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Image courtesy of Mrs. Bookworm at Bookworm Room. Used with permission. Click on picture for full size image.

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Electonic Frontier Foundation on hate speech

Fighting Neo-Nazis and the Future of Free Expression

We at EFF defend the right of anyone to choose what speech they provide online; platforms have a First Amendment right to decide what speech does and does not appear on their platforms. That’s what laws like CDA 230 in the United States enable and protect.

But we strongly believe that what GoDaddy, Google, and Cloudflare did here was dangerous. That’s because, even when the facts are the most vile, we must remain vigilant when platforms exercise these rights. Because Internet intermediaries, especially those with few competitors, control so much online speech, the consequences of their decisions have far-reaching impacts on speech around the world. And at EFF we see the consequences first hand: every time a company throws a vile neo-Nazi site off the Net, thousands of less visible decisions are made by companies with little oversight or transparency. Precedents being set now can shift the justice of those removals.
     — by Jeremy Malcolm, Cindy Dohn, and Danny O’Brien

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Speech wars

Ladies and gentlemen, something huge happened this last week.

While I was busy stomping out grass fires, the speech wars turned ugly with a vengeance. It's a battle for control of who gets to speak, what they get to say, and where and when they get to say it. It's a battle that threatens American freedom.

It's a battle for the heart and soul and future of the internet.

The internet is the last, best hope for freedom. It may be the last, best hope for humanity. But it can only fulfill that promise if people can say what they want, when they want, to who they want. There's no other way it can work. The only sure way to protect your free speech is to protect other’s free speech. Even if you don’t like what they are saying.

Especially if you don’t like what they are saying.

That doesn't mean you have to agree. Or be polite. Or even acknowledge it.

We need people arguing and waving fingers under each others noses. Competition keeps us honest. No one group and certainly no one person has all the answers.

Anyone who tells you differently is lying.

Americans are free to believe anything they choose. Americans are free to tell anyone what they want however they can.

Of course if they use force so others pay attention, they deserve the consequences.

Yes, Americans are free to speak and write as they choose. For now.

That's no guarantee that Americans can find someone to pay attention. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom to be heard. Freedom of the press does not mean freedom to be read. People can choose to notice you, or not. It's up to them. That's their freedom. Just because you have something to say doesn't mean it's something they want to hear. But you have the right to speak.

Except that's not good enough for some.

They think that if you say something that they disagree with, you must not be allowed to say it.

They think that if you might say something they disagree with, you must not be allowed to say it.

“Thou shalt not dissent.”

These people will use legal means if they can. Failing that, they will try removing your Moral Authority™ to speak by proving you are a despicable, deplorable, and dangerous person Who Just Might Tempt Others Into Degeneracy. Failing that, they will try to link you to the questionable behavior of others to prove you are unfit to speak. Failing that (or if they do not have time), they use violence against you.

You might think that hate speech is not free speech. You might think that you shouldn't have to listen to it. You might think that we need to “protect the children.” That's certainly your right.

But who decides what is hate speech?

From my experiences the last week or so, I know that many people believe hate speech is anything they don't agree with. Those folks were about a half step from condemning Republicans and libertarians along with the neo-Nazis and white nationalists, even though we hadn't done anything wrong. Even though we had no association with the neo-Nazis and white nationalists. Apparently we did not condemn the neo-Nazis and white nationalists fast enough. And apparently we didn't link violence exclusively with the neo-Nazis and white nationalists AND ONLY WITH the neo-Nazis and white nationalists.

Some of us even said that the neo-Nazis and white nationalists had the same free speech rights as everyone else. As long as they didn't use violence.

Some believe these sins violate Moral Authority™ enough to justify removing freedom of speech. Anyone sinful enough must be shunned until they atone for their sins. So domain registrars and web-hosting companies started removing hate-speech sites. Google announced a new initiative to screen against hate stories.

Somehow no conservative group was asked to participate. Libertarians are never asked to participate, we usually do anyway. But if the gatekeepers decide what is hate and what is not while excluding what is not morally approved, how long do you think anyone will be allowed to dissent?

