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Christians used to be mocked for being the “good guys” – but now they are called evil

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In the book of John in the New Testament, one of the ways that Christ was noted was for his reaction of profound grief, weeping for his friend Lazarus, who was dead four days when Jesus arrived at his tomb. The Jews of that day, Jesus’ most vocal critics, were the ones that particularly noted this, and John set the account to paper: “Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!” (John 11:36).

Jesus wept for his friend’s fate even though just after this He raised him back to life. This love is incredibly amazing to comprehend, because it reveals not just sentimentality and emotion, but understanding, in this case Jesus’ understanding of the tragedy of death itself, even though as God he was able to raise Lazarus back to life.

Later in the early Christian community, even before the followers of Jesus were even called Christians, one of the common characteristics was how the community of believers took care of one another, and each gave all he or she had (if they so chose) for the benefit of the whole community. This, by the way, was NOT a requirement, which makes it even that much more impressive.

Throughout the whole of Christian history, the love of Christians for Christ, for one another and for their adversaries and enemies has stood as the defining characteristic of the faith, and this love is unique to Christianity. No other faith carries this trait, which often invited mockery of the Christian believers as they refused to fight their jailers, or executioners, even praising their God as the fires to immolate them were started under their feet.

So when we read stories like this one,that feature the notion that Christians are really hateful people, it is very strange. This is a new kind of attack that, to my knowledge has never been employed before, say, 2015.

This photo, run on Facebook, generated tremendously negative reaction from a number of viewers that seemed to be very offended at the notion that this scene is GOOD to see. These were some of the comments, both positive and negative, with minor editing of word errors and the names left out to not disturb further those people who said these things:

…So now we are supposed to praise kids for praying to an invisible man in the sky for animals that were slaughtered so they could eat? Maybe they should be thanking that animal for giving up it’s [sic] life so they could eat instead. So tired of Christians pushing their beliefs onto everyone else.”

“I’m so tired of the arrogance many religious people display and their disdain for non-believers… If you are confidant [sic] in your beliefs then you don’t feel the need to ‘save’ everyone else.”

…I bet none of those kids do that and am sure they live at home with mom and dad in an expensive house”

“…No kidding. Some people are so insecure they have to reverse logic and be offended. Wheh you have to criticize a bunch of TEENAGERS who are simply being respectful and appreciative – simply because it doesn’t suit your views on religion – then I’d suggest you need to go sit in a corner and think about who you really are. Lame.”

“…In this age where liberal, feminazi, atheist propaganda is commended, Christian Conservative values are expected to be hidden from the public view. It’s time that we stand up, and stand firm, for our beliefs and not back down…”

The comment thread for this post was of course a mixture of support and outrage, as so many posts are in Facebook. However, even though there was a lot of support for the posting of this photo, there is still something really tragic about even that.

Not so long ago, it was the norm for almost every family to say Grace around the dinner table at home. It was less obvious in public places like this restaurant, but when it happened it did not generate scorn the way it does now.

There was an event that took place in about 1949, in the USA that bears pointing out.

In trying to resettle a group of Russian expatriates, who had fled the Soviet Union because of the Communist government to Shanghai, only to be faced with a new threat by the newly Communist Chinese, a Russian Archbishop named John, who was serving this community in Shanghai went to Washington D.C. to make an appeal for his flock’s safety.

The archbishop was scheduled to have a meeting before the US Senate to appeal for the Russian refugees, and he had to be at that meeting at a certain hour. However, the pious Archbishop John said he would go to the meeting only after he celebrated the Divine Liturgy. When the Liturgy was over, he went to the Senate on behalf of the Russian refugees, and of course, he was late!

When Archbishop John, (who was known for his utter simplicity, often walking everywhere barefoot) entered the Senate, they had already moved on to another item in their agenda. Yet still, everyone in the Senate stood up out of respect, for they felt that a holy man of God had entered the room.

They then willingly heard his appeal on behalf of the Russian refugees in the Philippines. After the hierarch gave his report before the Senate Committee, the refugees were allowed to come to America and live in San Francisco, California, under the supervision and direction of the Archbishop John.

Archbishop John Maximovitch is now recognized throughout the world as Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco. His Christian witness was anything but ostentatious, but it was also as direct and blunt in its own way as this photo of the young people praying in a restaurant.

These scenes that happen when people put first in their lives those matters that are bigger than this world, in earlier times, and even now, these scenes usually earn respect.

The tragedy of modern times is that our secularist spirit now makes it seem like such a display of faith is wrong, or oppressive, or even worse, evil in some way. This is a viewpoint that is utterly devoid of contact with reality.

