theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director

Friday, August 31, 2018



Conversations are the mine fields in America’s politics. A candidate, even a well-meaning Democrat, opens his mouth at his own risk. He might think he knows words and what they mean, but what he doesn’t know is that everyone gets to play Humpty-Dumpty with Alice in Wonderland.
“When I use a word,” Mr. Dumpty told Alice, in a scornful tone spoken through a curled lip, “it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.”
Joe Biden, the eccentric uncle at the head of the Thanksgiving Day table, learned this anew nearly every day when he was the veep. Uncle Joe was always tripping over his spilled pearls of wisdom.
Once, campaigning in Virginia, he more or less apologized for Delaware, a slave state after all, for having failed to come to Virginia’s side in the late Cruel War of Northern Aggression. On another occasion, he said the proper way to defend home and hearth was to repair to the back porch and fire a shotgun into the dark. With double-aught, that would certainly stop a passing buck, a prowler up to no good, or even a child late getting home for supper.
Tsk, tsk, said the ladies and gentlemen of the media, and both incidents passed swiftly from public view. Good old Joe, like the ladies and gents of the media, is a good Democrat, and good Democrats mean well. No need to make a federal case out of an innocent gaffe.
Ron DeSantis, the new Republican candidate for governor of Florida, got no such pass when he warned his Republican friends the other day to avoid the campaign mistakes that would ruin his chances of defeating Andrew Gillum, his opponent, the mayor of Tallahassee and, not so coincidentally, a black man.
“He’s an articulate spokesman for far-left views, and he’s a charismatic candidate,” Mr. DeSantis said. “I watched those Democratic debates, and none of that is my cup of tea, but he performed better than those other people there. The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state. That’s not going to work.”
Probably not. But Mr. DeSantis, a Trump man and regarded as a star that fell on the party, stepped into a puddle of manure with his kind words for the Democratic candidate. He called him “articulate,” which is semi-racist, and “charismatic,” regarded as pseudo-bigoted by the inspectors of contemporary language.
They pounced as if one. Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee who knows better, said “this is how white folks talk about black men who are successful.” (It is?) Mr. Steele, who is black himself, thinks calling a black man “articulate” and “charismatic” is merely “checking off those boxes. Why do you have to describe him that way? Doesn’t happen to a lot of white candidates.” If it doesn’t it’s a shame, because there are never enough “articulate” and “charismatic” white folks, either.
The chairman of the Florida Democratic Party was disgusted, too, and said so. “It’s disgusting that Ron DeSantis is launching his general his general election campaign with racist dog whistles.” My old yellow hound, a yelper and yapper with remarkable charisma and unusual articulation, and gone lo! these many years to cavort with Rin Tin Tin and Lassie on a high green meadow beyond the clouds, would deeply resent that slur. A “news host,” whatever that is, on Fox News reassured her viewers that the network did not condone such language. A television network with knowledge of and concern for the language. Who knew?
Joe Biden was asked to size up prospective Democratic presidential candidates in 2007, on the eve of Barack Obama’s announcing his candidacy for president.
“Well,” he said, “you’ve got Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama.” He clearly liked Mr. Obama best, and why not? “I mean,” he said, “you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s storybook, man.”
Indeed, it was true. Barack Obama practically invented charisma. But who you calling articulate, man? Here’s Barack Obama, the man himself, campaigning at Kent State University in Ohio, on Sept. 3, 2007:
“I come from Chicago. It’s not as if it’s just Republicans who have monkeyed around with elections in the past. Sometimes Democrats have, too. You know, whenever people are in power, they have this tendency to try to tilt things in their direction.”
You could look it up, as Casey Stengel used to say. We’ve clearly got enough monkeys to go around. And maybe one or two we don’t really need.

‘Taking on Trump’ ISN'T the JOB of NY Attorney General

The Perfect Example of  POWER To STUPID! Petty People like this should by LAW never be allowed to Run for Office!