Aside from the moral pretentious and the virtue signaling, let's look at the implications. People who believe that hate speech is not free speech also believe that certain people cannot be trusted to choose between bad and good. They believe that certain people can't learn from their mistakes and do better the next time.

So not only are they treating adults as children, but they are robbing tomorrow. Will you accept that?

Donald Trump and other politicos already want to restrict speech critical of their actions. It's only one step more to decide that no one can be critical of an elected official because after all they are Official and are only doing things For The Common Good.

And it's only one step more to declare since there is no criticism, there's no need for elections.

I'm going to cover the Speech Wars more and more. I have to. I want my tomorrows. You can fight for everyone's rights today. Or you can lose yours tomorrow. Your choice.

Your freedom.
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No more homework

Florida County Bans Homework, Asks Parents To Read With Their Kids Instead

Students in one Florida county will no longer have to do homework. Instead, parents are being asked to read to their children for at least 20 minutes a night.

Marion County School District Superintendent Heidi Maier issued a "no homework policy" for all 31 elementary schools in the district.

"Kids don't learn the way they used to," says Keven Christian of Marion County Schools. "And making them do meaningless or tedius homework assignments every night just really doesn't contribute to their learning."

Any parents who feel that they might have trouble fulfilling the reading request can receive additional support from school programs and resources.
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A billion trees

In ‘Momentous Milestone’, Pakistan Plants One Billion Trees Ahead of Schedule

Pakistan’s northwestern province, Khyber Pakhtunkhaw (KPK), has planted an unprecedented 1 billion trees in just more than two years and surpassed an international commitment of restoring 350,000 hectares of forests and degraded land.

The massive effort aims to turn the tide on land degradation and loss in the mountainous, formerly forested KPK, which lies in the Hindu Kush mountain range.

Imran Khan, head of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party governing the province, launched the reforestation campaign, dubbed “Billion Tree Tsunami,” in 2015.

The cricket-star-turned politician revealed to VOA that the goal of adding 1 billion trees by planting and natural regeneration has been achieved this month, well ahead of the original deadline of December 2017.

He says his party plans to organize a special event in Islamabad in late August to celebrate the successful completion of the project, and experts as well as foreign diplomats will be invited.

“We will show them by coordinates, on Google map you can go and see where these trees have been planted, 1 billion trees, this is now the model for the rest of Pakistan,” Khan said.
     — Ayaz Gul
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“Brother Offers Support To Sister In Car Wash”

tip of the hat to GoodNewsNetwork
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Monday roundup

China and India are dangerously close to military conflict in the Himalayas

While the rest of the world is fascinated by Brexit and Donald Trump.


We Fight for the Users

Related - The Justice Department Wants to Know if You've Visited an Anti-Trump Resistance Site. This is a direct threat to you.


Charlottesville and Its Aftermath: What if It Was a Setup?

We have no proof, this is all highly speculative rumor. But yeah. Related - Here’s How Virginia State Police Facilitated Violence At Charlottesville, ACLU fires back at Gov. McAuliffe after comments on violence at Charlottesville rally


Noam Chomsky: Antifa is a 'major gift to the Right'

I can't believe I'm agreeing with Chomsky for the fourth time in a week. But he's right. This time.


Change the sheets and kiss the Byrd statue goodbye, West Virginia

If the Confederate general statues should be removed, then what about the memorials to a Senator who was a ranking KKK member?


Is Google Working with Liberal Groups to Snuff Out Conservative Websites?

“In other words, nice website you've got there. It would be a shame if anything happened to it.” Related - Gathering Storms And Threats to Liberty, Leftist “journalist” Lauren Kirchner of ProPublica threatens Jihad Watch, Tech Censorship of White Supremacists Draws Criticism From Within Industry, & Silicon Valley escalates its war on white supremacy despite free speech concerns


Libertarians of Convenience

“People identifying as urban progressives increasingly find their own goals stymied by laws and regulations, and they’re demanding that these restrictions be overturned or limited. In other areas of city policy, though—typically, when they don’t hold a personal stake—they often push aggressively for ever more regulations and a more intrusive government.”

