Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Mass: Police officer repeatedly strikes a black Harvard University student while he was pinned to the ground

"Harvard University student" is a true description but is deliberately misleading.  That he was naked, aggressive and high on drugs would be a more relevant description. When police hit a man already on the ground it is usually  to subdue them and stop them from trying to escape.  With druggies, particularly, being put on the ground does not subdue them.  They still keep wriggling and giving the police a hard time trying to control them.  So the police keep hitting them as long as it takes to gain control of them.  That seems to have been the case here. I feel sorry for the police who have to deal with such dregs

Cambridge’s mayor called a video of a police officer repeatedly striking a black Harvard University student while he was pinned to the ground by fellow officers “disturbing” and promised that the findings of an internal probe would be made public.

“Cambridge affirms that Black Lives Matter, but it must be true in practice as well,” Mayor Marc C. McGovern said in a statement Sunday morning.

Later in the day, Cambridge police released a seven-minute video that showed the encounter between officers and Selorm Ohene, 21, of Cambridge, on Friday night.

Three Cambridge officers and an MBTA Transit Police officer pinned Ohene to the ground while arresting him near the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Waterhouse Street, according to a police report. Ohene was naked and a woman who appeared to be Ohene’s acquaintance told officers he may have been on drugs, the report stated.

In the video, shot by a bystander and released by police, Ohene is standing on the median of Massachusetts Avenue, surrounded by three officers, then turns and approaches one of them.

Cambridge officers and a transit officer grabbed the legs of a 21-year-old Harvard student, who was naked on Massachusetts Avenue, police said.

An officer grabs Ohene’s legs from behind, knocking him forward into another officer. The three men fall to the pavement. The third officer helps pin Ohene to the ground.

Ohene can be heard on the video yelling, “Help me, Jesus! Help me, Jesus!” as he struggles with the officers. A fourth officer helps restrain Ohene, and one of the officers can be seen striking Ohene once, according to video released by police.

In a separate video of the incident, filmed from the opposite side of the street and obtained by the Globe Saturday night, an officer can be seen striking Ohene quickly four times while another officer grips the first officer’s belt.

Ohene was charged with indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, assault, resisting arrest, and assault and battery on ambulance personnel, police said.  An arraignment date hasn’t been scheduled, according to a spokeswoman for the Middlesex district attorney’s office.

The mayor viewed a video clip of Ohene’s arrest that was posted on social media, a spokesman for the mayor said.

“What is shown on the video is disturbing,” McGovern said. “When confrontations cannot be averted and include the use of physical force, we must be willing to review our actions to ensure that our police officers are providing the highest level of safety for all.”

City Councilor Sumbul Siddiqui also called the video disturbing and questioned whether punching is an acceptable use of force by officers.

“I think when you see the video and you see the officer punch the individual after he’s subdued, you think, ‘What kind of protocol was that?’ ” Siddiqui said during a telephone interview Sunday.

Police said they told Ohene they were “only there to help him and were concerned for his safety,” according to the police report. Police said Ohene became “aggressive, hostile, and intimidating” and approached officers with clenched fists, prompting them to take him to the ground.

During the arrest, an officer struck Ohene five times in the torso, according to the police report.

Cambridge Police Commissioner Branville G. Bard told city councilors in a statement Saturday that police used their discretion and struck Ohene to “gain his compliance and place him in handcuffs.”

Jeremy Warnick, a spokesman for Cambridge police, said in an e-mail Sunday that the department is committed to a “thorough and complete” review.

While Ohene was being transported to a local hospital for observation, he spat blood and saliva at an EMT, police said in a separate statement Saturday. Two Cambridge officers were also treated for minor injuries and unprotected exposure to bodily fluids, police said.

Ohene’s arrest occurred in view of about 30 people, according to police.

Members of the Harvard Black Law Students Association witnessed Ohene’s confrontation with police, and on Saturday, the group issued a statement calling it “a brutal instance of police violence” and demanded that officers involved “be investigated and held accountable.’

Daunasia Yancey, a Boston-based community activist in the Black Lives Matter movement, said in a phone interview that police generally use a greater level of force against African-Americans than against whites.

“It’s heartening for many people to hear the mayor say it’s ‘disturbing.’ But we also need to say it’s not okay,” said Yancey. “We need people and officials to just say it’s wrong.”

