Reporters Must Ask Clooney One Key Question About the SPLC

Source: Reporters Must Ask Clooney One Key Question About the SPLC

“Have they lost their way?”

 

Politico Magazine is asking the same question.

“I do think there is a desperate need for more objective research on hate crimes and domestic extremism—especially now,” says J.M. Berger, a researcher on extremism and a fellow with the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism at The Hague. But like many observers, he worries that the SPLC has gone too far in some of its hate group characterizations. “The problem partly stems from the fact that the organization wears two hats, as both an activist group and a source of information,” he says.

 

A Gun in the Home is more Likely…: A Blast from the Past

A claim always in need of rebuttal…

The Writer in Black

People keep making the claim that a gun in the home is more likely to be used to kill a friend or family member than it is to be used in self defense.

This all derives by a “study” by Arthur Kellerman which has long since been debunked but its fake statistics nevertheless continue to be cited by anti-gun propagandists.

Here are a few of the debunkings:
http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2011/01/william-c-montgomery/editorial-deconstructing-kellermann/
http://www.guns.com/2015/08/24/kellermanns-gun-ownership-studies-after-two-decades/
http://guncite.com/gun-control-kellermann-3times.html
http://jpfo.org/filegen-a-m/doctors-epidemic.htm
http://www.thegunzone.com/rkba/rkba-43.html

Some of its flaws:
On the one side: He only counts as “defenses” dead criminals when in truth in most cases where a gun is used in self defense merely presenting a gun is sufficient to end the threat. When the gun is fired, most of the times the person shot survives. This is even more the case in defensive shootings because when a person means harm, they are more likely to keep shooting until the target is…

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The core flaw in the IG Report is its pretense that bias is meaningless — Bookworm Room

The IG Report ignores that the Clinton investigation was completely and irreparably compromised by agents whose biases went to the heart of the case. The IG Report is a strange beast. To begin with, it’s a rather ironic companion piece to Comey’s July 5, 2016 press conference. Back then, Comey laid out facts that ought…

via The core flaw in the IG Report is its pretense that bias is meaningless — Bookworm Room

Burdens of Proof

Brad R. Torgersen writes on the disinviting of convention guests of honor, based on what they might do.

I won’t devote too much time to rehashing this past week’s slanderous sabotaging of Larry Correia (at Origins) which bore an eerie similarity to the slanderous sabotaging of John Ringo (at ConCarolinas.) In each instance, it was a political hit job. And in each instance, there was no proof offered to substantiate the lies which preceded both Larry’s and John’s disinviting.

What’s concerning is that conventions — indeed, almost all institutions of various descriptions — are being placed in the position of either bending to the will of what are essentially mobs, or facing threats of both bad PR and, potentially, painful legal annoyance. In each case, the institutions almost always take the path of least resistance. It’s far easier to eject a guest who has attracted the mob’s attention, than stand your ground and endure the mob’s ire; as a “defender” of the alleged wrong-doer.

None of this — in 2018 — happens without social media, of course. One might argue that Social Justice Zealotry could not exist without the anonymity and virility that social media provides. Pick your target from behind the safety of your keyboard, light the digital torch, rally your friends to the cause, and off you go to pillory whichever offending party suits your fancy this week. Proof? A preponderance of evidence? P’shaw! Mere legal trickery by the hated cishet white male misogynist transphobic patriarchy! Everybody knows that villains use proof and evidence to hide from justice. It’s time for more direct and drastic steps to be taken, so as to ensure that the evil-doers are brought to heel!

I think by now the professional consensus is that Origins committed a huge blunder, by disinviting Larry Correia. The plaintiffs didn’t have to like Larry, nor did they have to like his politics. But Larry had done absolutely nothing to warrant disinvitation. There were no provable violations of any code of conduct Origins might have put forth. Larry was simply . . . kicked out, because a pack of SJZs wanted him kicked out.

That’s a rotten precedent for any institution — regardless of its mission — to set. Letting an unaccountable gaggle of shit-slingers decide who can and cannot be a guest at your convention?

During a separation board’s deliberations, the question must be asked: did the institution itself obey its own rules, regarding the gathering and presentation of evidence, and is this evidence in fact qualified such that it can be taken as legal fact — versus merely the say-so of specific individuals who may or may not have been under oath, when they said what they said?

