#hatespeech

Boycotters’ bluster

CM was not a fan of Israel Folau’s tweets on homosexuals, fornicators, sinners, adulterers etc. Yet CM defends his right to say it. Come to think of it, CM has never sought moral guidance from the controversial Wallaby rugby star. Nonetheless Folau thinks CM and many others are destined to burn in hell too. Yet he is protected by the Constitution of Australia whether we like it or not. That supersedes an ARU contract.

We now hear that if his contract is sustained, several players have threatened to boycott the side if he is selected.

That’s their choice. However the threat sounds so much like all of those Hollywood celebrities who promised to leave the country if Trump was elected. Pretty much every single one remains in the US. Even Jamie Oliver, the Naked Chef, said he’d leave the UK if Brits voted to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum. He still lives in a £9m mansion in Hampstead, London. Idle threats. Here is betting every player threatening to boycott Folau will end up putting lucrative player contracts ahead of virtue signaling when pressed to make a stand. Which is hypocritical. If they stand for nothing, they’ll fall for anything.

Folau had very similar views publicized ahead of the Same Sex Marriage (SSM) debate when he first caught the ire of social media opinion. He was on record for telling team mate David Pocock of his beliefs on the matter leading into the plebiscite. Pocock still played with him and there is plenty of footage showing both embracing after tries were scored even when SSM was legislated.

We live in a society that is constantly threatening free speech. Folau’s comments may well cost him other endorsements. That is the market price he bears for holding his deeply devout Christian views in a society too afraid to say anything controversial. He never called for the murder of these groups. Only that their ultimate destiny was decided by God as written in the Bible.

Hypocrisy in the way the West deals with (certain) faiths is rife. The tragedy that was the Christchurch terror attack has led the Canterbury Crusaders rugby team to reconsider its name so as not to offend Muslims. Devout Muslim Sonny Bill Williams even played for the side after his conversion to Islam. Didn’t seem to phase him and he didn’t protest once. Although he did take exception to having Bank of NZ sponsorship displays on his uniform as it conflicted with his religious beliefs. Did we call for an inquisition? His religious beliefs were protected.

Where have those same activists been to bully The Saracens in Middlesex to select a more palatable name for the sake of countless victims of Islamic terror? Nowhere and most wouldn’t find any links between the two. No one in their right mind ties the Saracens or Crusaders as inciting hatred against the religions of either. They’re rugby clubs – period. 99.99% get that. Yet activists make out the majority leans the other way.

Izzy Folau May have offended some with his tweets. Everyone gets it. Many have just dismissed it with a roll of the eyes. Surely their lives have moved on without so much as a skip in the beat.

Yet we live in a world where some see offense and outrage in everything to the point of demanding litigation to protect hurt feelings. Canada even introduced a bill (C-16) compelling speech where jail terms for the incorrect use of a pronoun are a punishment. It is a slippery slope.

We should be careful what we wish for. The free speech noose will only tighten and eventually we won’t be able to speak our minds or the truth. That’s when society splinters.

Best let the Folau’s of the world make grandiose tweets and let society judge on an individual basis rather than trying to force our value sets on others. Do we honestly think we can force Folau to repent? If his contract was rescinded would he suddenly give up the teachings of his faith? Not a chance. We need to accept the views of others, even those we disagree with.

Do we truly believe the overwhelming majority of homosexuals/fornicators/sinners/adulterers a) believed Folau’s tweet or; b) were deeply offended? Or did most shake their heads and chuckle at his views?

CM is surprised that white Christian missionaries haven’t been chastised for converting so many Pacific Islanders, including Folau, to become devout followers over the centuries. Surely that must follow.

ZeroHedge ban – nothing helps publicity like scarcity

ZeroHedge

ZeroHedge (ZH) has been banned from Facebook. ZH has the occasional spicy article but it is hardly a purveyor of information that could be remotely deemed hate speech or attacking ‘community standards’. It is punchy journalism. The good thing is that ZH already has quite a good following from readers who access the website directly. The irony of these arbitrary bans is that it only makes sites like ZH even more attractive. Nothing helps publicity like scarcity.

