It is saddening to read below how deeply this disregard for reality has seeped into the academic history profession in America. So many people want to USE history rather than tell it like it was
So I am acutely aware of the way historical truth can be subjugated to political ends. And loss of reality contact is always perilous. It is the leading symptom of psychosis
Even by the rancorous standards of the academy, the August eruption at the American Historical Association was nasty and personal.
The August edition of the association’s monthly magazine featured, as usual, a short essay by the association’s president, James H. Sweet, a professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Within hours of its publication, an outrage volcano erupted on social media. A professor at Cornell vented about the author’s “white gaze.” A historian at the University of San Diego denounced the essay as “significant and substantial violence.” A historian at Knox College, in Illinois, organized an email campaign to pressure the AHA to respond.
Forty-eight hours after the essay’s release, Sweet posted a statement of regret for his words. The four-paragraph message concluded: “I apologize for the damage I have caused to my fellow historians, the discipline, and the AHA. I hope to redeem myself in future conversations with you all. I’m listening and learning.”
That attempt at mollification only widened the controversy. An op-ed in The Wall Street Journal denounced the “woke mob” that had extracted Sweet’s mea culpa. Fox News soon followed in similar terms. On August 20, the AHA temporarily locked its Twitter account to shut down a discussion it said had been hijacked by “trolls.”
In a country that can make a culture-war flash point out of a two-note flute performance, it may be no surprise that an essay on writing history could explode like this. But all the Sturm und Drang makes it harder to understand the actual substance of the controversy. What exactly did Sweet say? Why did so many of his colleagues find it so upsetting, even threatening?
Sweet would later say that the reaction took him by surprise. In his mind, he was merely reopening one of the most familiar debates in professional history: the debate over why? What is the value of studying the past? To reduce the many available answers to a stark choice: Should we study the more distant past to explore its strangeness—and thereby jolt ourselves out of easy assumptions that the world we know is the only possible one? Or should we study the more recent past to understand how our world came into being—and thereby learn some lessons for shaping the future?
In real life, of course, almost everybody who cares about history believes in a little of each option. But how much of each? What’s the right balance? That’s the kind of thing that historians do argue about, and in the arguing, they have developed some dismissive labels for one another. Advocates of studying the more distant past to disturb and challenge our ideas about the present may accuse their academic rivals of “presentism.” Those who look to the more recent past to guide the future may accuse the other camp of “antiquarianism.” The accusation of presentism hurts because it implies that the historian is sacrificing scholarly objectivity for ideological or political purposes. The accusation of antiquarianism stings because it implies that the historian is burrowing into the dust for no useful purpose at all.
Sweet’s essay opened by remarking on the relative decline of doctoral dissertations on pre-1800 topics. He worried that the profession was succumbing to a wave of presentism. If unchecked, the trend could contaminate the profession’s integrity. “Too many Americans,” he wrote, “have become accustomed to the idea of history as an evidentiary grab bag to articulate their political positions.”
Sweet stressed that such misuse of history occurred across the political spectrum. He pointed to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decisions on guns and abortion as examples of abusing history for political ends by right-leaning jurists. But he also did not exempt progressives when he warned, “If history is only those stories from the past that confirm current political positions, all manner of political hacks can claim historical expertise.”
Instead, Sweet argued, historians should always keep in mind the warning of the novelist L. P. Hartley: “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” Or in Sweet’s words:
Doing history with integrity requires us to interpret elements of the past not through the optics of the present but within the worlds of our historical actors. Historical questions often emanate out of present concerns, but the past interrupts, challenges, and contradicts the present in unpredictable ways. History is not a heuristic tool for the articulation of an ideal imagined future. Rather, it is a way to study the messy, uneven process of change over time.
In other words, Sweet was writing about a perennial professional puzzle, like a chess grand master opining about the best way to open a game: pawn or knight? Sweet does not even use Twitter, and he appeared to have no conception that anybody on that platform would notice or care about his entry into the intramural debate over how historians should do their work. And then the dam burst over him.
The dam burst because of the examples Sweet used to drive home his point. Sweet told a story about a recent visit he had made to Elmina Castle, on the coast of Ghana. Built by the Portuguese in the 1480s as a gold trading post, Elmina guarded the slave market of the Ghanaian coast. Elmina is a grim and sinister place that makes a painful impression on all who visit. And because Ghana is one of the most tourist-friendly countries in West Africa, many do visit. In particular, Elmina is a pilgrimage site for African Americans seeking to come face-to-face with the ordeals suffered by their ancestors who were enslaved and transported across the Atlantic.
Sweet identified a problem. Very few of the people transported to what would become the United States passed through Elmina. Elmina was more a hub for slave markets farther south: the Caribbean and Brazil. But descendants of those enslaved in Brazil and the Caribbean are less likely to pay for a trip to Ghana than the descendants of enslaved Americans. And so, over time, Elmina has retrofitted its history to interest the visitors it attracts—or so James Sweet complained.
Sweet complained about something else, too. When Elmina was built, and for long afterward, Europeans never ventured far inland into Africa, deterred by unfamiliar diseases and the military power of local rulers. The Europeans typically operated on the seacoast, dealing with African enslavers who sold them locally enslaved people or captives of war. And on the day of Sweet’s visit, that indigenous African role in the story got edited out of the narrative told by local guides. The guides instead insisted that the Ghanaian slave-sellers had no idea what would happen to the people they led in chains to the Portuguese marketplace. That falsification of the history irked Sweet.
Sweet was irked also by the imminent release of the movie The Woman King, which represents the slave-trafficking African kingdom of Dahomey as a land of freedom fighters against foreign aggression. “Bad history yields bad politics,” he wrote. “The erasure of slave-trading African empires in the name of political unity is uncomfortably like right-wing conservative attempts to erase slavery from school curricula in the United States, also in the name of unity.”
Sweet is an expert on Africa, the African diaspora, and the transatlantic slave trade. In 2011, he published a book about a West African man named Domingos Álvares, who was enslaved and transported to Brazil probably in the late 1720s. Álvares’s expertise in West African healing methods gained him his freedom and even some prosperity in his new land. He converted to Catholicism, formed a family, and fathered a child. But Álvares’s success triggered the suspicions of some of his neighbors. Possibly envious, they reported him as a magician who trafficked with the devil. He was arrested, again separated from his family, again shipped across the Atlantic in chains. He arrived in Lisbon, where he was interrogated and tortured by the Portuguese Inquisition. Released, then rearrested, a penniless and friendless Álvares vanished from the written record in 1749, en route to yet another exile. The book was based on Sweet’s discovery of a thick file of investigations in the Portuguese state archives. By decoding the antique handwriting of the Inquisition’s notetakers, Sweet (who is proficient in Portuguese) restored Álvares to history. This man, to whose story Sweet devoted years of his own life, was abducted, enslaved, and trafficked by the very same Dahomey kingdom celebrated in The Woman King.
Sweet’s insistence on detailing Dahomey’s true record was where the debate got hot. Disputes over how history should be written cease to be abstract and remote when they touch the powerfully emotive issues of empire, race, and slavery.
As an expert on the slave traffic to Brazil and on the victims of the Dahomey kingdom, Sweet thought that he had standing to speak his mind freely. Some of his colleagues vehemently disagreed, for reasons argued by M?koma wa Ng?g?, a novelist and scholar who teaches at Cornell. Ng?g? comes from a family that was eminent in Kenyan literary life, but was driven into exile in the United States by political persecution. It was Ng?g? who denounced Sweet’s “white gaze.” When I sought further comment from Ng?g?, he wrote back:
It is no secret that African rulers were involved in the slave trade. There is no revelation there. But it is more complex than that because at the time they would not have seen themselves as Africans (an example of presentism) and there were those that resisted as well. Plus we don’t talk enough about the communities from which slaves were taken … are still in that trauma (see Maya Angelou in All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes and her discussion of Keta in Ghana). I do not think any serious scholar of Africa denies this … What I myself was objecting to was the carelessness of using that black family caught up in trying to understand their inherited trauma as a prop in his story.
Ng?g? emphasized that he was not arguing for racial segregation of historical specialities. He wrote his own doctoral dissertation on the English Romantic poet John Clare. He admires the work of white Africanists such as Basil Davidson and Caroline Elkins. What matters, as Ng?g? wrote in a 2021 essay, is ideology. His target is not white scholarship as such, but an “ideology that assumes the continent and its peoples can and should be studied for the benefit of the western student and scholar, that knowledge is a commodity to be extracted from the continent to benefit the western student and scholar.” Scholarship about Africa, Ng?g? argued, must not be separated from advocacy for Africa and the African diaspora. “It is not a question of trickle-down reparations but a redistribution of power.”
America is in the throes of a cultural and political war over gender ideology, featuring high-profile conflicts over everything from school curricula to athletics to pronouns.
But among the most explosive battles unfolding within the broader war is that over transgender children. In an inhospitable election year for the left, Democrats, far from being on the back foot, have pushed ahead on this front, including this fall in California, New York, and Virginia with moves to curb parental rights.
Days from the election, President Biden made clear the party’s broader position, telling a transgender activist that no state should be able to bar “gender-affirming healthcare” for kids.
That can include puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries to remove or replace breasts and genitalia. Promoting such treatment for the growing number of kids identifying as transgender are, on one side, the Biden administration; blue state governments; much, though not all, of the medical establishment; educators; and activists. Opposing them are red state governments acting on behalf of outraged or concerned parents and other constituents, and buoyed by dissenting doctors.
Divisions have deepened despite, as Reuters recently reported, a lack of “strong evidence of the efficacy” of the treatments at issue and despite their possible long-term consequences.
New York State state Senator Sen. Brad Holyman, a Democrat, introduced a bill that would similarly make New York a sanctuary state for transgender children.
Virginia state delegate Elizabeth Guzman, a Democrat, announced she would introduce legislation under which parents could be criminally prosecuted for child abuse should they refuse to affirm their kids’ transgenderism. Amid national blowback over the bill, Guzman quickly recanted.
Republican Governor Gov. Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma signed legislation conditioning $108.5 million in federal stimulus funds for the University of Oklahoma’s Children’s Hospital on its ceasing “gender reassignment medical treatment” for minors. The governor also called on Oklahoma to bar “irreversible gender transition surgeries and hormone therapies on minors” during the 2023 legislative session. Gov. Stitt finds himself in an unusually close race with Joy Hofmeister – the state superintendent of education – who switched parties from Republican to Democrat in 2021 to challenge him.
13 state attorneys general, led by Republican Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti, responded to the AMA’s letter to the Justice Department with a letter of their own to Attorney General Merrick Garland, calling for the department to “stand down and allow the national conversation to continue,” citing medical data calling into question the efficacy of transgender treatment.
A Washington State city's dress code ordinance saying bikini baristas must cover their bodies at work has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal court.
The decision in a partial summary judgment came after a lengthy legal battle between bikini baristas and the city of Everett over the rights of workers to wear what they want.
The owner of Everett bikini barista stand Hillbilly Hotties and some employees filed a legal complaint challenging the constitutionality of the dress code ordinance.
In 2017, the city of Everett enacted the law requiring all employees, owners and operators of 'quick service facilities' to wear clothing that covers the upper and lower body.
The ordinance listed coffee stands, fast food restaurants, delis, food trucks and coffee shops as examples of quick service businesses.
The group also challenged the city's lewd conduct ordinance, but the court dismissed all the baristas' claims but the dress code question.
The U.S. District Court in Seattle found the city of Everett's dress code ordinance violated the Equal Protection clauses of the U.S. and Washington state constitutions.
The Court found that the ordinance was, at least in part, shaped by a gender-based discriminatory purpose, according to a 19-page ruling signed by U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez.
'The record shows this Ordinance was passed in part to have an adverse impact on female workers at bikini barista stands,' U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez.
'There is evidence in the record that the bikini barista profession, clearly a target of the Ordinance, is entirely or almost entirely female. It is difficult to imagine how this Ordinance would be equally applied to men and women in practice' because the ordinance prohibits clothing 'typically worn by women rather than men,' including midriff and scoop-back shirts, as well as bikinis.
Bikini baristas were 'clearly' a target of the ordinance, the court also ruled, adding that the profession is comprised of a workforce that is almost entirely women.
'I think this protects our safety from law enforcement touching our body,' barista Emma Dilemma told HeraldNet. 'Who's approving my outfit? Is it my female boss or some random dude cop that I don't know? I don't want them having to stick a ruler next to my body.'
'Some countries make you wear lots of clothing because of their religious beliefs,' one of the plaintiffs Matteson Hernandez wrote. 'But America is different because you can wear what you want to wear. I wear what I'm comfortable with and others can wear what they are comfortable with. Wearing a bikini sends this message to others.'
'We are here saying we watched our moms and grandmas going through hell and we don't have to,' Liberty Ziska wrote. 'Millions of women fought for our rights and right to vote and it's my right to wear what I want. It's my right as a person.'
'Don't judge a book by its cover, just because of the girls who are doing this job, doesn't mean we're bad people,' said Ivy, a bikini barista to Fox 13. 'We all have lives outside of this; some of us are mothers, some of us go to college besides this, we're all just working and hustling like everybody else.'
The court has now directed the city of Everett to meet with the plaintiffs next month discuss the next steps.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, has signed two bills into law that will limit who is eligible to become a peace officer, even as many cities across the Golden State struggle with police shortages. Critics say the new laws will create an “ideological purity test,” preventing some conservatives and Christians from joining already-strapped police forces.
Newsom on Sept. 30 signed AB 655, which bars Californians who previously had been members of a “hate group” or involved in “hate group activity” (in the past seven years) from police service. It remains unclear when the law will go into effect.
The governor also signed AB 2229, which requires applicants to be screened for “bias” before they can join a police force. The “bias” requirement had been enacted previously in 2020, but mistakenly was stricken from the law in 2021, according to a legislative analysis. According to the law’s text, it went into effect immediately upon signing.
Although AB 655 uses a strict definition for the term “hate group” tied directly to “genocide,” critics note that the new law also requires agencies to investigate “a complaint made by the public that alleges, as specified, that a peace officer engaged in membership in a hate group, participation in any hate group activity, or advocacy of public expressions of hate.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center, or SPLC, has branded mainstream conservative and Christian organizations as “hate groups” and put them on a list with the likes of the Ku Klux Klan, often for reasons that amount to ideological disagreement. (The SPLC did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment.)
California has a public interest in preventing members of the Ku Klux Klan or other groups that truly advocate oppression and violence from joining a police department. But critics told The Daily Signal that the laws could be weaponized to exclude peaceful conservatives at a time of law enforcement shortages.
“California is in the throes of a public safety crisis,” Matt McReynolds, senior staff attorney at the Pacific Justice Institute’s (or PJI’s) Center for Public Policy, told The Daily Signal. “Mass shootings, mass release of criminals back onto the streets, and brazen smash-and-grab robberies have residents living in fear. Meanwhile, the level of politically-fueled disrespect for law enforcement has never been higher.”
McReynolds noted that police officers are fleeing the Golden State. “AB 2229,” he argued, “will only exacerbate this crisis by exposing all but the most ideologically pure officers to discipline, dismissal, or rejection for supposed bias.”
“It is the perfect Leftist tool for canceling more decent, brave and hardworking public safety officers,” he added. “In California, cancel culture is coming for our cops.”
As an aside, the SPLC brands the Pacific Justice Institute as an “anti-LGBT hate group,” a designation the institute disputes. PJI President Brad Dacus told The Daily Signal that the Southern Poverty Law Center twisted his previous statements out of context to smear him in this way.
“AB 2229 comprises a political test,” Daniel Greenfield, the Shillman journalism fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center (a conservative organization branded by the SPLC as an “anti-Muslim hate group”), told The Daily Signal.
“It is a blank check for viewpoint discrimination,” Greenfield said, “especially since it fails to identify parameters for defining bias in a time when, under the influence of critical race theory, it is widely held by the Left that all members of the majority group suffer from unconscious bias.”
“It’s entirely possible, furthermore, that membership in a biblically traditional church or synagogue would be considered a bias against sexual orientation,” he warned.
Brigitte Gabriel, a Lebanese-American activist and founder of SPLC-accused “hate group” ACT for America who warns against the threat of political Islamism, warned that AB 2229 “will become an ideological purity test preventing conservatives and Christians from being eligible for service as peace officers due to their belief on issues like marriage sexuality or gender.”
“We need more decent people signing up willing to serve the public and ensure public safety but with laws like these all they are doing is discouraging them from signing up putting the community at a far greater risk,” Gabriel told The Daily Signal.
California Assemblywoman Luz Rivas, a Democrat who sponsored AB 2229, did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The Daily Signal. The office of California Attorney General Rob Bonta, a Democrat, did not respond to The Daily Signal’s requests for comment on the previous and prospective implementation of AB 2229. Newsom’s office declined to comment on both bills, referring The Daily Signal to the legislators who sponsored them.
Critics also expressed worries about the weaponization of AB 655, and state legislators changed the bill from its original version to address some of those concerns.
William T. Armaline, associate professor of sociology at San Jose State University and director of the university’s Human Rights Collaborative, which sponsored the bill, told The Daily Signal that “in the two-year legislative path of this bill we met with all organizations who expressed concerns.”
Armaline described those meetings as “productive” and said they “resulted in the current language of the bill, precisely out of a deliberate effort to protect civil liberties and collective bargaining rights.”
He noted that “the bill does not apply the SPLC’s framework,” but rather grounds its language in “state/constitutional/international legal conceptualizations of, for instance, ‘hate crimes’ or ‘genocide.'”
The new California law defines a “hate group” as “An organization that supports, advocates for, threatens, or practices genocide or the commission of hate crimes.” The law defines “genocide” as follows:
‘Genocide’ means any of the following acts committed with specific intent to destroy, in whole or substantially in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group through means including killing or causing serious bodily injury to members of the group, causing permanent impairment of the mental faculties of members of the group through drugs, torture, or similar means, subjecting the group to conditions of life that are intended to cause the physical destruction of the group, in whole or in part, imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group, or forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Armaline said “there are many historical and current organizations, including but not limited to the Ku Klux Klan in California and the U.S., that would arguably meet this description.” He noted, however, that “there is no stated blacklist.”
The Pacific Justice Institute “is one of the organizations we communicated with in early revisions of the Bill, and the final bill language reflects our effort to address these concerns to their apparent satisfaction,” he said.
“We’re gratified that our constitutional concerns with AB 655 were taken seriously, and the threat it originally posed to law enforcement officers was substantially reduced in the amended version,” Pacific Justice Institute’s McReynolds told The Daily Signal.
