant in video.

    Given their market-dominant positions, these companies control a substantial share of the information that Americans consume and therefore should be run in a politically neutral fashion. Instead, they have doubled down on politically motivated censorship - demonetizing right-wing content providers (unilaterally declaring their content to be unfit to have commercials) or even banning them while doing nothing about politically favored ones.

    But there are solutions to this abuse of monopolistic power.

    These solutions need not be excessively burdensome or intrusive. They could focus on creating a simple regulatory regime that would ensure these monopolistic companies:


  1.         Do not censor any content that is compliant with the First Amendment to the United States Constitution; and

  2.    

  3.         Do not fully demonetize any user's content, pulling ads from posts only when the advertiser has requested such action be taken.


    In addition, going forward, these companies' records should be liable to be subpoenaed by the appropriate congressional committees to ensure that they have not abused their monopoly powers in ways that disfavor relevant content for political reasons, which they almost certainly do today. In the electric-utility industry, laws and regulatory bodies exist to ensure that the owners of transmission and distribution networks cannot arbitrarily discriminate against certain generators. The same if not greater standards should apply to speech.

    Such a proposal is hardly pie-in-the-sky - in fact, a version of this idea has reportedly been pushed privately by the White House's Steve Bannon, who, not coincidentally, has been among the most Internet-savvy voices on the right.

    Even before the Damore firing there were plenty of ominous signs. YouTube had promised "tougher treatment to videos that aren't illegal but have been flagged by users as potential violations of our policies on hate speech and violent extremism." The supposed focus of this effort was videos promoting terrorism, but right-wing content providers were immediately affected, with their channels banned or demonetized in many instances.

    The stakes of inaction are clear. In a major profile in the The New York Times Magazine earlier this month, YouTube was referred to as "The New Talk Radio" providing right-wing and conservative content not available in mainstream sources and as a result serving as a rallying point for those on the right. The Times highlights Lauren Southern, Paul Joseph Watson, Ezra Levant, and Stephen Crowder as among the dangerous rightists on YouTube. Sophisticated watchers of the Right will recognize that these individuals belong to very different groups with different relationships to the conservative mainstream. But they should all be able to speak freely.

    While I understand and share the concern about allowing government interference in private businesses, even those with monopoly power, we should not allow the conservative ship to be wrecked on the shoals of philosophical abstraction. What is needed is not regulation to restrict speech but regulation specifically to allow speech - regulation put on monopolist and market-dominant companies that have abused their positions repeatedly. Regulating these monopolies for the purpose of protecting free speech is a far different matter than regulating them to restrict free speech. To argue otherwise, to quote William F. Buckley in a different context, "is the equivalent of saying that the man who pushes an old lady into the path of a hurtling bus is not to be distinguished from the man who pushes an old lady out of the path of a hurtling bus: on the grounds that, after all, in both cases someone is pushing old ladies around."

    As bans and financial threats have become increasingly frequent, some on the right have moved from Facebook and Twitter to new platforms such as Gab. But while I wish Gab well and think it is vital that the Right build its own social-media ecosystem outside of leftist control, that is no substitute for the ability to speak to and interact with the mainstream - where people who might not be exposed to the ideas of the Right can be engaged with and persuaded. We need to be able to tweet to the unconverted, not just the choir.

    YouTube promotes its "Creators for Change" program by writing that "no matter what kind of videos we make, we all have the power to help create the world we want." But if Silicon Valley has its way, that won't be true for conservatives. I personally know some executives at these companies who are politically open-minded. But taken as a whole, I don't trust them to offer a free, open, and politically unbiased platform. And neither should anyone else.

    That's why we need to make sure that these monopolies and platforms - which have been shielded with their privileges, such as the Safe Harbor provisions of the 1998 Digital Millenium Copyright Act - respect the free speech of all Americans, not just those who agree with them. This administration can drain the Silicon Valley swamp and create change. To do it is going to require investigations from conservative journalists, legislation from Congress, regulation from appropriate regulatory bodies, and ultimately the support of President Trump.

    The notion that social-media companies are utilities (and therefore might be regulated like utilities) did not originate in the fevered minds of right-wing policy analysts. For many years Mark Zuckerberg described Facebook as "a social utility" made up of "lots of separate networks." He also described Facebook as "more like a government than a traditional company."

    "What we're trying to do is just make it really efficient for people to communicate, get information, and share information. We always try to emphasize the utility component," Zuckerberg said. But increasingly these platforms are making it as hard as possible for those on the right to communicate and share information.

    Facebook, Google, and their ilk are indeed utilities, utilities that deliver public benefits and not just private ones. It's time for Congress and the Trump administration to start treating them that way.