In the last few years, privacy and other issues have plagued the social media giant. By all accounts, users are moving away from the platform. ZH reported

More than 17 million young Americans have abandoned Facebook over the last two years after a series of data privacy scandals damaged public trust in the social media platform… to the longest-running survey of digital media consumer behavior in America conducted by Edison Research, Facebook users between 12-34 years-old are now flocking to Facebook sister site Instagram, reports the Daily Mail

…Older people over the age of 55, meanwhile, increased their Facebook usage – marginally offsetting the drop in younger users for a net loss of 15 million users over the last two years

The longer term problem for social media is that kowtowing to a wafer thin number of activists who complain (no matter how much Facebook might align ideologically), means that those who are sick of being told what is deemed acceptable for them will just grow tired and leave. The irony in all of this is listening to a minority will ultimately drive the majority to a place which provides a marketplace that offers personal choice on what is deemed acceptable.

A necessity that should be unnecessary

President Trump says he will issue an executive order to ensure free speech on university campuses across America which accept federal research funding. He is right. The sad thing is he shouldn’t be required to do it.

University faculties appear overrun with cultural Marxists who can’t tolerate open debate inside institutions that should be only too happy to foster new learning and thinking. In CM’s day you could argue with lefties in the refectory without being physically threatened.

Alas, no. Today only the thoughts of those that fit leftist narratives preached by professors have been allowed. To think of the violence outside campuses where Milo Yiannopoulos, Lauren Southern or Ben Shapiro were scheduled to present.

It’s pretty simple. Why not gauge the number of people that are interested in attending conservative speeches as a barometer of the popularity of those who hold different views? Argue their words with counter-factual rather than slam them as racist, bigoted white supremacists.

Nike & Colin Kaepernick

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Ultimately consumers will vote with their feet (no pun intended) after Nike’s use of original kneeler Colin Kaepernick as its latest “Just do it.” campaign face. Arguing over who is right or wrong over this has become somewhat irrelevant. The kneeling debate is over 12 months old.

Nike is free to market how it chooses but must bear full responsibility for the firestorm it creates for itself. There is no doubt the social media impact will be huge and the marketing department might wax lyrical at the attention gained all it wants but the question is will the majority of it be positive? Virtue signaling for corporates is a dangerous game. More often than not it backfires.

CM has always held that corporations should stay out of politics because as much as they might profess a united face on certain issues, there is no way they speak on behalf of all those that work for them. The risk is creating an unfair working environment to those who do not wish to participate in the manner the corporate desires, even if they might privately agree. Coercing staff to openly tow the party line is tantamount to making them slaves if forced against their will for fear of repercussions in the workplace.

Don’t think for a second it doesn’t happen. Think of the same sex marriage (SSM) debate. If you had a rainbow flag screen saver you would have been cheered by the internal apparatchiks. Had you a “Vote NO for SSM” screen saver it is likely you would have been hauled in front of your manager and HR to explain your inappropriate workplace behaviour. The matter was a vote of democracy. What place is it for corporates to enforce one type of opinion on changes to the Marriage Act? Let’s not forget the results of the 2011 Census where 0.03% of the population identified with being husband and wife in a same sex relationship. Yes. 1,338 people only. All that fanfare for less than 1,400 people.

We are already seeing people in the US burn Nike products to protest the company’s move.

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In much the same vein as Democrat Party activists boycotting In-N-Out burgers for donating to the GOP, there is no real sense in die-hard NFL fans pushing to #boycottNike. What is the obsession with boycotts? Surely disgruntled fans can make up their own minds whether they’ll choose to buy Nike products or not. It is just more of the oppression obsession.

Nike will ultimately survive. The NFL has already seen ratings take a proper beating. The question is does this help? Probably not but Nike want to make a statement.

Knee jerk reactions where people burn football jerseys, season tickets, Superbowl pennants or Nike sneakers have become less and less about the subject protested about (Black Lives Matter) but more about people getting sick and tired of political correctness and social justice rammed down their throats on an almost daily basis. Even Buzz Aldrin is sick of the politically correct overtones in ‘First Man’ that went out of its way to delete scenes of an epic moment in America’s history – planting an American flag on the moon. Don’t forget Buzz punched a reporter who disparaged him in public. He said he is a “proud American

Sadly, many Americans feel their patriotism is under fire. That they should feel guilty for displaying Old Glory outside their homes. Maybe those loyal fans want to go and watch a NFL match to leave the financial, relationship, work, marital stresses behind. They pay money to unwind, not have political messaging paraded in front of them. Even if they think Black Lives Matter is a worthy cause, kneeling every match won’t make it sink in any deeper but dilute the message, as has been displayed by making Kaepernick the poster child.