McReynolds noted that the original version of the legislation defined a “hate group” as any group that “supports, advocates for, or practices the denial of constitutional rights” of a class of people, a definition that easily could be twisted to apply to pro-life organizations seeking to outlaw abortion.
Although the final version of AB 655 represented an improvement, McReynolds spoke on behalf of PJI noting, “We remain opposed to this and similar legislation because they build on a flawed premise that inexorably leads to thought crimes. As the original version of AB 655 reveals, our far-left legislators will not be satisfied until they silence, de-platform and even criminalize conservatives.”
Greenfield also called AB 655 “deeply disturbing,” saying it “allows public complaints, likely by partisan groups, targeting peace officers over their views and continues to centralize state control over law enforcement. It makes those complaints public to further target them.”
“The bill has the state defining what is hate and how to investigate it,” Greenfield added. “While the bill currently focuses on promotion of genocide and hate crimes, it would be easy for the actual implementation and later ‘reforms’ to define it more broadly. The experts likely to be tasked to draw up such standards are prone to be associated with the SPLC and other partisan organizations that can take the opportunity to use their power for partisan going.”
“With the standards of evidence unclear, it will become all too easy to pressure sheriff’s departments and more conservative areas to purge personnel,” Greenfield concluded.
In an interview with Company Director, the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ magazine, Dr Don Russell, chair of AustralianSuper, says, ‘Being able to influence companies in their decisions around board governance, climate risk and disclosures, are all mechanisms we see as improving investment returns.’
‘We’re heavily engaged in that because we think it lowers the risk associated with everything we’re invested in.’
Well, with 2.5 million accounts, a quarter of a trillion dollars under management and $650 million a month in new contributions, no one can doubt this fund has clout. Nor that much of that clout, whatever the investment returns, comes from increasing payments from the same companies Dr Russell seeks to influence. Having started at three per cent of workers’ salaries, these are soon to rise to twelve per cent.
As a principal adviser to former prime minister Paul Keating, Dr Russell helped design the compulsory scheme. No doubt he and Mr Keating knew what an enduring gift it would be to their friends in the trade union movement. And what a gift it has proven to be!
In three decades it has enabled a handful of unions and employer associations, with no capital backing, to account for around 30 per cent of Australia’s $3.1 trillion superannuation assets, earning some $30 billion a year in fees. This firepower has greatly leveraged organised labour’s capacity to influence boardrooms through shareholder activism.
Unions also benefit from sponsorships and advertising deals which aim to encourage workers to join their funds. According to the Financial Services Royal Commission, while not itemised, these inducements totalled more than $30 million in the five years to 2019. Unions are also believed to receive fees of around $14 million a year, paid nominally to its appointed directors.
Former union apparatchik and current federal assistant treasurer, Stephen Jones, ignores calls for improvements in reporting standards. He believes annual aggregate disclosures of political donations and, payments to trade unions and industry bodies is sufficient.
Unsurprisingly, the cosy relationship between industry funds, trade unions and government, leads to suspicions of personal indulgences and cover-ups. No matter the truth, this cartel exerts an unhealthy influence on capital allocations.
And while union nominees on fund boards have responsibility for a substantial slice of workers’ life savings, they remain relatively unknown. After all, workers see superannuation contributions as a tax paying for something they will receive in the remote future and this detachment means fund executives on multimillion-dollar salaries and performance bonuses are rarely held to account.
The absence of transparency and accountability seems inconsistent with many of the ESG governance principles espoused by Dr Russell. Nevertheless, this doesn’t preclude AustralianSuper from closely monitoring external managers to ensure they adhere to its strict protocols. Indeed, rather than exert indirect control, AustralianSuper has already brought management of half its assets in-house.
Dr Russell believes this strict ESG approach enhances the equity portfolio’s performance. ‘We’ve built concentrated portfolios and developed skills and capabilities to understand a whole range of Australian businesses,’ he says, ‘Part of that understanding is based around an understanding of how these companies deal with climate risk and other ESG matters.’
On climate, AustralianSuper is committed across its portfolio to net-zero emissions by 2050. But what does this mean? According to consultancy McKinsey, ‘trillions of dollars need to be spent every year for almost three decades to hit net zero targets’. Is AustralianSuper’s commitment open-ended? Has it considered the long-tail risks to its members’ savings from constant capital misallocation? Have AustralianSuper and its likeminded peers forgotten the old Wall Street adage, ‘When all the experts and forecasts agree – something else is going to happen’?
Already, too many alarmist climate predictions, advertised as based on authoritative modelling, have proven false. It is surely only a matter of time before the public weighs the crippling economic and social costs of environmental policies against environmental progress. Retirees will begin to question who gave the mandate for superannuation assets to be so heavily weighted in essentially moral crusades. What about eggs and baskets and a case for compensation?
By inserting themselves into boardrooms, industry funds and their friends in government have blurred the line between management and ownership. They are getting in the way of what Milton Friedman argued was the ‘one and, only one, social responsibility of business, to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it… engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud’.
Despite Dr Russell’s claims of inherent ESG out-performance, several studies have questioned any causal link, saying it can be explained by other factors. For example, technology and asset-light companies are often among broader market leaders in ESG ratings because they have a relatively low carbon footprint. These tend to merit higher ESG scores and, through weight of buying, initially achieve a self-fulfilling out-performance. But, as the director of one fund declared, ‘There is no ESG alpha,’ or, sustained outsize market return.
Nevertheless, Dr Russell and many of his powerful peers, insist on micro-managing the companies they invest in. The boards in turn obey, spending valuable board and management time on unproductive navel gazing and redirecting investments into ‘safe’ assets. Innovation is shunned.
Strikingly, net zero 2050 and, ESG more generally, seem to be peculiarly Western preoccupations. China is not so obsessed. Rather, it is massively boosting coal production to keep electricity supplies reliable, prices low and manufactured products internationally competitive. Chinese leaders remain clear-eyed and are thoroughly practised in the art of climate-change arbitrage. BMW’s decision to move manufacture of Minis to China highlights Beijing’s wisdom.
This is not to argue against prudent governance. But it is to warn that a cartel, comprised of big government, ideologically driven investors and obedient businesses, is concentrating risk based on what may yet prove to be a popular delusion. Future retirees would have good reason to feel betrayed.
30 October, 2022
Controversial 'race researcher' who wrote a 2019 report about 'gaps' in IQ between white and blacks is hired by Cambridge University's philosophy faculty - and says the university knew about it before hiring him
I helped proof-read and comment on a draft of Nathan Cofnas's book Reptiles With a Conscience so I know exactly what Nathan says and why. After reading Nathan's rigorous and relentlessly factual book, I can only wonder at the empty abuse aimed at him below. Note that all the adverse comments about him are simply abuse and condemnation. There is no attempt to address his facts or arguments. His claims MUST NOT be true, apparently
But his claims are not in fact extreme or eccentric. An official report of the American Psychological Association concluded much the same thing. It concluded that there was a gap of one standard deviation (about 15 IQ points) between average black and white IQs in the USA. And the American Psychological Association is the official body of American psychologists. Nathan actually has some authority on his side as well as the facts.
And his conclusions have never been more relevant amid the current furore over Critical Race Theory. He points out -- as I have pointed out -- that this evil racist theory stems dfirectly from the denial of black/white inborn differences. If there is nothing in blacks to explain their great failures in education, income and much else, some other explanation has to be found.
It has been found in Critical Race Theory. The theory is that discrimination against blacks by whites has caused blacks to fail. Black woe is the fault of white racism. The fact that whites have energetically been doing the opposite for many years under the rubric of "affirmative action" is blithely ignored. Whites have long discriminated IN FAVOUR of blacks, in fact. Critical Race theory is counterfactual nonsense but, if there is nothing in blacks to explain their failures, it is all that is left.
Turning a blind eye to black/white differences is well intentioned but ignoring reality is always disastrous and ignoring black/white differences has become a major example of such a disaster. In denying one sort of racial difference, it has invented another
The University of Cambridge has hired a controversial 'race researcher' to its Faculty of Philosophy who previously came under fire for publishing a 'racist' paper - despite knowing about its contents before hiring him.
Nathan Cofnas, an American who was appointed on a three year programme as an 'early career fellow' on September 1 of this year, has previously been the subject of fierce debate over his argument that there are intrinsic differences between races when it comes to intelligence.
Speaking to MailOnline, he confirms he still stands by what he wrote and said the University of Cambridge knew about the paper before he took up his position there.
Cofnas told MailOnline he would advise critics to 'read it'. He added: 'The paper represents my views then and now.'
In a 2019 paper published in Philosophical Psychology he criticised the idea that all 'human groups have, on average, the same potential', and argued that the 'hypothesis' of differences in IQ between men and women and different racial groups is 'ignored'.
Cofnas also referenced adopting black children into white families and argued that some 'race groups' are 'falsely blamed' for structural racism.
His paper was widely debunked by various scientists, and in June 2020 the editor of the journal resigned over the controversy.
There has been backlash amongst students who have called the decision 'crazy' and 'disappointing', according to Cambridge's student newspaper Varsity.
A response paper published by a leading group of researchers called Cofnas' work 'unintelligible and wrong-headed': 'Most researchers in the area of human genetics and human biological diversity no longer allocate significant resources and time to the race/IQ discussion... an equally fundamental reason why researchers do not engage with the thesis is that empirical evidence shows that the whole idea itself is unintelligible and wrong-headed.'
They added that Cofnas' work had 'racist ideological undertones' and 'pandered' to racist ideas.
In the 2019 paper he refers to the theory of hereditarianism throughout, which relies on the fact that genetics are more important that environmental factors in determining people's actions and decisions.
Students have begun to criticize his appointment, with one philosophy student telling Varsity: 'It's crazy that someone who's published such obviously questionable work has been given not only a platform but a Fellow position. 'It's obviously disappointing but not surprising.'
Cofnas refers to old studies that claim white populations have a higher intelligence than black populations.
In the article, Cofnas repeatedly references what he sees as 'race differences in intelligence', and claims that 'the adult black-white IQ gap has remained stubbornly constant... since around 1970.'
He referred to studies into 'early intervention' techniques to battle his so-called 'race difference', including adoption.
He wrote: 'Adoption by white families [of black children] - one of the most extreme interventions possible - has virtually no effect on the IQ of black adoptees.'
Cofnas appears to question the extent that racism exists within society and argue that white populations are unfairly 'blamed' for 'differences' between races.
He wrote: 'As long as people believe that race differences have a purely environmental cause, differences will, in practice, most likely be attributed to racism or institutional racism.
'Denying the possible genetic cause of race differences will not stop people from being focused on race.'
He added that 'if people believe that members of certain races are victimized or benefited by racism' this could cause harm to society.
He called for research to give a 'biological account' of how 'genes lead to race differences', adding: 'As of now, there is nothing that would indicate that it is particularly unlikely that race differences will turn out to have a substantial genetic component.
'If this possibility cannot be ruled out scientifically, we must face the ethical question of whether we ought to pursue the truth, whatever it may be.'
He claimed research such as his is censored and that 'if not all groups have identical distributions of potential, then it is unjust to assume that some people must be blamed for average differences in performance among groups.'
Judge Quashes Sweeping DOJ Subpoena Against Conservative Group
A federal judge quashed a Justice Department subpoena going after the communications of a private conservative group in Alabama.
The Justice Department sued the state of Alabama opposing the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act, and in the course of discovery sought all information from Eagle Forum Alabama regarding its advocacy for the bill going back to 2017.
Eagle Forum is not a party in the lawsuit, prompting the court to rule that the DOJ was overreaching.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Liles Burke, of the Middle District of Alabama, issued an opinion stating, “Considering the relevance (or lack thereof) of the requested material, the burden of production, the nonparties’ resources, and the government’s own conduct, the Court finds that the subpoenas exceed the scope of discovery.”
The Justice Department issued the subpoena in August and last month, Eagle Forum Alabama filed the motion to quash.
Several Republican members of Congress, the Alabama Legislature, and conservative organizations filed a brief with the court arguing on the side of Eagle Forum Alabama.
The Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act, which bans the distribution of puberty-blocking medication and cross-sex hormones to minors, along with the performing of transgender surgeries on minors, became effective in May after large majorities in both houses of the Legislature approved the bill.
The Alabama chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, representing parents of kids who claim to identify as transgender, filed suit against the law in late April, and the Justice Department joined as an intervener party in the lawsuit.
“Eagle Forum’s triumph today is a victory for freedom of speech for all Americans who wish to be a part of the democratic process,” Kristen A. Ullman, president of Eagle Forum, said in a statement Tuesday. Conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly founded the national Eagle Forum, which has multiple state chapters.
“We successfully defended the rights of private citizens and non-profits to engage in the legislative process when their viewpoint differs from that of the government,” Ullman continued. “DOJ ardently fought to harass a volunteer group of concerned citizens and should take their loss today as a reminder they have awakened a sleeping giant. The Court made clear that the government’s attempt to silence voices with which it disagrees by demanding irrelevant materials will not be allowed.”
California’s Proposition 1 Is Perverse Virtue-Signaling
Abortion in California is already, indisputably legal during the first six months of pregnancy, and illegal after the fetus has become viable (week 24 to 26), unless necessary for the mother’s life or health.
So why is Proposition 1—which will amend the California State Constitution to enshrine a right, funded by taxpayers’ money, to abortion on demand for any reason for the full term of pregnancy—on the ballot, and why are more than $9 million being spent to support its passage?
Following the Supreme Court’s decision this year that the U.S. Constitution doesn’t have anything to say about abortion, and it is thus a matter for states to decide, many seized the opportunity to grandstand politically—and none so blatantly as California’s Governor Newsom. Apparently launching his 2024 presidential campaign on this issue, Newsom ran billboard ads in 18 states to promote California as an abortion sanctuary, and launched the website Abortion.ca.gov.
Thus, given the current legality of abortion, and the current support being provided to its access, the only explanation for Proposition 1 I can fathom is that it is essentially a doubling-down by abortion-celebrants, a nose-thumb in the face of those old fogies who hold on to antiquated notions as “abortions should be safe, legal, and rare.”
Unfortunately, the wording of the proposition (as usual) is such that voters will have almost no way of knowing that this is what they are voting for: their tax dollars will be used to pay for the abortions of anyone from anywhere, up to birth.
Other imponderables: Why are the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria investing $5 million, Quinn Delaney $500,000, and the California Federation of Teachers $250,000 in its passage?
They are among the major underwriters of the Yes on 1:
According to the history of the Graton Rancheria community on its website, revenues from the casino which presumably made possible this level of spending for an unnecessary proposition, are intended “to provide programs and services to Tribal Citizens to realize their dreams of self-sufficiency.” Is state-funded late-term abortion an underpinning of self-sufficiency?
Similarly, Quinn Delaney’s web profile leaves one wondering how her foundation’s mission, to “eliminate structural racism and create a racially just society,” is advanced by taxpayer-funded late-term abortion.
And the California Federation of Teachers’ website proclaims, “We believe in the power and promise of education.” Since sex education has been universal for decades now, shouldn’t it have resulted in abortions being little needed?
Why an Australian woman does NOT want transgenders competing against biological females who are being 'sacrificed on the altar of woke'
Popular YouTube right-wing pundit Sydney Watson says allowing gender transitioned women who have gone through male puberty to compete in female sports is 'crazy'.
The Melbourne-raised commentator, who has nearly 800,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel, said female athletes are being sacrificed 'on the altar of woke' by having to compete with biological men.
Ms Watson, who is visiting family in Australia but has lived in the US since 2019, says that she will calls a trans person by their preferred pronoun but won't pretend they are something they are not.
'I think it's pretty simple, I think there are two sexes male and female,' she told Daily Mail Australia. 'Are trans women women? No,' she said.
'There's an inescapable biological reality that I am not going to deny simply because it makes them feel better. 'We have understood that men and women are fundamentally different for hundreds and hundreds of years. 'They are different, we are different.
'The fact we deny this in order to appease a very, very small portion of the population and an even smaller proportion of the population who can afford it (to transition) is crazy.
The 29-year-old said she 'feels' for trans women who can't compete in their sport because 'they don't neatly fit into either category anymore' but that did not make them women.
'You have these biological men, who go through a male puberty and people will not admit this and I do not know why,' she said. 'It is so crazy to me.
'I realise it is an evolving topic and it is not easy to deal with but I don't think that sacrificing women on the altar of woke is the way to go.'
She pointed to the examples of trans New Zealand weight lifter Laurel Hubbard, who was the first Kiwi to win international weight-lifting competitions, and US trans swimmer Lia Thomas, who won a national college title in March.
'For these and other people to absolutely smash their female competitors it is just so regressive,' Ms Watson said.
'They think that's somehow being positive for women and then to post their names and say they are woman of athlete of the year - you're not a woman.'
Ms Watson said she had no issue with people transitioning and would use the pronouns that people requested or best fit their appearance.
'If you are adult and you are making your own choices and it doesn't affect me and I don't have to pay for it and you want me to call you a male or female, he or she, man or woman I will do that for you,' she said.
'But I am not going to say "hey guy, you can participate in female sports if you have gone through male puberty and transitioned after the fact".
'I am not going to say "hey you male, who is completely intact but now identifies as a woman, come into my changerooms".'
Ms Watson argued that such trans behaviour was actually 'the erasure of women'.
She also thinks that, paradoxically, gender preconceptions are being reinforced by the trans activists.
'In this quest to dismantle stereotypes the regressive left and the trans rights activist movement have actually enforced their stereotypes,' she said.
'So, if a girl like Tonka trucks, the colour blue, wears baseball caps and plays sports there is a cohort of parents who say "my kid is trans" rather than "hey, my kid really likes that stuff and I am just going to let her do it because it is what she likes".'
Ms Watson described herself as a utilitarian that wants 'things to make sense'.
'Let's say you have a transgender sports person who is devastated because they love their sport and they can't really play anymore because they have transitioned and they are on hormones it has shifted the game for them,' she said.
'I think we can have compassion for people who don't feel comfortable in their skin, however there is a bigger mental issue at play.
'What these (trans) advocates are advocating for is affecting kids, it's affecting women. it's putting women in danger in some cases it's harming others and I just think why do their interests supersede the rest of the population.'
Ms Watson said that it was important to keep trans issues in perspective.
'I think the fact that the transexual conversation dominates every area of life and we are expected to walk on eggshells around these people to me is not appropriate,' she said.
'The vast majority of the population does not participate in this and you can sympathise and have empathy but letting them dictate the way we live our lives the language that we use I don't think that is OK.'
28 October, 2022
Not so homeless in Los Angeles
Images and video show homeless in Los Angeles syphoning water and power in camps sprouting throughout the city's streets - with some of the brazen encampments even boasting working washing machines.