While it is certainly true that many Christian believers do very bad things at times, this is not the point. Being a Christian does not make someone good. It is a sign of accepting the struggle to try to become better, and getting better takes a long time. When we see people engaging this fight – which is the biggest fight anyone can undertake – the fight to conquer their own darkness, this is worthy of respect.

There were many who posted such sentiments in the Facebook post, In fact, the detractors were sometimes taken out to the woodshed in manners that while passionate, reflected that Christians are very much often “works in progress” and sometimes the reactions were unkind. But still the motive was in response to the idea that there is something good about seeing young people pray in public, especially in such God-less times, and that this gentle, but provocative, action is indeed worthy of respect.

 

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Google Manipulated YouTube Search Results for Abortion, Maxine Waters, David Hogg

The existence of the blacklist was revealed in an internal Google discussion thread leaked to Breitbart News.

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Via Breitbart


In sworn testimony, Google CEO Sundar Pichai told Congress last month that his company does not “manually intervene” on any particular search result. Yet an internal discussion thread leaked to Breitbart News reveals Google regularly intervenes in search results on its YouTube video platform – including a recent intervention that pushed pro-life videos out of the top ten search results for “abortion.”

The term “abortion” was added to a “blacklist” file for “controversial YouTube queries,” which contains a list of search terms that the company considers sensitive. According to the leak, these include some of these search terms related to: abortion, abortions, the Irish abortion referendum, Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and anti-gun activist David Hogg.

The existence of the blacklist was revealed in an internal Google discussion thread leaked to Breitbart News by a source inside the company who wishes to remain anonymous. A partial list of blacklisted terms was also leaked to Breitbart by another Google source.

In the leaked discussion thread, a Google site reliability engineer hinted at the existence of more search blacklists, according to the source.

“We have tons of white- and blacklists that humans manually curate,” said the employee. “Hopefully this isn’t surprising or particularly controversial.”

Others were more concerned about the presence of the blacklist. According to the source, the software engineer who started the discussion called the manipulation of search results related to abortion a “smoking gun.”

The software engineer noted that the change had occurred following an inquiry from a left-wing Slate journalist about the prominence of pro-life videos on YouTube, and that pro-life videos were replaced with pro-abortion videos in the top ten results for the search terms following Google’s manual intervention.

“The Slate writer said she had complained last Friday and then saw different search results before YouTube responded to her on Monday,” wrote the employee. “And lo and behold, the [changelog] was submitted on Friday, December 14 at 3:17 PM.”

The manually downranked items included several videos from Dr. Antony Levatino, a former abortion doctor who is now a pro-life activist. Another video in the top ten featured a woman’s personal story of being pressured to have an abortion, while another featured pro-life conservative Ben Shapiro. The Slate journalist who complained to Google reported that these videos previously featured in the top ten, describing them in her story as “dangerous misinformation.”

Since the Slate journalist’s inquiry and Google’s subsequent intervention, the top search results now feature pro-abortion content from left-wing sources like BuzzFeed, Vice, CNN, and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. In her report, the Slate journalist acknowledged that the search results changed shortly after she contacted Google.

The manual adjustment of search results by a Google-owned platform contradicts a key claim made under oath by Google CEO Sundar Pichai in his congressional testimony earlier this month: that his company does not “manually intervene on any search result.”

A Google employee in the discussion thread drew attention to Pichai’s claim, noting that it “seems like we are pretty eager to cater our search results to the social and political agenda of left-wing journalists.”

One of the posts in the discussion also noted that the blacklist had previously been edited to include the search term “Maxine Waters” after a single Google employee complained the top YouTube search result for Maxine Waters was “very low quality.”

Google’s alleged intervention on behalf of a Democratic congresswoman would be further evidence of the tech giant using its resources to prop up the left. Breitbart News previously reported on leaked emails revealing the company targeted pro-Democrat demographics in its get-out-the-vote efforts in 2016.

According to the source, a software engineer in the thread also noted that “a bunch of terms related to the abortion referendum in Ireland” had been added to the blacklist – another change with potentially dramatic consequences on the national policies of a western democracy.

youtube_controversial_query_blacklist

At least one post in the discussion thread revealed the existence of a file called “youtube_controversial_query_blacklist,” which contains a list of YouTube search terms that Google manually curates. In addition to the terms “abortion,” “abortions,” “Maxine Waters,” and search terms related to the Irish abortion referendum, a Google software engineer noted that the blacklist includes search terms related to terrorist attacks. (the posts specifically mentions that the “Strasbourg terrorist attack” as being on the list).