Not all NRA members are cold blooded murderers. Those people that voted Republican in the last election aren’t all white supremacist, bigoted, racist Nazis any more than all those people that voted Democrat aren’t all whining, virtue signaling liberals.

Open debate is what is needed. Kicking people out of restaurants through open harassment, burning runners or boycotting businesses won’t fix a thing. Listening and debating the issues based on logical reason is the only way forward.  The only thing worth boycotting is the boycotters themselves. Sadly the lesson is unlikely to be learnt.

Hate speech?

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Canadian PM Justin Trudeau accused a Quebec woman of hate speech with respect to asking a question about whether the provinces would be reimbursed for the cost of illegal border crossers. Surely if his policy is so robust he should be able to comfortably defend its position without charging citizens of ‘racism,’ ‘intolerance,’ and having words which have “no place” in Canada. So much for defending the free speech of his peoplekind. Maybe Trudeau can amend Bill C-16 so she can be arrested and jailed for asking questions deemed unworthy by the state.

Compelling the cake maker?

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The transcript of the Supreme Court on the Masterpiece Cakeshop vs Colorado Civil Rights Commission (CCRC) hearing can be found here. It is 113 pages long (but double spaced). What is fascinating is the way the case is argued from both sides and the words of several judges who should just enforce the tenets of the constitution not leverage personal prejudices. CM doesn’t profess to be a lawyer but the biased language is pretty obvious, including one set of attorneys debating Colorado laws of  2018 rather than those of 2012 when the dispute first came to light.

The court session covered ground from anniversary cakes at a Michelin 2-star restaurant, mixed race or mixed religion marriages, an African American designer making a cross for the Ku Klux Klan and even the fairness of rejecting an order to bake a cake to celebrate Kristallnacht. The case also looked into the problems that might be created for a baker on a remote US military base who may not want to bake a cake for a same sex marriage because of his/her religious beliefs.

Mainstream media coverage has been pretty obvious but the transcript puts many things to light including the fact that all sides acknowledge the baker was prepared to sell a rainbow cake and almost anything else in the shop to the couple, just not the “compelled” words they wanted on it, which triggered the baker’s religious beliefs and led the Supreme Court to suggest that the baker’s 1st Amendment rights must be sustained.

Religious beliefs are a murky backwater where justification on a plethora of topics can be concocted. CM first learnt of “proper” religious fervor on a trip to Israel a decade ago. Seeing people wail as the were baptized in the River Jordan, watching them cry inconsolably as they placed pictures of family members atop the marble slab that Jesus’ body was laid on after his crucifixion, the scene of Jews of all ethnicities praying at the Western Wall or Muslims feverishly protecting entry to the Temple Mount. This is not the average punter going to a Sunday Mass or praying five times a days to Mecca. It is on another level. Some people walked bearing a cross along the exact route that Jesus did. Religion to some takes a different life form, some of it for the worse.

To think that a $500 wedding cake has cost both sides $100,000s in legal fees goes to show how serious both sides were prepared to defend their legal rights. No matter how silly some may view the outcome, the question remains whether the 14th Amendment be changed to more specifically define LGBT protections. Associate Justice Sotomayor made this point in her closing remarks, “That’s what the public anti-discrimination laws require.”

Zucker feasted on your consent to be a sucker

Whatever the outcome of this hearing, much of the data collected was willingly offered by Facebook users. It was they who told people where they took vacation, the restaurant they ate or birthday they celebrated. It was they who adorned their avatar with a transparent French or rainbow flag as a back drop after another terrorist attack or to show support for same sex marriage. It was they who clicked the check box to agree to the “terms and conditions” immediately without reading it. Is that Zuckerberg’s fault? Questions however must be asked with respect to the ability to access microphones and cameras unbeknownst to users. How flagrantly was privacy law violated beyond that agreed by users?

For as much as Zuckerberg might look an evil violator of privacy laws (he may yet be proved to be so), if one wants real anonymity, social media is the last place to find it. It is doubtful anyone posts happy snaps on social media as a pure storage back up device. Many people crave attention and more than ever their self-actualisation stage in the ‘hierarchy of needs’ is driven by likes and shares rather than the Abraham Maslow’s original theorem of 75 years ago. The higher the ratio of “selfies” would probably be highly correlated to attention deficit disorder. Protesting the use of the data provided is a grossly naive assumption if not borderline negligent. Tucked away in the fine print of the words and conditions would surely have FB gaining their complete consent.