I hope that conventions (going forward) might begin to ask themselves similar questions, with similar emphasis on the disqualification of rumor, speculation, political hatchetry, slander, character assassination, and other forms of dishonesty. Any institution which expects to enjoy the participation of guests and consumers alike, needs to be able to forge an atmosphere of trust.

At a recent LASFS board meeting, the topic of conventions responding very badly to complaints came up. I suggested the first rule of dealing with any complaint of this sort is, “Don’t Panic”. Perhaps the decision makers should be issued towels?

Progressives hysterically protest article telling them to be less hysterical

Enjoy the lack of self-awareness found in the most popular Progressive comments to a Times op-ed warning against the dangers of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Source: Progressives hysterically protest article telling them to be less hysterical

They hate you. They really, really hate you.

The above are representative of the top “reader picks” articles, each claiming that Alexander is out of his ever-loving mind because Trump supporters are so utterly vile and so entirely outside the pale that it is impossible (or, as Biden would say, “literally impossible”) to speak to them in any but the most demeaning, insulting, offensive terms. Only in such a way can these self-defined “liberals” preserve the space between their own dignified, respectful, open-minded, intelligent, and truly decent selves, on the one hand, and the utter evil that walks the land in Trump’s America, on the other hand.

If you want a video microcosm of the type of thinking New York Times Progressives are displaying here, I urge you to check out this video. Also I urge you to read Paul Mirengoff’s two articles pointing out that, for all the rhetoric about Trump’s alleged hatred and fascism, he’s been a completely controlled, constitutional president. What the Progressives mean when they speak of hate and fascism are policies that were normative just ten or twelve years ago, before Obama took his pen and phone and unilaterally tried to rewrite the Constitution.

Mirengoff’s articles are especially sweet because, back in 2016 and early 2017, he did not support and was very worried about Trump. Mirengoff represents what happens when a president keeps his promises, acts in a manner consistent with America’s Constitution and laws, and loves his country and its values. Moreover, Mirengoff is not alone. Ordinary Americans are noticing that the racial obsession, lawlessness, and hate are emanating, not from the White House, but from the mean streets of America’s Leftist cities and political enclaves.

Why Masterpiece Cakeshop Is Huge First Amendment Win

By Kristen Waggoner, senior vice president for the U.S. legal division of the Alliance Defending Freedom

In Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a decisive 7-2 majority of the justices called out the double standard that Colorado had applied against my client, Jack Phillips. The Supreme Court reversed the decision to bully Jack for his faith and further clarified that the “government has no role in expressing or even suggesting whether the religious ground for [Jack’s] conscience-based objection is legitimate or illegitimate.”

Commentators will offer their various interpretations of this important case. Specifically, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) claims that this case simply addresses Jack’s situation and offers no relief for other creative professionals. But the ACLU’s reading of the decision misses the mark.

My team and I presented two First Amendment issues to the court for review—artistic freedom and free exercise of religion. The court decided to tackle only the religious freedom issue because the evidence of anti-religious hostility against Jack was so profound that the court didn’t need to reach the speech question.

….

By now, many people know the facts of Jack’s case. As the court described him, Jack is “an expert baker and devout Christian.” The logo for Masterpiece Cakeshop features a paintbrush, and Jack puts his creative genius into each custom design that he creates.

Jack has never refused to serve any person based on who they are. Everyone is welcome in his shop — even the two men who sued him. But Jack cares deeply about the messages he communicates through his artwork. So over the years, he has declined to create many custom cakes because of the messages on them or the events that they celebrate.

In 2012, Phillips declined a request to create a wedding cake celebrating a same-sex marriage. But he was quick to tell the couple that he would design a cake for them for another occasion or sell them anything else in his store.

Instead of respecting Phillips’ belief about marriage, the state labeled his beliefs discriminatory. One state official even said that using religious freedom “to justify discrimination” is “a despicable piece of rhetoric,” comparing Phillips’ efforts to protect his freedom to arguments raised by slaveholders and Nazis. And the government ordered Phillips to re-educate his employees, which even included his mother, and teach them that he was wrong to operate his own business consistently with his beliefs.

To make matters worse, the same commission that sidelined Jack’s convictions elevated the convictions of other Colorado cake artists, who were faced with requests for messages that they did not want to create, specifically messages that opposed same-sex marriage.