                                                                     Letitia James and Sean Patrick Maloney AP

 Seth Barron

In the race for New York attorney general, the four Democratic candidates have been adamant about using the power of the office, once elected, to attack President Trump. Public Advocate Letitia James says she is “closing in on him.” Rep. Sean Maloney wants to “take the fight” to Trump. Attorney Leecia Eve insists that fighting Trump is “Priority No. 1.” And perennial candidate and self-proclaimed expert on corruption Zephyr Teachout vows that she “will not wait to investigate” Trump.
Each envisions his or her role as attorney general as a kind of adjunct to special counsel Robert Mueller in the fight against the president. As Leecia Eve tweeted, “The NY State Attorney General is second only to Robert Mueller in terms of holding Donald Trump accountable.”
But there’s a crucial difference. Mueller was given a mandate to investigate alleged Russian interference with the 2016 election, and to determine if there was any collusion between Russian hackers and the Trump campaign. Other prosecutions are offshoots of the original investigation; at no point has Mueller announced he wants to “take on Trump,” as Teachout says in a YouTube campaign video.
The basis of the American legal system and rule of law is that prosecutors chase crimes, not people. This is the meaning of substantive due process of law, which protects citizens from abusive prosecution. The candidates for attorney general — and Zephyr Teachout in particular — have made it clear that they are not interested in facts, but that they intend to use the law to attack the president, his businesses and his business associates.
As Lavrenty Beria, Stalin’s top security officer, would say, they’ve picked the criminal, and they will choose the crimes to hang on him later.
Teachout has turned into an obsessive on the subject of Trump, whom she appears to hate. Even when asked about other issues, Teachout raises the subject of how to use the “unique powers” of the AG’s office to attack Trump.
“We need to investigate Donald Trump’s businesses, we have every reason to believe that there is illegality in his businesses,” she insisted in an interview with the online show “The Damage Report,” though what those illegalities are is not even alluded to.
In a campaign video, she explains, “Donald Trump’s businesses are based in New York; his foundation is based in New York; so the law enforcement authority that has the power to go after his power is the New York attorney general.”
But she’s not content just to go after Trump and his businesses, to subpoena them, raid their offices, seize their papers, and possibly arrest their staffers. Teachout promises to attack Trump’s family members and associates as well.
She says she wants to investigate the New York City real estate industry because it is “Trump’s source of power,” and she continually references the Kushner family and its companies as a particular target of her ire.
Teachout, along with James, is preoccupied with the so-called “double jeopardy loophole” that might prevent the state from prosecuting people whom Trump may pardon. “If Donald Trump pardons Manafort, the federal pardon would not cover state crimes,” she tweeted. “As AG of New York, I will investigate and pursue any state law violations to be ready for Trump trying to protect himself with a pardon.”
But Paul Manafort was found guilty of filing false tax returns and making false statements to banks. What harm did he do to the state of New York, and why would an attorney general vow to prosecute him, except as vengeance?
This is entirely inconsistent with the role of the responsible prosecutor in America. According to the American Bar Association, a prosecutor should “ensure that criminal investigations are not based upon partisan or other improper political or personal considerations.” Noted legal scholar and civil libertarian Harvey Silverglate describes Teachout’s avowed approach as “definitely Stalinist, and certainly un-American . . . to begin an investigation with the target already selected is, in my view, a form of corruption of the legal system.”
It’s ironic that we’ve already seen how a candidate’s statements on the campaign trail can affect the execution of their duties once they have won. Trump’s comments about Muslims and Mexicans have been cited by prosecutors, plaintiffs and even Supreme Court justices as evidence of “animus” on his part, and have been used to block his policies.
There’s no reason why future defendants in a Trump-related case brought by the next attorney general couldn’t point to these campaign pledges as a violation of due process, and as evidence of abusive prosecution, or why a judge might not dismiss such cases as biased and selective.
Whoever the next attorney general is should take caution that they don’t become the monster of tyranny they’ve pledged to destroy.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

PROTECT Political SPEECH From the TECH OLIGARCHS With The CIVIL Rights Act of 2019

We have a historical template for the solution, or at least a major part of the solution, to the once creeping, now galloping, repression of free speech in America.