SOURCE





Trump's Interior Department Won't Be Removing Confederate Monuments From Civil War Battlefields

The Interior Department won't be removing monuments to Confederate soldiers at national battlefields that are "an important part of our country's history," according to a spokesman.

"The National Park Service is committed to safeguarding these memorials while simultaneously educating visitors holistically and objectively about the actions, motivations and causes of the soldiers and states they commemorate," spokesman Jeremy Barnum told E&E News.

National Park statements come after a woman was killed counter-protesting a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. The city voted to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

A man driving a Dodge Challenger drove into a crowd of counter protesters, killing one and injuring 19 others. That man, 20-year-old James Alex Fields, has been charged with second-degree murder.

The incident has only spurred the movement to remove Confederate monuments and rename schools, buildings and highways that had been named after Confederate politicians and generals.

President Donald Trump stoked the controversy even more by not explicitly calling out white supremacist groups in his initial condemnation of Saturday's violent clash. Trump issued a more forceful follow-up statement, but got into a fight with reporters at a news conference Tuesday.

"George Washington as a slave owner," Trump said. "So will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to take down statues to George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson?"

"Are we going to take down his statue because he was a major slave owner. Are we going to take down his statue?" Trump said

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he supports Trump "in uniting our communities and prosecuting the criminals to the fullest extent of the law."

"The racism, bigotry and hate perpetrated by violent white supremacist groups has no place in America," Zinke told E&E News. "It does not represent what I spent 23 years defending in the United States military and what millions of people around the globe have died for. We must respond to hate with love, unity and justice."

The National Park Service maintains numerous monuments to Confederate soldiers at battlefield sites across the country.

For example, Gettysburg, Penn., has 12 monuments to Confederate soldiers. The Battle of Antietam, which took place near Sharpsburg, Md., in 1862, has six Confederate monuments.

A Gettysburg National Military Park spokeswoman told The Evening Sun Wednesday they were not removing Confederate monuments to those who fought at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.

"These memorials, erected predominantly in the early and mid-20th century, are an important part of the cultural landscape," Katie Lawhon said.

Zinke told reporters in July that battlefield monuments were worth preserving for their historical value.

"Don't rewrite history," Zinke said Antietam National Battlefield. "Understand it for what it is and teach our kids the importance of looking at our magnificent history as a country and why we are what we are."

SOURCE





The Rise of the Violent Left

Violence begets violence. Antifa’s activists say they’re battling burgeoning authoritarianism on the American right. Are they fueling it instead?

By PETER BEINART, a liberal

Since 1907, Portland, Oregon, has hosted an annual Rose Festival. Since 2007, the festival had included a parade down 82nd Avenue. Since 2013, the Republican Party of Multnomah County, which includes Portland, had taken part. This April, all of that changed.

In the days leading up to the planned parade, a group called the Direct Action Alliance declared, “Fascists plan to march through the streets,” and warned, “Nazis will not march through Portland unopposed.” The alliance said it didn’t object to the Multnomah GOP itself, but to “fascists” who planned to infiltrate its ranks. Yet it also denounced marchers with “Trump flags” and “red maga hats” who could “normalize support for an orange man who bragged about sexually harassing women and who is waging a war of hate, racism and prejudice.” A second group, Oregon Students Empowered, created a Facebook page called “Shut down fascism! No nazis in Portland!”

Next, the parade’s organizers received an anonymous email warning that if “Trump supporters” and others who promote “hateful rhetoric” marched, “we will have two hundred or more people rush into the parade … and drag and push those people out.” When Portland police said they lacked the resources to provide adequate security, the organizers canceled the parade. It was a sign of things to come.

For progressives, Donald Trump is not just another Republican president. Seventy-six percent of Democrats, according to a Suffolk poll from last September, consider him a racist. Last March, according to a YouGov survey, 71 percent of Democrats agreed that his campaign contained “fascist undertones.” All of which raises a question that is likely to bedevil progressives for years to come: If you believe the president of the United States is leading a racist, fascist movement that threatens the rights, if not the lives, of vulnerable minorities, how far are you willing to go to stop it?

In Washington, D.C., the response to that question centers on how members of Congress can oppose Trump’s agenda, on how Democrats can retake the House of Representatives, and on how and when to push for impeachment. But in the country at large, some militant leftists are offering a very different answer. On Inauguration Day, a masked activist punched the white-supremacist leader Richard Spencer. In February, protesters violently disrupted UC Berkeley’s plans to host a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos, a former Breitbart.com editor. In March, protesters pushed and shoved the controversial conservative political scientist Charles Murray when he spoke at Middlebury College, in Vermont.

