Tuesday, February 23, 2016

War Between Twitter and Conservatives Just Got Real

I’ve warned that free speech, namely Right of Center speech, was in danger at Twitter.  Well the war between Twitter and conservatives on the matter of free speech just got real.

Over the weekend, Robert Stacy McCain was banned from Twitter for telling it like it is about a feminazi feminist member of Twitter’s new shiny Leftist “Trust and Safety Council.”  Then Twitter doubled down by banning his book promotion identity as well after it quickly gained followers.

For some, this is the last straw.  Ace (of Ace of Spades) is taking his content off twitter.

And although I intend to make twitter ban me, I fully understand.

Adam Baldwin and Larry Correia have also had enough and are “done with Twitter.”

Da Tech Guy is following this well. 

As for me, although I’m not leaving Twitter yet, I will reecho what @Nero has said – it is time for another Twitter that actually upholds free speech.

Oh, and isn’t it interesting that Twitter is shadowbanning and banning conservatives now that it’s an election year.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Two Must-Reads for Those Considering Brexit

I am torn concerning the issue of Brexit, whether the UK should leave the UK. 

Don’t get me wrong.  If I were a subject of Her Majesty, I would run to vote to leave the EU on June 23rd.  But there was a little disagreement 240 years ago, so I am not a subject, and so it is not my place to campaign on something that is the choice of my UK friends, not my reticent self.

But I can pray they make the right choice, and I can suggest reading material.

So I strongly suggest reading Dominic Lawson’s latest in the Daily Mail which gives an interesting history of how what Maggie Thatcher called “Wet Tories” deceived the UK into the EU.  A sample:

Young was a strong supporter of British EU membership, which made his book’s revelations about the process by which Edward Heath persuaded Parliament to pass the 1972 European Community Act all the more telling: ‘Phrases were dreamed up that could mean all things to all men and women. “There is no question of any erosion of essential national sovereignty”, the government White Paper (proposing entry) said.

‘So “essential” glided into the vocabulary of reassurance. It offered the government deniability. For who could ever say the promise had been broken?’

Young’s forensic account went on: ‘This tendency continued in the House of Commons debates of 1971-2. Ministers did not lie, but they avoided telling the full truth. They refrained from stating categorically that the law of the European Community would have supremacy over British law.

‘This was a conscious, much deliberated choice. Spelled out in a clause that had to be openly debated and passed, Community supremacy would have had explosive possibilities.’

Young also spoke to one of the parliamentary draftsmen who crafted this legislation: this unnamed law officer recalled that he had been told to ‘tread carefully’, as full and open admission of what was being done to parliamentary sovereignty would have been ‘so astounding’ as to have put the whole Bill in danger.

As we know, it passed; though later, Sir Geoffrey Howe, who was the government law officer in charge of the process, wrote in a private letter to a colleague: ‘I remain at least plausibly exposed to the charge that less of our thinking than was appropriate was explicitly exposed to the House of Commons.’ This was Howe-ese for ‘we pulled the wool over their eyes’.

Yes, I do think the current Wet Tories in charge are also being less than forthcoming in trying to talk the UK into further subservience.

And let there be no mistake that the UK is already in subservience to the EU:

Over the past two decades there have been 72 occasions on which the UK has opposed a measure in the Council of Ministers. On every single one of those occasions, we have been outvoted.

This is the true measure of the extent to which we are really, as Cameron claims, ‘exercising influence in Europe’.

And the scale of this torrent of unwanted measures from Brussels has become vast. As the Conservative minister Dominic Raab said yesterday: ‘More than 60 per cent of UK laws are now made in, or derive from, the EU. Can we realistically expect such laws to reflect what Britons want, now they are the product of haggling with 27 governments and a European Commission of 33,000 civil servants?’

Some of these laws actually cost lives. Britain’s most prolific cancer researcher, Professor Angus Dalgleish, told me that the EU’s Clinical Trials Directive had increased the cost of his experiments more than ten-fold.

And he pointed out last month that ‘the unfathomable amount of EU regulation and bureaucracy has led to a third less clinical studies taking place in Britain. We were world-leading in these studies, but because of EU regulation, we now lag behind the United States.’

