Tag: censorship

Nov 09

Ripping the Pages Out of Text Books

In October, just before the election, the Gilbert Arizona school board voted to remove pages on contraception from the honors biology test book used used in its high school.

Gilbert Public Schools will “edit” a high-school honors biology textbook after school-board members agreed that it does not align with state regulations on how abortion is to be presented to public-school students.

Board members, backed by a conservative religious group, voted 3-2 to make the change, arguing that they are complying with a 2-year-old state law that requires public schools to “present childbirth and adoption as preferred options to elective abortion.”

Board President Staci Burk said she believes the district is likely the first in Arizona with plans to edit a book under the law.Gilbert Public Schools will “edit” a high-school honors biology textbook after school-board members agreed that it does not align with state regulations on how abortion is to be presented to public-school students.

Board members, backed by a conservative religious group, voted 3-2 to make the change, arguing that they are complying with a 2-year-old state law that requires public schools to “present childbirth and adoption as preferred options to elective abortion.”

Board President Staci Burk said she believes the district is likely the first in Arizona with plans to edit a book under the law.

That plan was aborted on election day when the people of this conservative Phoenix suburb decided to ax the page ripping majority.

So here’s one more bit of Election Nice Time: turns out that even in hyper-conservative Gilbert, Arizona, a bedroom community to the Phoenix metro horrorplex, it is in fact possible for a conservative school board to go to far. And it looks like the Gilbert School Board’s decision last week to razor out a page from an Honors Biology textbook in the high school – because it mentions the abortion pill – is what counts as too far: the good people of Gilbert elected two new members and reelected an anti-censorship member, replacing the Tea Party-leaning majority on the board with a new majority that is firmly against slicing out a page from a biology textbook out of fear that high schoolers will learn that abortion exists. There were other tensions between the board and the community, too, but the textbook censorship seems to have been the last straw.

Textbook tearing crosses line for even reddest voters

Rachel Maddow reports that the school board that voted to tear out pages from the honors biology textbook to remove mentions of abortion has lost its tea party majority, leaving the censorship plan in question. ArizonaHonorsBiology.com remains, just in case.

Jan 05

Protect the internet, STOP SOPA NOW!

Do you like the internet? Do you like the freedom to distribute your information and the interaction you receive while surfing, blogging or just entertainment?

“SOPA” H.R.3261 and PIPA S. 978 are designed to change all that

Oct 25

It’s The End Of The Internet As We Know It (And Orrin Hatch Feels Fine)

Cross-posted to CandyBullets, MyLeftWing, The Stars-Hollow Gazette and firefly-dreaming

If you follow my website (CandyBullets) you’re probably well aware of the threat posed by the “IP PROTECT ACT” known more commonly as the Internet Blacklist bill. You’re may also be aware that this bill was recently halted in the Senate by the true Democrat Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) who prevented the bill from coming up for a vote in the Senate (where it would doubtless pass) however a House version will be introduced this week with help of Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) — probably tomorrow. If you’re not familiar with this bill then I suggest you become acquainted (the full text of the bill may be found here.)

Aug 06

The Masterminds Behind The IP Protect Act Bring You The “Ten Strikes Bill”; YouTube Will Be Illegal

Cross-posted to CandyBullets

Isn’t YouTube great? Better enjoy it while you can folks, because if this bill passes it won’t exist in any recognizable form. The same big business lobbyists who masterminded the Internet Blacklist Bill are back. To be exact this bill (S. 978) will make it a felony crime to stream copyrighted content, like music in the background of a YouTube video, or a news clip, TechDirt points out you could even go to jail for posting a video of your friends singing Karaoke:

The entertainment industry is freaking out about sites that embed and stream infringing content, and want law enforcement to put people in jail over it, rather than filing civil lawsuits…. We already pointed to one possibility: that people embedding YouTube videos could face five years in jail. Now, others are pointing out that it could also put kids who lip sync to popular songs, and post the resulting videos on YouTube, in jail as well.

And here’s the kicker, this new felony would hold criminal penalties worse than the crime of child molestation: 5-10 years in prison.

Aug 02

Tokyo Youth Healthy Development Ordinance Designed With An Eye Toward Political Censorship

Cross-posted to CandyBullets.

– In any manga, anime, or pictures (most likely including games).

– That feature sexual acts or sexual like acts that would be illegal in real life OR any sexual acts or sexual like acts or implication of a sexual relationship between close relatives OR those who can not marry if they were real AND

– Where the depiction / representation of the relationship is presented in an unjustifiably glorified or overly emphasized manner.