As far-flung as these incidents were, they have something crucial in common. Like the organizations that opposed the Multnomah County Republican Party’s participation in the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade, these activists appear to be linked to a movement called “antifa,” which is short for antifascist or Anti-Fascist Action. The movement’s secrecy makes definitively cataloging its activities difficult, but this much is certain: Antifa’s power is growing. And how the rest of the activist left responds will help define its moral character in the Trump age.

Antifa traces its roots to the 1920s and ’30s, when militant leftists battled fascists in the streets of Germany, Italy, and Spain. When fascism withered after World War II, antifa did too. But in the ’70s and ’80s, neo-Nazi skinheads began to infiltrate Britain’s punk scene. After the Berlin Wall fell, neo-Nazism also gained prominence in Germany. In response, a cadre of young leftists, including many anarchists and punk fans, revived the tradition of street-level antifascism.

In the late ’80s, left-wing punk fans in the United States began following suit, though they initially called their groups Anti-Racist Action, on the theory that Americans would be more familiar with fighting racism than fascism. According to Mark Bray, the author of the forthcoming Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, these activists toured with popular alternative bands in the ’90s, trying to ensure that neo-Nazis did not recruit their fans. In 2002, they disrupted a speech by the head of the World Church of the Creator, a white-supremacist group in Pennsylvania; 25 people were arrested in the resulting brawl.

Antifa’s violent tactics have elicited substantial support from the mainstream left.

By the 2000s, as the internet facilitated more transatlantic dialogue, some American activists had adopted the name antifa. But even on the militant left, the movement didn’t occupy the spotlight. To most left-wing activists during the Clinton, Bush, and Obama years, deregulated global capitalism seemed like a greater threat than fascism.

Trump has changed that. For antifa, the result has been explosive growth. According to NYC Antifa, the group’s Twitter following nearly quadrupled in the first three weeks of January alone. (By summer, it exceeded 15,000.) Trump’s rise has also bred a new sympathy for antifa among some on the mainstream left. “Suddenly,” noted the antifa-aligned journal It’s Going Down, “anarchists and antifa, who have been demonized and sidelined by the wider Left have been hearing from liberals and Leftists, ‘you’ve been right all along.’ ” An article in The Nation argued that “to call Trumpism fascist” is to realize that it is “not well combated or contained by standard liberal appeals to reason.” The radical left, it said, offers “practical and serious responses in this political moment.”

Those responses sometimes spill blood. Since antifa is heavily composed of anarchists, its activists place little faith in the state, which they consider complicit in fascism and racism. They prefer direct action: They pressure venues to deny white supremacists space to meet. They pressure employers to fire them and landlords to evict them. And when people they deem racists and fascists manage to assemble, antifa’s partisans try to break up their gatherings, including by force.

Such tactics have elicited substantial support from the mainstream left. When the masked antifa activist was filmed assaulting Spencer on Inauguration Day, another piece in The Nation described his punch as an act of “kinetic beauty.” Slate ran an approving article about a humorous piano ballad that glorified the assault. Twitter was inundated with viral versions of the video set to different songs, prompting the former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau to tweet, “I don’t care how many different songs you set Richard Spencer being punched to, I’ll laugh at every one.”

The violence is not directed only at avowed racists like Spencer: In June of last year, demonstrators—at least some of whom were associated with antifa—punched and threw eggs at people exiting a Trump rally in San Jose, California. An article in It’s Going Down celebrated the “righteous beatings.”

Antifascists call such actions defensive. Hate speech against vulnerable minorities, they argue, leads to violence against vulnerable minorities. But Trump supporters and white nationalists see antifa’s attacks as an assault on their right to freely assemble, which they in turn seek to reassert. The result is a level of sustained political street warfare not seen in the U.S. since the 1960s. A few weeks after the attacks in San Jose, for instance, a white-supremacist leader announced that he would host a march in Sacramento to protest the attacks at Trump rallies. Anti-Fascist Action Sacramento called for a counterdemonstration; in the end, at least 10 people were stabbed.

A similar cycle has played out at UC Berkeley. In February, masked antifascists broke store windows and hurled Molotov cocktails and rocks at police during a rally against the planned speech by Yiannopoulos. After the university canceled the speech out of what it called “concern for public safety,” white nationalists announced a “March on Berkeley” in support of “free speech.” At that rally, a 41-year-old man named Kyle Chapman, who was wearing a baseball helmet, ski goggles, shin guards, and a mask, smashed an antifa activist over the head with a wooden post. Suddenly, Trump supporters had a viral video of their own. A far-right crowdfunding site soon raised more than $80,000 for Chapman’s legal defense. (In January, the same site had offered a substantial reward for the identity of the antifascist who had punched Spencer.) A politicized fight culture is emerging, fueled by cheerleaders on both sides. As James Anderson, an editor at It’s Going Down, told Vice, “This shit is fun.”