Homelessness is a dominant issue in the state's upcoming mayoral election, with a large field of candidates promising to do more on an issue that has placed Los Angeles in an unwelcome national spotlight.
Sagging tents, rusting RVs, and makeshift structures have become commonplace along Hollywood Boulevard to Venice Beach - and even in the shadow of City Hall.
Over the past year, the camps have become increasingly bold, putting up full-sized tents and cordoning off entire streets, much to the chagrin of outraged locals.
Now, citizens have snapped evidence that the urban outposts are stealing water and power from the city to maintain a surprisingly lavish lifestyle while living out on the street, taking water from hydrants and electricity from any outlet they come across.
That same day in seedier South-Central, evidence of another, even more shameless encampment surfaced on social media - one also with a working washing machine and even a oversized tent that an onlooker noted was blocking a local business.
'1 bedroom tent with garden & working washing machine blocking a business driveway. Welcome to Los Angeles,' the user wrote, in a post that shared video of the washing machine in the middle of a clothes cycle.
On the 'door' to the unseen inhabitant's evidently homey tent, complete with a set of house plants adorning its entrance, a sign urged onlookers: 'Don't be hatin!'
Such sightings have become increasingly common since the pandemic, when the City of Angels, like many other liberal-run cities across the country, descended into a den of debauchery and crime that it has yet to crawl out of.
This comes as the city's wealthiest residents have been forced to fight a proposed 'mansion tax' on properties over $5million, further inflaming their dissatisfaction with city leadership.
One photo snapped by an awestruck bystander showed one such encampment in Hollywood, where multiple people were seen washing what looked to be their cars and motorcycles with syphoned water from a nearby hydrant.
Multiple cars were parked in the makeshift camp site - which also sported multiple working washing machines and several tents.
The photos, shared to Twitter by @LeatherJoseph on Monday, seem to suggest the camp's inhabitants are also stealing electricity from a nearby street light, to power their appliances and vehicles.
The city's current crime-ridden state has spurred countless locals and even celebrities to flee the Golden State for a better life, with the most recent being actor Mark Wahlberg, who is fleeing his longtime home in LA in favor for a life in nearby Nevada.
The likes of Elon Musk, Joe Rogan, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, and Matt Damon have also participated in the mass exodus - as well as hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens - citing a combination of over taxes, crime, and the state's notorious ever-worsening homeless problem.
Moreover, the state recently experienced its first population decline in decades last year, when roughly 250,000 residents were reported to have left the city - many instead electing to buy property in less costly locales such as Texas and Arizona.
Mayoral candidate Rick Caruso has made keeping Hollywood 'in Hollywood' a huge point of his campaign - though he appears to be fighting a losing battle to woke progressive Karen Bass.
Caruso is running against Democrat Karen Bass in the November election on a platform of tackling crime, homelessness and bringing an end to a steady stream of 'career politicians' such as DA George Gascon, whose 'soft-on-crime' policies he says have ruined the city.
Caruso has also criticized the city's treatment of local businesses, who instead of being rewarded for putting their money into the city, are now faced with aggressive homelessness that likely scares away customers.
He cited how current Mayor Eric Garcetti's office has so far failed to address that issue, as well as the hundreds of other camps currently operating in plain sight across the city.
'Look at [Netflix CEO] Ted Sarandos. Here's a guy who said, "I'm going to make a commitment and have my headquarters actually in Hollywood," and made a big, incredibly wonderful commitment to the city. And what has the city done?' Caruso asked during a recent appearance on The Ankler.
'The city has allowed encampments all around that headquarters.'
He added that such encampments is deterring the city's professionals from returning to work at the office, slowing the city's post-pandemic recovery to a virtual standstill.
'People are coming to work, and I've talked to the executives in there, coming to work carrying human waste on their shoes because there's so much human waste on the sidewalk, because we've allowed people to live in the most inhumane situation.
'It's incredible what all of our elected officials have allowed to happen. We're allowing people to live and die in the streets in their own waste. And then we allow that to happen in front of one of the great companies of Hollywood.'
Caruso was a Republican for years before registering as a Democrat earlier this year, ahead of the mayor's race.
He insisted in his interview - and has done throughout his campaign - that party affiliation is irrelevant.
'None of these issues are Republican or Democrat issues. None of them are. These are human issues. These are issues that are affecting all of our lives every single day.
'When crime is spiking, when you've got homicides that are at a 15-year high and it's only getting worse, when you have hate crimes that are up 160 percent, when you have homelessness now at 44,000 and people dying in the streets, these are life and death issues that transcend any kind of party.
Former Levi’s top exec reveals how woke mobs took over corporations
Jennifer Sey was Levi’s brand president and on track to be the jeans company’s CEO. But when she complained online about extended school closures and their effect on children, she was attacked and falsely labeled a “COVID denier” who wanted to get former President Donald Trump re-elected. Levi’s management gave her a choice: Shut up or leave. As she explains in her new memoir, “Levi’s Unbuttoned,” Sey felt she had to quit her dream job on principle. In this exclusive excerpt, Sey explains how many of today’s CEOs — lacking any backbone, yet desperate to be seen as “good” — cave to performative woke mobs.
“Woke capitalism” is corporate America’s attempt to profit off Millennial and Gen Z activism, often passive keyboard activism.
It exploits social-justice politics and transforms it into social-justice consumerism — and ultimately, investor profit. Companies purporting to care about “progressive values” are really doing nothing more than striking a superficial pose meant to signal virtue while distracting from any company’s true motive: financial gain for shareholders.
All of that is true. But there is more to it, in my opinion.
First, you’ve got CEOs and executives who want to distance themselves from the greedy image of past business leaders. They want you to know that they are not like the ruthless banking moguls and oil tycoons from years gone by. They aren’t destroying the planet, and they aren’t taking advantage of consumers with sub-prime mortgages. They aren’t stealing or grifting, they’re helping! They aren’t in it for themselves, they care about you!
Tech companies are well known for their “change the world” cultiness. You don’t just work at Google. You’re connecting people to information that is life-changing, driving the digital revolution at the end of which we’ll all be so much better off than we are now.
Corporate leaders want us to believe that they are do-gooders, not money grubbers. They’ll get rich, too, but they don’t want you to think that is their mission. And, more importantly, they don’t want to think that about themselves. They believe they embody the best qualities of Andrew Carnegie (so generous! so benevolent!), Henry Ford (a visionary who cared about his employees!) and Theodore Roosevelt (a progressive man of action!) all rolled into one.
Business executives would have us believe that they are our saviors. Bill Gates is eliminating malaria and saving the children in Africa. Howard Schultz is running for president to save our democracy. Elon Musk is not only saving the planet with electric vehicles, he is exploring new frontiers in space and defending free speech for the masses.
Somehow, some way, despite all the evidence of greed and corruption, business leaders have managed to re-brand themselves as altruists. Never mind that in 2020, CEOs made 351 times more than the average worker at their company — up from 21 times more in 1965. Indeed, in the last 30 years, their average compensation has grown over 1,000%, even as they have burnished an image as humanitarians.
How? In partnership with a complicit press that buys into their companies’ expensive “we’re do-gooders” marketing campaigns, these CEOs have p.r.-ed themselves to philanthropic, good-hearted hero status. This phony message has been amplified and embraced by consumers around the world, despite all the evidence that shows that these so-called do-gooders are really no good at all. It boggles the mind, but it’s a testament to the power of marketing.
There was a time when doctors and lawyers were the pillars of the community, and that’s what every mother wanted her child to be. But now, business leaders seem to have taken that mantle. While Steve Jobs is widely known as kind of an a–hole, he’s also viewed as a visionary who changed the world. I can’t tell you how many business leaders use his quote “Stay hungry. Stay foolish” as their email sign-offs. It clothes naked capitalism with profundity and meaning.
CEOs and C-suite executives were always rich. But now they’re rich and beloved, and perceived as well-meaning and heroic.
In this new Gilded Age, journalists — themselves often politically biased and ethically compromised — have continued to spread the fiction that corporate leaders and entrepreneurs are not just “good” people but near god-like figures. The public eats it up, because it helps to fill the gaping religion-size hole in our increasingly secular culture.
And today’s ostentatiously woke CEOs are more than happy to play along, eager to prove that they are not just guys out to make a buck. Woke capitalism signals that their guiding intention is to make this a better, more just world, even as it distracts us from their only true intention: enhancing their companies’ bottom line, and their own.
Of course, the beauty of it all is that simultaneously it endows consumers with a false sense of nobility, encouraging them to believe that buying the right stuff is actually activism. “You like T-shirts? Here — buy this organic cotton T-shirt that also shows you support the LGBTQ+ community because it has our logo but with a rainbow!”
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not against capitalism. Far from it. I’m against the charade that is social-justice capitalism.
I want to buy stuff because it’s the best stuff on the market. Win me over with your excellence. I’ll even pay more for it. I’ll express my political affiliation with my vote, not my sneakers or soft drink of choice.
But in the age of armchair, keyboard activism, woke capitalism lets consumers badge themselves as progressive activists without actually having to do anything. It’s magic!
The Right Resistance: Donald Trump didn’t just change the GOP, he vastly improved it
Since it’s election time and politicians from both parties are campaigning on platforms of improving voters’ lives, it’s fitting to ask whether the Republican Party itself is better off now than it was before Donald J. Trump rode down the Trump Tower escalator with wife Melania by his side and proceeded to change the world one truthful assault and insult (to the establishment) at a time.
Most conservatives and Republicans would reply with an emphatic “Yes!” to the above query and the discussion would then switch to the ways Trump made a difference since he burst on the scene. They’re too many benefits to count, or at least too numerous to lay out in a reasonable length opinion column. Books have been written on the subject and no doubt dozens, if not hundreds (or thousands?) more will follow in the years and decades to come.
What is indisputable on all sides is the notion that the Republican Party of 2022 looks, sounds and feels different/better than the old one did under the guidance of presidents George H.W. Bush and his son, George W. Bush. We can also lump GOP presidential nominees Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney into this group as well as a good many of the party’s congressional leaders and past presidential candidates.
The Republican Party has changed alright, and by the looks of it, will never go back to its old default position of permitting the media to trample all over its leaders and beliefs. The GOP also (hopefully) won’t return to its previous non-stop parade of sellouts and capitulations. Current senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has done his best to maintain the half-hearted party attitudes, but Donald Trump – and his growing band of MAGA brand promoters – is working to fix that problem, perhaps as soon as next January.
What else has changed? Six things, apparently. In a piece titled “Six ways Trump has changed the GOP”, Max Greenwood wrote at The Hill:
“Former President Donald Trump has dramatically reshaped the Republican Party in his own image, leaving marks that have outlived his presidency — and could potentially outlive him.
“It’s not unusual for a president, current or former, to hold sway over his party and its voters. But Trump’s impact on the GOP stands out for its breadth; Trump has influenced the party and its members on everything from policy to rhetorical style, as Republican officials and candidates look to recreate the movement that helped propel Trump to the White House six years ago.
“Here are [six] ways Trump has significantly changed the GOP: [He’s turned it more against mainstream media; He’s made attacking opponents a signature; He’s sparked opposition to institutions; He’s fueled skepticism in the country’s elections; He’s made fealty to him a necessity for party survival; He altered the GOP’s view of the world].”
At the outset I’ll point out that making “lists” of ways that Trump did this or that is a terrific means for lazy reporters with writer’s block to fulfill his or her daily or weekly allotment of writings and still get a lot of people to click the links. Almost every time I see this type of column, the premises are usually highly disputable and, again, basically designed to paint Trump as either a buffoonish amateur or unflinching dictator.
As I’ve argued many times, Trump’s name by itself turns heads. Both fans and enemies alike love reading about the former president, and it’s that kind of instinctive attraction that’s allowed him to remain part of the conversation long after he departed Washington. Former presidents usually go into “retirement” and seek a golden years’ respite from the spotlight. Not Trump. Anyone who thought he would follow the example of his predecessors surely hasn’t studied the political or entertainment aspects of his career.
With that being said, I’ll add my own commentary to Greenwood’s “Six ways Trump has changed the GOP” propositions: 1. He’s turned it [the party] more against mainstream media
Is this really true? For as long as I can remember Republicans have railed against unfair media coverage, but it took a man like Trump to actually call the fourth estate out in direct terminology on their bias. Past surveys revealed that nine-out-of-ten media members consider themselves (or have voted for) liberal Democrats, and their personal slant shows up in their reporting.
Trump refused to play along with the manipulation games, instantly labelling anything he considered blatantly untrue as “fake news”. And he’d say it to the speaker’s face, too. Trump had little patience for the schmoozing and subtle manipulation of facts to support a liberal narrative – like “the Trump campaign colluded with Vladimir Putin to tip the 2016 election” and often turned interviews with hostile journalists into a verbal combat sport.
This “change” was more than welcome. Rather than watching the media relentlessly pecking at him as though he were poor, defenseless George W. Bush, Trump fought back. And won, at least with the people who paid attention to the particulars.
2. He’s made attacking opponents a signature
Even before Donald Trump arrived in 2015 to kick the GOP “up a notch”, a new breed of conservative fighter was emerging in Republican ranks.
Radio legend Rush Limbaugh helped bring about the GOP’s House majority in 1994 by highlighting the work of Newt Gingrich, who certainly was no stranger to attacking opponents. Gingrich and his core group of House conservatives, including Dick Armey, formulated the “Contract with America”, a set of ten ideas that the authors deemed “majority issues”.
While it may be true that Republicans didn’t attack each other as much in those days as Trump laid into his opponents during the 2016 campaign – and ever since – I wouldn’t say condemning each other is a GOP “signature” now. The Liz Cheneys and Adam Kinzingers of the world deserve every bit of negative energy they’ve received, not because they disagreed with Trump on policy, but because they made it personal. And petty. Sad.
Today’s Republican Party is much better off than before Trump because overall, they’re more unified and less content with having their policy positions smeared by Democrats and the media as racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, etc., or to be called “semi-fascists” by jerks like Joe Biden just because they aren’t onboard with the liberal transgender fixation.
3. He’s sparked opposition to institutions
Like the previous item, Trump didn’t necessarily change Republicans’ “opposition” to institutions as much as he brought their suspicions to the forefront.
Americans don't love the U.S. government nearly as much as the media insists that they do. Americans love the Constitution and American traditions, not institutions, especially when said foundations have been corrupted. Some institutions within the government, like the military and the FBI, used to enjoy stellar reputations for effectiveness and nose-to-the-grindstone impartiality, but both (and many, many, others) have been despoiled by careerists with attitudes that they’re bigger and more important than the law and citizens’ rights.
Americans don’t send their sons and daughters into the military to be reprogrammed into “woke” robots spouting newly reformulated jargon, and the FBI has been wholly taken over by the Merrick Garland Department of in-Justice to the point where the drive to catch real criminals has been supplanted by elites pursuing political vendettas. Did Trump steer people away from the institutions, or did the institutions themselves change from within? You decide.
4. He’s fueled skepticism in the country’s elections
Really? Donald Trump alone changed the GOP into the party home of election deniers?
The irreplaceable Victor Davis Hanson wrote a column last week highlighting all the times Democrats denied or rejected the results of past elections. From the incredibly close 2000 presidential election to the non-disputed (by sane people, that is) Trump victory in 2016, many, many Democrats have gone on record indicating that a particular result was illegitimate and they wouldn’t abide by it.
Trump was just the first prominent official to make a public stink about election fraud and integrity at a very high level. Besides, Trump wasn’t the only one planting doubt into the minds of conservative voters regarding the electoral system. Such wariness was already there. Democrats have often refused basic integrity measures such as paper ballots, same-day voting and Voter ID. All of these suspicions pre-dated Trump. Democrats seem to think voter rolls don’t ever need to be scrubbed and illegal aliens should be given the franchise, too.
Democrats’ push for amnesty and citizenship for illegal aliens is about voting, period. The deeply flawed current electoral system invites more skepticism, not less. Until there are unquestionable accountability measures put in place, the reservations will remain.
5. He’s made fealty to him a necessity for party survival
This is another media created myth that isn’t backed up by facts. Journalists and liberal talk show hosts hold up Liz Cheney as the poster child for an unfortunate office holder whose electoral viability was destroyed by Donald Trump, but it was her own doing that put Liz on the primary chopping block in her home state (Wyoming).
Cheney made the mistake of siding with the enemy (Democrats) in voting to impeach Trump for something that he didn’t do – incite an armed “insurrection” against the government. Lots of people were and still are ambivalent about the former president, but this doesn’t mean they believe he’s a saboteur or a traitor. Far from it. Trump spoke eloquently about America and went out of his way to help disadvantaged people.
Liz Cheney crossed the line, as do any other Republicans who make it personal about Trump and his agenda. It's okay to disagree with Trump on policy, but don't attack him or his voters. Lindsey Graham is a good example of someone who publicly disagrees with Trump on some issues (such as Ukraine and Russia) but still remains in the man’s good graces. There are others, too.
Trump’s been burned far too many times from within the GOP. Demanding a little loyalty isn’t too much to ask in return for peace within the party.
6. He altered the GOP’s view of the world
Hear! Hear! It’s about time! For far too long Republicans were automatically associated with endless “stupid wars” and boundless military adventurism that was the product of neoconservative ideology and strongarmed political tactics. Trump put an end to it, as well as shamelessly promoting the notion that the American government should represent the interests of Americans first before they consider citizens and governments of other nations.
What’s wrong with that? We aren’t citizens of the world and conservatives value borders, sovereignty and their own God-given constitutional rights. Who cares what’s going on halfway around the world in terms of energy policy or trade philosophy?
Trump brought a new attitude to the GOP, and the fact that most current party members back him up on it is a good thing, not something to criticize.
Donald Trump didn’t change the Republican Party as much as he improved it. All Republicans ever needed was a leader like Trump (or Reagan before him) who knew how to sell the party’s ideas while simultaneously branding the Democrats as socialists, corporatists, globalists and “woke” climate hypocrites whose sole mission was to transform the once great nation into an unrecognizable dystopia. Think about that the next time the media argues that Trump has only hurt the GOP.
The elite keep getting it wrong
It’s time to take a good hard look at the cadre of mainstream, legacy journalists and psephologists as well as the public health clerisy, that constitutes ‘the expert class’. It might not have escaped your notice that these members of the cognoscenti have gotten so much wrong these past few years it would be embarrassing, or at least it would if the journalistic class bothered to report on it.
Let’s start with the pollsters and journalists. Back in mid-September in these very pages I predicted the Republicans would take the Senate and do so with a net two or three pick up (so, would end up with 52 or 53 of the 100-member Senate). And this despite the fact only 14 of the 35 Senate seats being contested this mid-term year are ones currently held by the Democrats, and those 14 are all in states won by Joe Biden in 2020. If you go back to September you’ll see that virtually all the pollsters and near-on every single member of the legacy media (here as well as in the US) were predicting the Dems would retain the Senate.