Ted Cruz took it to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on whether the social media giant ‘censors conservative’ news. He replied, “Silicon Valley is an extremely left-leaning place.While denying that he knows the political affiliations of the 15~20,000 staff who police content he said the group does its best to remove things that are considered hateful (e.g.hate speech, terrorism), hurtful or distasteful (e.g. nudity). It was brought to Zuckerberg’s attention that black conservatives (and Trump supporters) Diamond & Silk had their page blocked with 1.2 million followers on grounds of  “being unsafe to the community”. In any event, Zuckerberg deflected many of the questions in his testimony on grounds of the size of the organization but admitted not enough was done to police itself. Power corrupts…? Absolutely…?

Which brings the whole argument surrounding ‘free speech’ and social media sites exercising subjective political bias. It was only several years back that openly gay shock-jock Milo Yiannopoulos was banned from Twitter for causing ‘offence’ to a Ghostbusters actress. Yet what is offence? Where is the line drawn? What offends one might not offend another. However the censor would seemingly be able to use his or her subjective opinions, values and biases which makes it pretty clear what the outcome will be. President Trump learned that when a disgruntled Twitter employee temporarily suspended his account. Do not be surprised when we’re simply told to “get with the times” and accept the party line. Resistance is futile. It is the simplest way to shut down sensible debate.

Anyone active on social media is well aware of the risks of being targeted, trolled or attacked for expressing differing views. However do users require, much less want to submit to the machinations of the thought police? Shouldn’t they be free to choose what they view or pages they subscribe to? Indeed hate speech (not to be confused with difference of opinion) has no place but the majority of users are likely to be able to make that assessment without it having been arbitrarily made for them.

Then again, surely as a publicly listed corporation Facebook can decide what it wants to do with its site and let participants in the free market (who use it for no charge) decide for themselves that the obvious bias forces them to seek social media platforms elsewhere. Twitter share price was badly thumped for its blocking of certain groups and its share price is around 1/3rd the peak. It’s overall followers have fluctuated in the 316-330mn range since Q4 2016. The market works. It is taking Facebook’s shareprice to task on the grounds it will suffer for treating its users as mugs. Perhaps a look at activity post the hearings will show just how many mugs are still as active as before despite the threats to abandon the evil Zuck. The share price will respond accordingly.

It begs the question as to why a more conservative outfit hasn’t decided to make a Facebook equivalent which does not censor outside of clear violations of hate speech. Surely offering a replicated platform that didn’t censor free speech would be a massive winner. Users would also sign up to a simple (and SHORT) legal agreement that there is a risk of being offended and to commit to accepting it. Where clear violations of hate speech (e.g. threats of murder, terrorism etc.) are found such things can be reported to the authorities (with terms and conditions EXPLICITLY warning of such repucussions for violating easy to understand rules). Then again maybe Zuckerberg is right. Silicon Valley is indeed an extremely left-leaning [alt-left?] place! So this is why conservatives are behind the 8-ball on a free speech social media platform.

The sad reality is that social media is policed by the left and authorities seem keen to exploit the powers that provides. The examples are too many. Controversial conservatives have been blocked, banned and restricted for the most spurious of reasons. Diamond & Silk are hardly a danger to society. It is almost comical to think that.  Yet aren’t the subscription rates/followers of particular sites indicative of the ‘moods’ of people? Could it be that black, conservative and Trump supporter must be mutually exclusive terms in the eyes of the left’s identikit forcing the Facebook apparatchiks to enforce a subjective shutdown? If a public explanation was provided it would probably just say, “trust our objectivity’. Whaaaat?

At some stage if enough people feel they are being played around with they will choose of their own volition to leave and seek their social media thrills on other platforms. Or will they? It maybe too late. Blatant exploitation of social media by governments looks like an obvious trend. If we are only too willing to give up our data and cede any visibility of the inner circle’s terms of use of it we are on a slippery slope of our own making. Think about how your mobile device allows you to be tracked whenever and however. It can turn your camera or microphone on. It can triangulate your whereabouts anywhere across the world. What you’ve read, listened to and watched. Where are the privacy laws surrounding this? Is your local rep fighting in your corner? Probably not.