The Cambridge Police Department’s use of force policy, last updated in 2011, allows officers to “use only that degree of force which is reasonably necessary” to make an arrest, place someone in protective custody, bring an incident under control, or protect the lives of themselves or others.


New Report: How Social Media Giants Facebook, Twitter, YouTube Suppress Conservative Speech

A new report by the Media Research Center (MRC) documents how the major social media sites -- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube -- and the Google search engine suppress conservative speech in a "clear effort to censor the conservative worldview from the public conversation."

When asked about this censorship by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on April 10, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified that his company “and the tech industry are located in Silicon Valley, which is an extremely left-leaning place,” and added that he did not know whether content from liberal groups, such as Planned Parenthood and, had ever been restricted on Facebook.

These multi-billion dollar online media companies, which reach more than 1.8 billion people worldwide, have declared war on the conservative movement, states the MRC report, and "conservatives are losing -- badly." If "the right doesn't fight," states the report, "it is doomed -- online and off. This is more than just a free speech battle. It is a struggle for the future of our nation and our world."

In the detailed, 50-page report, CENSORED! How Online Media Companies Are Suppressing Conservative Speech, authors Ashley Rae Goldenberg and Dan Gainor examine how Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google suppress conservative content online, provide numerous examples of the suppression (and censorship), and then provide recommendations for the tech companies.

Twitter "leads in censorship," according to the report. It "regularly suppresses conservative points-of-view."

The $21.60 billion company manages about 6,000 tweets every second from people all over the world, and it is the go-to site for journalists. Twitter's CEO is Jack Dorsey. He is extremely left-wing politically and he recently promoted an article from Medium to his 4.2 million Twitter followers that said America is in a "new civil war," liberal vs. conservative, and there is no compromise, only one side must win.

The CENSORED! report documents how Twitter staffers admitted on hidden camera that they censor conservatives through "shadow banning." With this technique, Twitter users "think their content is getting seen widely, but it's not," reads the report. "The site also restricts pro-life ads from Live Action and even Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), but allows Planned Parenthood advertisements."

Twitter hid some conservative-related hashtags during the 2016 election, such as #PodestaEmails and #DNCLeak, said the MRC. Twitter has also marked some tweets from the Drudge Report as "sensitive."

Twitter uses a "Trust and Safety Council" to provide policy input to the company. This council is comprised of 25 U.S.-based organizations, 12 of which are liberal and only one of which is conservative, according to the report. "[S]ome of its most liberal members include the Anti-Defamation League, GLAAD, and other organizations that have attacked conservatives and their opinions or values," said authors Goldenberg and Gainor.

“Voices are being silenced, opinions are being censored and conservative media are being suppressed," said MRC President Brent Bozell in a statement.  "These tech companies claim they provide platforms to connect people and share ideas. However, when the only ideas permitted are from one side, any prospect of intellectual discourse dies."

"If these platforms merely serve as an echo chamber of liberal talking points, everyone loses," he said. "Our country is divided and limiting free speech only makes matters worse."

Facebook has 1.4 billion daily users and has a corporate worth of $477.93 billion. It is the third most popular social media site in the United States and in the world. Facebook's CEO, Zuckerberg, is also politically left-wing. According to the report, Zuckerberg supports DACA, defended Black Lives Matter, and advocated for homosexual marriage.

Facebook employees "donated overwhelmingly to support Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign over Donald Trump's," reads the report. "Facebook employees even lobbied to remove Trump's posts for violating the site's 'hate speech' standards."

According to the report., former Facebook employees told Gizmodo that "topics such as the Conservative Political Action Conference, Mitt Romney and Ted Cruz were reportedly suppressed, along with links to sites including the Washington Examiner and Breitbart." The company also banned the private sale of guns on its site and reportedly has sought to "censor discussion of firearms." Former employees also stated that Facebook hid conservative content from its "trending" section.

Facebook removed a comical post by conservative Todd Starnes and only later restored it, apologizing for the alleged error.

Facebook, along with Twitter, YouTube, and Google, utilizes the work of the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to identify "hate" groups and then suppress or remove them from its platform. According to the report, "Over time, Facebook deleted the pages of at least 57 groups at the behest of the SPLC."

The SPLC frequently targets conservative and Christian individuals or groups because they oppose, for instance, gay marriage or radical Islam. The Family Research Council, for instance, has been labeled a "hate" group by the SPLC because it defends the Biblical definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.