I didn’t believe it for two reasons. Firstly, I didn’t believe independent voters in the US could or would endorse what they’d seen from this Joe Biden administration, probably the worst in well over a century. Just consider the open southern border that has seen over four million illegal aliens pour in since Joe took over. Consider the skyrocketing gas and oil prices, largely driven not by Putin and the Ukraine war but by Biden’s massive restrictions on new (and some existing) domestic exploration. Consider the inflation rate. Consider the Democrats thuggish and heavy-handed pro-lockdown, pro-masking, pro-mandates approach to Covid. The list goes on and on.
But perhaps more relevantly to my prediction, I have read various people point out that US pollsters have been way off since at least 2016. The pattern we’ve seen is consistently that most US polls overstate the position of Democrat candidates and do so significantly right up until the last week or two before the election. Then the polls move noticeably towards the Republicans.
If you’re feeling charitable this might be put down to the difficulty of getting Republicans to answer pollsters, something that might explain why nearly all polls over-sample Democrats. (Look at the small print and you’ll see what I mean.) If you’re feeling conspiratorially minded, though, you might instead put it down to journalists and pollsters hoping to suppress the Republican vote by convincing them their candidate has no chance and then moving at the very end to protect their reputations as pollsters. (‘See, our final polls were pretty accurate.’)
Anyway, back in mid-September the talk and polls were all about a Democrat recovery and an easily retained Senate, not to mention all sorts of talk about how the Trump-endorsed candidates were so weak. But not now. With just under a fortnight to the elections the Republicans are surging everywhere. Winning the House is virtually a sure thing. Meanwhile, every currently held Republican Senate seat has a Republican with a lead or tied (even Dr Oz in Pennsylvania). And the currently held Democrat Senate seats in Georgia, Nevada and Arizona all have Democrats tied or behind. Should those all flip it will be a Republican wave.
But the momentum is such right now that it could even be a tsunami – throwing into play the chances the Republicans pick up Senate seats in New Hampshire and in ultra-liberal, west coast Washington and more. Meanwhile the gubernatorial races are looking cataclysmic for the Democrats. Ron DeSantis in Florida, back in 2018, barely won by 30,000 votes out of 8.5 million or so cast. Right now he’s massively ahead in the polls (such are the rewards of being brave and resisting despotism during the pandemic). This while long-time Democrat strongholds are in play. A future star Republican Kari Lake (she tells the press they’re biased and then backs it up chapter and verse) looks like winning in Arizona. The lockdown despot and Dan Andrews-type wannabe Governor Gretchen Whitmer is in big trouble in the safe Dem state of Michigan. Heck, the Republican looks to have a shot at unseating the incumbent Governor in New York of all places.
So either something earth-shattering happened in the last four or five weeks. Or, and this will shock you I know, the pollsters and journalists lean so far left they see everything through a ‘what will best help the Democrats’ lens. Either way, the cognoscenti expertocracy is failing us here. Maybe that explains why journalists are coming dead last in surveys of the most-trusted occupations in the US.
Speaking of failures by the expert class, let’s now turn our attention to the public health clerisy in this country. It was to these medicos that our woeful political caste abdicated virtually all decision-making during the pandemic. Last week a self-styled ‘Independent Covid Review’ led by Peter Shergold reported back on how we did in Australia. It found that no schools should have been shut; some of the lockdowns and border closures were avoidable; key groups were excluded from financial support; and generally was not overly complimentary. But let me be abundantly blunt here. This report is as tepid as they come. The data is now clear there should have been no lockdowns, no mandates, no police thuggery, no outspending Trudeau, the list goes on. So say so.
Here’s the problem. All these reports done by the great and the good all start with the premise that in the face of radical uncertainty (no one knew how bad the virus was going to be) the government had to take steps and err on the side of doing something big to keep people safe. It’s from that premise that even this report makes its criticisms. But in my view that core premise is simply wrong-headed. In the face of radical uncertainty there is no plausible ground for thinking the default position should be some regulatory equivalent of the precautionary principle – ie opt for what looks like the zero-risk position – requiring big-state actions. In fact, the best-supported approach in the face of radical uncertainty is to continue on with what the till-then accumulated data indicated was the best road and wait for new data. (Data, not models, to be clear.)
That, readers, is basically what three of the world’s top epidemiologists recommended in the Great Barrington Declaration. And it is exactly what we in Australia (and most of the non-Swedish world) did not do. The costs are now proving to be astronomical, even in terms of cumulative excess deaths where we are worse than Sweden. So this report points in broadly the right direction but, really, it is pathetically weak in its criticisms. We lived through thuggery, the worst inroads on our civil liberties in 300 years, massive impositions on the young and poor to benefit the old and rich, and virtually no MPs (Libs included) said a word. Our expert class was wholly useless as were our politicians. (My kingdom for a DeSantis.) Their first principles were catastrophically wrong. And we here in the pages of the Speccie Australia were saying it from day one, not in an enervated report long after the fact that is far, far too tepid.
27 October, 2022
Hitler as an artist
It is rather embarrassing to some on the Left that Hitler was an artist. Artists often claim moral superiority and significant constructive influence for their art. They cope with the embarrassment by claiming that Hitler was only a house painter or that his art was esthetically worthless.
The fact is that Hitler was quite a competent artist if not a very original one. He made money out of selling his paintings and for that reason they had to be rather pleasant -- and they mostly were. They are nearly all online (e.g. here) so judge for yourself
The view I take of them is that they are simply unimportant so their fate is also unimportant. They have been so often reproduced that they cannot really be destroyed. The original might be destroyed but the reproductions tell us anything that they have to tell us. I doubt that any will be destroyed, however. Some have sold for pretty high prices
"Jimmy Carr Destroys Art" was introduced last night with a trigger warning as a comedian argued a piece of artwork by genocidal dictator Adolf Hitler shouldn't be destroyed on the Channel 4 show.
Fronted by comedian Jimmy Carr, the new programme, which aired last night, saw a number of panelists argue whether artwork by 'problematic' figures should be kept or destroyed.
Earlier this month, controversy was sparked after it emerged Channel 4 had purchased art by the likes of Hitler, whose Nazi Germany systematically murdered some six million Jews in the Holocaust to use in the series.
And last night, ahead of the programme airing, a spokesperson for the channel read out a trigger warning, advising some viewers may find the contents 'triggering and offensive.'
The voiceover said: 'This contains discussions about controversial art and artists, which some may find triggering and could cause offense and upset.'
During the show, presenters explained they had purchased the artwork for £11,500 at auction, before comedian Jolyon Rubinstein argued the painting shouldn't be destroyed because it is 'an important piece of history.'
During the programme, Carr described Hitler as 'very famous although not primarily for his art.'
He went on to ask: 'Do you think the world would be a better place without this piece of art?'
The question was met with both boos and cheers from the audience.
Carr then asked the audience to decide what should be done with the artwork, and explained they would vote as to whether it should be destroyed.
The presenter explained the piece of art had been bought from an auction house for £11,500, and said it is believed to have been given by Hitler to his air minister Hermann Göring.
He is said to have left the painting to a group of pilots after his death.
Experts consider his work to be of mediocre quality.
Comedian and presenter Dane Baptiste and Jolyon Rubinstein went head to head to argue over the paintings existence.
Jolyon made reference to his own surname, before calling Hitler 'a mass maniac', adding: 'It's crazy in 2022 that you need to say that, but you do. And nothing I am going to say is an apology for Hitler.
'It's very important that we never forget. And when we destroy these things, there's a danger of whitewashing our own history.'
Dane said: 'I think this is a sh** painting.'
Jolyon added: 'The reality is, what we're touching is a moment in the past.'
Jimmy asked if the destruction of the art showed a 'strong statement.'
Jolyon said: 'This programme in itself is making this piece of art famous. I personally don't think it should be on the market, I think it should be donated to somewhere it can be utilised as a tool to connect to a past we too readily forget.
Some pictorial messages
How Bolsonaro built a rightwing movement bigger than his presidency
The words of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah rang out across the crowd at the election rally, amplified by a huge loudspeaker array: “Those who strive against you shall be as nothing and perish . . . For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand . . . Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”
The evangelical pastor on stage at the showground in Montes Claros finished his Bible reading. To roars of approval from thousands of supporters dressed almost entirely in Brazil’s national colours of green and yellow, he presented the holy book to the man to whom the reading was dedicated: President Jair Bolsonaro.
“He is the captain of the people, he will win again,” played a jingle insistently, as images of the young Bolsonaro wearing his army uniform flashed up on giant screens either side of the stage. “He is from God, you can trust him”.
On stage with Bolsonaro as he campaigned for re-election in Brazil’s run-off presidential vote on October 30 was a cross-section of his conservative coalition: an army general standing as his running mate, a successful businessman just re-elected as governor here in the key election swing state of Minas Gerais, and a YouTube musician-turned-senator.
All had the same message: Brazil was at a critical moment in its history and Bolsonaro must not lose to his challenger, the leftwing former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, usually known simply as Lula.
“We cannot allow Brazil to turn into a disaster like Venezuela,” said Humberto Souto, a veteran national politician who is mayor of Montes Claros, the main city in the poorer north of Minas.
While Lula’s international reputation still reflects his government’s efforts to reduce poverty, Bolsonaro supporters talk only of the corruption which marred the leftwinger’s time in office, later triggering what the US justice department called the largest foreign bribery case ever. “Lula’s a thief, the only place for him is jail,” chanted the crowd at the rally.
As Brazilians prepare to vote in the second-round run-off on Sunday, Lula remains the narrow favourite in polls, though Bolsonaro is closing the gap and first-round surveys understated his support.
Whether he wins or loses, Bolsonaro has demonstrated in the election that he has forged a durable rightwing movement, one that blends Brazilian conservatism and nationalism with American-style culture war politics and battles waged over social media.
“Bolsonarismo has strong roots in society,” says Camila Rocha, a researcher and author of a book on the president. “[Even if he loses] he will be able to keep the movement going because he will have a lot of money and I think he will try to come back in four years.”
The persistence of Bolsonarismo
If the “Trump of the tropics”, as the international media labelled Bolsonaro, was initially dismissed by opponents as a political aberration, the speakers at the rally in Montes Claros demonstrated his staying power.
The pillars of his coalition are the fast-growing evangelical churches, the army and police, farmers, business, and a new generation of socially conservative YouTube musicians and influencers.
As a result, Brazil’s election with its emphasis on religion, nationalism and cultural norms feels different to other recent presidential contests in South America. In Colombia, Chile and Peru, social justice, equality, poverty and the environment came to the fore and voters swung against a ruling elite widely perceived as self-serving and out of touch.
In Brazil, however, Bolsonaro has successfully kept up an anti-establishment message even while in office, railing against institutions such as the Supreme Court or the mainstream media which he believes are biased against him and cultivating a simple, man-of-the-people image.
He is partial to riding his motorcycle, stopping off in small towns for a pastel, a deep-fried fast food snack. More recently, his tours have turned into massive mobile campaign events, with thousands of supporters bedecked in Brazil’s national colours joining him on two wheels.
This is the image that is resonating with his base and helping to narrow the gap with Lula before Sunday’s decisive second-round vote. A poll last week by Datafolha suggested the former leader has 52 per cent support versus 48 per cent for Bolsonaro — a technical tie, given the margin of error of two percentage points up or down.
“The left did nothing for us and left the country in a mess,” says Ana Tulia Flores, a young law student attending the Montes Claros rally. In the last presidential election in 2018 she had voted for Lula’s Workers’ party (PT) but now she was backing Bolsonaro.
“There is less economic crisis,” she says. “Most of our population is Christian. We need a president who will defend the principles of God and the family.”
Lula, who governed Brazil from 2003-10 during a commodity boom, has assembled a broad coalition of parties against Bolsonaro but critics say he has run a lacklustre campaign which lacks fresh ideas. A former metalworker whose family left the struggling north-east to seek a better life in São Paulo state when he was seven, Lula retains strong support among Brazil’s poorest, trade unionists and most of the intelligentsia and world of culture.
But among the 100mn Brazilians in what the national statistics agency IBGE defines as the biggest social class — broadly, the skilled working class and lower-middle class, which expanded under Lula — Bolsonaro is building an advantage.
“Bolsonaro’s libertarian thing makes sense for some of these people,” says Rocha. “Many are informal workers, gig-economy workers. A lot of them think, ‘I don’t want to pay taxes’, and ‘I want to be my own boss’.”
The populist president’s socially conservative coalition has put down deep roots in the country’s vast interior in the booming agribusiness sector, which now accounts for nearly 30 per cent of gross domestic product, as well as in the more developed south and south-east of Brazil.
Bolsonaro-supporting candidates scored major successes in elections for congress and state governors on October 2, which coincided with the first round of the presidential race.
In the congressional races, Bolsonaro’s Liberal party were the big victors. They jumped from seven to 13 seats in the 81-member Senate, where they will be the biggest party, and from 76 to 99 seats in the 513-member lower house. In Brazil’s highly fragmented political system, with 23 parties represented in the next legislature, that counts as a significant success.
The statue issue crops up again in Australia -- with a white "Aborigine" stirring it up
Blue eyes and all. This is just attention-seeking. Her aboriginality is essentially nil so she is not campaigning for anything that affects her personally.
The issue she is jumping onto is not totally unreasonable. The whole statue removal lark has the justification that we should separate ourselves from the values espoused by the person portrayed. And perhaps we should in the unlikely event that we are aware of it. But it is also trying to remove us from our own history. History is not changed so lightly. We do well to remember it.
Most people's lives have good and bad in them. And the statues concerned could well be seen as a message about how unfortunate were the values of our comunal past. To add a plaque to statues telling of both the worthy deeds of the person plus the deplored ideas of their time would be a balanced approach to any issue involved. It would certainly be more constructive and potentially useful as education
An indigenous marriage celebrant wants a 'racist' statue of Australia's first prime minister removed from a regional town's waterfront because it is 'offensive'.
Arlene Mehan is behind a push to have Sir Edmund Barton's statue uninstalled from Port Macquarie's waterfront Town Green Park.
Although Ms Mehan has pushed to have it taken down for several years, not everyone agrees and the statue's exit isn't assured.
It was only put up in 2001 as the focus of a local project about Barton.
His statue is the latest monument to a significant historical figure to be earmarked for removal in recent years because of past 'racist' actions.
Barton, prime minister from 1901 to 1903, is widely accepted to have been a key architect of the White Australia policy.
He also said publicly that he believed white people were superior and there was no such thing as 'racial equality'. '[Other] races are, in comparison with white races – I think no-one wants convincing of this fact – unequal and inferior,' Barton once famously said.
Ms Mehan claims the presence of the monument in the park is confronting for local indigenous people. 'It is offensive to glorify this man who represents racist ideologies on this sacred site. 'Edmund Barton was explicitly racist,' she said.
Town Green was a burial ground for the local Birpai Indigenous people before colonisation.
Other options aside from removal have been proposed to the local Port Macquarie-Hastings council, including placing an educational signage explaining more about Barton's views.
If the statue is removed it could be placed outside the Port Macquarie Local Court as Barton became a High Court judge after his term as prime minister.
Ms Mehan gathered 4,383 signatures in a petition to have Barton's statue removed in 2020 and presented it to the Port Macquarie-Hastings council.
She also campaigned against a statue of the fifth governor of NSW, Lachlan Macquarie, whom the town is named after.
26 October, 2022
Why Men Should Seek Out Older Women
The argument below is broadly reasonable but, like all generalizations, falls short of covering all the cases. I have twice had memorable relationships with women 5 years older than me and I once married a fine woman 11 years older than me. So I have been there and done that. And little of the characteristics described below applied to my much older wife.
My own view is that if you get on well with a woman and share interests that is the main thing. My present girlfriend is 6 years younger than me and the "ex" I see most of is nine years younger than me. So I see a large age range as being workable in relationships. Age should rarely be a big factor. It is the individual that matters
In the US and other parts of the world, women who date younger men are referred to as Pumas or Cougars. Pumas are women under age 40 who date men at least ten years their junior. Cougars are women over age 40 who date men much younger. Some celebrity examples are Cher, Madonna, Jennifer Aniston, Tina Turner, and Julianne Moore.
I find it interesting that women have these titles, but men do not. Like men, mature women are free to explore and date whoever they choose (if the partner is of legal age, of course). As I quickly approach age 40, I have become more confident, free-spirited, and open. I absolutely love who I am in my late 30s. I wear a lot less makeup and a lot more cheetah print (wink).
I have a 32-year-old friend who is currently dating a 58-year-old woman. Yes, she is 26 years his senior (a real Cougar — growl). Interested in his opinion, I asked why he enjoyed dating an older woman. Not surprisingly, his answers mirrored mine. Below I outline why men should seek out mature women to date, marry, or have fun with.
We are better in bed.
Older women are better at sex because we know what works and what we want. Older women are great teachers and lovers in the bedroom. We are not shy about communicating what we need to climax. Additionally, we are no longer faking orgasms. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Like our male counterparts, we have years of experience; we know what works and does not. If something is not working, we will let you know. If something is working, we will let you know. We know how to use our words. This is important for a pleasurable sexual experience. If you are tired of banging a dead fish, you might wanna get yourself a Cougar.
We are more refined.
Let me ask you a question. Do you prefer a wine that has been aging for 2 years or one that has been aging for 15 years? Women 40 plus are more refined, robust, confident, and bold. Like wine, women get better with age.
With age, our confidence grows, and we no longer need or desire the opinions of others for validation. We know who we are and do not turn to anyone for approval. This confidence is difficult to explain, but it is powerful and sexy.
We know what we want.
Unlike younger women, we know what we want and how to go after it. Like a Cougar in the wild, we snatch it up with confidence. We don’t play young girl games. We see it, we like it, and we go for it.
With this, we are very straightforward. If we want sex, a relationship, or marriage — we will inform you promptly. There is no need for guessing games. Women in their 20s are unsure of who they are, what they want, or where they want to be in life. We have been there, and done that.
Additionally, we are not as self-absorbed. Many women 40 plus have married, divorced, been in long-term relationships, or raised children. They are selfless, kind, and generous. This builds strong character and makes them more thoughtful and caring.
Children who play video games are MORE intelligent than their peers, study suggests
There have been many studies with this conclusion but I suppose it does not hurt to mention another one
Parents often think of them as a waste of time, but playing video games may actually boost children's intelligence.
A study found those who game for three or more hours a day on average performed better in cognitive and memory tests than their peers.
Gaming has long been associated with violence, antisocial behaviors and health problems in young people.