Could private conversations with a lawyer (client-attorney privilege) be bugged and used as evidence? Don’t laugh. As an aerospace analyst many moons ago, teams of specialists with anti-bugging devices trawled through the suites of the aircraft manufacturers’ chalets to ensure the opposition didn’t get wind of negotiations with airlines they were both competing to win large orders from. Illegal in the extreme but seemingly exercised by all parties. It was an unwritten rule.

However social media censorship hides deeper problems. It is also increasingly a tool to shut down debate and people like London Mayor Sadiq Khan has met with social media execs to collude on cracking down on ‘hate speech’. Surely policing spurious claims of hate speech is a lesser issue to the immediate threat faced by a capitol which saw its murder rate surpass that of New York. Not so. This is the dangerous turn in social media. Not whether our data is used for targeted advertising for cheap flights but used to pillory, interrogate and shut down innocents. After all social media has a half-life of infinity.

Take the controversial figure Tommy Robinson in England. The UK authorities and media wish us to believe he is an unhinged far right wing bigoted racist thug. Yet despite all of the times he has been jailed (for mostly trumped up charges), silenced and muzzled for publicising what he sees as a major problem in his community (i.e. radical Islam), the growth in followers continues to rise on his Facebook page (706,000). Maybe the authorities should keep tabs on them? Arrest them on suspicion of potentially causing hate crimes. Surely they are cut from the same cloth as Tommy? Afterall it is better to arrest a comedian for teaching a dog to do a Nazi salute to annoy his partner as it is less controversial to the state than tackling real issues. Perhaps authorities should pay attention to why Robinson’s following is so large? It is irrelevant whether one finds his viewpoints offensive or not, a majority of over half a million clearly don’t. He is no saint and would be the first to admit it. Still the authorities are trying everything to shut him down. Social media is being used as a watchdog.

Robinson has two best selling books –  ‘Enemy of the State’ and ‘Mohammad’s Koran: Why Muslims kill for Islam’. Is that not evidence that there are more people than the authorities would care to admit to that actually concur with his assessment? Maybe some want to read it out of curiosity? However when many of those same people see an undercover scoop done by the left leaning publicly funded Channel 4 on the inner workings of one of England’s most conservative mosques, praised by politicians as they true face of a peaceful religion. Even though the mosque had promised to clamp down on radical imams, the documentary revealed that despite assurances to government authorities, teachers still encourage students to believe that the only remedy for gays and apostates is to be killed. So maybe Robinson’s followers aren’t as fringe or minor in number as we would be made to believe? With the widespread outing of child grooming gangs across the UK, maybe Brits have had enough of the political hand wringing over politically correct discourse. The more the movement is pushed underground the harder it will be to stop vigilantism. We’ve already seen signs of it emerging. Think of the Guardian Angels in NY during the crime waves in the 1979.

What the Zuckerberg testimony brings to the surface is yet another example made clear to the public of the two tier dispensing of free speech. What worries the public more is that justice seems to be operating under the exact same framework. What the Channel 4 programme exposed with respect to blatant hate speech is incontrovertible. Yet will authorities arrest, charge and jail them as they would a Tommy Robinson? Not a chance. To encourage the murder of people that aren’t part of an ideology can’t be viewed as anything other than a willful threat.  Will the judiciary demand that scholars have their pages scrubbed from social media?

The shoes are on the wrong foot. Earlier this year, Austrian conservative Martin Sellner and his girlfriend Brittany Pettibone were arrested on arrival in the UK, detained and deported. Sellner for wanting to deliver a speech at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park (later delivered by Robinson) and Pettibone for wanting to interview Tommy Robinson (which he later conducted in Vienna). Neither look in the least bit dangerous. In this case, social media backfired on the state. In both cases, the public once again saw the double standards and the pervasive political posturing to beat the ‘controllable’ element into submission. Just as it is easier for the police to fine speeding motorists than actively pursue solid leads on catching grooming gangs the public rightly grows increasingly livid. Social media is being used more widely as a policing tool, with negative connotations. It isn’t just being used to foil terror plots but stomp on the rights of the average citizen.

Still there is some sympathy for Zuckerberg in that many people volunteered their information. If it was used in ways that violated ethical and more importantly legal rights it only goes to prove that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. To that end, can we really expect lawmakers to cramp their own style when Zuckerberg has only highlighted how powerful the information he possesses can be used to sucker us more than they already do. That is the real crime we are seemingly becoming powerless to stop. Talk about the real Big Brother!