Jared Peterson

If you haven't noticed that freedom of political speech in America is under increasingly effective assault by the left, you haven't been watching. Over the internet, over lunch with colleagues, in every university classroom, indeed, everywhere in America, the wrong word, the wrong thought, can spell banishment or professional and personal destruction, or both.

Among the worst aspects of this crisis is that high-tech forums, access to which is now essential to disseminating political argument and appealing for electoral support – Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube – increasingly bar or obstruct the sharing of conservative views. Without a dramatic statutory restatement of Americans' First Amendment right to free expression, the nation is in the fast lane to an Orwellian world where "correct" thoughts and public statements are mandatory and "incorrect" ones lead to exclusion from polite society and personal destruction.

In 1964, almost exactly 100 years after the abolition of slavery by the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, America faced a problem highly instructive for our present circumstances. The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery, and its close relatives, the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, supposedly prohibited government denial of equal protection of the laws or discrimination in voting rights against former slaves.

But nothing in the Civil War constitutional amendments protected minorities from private discrimination. In consequence, there followed one hundred years during which private racial discrimination, and not merely in the South, constituted a major barrier to full and fair participation in American society for the former slaves and their descendants.

The solution the nation found for this problem in 1964 was that year's great Civil Rights Act, which, among other things, prohibited discrimination on the basis of race by private employers and all places of public accommodation.

In 2014, the U.S. Mint commemorated the 50th anniversary of this landmark extension of civil rights to private behavior.

The problem of free expression in America today is startlingly similar.

The First Amendment's protection of free expression is a limitation only on governmental action. The Founders never dreamed that the major private institutions of the Republic they were establishing would seriously limit freedom of speech for Americans. But beyond any dispute, the day has come when exactly that evil is occurring.

We have a historical template for the solution, or at least a major part of the solution, to the once creeping, now galloping, repression of free speech in America. It is high time for a new Civil Rights Act extending First Amendment freedoms to major private actors – to internet forums, large employers, and the entire K-12 and university systems.

If conservative leaders and Republican office-holders had pushed back consistently against the 30-year process that has brought America to this sorry point, perhaps we could have avoided the necessity of a statutory cure. But, as on so many other fronts, they failed their voters and the nation.

Now, nothing less than a great new reaffirmation of First Amendment freedoms by Congress and the president can restore the unfettered right to open public inquiry and political discourse on which the United States was founded.

Where We Are: Some Examples

Specific manifestations of America's astonishing new repression are legion. They give some idea of the scope of the crisis.

Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter – increasingly both the means of expressing political opinion and seeking electoral support, and the primary sources for information about political issues – ban or effectively bury the speech of political conservatives by direct human intervention and algorithms that either silence conservatives or make their opinions difficult to find.

Google, by now a near monopoly search engine for all subjects including political, historical, and social issues, massages its search algorithms to make it somewhere between difficult and impossible to find information favorable to conservative views or political leaders, while articles favorable to the left miraculously appear on the first page of search results.

Brendan Eich, founder of Mozilla, the creator of Firefox, resigned after intense backlash for contributing to a statewide ballot measure successfully urging the people of California to vote for retention of the traditional definition of marriage.

James Damore, a software engineer at Google, was fired for posting a ten-page memo on an internal company bulletin board entitled "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber" that was offensive to America's intolerant and authoritarian radical feminists. Before his firing, he was subjected to a campaign of denunciation, harassment, and threats by leftist employees, all ignored by his employer.

Students and faculty at colleges and universities, including many owned by state and local governments, are required to tailor their speech to the sensibilities of the most easily (eagerly?) offended members of the usual designated victim groups by "hate speech" guidelines, the breach of which can lead to penalties ranging from censure to mandatory "re-education" to outright expulsion.

For humanities and social science graduate Ph.D. programs and teaching positions, open conservatives pretty much need not apply. Those who might have slipped through undiscovered carefully frame their public utterances to avoid damage to their degree or tenure prospects.

