LGBT

Compelling the cake maker?

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The transcript of the Supreme Court on the Masterpiece Cakeshop vs Colorado Civil Rights Commission (CCRC) hearing can be found here. It is 113 pages long (but double spaced). What is fascinating is the way the case is argued from both sides and the words of several judges who should just enforce the tenets of the constitution not leverage personal prejudices. CM doesn’t profess to be a lawyer but the biased language is pretty obvious, including one set of attorneys debating Colorado laws of  2018 rather than those of 2012 when the dispute first came to light.

The court session covered ground from anniversary cakes at a Michelin 2-star restaurant, mixed race or mixed religion marriages, an African American designer making a cross for the Ku Klux Klan and even the fairness of rejecting an order to bake a cake to celebrate Kristallnacht. The case also looked into the problems that might be created for a baker on a remote US military base who may not want to bake a cake for a same sex marriage because of his/her religious beliefs.

Mainstream media coverage has been pretty obvious but the transcript puts many things to light including the fact that all sides acknowledge the baker was prepared to sell a rainbow cake and almost anything else in the shop to the couple, just not the “compelled” words they wanted on it, which triggered the baker’s religious beliefs and led the Supreme Court to suggest that the baker’s 1st Amendment rights must be sustained.

Religious beliefs are a murky backwater where justification on a plethora of topics can be concocted. CM first learnt of “proper” religious fervor on a trip to Israel a decade ago. Seeing people wail as the were baptized in the River Jordan, watching them cry inconsolably as they placed pictures of family members atop the marble slab that Jesus’ body was laid on after his crucifixion, the scene of Jews of all ethnicities praying at the Western Wall or Muslims feverishly protecting entry to the Temple Mount. This is not the average punter going to a Sunday Mass or praying five times a days to Mecca. It is on another level. Some people walked bearing a cross along the exact route that Jesus did. Religion to some takes a different life form, some of it for the worse.

To think that a $500 wedding cake has cost both sides $100,000s in legal fees goes to show how serious both sides were prepared to defend their legal rights. No matter how silly some may view the outcome, the question remains whether the 14th Amendment be changed to more specifically define LGBT protections. Associate Justice Sotomayor made this point in her closing remarks, “That’s what the public anti-discrimination laws require.”

First Ladies

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LGBTQ Nation notes Jennifer Aniston will star as the first lesbian president in the yet to be written, First Ladies which has the tag line “Behind every great woman…is another great woman.”  Her partner (stand-up comedian) Tig Notaro will play the First Lady. Will Ferrell is also supposedly starring in the film, which suggests a comedy. Even if it is humour one hopes Aniston is elected on her abilities rather than what she does behind closed doors.

Even though CM despises identity politics, the marketplace for free speech should be counted, weighed and measured by the film’s success at the box office. It is a film investment like any other. If it is found wanting then will someone dare to write a terrible review based on content or will they feel compelled to talk it up for fear of being labeled? That maybe more telling than the film itself.

CM doesn’t care what gender, sexual orientation, race or religious background a politician is provided they are the most qualified to run a country for the people that democratically elect them. That should be the only factor. Many claim that Hillary missed out because she is a woman, not because she treated the election as a coronation, stuck to $1,000 plate fund raisers in the Democratic Party hot spots, her email scandals, her husband’s chance encounter with the Attorney General on the tarmac or alienating deplorables? Or could it be she is on a world tour still griping about it?

Bosch Japan celebrates diversity in the kitchen

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“In order to create a diverse environment, we first begin to understand!”

Hello! from the Bosch, Public Relations team!
From this week, the Bosch Japan group begins with the diversity of the country’s food in the dining room at each office factory.

This is a part of the initiative of ” Diver City Day which is widely expanded around the global Bosch group.

The aim of the initiative is to have a new approach and its own ideas, and to be able to respond to a variety of customer needs, and eventually the company’s success will lead to the success of the company.

We want to build a variety of HR initiatives in order to create more diverse environments in the future!

