Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Google Pledges $1 Million To Preserve LGBTQ Stonewall Inn Story

More valorization of homosexuality

Google announced on Sunday that it will be donating $1 million to the LGBT Community Center in New York City to preserve and disseminate the story of the Stonewall Rebellion of 1969 in digital formats.

“With our donation, my hope is we can capture and preserve their stories and, through technology, share them with the world to inspire all those who continue to strive for human rights,” said Eric Schmidt, executive chair of Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company, at a press conference on Sunday.

In 1969, the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village, was raided by police for serving liquor without a license. The scene turned violent as bar-goers began rioting against the police.

The Stonewall Riot drove the formation of the Gay Liberation Front and other LGBTQ civil rights activist groups.

The announcement about Google’s donation was made by U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and West Side Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), at a press conference on June 18, the start of Pride Week in Manhattan.

Schumer posted on his Facebook page on June 18 to celebrate the donation. He said, “the lessons of [Stonewall Riots’] history can reach tens of millions of people across the nation, and across the globe.”

The $1 million grant, according to a written statement from the Center, will allow it to partner with the National Park Foundation (NPF) to create “a digital experience that broadly shares the story of LGBTQ civil rights, firmly establishing LGBTQ history in the fabric of American history.”

“This announcement sends an unmistakable message to Washington: that the America we know celebrates and cherishes its diversity; it doesn’t hide from it or fear it,” Schumer said. “Google’s generous pledge could not come at a more vital time.”

However, the founder of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, Peter LaBarbera, said he sees a more “deviant” aspect of the movement that is being “whitewashed.” He said the event in 1969 was a violent protest against police and that there were “hustlers that would have sex with teenage boys.”

“In my eyes, the whole homosexual activist movement is about normalizing a sexual perversion and turning it into a civil right,” he said. “And to do that, they have to overlook or change or rewrite history because there’s a lot of unsavory aspects to the early gay history, just as there are to the current homosexual movement.”

On June 24, 2016, then-President Barrack Obama issued an executive proclamation to create a national monument in Christopher Park, across the street from the historical landmark.

“Obama already started it. He was trying to make Stonewall as powerful a civil rights event as SELMA, but in SELMA, Americans were all unified against racism,” LaBarbera said. “(Stonewall Inn)’s probably the most pornographic historical landmark in America. It just doesn’t fit what you would normally associate with noble history.”

Schumer said during the press conference that there are “people in Washington who would see our country backslide on equality.” He pointed to more than 100 anti-LGBTQ legislations passed by state and local governments since the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidency.

“We’ve only had gay marriage for 2 years in the United States but is that now part of history? If you’re against gay-marriage, you’re just a bigot and a homophobe and a hater?” said LaBarbera.

Schumer’s press office has not responded to CNSNews.com’s request for an interview.

Glennda Testone, the Center’s executive director, called the funding “inspirational” and said it will “lift up LGBTQ history on a global platform, further magnifying the Stonewall Uprising’s place in the overall story of the LGBTQ civil rights movement.”

According to National Park Foundation President Will Shafroth, Google’s donation accounts for half of the amount needed to “effectively launch” the national monument. 

“The national parks community is grateful for Google’s support to develop education programs for New York City students — and eventually students worldwide — that focus on the important issues of equality, human rights, civil rights, and more,” Shafroth said.

But LaBarbera believes homosexuality is not a civil rights issue, but a moral issue.

“They want to force it, not just on the rest of the country, but especially on students,” LaBarbera said. “They want to teach LGBT history as real civil rights history to kids so they want to propagandize and indoctrinate kids of this mythical narrative to turn this moral issue into a noble civil rights.”

LaBarbera believes the riot in 1969 accomplished what it set out to do, which, he said, is to radicalize the movement.

“It’s been very bad for our society, though. It’s terrible to have immoral sexual behaviors normalized to a culture and especially to kids,” LaBarbera said.

The idea for Google’s donation, according to the New York Times, originated from William Floyd, Google’s openly gay New York external affairs director.