=> Is considered harmful to a minor’s mental health regarding sexuality, and therefore the Tokyo Metropolitan Government shall have the power to unilaterally restrict the material. where the sexual or sexual like act is considered to be excessively disrupting of social order.

That is the criteria for censorship for the scary new Tokyo Youth Healthy Development Ordinance. This is a list of what marriages are currently illegal in Japan today;

1) Marrying to one’s self or anyone of the same sex.

2) Marrying an immediate blood relative. (Children and parent, grandchild and grandmother, etc.)

3) Marriage between a relative by affinity within the third degree. (Siblings, uncle and nephew, etc.)

4) Marriage between two relatives formed by marriage in a parental relationship. (A husband and his wife’s mother or his mother-in-law.) This holds true even after divorce or if the spouse has died.

5) Marriage between an adopted child or adopted child’s spouse with his or her adopting parents, their immediate siblings, their blood relatives, etc. (An adopted son’s divorced wife and the father of one of the adopting parents, etc.) This holds true even after divorce or if the adoption is nullified.

As you can see problems begin to arise quickly. To start with the most glaring problem, the bill gives power to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to censor material that “glorifies” same-sex relationships, this should be an immediate warning bell. The bills stated purpose (“… promoting the healthy development of people under the age of 18 by restricting their access to material that is carefully considered harmful by the Government.) was a warning bell (i.e. terrifying) from the start. The bill slipped in under the radar however do in large part to its author and champion, the Tokyo Metropolitan Governor, an ex-tv personality famous for his snake oil charm, Shintaro Ishihara assured worries with claims he intended to merely go after so-called rorikon (lolicon) and shotacon titles, given that the bill didn’t even aim to censor them entirely per se but merely keep them from minors the bill appeared benign. It wasn’t. The first problems that began to appear were with the claims of “Restriction of Access”, this was a convenient story cooked up by Ishihara’s teem that did a lot to stave off criticism, the idea was that titles “censored” by the government would reappear under an “Adults Only” label, but this was immediately proven to be a sort of impossible catch-22; in the very first batch of manga the government announced it was censoring, Masahiro Itosugi, the mangaka of Aki-Sora (one of the titles being censored), announced the manga was going out of print because it didn’t qualify for the adult label… and it wasn’t allowed to be published without the adult label. Check mate. Furthermore, in Japan, if a manga series is relegated to the adult section, it will destroy the sales. This means publishers will no longer try to confront controversial or hot button issues, because even if they are one of the lucky ones and they aren’t removed from the market entirely they’ll end up deep in the red by being regulated to to the adult section under the absurdly vague parameters of this law.

Apr 07

FDL Update: Entries Restored, Comments Still Disappeared

My last entry at FDL, which is the last because I’ve been banned, has been restored to visibility.  As I pointed out in my previous entry, my account and diaries were flagged as spam and hidden from view.

FDL moderator RBG’s comment at the bottom of the entry suggests that he (or she; I don’t know RBG’s gender) was the one who banned me, but in truth, the decision to remove me could have been that of any one or all of the FDL moderating team.

FDL’s methodology in banning people was explained by Sebastos:

Deviousness of Firedoglake banning and blocking practices

I agree entirely, Rusty, about the sneakiness of banning without leaving any record. The same applies to this practice of temporarily blocking all of a banned user’s diaries by marking them as spam, then restoring access after several days. It sends a powerful message to banned users that they’re allowed on Firedoglake on sufferance, and that anything they write that offends the moderators can be removed at any time. Yet a casual visitor to the site notices nothing amiss, and even if informed that the diaries had been temporarily taken down, may not grasp the significance, and may even think the banned user is overreacting. It all serves to give an impression of greater openness than is actually the case.

The problem with gatekeeper blogs like FDL and Daily Kos is not only that they are overtly hostile to the left, but that they love to employ police state-style censorship to enforce their official policy of never actually challenging the right-wing Democrat Party.  Sure, we’re allowed to complain, so long as we dare do no more than that.  But step over a pre-drawn line, and one is gone.

Below the fold is the full text of my last entry from FDL.

Mar 01

Bloggers Behaving Badly: FDL Moderating Team

In follow-up to a post I made regarding an entry by Rusty1776 at FDL, I want to let people know that the site moderators have falsely removed the entry in question as spam and banned Rusty from posting.

Rusty’s entry, which in no way violated site rules, argued that it is immoral for Democrats not to issue a primary challenge to Barry Obama in next year’s election for the office of the presidency.  He was subsequently flamed by Bill Egnor, Rayne, RBG, Kelly Canfield, and a suck-up named newtonusr, who apparently took it upon himself to stalk Rusty across at least two threads with the intention of goading him to angry outburst.  The plan worked, and the moderators got the pretense they required to ban Rusty from FDL.