And what if in a future still in the EU, the UK elects a truly right-of-center government with the gumption to say “No” to EU enormities?  Well, Poland is already getting a taste of the bullying that would result, and there is more in store for other non-Socialist governments, too:

French President Francois Hollande warned Friday that an EU member state could be sanctioned if the extreme-right came to power there -- and could even be suspended from the bloc,AFP reports.

"A country can be suspended from the European Union," the President told France Inter radio.

“Human rights watchdog the Council of Europe last week expressed concern at legislative changes proposed by Poland's new right-wing government that have been described both at home and abroad as unconstitutional and undemocratic,” AFP goes on to say, adding that “similar concerns have been expressed about Hungary's right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban.”

"When the freedom of the media is in danger, when constitutions and human rights are under attack, Europe must not just be a safety net. It must put in place procedures to suspend (countries) -- it can go that far," Hollande said.
"Checks," he said, are necessary on Poland. 

There are a couple of things to note here. First, it's not at all clear why it should be up to France how another country's citizens vote. Indeed, there's something terribly ironic about the idea of punishing a country for their voting preferences in the name of democracy. There's certainly nothing democratic about telling entire countries who they're allowed to elect. 

But who said the EU is democratic?

The EU should come with a clear disclaimer: Abandon your petty sovereignty and democracy, all who enter here.

Again, I don’t have a vote on the matter, but I would get out while the getting is good.

Friday, February 19, 2016

“What are Ember Days?”

This past Ember Wednesday, a young boy asked me, “What are Ember Days?”

I hemmed and hawed a bit in my answer, saying I once studied the subject but forgot a lot, but that ordinations to the ministry are an emphasis of Ember Days.

His commendable patience being tried by my efforts, he replied, “It’s okay to say you don’t know.”

I suspect I am not the only one who doesn’t know.  So to be helpful I point my inquisitive readers to a fine essay I came across last night but written a few years ago, “The Glow of Ember Days” by Michael P. Foley.  Another essay by Frank Weathers may be also be helpful.

I will say that there is still some scholarly dispute about the origin of Ember Days.  So the counsel of the boy was wise.

May you have a Blessed Ember Friday and Saturday.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Report: Twitter is Shadowbanning the “Politically Inconvenient”

Near the beginning of this year, I posited the question: “Is free speech at Twitter in danger?”

I think we can now sadly answer, “Yes.”

Twitter is almost certainly using the practice of shadowbanning (Short definition: Suppressing an unfavored user’s content rather than directly banning him.) against “politically inconvenient” users.

For weeks, users have been reporting that tweets from populist conservatives, members of the alternative right, cultural libertarians, and other anti-PC dissidents have disappeared from their timelines.

Among the users complaining of shadowbans are sci-fi author and alt-right figurehead Vox Day, geek culture blogger “Daddy Warpig,” and the popular pro-Trump account Ricky Vaughn. . . .

The pattern of shadowban reports, which skews towards the alt-right, the populist right, and cultural libertarians, follows close on the heels of Twitter’s establishment of a “Trust and Safety Council” packed with left-wing advocacy groups, as well as Islamic research centre the Wahid Institute.

I’m afraid Milo Yiannopoulos is correct in concluding, “Users in search of a transparent, politically unbiased platform will soon have to find — or build — an alternative.”

And, again, I say this with sadness as a frequent tweeter myself.  Twitter once furthered free speech.  Now it is suppressing it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

“Fill the Boot” Should Be Booted Off the Streets

I’ve written another article for The Paper Trail News that also applies nationwide.  For in many cities one has to dodge firemen and their “Fill the Boot” campaigns for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and other causes.  The problem isn’t the worthy ends but the means which endanger drivers and firemen as well.

So, no, I’m not mean . . . on a good day.  I just prefer not to have to dodge firemen when I drive.

Anyway read for yourself.  (And you may find a counterpoint over at The Paper Trail News.)

Next month, we will have to dodge more than just Spring Breakers on local roads.  For the Corpus Christi Fire Department will be at major intersections with their Fill the Boot campaign on behalf of the Multiple Dystrophy Association (MDA).  So be careful as you drive.

But that friendly advice begs the question – should the Fill the Boot campaign be allowed on the streets at all?  This may rub some people the wrong way, but I emphatically say, “NO!”

Although MDA has had a controversy or two, let’s assume it is a worthy cause.  And certainly we should want to help those with Multiple Dystrophy and do what we can to combat this disease. 

But the ends do not justify the means.  So lets look at the means used by the Fire Department during their Fill the Boot campaign.

