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The Slow Death of Free Speech

AA671283: Literature, Music, Theatre

“Once you get a taste for shutting people up, it’s hard to stop. Why bother winning the debate when it’s easier to close it down?”

The delightfully dyspeptic  writes: These days, pretty much every story is really the same story:

  • In Galway, at the National University of Ireland, a speaker who attempts to argue against the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) programme against Israel is shouted down with cries of ‘Fucking Zionist, fucking pricks… Get the fuck off our campus.’
  • In California, Mozilla’s chief executive is forced to resign because he once made a political donation in support of the pre-revisionist definition of marriage.
  • At Westminster, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee declares that the BBC should seek ‘special clearance’ before it interviews climate sceptics, such as fringe wacko extremists like former Chancellor Nigel Lawson.
  • In Massachusetts, Brandeis University withdraws its offer of an honorary degree to a black feminist atheist human rights campaigner from Somalia.
  • In London, a multitude of liberal journalists and artists responsible for everything from Monty Python to Downton Abbey sign an open letter in favour of the first state restraints on the British press in three and a quarter centuries.
  • And in Canberra the government is planning to repeal Section 18C — whoa, don’t worry, not all of it, just three or four adjectives; or maybe only two, or whatever it’s down to by now, after what Gay Alcorn in the Age described as the ongoing debate about ‘where to strike the balance between free speech in a democracy and protection against racial abuse in a multicultural society’.

I heard a lot of that kind of talk during my battles with the Canadian ‘human rights’ commissions a few years ago: of course, we all believe in free speech, but it’s a question of how you ‘strike the balance’, where you ‘draw the line’… which all sounds terribly reasonable and Canadian, and apparently Australian, too. But in reality the point of free speech is for the stuff that’s over the line, and strikingly unbalanced. If free speech is only for polite persons of mild temperament within government-policed parameters, it isn’t free at all. So screw that.

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Re: CNN’s Dumbest Column Ever

cnn

CNN is irrelevant, and the SPLC should be recognized and branded in polite society as a “Hate group”

NRODavid French asks some good questions:

I’d like to thank Kevin Williamson for pointing us to perhaps the dumbest column I’ve ever read on CNN – an actual argument that allegedly “right-wing” extremists are more deadly than jihadists. In addition to Mr. Williamson’s spot-on critique, can we also say something else about jihad since 9/11? The death toll in the U.S. may be “only” 21, but the American toll overseas is at least 6,802 with well over 50,000 injuries, including 16,000 serious injuries. Peter Bergen evidently does not think this important enough to explore, but in the aftermath of the actual worst terrorist attack in American history we engaged in direct combat against jihadists in two separate countries, combat that continues in Afghanistan to this day. In that process, these jihadists not only killed thousands of Americans, they inflicted an unholy death toll on allied soldiers and civilians.

Are these American lives any less precious or important because they were lost overseas? Does the fact that jihadists have proven capable of killing thousands of the best-equipped and best-trained soldiers in the world tell him anything about the destructive potential of jihad compared to the allegedly “right-wing” Klan? (read more)

Unmentioned in some of these critiques of the discredited CNN column: Since when is a KKK member a “right wing” figure? Except in the imagination of dishonest journalists and political propagandists? The Klan was the military-terror arm of the Democratic party in the south, this is not exactly news. The accusation that the KKK is connected to conservative or right-wing ideology is pure fantasy. The famous white supremacist, anti-Semitic murderer Frazier Glenn Millerran for public office as a Democrat. 

On the other hand, Miller ran for office as both a Democrat and a Republican, making any effort to use his ideological profile to score political points a useless exercise, as the Daily Caller‘s Neil Munro reports:

The gunman who murdered three people in Kansas on Sunday was defeated in primary races in the Democratic and the Republican parties, which could complicate any partisan effort to associate either party with the unusual anti-Semitic attack.

Frazier Glenn Miller was reportedly arrested after the attacks in Kansas, which killed one Jewish woman, and two non-Jews, a grandfather and his 14 year-old grandson.