What is this obsession with corporates feeling compelled to ram “diversity” down staff throats? Why not just serve foreign cuisine and let staff enjoy it? They’ll notice it. Stick a Thai flag in the meal if need be to denote where it is from.  Why not let them provide feedback of their own volition? Will the workers all of a sudden feel after eating Egyptian cuisine that their customers at Mazda are in need of Arabic on their diesel pumps? Why not secretly record lunchtime conversations to ensure staff are “on message” otherwise force them to do hours on end of appropriate workplace behavior classes? Did the diversity brigade in the kitchen consider that Jews or Muslim staff (if any in Japan) can’t eat pork? Lest they be offended.

Bosch is an auto parts manufacturer which in Japan would serve predominantly Japanese customers. Will diversity rally the troops to higher levels of excellence? Completely immeasurable. Will Bosch customers select them on the cost performance of their products or pay premiums because the staff canteen serves chicken satay and tacos?

Indeed if Bosch HR & PR think they have a diversity problem that requires remedying through the kitchen then perhaps we should question their substandard hiring practices that allowed such bigots on the factory floor in the first place. Seriously, if they feel that staff are so out of touch that they require re-education, why not waste more money on internal indoctrination. Bosch be warned – virtue signaling can backfire.

Look how well things have gone for Starbucks preaching their virtuous side. Now staff are concerned their seating areas/bathrooms (now open to all after bending to social pressure based on something they were well within their rights to do) will be open to homeless people or drug addicts looking for a place to shoot up. So in order to appeal that the coffee chain is of higher moral standing they’ll happily trade alienating paying customers to achieve it. Lunacy. By that measure every corporate office should open their amenities to anyone. How shameful they put their businesses before humanity.

Maybe Bosch should look to hire based on diversity rather than quality of engineering talent. You can be sure that’s won’t lead to “success of the company”. Quite the opposite. Note Bosch is sponsoring these ads on social media. Pathetic. It is sort of like those people that profess their love and happiness endlessly on social media. So lacking in confidence are they in their partners that they feel safer telling the world instead of the one that matters.

ABC goes bananas but slips up on cold truths that split the narrative

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On March 18,  CM wrote about the gross inefficiencies at the ABC, which have rapidly deteriorated over time. We said,

Since 2008, the average salary of ABC’s staff has risen 25% from $86,908 to $108,408. Total staff numbers have risen from 4499 to 4769. Therefore salaries as a percentage of the ABC revenues have risen from 37.1% of the budget to 50%. The ABC’s ability to generate sales from content has fallen from A$140mn to A$70mn last year. The multicultural SBS has seen its budget grow from A$259mn in 2008 to A$412mn in 2017. SBS staff numbers have grown from 844 to 1,466 over the same period with average salaries rising from A$82,689 to A$88,267 or 7.2%. Which begs the question why is the SBS able to operate at 31% of the budget in salaries while the ABC is at 50%? Surely the ABC’s economies of scale should work in its favour? Clearly not.

According to The Australian, in response to the budget cuts coming over the following three years,  the ABC responded today with,

The ABC says there is “no more fat to cut” following the federal government’s announcement to slash $84 million in funding from the public broadcaster…News director Gaven Morris has hit back at the three-year funding freeze announced in Tuesday’s federal budget, which maintains more than $1 billion a year for the broadcaster.

“Make no mistake, there is no more fat to cut at the ABC. Any more cuts to the ABC cut into the muscle of the organisation…We’re as efficient as we’ve ever been…We’re the most minutely scrutinised media organisation in Australia…$84 million over three years, there is simply no way we can achieve that without looking at content creation and certainly looking at jobs within the organisation.”

Well perhaps if the ABC stop airing radical feminists who demand that parents seek approval from their babies when changing nappies or called conservative politicians who served in the military as “c*nts” perhaps it might justify for more budget.

It is a pretty simple. Online media pretty much allows such a wide array of choice that we do not need a taxpayer funded media (which readily breaches its code of conduct with regards to political bias) to provide so much content.

We have multiple ABC TV & radio stations plus multiple websites. One could argue for one each. We certainly do not need to give the ABC more money to expand its platforms to make up for a shortfall in quality content to arrest declining market shares.

Zucker feasted on your consent to be a sucker

Whatever the outcome of this hearing, much of the data collected was willingly offered by Facebook users. It was they who told people where they took vacation, the restaurant they ate or birthday they celebrated. It was they who adorned their avatar with a transparent French or rainbow flag as a back drop after another terrorist attack or to show support for same sex marriage. It was they who clicked the check box to agree to the “terms and conditions” immediately without reading it. Is that Zuckerberg’s fault? Questions however must be asked with respect to the ability to access microphones and cameras unbeknownst to users. How flagrantly was privacy law violated beyond that agreed by users?