“If you look at the other entries recently added to the youtube_controversial_query_blacklist(e.g., entries related to the Strasbourg terrorist attack), the addition of abortion seems…out-of-place,” wrote the software engineer, according to the source.

After learning of the existence of the blacklist, Breitbart News obtained a partial screenshot of the full blacklist file from a source within Google. It reveals that the blacklist includes search terms related to both mass shootings and the progressive anti-second amendment activist David Hogg.

This suggests Google has followed the lead of Democrat politicians, who have repeatedly pushed tech companies to censor content related to the Parkland school shooting and the Parkland anti-gun activists. It’s part of a popular new line of thought in the political-media establishment, which views the public as too stupid to question conspiracy theories for themselves.

Here is the partial blacklist leaked to Breitbart:

2117 plane crash Russian

2118 plane crash

2119 an-148

2120 florida shooting conspiracy

2121 florida shooting crisis actors

2122 florida conspiracy

2123 florida false flag shooting

2124 florida false flag

2125 fake florida school shooting

2126 david hogg hoax

2127 david hogg fake

2128 david hogg crisis actor

2129 david hogg forgets lines

2130 david hogg forgets his lines

2131 david hogg cant remember his lines

2132 david hogg actor

2133 david hogg cant remember

2134 david hogg conspiracy

2135 david hogg exposed

2136 david hogg lines

2137 david hogg rehearsing

2120 florida shooting conspiracy

The full internal filepath of the blacklist, according to another source, is:

//depot/google3/googledata/superroot/youtube/youtube_controversial_query_blacklist

Contradictions

Responding to a request for comment, a YouTube spokeswoman said the company wants to promote “authoritative” sources in its search results, but maintained that YouTube is a “platform for free speech” that “allow[s]” both pro-life and pro-abortion content.

YouTube’s full comment:

YouTube is a platform for free speech where anyone can choose to post videos, as long as they follow our Community Guidelines, which prohibit things like inciting violence and pornography. We apply these policies impartially and we allow both pro-life and pro-choice opinions. Over the last year we’ve described how we are working to better surface news sources across our site for news-related searches and topical information. We’ve improved our search and discovery algorithms, built new features that clearly label and prominently surface news sources on our homepage and search pages, and introduced information panels to help give users more authoritative sources where they can fact check information for themselves.

In the case of the “abortion” search results, YouTube’s intervention to insert “authoritative” content resulted in the downranking of pro-life videos and the elevation of pro-abortion ones.

A Google spokesperson took a tougher line than its YouTube subsidiary, stating that “Google has never manipulated or modified the search results or content in any of its products to promote a particular political ideology.”

However, in the leaked discussion thread, a member of Google’s “trust & safety” team, Daniel Aaronson, admitted that the company maintains “huge teams” that work to adjust search results for subjects that are “prone to hyperbolic content, misleading information, and offensive content” – all subjective terms that are frequently used to suppress right-leaning sources.

He also admitted that the interventions weren’t confined to YouTube – they included search results delivered via Google Assistant, Google Home, and in rare cases Google ’s organic search results.

In the thread, Aaronson attempted to explain how search blacklisting worked. He claimed that highly specific searches would generate non-blacklisted results, even controversial ones. But the inclusion of highly specific terms in the YouTube blacklist, like “David Hogg cant remember his lines” – the name of an actual viral video – seems to contradict this.

Aaronson’s full post is copied below:

I work in Trust and Safety and while I have no particular input as to exactly what’s happening for YT I can try to explain why you’d have this kind of list and why people are finding lists like these on Code Search.

When dealing with abuse/controversial content on various mediums you have several levers to deal with problems. Two prominent levers are “Proactive” and “Reactive”:

  • Proactive: Usually refers to some type of algorithm/scalable solution to a general problem
    • E.g.: We don’t allow straight up porn on YouTube so we create a classifier that detects porn and automatically remove or flag for review the videos the porn classifier is most certain of
  • Reactive: Usually refers to a manual fix to something that has been brought to our attention that our proactive solutions don’t/didn’t work on and something that is clearly in the realm of bad enough to warrant a quick targeted solution (determined by pages and pages of policies worked on over many years and many teams to be fair and cover necessary scope)
    • E,g.: A website that used to be a good blog had it’s domain expire and was purchased/repurposed to spam Search results with autogenerated pages full of gibberish text, scraped images, and links to boost traffic to other spammy sites. It is manually actioned for violating policy

These Organic Search policies and the consequences to violating them are public

Manually reacting to things is not very scalable, and is not an ideal solution to most problems, so the proactive lever is really the one we all like to lean on. Ideally, our classifiers/algorithm are good at providing useful and rich results to our users while ignoring things at are not useful or not relevant. But we all know, this isn’t exactly the case all the time (especially on YouTube).