Mobs of painfully ignorant undergraduate brats shut down college speakers who they fear will present facts, arguments, or truths uncongenial to their prejudices, while university authorities do little or nothing to stop them.

Members of the Trump administration are hounded from restaurants for having the temerity to serve a president who received the votes of 63,000,000 Americans along with 306 electoral votes.

A conservative think-tank, The David Horowitz Freedom Center ("DHFC"), a fact- and logic-based conservative voice, was barred from using Visa and MasterCard to process contributions, only for those companies to relent after a public outcry. Among the DHFC's many sins in the eyes of the left and one of the left's principal thugs, the Southern Poverty Law Center, is its fact- and history-based discussion of Islam. The institution and ultimate reversal of Visa and MasterCard's attempted economic strangulation of a conservative nonprofit may be the most egregious example of how easily corporate America rolls over to threats from the radical left.

A Harvard professor seriously proposes an explicit ban on employment or even honoring anyone who dares to serve in any capacity in the Trump administration.

None of this could have happened in America as recently as a generation ago. More, and worse, is coming if we sit by and hope the creeping tyranny will pass.

How We Got Here: The Schools

The erosion of free expression in American society has been going on for decades. It dates back at least to the latter 1980s, when Americans first began to hear demands from the left that college course requirements be eliminated and speech guidelines be imposed.

This development was only one consequence of something that had been going on throughout much of the 1980s. While Ronald Reagan still occupied the White House and conservative intellectuals were tediously bragging that freedom and liberty had permanently prevailed, the left was completing its takeover of the educational system, from kindergarten through university. Before the end of President Reagan's second term, elementary, high school, and college students had already begun to be taught that it was more important to avoid giving offense than to discuss important subjects rationally, openly, and honestly.

At the same time, the school and university curricula began to be purged of solid historical and cultural content that would have provided a factual basis for the young's rejection of the left's failed ideas.

The products of this debased educational system began emerging in the late '90s, and, contrary to the transparently false assurances of conservative leaders and intellectuals, those students retained the ideology they had been taught and the timidity of expression that had been urged upon them.

They became the natural prey of leftist politicians, who increasingly employed epithets rather than argument in discussing political issues. As the '90s wore on, the terms "racism," "sexism," "homophobia," and "Islamophobia" increasingly served as the left's one-word answers to conservative fact-, experience-, and logic-based arguments.

How We Got Here: "Hate Speech"

The most effective part of the attack on free speech in America was the country's infection by the "hate speech" concept. This concept has never been anything more than a transparently fallacious attempt to justify outlawing ideas that can't be defeated by fact or logic.

The "hate speech" idea traces its ugly origins to the Soviet Union, which employed it to justify pervasive thought control and tried unsuccessfully in 1948 to incorporate some version of it into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Unsurprisingly, today, the most vocal state promoters of the "hate speech" idea are Muslim-majority countries, which employ it to prohibit rational history- and fact-based criticism of Islam.

In Western Europe, post-World War II elites, weighted down by guilt and fearful of repeating past sins, were especially susceptible to the "hate speech" virus. As a result, the disease is now widespread and far advanced all over Western Europe. Freedom of political speech in most western European countries is all but dead – in France, for example, publicly asserting the obvious incompatibility of Islamic values and behavior with civilized Western norms is a quick ticket to criminal prosecution. Germany, with its "Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz," a pernicious attempt to limit free expression on the internet, is following hard on the heels of France.

America, with its unbroken tradition of constitutionally guaranteed absolute freedom of inquiry and political expression, should have strangled the odious "hate speech" idea in its crib. But while that idea marched through the universities and Silicon Valley, those who should have resisted it – Republicans and conservatives – were led by the Bush family's non-thinkers and non-fighters, and by effete, conflict-averse conservative writers huddled in the salons of the east coast.