Others present at the press conference on Sunday include openly gay city council member Corey Johnson, and Public Advocate Letitia James, who did not respond to CNSNews.com’s interview requests.

American Express has also pledged a $100,000 donation to the campaign. The projected completion date is June 2019, the Stonewall Rebellion’s 50th anniversary.


The mainstreaming of the terror prejudice

Islamists and ‘liberals’ are united in their contempt for the demos

There are many disturbing things about the Finsbury Park Mosque attack. The most disturbing, of course, is the thing itself. This was a grotesque assault on our fellow citizens and on freedom of religion. To mow people down as they congregate outside their place of worship is to display a murderous disregard for the liberties that make secular, democratic society possible.

But there’s another disturbing thing and one that deserves far more interrogation: the media response to the attack and its confirmation of a coming-together of the Islamist and so-called liberal outlooks, of a fusing of Islamist and leftist contempt for the demos.

The response to the Finsbury attack has been striking for its double standards. Observers and politicos have done all the things they warn us not to do after Islamist attacks. After Islamist terrorism they instruct us not to get angry, not to hold any community or culture responsible, and not to fall for the apparently foul, racist idea that the Koran or certain imams might have inspired this violence. In fact, they ringfence Islam from criticism and frown on efforts to discover the possible scriptural source of the terror. They wield the insult ‘Islamophobe’ against anyone who suggests there might be a broader cultural problem behind such violence. ‘It’s just an individual with warped ideas’, they insist.

This time, in response to a suspected act of far-right violence, they’ve changed their tune. They’ve ditched their usual pacifying cry of ‘Keep calm and carry on’ in favour of inviting the nation to look in the mirror. This act of violence does have a communal base, they claim. It speaks to an ‘increase in Islamophobia all over the country’, one Labour MP insists. This violence does have an intellectual origin we should all worry about: it is the tabloid media’s ‘addiction to Islamophobia’ that nurtured it, we’re told. This violence does raise questions about certain communities in Britain, especially tabloid-reading ones, described by one columnist as ‘the vulnerable’, easily whipped into ‘crazed hysteria’. We know who they mean: the white working class.

Suddenly, it is okay to see an act of individual violence as a signifier of social and communal problems. It is bad, apparently, to raise any questions about Muslim communities after Islamist attacks. But after Finsbury it is absolutely fine, important in fact, to query the rank, media-fuelled prejudices that apparently lurk in certain communities ‘all over the country’. This amounts, pretty explicitly, to saying, ‘We must never criticise the Muslim community, because we might hurt their feelings, but we should definitely criticise the tabloid-addicted, “vulnerable” sections of society that refuse to respect religious difference’.

There’s a profound paternalism here. This approach both infantilises the Muslim community, treating them as incapable of robust discussion, and criminalises the white working class, who are presumed to be one newspaper editorial away from ‘crazed hysteria’.

But the double standards also point to a deeper problem: the commonalities between the extremist Islamist outlook and what passes for ‘liberal’ commentary today. (It isn’t genuinely liberal, of course, but that’s for another column.) Reading some of the commentary on the Finsbury attack, about the ‘poisonous narrative’ spreading through Britain and creating ‘hateful bigots’ all over the country, it is hard to tell where mainstream thinking ends and Islamist intolerance begins. Because that outlook, that idea that vast numbers of Brits despise Muslims and are on the cusp of bigoted hysteria, is precisely the underpinning of the extreme victim narrative of modern Islamist violence.

From 7/7 to the Manchester Arena bombing, we know that one of the key ideas uniting Britain’s successful or failed Islamist terrorists is that the modern West hates Muslims. There’s a deep strain of censorious self-pity: Western armies hate Muslims, Western citizens hate Muslims, the Western media mocks Muslims, and so perhaps we deserve to be punished.

This easily crosses the line into haughty contempt for the demos, who are presumed to be morally slovenly and, of course, Islamophobic. Recall the arrested terror cell of 2006, who wanted to blow up those ‘slags dancing around’ at London nightclubs. Or the 2007 car bombs left outside the Tiger Tiger club in London. There have also been planned or attempted attacks on airports and football stadiums. And of course a pop concert. It is reported that Salman Abedi, the Manchester concert bomber, was very concerned about Islamophobia: he thought Brits were ‘unfair’ to Muslims.