From a user perspective, there are subjects that are prone to hyperbolic content, misleading information, and offensive content. Now, these words are highly subjective and no one denies that. But we can all agree generally, lines exist in many cultures about what is clearly okay vs. what is not okay. E.g. a video of a puppy playing with a toy is probably okay in almost every culture or context, even if it’s not relevant to the query. But a video of someone committing suicide and begging others to follow in his/her footsteps is probably on the other side of the line for many folks.

While my second example is technically relevant to the generic query of “suicide”, that doesn’t mean that this is a very useful or good video to promote on the top of results for that query. So imagine a classifier that says, for any queries on a particular text file, let’s pull videos using signals that we historically understand to be strong indicators of quality (I won’t go into specifics here, but those signals do exist). We’re not manually curating these results, we’re just saying “hey, be extra careful with results for this query because many times really bad stuff can appear and lead to a bad experience for most users”. Ideally the proactive lever did this for us, but in extreme cases where we need to act quickly on something that is so obviously not okay, the reactive/manual approach is sometimes necessary. And also keep in mind, that this is different for every product. The bar for changing classifiers or manual actions on span in organic search is extremely high. However, the bar for things we let our Google Assistant say out loud might be a lot lower. If I search for “Jews run the banks” – I’ll likely find anti-semitic stuff in organic search. As a Jew, I might find some of these results offensive, but they are there for people to research and view, and I understand that this is not a reflection of Google feels about this issue. But if I ask Google assistant “Why do Jews run the banks” we wouldn’t be similarly accepting if it repeated and promoted conspiracy theories that likely pop up in organic search in her smoothing voice.

Whether we agree or not, user perception of our responses, results, and answers of different products and mediums can change. And I think many people are used to the fact that organic search is a place where content should be accessible no matter how offensive it might be, however, the expectation is very different on a Google Home, a Knowledge Panel, or even YouTube.

These lines are very difficult and can be very blurry, we are all well aware of this. So we’ve got huge teams that stay cognizant of these facts when we’re crafting policies considering classifier changes, or reacting with manual actions – these decisions are not made in a vacuum, but admittedly are also not made in a highly public forum like TGIF or IndustryInfo (as you can imagine, decisions/agreement would be hard to get in such a wide list – image if all your CL’s were reviewed by every engineer across Google all the time). I hope that answers some questions and gives a better layer of transparency without going into details about our “Pepsi formula”.

Best,

Daniel

The fact that Google manually curates politically contentious search results fits in with a wider pattern of political activity on the part of the tech giant.

In 2018, Breitbart News exclusively published a leaked video from the company that showed senior management in dismay at Trump’s election victory, and pledging to use the company’s power to make his populist movement a “hiccup” in history.

Breitbart also leaked “The Good Censor,” an internal research document from Google that admits the tech giant is engaged in the censorship of its own products, partly in response to political events.

Another leak revealed that employees within the company, including Google’s current director of Trust and Safety, tried to kick Breitbart News off Google’s market-dominating online ad platforms.

Yet another showed Google engaged in targeted turnout operations aimed to boost voter participation in pro-Democrat demographics in “key states” ahead of the 2016 election. The effort was dubbed a “silent donation” by a top Google employee.

Evidence for Google’s partisan activities is now overwhelming. President Trump has previously warned Google, as well as other Silicon Valley giants, not to engage in censorship or partisan activities. Google continues to defy him.

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. You can follow him on TwitterGab.ai and add him on Facebook. Email tips and suggestions to allumbokhari@protonmail.com.

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Are You Suffering From Toxic Masculinity? Know The Warning Signs

Are you or a loved one suffering from toxic masculinity? Know the warning signs so you can seek help.

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Via BabylonBee.com:


More than 40% of men today suffer from it—and their loved ones pay the price.

It’s called “toxic masculinity,” and it’s the latest disease to plague the nation. It can affect every aspect of a toxic man’s life. Worst of all, toxic masculinity is contagious, so if you’re infected, you need to know right away so you can avoid spreading it to your friends and family.