For as much as Zuckerberg might look an evil violator of privacy laws (he may yet be proved to be so), if one wants real anonymity, social media is the last place to find it. It is doubtful anyone posts happy snaps on social media as a pure storage back up device. Many people crave attention and more than ever their self-actualisation stage in the ‘hierarchy of needs’ is driven by likes and shares rather than the Abraham Maslow’s original theorem of 75 years ago. The higher the ratio of “selfies” would probably be highly correlated to attention deficit disorder. Protesting the use of the data provided is a grossly naive assumption if not borderline negligent. Tucked away in the fine print of the words and conditions would surely have FB gaining their complete consent.

Ted Cruz took it to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on whether the social media giant ‘censors conservative’ news. He replied, “Silicon Valley is an extremely left-leaning place.While denying that he knows the political affiliations of the 15~20,000 staff who police content he said the group does its best to remove things that are considered hateful (e.g.hate speech, terrorism), hurtful or distasteful (e.g. nudity). It was brought to Zuckerberg’s attention that black conservatives (and Trump supporters) Diamond & Silk had their page blocked with 1.2 million followers on grounds of  “being unsafe to the community”. In any event, Zuckerberg deflected many of the questions in his testimony on grounds of the size of the organization but admitted not enough was done to police itself. Power corrupts…? Absolutely…?

Which brings the whole argument surrounding ‘free speech’ and social media sites exercising subjective political bias. It was only several years back that openly gay shock-jock Milo Yiannopoulos was banned from Twitter for causing ‘offence’ to a Ghostbusters actress. Yet what is offence? Where is the line drawn? What offends one might not offend another. However the censor would seemingly be able to use his or her subjective opinions, values and biases which makes it pretty clear what the outcome will be. President Trump learned that when a disgruntled Twitter employee temporarily suspended his account. Do not be surprised when we’re simply told to “get with the times” and accept the party line. Resistance is futile. It is the simplest way to shut down sensible debate.

Anyone active on social media is well aware of the risks of being targeted, trolled or attacked for expressing differing views. However do users require, much less want to submit to the machinations of the thought police? Shouldn’t they be free to choose what they view or pages they subscribe to? Indeed hate speech (not to be confused with difference of opinion) has no place but the majority of users are likely to be able to make that assessment without it having been arbitrarily made for them.

Then again, surely as a publicly listed corporation Facebook can decide what it wants to do with its site and let participants in the free market (who use it for no charge) decide for themselves that the obvious bias forces them to seek social media platforms elsewhere. Twitter share price was badly thumped for its blocking of certain groups and its share price is around 1/3rd the peak. It’s overall followers have fluctuated in the 316-330mn range since Q4 2016. The market works. It is taking Facebook’s shareprice to task on the grounds it will suffer for treating its users as mugs. Perhaps a look at activity post the hearings will show just how many mugs are still as active as before despite the threats to abandon the evil Zuck. The share price will respond accordingly.

It begs the question as to why a more conservative outfit hasn’t decided to make a Facebook equivalent which does not censor outside of clear violations of hate speech. Surely offering a replicated platform that didn’t censor free speech would be a massive winner. Users would also sign up to a simple (and SHORT) legal agreement that there is a risk of being offended and to commit to accepting it. Where clear violations of hate speech (e.g. threats of murder, terrorism etc.) are found such things can be reported to the authorities (with terms and conditions EXPLICITLY warning of such repucussions for violating easy to understand rules). Then again maybe Zuckerberg is right. Silicon Valley is indeed an extremely left-leaning [alt-left?] place! So this is why conservatives are behind the 8-ball on a free speech social media platform.

The sad reality is that social media is policed by the left and authorities seem keen to exploit the powers that provides. The examples are too many. Controversial conservatives have been blocked, banned and restricted for the most spurious of reasons. Diamond & Silk are hardly a danger to society. It is almost comical to think that.  Yet aren’t the subscription rates/followers of particular sites indicative of the ‘moods’ of people? Could it be that black, conservative and Trump supporter must be mutually exclusive terms in the eyes of the left’s identikit forcing the Facebook apparatchiks to enforce a subjective shutdown? If a public explanation was provided it would probably just say, “trust our objectivity’. Whaaaat?