By so doing, the commissioners showed their bias and demonstrated a nearly poetic double standard concerning the cake artists’ expressive freedom and their willingness to sell other products to the same customers.

It is true that the court’s decision did not directly resolve all the claims of our other creative professional clients — filmmakers, calligraphers and printers, to name a few — who wish to live out their convictions within the public square. It did, however, reiterate these vital principles:

  • “[R]eligious and philosophical objections to gay marriage are protected views and, in some instances, protected forms of expression.”
  • The government (at local, state and federal levels) is obligated to consider these kinds of cases “with the religious neutrality that the Constitution requires.”
  • The government is not allowed to pass “judgment upon or [presuppose] the illegitimacy of religious beliefs and practices,” as it did in Jack’s case.

These principles matter for our other clients because government officials throughout the country routinely target people of faith for adverse treatment. This means that other artists who share Jack’s religious beliefs about marriage will also benefit from the court’s decision.

Profs Deem Scholar’s Work Centrist – Didn’t Know it Was Written by Charles Murray

Source: Profs Deem Scholar’s Work Centrist – Didn’t Know it Was Written by Charles Murray

We sent this transcript to 68 faculty members in the United States and Canada. … We did not tell these faculty that the transcription was a talk by Murray nor that it was connected to the disturbance at Middlebury College. We asked them to rate it on a 9-point scale (1 = strongly liberal, 5 = middle-of-the-road, 9 = strongly conservative). Fifty-seven of the 68 faculty members responded (plus two spouses, one of whom we included because she is also a professor). Their median rating of Murray’s talk was 5 (mean = 5.02, SD = 1.34). The most liberal rating was 2.5, and the most conservative rating was 8; of the 58 faculty ratings, 37 were between 4 and 6, or middle of the road. Thus, faculty in this convenience sample did not view Murray’s comments as dangerously conservative, and none of their written comments suggested anything remotely oriented toward hate speech.

… Of the 58 faculty members who were unaware that the talk was by Murray, 26 accompanied their ratings with comments. They frequently viewed the talk as a list of descriptive facts that were neither controversial nor conservative but mainly centrist or liberal:

“I see it as mostly apolitical (apart from a couple of opinionated words). I would rate it a 5”;

“If the author is taking an ideological position, I can’t see it. I see nothing pro/anti rich/capitalism, there is no ‘signaling’ that I can see. And the person does not even take a stand on whether the development described is good, bad, or some mix. It’s just descriptive of a social phenomenon”;

“I’d have to say 5 non-partisan. He or she is not talking politics or policy”;

“5. It seems more a series of observations than a political statement of any kind”;

“Mostly just using data to make a set of observations. 5”;

“A 5. It is more or less a recitation of well-known trends in education and the economy; nothing very controversial there”;

“I give it a 4. Mostly because I associate the topic with liberals. But the passage is rather descriptive. I don’t see an action agenda that could be more revealing.”

When Williams and Ceci conducted their experiment using a different set of peers — this time telling fellow scholars the transcript came from Murray — many, but not all, found itright-of-center. And a group of random nonacademics found it centrist.

We also asked another group of 68 faculty to do the same rating, with one difference: We told them the text was from a speech by Charles Murray. This information made a statistical difference. The 44 who responded knowing it was written by Murray rated it as more conservative than did their blinded counterparts (M = 5.74, SD = 1.21), two-tailed t(96) = 2.74, p = .007. However, even this group’s mean was close to middle of the road. In sum, neither faculty group saw anything about Murray’s talk that deserved to be banned.

… In light of social psychologists’ liberal tendency, it was of interest to determine how a nonacademic sample would view Murray’s talk. Would they share the faculty belief that it was middle-of-the-road? To find out, we paid 200 Amazon Mechanical Turk workers (mean age = 32 years) to do the rating. They rated their own political orientation on the 9-point scale, and the mean was 4.22, slightly to the liberal side of the scale. To insure they carefully read the transcript of Murray’s talk, we included two factual questions related to the talk at the end of the MTurk survey that they had to answer correctly. Their mean rating of the Murray text was 5.22 (SD 1.17), which is squarely centrist. Thus, all three groups of adults rated the Murray talk as centrist, ranging from 5.02 to 5.74 on a 9-point scale.