Every single one of these self-pitying prejudices, these narcissistic beliefs that modern Britain is packed with horrible slags and idiots who are unfair to Muslims, will have been emboldened by the post-Finsbury commentary. The media’s wildly inaccurate depiction of Britain as a hotbed of anti-Muslim hate, which lurks ‘all over the country’, is of a piece with the Islamist prejudice against British citizens.

What unites the extreme Islamist and the modern liberal observer is a profound discomfort with the demos, a deep fear of ordinary people and their emotions and beliefs. In different ways, one via violence, the other via peaceful demands for greater policing of people’s views on Islam, these two groups problematise sections of the public and depict them as ripe for either punishment or re-education.

The communion between Islamist and mainstream media thinking was perfectly captured in the figure of Piers Morgan yesterday. He had Tommy Robinson, founder of the English Defence League, on his ITV show Good Morning Britain. When Robinson criticised the Koran, Morgan blasted him, and was cheered by virtually the entire media for doing so. ‘To mock [Islam] and its holy book is an outrage’, Morgan said. ‘Show some damn respect!’

This is the Islamist outlook, too. In fact this is the thinking behind the Charlie Hebdo massacre: that it is an ‘outrage’ for anyone to criticise Islam. In responding to Finsbury by demonising people ‘all over the country’ as ignorant or hateful towards Islam and insisting the Koran should never be mocked, it is possible these observers have written the script for the next act of extremist, victim-politics Islamist violence.


Human rights: the friend of foreign criminals

How human-rights law demeans democracy and citizenship

Last week, the UK Supreme Court ruled in favour of two foreign criminals seeking to resist deportation to their countries of citizenship. Although the case turned on a narrow issue of whether it was lawful to deport the foreign criminals before they had exercised their appeal rights – the so-called ‘deport first, appeal later’ policy – the case highlights broader issues about the nature of rights. Are rights determined democratically or is the sovereignty of the people curtailed by human rights? And if rights are not determined democratically, then what is their source?

If rights were determined democratically, then the Immigration Act 1971 would have concluded the Supreme Court case in favour of then home secretary Theresa May. This act, passed by the people’s representatives in parliament, empowers the home secretary to deport a foreign criminal if he is a non-British citizen convicted of a serious criminal offence. In the two appeals before the Supreme Court, these conditions were satisfied. The appellants are non-British citizens: Kevin Kiarie is a Kenyan citizen and Courtney Byndloss is a Jamaican citizen. And each had committed serious offences which warranted prison sentences of two and three years respectively. Since the statutory conditions were satisfied, the home secretary should have been entitled to deport them.

If rights were determined democratically then the case would never have gone to court, since the principle that the home secretary relied on had been settled law for over a hundred years: the power to deport a non-British citizen (then referred to as an ‘alien’) was contained in the Aliens Restriction Act of 1914. As a court noted nearly a hundred years ago, when a foreign criminal tried to impugn the home secretary’s decision to deport him, ‘parliament has expressly empowered the secretary of state as an executive officer to make these orders’ (1). That wise court needed to say little more because that judgement was given in an era that recognised the democratic basis of rights.

But in recent years, the democratic nature of rights has been challenged. The Human Rights Act 1998 made the European Convention on Human Rights an integral part of domestic law. This ushered in two competing models of rights determination: one based on democracy and the other based on human rights. The former draws its power from the democratic arms of the constitution (parliament and government, empowered by the people), while the latter draws its power from the legal arm of the constitution (the judiciary, empowered by law). A constitutional conflict for supremacy between democracy and human rights results.

The deportation of foreign criminals illustrates this constitutional conflict. From time to time, human rights assert themselves with the court declaring that a particular deportation would be unlawful on human-rights grounds. Democracy then seeks to assert itself with legislative reforms on substance and procedure. One such recent round in this conflict resulted in the Immigration Act 2014, which enabled the home secretary to certify that certain foreign criminals would be subject to ‘a deport first, appeal later’ procedure. Last week’s decision by the Supreme Court means that this latest skirmish has seen human rights win out over democracy.