So no real opposition was proffered in America, and the idea took root. It has grown since the late '90s and gathered momentum over ensuing decades, until today, after eight years of Barack Obama's leftist presidency, it stands poised to achieve the left's goal of severely curtailing Americans' right of free expression guaranteed by the 1st Amendment.

First Amendment Freedom of Speech: Brandenburg v. Ohio

Throughout this entire 30-year period – as Europe increasingly restricted free political expression and American universities (including government-owned universities) slowly forced "hate speech" restrictions on students and faculty – the United States Supreme Court never even slightly attenuated its near absolute protection of political speech under the First Amendment.

Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969), 395 U.S. 444, is still the salutary, if solitary, voice of freedom in the prison of thought control that the American left is trying to construct. In Brandenburg, a per curiam decision (i.e., unanimous), the Supreme Court held that the only speech government may either suppress or punish is that which advocates immediate illegality or violence and (conjunctive!) is likely to produce such immediate illegality or violence. The two-pronged Brandenburgtest makes governmental interference with political expression all but impossible in America.

Despite the strength and clarity of Brandenburg, Justices William O. Douglas and Hugo Black filed concurring opinions that would have rendered the test still more absolute (though both of these civil libertarian luminaries joined in the Court's decision).

Besides Douglas and Black, the Brandenburg Court included such liberal and civil libertarian lions as Earl Warren and William J. Brennan.

In 1969, political liberals were firmly on the side of freedom of expression.

How far we have come.

The Civil Rights Act of 2019

Brandenburg should become the law of the land – a limitation not merely on government, but on public schools, universities, large employers, and – crucially – all internet platforms and search engines.

Under the new affirmation of America's core founding principle, there should be no policing of the internet, no restriction of student or faculty speech, and no political discrimination either in employment or public accommodation, beyond the extremely limited reach of the Brandenburg test: speech that both advocates illegal or violent acts and is likely immediately to produce such acts.

As with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the protections of the new civil rights act should have teeth: a right of action for damages, with attorney's fees to the prevailing plaintiff where the act is violated, and generous venue provisions in federal court. Let Harvard and Google and Apple, to name a few of the nation's new authoritarians, defend their ideological bigotry. And let them dig deep into their pockets to pay for it.

The usual howls – repeated for years by those who opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – will be heard. It will bog us down in litigation, it will be too difficult to distinguish discriminatory conduct from conduct based on legitimate factors, private choice should not be limited by government (that last will come thick and often from "conservative" commentators who failed to defend us from the destruction of free expression in the first place). The objections will be as poorly taken as they were for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Civil Rights Act of 2019 will have the same effect that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had: most private repression of free speech in America will stop, just as most private racial discrimination stopped after 1964, and for the same two reasons: first, as in 1964, the vast majority of Americans already believed that the goal of the statute was just; and second, as in 1964, most Americans still want to behave lawfully.



Credit                                   Brett Gundlock 

theodore  M I R A L D I.

How much longer must we endure forcing people from around the World to come to the United States? It's inhumane to allow the wretched and weak an opportunity at Freedom and Opportunity,
if they just don't want it! 

Just in the last week I was disgusted to see a rally in Foley Square, with a grown man being forced by the rich and famous to make a better life for himself. I was somewhat confused what all the bally-hoo was all about. Apparently, unbeknownst to him, he wound up on the U.S. side of the Border. Wanting to return home because he loves his Culture and Country more than mine. He was detained by another bunch of Illegals that wouldn't let him leave. So ICE tried to help him home, and the Protest ensued. 

Now a captive of a Quasi Movement, he was forced to call my Loving Country some serious bad stuff. I tried to support him by raising my fist yelling "God Bless America" for them to let that man go! And from their reaction, I felt he had no chance of leaving. I don't think they appreciated my support for his plight.

I'm tired of OUR Poor and Ignorant being rejected by other countries. Go to Mexico Illegally and spend some time in prison. Who wouldn't they want a few million more dependents? We sure do. After all, our Elected Officials are already working for Illegal Aliens, they mean more votes.