In already busy intersections, they roam right on the edge of traffic and even in the midst of cars carrying about their boots to fill.  Anyone who has driven much in Corpus knows that these intersections are often not easy to navigate already.  Yet I’ve more than once experienced firemen making it even more difficult.  Not only are the well-meaning firemen hazards to avoid, but they increase the visual busyness of intersections - and certain intersections, especially along SPID, are busy enough already!  The presence of firemen all about increases the number of things a driver must be aware of and avoid and makes intersections that much more complicated to navigate.

The firemen therefore increase the likelihood an overwhelmed driver will miss something, make an error, and have an accident.  That’s not to mention the hazard to the firemen as well.

One year, I was waiting for a light at Waldron and SPID.  I was aware of the Fill the Boot campaign around the intersection and was that much more careful and alert.  When the light turned green, I began to put on the gas . . . when a fireman darted right in front of me.  I jammed on the brakes.  Fortunately, no one was run over and there were no collisions.  But what if I was slightly less alert?  What if my reflexes were slightly slower?  What if the person behind me was on mental autopilot and rear-ended me?

Again, MDA may be a very worthy cause.  But would we tolerate traffic hazards being so increased for any number of other worthy causes?  Would we tolerate private organizations roaming in and around intersections for their favorite causes?  I would not.  And the city should not.  And no city agency should so endanger us.

Other cities and counties around the nation, including Oklahoma City and Charleston, S. C. are taking the Fill the Boot campaign off of the streets due to safety concerns.  Corpus Christi and Nueces County should, too.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Trump’s Bush Derangement Syndrome

The subject of how ugly Trump has to get before he loses voters has been a subject of much speculation and wonder.  We may find out soon because he really got ugly during last Saturday night’s Republican Debate.  Personally, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten so angry at Trump before.

During his, um, performance, he interrupted again and again and again, and he created the color Trump Orange, by the way.  But most importantly, he revealed he has a serious and uncured case of Bush Derangement Syndrome, particularly during this segment:

It turns out Trump’s BDS is nothing new.  He was one of the loons advocating the impeachment of W.  From a 2008 interview:

BLITZER: [What do you think of] Nancy Pelosi, the speaker?

TRUMP: Well, you know, when she first got in and was named speaker, I met her. And I’m very impressed by her. I think she’s a very impressive person. I like her a lot.

But I was surprised that she didn’t do more in terms of Bush and going after Bush. It was almost — it just seemed like she was going to really look to impeach Bush and get him out of office, which, personally, I think would have been a wonderful thing.

BLITZER: Impeaching him?

TRUMP: Absolutely, for the war, for the war.

Now, in addition to being both laughable and outrageous, Trump’s BDS may have political consequences.  For many Republicans and Independents, even those who do not want another Bush as President and who are critical of the presidency of GWB, are completely turned off by Bush Derangement Syndrome.

I am a pretty good example of that.  I do not think GWB’s presidency was a good one.  He did cut taxes and protect the country.  But he did little to nothing to slow spending or shrink government or even to slow it’s growth.  And he did pave the wave for Obama.  Further, I am fed up with the Republican establishment and will not vote for another Bush, period.

At the same time, those who say Bush was somehow responsible for 9-11 or who prate “Bush lied, kids died” really get my dander up.  I consider such sentiments worthy only of nuts and Leftists.  (But I repeat myself.)  And there is NO way I will vote for someone who repeats those tired, insane lines.

Thus Trump has likely alienated many of the anti-establishment voters he is trying to get.  He has gone beyond the boundaries of what many Republican and Republican-leaning voters find acceptable.

Therefore, I would not be surprised if South Carolina proves to be Trump’s Waterloo.

As always, we shall see.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Prostrate on Ash Wednesday Again

As is becoming my custom, I began Ash Wednesday and Lent by going upstairs into my small private chapel and lying prostrate in penitence for a time.

I will not say my thoughts did not stray.  Ah, that much more about which to be penitent.

Although prostration during Ash Wednesday is not now a common practice to my knowledge (Learned readers, feel free to educate me.), it does have a history, including in the Sarum Rite as I wrote two years ago.

Whatever your posture, may you have a blessed and edifying Lent.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

About That Mosque Our Non-Muslim President is Visiting

President Obama is visiting a mosque today, namely the Islamic Society of Baltimore.  His purpose?  In the White House’s own words, to “celebrate the contributions Muslim Americans make to our nation and reaffirm the importance of religious freedom to our way of life.”