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Conspiracy

Here's what we know so far.

Peter Beinart wrote a piece for the Atlantic speculating that the rise of violence on the left might be actually fueling a violent response on the right.

Jason Kessler organized the Unite the Right rally. He didn't have known ties to any right wing organizations before November 2016. Kessler used to be a Occupy Wall Street activist and Obama supporter.

Someone was hiring 'political activists' in Charlottesville the week before the rally. In the past, this has been a favored tactic of progressive organizations.

There have been reports that city and state police were ordered to stand down. The Charlottesville police chief has denied any stand down order was given. Some law enforcement observers have called the Charlottesville response inadequate.

Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe made some very strange statements which were later corrected by the Virginia state police.

And Alex Jones is excited. No, I'm not giving a link to that one.

Taken together, it's very circumstantial. But also it's very suggestive.


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from crux № 7- age of consent

I think the age of consent is the best rule anyone has come up with so far.

But let's not kid ourselves.

The whole post WWII extended childhood thing is an artificial American invention.

The biology disagrees.

Before we start talking about the morality, we need to acknowledge that.

If we insist that kids wait until 18, 19, 25, or 37 we need a good reason.



Sometimes the kids do know. Most of the time in fact, if they know they will be held responsible for it.

Sometimes the adults don't know, no matter what the age. Any one going to a bar to hook up isn't being rational.

Sometimes the experience of making mistakes and having to deal with the consequences are the things that make us wise.



I know that for you, marriage and sex should be (ahem) wedded at the hip. I don't think it's a universal one size fits all solution though.

I do like your condition of marriage though.



I wouldn't call it loosening. I would call it changing.

I'd also say that it's necessary. Some of the social mores of the last two centuries needed to be dropped. For example, child labor under terrible conditions and for terrible pay used to be the norm.

The rules that work, we should keep. But you can't do change without testing all the rules constantly.

I started keeping my crux files because I noticed I kept getting into the same discussions in comment threads on other people’s web sites. After a while it just made sense for me to organize my thoughts by topic. These are snippets. It’s not in any particular order, it’s just discussions I have again and again.
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On some issues

On some issues I run deeper than granite and more certain than dawn.
     — NeoWayland

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Results

I don't usually submit my articles to reddit, but I did for This last week in free speech. I cross-posted the article on my politics blog Pagan Vigil and my pagan slice of life blog Technopagan Yearnings.

The libertarian link got hardly any views and quickly moved from the front page to the much deeper.

The pagan link got a couple of hundred views in two days and sparked an interesting conversation.

I was surprised at the insistence on historical and political context for violence. It's also interesting that the article kept moving up and down.

I'm disappointed to see how many people believe that "hate speech isn't free speech" and that certain people don't deserve free speech rights.

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“1970s Cartoon Music Video Black White”


tip of the hat to Maggie McNeill
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On public statues

Why should a city, state, or federal government put statues in public parks? Doing so addresses no plausible market failure, while using taxpayers funds and, as demonstrated tragically over the past few weeks, generates controversy, polarization, and violence. Thus governments should take down all statues, regardless of their political implications.

This is not “erasing” history but instead leaving it where it belongs, in the hands of private actors and mechanisms. Historians, textbook authors, universities, learned societies, the History Channel, and many other individuals and organizations can all present their own views of history and battle for the hearts and minds of the public. Government statues are government putting its thumb on the scale, which is one step down the slippery slope of thought control.
     — Jeffrey Miron, Statues
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“Adam Ruins Everything - The Real Reason Hospitals Are So Expensive ”

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“I Don't Care About Charlottesville, the KKK, or White Supremacy”

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☆ This last week in free speech

This article is cross posted at Pagan Vigil and Technopagan Yearnings. Feel free to repost as long as you credit me and one of those two sites.