Testifying before the Senate on April 10, Zuckerberg was asked by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) to explain his company’s definition of “hate speech,” which Facebook uses to monitor and suppress certain content. Zuckerberg did not answer the question directly but said it was a “really hard question” and that “we struggle with it.”

YouTube, the most popular video-sharing platform in the world, "censors conservatives and conservative content," according to the report. YouTube apparently is always on the watch for "hate speech" and relies on the anti-conservative SPLC as a "Trusted Flagger" to tag videos that violate content standards. YouTube moderators, for instance, took down conservative gun channels, reported Bloomberg, and the site has banned "videos that provide links to sites where people can purchase guns and gun accessories," said the MRC's Goldenberg and Gainor.

PragerU, which posts myriad videos on conservative topics, saw its videos restricted by YouTube. PragerU is now suing YouTube. Back in 2006, YouTube removed a video of conservative Michelle Malkin criticizing radical Islam but then reposted it after the New York Times criticized the censorship.

In YouTube is a $75 billion company and it is owned by Google, which has a corporate worth of $715.65 billion.

The Google website, with its popular search engine, is ranked as the No. 1 website in the world. Millions of people use its search engine every day. They may assume that the search engine is non-partisan, says the MRC report, but "Google has suppressed conservative points-of-view within the company and in its own search results."

For instance, three separate studies have confirmed that search engine results on Google "favored liberal sites or liberal candidates during the 2016 presidential election," said the report. For awhile (since discontinued), Google "posted fact-checks of conservative sites but not their liberal counterparts," according to the MRC report, "making the conservative sites appear less reliable."

After Google engineer James Damore wrote an internal memo criticizing the company's "Ideological Echo Chamber," he was fired.

Numerous other examples of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google suppressing (and censoring) content posted by conservatives are detailed in 35 pages of appendices in the CENSORED! report.


Mansplaining is something men and women are both guilty of doing

Many years ago I was ordering family dinner at a pizza place in the NSW beach town of Forster, my toddler daughter in tow. I ordered the adult pizzas then said "and a small cheese, salami and olives for the little one, please."

The woman taking orders looked at my daughter. "Silly daddy!", she said, "little girls don't like salami and olives!"

"No, she does, that's correct," I said. Weird.

The woman still didn't order. Then the clincher, that still enrages me to this day: "Where's mummy?" she says, still addressing my daughter. "Silly daddy's got your order wrong!"

"Please," I say, with more than a little venom, over of the "silly daddy" business.  "Take the order. I know what she eats. I'm her father."

"Children hate olives and you don't seem to know that," she said, evenly.

I lost it. "Take the order! She eats olives! I'm her father! I feed her every day! For f***'s sake!"

Then a tiny high-pitched voice cuts through the noise. "My! Daddy! Right!" my daughter screams, bless her.

I get my olives, and, in an act of satisfying immaturity as we leave, stop at the door, yell, "You want to eat what?" and pop an olive ostentatiously into her mouth, which she chews theatrically.

My problem was I had been lectured by someone who, because of my sex, assumed I knew nothing about a subject that I could be called an expert on. It's absolutely infuriating.

Women call this "mansplaining" when a man condescendingly explains something to a woman, assuming she doesn't know something purely because she's a woman.

I know men have no business discussing women's issues, but this is different – mansplaining is a man's issue, too.

While social media has provided a perfect platform for discussion and thought to spread, it's also a malevolent shit-storm of fighting and trolling that never ends. There's no doubt the battle lines have been drawn like never before, between left and right, male and female.

But I venture that it's not solely men who can be the issue here. I respectfully submit that it's jerks.

Jerksplaining happens to all of us, men and women. I have been Jerksplained to by both men and women all my life. There are jerksplainers, jerk-authors, and jerk offs and they can be both male and female.


UK: Now they want to ban conservative commentators Rod Liddle and Quentin Letts

Joking about the Welsh or criticising black actors is the new limit to free speech

Anybody who thinks we exaggerate the threat to freedom of speech and of the press in the UK has not been reading the papers. But then, there is a vociferous lobby to deny you the right to read the ‘wrong’ journalists anyway.

Two leading columnists have been threatened with prosecution and bans this week, for the crime of expressing their ‘offensive’ opinions in the newspapers that employ them to do so.