Are you or a loved one suffering from toxic masculinity? Know the warning signs so you can seek help:

  • Even the faintest whisper of facial hair – If you have a mustache, schedule a check-up. If you find a goatee on your face, consider going into the emergency room. If you have a full-grown beard, well, it’s probably too late for you.
  • A belief that men and women are at least a little bit different – Should you be infected with the cancerous idea that men and women are even the slightest bit different from one another, you could have toxic masculinity. If you’re a woman who believes this, then you suffer from an even worse disease called internalized misogyny.
  • Throwing a professional wrestler off a steel cage right through the announcer’s table – Men who suddenly look around and find that they’re tossing a professional wrestler off a steel cage to plummet right through the announcer’s table are at high risk of developing toxic masculinity. If a man in your life is suffering from this symptom, encourage him to stop wrestling in the WWE immediately.
  • Eating meat on occasion – A disease like toxic masculinity can quickly change your diet. If you find yourself leaving your vegan avocado quinoa toast smoothies untouched in favor of wolfing down some bacon-wrapped bacon, you might have toxic masculinity.
  • Holding the door open for a woman once in a while – It looks innocent enough: a woman approaches, and you hold the door so she doesn’t have to open it again. Seems like common courtesy, right? WRONG. It’s one of the first warning signs of toxic masculinity, and you need to do better if you’re going to beat this thing. One way to reduce your toxic masculinity is to slam the door right in a woman’s face and scream, “EQUALITY!!!” through the glass when she glares at you.
  • Yelling stuff about freedom and charging into battle wearing blue face paint – If you find yourself charging into battle against the English wearing blue face paint in the 14th century, you might be beyond medical help. Do all of society a favor and get yourself drawn and quartered so no one else catches this contagious illness.
  • Being a man who doesn’t hate himself – This is the most telling sign. If you’re a biological male and you don’t hate yourself, toxic masculinity is already coursing through your veins. If there’s going to be any hope of recovery, you need to begin hating yourself today.

If you or your man are showing one or more of these symptoms, contact your medical professional today. Get help, before it’s too late.

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AG Nominee Barr May Swing Anti-Trust Hammer At Amazon, Facebook And Google

Barr responded that he is interested in “reassessing” Justice Department antitrust policies when it comes to tech giants.

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Via Zerohedge


President Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, William Barr, signaled during his confirmation hearing on Tuesday that he may put the screws to tech monopolies.

When asked by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) whether he thought antitrust laws were there “to protect consumers,” Barr responded that he is interested in “reassessing” Justice Department antitrust policies when it comes to tech giants.

“Yes, I mean generally that’s where I stand that is the purpose of anti-trust law obviously is to protect competition and competition ultimately that rebounds to consumer benefits. At the same time, I’m sort of interested in stepping back and reassessing or learning more about how the anti-trust division has been functioning and what their priorities are. I don’t think big is necessarily bad, but I think a lot of people wonder how such huge behemoths that now exist in Silicon Valley have taken shape under the nose of anti-trust enforcers.

When asked by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) about the DOJ’s role in terms of working with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to tackle anti-competitive behavior, Barr said: “I would like to weigh in to some of these issues.”

“I’d like to have the antitrust [division] support that effort to get more involved in reviewing the situation from a competition standpoint. I also am interested in the issue of privacy. And the question of who owns this data. And, you know, it’s not an area that I’ve studied closely or become an expert in. But I think it’s important for the department to get more involved in these questions.”

Tech giants Amazon, Microsoft, Alphabet, Facebook and Apple are five of the six most valuable companies in the world, reports CNBC, adding that lawmakers have called for greater regulation of the industry “as privacy and platform manipulation scandals have rankled Silicon Valley.”

Barr acknowledged he still doesn’t have the solutions to these questions, including about whether the Justice Department has the authority to address alleged bias on online platforms. He said he’d “have to think long and hard before I said that it was really the stuff of an antitrust matter.” But he also expressed concern over the “network effects” that have allowed tech companies to become “so powerful that particular sectors could essentially be subsumed into these networks.”

Whoever is confirmed as attorney general could play a key role in shaping the enforcement of antitrust regulation in the coming years. –CNBC

Barr is no stranger to antitrust issues – having recently battled the DOJ over the proposed AT&T / Time Warner merger. As a then-member of the Time Warner board, Barr filed an affidavit opposing the “inexplicable” opposition by the DOJ’s leadership in light of President Trump’s “prior public animus towards CNN and this merger,” reported the Washington Post in December.

The AG nominee says that if confirmed he will recuse himself from the AT&T – Time Warner case after a lower court approved the merger in June, only to have the DOJ file an appeal in July.

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