I guess those “contributions” must include support for terrorist groups, because the Islamic Society of Baltimore has a record of that:

An imam who served at ISB for a total of 15 years has also been a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood network and has worked for an Islamic relief group that was designated as a terrorist organization by the Treasury Department in 2004. Mohammad Adam el-Sheikh, who served two stints as ISB’s imam, from 1983 to 1989 and from 1994 to 2003, was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Sudan in the 1970s. He also co-founded the Muslim American Society, a Falls Church, Va.-based group that is controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood.

While in Baltimore, el-Sheikh served as a regional director for the Islamic American Relief Agency. That group’s parent organization is the Islamic African Relief Agency, which the Treasury Department says provided funds to Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, Hamas and other terrorist organizations.

I will try to be charitable – it’s the Pre-Lent season after all – and say this shows egregious incompetence and sloppiness on the part of the Obama Administration.  After all, there are mosques in the United States that do not support terrorism.  Could the President and his people not find one?

But is it not strange that again and again the decisions of this non-Muslim President enable Islamic terror?  The Obama Administration cheerleaded the Muslim Brotherhood coming to power in Egypt.  It supported taking Qaddafi out in Libya, creating a power vacuum terrorists walked right into.  It withdrew us completely from Iraq, creating a vacuum ISIS walked right into.  It let right on in the San Bernardino terrorists.  It turned full on the money spigot to Iran.

Like I said, charity calls for saying this is all just incompetence – horrible, destructive incompetence, but incompetence nonetheless.

But if he had a soft spot for Islamic terrorism, would he be acting any differently?

Monday, February 01, 2016

Why Oriel College Oxford Backed Down from Taking Down Rhodes

Many of you by now are already aware that the statue of Cecil Rhodes at Oriel College Oxford will stay.  But you may not be aware that moneyed alumni putting their foot down is a big reason why.  Many were furious that Oriel was considering taking down the statue in the face of pressure from Social Justice Warrior students (I use that last word loosely, by the way.) and were putting their money where their fury was.

At a meeting on Wednesday the governing body was told that because of its ambiguous position on the removal of the statue, “at least one major donation of £500,000” that was expected this year has been cancelled.

In addition, a “potential £750,000 donor” has stopped responding to messages from the college, and several alumni have written to Oriel to say “they are disinheriting the college from their wills”.

One of those who has already cancelled their legacy was going to leave a “seven figure sum” and the college is aware that “another major donor is furious with the College… whose legacy could be in excess of £100m”.

The report warns that there will now "almost certainly" be "one or two redundancies" in its Development Office team because of the collapse in donations. And it has cancelled an annual fundraising drive that should have taken place in April. The report also warns that Oriel's development office could now make an operating loss of around £200,000 this year.

Now some sensitive souls may be appalled that alumni were so throwing the weight of their money around.  But what is appalling is that said pressure was needful in assisting Oriel College to see the light.

Moreover, this is a textbook case of how the students of times past can assist their alma maters from becoming too married to the madnesses of times present.   And alumni usually have a little more perspective than callow students and those ensconced in the ivory towers of academia and can and should on occasion put that perspective to good effect, backed with the hard reality of filthy lucre if need be.

So good on those Oriel alumni – or old members, as they say in England – who assisted their beloved college from turning away from what would have been an odious decision.

If only more American alumni had that much backbone.

For those who think Cecil Rhodes was an awful racist – or that I am for defending his statue, a little history is in order.

The Cape Colony under Rhodes was liberal for its day. Africans could vote if they met the same property-holding or income requirements as whites. Rhodes might have bent too far to placate the Boers, the Dutch settlers whose support he needed to rule the colony. But at the end of his political career, Rhodes opposed a Boer plan to submit Africans to a literacy test before they could vote. Only after Rhodes left office did the Boers establish apartheid as official policy.

When Rhodes created his scholarship in 1902, he included a clause far ahead of its time. His will specifies that no student will be “qualified or disqualified on account of his race or religious opinions.”

The above is not well known, and I did not know it until very recently.  So trust me that I understand if one is not well disposed towards Rhodes.  But really, Cecil Rhodes was more enlightened on race than many 20th Century heroes of the Left.