But researchers have found it may actually be beneficial for the brain development of children.
Youngsters had their brains scanned while they performed a series of tests that tested their reaction time, problem solving and memory.
Not only did the children achieve better scores, they also had more activity in regions of the brain responsible for each function.
Dr Nora Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which funded the study, said: 'Numerous studies have linked video gaming to behavior and mental health problems.
'This study suggests that there may also be cognitive benefits associated with this popular pastime, which are worthy of further investigation.'
More than six in ten children in the US and UK are estimated to play video games.
In the study — published today in the journal JAMA Network Open — scientists at the University of Vermont analyzed data from 2,078 American children.
Children were asked how long they spent playing video games every day, and then were then divided into two groups.
In total, 1,278 said they never played video games, while 800 reported using them for at least three hours a day.
They're popular for getting adrenaline pumping, while carrying none of the risk of war.
But playing action-packed games like Call of Duty can be deadly for children with heart conditions, scientists warn.
Electronic gaming can kick-start life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias in children with no history of health problems, a landmark study has found.
Experts said adrenalin surges from the excitement of playing can prove lethal to some youngsters with often-undiagnosed heart problems.
Researchers from The Heart Centre for Children, Sydney, Australia, studied the cases of 22 children who suffered with sudden loss of consciousness while playing video games.
They found multiplayer war gaming was the most frequent trigger, resulting in an 'emotionally charged' state amongst players.
Some children having died following a cardiac arrest with several heart rhythm conditions later diagnosed, putting the surviving children at continued risk if they kept playing.
For comparison, the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) says children should not game for more than two hours a day.
Every child was given a functional MRI scan to measure their brain activity.
In the scan, participants lay face-up in a long tubular magnet wearing a digital pair of goggles similar to a VR headset.
They completed two tests, which were shown to them using the goggles.
In the first — known as a stop-signal task — participants watched for arrows that were pointing left or right, pressing a corresponding button when they saw them.
They were also told to not press anything when they were shown an arrow that was pointing upwards.
In the second — known as an 'n-back' test —, children were asked to memorize an image of a building and then press a button when they saw a match for it in a stream of cards they were shown.
In the arrow test response times were significantly faster among gamers compared to non-gamers.
It took 307 milliseconds (ms) for non-gamers to stop when they were shown an upwards facing arrow on average, compared 299ms for non-gamers.
They also took about 550ms to press the right button after seeing an arrow facing left or right, compared to 515ms in the gamers group.
In the image test non-gamers took 1070ms to hit the button saying they had seen a match, while gamers took 1021ms.
There are 1,000 milliseconds in one second.
Scans showed children who played video games had more activity in the precuneus region of the brain on average — associated with attention and memory.
They also had more activity in the gyri — which can also be associated with suppressing impulses — than those in the non-gaming group.
The researchers said playing the games may improve attention and impulse control because the games require practicing these skills.
No sugar-coating from Sunak as he warns Britain faces ‘profound’ economic crisis
London: After years of being told the “gloomsters”, “doomsters” and proponents of “project fear” were the real enemy of the public, British politics is about to get a healthy dose of reality.
Rishi Sunak, on his first day on the job, was no longer prepared to sugar-coat the contents of the in-tray he had just inherited.
Until recently, former prime minister Boris Johnson liked to boast that Britain was “the fastest-growing economy in the G7”. It was never really a statement worth taking seriously because if you bend and fudge numbers enough you can get them to tell you exactly what you want.
Standing outside No.10 Downing Street, Sunak was prepared to tell it straight. “Right now our country is facing a profound economic crisis,” he said. “The aftermath of COVID still lingers. Putin’s war in Ukraine has destabilised energy markets and supply chains the world over. “This will mean difficult decisions to come.”
Whether Britain falls into an outright recession or not, this year has already seen the biggest drop in living standards on record and a tough trading environment for businesses.
The OECD expects Britain’s economy to perform worse next year (zero per cent GDP growth) than that of any other developed country except for sanctions-hit Russia.
In its view, high inflation will continue to squeeze household incomes while the government raises taxes and the Bank of England hikes interest rates.
The result will be a downright dismal economic climate. Domestic spending is weighed down by falling real incomes, the export environment is tough and business investment is drying up as firms are ever more cautious about the outlook.
Sunak, of course, doesn’t have clean hands. He presided over the economy and massive spending for almost three years. But the 49 days of Liz Truss have made a bad situation even worse. And Britain, once again, looks like the sick man of Europe.
Former Bank of England government Mervyn King offered some free advice to politicians the world over at the weekend when he said it was “time to front up”.
“Have a narrative that explains to people the consequence of a) allowing inflation to pick up; b) confronting Russia and supporting Ukraine, which has reduced our national standard of living; and c) the need to help future generations cope with the increased national debt we are leaving to them,” King told the BBC, adding that taxes will have to rise if public spending remains at the same levels.
Sunak appears to have drawn a line under the delusion of the past few years and is setting out a narrative as to how he will deal with the problems at hand.
While acknowledging Truss’ “restlessness to create change” he said “some mistakes were made”. “Not borne of ill will or bad intentions. Quite the opposite, in fact. But mistakes, nonetheless,” he said, conceding it was now his task to “fix them”.
“The government I lead will not leave the next generation, your children and grandchildren, with a debt to settle that we were too weak to pay ourselves,” he said.
The task is immense because the underlying factors of Britain’s decline have been left unaddressed for too long. Economic growth for much of the past decade has been low.
Poor productivity has been a major factor behind the limited growth in gross domestic product, the measure of the quantity of goods and services produced, and a flat-lining of average real wages.
Britain is not the only country to face a slowdown in productivity growth, but the record of the UK is one of the lowest in the G20. All this has been somewhat masked by the fact unemployment has continued to fall and employment to rise.
Unemployment declined from almost 8.5 per cent in 2011 to just 3.9 per cent on the eve of the pandemic in 2020.
Sunak moving into No 10 is a step back to sanity but no one should be in any doubt about the scale of the challenges that lie ahead.
Putting aside the short-term issues, there are plenty of long-term concerns about the economy - the costs of Brexit, a lack of skilled labour, and a lack of investment in both public sector infrastructure and business investment, which would enable a boost in competitiveness and productivity.
Firms exporting to Europe are now faced with an increase in regulation, customs forms and charges for selling goods in the EU. The Office for Budget Responsibility claims the effects of Brexit will cut GDP by 4 per cent – this is up to £100 billion ($179b) in lost output and £40 billion ($71b) less revenue to the Treasury.
Sunak has acknowledged the task at hand. And at a time when Britons have grown tired of being treated as fools, getting on with the job and fixing everything is perhaps the only choice he has.
Australian budget 2022: Treasurer Jim Chalmers warns of deep spending cuts, more taxes
Amid all the talk, the grim reality is obvious. The government continues to spend up big and there will be no halt to to the rise in cost of living. Given the spending committments that the government treated as baked-in, no other budget was possible.
The government will continue to print money to cover its excess spending so more inflation is coming. Australians are in for a grim trot. Only people who get their savings out of money (e.g. buy company shares) are going to have any hope of protecting them. Only a big cut in government spending could have stopped the rise in cost of living -- but that was never on the cards
The Treasurer laid the ground for deeper cuts in the future but provided no additional cost of living support for struggling households other than existing policies offering cheaper childcare and medicines that won’t begin until next year.
Delivering Labor’s first budget since 2013, Dr Chalmers told The Australian it was yet to be determined how the government would tackle the structural deficit but signalled there would be a combination of new taxes and spending cuts.
“We’ve always seen this as the first of three or four budgets this term,” Dr Chalmers said.
“We set that up deliberately. We’re putting the foundations down. There’s an element of conditioning people to understand that we’ve had budgets for a really long time now where there hasn’t been a savings effort.
“There hasn’t been an effort to return commodity-fuelled revenue upgrades. We’ve made a good start because we’ve done something different in those revenue upgrades; we’ve done something different on savings. That’s a good start.”
The budget papers paint a pessimistic debt and deficit picture over the decade, with $11bn in higher deficits expected in 2024-25 and 2025-26. As a proportion of GDP, the deficit is worse in 2032-33 than the current financial year. Treasury also warns the nation risks falling into recession should key budget assumptions prove too optimistic, with growth slumping to just 0.75 per cent next financial year if inflation peaks one percentage point higher in December or the global downturn is more severe.
Treasury warned of a double whammy effect, noting the downside scenarios for both growth and unemployment from higher inflation at home “would be greater if these risks occurred simultaneously with global risks”.
Treasury expects sharp spikes from 2026-27 in the cost of the ballooning NDIS and servicing debt, which will peak in mid-2026 at $1.16 trillion or 43.1 per cent of GDP.
In a shock for households and businesses, retail electricity prices will increase by an average of 20 per cent nationally in late 2022 and a further 30 per cent in 2023-24. Domestic wholesale gas prices will remain more than double their average prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with retail gas prices increasing by up to 20 per cent in both 2022-23 and 2023-24.
The budget said electricity and gas prices were expected to directly contribute 0.75 per cent and one percentage point to inflation in 2022–23 and 2023–24 respectively.
Dr Chalmers said the government would take action in the market to keep prices lower.
“Any responsible government facing these sort of price hikes needs to consider a broader suite of regulatory intervention than they might have considered in times gone by,” he said.
Peter Dutton said millions of Australians would pay the price for a “big-taxing, big-spending” budget. The Business Council of Australia, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Australian Industry Group said more must be done to drive economic growth and tackle structural spending pressures.
Rental costs will jump “considerably” in the next two years and fuel inflation amid stronger population growth and limited housing stock. A new housing accord between governments, investors and industry announced by Dr Chalmers on Tuesday, backed with an initial $350m pledge, has an ambition of building “one million new, well-located homes over five years from 2024”.
Dr Chalmers said the accord must be driven by the market, despite concerns that cashed-up superannuation funds will struggle to deliver investment returns for members.
Finance Minister Katy Gallagher, whose pre-budget audit slashed $22bn from Coalition-era programs which were redirected to fund Labor policies, told The Australian the trajectory of budget pressures were “keeping her up”.
Senator Gallagher’s audit sets up a fight with Nationals and regional Liberal MPs after the budget canned dozens of Coalition projects and grants programs and redirected a chunk of $6.5bn in infrastructure savings to climate change projects.
In his first budget speech, Dr Chalmers told parliament that 92 per cent of the $132.5bn in upgraded tax receipts over the next four years had been banked.
But the budget sugar hit, which cut the 2022-23 deficit by $41bn to $36.9bn, is expected to unravel ahead of the 2025 federal election as unemployment and inflation spike and wages and economic growth stagnate.
Compared with the pre-election fiscal outlook, Labor’s policy decisions have added $9.7bn to the budget bottom line. Treasury projects tax-to-GDP levels of 24.1 per cent by 2032-33, which ends the Coalition-era policy of maintaining taxes within a 23.9 per cent tax-to-GDP cap.
Dr Chalmers painted a grim outlook for Australians who “know there are hard days to come and hard decisions to accompany them”, as Russia’s war in Ukraine, China’s slowdown, higher interest rates and inflation bite. He released a “five-point plan for cost-of-living relief” amid growing political pressure on Labor to deliver on their promises to slash $275 from electricity bills by 2025 and lift wages.
The $5.4bn changes to childcare subsidies start from July next year, cheaper medicines from January and the full paid parental leave scheme from 2026. Labor’s five-point plan also includes “more affordable housing and getting wages moving again”.
In his speech, Dr Chalmers lamented that real wages were lower now than 10 years ago.
“Wages are growing faster now than they were before the election, but that welcome news is tempered by rising electricity prices and grocery bills eating into pay packets,” he said.
“When that inflation moderates, real wages are expected to start growing again in 2024.
25 October, 2022
How Mussolini invented Fascism
The account of Italian Fascism given below is generally well-informed. The note that Italian Fascism was NOT antisemitic is welcome. But the conclusion is far too florid. The author is clearly trying to avoid the historically obvious conclusion: That both socialism and patriotism have broad appeal. It was those ideas rather than any "love" of Mussolini personally that fueled Fascism's popularity.
Mussolini had the brilliant idea of offering both those dreams in the one party. Pure socialism -- Communism -- had such limited appeal that only violence abd brutality could bring it to power. But add patriotism to it and you have an enormous popular force on your side. Fascism is patriotic socialism -- a magic mix with huge popular appeal
Mussolini's appeal to Italian patriotism was strong. He said he would Make Italy Great Again. He said he would revive the Roman empire. And he set about conquests in Africa for that purpose. Add that to the "we will look after you" message of his socialist policies and he had a winning political combination
Donald Trump had only the patriotic half of Mussolini's policies. He was neither a socialist nor a Fascist. But that one half gave him the Presidency of the United States for a time despite his unattractive personality. Mussolini also had a rather unattractive personality so we have twice seen how politically masterful a strong appeal to patriotism can be
Benito Mussolini, the revolutionary socialist inventor of fascism who came to power 100 years ago this week, was one of the most talked about figures of his day. Most of that talk was positive. Pope Pius XI called him ‘a gift from Providence’ to save Italy; the US ambassador to Rome, Washburn Child, ‘the greatest figure of his sphere and time’; and Winston Churchill, ‘the Roman genius’. Anita Loos, author of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, wrote that he gave their epoque ‘its only flame of greatness’, and Cole Porter even wrote him into his 1934 hit song ‘You’re the Top!’ with a line that went: ‘You’re the Top! You’re the great Houdini! You’re the top! You’re Mussolini!’. The Spectator, no less, in an exclusive interview, called him ‘the great Prime Minister of Italy’ who ‘weathered the storm and took the mighty ship of state triumphantly into harbour’.
In the end, Mussolini caused catastrophic damage to Italy and Europe. But throughout the 1920s, and much of the 1930s, fascism was admired across the political divide, even by legendary icons of the modern left such as Mahatma Gandhi and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. King Victor Emmanuel III appointed Mussolini Prime Minister after the March on Rome by his fascist blackshirts on 28 October 1922; it was a virtually bloodless coup at a time when Italy and Europe were in an even deeper crisis than they are today. The king called Mussolini to power because Italy’s democratic governments had been unable to maintain law and order on the streets, or in the workplace, unlike the future Duce’s private force of paramilitary blackshirts.
In 1922, devastated by the first world war and then the Spanish Flu, Italy appeared on the brink of socialist revolution. Lenin’s Bolsheviks had seized power in Russia in 1917 and fear of communism stalked Europe. The tectonic tensions between peoples and elites, nations and empires, that had caused the first world war then caused the collapse of both ancient regimes and democracies, and the metamorphosis of socialism into communism and fascism. Mussolini founded fascism in 1919 as an alternative left-wing revolutionary movement to socialism.
A rising star of the Italian Socialist party and a brilliant editor of its newspaper Avanti!, he had been expelled from the party in 1914 because he opposed its policy that Italy should remain neutral in the first world war. Instead, the future Duce believed that Italy must go to war against Austria and Germany which it eventually did in 1915. He insisted that socialists could not wait for history, as Marxist doctrine preached. They must make history, he argued, and such a war would help, not hinder, the revolution. As it did, in Italy, as elsewhere. The French and German socialist parties agreed with Mussolini and decided to fight for their respective countries against each other. This caused the collapse of the Second Socialist International and thus of international socialism.
The first world war had exposed a fatal weakness at the heart of international socialism whose mission was supposed to be world revolution and the abolition of the nation-state: people are more loyal to their country than their class. Mussolini made this cardinal rule the key to his version of socialism. It inspired him to replace international socialism with national socialism which he called fascism. Hitler, who would copy much from Mussolini, would call his version of fascism national socialism.
Fascism began as a left-wing heresy against the Marxist creed and remained so at heart to the bitter end – regardless of the far-right tag attached to it after 1945 by a left desperate to avoid fascism and communism being treated as two sides of the same coin. In April 1945, when communist partisans shot Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci after their capture at Lake Como, those with him included his old friend Nicola Bombacci, a founder of the Italian communist party and member of the Soviet Comintern, who had been his closest adviser in the last two years of the war. Bombacci’s last words before a communist partisan firing squad shot him dead beside the lake were: ‘Viva Mussolini! Viva il Socialismo!’
The fascists did not believe, as the communists did, in the nationalisation of the means of production, or the abolition of private property, but that the state should run the economy in partnership with owners and workers via corporations – the so-called corporate state. Among early manifesto pledges was the abolition of the monarchy.
Fascism also had its own variant of the class war, this one between producers of whatever class, and parasites of whatever class. It introduced the welfare state. Mussolini – at the same time as Lenin – had realised that only a political party – not trade unions, still less a parliament – could enact the revolution. And he rejected Marxist dogma which gave a decisive role to the proletariat. The role of the party, the revolutionary vanguard – or priesthood – was to instill and maintain faith. The role of the proletariat was to believe, which it would do only if the revolution was national, not international.
Fascism quickly attracted nationalists who were both right and left-wing and whose roots went back to Giuseppe Mazzini and Italian reunification in the mid-19th century. Futurist artists who eulogised speed, the machine, and war as a cleansing force, played a significant early role, as did revolutionary syndicalists. The poet-warrior and war hero Gabriele D’Annunzio provided inspiration with his March on Fiume (Rijeka) in 1919 and his electrifying speeches delivered from balconies – and known as dialogues with the crowd – which earned him the title the first Duce and which Mussolini would emulate so effectively.
Mussolini’s new newspaper Il Popolo d’Italia – partly financed in 1918 by British secret service money to keep Italy in the war – paid homage to all who had fought calling them the aristocracy of the trenches – La Trincerocrazia – many of whom would form the fascist revolutionary vanguard. The genius of Mussolini was to create fascism, not just as an armed political movement, but as a religious cult with him as a sacred leader who transformed politics into a daily act of collective faith. This is, of course, what the leaders of the French Revolution did as well.
In each town, the fascists built their party headquarters in the main piazza, complete with a belltower to summon the faithful, which often stood opposite a real church – always uneasily. Despite making temporal peace with the Vatican in 1929, fascism remained a rival of the Catholic Church in the battle for control of the minds, if not the souls, of Italians. It was not just its demolition of democracy, or its waging of war, that doomed fascism. The Duce was not Jesus, nor even Pope.
If you had to choose one book that Mussolini regarded as a Bible, it would not be Marx’s Communist Manifesto or Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil, but Gustave Le Bon’s huge best-seller, La Psychologie des Foules, published in 1895. Le Bon, an anthropologist, defined the epoque in which he lived as ‘the era of the crowd’ because the crowd was ‘the last surviving sovereign force’ but he predicted that the result would not be democracy. As others had noted, universal suffrage necessarily means the tyranny of minorities by the majority. For Le Bon, the ‘sub-conscious’ majority in the form of the crowd now wielded power, not ‘conscious’ individuals. But the subconscious crowd is tyrannical and driven by irrational impulses, untempered by reason. And yet, without a charismatic leader able to instill a religious sense of mission, such a crowd is impotent.