Rod Liddle of The Sunday Times, the Sun and the Spectator has been reported to police and press regulators for making a ‘morally repugnant’ joke about Wales and its native tongue, with Welsh officials demanding new laws to ‘stop these comments… and to prevent language hate’. Meanwhile, the moral guardians of theatreland want Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail banned from writing reviews for his ‘blatantly racist attitude’, after the critic criticised a black actor in a Royal Shakespeare Company play.

The Middlesbrough-raised, Millwall-supporting Liddle, a Labour Party member for 40 years before he was suspended and then quit in a row over anti-Semitism in Jeremy Corbyn’s party, might appear to have little in common with Letts, a Cotswolds-born, public-school-educated Tory. Both, however, are reviled by Britain’s supposedly liberal cultural elites (the feelings are mutual) for their repeated failures to tow the Supper Party line.

This week’s attacks on these very different columnists reveal the underlying truth about the campaign to curb press freedom further in Britain. Whatever those leading it may claim, that campaign is not about upholding the rule of law, protecting the public interest or any other apparently high-minded principle. It is about silencing dissenting voices and thought-policing an increasingly conformist intellectual climate.

What offences did these offensive writers commit? Rod Liddle’s Sunday Times column included a short item on Welsh opposition to plans to rename the second Severn crossing the Prince of Wales Bridge. Liddle wrote (sensitive readers, look away now) that, ‘The Welsh, or some of them, are moaning that a motorway bridge linking their rain-sodden valleys with the First World is to be renamed. They would prefer it to be called something indecipherable with no real vowels, such as Ysgythysgymlngwchgwch Bryggy. Let them have their way. So long as it allows people to get out of the place pronto, should we worry about what it is called?’

Not perhaps the entertaining Rod’s best joke, and surely not his worst, but just a joke either way – albeit with a punchline shaped by an opinion, like every gag on a PC BBC panel show. The trouble was that Liddle’s joke expressed a politically incorrect opinion. To judge by the furious reaction his Sunday aside provoked, you might imagine he had been caught plotting to blow up the Severn Bridge to insulate England from invasion by moaning Welshmen.

The political and cultural establishment of Wales drew itself up to its full height, effectively to accuse Liddle of the crime of ‘Cymrophobia’ – hatred or fear of all things Welsh.

Liz Saville Roberts, member of parliament for the Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru (PC), demanded to know not only ‘[why] we should put up with this’, but also ‘what legal defence we have in situations like this’. Legal defences were needed, the PC MP implied, because ‘whether you describe this as racist or not, it is prejudice and is being used against us as Welsh people’.

As well as being reported to the newspaper regulator IPSO, Liddle’s column was shopped to North Wales police – a notoriously nit-picking force sometimes known as the ‘Taffy Taliban’. After ‘reviewing the material to ascertain if the matter should be taken further’, even they reluctantly concluded that there were no legal grounds for publicly flogging the heretic Liddle. Never mind such niceties, thundered Plaid’s North Wales police and crime commissioner, Arfon Jones, the column was not just ‘offensive and irresponsible’, but ‘morally repugnant and an absolute disgrace’ and should not be allowed.

The Welsh language commissioner (who knew?) Meri Huws, apparently speaking for many in Welsh officialdom, concluded that ‘offensive comments about Wales, the Welsh language and its speakers’ are ‘totally unacceptable’, and that something must be done to ‘stop these comments’: ‘Legislation is needed to protect rights and to prevent language hate.’

‘Language hate’? What madness is this? It is bad enough that we are faced with demands for ever-tougher laws against ‘hate speech’, to restrict free speech by outlawing any words which some find offensive. Now the thoughtpolice want legislation to curb speech which somehow offends against the Welsh language. As I am told they say in Wales, ‘Cachau Bant’!

The worst accusation any of them can realistically level against Liddle’s joke is that, as the Plaid MP says, even if you don’t think it’s racist, ‘It is prejudice’. Guilty as charged, perhaps. But let she who is without prejudice cast the first legal stone.

Surely everybody has their prejudices, whether it be against the Welsh or the English, Muslims or the Daily Mail, Jeremy Corbyn or Rod Liddle. So what? So long as we are talking about ‘offensive’ opinions rather than violent actions, that should be none of the law’s business. If they really want to make expressing ‘prejudice’ into a crime, the authorities will need a camp the size of Wales to hold the offenders.