It's a proven fact say the Democrats, that they make better Americans than our Forefathers. They commit no more crimes than Americans do. Maybe a few more Murders, Rapes, Stabbings, and other Violent Crimes...'What Difference Does It Make?'

So when you go to the polls this November remember, the more Illegals we have lurking about, the better for your Wayward Citizen Children. It's easier to Dumb Them Down when you mix Smallpox, Measles and TB in the classrooms. And Hey, those workers in the lunchroom with bad hygiene will somehow make the food taste better. We need more Illegals!

It's Their American ALIENable Right! 

The TRUTH Will Set Us All Free

Illustration on the Mueller investigation by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times
Illustration on the Mueller investigation by Linas Garsys/

 Victor Davis Hanson

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation was star-crossed from the start. His friend and successor as FBIdirector, James Comey, by his own admission prompted the investigation — with the deliberate leaking of classified memos about his conversations with President Donald Trump to the press.
Mr. Mueller then unnecessarily stocked his team with what the press called his “dream team” of mostly Democratic partisans. One had defended a Hillary Clinton employee. Another had defended the Clinton Foundation.
Mr. Mueller did not at first announce to the press why he had dismissed Trump-hating FBI operatives Lisa Page and Peter Strozk from his investigative team. Instead, he staggered their departures to leave the impression they were routine reassignments.
But Mr. Mueller’s greatest problem was his original mandate to discover whether Mr. Trump colluded with the Russians in 2016 to tilt the election in his favor.
After 15 months, Mr. Mueller has indicted a number of Trump associates, but on charges having nothing to do with Russian collusion. They faced inordinately long prison sentences unless they “flipped” and testified against Mr. Trump.
We are left with the impression that Mr. Mueller cannot find much to do with his original mandate of unearthing Russian collusion, but he still thinks Mr. Trump is guilty of something.
In other words, Mr. Mueller has reversed the proper order of jurisprudence.
Instead of presuming Mr. Trump innocent unless he finds evidence of Russian collusion, Mr. Mueller started with the assumption that the reckless raconteur Trump surely must be guilty of some lawbreaking. Thus, it is Mr. Mueller’s job to hunt for past crimes to prove it.
While Mr. Mueller so far has not found Trump involved in collusion with foreign citizens to warp a campaign, there is evidence that others most surely were colluding — but are not of interest to Mr. Mueller.
It is likely that during the 2016 campaign, officials at the Department of Justice, FBI, CIA and National Security Agency broke laws to ensure that the outsider Trump lost to Hillary Clinton. FBI and DOJ officials misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in order to obtain warrants to surveil Trump associates. National security officials unmasked the names of those being monitored and likely leaked them to the press with the intent to spread unverified rumors detrimental to the Trump campaign.
A spy on the federal payroll was implanted into the Trump campaign. Hillary Clinton’s campaign team paid for research done by a former British intelligence officer working with Russian sources to compile a dossier on Mr. Trump. Mrs. Clinton hid her investment in Christopher Steele’s dossier by using intermediaries such as the Perkins Coie law firm and Fusion GPS to wipe away her fingerprints.
As a result of wrongful conduct, more than a dozen officials at the FBI and DOJ have resigned or retired, or were fired or reassigned. Yet so far none of these miscreants has been indicted or has faced the same legal scrutiny that Mueller applies to Trump associates.
Hillary Clinton is not facing legal trouble for destroying subpoenaed emails, for using an unlawful email server or for the expenditure of campaign money on the Steele dossier.
No president has ever faced impeachment for supposed wrongdoing alleged to have taken place before he took office — not Andrew Johnson, not Richard Nixon, and not even Bill Clinton, who lied about his liaisons with Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office. With the effort to go back years, if not decades, into Mr. Trump’s business and personal life, we are now in unchartered territory.
The argument is not that Mr. Trump committed crimes while president — indeed, his record at home and abroad is winning praise. The allegations are instead about what he may have done as a private citizen, and whether it could have reversed the 2016 election.
The only way to clear up this messy saga is for Mr. Trump to immediately declassify all documents — without redactions — relating to the Mueller investigation, the FISA court warrants, the Clinton email investigation, and CIA and FBI involvement with the dossier and the use of informants.
Second, there needs to be another special counsel to investigate wrongdoing on the part of senior officials in these now nearly discredited agencies. The mandate should be to discover whether there was serial conflict of interest, chronic lying to federal officials, obstruction of justice, improper unmasking and leaking, misleading of federal courts, and violation of campaign finance laws.
It is past time to stop the stonewalling, the redacting, the suppression, the leaking to the press and the media hysteria. The government must turn over all relevant documents to two special counsels and free each to discover who did what in 2016.