In 1932, the German journalist Emil Ludwig asked Mussolini: ‘You have written that the masses do not have to know but to believe. Do you really think that this Jesuit principle is practical?’ ‘Only faith moves mountains,’ replied Mussolini, ‘not reason.’ A month before his death in his last interview, he said: ‘I did not create fascism. I extracted it from the unconscious of the Italians. If it were not so, they would not have followed me for 20 years.’
The closest there is to a fascist manifesto is the Dottrina del Fascismo, an essay Mussolini co-authored with the philosopher Giovanni Gentile, published in 1932, in which we read: ‘The fascist conception of life is a religious one’ that aims to create ‘a spiritual society’. Fascism ‘accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the state.’ The state is ‘all embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist… Thus understood, Fascism, is totalitarian’. That fascism regarded the state as the solution for everything, not as the problem, defines it as completely different from the Anglo-American, conservative and libertarian ‘bourgeois’ right for whom the opposite is the case. The fascist state dominates the life of the individual both at work and outside.
George Orwell, a revolutionary socialist who was also a patriot – as opposed to a nationalist – was one of the few on the left to understand and admit why fascism had mass appeal. In a 1940 review of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, he wrote:
Nearly all western thought since the last war, certainly all ‘progressive’ thought, has assumed tacitly that human beings desire nothing beyond ease, security and avoidance of pain… they also, at least intermittently, want struggle and self-sacrifice, not to mention drums, flags and loyalty-parades.
Elsewhere, Orwell wrote that ‘the overwhelming strength of patriotism’ was the key to understanding the modern world and Mussolini, like Hitler, got and kept power ‘very largely because they could grasp this fact and their opponents could not’. Compared to this patriotism, he wrote: ‘Christianity and international socialism are as weak as straw’.
Fascism, unlike the Nazi version of it, was not explicitly anti-Semitic until Mussolini’s fatal alliance with Hitler in the late 1930s. Many Jews were fascists, as was Mussolini’s penultimate mistress Margherita Sarfatti. His anti-Semitic laws, introduced in 1938, were despicable, but no Jews were deported from Italy to the Nazi death camps until after his overthrow in July 1943 and his restoration as a Nazi puppet in the north. In the southeast of France, occupied by Italy between November 1942 and August 1943, Italian officers and officials saved the lives of thousands of Jews, primarily from the Vichy French, who were Hitler’s willing collaborators.
To dismiss the Duce as a grotesque buffoon, as Anglo-American historians normally do, or a puppet of the bourgeoisie, as Marxist ones always do, cannot be right. Such definitions fail to explain why he was able to get power and keep it for more than two decades with relatively little use of the mass murder that characterises most dictatorships – especially communist ones. Nor why there was so little resistance to him until he began to lose battles in the second world war – or why he was so popular abroad.
The explanation is obvious: true, there were no opinion polls and no fair elections, but the only feasible answer must be that a critical mass of Italians was in favour of fascism, and a majority in favour of Mussolini. That fascism was wanted by so many Italians, not imposed, is something that the mainstream left still refuses to accept because it means accepting an uncomfortable truth: the Italians, not just the Duce, were to blame for fascism.
As his estranged daughter Edda – whose husband his regime had executed for treason in January 1944 – said when she heard on the radio that he had been shot at Como with Petacci, Bombacci and other fascists, and their corpses brought to Milan where they were strung upside down from the forecourt roof of a petrol station: ‘I believe you can really hate only a person you have loved… It was the final act of love of the Italians for him.’
The Gender-Obsessed Left Will Have to Pry My Children From My Cold, Dead Hands
As a father, it is my responsibility to watch out for my children and to protect them from demonic lies and from medical interventions that would leave them scarred, stunted, and infertile.
Yet a growing chorus of activists and legislators seem intent on taking children away from parents like me, not because we would harm our children but because we would protect them from harm.
Naturally, these activists don’t admit the truth of what they plan to do. They couch the language in Orwellian terms like “gender-affirming care,” in order to make it seem like they, not parents, have the children’s best interests at heart.
These activists insist that if a child—barely old enough to grasp basic concepts of grammar, mathematics, or geography—claims that he or she identifies with the gender opposite his or her biological sex, that self-identity must override all other concerns. Woe to any parent who dares to disagree with the declarations of an 8-year-old.
In my home state of Virginia, Del. Elizabeth Guzman—a Democrat who represents portions of Prince William and Fauquier counties—supports a bill to expand the definition of “child abuse.”
Guzman’s bill (HB 580 in the 2020 session) would define as “abused” any child “whose parent or other person responsible for his care creates or inflicts, threatens to create or inflict, or allows to be created or inflicted upon such child a physical or mental injury on the basis of the child’s gender identity or sexual orientation.”
The bill doesn’t spell out exactly what a “physical or mental injury on the basis of the child’s gender identity” means, but “mental injury” can be rather broadly construed to include a parent’s disagreement with a child’s self-declared “gender identity.”
Nick Minock, a reporter for WJLA-TV (Channel 7), asked Guzman: “What could the penalties be if the investigation concludes that a parent is not affirming of their LGBTQ child? What could the consequences be?”
Guzman did not question the reporter’s framing of the question, but responded that if Child Protective Services runs an investigation and finds the parent guilty, “it could be a felony, it could be a misdemeanor, but we know that a CPS charge could harm your employment, could harm their education, because nowadays many people do a CPS database search before offering employment.”
Make no mistake, this bill involves criminalizing a parent’s dissent from a child’s stated “gender identity,” and activists are pushing gender identity on younger and younger ages.
Guzman’s bill doesn’t just represent the goal of one Virginia Democrat, however.
Major medical organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and the Children’s Hospital Association not only support transgender medical interventions for children, but sent the Justice Department a letter urging law enforcement to crack down on “disinformation.” This appeared to amount to reporters who run direct quotes from doctors who offer experimental “treatments.”
Last month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, signed into law SB 107, a bill to turn California into a “sanctuary state” for “gender-affirming care.” The measure, which will take effect in January, defines “gender-affirming care” as an absolute right. It will give California courts the ability to award custody over a child if someone removes the child from his or her parents in another state to obtain such “care” for that child over the parents’ disagreement.
Gender activists and their allies who have infiltrated health care organizations often insist that experimental transgender medical interventions—which often amount to chemical castration—are essential for gender-confused children, to prevent them from committing suicide.
This twisted logic enables activists to claim that a parent’s disagreement on gender identity constitutes a form of “mental harm” to a child.
The idea that a father’s refusing to sign his daughter up for the removal of healthy breasts and a healthy womb constitutes child abuse is so absurd, it requires multiple levels of doublespeak to justify. False terms such as “gender-affirming care” are necessary to cloak the truth of what is going on.
In fact, this craze reminds me of the horrific history of eugenics and lobotomies, which were celebrated as the height of “progressive” science and medicine at the time. The inventor of the lobotomy received a Nobel Prize, and many Nobel laureates supported eugenics.
America may look back on transgender surgeries the way horrified students of history look back on these “progressive” phenomena.
Yet even less invasive interventions also bring terrifying side effects. Cross-sex hormones can weaken kids’ bones and make them more prone to heart disease. So-called puberty blockers, often billed as fully reversible, involve introducing a disease into a child’s body and make puberty harder to start again, should the child change his or her mind.
Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo put it perfectly in comments he sent me back in July.
“Medicalization of minors with gender dysphoria might advance the political views of physicians involved in their care, but the data showing any benefits for the actual children is extraordinarily thin,” Ladapo said. “The affirmation model runs an unacceptably high risk of harm.”
As a father, it is my job to protect my children from harm, and this gender ideology threatens multiple harms. It threatens to confuse my young children about what men and women are. It threatens to mutilate their bodies and deprive them of the long-term fulfillment of having children of their own one day.
It threatens to deprive them of their father, based on how I answer when my 3-year-old daughter asks, “Daddy, are you a man? Am I a girl?”
Not on my watch. If Guzman or Newsom want my children, they can tear them from my cold, dead hands. And I expect I’m far from alone.
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Is parody now illegal?
The Weekend Update sketch on "Saturday Night Live" is a classic example of social and political criticism that comes in the guise of something else — in SNL's case, a TV news broadcast.
RONALD REAGAN enjoyed recounting the cynical jokes that citizens of the Soviet Union often told about life under communism. One of his favorites involved an American and a Russian who were arguing about the merits of their respective countries. As Reagan told it, the American said, "In my country, I can walk into the Oval Office, pound the president's desk, and say, 'Mr. President, I don't like the way you're running our country.'" The Russian replied that he could do the same thing. The American was surprised: "You can?"
"Oh, yes," said the Russian. "I can go to the Kremlin, enter the general secretary's office, pound his desk, and say, 'Mr. General Secretary, I don't like the way President Reagan's running his country!"
If anything is a defining feature of a free society, it is the right of ordinary citizens to openly criticize, ridicule, or joke about government officials, however lofty or powerful. So when Anthony Novak of Parma, Ohio, decided to create a mocking parody of his local police department's Facebook page, he was engaging in activity that goes to the core of American civil liberties — liberties that officers of the law are sworn to uphold.
But Parma's police officers didn't uphold Novak's rights — they shredded them. They announced that the spoof Facebook page was being "investigated." They claimed that "public safety" was at stake and got Facebook to identify the creator of the parody. They arrested Novak on charges of having broken a law that makes it a crime to "disrupt, interrupt, or impair the functions of any police . . . or governmental operations." They jailed him for four days and got a warrant to search his apartment, where they seized his laptop, cellphone, hard drives — even his gaming consoles.
"When I woke up in jail . . . I thought, wow, I really screwed up here," Novak said in an interview recorded by the Institute for Justice, the nonprofit public-interest law firm that represents him. "And then I remembered, wait, I didn't actually do anything wrong."
No, he actually didn't.
When the case went to trial, the jury unanimously acquitted him. But when Novak subsequently filed a federal lawsuit against Parma police detectives for the abuse of his constitutional rights, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that the police were protected by "qualified immunity." Under that doctrine, police (and other government officials) are not accountable for violating a citizen's rights — even if they do so in bad faith — unless their misconduct was plainly contrary to "clearly established" law. The appellate court held that since Novak didn't include a disclaimer making clear that his page was a spoof, the police might have sincerely believed that what he posted on Facebook was illegal.
Now Novak and the Institute for Justice have appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that if anything is clearly established in American law, it is the right to caricature, laugh at, or parody public officials.
Enter The Onion.
In an amicus brief that is simultaneously brilliant, hilarious, and serious, the noted humor website — which specializes in parodying traditional news stories — urged the high court to hear Novak's case. In keeping with Supreme Court rules for friend-of-the-court briefs, it first identified itself and explained its own interest in the case. It did so, of course, in its signature deadpan style:
"The Onion is the world's leading news publication, offering highly acclaimed, universally revered coverage of breaking national, international, and local news events," the brief began, mentioning its "daily readership of 4.3 trillion" and its ownership of "the majority of the world's transoceanic shipping lanes." Its interest in the case, it said, is straightforward: "The Onion's writers . . . have a self-serving interest in preventing political authorities from imprisoning humorists."
But there was nothing humorous about what Parma's police did to Novak, and it's alarming that an appellate court would give the cops a pass because someone satirized them with a straight face.
"The Sixth Circuit's ruling imperils an ancient form of discourse," the brief notes. "The court's decision suggests that parodists are in the clear only if they pop the balloon in advance by warning their audience that their parody is not true." But parody depends on its ability to "plausibly mimic the original." If the court of appeals ruling is allowed to stand, it would mean that parody is entitled to First Amendment protection only if it is stripped of the very element that makes parody work in the first place.
The Onion, a leading online humor site, submitted a friend of the court brief in support of Anthony Novak that is is simultaneously brilliant, hilarious, and urgent.
Novak and his lawyers are asking the Supreme Court to hear their case for reasons of constitutional clarity. The Sixth Circuit's understanding of the law is contradicted by that of the Fifth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits, and only the high court can resolve the split. More ambitiously, the petitioners want the justices to reconsider the whole concept of qualified immunity, a doctrine with no basis in the Constitution or statutory law, and one that all too easily lets malicious officials off the hook.
At a minimum, however, the Supreme Court can use this opportunity to confirm that parody is wholly protected by the First Amendment — period. In all candor, Novak's pretend Facebook page wasn't all that funny and a few Parma residents apparently didn't get the joke. But under the Constitution, that doesn't matter. It isn't only Onion-caliber parodists who are entitled to crack wise at the expense of their local police department. And cops who wage spiteful vendettas against would-be comedians shouldn't be allowed to claim that the parodist had it coming for failing to spoil the punchline.
Parody is an essential form of social and political criticism. It is as old as Aristophanes and as contemporary as the most recent Weekend Update on "Saturday Night Live." It is a powerful tool for exposing folly, tweaking the high and mighty, calling attention to injustice, and broaching unpopular truths. It can be a vivid means of weighing in on controversies of the day. In April 2016, the Boston Globe Opinion section published a parody version of the newspaper's front page, dated one year in the future, to convey with eye-catching immediacy what it thought a Donald Trump presidency would look like.
At its best, parody enriches public debate by illuminating the status quo from an unfamiliar angle. Jonathan Swift's "modest proposal" in 1729 for preventing Irish children from becoming a financial burden on their parents (he recommended selling them to be eaten) was both a grisly piece of satire and a brutal comment on English attitudes toward Ireland's poor. Nearly three centuries later, that essay is still discussed and has lost none of its shock value — a striking demonstration of the power of great parody.
Swift's reputation is in no danger of being eclipsed by Novak's parody. But that makes no difference to the First Amendment and should have made none to the police. What happened in Parma was no joke, and the Supreme Court ought to take up this case to say so.
We live in a Nanny State
It doesn’t matter whether you are discussing the UK, Australia, some European country, or any other country. Whenever the state has started to dictate social, economic, and commercial behaviour – serious problems have followed. These usually include loss of freedom, loss of living standards, higher costs, and dislocation of social cohesion.
The nanny state certainly does initiate many changes, often by regulation rather than legislation. It is the bureaucrats who introduce changes, changes which are often not welcome by society in general and frequently by those who are unjustly penalised by regulations that favour some, usually big business, to the detriment of a larger number, usually small business and consumers.
The politicians do, of course, try to implement their nanny state controls. The overreach seen in the Covid pandemic is a perfect example. Politicians of all persuasions introduced draconian laws and regulations, supposedly to keep us safe, but actually to control what we – the general populace – could do, when we could do it, and for how long. They even went so far as to dictate what we should inject into our bodies on pain of being excluded from our freedoms in society and our ability to work.
We see it still in the energy problems which we are now experiencing. The world has plenty of recent examples of government decisions that are adversely impacting on energy supply and cost. There is no shortage of energy and there could be a way to transition to a lower carbon dioxide emitting power generation system, but our nanny state knows best and despite all the evidence to the contrary they are pushing ahead, full bore, to have coal-fired power stations shut down and renewables built. There is no coherent plan for the transition, mainly because the federal government doesn’t actually own any power generation or distribution assets and doesn’t understand the economics of the energy system. In fact, they don’t seem to understand the basics of economics. When you make something essential scarce – the price will rise and those who are least able to afford the cost will bear the brunt of the disruptions.
The nanny state is pushing the unproven climate warming due to the burning of carbon fuels, and destroying not only our low-cost energy but our competitiveness in the world. It doesn’t, and probably cannot, state what the targets are in measurable numbers, how these targets were determined, how they are measured, and where we are in achieving those targets. Even worse, they do not consider what is happening in the world, the large uncontrolled emitters, the piddling effect on either increasing or decreasing our carbon dioxide emissions on the world’s atmospheric carbon dioxide.
If you wish to consider other areas just think of safety. Many safety procedures actually do little to improve safety, they just add cost. Safety is best managed by explaining the issues to the people doing the work, providing them with the necessary tools and equipment, and then getting out of the way. Not all situations are identical and the experienced person directly involved can often make the best decision. Consider our disruptive method of roadside working with our peers overseas.
We can also look at housing standards. These are often designed to suit a worst-case situation, increasing costs with no benefit to most. They rarely constitute best building practice for heating, cooling, site conditions, suitable materials, latest technology etc. Or the restriction of certain work to licensed practitioners, practitioners who frequently ignore the regulations, who may not have maintained their knowledge of the latest technologies, and who are given carte blanche to charge high prices for simple work which can be performed by any number of other people with the necessary knowledge and skills. Trade skills and regulations can be learned by anyone.
There are some areas in which the state could and should be involved because private enterprise may have difficulty in providing the service at a price that is affordable to all. These include major infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, transportation systems, sewage collection and treatment, water supply, energy supply, and communications. That doesn’t mean that the state has to own or operate the service, they just have to make sure, in some way, that it is available to everyone at a standard price.
No, the nanny state has not shown that it knows best. It hasn’t even shown that it properly understands. The state should set the basic standards and then the enterprise of people will deliver, at both the best price and a suitable quality. The people will adjust their society to suit the prevailing conditions and the nanny state should just follow suit with the appropriate legislation. That is the correct order of things.
24 October, 2022
The Real Problem for single women in their '40s
What Yael Wolfe writes below is reasonable but unrealistic: Totally out of touch with the modern world.
She rightly sees a small, closed community as being an effective form of support for all the people in it. And she sees that as a viable alternative to monogamy. I have sad news for her. That ain't going to happen in the modern world
She overlooks the fact -- and I myself grew up in a small, rather closed traditional community -- that such communities require a lot of tolerance and conformity. You have no privacy and reduced freedoms in all sorts of ways.
And I don't want to be too invidious here but the sort of closed, mutually aware and culturally homogeneous communities that she idealizes do still exist in Australia -- among Aborigines. And the level of violence towards women and children in such communities is phenomenal. Stereotypes of traditional societies can be most misleading.
And it is to avoid the limits of traditional society that the modern nuclear family has evolved.
So it follows that many single women in their 40s will inevitably be uncomfortably isolated socially. What is to be done about that?
Many older women find a satisfactory solution in the form of a network of friends. And those friends do help and support one-another. That can be satisfactory most of the time but it is no substitute for the support that a live-in lover can give. When you literally fall over, who is there to help you up? Who is there to cry out to?
So with or without a network of supportive friends, women do have at least some incentive to develop satisfactory physical relationships. But how to go about it? That is the besetting problem for most people today. Good relationships and hence good partners are hard to come by. I am sorry to say it, but the only real solution for most people is tolerance and compromise.
