Tag Archives: oppression

School Reverses Course After Ordering Student to Remove American Flag From Bike

In a victory for free speech (from a battle that shouldn’t have been fought in the first place), a school has reversed course after ordering a 13-year-old student to remove the American flag from his bicycle because some students said they’d be offended. Key quote:

[School superintendent Edward] Paraz says the school . . . now will be shifting its focus to the students who complained. “In no way did we want to take that right away from Cody,” Paraz told Fox40 on Friday. “…We think we know who the instigators are that were trying to do that and we need to meet with their parents and those students to just kind of explain that this isn’t what we want to have.”

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Pat Condell on the death of free speech in Europe

Pat Condell, whose never minces words in his commentary on youtube, has decided to speak out about Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff’s upcoming trial in Austria, where she is threatened with three years imprisonment because she expressed an opinion about Islam and the Koran. It is worth watching.

The purpose [of these trials] is to silence dissent, by example. To show everyone else that they too will be treated as a common criminal if they dare to express a negative opinion about the world’s most backward, intolerant and violent religion. This is where we are in Europe today. It’s like something out of the old Soviet Union.

By the way, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff’s legal defense fund can be found at http://english.savefreespeech.org/ .

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New airport security checks causing protests

And people wonder why I now drive from Maryland to Chicago: It appears that no one is happy with new TSA airport security checks, requiring either a full body scan or a full body pat down. Protests are coming from pilots, flight attendants, passengers, and the airlines. Key quote from the “passenger” link above:

The aggressively enhanced TSA pat down involves over-the-clothes searches of passengers’ breast and genital areas. You can opt not to go through the backscatter body scanners, and thereby keep your genitalia private from pictures, but then a TSA screener will use a front-of-the-hand, slide-down body screening that Ars Technica called “nut-busting pat-downs.”

And there’s National Opt-Out Day, November 24, 2010. (I wish I could participate, but as I said, I will be driving to Chicago for Thanksgiving, mostly to avoid the police-state of the TSA.)

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Leftist cartoonist calls for armed revolution against the right

Feel the hate: Leftist cartoonist Ted Rall calls for armed revolution against conservatives. The quote below from Rall’s writing nicely summarizes what he thinks of people who disagree with him:

The millions of partisans who follow Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and right-wing televangelists happen to be the best-armed people around, and they despise just about everyone who doesn’t think and pray like them. They will see collapse as affirmation of their beliefs that secular liberalism is destructive. They will also see it as an opportunity to create a new, ordered world atop the ashes. They will act to stop teenage sluts from getting abortions, teach niggers a lesson, and slaughter those spics, dots, and everyone else who doesn’t fit into their vision of what and who is right. [emphasis mine]

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Warrentless raids and arrests at Florida barbershops

This appears to be an abuse of power: Since August Florida police have conducted two warrentless sweeps, raiding nine barbershops and arresting 37 people (for “barbering without a license,” a misdemeanor), using the state’s business regulations as a cover. Key quotes:

The operations were conducted without warrants, under the authority of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation inspectors, who can enter salons at will.

With the exception of two misdemeanor marijuana charges and Vasquez’s arrest, deputies were unable to connect any of the illegal activity to anyone. Meanwhile, store owners reported property damage from the raids, including a large hole employees said deputies busted into a wall at 809 Barbershop in Ocoee. However, several owners said the damage to their businesses and reputations has been much worse.

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A high school production of To Kill a Mockingbird cancelled due to political correctness

Freedom of speech alert: A high school production of To Kill a Mockingbird was cancelled because of the play includes the word “nigger.” The absurdity of this is incredible. Not only was this how people spoke during the time period described in the book, Harper Lee’s book was central in bringing about the end to racial discrimination.

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UN conference passes broad ban on “geoengineering”

A UN conference in Japan today approved the extremely broad language that I had noted earlier this week, banning all “climate-related geoengineering activities that may affect biodiversity . . . until there is an adequate scientific basis on which to justify such activities.” You can read some reactions here. Key quote from the ETC group, a Canadian non-profit organization which supports the language:

The agreement, reached during the ministerial portion of the two-week meeting which included 110 environment ministers, asks governments to ensure that no geoengineering activities take place until risks to the environment and biodiversity and associated social, cultural and economic impacts have been appropriately considered. The CBD secretariat was also instructed to report back on various geoengineering proposals and potential intergovernmental regulatory measures.

If the broad language of this policy is accepted by the United States government, it will effectively shut down almost all new construction and development, as practically anything people do “may affect biodiversity.”

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Demonstration on October 30 to protest the trial of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff

There will be a demonstration on October 30 in support Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, who is facing prison in Austria for publicly quoting the Koran and then criticizing what it says. The video below explains the disgusting nature of the charges against her, and how freedom of speech is under direct attack in Austria. Key quote:

“It seems that some people do not appreciate a non-Muslim quoting verbatim from the Koran. . . . Apparently you have to convert to Islam in order to quote from the Koran and not be accused of hate speech.”