Despite Theresa May doing in 2014 what home secretaries had done for decades, the Supreme Court declared her deportation orders to be unlawful. The court proceeded on the basis that democracy is not the ultimate source of rights, as democratically determined rights can be overturned by human rights that stand above the demos. In other words, whatever specific national laws parliament passes to deal with specific problems, these laws can be trumped by human rights that have a greater status.

In these particular appeals it was the right to respect for family life, set out in the European Convention on Human Rights, that caused the Supreme Court to trump the home secretary’s decisions. The Byzantine route by which the court used a vague ‘right to respect for family life’ to trump a specific power, exercised for decades without legal or political objection, arises because human rights are, in law, fundamental. They are rights that have quasi-constitutional status. In short, human rights have a status that enables them to trump decisions authorised by parliament’s laws. By one route or another, no matter how tortuous, a human right will find a way of asserting its quasi-constitutional status. This conflict between democracy and human rights will always be resolved in favour of the latter, until parliament repeals the Human Rights Act and re-establishes the democratic model of rights determination.

But since parliament has no current intention of ending the human-rights model of rights determination, it is worth considering the nature of human rights. A former top judge and fervent supporter of human rights, the late Lord Bingham, observed in 2010 how the most likely beneficiaries of human rights would include ‘immigrants, asylum seekers… prisoners and criminals’ (2). He was right: human rights do befriend foreign criminals.

This is because human-rights advocates have a sense of the values they must challenge. In other words, in the conflict between democracy and human rights, those who champion the latter recognise that the foreign criminal can be used to challenge values that underpin democracy. The central feature of the foreign criminal facing deportation is not that he is a criminal or that he is a foreigner – it is that he is not a British citizen. It is this quality that makes him liable to deportation.

Citizenship is the bedrock of democracy. Citizenship is the quality that means that those who have it are political equals within a nation. Citizens have an innate sense of the value of this quality. For most of the 20th century, the state also recognised the importance of citizenship and hence had no hesitation in deporting those who lacked it in furtherance of ‘the public good’, words defining the home secretary’s power to deport that can be traced back to 1914. But in recent decades, the state has been conflicted between a belief in democracy, and the citizenship on which it is based, and a belief in human rights, which are premised not on citizenship, but on an abstract view of ‘humanity’.

Human rights cannot recognise citizenship. For the human-rights advocate, rights are derived not from a political community of equals, but from ‘a common humanity’. In her postwar critique of totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt referred to this approach as drawing on ‘the abstract nakedness of being human’. She concluded that ‘the world found nothing sacred’ in this abstract nakedness because rights are meaningless in the absence of a political community that is able to define and give effect to rights.

Human rights befriend the foreign criminal because he is a non-British citizen. He has the abstract nakedness of being human and hence is suitable for being smothered in the human-rights protections that seek to deny a meaningful distinction within a nation between citizens and non-citizens. The human-rights discourse cannot recognise that Kiarie and Byndloss are citizens of other nations and hence that it is to Kenya and Jamaica that they should now look for the fulfilment of their rights.

In the ongoing conflict between democracy and human rights, the Supreme Court has resolved the latest skirmish in favour of the latter. It is easy for human-rights law, empowered by the Human Rights Act, to side with foreign criminals by treating citizens and non-British citizens as essentially the same. But citizens cherish their status as full and equal members of a democracy and they do not expect foreign criminals who are non-British citizens to be treated on a par with them. The conflict between democracy and human rights goes on.


The ACLU must fight for liberty, not social justice

The civil-liberties group has become bogged down in ‘progressive’ causes

‘Healthcare access is a civil-rights issue’, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) declared in a 2017 email blast, opposing Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare. ‘Tell your representative to vote NO on repealing the ACA.’ Stressing that the Republican-sponsored repeal would ‘gut’ Medicaid, while ‘24million people would lose coverage’, the ACLU’s call to action was indistinguishable from urgent emails issued by other progressive advocacy groups – which is what made it so remarkable. Once, the ACLU did not engage, much less seek the lead, in social-welfare debates. Once, it was a non-partisan organisation focused on liberty and equality under law. Today the ACLU trumpets an expansive, progressive commitment to social and economic justice.