I have a rather joyous relationship with my present partner but we both had to make big compromises to achieve that. It would be inappropriate to go into detail here but perhaps I could mention that she grew up in Europe and still speaks English so badly that I don't get rather a lot of what she says to me. But with goodwill, even that problem can be overcome. To do so has been well worth it
So perhaps Yael Wolfe could look for the good in the "buffoons" she despises and work with what is available. We all have our limitations and it behooves us to respect the limitations in others
Last month, a 46-year-old woman posted a video of herself on TikTok sharing a tearful story about her impending surgery and how much it has brought the pain she feels about being single into focus.
Her problem? She has no one to take care of her but her mother and sister and it clearly causes her distress, as she chokes up at one point so much, she has to pause the recording. She says she still needs her mama, still needs her sister, and you can sense the shame she feels around that.
She later goes on to admit that all her lighthearted jokes about the “buffoons” she encounters in the dating world are actually covering up immense pain, because that’s the “shit” that’s available to her at this point in life when, as she explains, most of the “good men” got married in their twenties and thirties.
When this video went viral, it particularly caught my attention. I am, after all, also 46 and single and have been known to have an occasional breakdown over the lack of partner support in my life.
I watched in horror as the first wave of misogynistic responses hit, in which countless people assumed she was choosy, demanding, crazy, slutty, or just plain stupid which is why she was single at 46 and why she goddamn deserved it.
Yep. We middle-aged, never-been-married gals know exactly what it’s like to be criticized, judged, psycho-analyzed, and berated by everyone from family members to strangers who all assume that our singleness is a problem — and a problem that we created. And you know how that goes…you made your bed, hon, now you gotta sleep in it.
(As if any of this would ever cross our minds had she been a single 46-year-old man.)
But after the angry villagers quieted, no doubt finding someone else to target with their ire and pitchforks, those of us who still had this video on our minds witnessed the second wave of responses from the cultural analysts, the armchair psychologists, the feminists, and the Virgos.
They talked about why her feelings are valid. They pointed out the misogyny her post inspired. They re-debated whether or not marriage has been unfairly vilified. They commiserated about the challenges of being a single woman in a culture that treats single women like second-class citizens.
Important conversations grew from the brave vulnerability this woman displayed. And yet, I’m not convinced that we haven’t entirely missed the real problem.
Once upon a time ago, humans lived in egalitarian communities. No, not neighborhoods. No, not nuclear families led by a man. Egalitarian communities.
Many people are convinced, thanks to clever propaganda, that humans have always lived the way we live today: in a patriarchal hierarchy organized into nuclear families born to heterosexual, monogamous couples.
This is simply not true.
Scientists have been reinforcing patriarchal theories about early humans that mirror and reinforce our modern-day social hierarchies, even in the face of mounting evidence that early humans were polyamorous and lived in clans that actively enforced gender equality. Children were raised by the group, rather than one set of biological parents. Resources and labor were shared. And sexual bonds overlapped.
These social structures achieved a goal for which modern humans should be grateful: the survival of the human race.
Ifan early human were to time travel into the modern world, she would not recognize what she’s seeing.
I’m not talking about technology, or a skyline altered by the silhouettes of skyscrapers, or the sartorial evolution of humankind. I’m talking simply about our social structures.
Two parents and their children living alone in tiny, isolated tribes? Sexual relationships that exist in vacuums, bound by legal contracts, that are supposed to thrive over the course of three to seven decades? An absence of the consistent presence of older generations? Working all hours of the day in order to procure resources that will only benefit a handful of people?
And what happens to the people who were not favored by the fickle hand of fate and did not get the chance to opt into couplehood? That’s a lot of solitary people who just ended up outside the tribe.
And how does today’s culture look upon them? Tough luck, sister. You had your chance and you blew it.
Our time-traveling early human would shake her head. This is not how a species survives.
Asa middle-aged single woman, I can tell you that getting sick, or being physically vulnerable (i.e. recovering from surgery) is one of my worst nightmares.
Being ill or physically impaired in any way as a single woman is a special kind of hell. We are already living our lives without the benefit of the emotional support that our coupled contemporaries have, struggling to pay the same bills that couples struggle to pay but without a partner’s second income, and often feeling pressure to do more than our fair share of labor at work or within our families of origin (i.e. taking care of aging parents because we allegedly have so much more time on our hands than our married siblings).
And then we get sick, and it all comes crashing down.
There are no social supports for single women recovering from injury, surgery, or illness. There is no one around to cook for us. Check on us. Call an ambulance in an emergency. Help us get around.
When I had the flu in 2016, I was so violently ill, I couldn’t stand up long enough to cook for myself and by Day 4, I was so weak, I fell and blacked out on my way to get a glass of water.
I suffered through Covid last year all by myself, curled into a ball of agony for ten hours, desperate for the comforting presence of another person to comb their fingers through my hair and assure me that everything was going to be okay.
And I recently endured an on-again-off-again illness that flattened me for the better part of three weeks, during which time I had to drive myself to the grocery store in the midst of a 101-degree fever so I could pick up some medication, and had to stop mid-aisle and bend over in order to keep from passing out. I cried when I got back in the car and realized I still had to make it home, somehow.
So yes. There’s a reason why 46-year-old women are crying in their cars.
But it isn’t because we’re single. It’s because our modern-day social structures are broken.
Let me be clear: this woman has my sincerest compassion. I have been there. I will be there again. This isn’t easy.
But I think she has misidentified the problem.
There is no problem in her life that was caused by her singleness, including needing help after surgery. Everyone needs help. Everyone needs care. Everyone needs social support. Everyone needs a safety net, backup plan, and yes, an occasional caregiver.
This woman seems to feel ashamed that she has to rely on her mother and sister for this care, instead of a husband. This is actually a good thing — there is nothing wrong with relying on our family of origin for help and support. This is how it was meant to be.
But in our culture, there is only one acceptable way to receive support: through a monogamous marriage. Anything else — particularly when it comes to women — is seen as a failure.
I’d also like to point out that this woman basically explained one of the fundamental reasons why she’s in this position in the first place, though without realizing it. Lamenting about her experiences with the “buffoons” she’s dated is a very real issue that countless women are facing today. Dating culture is toxic for women — nearly every abuse is excused or rationalized away. And that’s the product of a society that hates women. That is not her fault, nor any other woman’s fault.
But worrying about missing the boat with all those “good men” who got married in their twenties and thirties? I have to question that. What does “good man” even mean? A man who doesn’t treat women like shit? I hate to say it, but I know plenty of husbands, the ones who got married in their twenties and thirties, who treat their wives like garbage.
Further, we know for a fact that half the men who got married then (or at any other time in life) will be divorced at some point, so really, there’s no such thing as missing the boat when it comes to finding a life partner.
This woman’s singlehood is not the problem. The problem is that our culture has literally turned its back on single women. It keeps us close enough to benefit from all the extra labor we perform in the workforce and our families of origin, but it makes sure to let us know that it isn’t going to be there to support us when we need help.
Look at the evidence: We don’t teach people to check on their single friends when they’re sick. We don’t think to leave a pot of chicken soup at their door or offer to pick up some groceries for them. We don’t even text them every morning to make sure they’re still alive (yeah, I’m kinda serious) and reassure them that they are on our minds.
We’re taught to spend our time prioritizing the care of our husbands and children. Our single friends made their beds, remember? I mean, no offense, but who has time for that?
Would early humans have done this? Just left someone who was ill or injured to be eaten by a saber-toothed tiger? I suppose they might have, depending upon the severity of the circumstances. But I suspect that typically, everyone banded together and took care of one another. If they hadn’t, we wouldn’t still be here a couple million years later.
Today, though, all it takes to show a single woman where she stands in the hierarchy is one bout of Covid or a simple operation. Then we discover that we’ve been left in the woods while the tribe moved on to more fertile ground.
We can lament all we want about not having a partner to stay behind and help us — god knows, that’s a totally legitimate response. But really, we ought to spend our time pondering how our social bonds became so rigid and callous.
We’ll fare just fine without a spouse, after all. But we’ll never survive without community.
Sweet victory! California court rules in favor of Christian baker who refused to bake cake for a lesbian couple in 2017
A California baker has won a discrimination lawsuit after she refused to make a cake for a lesbian couple's wedding - citing her Christian beliefs.
On Saturday, Cathy Miller, owner of Tastries Bakery in Bakersfield, California, announced that a Kern County judge had sided with her after a years-long battle.
In 2017, Miller refused to make a cake for a lesbian couple, Eileen and Mireya Rodriguez-Del Rio, claiming that her religious beliefs were grounds to not make a masterpiece for the pair's special day.
At the time, the baker allegedly politely refused to make the cake and gave the couple the name of an alternative bakery.
But the furious couple lodged a lawsuit against her, claiming that they were being discriminated against. Five years later, Miller announced that she had finally won the legal battle.
Writing on Facebook after the win, Miller said: 'Thank you Tastries friends and family.
'Yesterday, after much consideration and analysis of details regarding the Cathy's Creations and Tastries Bakery discrimination case, Judge Eric Bradshaw ruled in favor of Cathy Miller.
'We appreciate your prayers and support as we joyfully continue to do business with you in the future.
'I'm hoping that in our community we can grow together,' Miller said, 'and we should understand that we shouldn't push any agenda against anyone else.'
The Thomas More Society, whose lawyers represented the woman, called the win in a California courtroom a 'First Amendment victory.'
The organization is a 'conservative Roman Catholic public-interest law firm based in Chicago,' according to their website.
'We applaud the court for this decision,' Thomas More Society Special Counsel Charles LiMandri said.
'The freedom to practice one's religion is enshrined in the First Amendment, and the United States Supreme Court has long upheld the freedom of artistic expression.'
The discrimination lawsuit, one of many, had been brought forth by the California Department of Fair Housing and Employment under the Unruh Civil Rights Act.
Another lawyer with the Thomas More Society said that it's the correct ruling for the woman and the freedom of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment.
'There's a certain irony there,' said Paul Jonna, Thomas More Society Special Counsel, 'that a law intended to protect individuals from religious discrimination was used to discriminate against Cathy for her religious beliefs.'
'Cathy believes in the Bible,' said Jonna, citing Miller's belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.
In their press release, the Thomas More society also shared deposition from February where prosecutors appeared to question Miller's religious beliefs, which they found 'disturbing.
'Do you try to follow everything that the Bible says?' asks attorney for the California Department of Fair Housing and Employment, Anthony Mann.
'I do my best, but I'm a sinner, but I do my best,' Miller responded while testifying.
'Do you follow some of the eating practices from the Old Testament in terms of not eating pigs, not eating shellfish, et cetera,' Mann said.
The lawyers for the Thomas More Society said they saw this as a clear violation of her rights.
'The state was actually questioning the sincerity of Cathy's faith,' said Jonna.
'The fact that they called Miller's open and sincerely held beliefs into question is almost as disturbing as quibbling over her status as an artist,' the lawyer continued.
'Miller's only motivation, at all times, was to act consistent with her sincere Christian beliefs about what the Bible teaches regarding marriage,' Judge Bradshaw wrote in his decision.
'That motivation was not unreasonable, or arbitrary, nor did it emphasize irrelevant differences or perpetuate stereotypes,' the judge said.
Bradshaw also said that baking cakes is still an expression of 'pure speech' and rooted in artistic expression.
'Defendants' pure and expressive speech is entitled to protection under the First Amendment,' Bradshaw wrote.
'Of course we're disappointed, but not surprised,' Eileen Rodriguez-Del Rio said Friday after the judge issued the ruling.
'We anticipate that our appeal will have a different result,' the woman said.
In 2017, Miller told one local news outlet that she didn't mean to discriminate, but that the request for her to make a new cake would go against what she believed.
'Here at Tastries, we love everyone. My husband and I are Christians, and we know that God created everyone, and He created everyone equal, so it's not that we don't like people of certain groups, there is just certain things that violate my conscience.'
Additionally, the woman claimed that she would have been willing to sell the same sex couple a pre-made cake.
The act of baking and designing a cake, however, is where the line was drawn.
Tastries, which has nearly 10,000 followers on Facebook, received dozens of comments on their post Saturday. Most commenters seemed to be in support of Miller and Bradshaw's ruling. 'Praise God! May He continue to protect over you,' said one follower. 'Fervent prayers answered,' wrote another.
Not all were were so approving of the way that Bradshaw sided, however.
'You are not Christians,' said one person who appeared to be upset over the judge's decision. 'You spread a message of hate, you are not Christian, you are evil in disguise,' the commenter continued.
This wasn't the first legal woe for Miller and Tastries.
In 2018, Superior Court Judge David Lampe ruled in favor of Miller, saying the act of making cakes was 'artistic expression' and did not violate California anti-discrimination laws.
'A wedding cake is not just a cake in a free speech analysis,' the judge wrote in his eight-page ruling. 'It is an artistic expression by the person making it that is to be used traditionally as a centerpiece in the celebration of a marriage. There could not be a greater form of expressive conduct.'
The case was initiated when same-sex couple Eileen and Mireya Rodriquez-Del Rio complained to the California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing after they tried to buy a cake from Miller's bakery for their wedding in October 2017.
The state ruled in the couple's favor arguing that the First Amendment did not apply because the couple had not asked for any words or messages on the cake. They issued an order to force Miller to make the cake.
But Judge Lampe rejected the ruling and said his decision was based on the fact that Miller had not yet prepared the cake.
He said it would have been discrimination if the cake was already on display at the shop and Miller refused to let the couple buy it.
'A retail tire shop may not refuse to sell a tire because the owner does not want to sell tires to same sex couples,' Judge Lampe wrote in 2018.
'No baker may place their wares in a public display case, open their shop, and then refuse to sell because of race, religion, gender, or gender identification.'
At the time, Eileen Rodriquez-Del Rio said Miller had told them she would take their order, but give it to another bakery to make because she doesn't 'condone same sex marriages and will have no part in this process'.
UK: NHS reveals tighter rules on child transgender treatments - including putting medical doctors in charge rather than therapists or psychologists
NHS plans for tighter rules on transgender treatments for children have been welcomed by campaigners – but criticised by trans-rights pressure groups.
NHS England has outlined its strategy to replace the Gender Identity Development Service at the controversial Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in London.
The plans include putting medical doctors in charge rather than therapists or psychologists.
They also state that staff should not automatically ‘affirm’ a child’s desire to ‘socially transition’ to the opposite gender and add that ‘puberty blocker’ drugs can only be prescribed as part of an NHS research programme.
Stephanie Davies-Arai, of campaign group Transgender Trend, said the moves were ‘welcome’.
Trans-rights group Gendered Intelligence described the approach as a ‘completely needless pathologisation of social transition’.
The proposals are out for public consultation
Australia: The problem of politics in sport again
This was raised but never settled decades ago, with boycotts of the Springboks in the Joh Bjelke Petertsen era.
I can see some reasons why the political opinions of sports people should be respected but this latest episode is absurd. Why is the political views not of the person but of that person's FATHER critical?
There is a basic judicial principle that a person is responsible for their own actions only, not for the actions of others -- even when the "other" is an ancestor. So it is simply unjust to hold Gina Rinehart responsible for something her father said in 1985. Yet so doing was what lost the Netballers their sponsorship. Their loss of their sponsorship was simple justice and a proper response to political fanaticism
There has been a tsunami of support for Gina Rinehart’s decision to walk away from her $15m sponsorship deal with Netball Australia. Rightly, outrage has been directed at players spurning an exceedingly generous and altruistic deal for reasons that range from the businesswoman’s own political views to offensive remarks made by her father 50 years ago.
Australians have clearly had a gutful of overpaid but under-informed sportspeople who think their personal opinions on matters outside their areas of expertise are worth inflicting on sport.
Sky News host Cory Bernardi says Australia’s sport is becoming controlled by “woke whingers” and “public… displays of virtuous hypocrisy”. “You’ve seen a bit on Sky News this week about sporting cancel culture, only this time it’s not the punters cancelling sports, it’s the players,” Mr Bernardi said. More
If only Woodside would likewise demand the Fremantle Dockers either stand up proudly for their sponsor or stop taking its money.
It’s high time too that Cricket Australia told the hitherto sainted Pat Cummins to put a sock in his criticism of Alinta Energy, the company that pays at least part of his enormous salary. Ricky Ponting was brave to point out the political posturing of older, richer players hurts young players who have not had the luxury of sponsorship deals that pay for big lifestyles replete with first-class flights and shiny four-wheel-drive cars. There is no doubt politics and sport cannot be completely divorced but it is tiresome to watch everything from netball to footy being subjected to, and damaged by, zealotry from undergraduate political activists dressed in green and gold.
It has now come to pass that every two-bob political opinion from every minor sport star not only deserves to be aired but indulged. Hypocrisy is no barrier. Jetsetting ex-footballers whose carbon footprint is surely only just less than Al Gore’s think they are entitled to chide Woodside for keeping the lights on in Western Australia and employing so many of their fellow West Australians. Woodside, whose activities are regulated to within an inch of its corporate life, and which pays a big chunk of the taxes Mark McGowan is now using to build everything from mental health facilities to desalination plants, is entitled to tell these sporting politicians to keep their personal political views out of sport.
Likewise, netballers are free to harbour whatever political views they wish, and indeed to act on their individual consciences. They can leave sport and enter politics if they are passionate about changing the world off the field. But for so long as they are on the field, and receive sponsorship money, the decent thing would be to say thank you to Rinehart for her generous deal.
Alas, good manners and gratitude are now apparently optional extras for our pampered players. No wonder so many Australians might be thrilled that Rinehart called their bluff.
Rinehart has been a terrific supporter of Australian sports from rowing and swimming to volleyball and synchronised swimming. And, of course, netball. Hancock also inked a deal with the Australian Olympic Committee to sponsor Australian teams at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, Paris 2024 Summer Olympics, the Milan-Cortina Winter Olympics in 2026, as well as the Youth Olympics and Pacific Games. Dismal results at the London Olympics led many sponsors to withdraw funding from Swimming Australia. After Rinehart stepped in with financial help, Australian swimmers in Tokyo produced best-ever performances.
Rinehart’s money goes directly to sports people so they can focus on their sport, rather than try to hold down a job and train too. During the Tokyo Olympics three-time Tokyo medallist Cate Campbell recognised the businesswoman’s contribution: “I don’t say this lightly, but Gina Rinehart saved swimming.”
The Hancock deal with Netball Australia would have provided a significant pay increase to players at a time when NA has millions of dollars of debt and the country faces a challenging economic outlook. The objections to Rinehart’s deal need to be understood against behind-the-scenes shenanigans by some players who apparently want NA to revisit a private equity deal rather than take money from Rinehart.
