Saudi Arabia added to its list of human rights abuses this week with the sentencing of women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul. I have previously written about the inspiring courage and commitment of Saudi feminists, but al-Hathloul is a standout even among that group. She has tirelessly fought for simple rights like the ability to drive in a kingdom that continues to deprive women, religious minorities, journalists, and others basic protections. She was reportedly tortured by the Saudi government, a signature of the blood-soaked Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Now she has been sentenced to five years in prison. Continue reading “Feminist Activist Sentenced To Five Years For Endangering National Security”
We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in Europe. The move to criminalize speech has led to an insatiable appetite for new limitations and broader prosecutions. Norway is an example of this headlong plunge into speech controls and crimes in the West. This week the legislature adopted (without even a vote) a new criminal law that punishes people for saying anything deemed hate speech toward transgender people in their own home or private conversations. Continue reading “Norway Criminalizes Hate Speech Against Transgender People . . . In Private Homes or Conversations”
We previously discussed the unrelenting drumbeat of censorship on the Internet from Democratic leaders, including President-elect Joe Biden. This growing campaign against free speech is continuing to grow despite the hearing yesterday when Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey that the company wrongly blocked the New York Post story on Hunter Biden’s influence peddling before the election. There was no acknowledgement from the many academics or politicians who supported the action by Twitter. Instead, Democratic senators called for more such censorship. Continue reading “Twitter CEO Admits Censoring The Hunter Biden Story Was “Wrong” . . . Democrats Call For More Censorship”
Last night, Fox News reported that the laptop allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden was subpoenaed last year by the FBI in a money laundering investigation. While the status and the targets of the investigations are unknown, the subpoena would appear to support the fact that these emails are authentic and that the laptop was Biden’s. While House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff and roughly 50 “intelligence experts” have assured the public that this is just Russian disinformation, both the FBI and the Director of National Intelligence have now confirmed that they do not believe the laptop and its contents are Russian disinformation. Now it appears that the laptop was viewed as sufficiently connected to possible federal crimes to be subpoenaed as evidence by the FBI a year ago. Continue reading “Biden Laptop Was Subpoenaed By The FBI in 2019 As Part Of A Money Laundering Investigation”
Recently, we discussed how House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff stated publicly that the recently disclosed laptop information from Hunter Biden was clearly part of a Russian intelligence operation. Schiff said that “we know that this whole smear on Joe Biden comes from the Kremlin.” This morning, John Ratcliffe, Director of National Intelligence, stated categorically that Hunter Biden’s laptop was not part of a Russian disinformation campaign. What is most notable is that Ratcliffe has stated that Schiff and his Committee have not been given any intelligence to support Schiff’s conclusion. The incident has raised lingering criticism of Schiff who previously told the public that he had clear evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia after that allegation was rejected in repeated investigations, including Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Schiff never produced the incriminating evidence and later it was shown that the widely cited Steele dossier was based on a source who was considered to be a Russian agent. Continue reading “Schiff v. Ratcliffe: DNI Reports That Hunter Biden’s Laptop Is Not Believed To Be Part Of A Russian Disinformation Campaign”
As the kids in my neighborhood can tell you, I tend to follow Oscar Wilde’s rule that nothing succeeds as much as excess . . . at least when it comes to Halloween. After two weeks, our extensive graveyard and haunted house is now complete. We are however waiting word on whether we will be allowed to give out candy in Virginia or end up like the hapless Yakuza in the Hyogo Prefecture in western Japan. The Japanese mob has been banned from handing out treats at Halloween.