You can offer support to her legal defense fund by going here. This fund is not controlled by her, and will only be used to pay her legal fees.

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First ticket issued for deadly butter

Our government doing the really important work! Health officials in Baltimore have handed out their first ticket to a restaurant for not using the proper cooking recipe, as determined by the government. Key quote:

“They originally had a margarine that was above 3 grams, actually, which is very high compared to the .5 that is allowed. Then when we came back and they had replaced it, they replaced it with one that was 2 grams, so it still was too high,” [Health Department agent Juan] Gutierrez said.

And then there’s this: Fake health inspectors at restaurants on the rise.

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UN treaty language threatens to ban all “climate-related geoengineering”

Treaty language being written at a United Nations conference on biodiversity is so vague it threatens to bar almost all new development. Here is the language, via Science:

8 (w) Ensure, in line and consistent with decision IX/16 C, on ocean
fertilisation and biodiversity and climate change, in the absence of science-based, global, transparent and effective control and regulatory mechanisms for geo-engineering, and in accordance with the precautionary approach and Article 14 of the Convention, that no climate-related geoengineering activities (1) that may affect biodiversity take place, until there is an adequate scientific basis on which to justify such activities and appropriate consideration of the associated risks for the environment and biodiversity and associated social, economic and cultural impacts, with the exception of small scale scientific research studies that would be conducted in a controlled setting in accordance with Article 3 of the Convention, and only if they are justified by the need to gather specific scientific data and are subject to a thorough prior assessment of the potential impacts on the environment.

(1) Without prejudice to future deliberations on the definition of geo-engineering activities, understanding that any technologies that deliberately reduce solar insolation or increase carbon sequestration from the atmosphere on a large scale that may affect biodiversity (excluding carbon capture and storage from fossil fuels when it captures carbon dioxide before it is released to the atmosphere) should be considered as forms of geoengineering which are relevant to the Convention on Biological Diversity until a more precise definition can be developed. Noting that solar insolation is defined as a measure of solar radiation energy received on a given surface area in a given hour and that carbon sequestration is defined as the process of increasing the carbon contact of a reservoir/pool other than the atmosphere. [emphasis mine]

This language is so broad that, if agreed to by the United States, it could easily put almost any activity that affects the environment, including technology, business, property, recreation, or practically anything at all, under the control of UN regulators.

But wait, there’s more. The goal of this UN conference, to quote their own webpage, is to achieve “a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth.” Obviously, this UN group is not merely interested in protecting the biodiversity of life on Earth, but to also redistribute the wealth so as to help poorer nations.

God help us if our government agrees to this.

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Another European on trial for reporting the facts about Islam

Freedom of speech alert! Geert Wilders is not the only European on trial simply for reporting factual information about Islam and the Koran. In Vienna, Austria, feminist and anti-jihad activist Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff faces prison simply because she conducted “public seminars in which she described Islamic doctrine, quoted from the Koran, and explained to her listeners what she considers the dangers of Islam.” Her trial date is now set for November 23. More information can also be found at Jihad Watch.

The website Gates of Vienna has started a campaign to support Sabaditsch-Wolff, and is asking websites and bloggers worldwide to support her. I am glad to lend my voice to her cause. Any government that wants to put a citizen in jail, merely for expressing an opinion or stating facts, should be condemned as loudly as possble. If you go to the campaign site above, you can read about the history of the case in detail as well as find ways you can lend your own support. Also, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff’s legal defense fund can be found at http://english.savefreespeech.org/ .

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Mark Steyn lecture squelched by Islamists and wimpy bureaucrats

Obeying the orders of local Islamic groups, a London, Ontario, convention center has refused to allow a lecture by Mark Stein. Key quote:

“The reason offered by the London Convention Centre [in a Tuesday morning phone call] was that they had received pressure from local Islamic groups, and they didn’t want to alienate their Muslim clients. It’s interesting to note that the LCC is owned by the City of London, and is therefore a government operation,” wrote Strictly Right’s Andrew Lawton at the website.

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The Juan Williams firing, in his own words

The Juan Williams firing, in his own words. Key quote:

This is an outrageous violation of journalistic standards and ethics by management that has no use for a diversity of opinion, ideas or a diversity of staff (I was the only black male on the air). This is evidence of one-party rule and one sided thinking at NPR that leads to enforced ideology, speech and writing. It leads to people, especially journalists, being sent to the gulag for raising the wrong questions and displaying independence of thought.

Daniel Schorr, my fellow NPR commentator who died earlier this year, used to talk about the initial shock of finding himself on President Nixon’s enemies list. I can only imagine Dan’s revulsion to realize that today NPR treats a journalist who has worked for them for ten years with less regard, less respect for the value of independence of thought and embrace of real debate across political lines, than Nixon ever displayed.