Let’s talk about the mess that took over my life this last week. I had a hunch I could be in deep on Friday night when I got some phone calls asking me what libertarians had to do with Charlottesville, Virginia.

Some know I don’t like email and a few have my number. If I had company over or if I had been watching a decent movie, I probably wouldn’t have answered the calls. This was the first I had heard of Charlottesville. I thought at first they were talking about Charlotte, North Carolina. I poked around on the internet and found out about a torchlit protest. Hey, I told folks, they have a right to free speech too. As long as they don’t burn anything down or do any other property damage, it was no skin off my nose.

I didn’t agree with what white nationalists and neo-Nazis stood for, but that is what free speech is all about. They could protest all they wanted as long as they followed the law.

But, all my callers said, it’s hate speech.

So? I replied. I threw out the quote (from me) I had been using for a few months.

“I am certainly against Nazism, supremacist groups, and misogyny. I just think they SHOULD be heard, if for no other reason than they can be laughed off the stage.

As loudly and as enthusiastically as we can.”


I said that no libertarian would support bigotry. I could see the issues about protecting the statues and I thought that deserved a very public discussion. But the racist chants shouldn’t have anything to do with that. It was two different issues and they shouldn’t be mixed.

After the sixth or so call, the landline and the cell were both quiet. “Nice job,” I thought to myself. Another crisis averted. The folks I talked to would know that libertarians and Libertarians weren’t neo-Nazis or white nationalists. I patted myself on the back.

Then came Saturday. And I got flooded with emails. By Saturday night the phones were ringing.

I should explain. About twelve years back someone at Stormfront discovered Pagan Vigil and decided that I was something I am not. Some of my writings were passed around the internet. Worse, I was quoted out of context. Then some of my stuff was rewritten to make it seem that I supported certain causes and certain ideas. That took forever to mostly fix. But there are pockets left.

Then there was the mess from Florida. Long story short, white nationalists tried to co-opt part of the state Libertarian party. They were kicked out.

But here I was, a libertarian with supposed white nationalist ties. And a (scary? sexy? spooky?) pagan to boot. What did I have to say about vehicular homicide at a neo-Nazi rally?

Free speech is acceptable.

Unprovoked violence is not.

And you’d better be damn careful about “provoked” violence. Especially at a public protest.

People have the right to talk about their beliefs. People don’t have the right to impose those beliefs on others.

If you use force so others will listen, you’re doing it wrong.

All of the above went over pretty well. Here’s what didn’t.

I said that if the neo-Nazis were wrong to use violence first and not in self defense, so were the BLM members, the antifa, and the black bloc who had been doing exactly that for years. If you were a member of the right group, the authorities were mostly looking the other way. Mob violence had become part of American political culture again, and it wasn’t the neo-Nazis or the white nationalists who had made that happen.

Or for that matter, the Christian right, the Republicans, or the libertarians.

Violence was being used to shut down political discussion. What’s more, some groups were claiming moral authority because they had been victimized by American society. No one would be allowed to criticize if the proper groups were involved.

This. Was. Wrong.

This lay the groundwork for tyranny.

As you can imagine, those last five paragraphs did not go over well.

BLM, antifa, and the black bloc weren’t allowed to be guilty no matter what they have done or what they will do.

Anyone who says different is a racist. A fascist.

A Nazi.

And they must not be allowed to speak. At all. Under any circumstances. They must be silenced.

That’s when the pagan stuff started hitting the fan. If a pagan did not IMMEDIATELY drop everything and denounce the neo-Nazis and link them AND ONLY THEM to unprovoked violence, why, they were no better than the Nazis.

And therefore they must not be allowed to speak. At all. Under any circumstances. They must be silenced.

Suddenly free speech was only for the Morally Favored.

This made me angry. Not only was paganism getting dragged into a political situation (AGAIN) that favored progressives, but people were literally talking about Those Who Should Have Free Speech and Those Who MUST NOT BE ALLOWED Free Speech. Violence was ACCEPTABLE against Those Who MUST NOT BE ALLOWED Free Speech. The whole mess was pushing my buttons. I’m afraid I wasn’t always polite about it.