Read the rest of this entry »


Reminder: Selfies Can Be Hazardous

Selfie Ends with a Boot to the Face

Over at The Corner, the otherwise serious-and-sober scholars, policy wonks, and think-tank boys and girls get their hands on the occasional coffee break item. Here’s some pointless lunacy for readers to enjoy.

Josh Encinias reports: A teenager identified on a YouTube account as Jared Michael tried to take a selfie at what he thought was ”a safe distance” from a passing train…

(read more) National Review Online


EXCLUSIVE: Feds, Shocked by Sales of Captive Children in Vending Machines, Investigate Criminal Child Trafficking Ring

trapped-toddler-1

An undercover investigation reveals a lucrative child trafficking operation in the American heartland. Hotel chains, bowling alleys, shopping malls, and bingo parlors, all appearing as legitimate businesses, all found to be involved in this alarming new trend: illegally dispensing captive toddlers from vending machines, for profit. 

According to the FBI report, leaked to punditfromanotherplanet’s news tip line, agents learned that healthy young white male toddlers are highly prized, with vending machine locations targeted to affluent childless couples in middle America.

“We assigned undercover agents to purchase toddlers from vending machines in several states, before we closed in, and made arrests. The scale of the operation is unprecedented, we were shocked by what we found.”

– Special Agent Daniel McGuffin

Sales of white female toddlers, too, racked up record profits for the criminal trafficking ring, while profits from the sales of minority children showed disappointing growth in three consecutive quarters, attributed to low consumer demand.

“We’ve been trying to have a baby for years, but couldn’t. When we won little Jason, and two stuffed bears, from the machine, we were so happy, it felt like we were in Vegas.”

– Bowling alley customer Susan Sebastian, in a statement to local police

The report reveals details of kidnappers holding captured toddlers in vans, then loading them into vending machines, paying fees to the business owner, and employing hundreds of child-snatchers, operating in cells. Read the rest of this entry »


How Director Jon Favreau Learned to Cook for his New Movie


Soft Target: Security Holes in Power Grid Have Federal Officials Scrambling

In Congress, the vulnerability of the power grid has emerged as among the most pressing domestic security concerns

A report chronicling the vulnerability of the power grid said: “Many of the grid’s important components sit out in the open, often in remote locations, protected by little more than cameras and chain-link fences.” (Patrick Tehan / Bay Area News Group / February 2, 2014)  http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-grid-security-20140407,0,5068036.story#ixzz2z4sPXbaq

A report chronicling the vulnerability of the power grid said: “Many of the grid’s important components sit out in the open, often in remote locations, protected by little more than cameras and chain-link fences.” (Patrick Tehan / Bay Area News Group)

For the LATimes, Evan Halper writes: Adam Crain assumed that tapping into the computer networks used by power companies to keep electricity zipping through transmission lines would be nearly impossible in these days of heightened vigilance over cybersecurity.

When he discovered how wrong he was, his work sent Homeland Security Department officials into a scramble.

Crain, the owner of a small tech firm in Raleigh, N.C., along with a research partner, found penetrating transmission systems used by dozens of utilities to be startlingly easy. After they shared their discovery with beleaguered utility security officials, the Homeland Security Department began sending alerts to power grid operators, advising them to upgrade their software.

The alerts haven’t stopped because Crain keeps finding new security holes he can exploit.

“There are a lot of people going through various stages of denial” about how easily terrorists could disrupt the power grid, he said. “If I could write a tool that does this, you can be sure a nation state or someone with more resources could.”

“Many of the grid’s important components sit out in the open, often in remote locations, protected by little more than cameras and chain-link fences.”

Those sorts of warnings, along with vivid demonstrations of the grid’s vulnerability, such as an incident a year ago in which unknown assailants fired on a power station near San Jose, nearly knocking out electricity to Silicon Valley, have grabbed official attention. In Congress, the vulnerability of the power grid has emerged as among the most pressing domestic security concerns.