The social justice warrior’s gain is the civil libertarian’s loss. The ACLU still engages in the fight for civil liberty, especially in opposition to the post-9/11 security state and as part of the anti-Trump ‘resistance’. But the 21st-century ACLU has chosen its battles with a progressive sensibility that devalues free speech and due process for all. Most notably, it has shied away from confronting campus-censorship crusades and the threat of an ideology that equates allegedly hateful speech with discriminatory action, subordinating the right to speak to the imagined rights of particular listeners to suppress what offends them.

This anti-libertarian dogma dates back some 30 years, and in the beginning the ACLU publicly opposed it. But as progressive hostility towards free speech widened and deepened, its influence spread to the ACLU. The First Amendment’s future is at stake. As generations of students schooled in the ‘virtues’ of censorship become policymakers, the US may follow Western Europe in criminalising speech that authorities deem hateful or discriminatory.

When asked, ACLU officials are still apt to critique this approach to speech, and if you look for it, you can find a page on its website opposing campus speech codes. You can find instances of ACLU state affiliates opposing free-speech zones on campus and other acts of censorship. You can hear an ACLU attorney defend the speech rights of right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. But you will also see the ACLU attaching trigger warnings to a blog post, in tacit agreement that speech can be a form of assault. You’ll see it describing allegedly harassing speech as ‘verbal conduct’ – the first rhetorical refuge of the censor. The ACLU, once devoted to free speech, has effectively been a quiet friend more than an active opponent of campus speech-policing. For over a decade, more often than not, the ACLU has exercised its right to remain silent while campus-speech controversies raged.

It’s difficult to discern much less document what an organisation fails to say or do, but ask yourself: how often have you heard the ACLU speak out against progressive censors? How often have you seen ACLU officials quoted defending speech in coverage of censorship news, like the violent protests of Charles Murray’s talk at Middlebury College or demands for the firing of a liberal Evergreen State College professor who questioned the tactics of anti-racism protesters? Did you hear it criticise former University of Missouri professor Melissa Click when she tried to bar a young journalist from covering a campus protest? Did you hear the ACLU condemn the vilification of former Yale instructor Erika Christakis and her husband, Professor Nicholas Christakis, after Erika suggested that students ‘think critically’ about regulating ‘offensive’ Halloween costumes?

Instead, the ACLU responded to the censoriousness of the Yale protesters by sympathising with their concerns and chastising their free-speech critics for a ‘refusal to confront… discrimination and inequality on campus’. And, when the Northern California ACLU affiliate belatedly conceded Ann Coulter’s right to speak at Berkeley, it did so equivocally, taking care to condemn ‘hateful’ speech and asserting with questionable accuracy that the US Constitution does not protect verbal harassment. In fact, the Constitution protects quite a lot of speech labelled harassment on liberal campuses.

National ACLU legal director David Cole subsequently issued a stronger statement about the Coulter controversy criticising the heckler’s veto, which may signal a new willingness to intervene in free-speech battles in explicit opposition to student censors. The need to defend mass anti-Trump protests is re-engaging the ACLU in free-speech battles extending beyond periodic defences of right-wing speech. The ACLU has long defended the rights of the occasional outré political enemy, like Yiannopoulos, or Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church, who organised vicious anti-gay protests outside military funerals. Defending the First Amendment rights of wingnuts, while deploring their ideologies, buttresses the ACLU’s credibility as a free-speech advocate, while avoiding the political and financial risks of directly attacking its censorious friends – allies in a fight for social justice.