At some stage if enough people feel they are being played around with they will choose of their own volition to leave and seek their social media thrills on other platforms. Or will they? It maybe too late. Blatant exploitation of social media by governments looks like an obvious trend. If we are only too willing to give up our data and cede any visibility of the inner circle’s terms of use of it we are on a slippery slope of our own making. Think about how your mobile device allows you to be tracked whenever and however. It can turn your camera or microphone on. It can triangulate your whereabouts anywhere across the world. What you’ve read, listened to and watched. Where are the privacy laws surrounding this? Is your local rep fighting in your corner? Probably not.

Could private conversations with a lawyer (client-attorney privilege) be bugged and used as evidence? Don’t laugh. As an aerospace analyst many moons ago, teams of specialists with anti-bugging devices trawled through the suites of the aircraft manufacturers’ chalets to ensure the opposition didn’t get wind of negotiations with airlines they were both competing to win large orders from. Illegal in the extreme but seemingly exercised by all parties. It was an unwritten rule.

However social media censorship hides deeper problems. It is also increasingly a tool to shut down debate and people like London Mayor Sadiq Khan has met with social media execs to collude on cracking down on ‘hate speech’. Surely policing spurious claims of hate speech is a lesser issue to the immediate threat faced by a capitol which saw its murder rate surpass that of New York. Not so. This is the dangerous turn in social media. Not whether our data is used for targeted advertising for cheap flights but used to pillory, interrogate and shut down innocents. After all social media has a half-life of infinity.

Take the controversial figure Tommy Robinson in England. The UK authorities and media wish us to believe he is an unhinged far right wing bigoted racist thug. Yet despite all of the times he has been jailed (for mostly trumped up charges), silenced and muzzled for publicising what he sees as a major problem in his community (i.e. radical Islam), the growth in followers continues to rise on his Facebook page (706,000). Maybe the authorities should keep tabs on them? Arrest them on suspicion of potentially causing hate crimes. Surely they are cut from the same cloth as Tommy? Afterall it is better to arrest a comedian for teaching a dog to do a Nazi salute to annoy his partner as it is less controversial to the state than tackling real issues. Perhaps authorities should pay attention to why Robinson’s following is so large? It is irrelevant whether one finds his viewpoints offensive or not, a majority of over half a million clearly don’t. He is no saint and would be the first to admit it. Still the authorities are trying everything to shut him down. Social media is being used as a watchdog.

Robinson has two best selling books –  ‘Enemy of the State’ and ‘Mohammad’s Koran: Why Muslims kill for Islam’. Is that not evidence that there are more people than the authorities would care to admit to that actually concur with his assessment? Maybe some want to read it out of curiosity? However when many of those same people see an undercover scoop done by the left leaning publicly funded Channel 4 on the inner workings of one of England’s most conservative mosques, praised by politicians as they true face of a peaceful religion. Even though the mosque had promised to clamp down on radical imams, the documentary revealed that despite assurances to government authorities, teachers still encourage students to believe that the only remedy for gays and apostates is to be killed. So maybe Robinson’s followers aren’t as fringe or minor in number as we would be made to believe? With the widespread outing of child grooming gangs across the UK, maybe Brits have had enough of the political hand wringing over politically correct discourse. The more the movement is pushed underground the harder it will be to stop vigilantism. We’ve already seen signs of it emerging. Think of the Guardian Angels in NY during the crime waves in the 1979.

What the Zuckerberg testimony brings to the surface is yet another example made clear to the public of the two tier dispensing of free speech. What worries the public more is that justice seems to be operating under the exact same framework. What the Channel 4 programme exposed with respect to blatant hate speech is incontrovertible. Yet will authorities arrest, charge and jail them as they would a Tommy Robinson? Not a chance. To encourage the murder of people that aren’t part of an ideology can’t be viewed as anything other than a willful threat.  Will the judiciary demand that scholars have their pages scrubbed from social media?