It is also among the most vexing. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] REWIND: Early Morning Local News Show Finds Guest Tracy Morgan Not Quite Sober Yet, Goes Disco Bananas on Live TV

This is from 2007, but still as funny as the day it unfolded on live TV. Watch as host Robert Holguin giggles his way through a very admirable professional effort to manage the unexpected turn of events. Highlight: Tracy sends out a message to parents, suggesting he’s gonna impregnate the daughters off the show’s unsuspecting early morning viewers. Did the phones light up at the station that morning? You bet!

Tracy Morgan of Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock is interviewed on morning television by Robert Holguin of KVIA. The live interview goes wildly out of control when the whacked out comedian takes off his shirt.

Is Tracy Morgan Wasted on Live TV – YouTube


Manipulating Obamacare Stats: The Census Bureau’s Official Plan to Cook the Numbers

obama-census

The Most Transparent Opaque Administration in History

For Town Hall, Guy Benson writes:  In her post this morning, Carol linked to a New York Times story describing the US Census Bureau’s ridiculous decision to change its formula for determining health coverage rates in America. “Ridiculous” not because it’s out of bounds to overhaul methodology on principle, but because after three decades, they’re implementing this shift at the exact moment we need a consistent baseline off of which to measure the impact of Obamacare. The brand new survey questions will unquestionably “reveal” a dramatic decrease in the uninsured population, bureau experts say, which will deliver Democrats a super handy talking point. And oh-by-the-way, the artificially improved numbers will be released…this fall:

The Census Bureau, the authoritative source of health insurance data for more than three decades, is changing its annual survey so thoroughly that it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama’s health care law in the next report, due this fall, census officials said. The changes are intended to improve the accuracy of the survey, being conducted this month in interviews with tens of thousands of households around the country. But the new questions are so different that the findings will not be comparable, the officials said. An internal Census Bureau document said that the new questionnaire included a “total revision to health insurance questions” and, in a test last year, produced lower estimates of the uninsured. Thus, officials said, it will be difficult to say how much of any change is attributable to the Affordable Care Act and how much to the use of a new survey instrument. “We are expecting much lower numbers just because of the questions and how they are asked,” said Brett J. O’Hara, chief of the health statistics branch at the Census Bureau. With the new questions, “it is likely that the Census Bureau will decide that there is a break in series for the health insurance estimates,” says another agency document describing the changes. This “break in trend” will complicate efforts to trace the impact of the Affordable Care Act, it said.

Allow me to paint you a picture: The Census Bureau releases its new figures in September, just a few weeks out from a major election. Per the bureaucrat-in-chief over at Census, the fresh stats on uninsured Americans will be “much lower,” due to the heavily revised question wording. The wonks will make this abundantly clear, admonishing one another that the new and old data are like apples and oranges. Plus, they’ll add, the new numbers don’t even include the post-Obamacare implementation data from early 2014, so any attempt to trumpet the results as a triumph for the Affordable Care Act will be especially inapt. Even some elements of the center-Left smart set have begun grumbling about the indefensible timing of these methodological alterations:

Democrats, famously allergic to nuance when the political moment demands a cudgel, will shout from the rooftops about the “stunning” improvement in uninsured rates. Obamacare is working!  Read the rest of this entry »


On Tax Day, RNC Sues The IRS

Republicans Presidential Primary

For Breitbart.com writes: On Tax Day, the Republican National Committee announced it is suing the IRS  for stonewalling Freedom of Information Act request for documents about the tax agency’s politicized scrutiny of conservative and Tea Party groups.

The RNC filed the request on May 21, 2013, in an attempt to expose the documents and emails surrounding agency’s process in handling applications of non-profit organizations such as conservative and Tea Party groups.

“We’re filing this suit because the Obama administration has a responsibility to be transparent and accountable to the American people. The IRS has a legal obligation to answer our inquiry for these records.”

After the RNC filed the request, the IRS has requested several extensions, which has already delayed the release by 226 business days.

Read the rest of this entry »


Fund: Government Using Taxpayers To Cover Deficit

National Review Online


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