As I said yesterday, defund them.

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Juan Williams firing by NPR

Defund them! NPR’s firing of Juan Williams yesterday is another demonstration that this leftwing news organization has no tolerance for free speech. One of the first things the new Congress should do is end all funding to this corrupt propaganda machine.

Sorry I have been late in posting about this story. I would like to say more, but I have an article for Sky & Telescope that must be finished by tomorrow.

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Closing caves for the convenience and power of the government

A variety of federal government agencies are moving aggressively to shut down human access to all American caves, including those on private property. Key quote:

In Wisconsin, where white nose syndrome has not yet appeared, wildlife managers want to get a jump on the disease by declaring G. destructans [the fungus associated with the syndrome] an invasive species, and declaring four species of bats threatened. Those designations would give wildlife agencies access to new sources of funds. They would also “give police power to the agencies to go onto private land to prevent damage to these newly named threatened species,” said [Peter] Youngbaer, [white nose syndrome liaison for the National Speleological Society]. “We fear that private landowners will be fearful of allowing even inadvertent access to caves, and thus move to seal caves shut. They’ll be causing more damage to the bats that they’re ostensibly trying to protect.” [emphasis mine]

As a caver, I not only have a strong personal interest in this story, I know a lot about bats and caves from personal experience. As a science writer who has also written about white nose syndrome for Science, I am also very familiar with the present state of the science. Based on this background, I find the actions of these government officials unconscionable. As one commenter to this article very correctly noted:

“There is currently *no* evidence that humans have spread this disease, but mountains of evidence for bat-to-bat transmission. The possibility does exist that humans *could* spread it, but even at its worst a human vector would be quite statistically insignificant in comparison to the bat-to-bat transmission.

In other words, closing all caves to human access can accomplish no good, and a great deal of harm. Yet, this is exactly what these government officials and environmental bureaucrats wish to do.

Back in March 2008, soon after white nose syndrome was discovered, I wrote the following:

I am beginning to believe strongly that the situation has worrisome political overtones linked to the unstated desire of some people to limit access to caves. . . . Some people are distorting the situation for their own purposes, either consciously or unconsciously. . . . Some of those people might have an agenda (closing caves to cavers) that is entirely irrelevant to the issue of white nose.

The article above only serves to confirm my opinions from 2008. The government officials who are demanding the indiscriminate closure of caves and the unfettered control over caves on private property are not really interested in protecting or saving the bats. In fact, their actions might actually do great harm to the bats, as the closures, the regulatory restrictions, and the threat to private property will antagonize both cavers and landowners, thus guaranteeing their unwillingness to cooperate with scientists.

So what do these government officials want? As far as I can tell, what they really want is power. And they are using white nose syndrome as a hammer to gain it.

Sadly, I fear that they are going to succeed. Today’s environmental laws are rigged to their advantage. The press is generally on their side. And the opposition to this power grab is diffuse and weak.

Once again, we see the death of freedom. And it dies, not by a single devastating blow, but by the death of a thousand cuts.

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Chinese embargo of rare earth minerals expands

China is expanding its embargo on exporting rare earth minerals, blocking shipments to Japan, Europe and the United States. Key quote:

China mines 95 percent of the world’s rare earth elements, which have broad commercial and military applications, and are vital to the manufacture of products as diverse as cellphones, large wind turbines and guided missiles. Any curtailment of Chinese supplies of rare earths is likely to be greeted with alarm in Western capitals, particularly because Western companies are believed to keep much smaller stockpiles of rare earths than Japanese companies.

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Chicago mainstream reporters threaten reporter asking tough questions of Emanuel

Updated and bumped.The police have now issued an arrest warrent against reporter Jay Levin. (This is based on his behavior in the video below. He is the reporter in the red wind breaker, threatening another reporter, William Kelly, who was asking tough questions of Rahm Emanuel.) Key quote:

This morning, I [William Kelly] filed a police report and signed an arrest warrant against Jay Levine for assault. The Chicago police have already reviewed the video and agreed that an assault was committed.

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Is there no wonder people joke about a “state-run” media? Here, Chicago mainstream reporters threaten a reporter when he tries to ask Rahm Emanuel some tough questions. More here. Best line from CBS reporter Jay Levin:

Let him finish or I’m going to deck you!

Watch the whole video. The good stuff begins at around one minute.

Sorry that much of today’s posts relate to politics and not science or space. I can only follow the news where it takes me.

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Prosecutors recommend acquital on all charges for Wilders

Dutch prosecutors have recommended acquital for Geert Wilders on all charges. Though this is a vindication for Wilders, it is tragic that government officials thought they had the right to put Wilders on trial to begin with, merely because of things he said. Moreover, the trial is still scheduled to go on next week, despite these recommendations.

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