As many on this blog know, I have been a long and vocal critic of Louis Farrakhan, who regularly espouses racist and antisemitic views. Coming from Chicago, I have criticized Farrakhan for years, including recent posts. Nevertheless, the move by YouTube to remove the video channel of the Nation of Islam is in my view another example of private censorship of speech on the Internet. Many of us have denounced Farrakhan, but censorship begins with the most unpopular and obnoxious among us. This action places the Internet on the slippery slope where more and more speech is likely to be banned as offensive or hateful. Continue reading “YouTube Reportedly Shuts Down Farrakhan And The Nation Of Islam”
I recently wrote about law professors who embraced Chinese censorship on the Internet as a mind-blowing contradiction for intellectuals. However, China has done one better. A school textbook changes a critical story in the Bible to support the authoritarian rule of the Communist Party. In the Chinese version of the story from The Gospel of John, Jesus still stops people from stoning a woman to death but when they leave, he then stones her to death because . . . well . . . she deserved it and that is the law. Fortunately, Jesus did not appear to make any direct reference to rendering Hong Kong unto Beijing.
Many of us have previously denounced President Donald Trump for his disgraceful attacks on Rep. Ihan Omar’s (D., Minn.) roots in Somalia. It is precisely the type of intolerant, anti-immigrant language that has led many former Trump voters to move away from his campaign in 2020. Nevertheless, President Trump resumed those attacks Tuesday night at a rally where he portrayed Somalia as “her country” as opposed to “our” country in the United States.
We have followed the rapid destruction of the secular government and civil liberties in Turkey under the authoritarian rule of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan used a failed coup to push his effort to create a de facto Islamic regime and to complete his work in arresting his critics, including forcing the resignation of thousands of secular academics, and suspending all civil liberties in a proclaimed state of emergency. Despite Erdogan’s repression of dissidents and groups in the name of Islam, there remain people of courage who defy him and his government. Sebahat Tuncel was sentenced Saturday for saying (four years ago) that Erdogan was a “complete misogynist” and an enemy of women — statements that are demonstrably true.
In Harry Potter, Albus Dumbledore told the students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry that “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” Many are learning the truth of that line written by famed author JK Rowling as self-described progressives burn her books or ban them from shelves because she personally holds an opposing view of gender. Much like the boycott movement of Chick-Fil-A over comments by its CEO, people are seeking to punish Rowling through attacks on her literature. We previously discussed the embracing of art destruction as analogous to book burning, but now actual book burning is being embraced as a weapon of the woke.
We have previously discussed the brutality of Islamic nations enforcing medieval Sharia law. Iran has given the world another shocking addition to the long list of beheadings, floggings, and other forms of Islamic punishment. A “court’ has ordered the amputation of the fingers of three teenagers found guilty of theft. Continue reading “Iranian Court Orders The Amputation of The Fingers Of Three Teenagers Under Sharia Law”
We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Many European nations like Germany have struggled for years to suppress speech only to fuel movements like neo-Nazis who operate underground or evade limits. Now France has given another example of why speech regulations often fail. The effort to ban the book “Men, I hate them” by Pauline Harmange has backfired with increased sales from defiant citizens.
We have previously discussed courts in the United States seeking to punish lawyers for making critical comments about judges or legal commissions on social media. We have also followed such actions taken against lawyers in other countries like Saudi Arabia. As will come as no surprise on a blog emphasizing free speech, I have long been critical of such actions. However, India is facing a far more serious controversy after the Supreme Court demanded an apology from one of India’s most prominent lawyers for, among other things, blaming the Supreme Court for its role in undermining democracy in India. The justices proceeded to make his point by threatening him with jail unless he offered an unconditional and public apology. Continue reading “Prominent Indian Lawyer Accuses Supreme Court Of Destroying Democracies . . . Supreme Court Threatens Imprisonment”
There is a new controversy over free speech this week. The Faculty of Advocates, which represents Scotland’s legal profession, has warned that new changes in the country’s hate speech laws could sweep too broadly to include even comedians who are viewed as insulting to a range of different groups. The new law would extend hate speech crimes to “offensive” statements concerning LGBT+ and intersex people, as well as adding provisions on age, disability and religion. It is a trend that concerns many free speech advocates as well as comedians. In the United States, six out of ten students now view offensive jokes to be hate speech.