A commitment to free speech requires political independence and also a certain hard-heartedness when confronting claims of emotional harm. But amid heightened progressive concern about bullying and its effect on equality, the ACLU has anxiously demonstrated compassion for students deemed disadvantaged and vulnerable to verbal offences. It has, for example, endorsed the Obama administration’s anti-bullying initiatives, which defined harassment more expansively than it was defined by the Supreme Court, and could conceivably make schools liable for controversial references to racial, ethnic or sexual stereotypes. Reasonable people will disagree about efforts to balance free expression with the regulation of public-school bullying, but civil-libertarians must err on the side of speech. In recent years, the ACLU has too often erred on the side of social justice.

It has even sided with a progressive vision of justice that includes a crusade against due process in campus controversies over alleged sexual assaults. The ACLU has not simply been silent about the widely documented proliferation of kangaroo courts on campus - it has been quietly complicit in their abuses, offering approval of the Obama administration’s Title IX directives, which are largely responsible for them. (Perhaps not coincidentally, the official who oversaw these directives for the past four years was a former ACLU attorney.) ‘Title IX is pretty awesome because it is expansive’, a remarkably naïve ACLU blogpost declares. ‘By addressing the various needs and challenges faced by survivors, Title IX pushes universities to do a better job of creating a campus environment that discourages and, ideally, prevents sexual violence.’

Once the ACLU defended the presumption of innocence. Now it approves of rules effectively presuming guilt, requiring minimal standards of proof in campus assault cases, and treating accusers of unproven assaults as ‘victims’ or ‘survivors’. It seems poised to oppose any efforts by the Trump administration to reform Title IX rules that favour the demands of accusers over the rights of the accused.

How did the ACLU end up on the wrong side – or no side – of urgent debates about due process and speech? In part, the ACLU’s transformation is a result of generational shifts. The old liberal guard of ACLU leaders is ageing out. The new guard is progressive, shaped partly by campus politics and the left-leaning culture of the late 1980s and 1990s, with its expansive definitions of discrimination and restrictive approaches to speech.

It’s worth noting that generational changes have wrought policy changes before. The ACLU adopted its civil-rights agenda in the 1960s and 1970s in response to an influx of younger leaders shaped by the civil-rights movement. For decades, that agenda focused more discreetly on discrimination. The dual and sometimes duelling commitments to advancing equality and defending free speech created occasional internal conflicts, exemplified by a heated debate in the 1990s over policy governing workplace harassment. But the ACLU managed to balance a civil-liberties agenda with a commitment to civil rights. Periodically, its left wing, concentrated in Southern California, introduced resolutions formally adopting an economic-justice agenda, and periodically the resolutions were defeated. Today, however, the left wing is the organisation’s centre of gravity, and achieving its vision of economic justice is an explicit ACLU mission.

Partisanship is an obvious pitfall for this newly progressive ACLU, as its comprehensive (and enormously profitable) opposition to the Trump administration makes clear. Trump’s picture adorns the the ACLU’s homepage, and ACLU sidewalk canvassers invite passers-by to join it in opposing him. Executive director Anthony D Romero tried to preempt or defuse charges of political partisanship with an unusual statement defending the ACLU’s anti-Trump initiatives, like the creation of a grassroots ‘people power’ project led by a former adviser to Democratic Congressional leaders. ‘We will be moving further into political spaces across the country as we fight to prevent and dismantle the Trump agenda’, Romero acknowledges. But this effort remains non-partisan, he argues circularly, because Trump poses unique and pervasive threats to liberty. It is therefore the ACLU’s non-partisan obligation ‘to fight him at every step – both on traditional civil-liberties fronts and new ones – to prevent the litany of human carnage in the making’. (The echoing of Trump’s inaugural reference to American carnage is probably not coincidental.)

This is not to suggest that the ACLU should refrain from challenging the Trump administration’s policies. From a civil-libertarian perspective, many of the ACLU’s actions opposing Trump are necessary and laudable. Its litigation opposing the travel bans, for example, is a justified defence of due process, as well as religious liberty. But the ACLU’s profound concern for the due-process rights of visitors and immigrants trying to enter the country starkly contrasts with its shameful obliviousness to the due-process rights of citizens fighting charges of campus sexual assault. They can’t rely on the ACLU to defend liberty and justice for all, regardless of politics or ideology, and, as a consequence, neither can you.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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