Brown U. Study That DEBUNKS Transgender Community Pulled

Brown U. pulls 'gender dysphoria' study, worried that findings might 'invalidate the perspectives' of transgender community

Van Wickle Gates of Brown University in Providence, R.I., are seen in May 2012

 Lukas Mikelionis

Brown University has come under fire after censoring its own study on transgender youth, which found that social media and friends can influence teenagers to change their gender identity.
The university removed an article about the study from its website five days after it was published, following community complaints that the research was transphobic, the Daily Wire first reported.
In addition, the findings "might invalidate the perspectives of members of the transgender community," a university dean wrote.
The dean insisted, however, that it was still committed to “academic freedom,” noting that all studies should be "debated vigorously."
The study examined what it called “rapid-onset gender dysphoria,” when a teen suddenly begins identifying as transgender despite never previously never questioning their identity.
"In on-line forums, parents have been reporting that their children are experiencing what is described here as ‘rapid-onset gender dysphoria,' appearing for the first time during puberty or even after its completion."
- Lisa Littman
The transition often happens after teens use social media and watch online videos about transitioning to another gender.
“In on-line forums, parents have been reporting that their children are experiencing what is described here as ‘rapid-onset gender dysphoria,' appearing for the first time during puberty or even after its completion,” said Lisa Littman, an assistant professor in behavioral sciences at Brown and author of the study.
“The onset of gender dysphoria seemed to occur in the context of belonging to a peer group where one, multiple, or even all of the friends have become gender dysphoric and transgender-identified during the same timeframe,” she added.
"Parents describe a process of immersion in social media, such as ‘binge-watching' Youtube transition videos and excessive use of Tumblr, immediately preceding their child becoming gender dysphoric."
- Lisa Littman
The study, based on 256 surveys completed by parents, was published earlier this month in PLOS ONE, a peer-reviewed science journal, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
Parents said teens “exhibited an increase in social media/internet use prior to disclosure of a transgender identity,” which led to the conclusion that “friends and online sources could spread certain beliefs.”
The parents described "a process of immersion in social media," such as binge-watching "transition videos" and excessive use of social media, immediately preceding their child becoming gender dysphoric, the study claims.
"The spirit of free inquiry and scholarly debate is central to academic excellence ... At the same time, we believe firmly that it is also incumbent on public health researchers to listen to multiple perspectives and to recognize and articulate the limitations of their work."
- Bess Marcus, the dean of Brown's School of Public Health
The research goes on to suggest that teens could be influencing each other to promote certain behaviors through “peer contagion.”
In a statement posted online, Bess Marcus, dean of Brown's School of Public Health, said the university “has heard from Brown community members expressing concerns that the conclusions of the study could be used to discredit efforts to support transgender youth and invalidate the perspectives of members of the transgender community.”
“The University and School have always affirmed the importance of academic freedom and the value of rigorous debate informed by research," Marcus continued, noting that all studies “should be debated vigorously.”
“The spirit of free inquiry and scholarly debate is central to academic excellence,” she added. “At the same time, we believe firmly that it is also incumbent on public health researchers to listen to multiple perspectives and to recognize and articulate the limitations of their work.”