If the outburst against Liddle demonstrates the rising demand for formal state censorship, the reaction to Quentin Letts’ latest theatre review in the Mail shows another threat to free speech today: the fashion for informal censorship by non-state players.

In his generally warm review of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Stratford-Upon-Avon revival of a Restoration comedy, renamed The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich, Letts made some criticisms of the performances and casting. ‘Neither Solomon Israel nor Tam Williams’, he suggested, ‘is sexy enough as the male love interests… and poor Leo Wringer is miscast as the older Clerimont’.

‘Poor Leo Wringer’ is an established black actor, cast in a subplot to this play from 1700 as the elder Clerimont brother, ‘a scarcely house-trained [country] squire besotted by his hounds’. For Letts, ‘There is no way [Wringer] is a honking Hooray of the sort that has infested the muddier reaches of England’s shires for centuries. He is too cool, too mature, not chinless or daft or funny enough.’

Then came the ‘offensive’ question: ‘Was Mr Wringer cast because he is black? If so, the RSC’s clunking approach to politically correct casting has again weakened its stage product. I suppose its managers are under pressure from the Arts Council to tick inclusiveness boxes, but at some point they are going to have to decide if their core business is drama or social engineering.’

That might look like a professional critic doing his job: criticising the play and production by expressing an honest opinion, possibly ‘prejudice’ and all. As with all things in the theatre business, you pays your money and takes your choice. If you don’t like what a reviewer says you are free to disagree – or simply to agree with the actor Robert Lindsay (in response to an earlier row over a Letts’ review), that the critic in question is ‘not offering a sensible critique’ and so ‘should be ignored’.

Far from ignoring Letts’ short review this week, however, the keepers of theatrical correctness exploded. In what the Guardian called ‘unprecedented responses’, the artistic director and executive director of the RSC denounced the Mail man for expressing a ‘blatantly racist attitude to a member of the cast’ in his ‘ugly and prejudiced commentary’.

Actor Kobna Holdbrook-Smith of Act for Change – a lobby for diversity in the arts – not only condemned Letts’ ‘outrageous’ comments as ‘baldly racist’, but also suggested the Mail should have cut them out: ‘The fact that it goes unedited and uncontested is the real issue.’ Act for Change’s co-founder, the actor Danny Lee Wynter, even called on theatres to ban the likes of Letts: ‘They also need to come together collectively on who is allowed to write these reviews. It could be seen as censorship on one hand, but if somebody was racist to somebody else at work, the person who was the subject of the racism would be able to say “I want this person removed from their job or an appraisal carried out”.’

So the ‘free speech, but…’ lobby now even wants to colonise such areas of artistic expression as theatrical reviews. Accusing Letts of ‘blatant… bald… ugly’ racism simply for suggesting a black actor is ‘too cool, too mature, not chinless or daft or funny enough’ for a role seems a touch melodramatic. (Letts responded by accusing the RSC of throwing a ‘tantrum’ and affirming that he finds ‘colour-blind and gender-blind casting’ too often ‘counterproductive and patronising’.) It might seem even more far-fetched to equate a newspaper reviewer’s criticism of the RSC’s ‘clunking approach to politically correct casting’ with direct racist abuse in a workplace.

The potential consequences of this theatrical backlash, however, are serious. They are demanding that a critic should be censored or even sacked for writing a review that fails to meet with the artistic world’s official approval. Moreover, they suggest that theatres need collectively to rule ‘on who is allowed to write these reviews’ – effectively drawing up a blacklist of banned critics, with no prizes for guessing who would be at the top. Yes, it really ‘could be seen as censorship on one hand’. And on the other hand, too.

No matter what anybody’s opinion might be of any particular ‘controversial’ columnist, we must defend their right to express their opinions or abandon the fight for free speech. Nobody needs to pass a test set by the police commissioner of North Wales or the Royal Shakespeare Company to qualify for the right to be offensive. They might lack the good manners of the RSC or Rod Liddle, or the good taste of Plaid Cymru or Quentin Letts, but they still get the same liberties as the rest of us.

Censorship, whether formal or unofficial, is far more dangerous than any joke or jibe ever written. As the revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg reminded us a century ago, freedom is always for ‘the other fellow’. Even, shock-horror, if he happens to write for The Sunday Times, the Sun, or the Daily Mail.



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.  Email me (John Ray) here


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