So that was my week. It cropped up again and again. Phone calls, face to face talks, internet discussion boards, and gods, the emails. People couldn’t or wouldn’t accept one simple idea. Take away someone else’s free speech today and you will lose yours tomorrow. Not might, will. The only sure way to protect your free speech is to protect other’s free speech. Even if you don’t like what they are saying.

Especially if you don’t like what they are saying.

Noam Chomsky (of all people) said something very similar. “Goebbels was in favor of free speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you’re really in favor of free speech, then you’re in favor of freedom of speech for precisely the views you despise. Otherwise, you’re not in favor of free speech.”

That’s who I am. That’s where I stand. A right isn’t a right unless the other guy has it too.

     — NeoWayland, pagan philosopher, libertarian, and part time troublemaker

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Without government

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Bannon out

Steve Bannon is out at White House

After watching the last few days, I'm pretty sure he wanted to be fired. I don't know what happened, but someone like Bannon doesn't just give a telephone interview on a lark. Word is he turned in his resignation on August 7th (pre-Charlottesville) effective August 14th, and it was extended to today.

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Free speech



That's what worries me most about this. Once people decide that some labels deserve free speech and others don't, where does it stop?
     — NeoWayland

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Identity in the tribe

They want to be someone other than who they are. That’s the great irony of identity politics: They seek identity in the tribe because they are failed individuals. They are a chain composed exclusively of weak links. What they are engaged in isn’t politics, but theater: play-acting in the hopes of achieving catharsis.
     — Kevin D. Williamson, Angry White Boys
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Remember this anniversary


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For the record, this is facism.

At least learn the definition

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Friday roundup

Headlines that don't merit their own entry

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NeoNotes — Religion in public schools

I don't think religion belongs in the public schools. Public schools are compulsory, students can't walk away if they do not agree.

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Morality is based on selfish interest

I can make a case that our morality is based on selfish interest. It's the Ethic of Reciprocity. You don't do bad things to others because you don't want them to do bad things to you. You do good things to others because you want them to do good things to you. If they cross the line, you're not bound to tolerance and courtesy.
     — NeoWayland

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Thursday roundup

Headlines that don't merit their own entry

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Control how we touch other people

We can't let our faiths and our creeds control how we touch other people. Faith is between you and the Divine. But we're measured by how we touch the lives of other humans.
     — NeoWayland

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Don't be a sucker

“In this anti-fascist film produced by US Military in the wake of WWII, the producers deconstruct the politically motivated social engineering of Germany by the Nazi regime.”

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Wednesday roundup

Headlines that don't merit their own entry

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Governments make lousy banks

Governments make lousy banks. Politicos want re-election and technocrats are unaccountable. Both measure their success by spending taxpayer's money. There's no incentive to contain costs or make a profit.
     — NeoWayland

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“Charlottesville & The Alt-Right: Just Say NO to Identity Politics”

“The #UniteTheRIght protest/rally in Charlottesville was a disappointing display of white nationalism, supremacy, and believe it or not, maybe even actual Nazis. The alt-right is having a heck of a PR nightmare right now.”

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“John Stossel vs. Noam Chomsky on Venezuela”

“Stossel has an exchange with famed M.I.T. linguist Noam Chomsky, who once praised former President Hugo Chávez socialist policies.”

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Tuesday roundup

Headlines that don't merit their own entry

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Good neighbor

“How a Swimming Pool for Neighborhood Kids Helped Heal a Man After Wife’s Death”

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Monday roundup

Headlines that don't merit their own entry

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from crux № 22 - law did not create civil rights

No law required people to march in protest.

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from crux № 8 - rights & revised history

This brand of revisionism uses hard confrontation with constantly escalating stakes. You can't win against it by being loud, that just makes you the closest and biggest target.

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“What is a Libertarian?”

“Nailing down the basics on the political ideology known as Libertarianism.”

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Special rights

Protect natural rights

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