Wednesday, August 29, 2018


Facebook staffers form group, poke ‘intolerant’ liberal culture

Christopher Carbone

A senior Facebook engineer called out what he termed the company’s “political monoculture” in an internal message board post, prompting over 100 fellow employees to join a group advocating for political diversity.
The group represents less than half a percent of the social media giant's workforce, and members aren't necessarily even conservative. But they say they are fed up with the way co-workers who don't toe the liberal line are treated.
“We are a political monoculture that’s intolerant of different views,” Brian Amerige, a senior Facebook engineer, wrote in the Aug. 20 post titled “We Have a Problem With Political Diversity” that was leaked to the New York Times. “We claim to welcome all perspectives, but are quick to attack—often in mobs—anyone who presents a view that appears to be in opposition to left-leaning ideology.”
Since the post went up, over 100 employees have joined a group called FB’ers for Political Diversity. Although other Facebook employees reportedly complained that the group’s online posts were offensive to minorities, a source with knowledge of the situation told Fox News the group's intent is to be a constructive space and includes people on the left and the right. 
Facebook employs over 25,000 people and, like most Silicon Valley companies, is seen as having a liberal culture. In May, the company announced that former Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, a Republican, would lead an inquiry into allegations of anti-conservative bias at the social network.
The memo cites a range of concerns, including the removal of posters welcoming supporters of President Trump, the efforts to get Trump-supporter Peter Thiel removed from Facebook’s board, the fact that “All Lives Matter is a “fireable offense,” and Amerige himself being called a “transphobe” for calling Facebook’s corporate art “politically radical.”
A source familiar with the incident said that Facebook's culture is open and that employees are encouraged to communicate freely in any of the tens of thousands of internal groups.
“On Day 1 of Facebook’s new hire orientation in Menlo Park, everyone hears from our Chief Diversity Officer about the importance of diversity and how to have respectful conversations with people who have different viewpoints,” Bertie Thomson, a Facebook spokesperson, told Fox News.
FILE - In this April 11, 2018, file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg departs after testifying before a House Energy and Commerce hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election and data privacy. The New York Times says Facebook has acknowledged it shared user data with several Chinese handset manufacturers, including Huawei, a company flagged by U.S. intelligence officials as a national security threat. The report says Facebook said Tuesday, June 5, the handset makers including Huawei, Lenovo, Oppo and TCL were among 60 it had shared data with as early as 2007. Facebook told the newspaper it planned to wind down the Huawei deal this week. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg  (AP)
CEO Mark Zuckerberg publicly defended Thiel last year and, in response to a lawmaker’s question about alleged anti-conservative bias, said he wanted Facebook to “be a platform for all ideas.”
Amerige’s memo comes at a time when Zuckerberg’s company is facing scrutiny on a number of fronts.
From the spread of misinformation on its platform by Russians to the proliferation of hate speech and the accusations that it has censored content from conservatives, Facebook has been under fire for much of the last two years.
This latest incident comes amid President Trump's war of words against Google, Facebook and Twitter for allegedly being biased against conservatives—telling them this week to “be careful” and saying they are “taking advantage of people.”
Google said in a previous statement that its search engine is “not used to set a political agenda” and the company doesn’t bias results “toward any political ideology.”

However, the search giant is being sued by former employee James Damore, who was fired after writing a memo that criticized Google's diversity efforts. 
Damore filed a class action lawsuit against the tech giant in January and told Fox Business that Google engages in “harassment and career sabotage of anyone that expresses a conservative viewpoint, and there’s constant shaming and attacks against white men within Silicon Valley.”
The dispute over politics arises a week before Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg is due to testify at a Senate hearing about social media manipulation in elections.
Amerige, who has worked at Facebook for more than six years, believes in “Objectivism,” an Ayn Rand philosophical system influencing libertarians that—among other tenets—says the moral purpose of one’s life is the pursuit of one’s own happiness, that individual rights must be respected and that capitalism is the only moral social system.
Fox News reached out to Amerige for comment and will update the story as needed.
The memo concludes by suggesting that colleagues use the new Facebook group as a space where employees can discuss making the tech behemoth “more tolerant and active-minded about different political and ideological perspectives.