The shoes are on the wrong foot. Earlier this year, Austrian conservative Martin Sellner and his girlfriend Brittany Pettibone were arrested on arrival in the UK, detained and deported. Sellner for wanting to deliver a speech at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park (later delivered by Robinson) and Pettibone for wanting to interview Tommy Robinson (which he later conducted in Vienna). Neither look in the least bit dangerous. In this case, social media backfired on the state. In both cases, the public once again saw the double standards and the pervasive political posturing to beat the ‘controllable’ element into submission. Just as it is easier for the police to fine speeding motorists than actively pursue solid leads on catching grooming gangs the public rightly grows increasingly livid. Social media is being used more widely as a policing tool, with negative connotations. It isn’t just being used to foil terror plots but stomp on the rights of the average citizen.

Still there is some sympathy for Zuckerberg in that many people volunteered their information. If it was used in ways that violated ethical and more importantly legal rights it only goes to prove that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. To that end, can we really expect lawmakers to cramp their own style when Zuckerberg has only highlighted how powerful the information he possesses can be used to sucker us more than they already do. That is the real crime we are seemingly becoming powerless to stop. Talk about the real Big Brother!

Roseanne continues to romp

The Hollywood Reporter revelead that Roseanne, Episode 2 of the reboot,  averaged a 3.9 rating among adults in the key demo of 18 to 49 year olds with about 15.2 million total viewers on Tuesday.  Total viewership of Episode 1 resulted in a 25 million audience after accounting for delayed viewing.The CBS comedy hit a 7.3 Nielsen rating in the key 18-49 age demo and replaces the ABC 2014 revival of “How to Get Away With Murder.” Analysts expect Roseanne’s numbers to grow even larger once Hulu and ABC online streaming is accounted for, which could add several more millions.

Crime in London – The Bill’s Feb 2018 snapshot isn’t pretty

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The Met Police in London has listed the following year on year trends in crime as at Feb 2018 as follows:

Murder: +42.4%

Robbery of personal property: +41.0%

Burglary – residential: +33.5%

Theft from Person: +32.1%

Burglary – commercial: +32.0%

Violence w/ Offensive Weapon: +32.1%

Rape: +20.3%

Motor Vehicle Interference/Tampering: +19.9%

Motor Vehicle Theft: +17.3%

Theft or Push Bike: +15.6%

Theft from Motor Vehicle: +15.4%

Fraud & Forgery: +13.7%

Common Assault: +9.4%

Sexual Assault: +8.5%

Violence causing grievous bodily harm: +7.7%

Drug Possession: -5.9%

A pretty sorry tale of crime rates in London. The trends since 2014 have been a reasonably steady upward climb. Last year, 891,507 crimes were logged by the police.

The Met has also listed a hate crime section on its website. The YoY stats vs Feb 2018 are as follows:

Anti-Semitic: -1.89% (+40.5% month on month)

Domestic Abuse: +5.8%

Faith Hate Crime: +20.1%

Gun Crime (Lethal Barrel Discharge): +14.2%

Homicide: +35.5%

Homophobic Hate Crime: +3.5%

Islamophobia: +34.4% (-39.0% month on month)

Knife Crime: +26.0%

Knife Crime (w/ injury): +11.7%

Where to avoid in London based on YoY figures?

Knife crime in the Borough of Enfield is +52.2%

Islamophobia in Westminster is +95.4%

Homicide in Southwark is +83.3%

Anti-Semitic hate crime in Harrow +228.6%

Taser Deployments year on year in Feb 2018: +8.7%

15% of the 2649 Taser deployments were in Lambeth and Tower Hamlets.

Is it a question of police being hamstrung from taking more heavy handed responses to crime by enforcing political correct responses or are they just too stretched?

From the London General Assembly:

“Since 2010-11, the Met’s general grant funding from the Government has fallen by more than £700 million, or nearly 40 per cent in real terms, on a like-for-like basis. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will commit today to investing an additional £110million into the Metropolitan Police in the next year.

Budget cuts have led to the loss of a third of police staff posts, which are down from 14,330 to 9,985, as well as two-thirds of police community support officer (PSCO) posts, which are down from 4,607 to 1,591. In addition, there are now 114 fewer police station front counters and 120 fewer police buildings.“

There were 1146 Anti-Semitic hate crimes against a 168,000 Jewish population in London vs 1,741 Islamophobic reported hate crimes against the 607,000 Muslims living in the British capitol. So Jews, per head of population, are 2.3x more likely to face hate crimes than Muslims according to the Met’s statistics.