That this happened should not be surprising.  FDL is, like Daily Kos, Open Left, and other so-called leftist blogs, in reality a right-wing gatekeeper blog designed to neuter any real organization by the Left that is independent of the right-wing Democrat Party.  Its moderators have proven over and over again that their sole purpose is to maintain an online environment wherein people may complain about how bad the Democrats have become, but are not allowed to do anything beyond that.  People like Jeff Roby are similarly intimidated with the same tactics used to rationalize the banishment of Rusty1776, with the same message sent loudly and clearly: “You are here as window dressing for the veal pen.  Dare try to be or do more than that, and you are gone.”

This is why it is so important for genuinely independent blogs and activism sites to be independent of the Democrats, or for that matter, any political party.  As long as the Left remains tied to political parties, it remains subservient to the ambitions and interests thereof.

If there is anything positive about this latest abuse of power by a self-proclaimed liberal blog’s moderators, it’s that its agenda is now official, and now publicly exposed.

UPDATE BELOW THE FOLD

Jan 28

Obama’s 13526 Mistake: ROTC Censorship

Some might recall the story, reported in early December, on the Columbia University memo to foreign policy students interested in working for the State Department. The memo instructed students to avoid writing or talking about information derived from the WikiLeaks releases. At the time, the government shrugged off the memo and articles as merely a leak by an unnamed source. However, yesterday, Dr. Stephan Zunes, a professor of politics and coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco, in an article in the Mercury News, reignited the controversy of the government attempt to censor WikiLeaks material, and more broadly academic freedom, within the ranks of the U.S. Army ROTC program.

Jan 05

Fighting Intolerance Requires Trusting Other People

An English professor at Auburn University Montgomery (Alabama) has recently sparked a firestorm of criticism for his decision to edit two Mark Twain classics.  Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, both read by generations of schoolchildren, contain frequent usage of racially insensitive language.  However, they are also products of their time.  The books were written by an author who used dialogue authentic to the period, as objectionable as it is to us in this day.  The controversy among Twain scholars and the general public has been substantial.  But until recently, the professor held a completely different attitude altogether.

Jan 04

Banned Books: Editing Mark Twain

Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain’s classic novel, was initially published in 1884.  And it has survived as an important book for more than a century without ever being edited.  For offensiveness.  Or more specifically to eliminate offensive, racist words.  At least until now.

Today NPR reports that a “New Edition Of ‘Huckleberry Finn’ Will Eliminate Offensive Words”:

Dec 15

U. S. Air Force blocks access to media publishing Wikileaks

I need to do something about these late breaking bombshells.  they’re not good for my health.  I should be going to bed, but instead I’m here at my keyboard.  This was just too, too precious to resist:

In a brain-melting move, the cyber-guardians of the 24th Air Force have blocked user access to nytimes.com, the Wall Street Journal reports, to prevent airmen from reading the WikiLeaks cable descriptions that the Times is publishing. It’s not just the Times, either: other news organizations with early access to the purloined WikiLeaks diplomatic trove are banned. That’ll teach you to read the Guardian, Le Monde, El Pais or Der Spiegel at work.

It’s too late to say more, and all you really need is the original article, “Air Force Blocks WikiLeaks-Publishing Times Website”.  There’s a great photo of about 15 uniformed air force nerds sitting in their numbered computer cubicles working to protect the troops from the treasonous propaganda truth.  “ by Spencer Ackerman .

How dumb can they be?  Don’t they realize the kids can figure out how to get other access?

Sep 01

Bloggers Behaving Badly: Rayne at FireDogLake.com

Over at FireDogLake.com, you’d better not post anything too critical of Israel.  Moderator and abuser of power Rayne will probably step in to disrupt the thread, issue threats, and order people to cease asking questions she doesn’t like.

Rayne’s latest round of abuse began when truthexcavator posted an entry on what turned out to be a five-year-old news article about an israeli soldier acquitted of murdering a 13-year-old Palestinian by filling her body with enough bullets to drop a charging rhinoceros.  Truth made the horrendous mistake of comparing what Israel is doing to palestinians to what the Nazis did to Jews during the Holocaust.

I was shocked when I heard about this story, but I am less shock of the verdict by the Israeli Army. I’m passed the point of getting mad at Israel. I don’t even think of it as a country anymore. I wish it was a country because the Jewish people deserve better. But it’s not a country, just as Nazi Germany wasn’t a country.

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