Portland offers perhaps the clearest glimpse of where all of this can lead. The Pacific Northwest has long attracted white supremacists, who have seen it as a haven from America’s multiracial East and South. In 1857, Oregon (then a federal territory) banned African Americans from living there. By the 1920s, it boasted the highest Ku Klux Klan membership rate of any state.

In 1988, neo-Nazis in Portland killed an Ethiopian immigrant with a baseball bat. Shortly thereafter, notes Alex Reid Ross, a lecturer at Portland State University and the author of Against the Fascist Creep, anti-Nazi skinheads formed a chapter of Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice. Before long, the city also had an Anti-Racist Action group.

Now, in the Trump era, Portland has become a bastion of antifascist militancy. Masked protesters smashed store windows during multiday demonstrations following Trump’s election. In early April, antifa activists threw smoke bombs into a “Rally for Trump and Freedom” in the Portland suburb of Vancouver, Washington. A local paper said the ensuing melee resembled a mosh pit.

When antifascists forced the cancellation of the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade, Trump supporters responded with a “March for Free Speech.” Among those who attended was Jeremy Christian, a burly ex-con draped in an American flag, who uttered racial slurs and made Nazi salutes. A few weeks later, on May 25, a man believed to be Christian was filmed calling antifa “a bunch of punk bitches.”

The next day, Christian boarded a light-rail train and began yelling that “colored people” were ruining the city. He fixed his attention on two teenage girls, one African American and the other wearing a hijab, and told them “to go back to Saudi Arabia” or “kill themselves.” As the girls retreated to the back of the train, three men interposed themselves between Christian and his targets. “Please,” one said, “get off this train.” Christian stabbed all three. One bled to death on the train. One was declared dead at a local hospital. One survived.

The cycle continued. Nine days after the attack, on June 4, Trump supporters hosted another Portland rally, this one featuring Chapman, who had gained fame with his assault on the antifascist in Berkeley. Antifa activists threw bricks until the police dispersed them with stun grenades and tear gas.

What’s eroding in Portland is the quality Max Weber considered essential to a functioning state: a monopoly on legitimate violence. As members of a largely anarchist movement, antifascists don’t want the government to stop white supremacists from gathering. They want to do so themselves, rendering the government impotent. With help from other left-wing activists, they’re already having some success at disrupting government. Demonstrators have interrupted so many city-council meetings that in February, the council met behind locked doors. In February and March, activists protesting police violence and the city’s investments in the Dakota Access Pipeline hounded Mayor Ted Wheeler so persistently at his home that he took refuge in a hotel. The fateful email to parade organizers warned, “The police cannot stop us from shutting down roads.”

All of this fuels the fears of Trump supporters, who suspect that liberal bastions are refusing to protect their right to free speech. Joey Gibson, a Trump supporter who organized the June 4 Portland rally, told me that his “biggest pet peeve is when mayors have police stand down … They don’t want conservatives to be coming together and speaking.” To provide security at the rally, Gibson brought in a far-right militia called the Oath Keepers. In late June, James Buchal, the chair of the Multnomah County Republican Party, announced that it too would use militia members for security, because “volunteers don’t feel safe on the streets of Portland.”

Antifa believes it is pursuing the opposite of authoritarianism. Many of its activists oppose the very notion of a centralized state. But in the name of protecting the vulnerable, antifascists have granted themselves the authority to decide which Americans may publicly assemble and which may not. That authority rests on no democratic foundation. Unlike the politicians they revile, the men and women of antifa cannot be voted out of office. Generally, they don’t even disclose their names.

Antifa’s perceived legitimacy is inversely correlated with the government’s. Which is why, in the Trump era, the movement is growing like never before. As the president derides and subverts liberal-democratic norms, progressives face a choice. They can recommit to the rules of fair play, and try to limit the president’s corrosive effect, though they will often fail. Or they can, in revulsion or fear or righteous rage, try to deny racists and Trump supporters their political rights. From Middlebury to Berkeley to Portland, the latter approach is on the rise, especially among young people.

Revulsion, fear, and rage are understandable. But one thing is clear. The people preventing Republicans from safely assembling on the streets of Portland may consider themselves fierce opponents of the authoritarianism growing on the American right. In truth, however, they are its unlikeliest allies.

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Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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