Diamonds players driving this fiasco have shown themselves to be both selfish and foolish. Imagine telling those who care for children afflicted with cancer to refuse $2m donated by the Hancock Group to the WA Telethon this past weekend. In total, mining companies donated millions more to the same terrific fundraiser, as did the WA government, using mining royalties.
Now it is over to NA to hold out the begging bowl in search of suitably woke corporate sponsors who will both indulge every political thought bubble an individual player has and keep paying the bills when those thought bubbles insult or injure the sponsor. Or will taxpayers be forced to foot the bill for the misdirected political activism of their players?
23 October, 2022
With the vigorous revival of racism in the form of Critical Race Theory, the Left have legitimated all sorts of racism. So we should not be surprised that Latinos have jumped onto the bandwagon. Racists have always given their racism some sort of respectable gloss but in any guise it is always obnoxious. There are all sorts of people in any race so it it the individual who should be the focus of attention
In a leaked tape, three members of the all-Democrat (plus one independent) Los Angeles City Council, along with a labor leader—all Latino—used racist, homophobic, anti-white, anti-Asian, and even anti-Mexican slurs as they plotted to redistrict the city council to increase “Latino power.”
LA is approximately 50% Latino, but Latinos control “just” 30% of the 15 council seats. For the party of diversity, inclusion, and equality, this is a problem. Worse, blacks, though less than 10% of the population, occupy 20% of the council seats. The three black council members preside over districts that are either majority Latino or where they make up the largest plurality. How dare Latino voters vote for black politicians!
Leading the parade of invectives was since-resigned City Council President Nury Martinez, herself a daughter of Mexican immigrants and whose rise in city politics was aided by a black mentor politician. Martinez—who has called former President Donald Trump “racist”—and the others directed much of their wrath against a fellow councilmember, Mike Bonin, a white man with an adopted black child.
They accused Bonin, whom Martinez said “thinks he’s f—ing black,” of using his black child as an “accessory.” Councilman Kevin de Leon said Bonin treated the child like a “Louis Vuitton bag” and Martinez described the boy as being “like a monkey.” As for Bonin, a gay man, Martinez called him “a little b—-.”
De Leon also took a swipe at both neighboring Orange County and the Los Angeles Times. He said Latinos need not fear “those crazies in Orange County who are pro-Trump. It’s the white liberals. It’s the L.A. Times.”
Another white man, the Los Angeles city controller, came under attack, as did the white colleagues on the council. Martinez said, “You need to go talk to that white guy [the city controller]. It’s not us. It’s the white members on this council that will motherf— you in a heartbeat.”
Martinez also attacked Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon, but not for his soft-on-crime policies that many point to as a major cause of the rise in violent crime. About Gascon, Martinez said, “F— that guy … He’s with the blacks.” Apparently to Martinez, Gascon’s policies, which allow bad guys to remain on the streets where they disproportionately shoot and kill blacks, is being “with the blacks.”
In a discussion about whether immigrants from Oaxaca, Mexico, are part of Los Angeles’ Koreatown, Martinez said: “I see a lot of little short dark people. … I was like, I don’t know where these people are from, I don’t know what village they came [from], how they got here. They’re ugly.”
As for the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor’s President Ron Herrera, he publicly supports black candidates for council, but on the tape says, “My goal in life is to get the three of you elected. We’re like the little Latino caucus of our own.” If this means diminishing black political power to do so, well, so be it.
In the hourlong meeting, the four uttered not one word about the city’s record-setting crime and homelessness. They said nothing about the poor urban K-12 government schools or about the city’s declining population, caused in part by the lack of housing affordability for the working and middle classes.
As for these liberals’ quest to increase “Latino power,” this raises a few questions. What is the left-wing Latino position on homelessness that differs from the position of the left-wing non-Latinos on City Council? What is the left-wing Latino position on reversing the population loss? What is the Latino position on crime, something that 77% of city residents say they are concerned about? What is the Latino position, compared to their non-Latino liberal colleagues, on how and why test scores of government schools in California are near the bottom when compared to other states, with the scores of Angelenos lower than the California state average?
Martinez and Herrera have resigned, while the two other council members, Gil Cedillo and de Leon, have been stripped of their committee assignments but have resisted calls for their resignation. Cedillo, however, lost his reelection bid, and his term ends in December. Tough to pin this on “white supremacy.” Was this the LA City Council or a KKK meeting?
Crime is on the ballot on November 8th
By Rick Manning
Murders are up 50 percent since mid-2019 in major cities and Democrat catch and release policies are squarely in the voters crosshairs.
The same Democrats who embraced the Black Lives Matter defund the police mantra now find themselves having to defend the results of emasculated police forces unable to recruit new officers to enforce new laws which have turned many local jails into turnstiles. In many major cities and counties like New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, San Francisco, Chicago and the Washington D.C. suburban counties of Fairfax and Loudoun prosecutors have been elected promising to end mass incarceration are changing local laws by refusing to enforce them. In doing so, they are creating havoc on the streets.
At the same time many of these Democrat controlled jurisdictions have implemented an experiment known as cashless bail, where bail is not required to release a person arrested for a variety of misdemeanors and non-violent felonies. This effectively puts the person arrested back on the streets before the police officer who arrested has finished the paperwork associated with the arrest.
The results have been disastrous.
In California, a 2014 state voter initiative that made theft of up to $950 a misdemeanor combined with prosecutors who refuse to seek jail for “petty” offenses has been adding even more fuel to the fire.
Businesses like Walgreens are shutting down stores in San Francisco as mobs of looters work together to strip stores bare in brazen mass thefts knowing that the District Attorney won’t prosecute even if the police find and arrest them.
And the public has had enough. The radical, Chesa Boudin, narrowly elected as San Francisco DA under a controversial ranked choice voting system in 2019 was recalled in June of this year. A response by one of the most liberal electorates in the nation to a crime wave and violence that has beset the once beautiful jewel on the Pacific Ocean.
In Loudoun County, Virginia, commonwealth attorney (county prosecutor) Buta Bitaraj has faced a barrage of criticism over decisions ranging from failure to prosecute domestic violence cases to lying to the Court to secure a six month plea deal for a nineteen year old criminal who had burglarized twelve homes over ten days in northern Virginia and seeking to jail the father of a high school girl who was raped by a male student who claimed to be transgender in a case that made national headlines, and mishandling domestic violence cases. Voters are currently seeking to recall Bitaraj who’s razor-thin election victory in 2019 was credited to an $650,000 infusion of campaign cash from a George Soros funded superpac.
And New York City which had enjoyed a run of twenty years with very few homicides due to then Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s criminal interdiction policies has found itself back in the sewer of despair as murders have skyrocketed. The City’s subway system is becoming known as the murder express with more homicides on the system in the past three years than in the previous eleven years combined. Major crime in the Big Apple has jumped by 37% this year alone as the poison fruit of the left’s war on police wreaks havoc.
On a national level, the Biden open border policies have allowed Mexican cartels to flood our streets with fentanyl laced drugs resulting in a 50 percent rise in drug overdose deaths since 2019. Drug death increases were jump started due to the isolation resulting from isolation resulting from the Covid lockdowns combined with China’s dumping of deadly Fentanyl into our country in partnership with the cartels.
And Americans know that the criminal justice system is being broken at their expense.
While polling doesn’t list crime as the number one issue with inflation holding that spot, the right track/wrong track questions which measures how people feel about the direction of the country shows a whopping 40.5 percent more people saying America is on the wrong track than the right one.
If you need any other proof that Americans are voting on the crime issue, just try to find national Democrats pushing their anti-police, pro-criminal agenda. What was once a cacophony of noise demanding ‘criminal justice reform’ and ‘defunding police’ has become a whisper as criminals run amok and more people die as a result.
As Democratic politicians are about to find out, catch and release is great for fisheries management, but it is dangerous criminal justice policy.
The Leftist establishment TREASURES victims of sexual assault
Everything in this current era appears to be about feelings. There is feelings-based feminism and feelings-based hashtags. If the fembots [feminist accounts on Twitter] had their way – we would have a feelings-based judicial system. In this Woke new world, we feel the need to overcompensate and protect various groups – in fear of traumatising them.
Victims of rape and sexual assault are mollycoddled by the press. We are perpetually infantilised by commentators, journalists, and the public alike. People who haven’t experienced rape (or sexual abuse of any kind) find the idea of survivors having great sex lives and moving forward triumphantly – worrying. It doesn’t quite fit with their perception of us and how they understand victims of sexual violence.
In most cases, people prefer to stereotype survivors – viewing them as downtrodden victims but often this doesn’t align with the actual reality.
In 2009, I was living in New York for a short period of time and studying acting. A student in one of my classes brought up a short story I had shared on social media about my rape – they spoke about it with me in front of the entire class. Within minutes, I was offered a chair, a coffee, a glass of water and told that I could perform my monologue first. I don’t hold anything against the students or teachers who rallied around me that spring morning. In their eyes, they were being sensitive and compassionate. But the fact was; I didn’t need a chair because my legs work fine. I didn’t need a coffee or water, especially when the other students weren’t being offered one. And I certainly didn’t deserve favouritism regarding my monologue.
My experience that morning reminds me of a Ted Talk by the late (and incredibly witty) Australian disability-rights activist – Stella Young. Young talks about being a 15-year-old and the council wanting to honour her with a community achievement award. Young said she wasn’t doing anything at that age that could even be considered an achievement – if you removed her disability from the equation.
But these virtue-signalling social justice warriors who derive enjoyment from attaching themselves to other people’s trauma and exploiting their pain (as if it was their own) have desires to change the legal system too. I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the number of think pieces and social media statuses I’ve read – criticising cross-examination techniques in rape trials.
Criminal Defence Lawyer and Victoria University Law lecturer, Roman Fida, told the ABC back in 2021:
‘It is a criminal justice system within a liberal democracy and with that comes a lot of protections, particularly for the accused. As I always say, I would prefer to see a guilty person walk free than an innocent person be found guilty.’
Victorian Barrister, Fiona Martin (who is a former prosecutor in sex offence trials) told the ABC that she believes Australian courts get the balance right. She is quoted as saying:
‘It is very much a balancing act between making sure victims are not unnecessarily traumatised through the process, but balancing the right of an accused person to put forward his or her case.’
On October 11, a column appeared on Crikey titled Time to consider alternatives to trials for rape and sexual assault. In a nutshell, Madonna King suggests hauling ‘evidence-gathering and court processes into the 21st century’ in a way that doesn’t create further harm to the alleged victim. I must say, I do like King’s idea of the complainant and the defendant not being named until three months after the court case has ended. This would definitely protect the alleged perpetrator’s name and reputation if they were found to be not guilty. But King’s views on cross-examination during rape trials are fanciful at best.
‘A woman who alleges rape, harassment, sexual assault or domestic violence is put into a witness box and asked the most personal questions possible. Questions about previous relationships, undergarments, the number of drinks they might have consumed and their state of undress when alleged crimes took place. This is happening in courts across our nation, daily. And surely that is as archaic as it is shameless. There needs to be a better way.’
King doesn’t bother to elaborate on her point or advise her readers on what a ‘better way’ would look like. Probably because a better way doesn’t exist without lowering the bar of guilt. In an idealised fantasyland, King’s suggestion sounds compassionate and progressive but for the accused – not so much. The Australian Law Reform Commission defines cross examination as: ‘a feature of the adversarial process and is designed, among other things, to allow the defence to confront and undermine the prosecution’s case by exposing deficiencies in a witness’ testimony, including the complainant’s testimony.’
Archaic? Shameless? Oh come on, I think not! How else do you suggest the legal system goes about gathering evidence? Should it come down to a Tarot reading? A hands-in-the-air vote? Or perhaps a premonition from a prominent feminist will suffice? The sad fact is individuals worldwide make false accusations. Some make them due to mental health issues, others do it as a form of revenge and there are even those who do it for media attention. In Australia making a false accusation is an offence and carries a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment.
As a rape survivor, retelling your experience to doctors, nurses, counsellors, courts, psychiatrists, social workers, government departments, rape group facilitators, police, employers, job network providers, new lovers and so on – becomes part and parcel of your experience.
Mark Twain once said: ‘If you tell the truth. You never have to remember anything.’ Trials for rape and sexual assault should continue on in the same way – so innocent people don’t end up in the slammer.
Facts mean everything.
Feelings and emotions mean nothing.
The Australian Labor party and the Jews
Antisemitism is ingrained in the Left generally. Even Karl Marx despised Jews
This week came the announcement in the Australian newspaper, after a bungle on the DFAT website was exposed, that ‘Foreign Minister Penny Wong has reversed the former government’s recognition of West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel instead of Tel Aviv
Antisemitism has plagued the modern Left for the last few decades. Part of the reason Jew-hatred is so entrenched within various Labour (and Greens) parties is that their fundamental leftist ideological beliefs blind them to the reality of their own ingrained prejudices, many of which were imbibed in the neo-Marxist halls of universities and in the sweaty basements of undergraduate political clubs.
In the modern socialist view of the world, one is either a dark-skinned indigenous victim of imperialist occupation or an illegitimate pale-skinned coloniser of land that doesn’t belong to you. The ultimate irony is that Jews – persecuted and murdered for over a thousand years by fair-skinned European anti-semites for their dark, swarthy looks and semitic features – have somehow washed up in the ‘white’ column in the modern era. Whereas any other ‘tribe’ with such a long and proud connection to and reverence for their own lands would be regarded as the rightful ‘indigenous First Nation’ of the Holy Lands, the perversity of the modern Left is to deny Jews their own heritage whilst promulgating the idea that another ‘tribe’ actually owns their land. And so it came to pass that Israel and the Jews are now viewed by the Left as illegitimate occupiers of their own birthright; a glorious birthright that extends back over three thousand years and is one of the cornerstones of Western civilisation.
Thus, ‘West Jerusalem’, never before disputed, is now declared by Labor’s mandarins to not be Jewish at all – or words to that effect – but instead the plaything of globalist outfits like the United Nations and the EU. Tel Aviv, a thriving, fun town for sure, but a modern one with no deep historical roots of note to the ancient Jewish kingdom, will suffice for the embassy gig as far as Wong and co. are concerned.
The reaction from around the world has been swift. The Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid tweeted, ‘We can only hope that the Australian government manages other matters more seriously and professionally,’ before adding, ‘Jerusalem is the eternal and united capital of Israel and nothing will ever change that.’
Perhaps Ms Wong, born in Malaysia, was confusing that nation’s overt antipathy to Israel with Australian priorities. Who knows? Whatever the case, the sheer arrogance of Labor’s Foreign Minister in presuming that she can unilaterally determine another nation’s capital city against their own wishes is breath-taking. Imagine the Chinese telling us that they didn’t recognise Canberra and were instead moving their embassy to Uluru.
This magazine and its editor have long warned Australian Jewry to beware of the fake hand of friendship offered by the Labor party. By accusing Mr Morrison of recognising Jerusalem (the insertion of ‘West’ was a typically cowardly piece of political nonsense from the Liberal party bedwetters) solely for the purpose of currying favour in electorates with a high Jewish vote shows again not only the arrogance but the condescension of Labor to Israelis and Jews, believing them to be a collective that can so easily be bought off. It is also worth pointing out that all those seats in fact went to the Teals, who themselves have a fairly questionable history when it comes to anti-semitic comments, so not exactly a credible analysis.
It was also Penny Wong who recently and disgracefully reversed the $10 million of Aussie taxpayer cuts to UNRWA; funds believed by some to be financing Palestinian pay-for-slay programs. (A cause originally championed by this magazine and successfully pursued by Dr David Adler and others in the Australian parliament.)
It was former prime minister Tony Abbott and then President Donald Trump, and most recently British PM Liz Truss, who showed their support for Israel by recognising Jerusalem as the eternal capital. Mr Trump is also responsible for bringing peace to parts of the Middle East in the form of the Abraham Accords.
Meanwhile, it was the British Labour party that was forced to turf out former leader (and good friend of Anthony Albanese) Jeremy Corbyn over allegations concerning anti-semitism.
By their works shall ye know them.
21 October, 2022
An "ex" gets Royal approval
Meaning that "exes" are now respectable. Many marriages these days have a third party: the former husband or wife of one member of the couple, the "ex". It's particularly common in Australia for former partners to remain friendly and continue to have some role in one-another's lives.
I am myself in that position. I regularly see an ex-wife and an ex-girlfriend. And I value both friendships greatly. My present girfriend grumbles about it, though. She says it does not happen in her home country in Southern Europe
As Harry and Meghan are 5,000 miles away in California, and Prince Andrew is banned from polite society, the King's vision of a 'slimmed-down' monarchy is looking too skinny.
So step forward a new member of 'The Firm'.
I can reveal that Brigadier Andrew Parker Bowles carried out his first royal duty on behalf of the Queen Consort on Tuesday.
He formally represented his ex-wife at a funeral — and friends claim it could be the first engagement of many. '
Andrew is happy to do anything he is asked,' one of his friends tells me. 'He still enjoys a warm relationship with Camilla.'
The news was recorded in the Court Circular, the official record of royal engagements.
'The Queen Consort was represented by Brigadier Andrew Parker Bowles,' it says of his attendance at the funeral of John Bowes-Lyon at the London Oratory. Bowes-Lyon, who died last month aged 80, was a second cousin of the late Queen.
Formally representing Camilla meant Parker Bowles, 82, was given a prominent pew at the Roman Catholic church.
He and Camilla, who married in 1973, have two children. They separated in the 1980s, finally divorcing in 1995, with a royal biographer once remarking: 'It is said that an English gentleman will always lay down his wife for his country and this was certainly true in the case of Andrew Parker Bowles.'
Camilla married Prince Charles in 2005, while Parker Bowles exchanged vows with Rosemary Pitman in 1996. She died in 2010.
Parker Bowles and Bowes-Lyon were cousins. Their great-uncle was the legendary roué Raymund de Trafford
Texas family fights at Supreme Court to keep adopted Native American child due to law that favors tribes
Chad and Jennifer Brackeen almost had their Native American adopted son taken away from them because of a federal law that codifies what their lawyers say is "racial discrimination."
Now, the family is fighting to keep custody of his half-sister through a Supreme Court case that could gut a major part of that law but which Native tribes warn could strike a far-reaching blow to their sovereignty.
The case, Haaland v. Brackeen, combines cases from a handful of other families and multiple interested states, including Texas, where the Brackeens live. At the center of the controversy is the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), a 1970s law meant to protect Native American children in state child custody proceedings.
The law was a reaction to high rates of Native children being adopted by non-tribal members – often with little process and unjustly. It prioritizes placing Native children with extended family members, members of their tribe, and if that's not possible, with another Native family. Exceptions for "good cause" are allowed but not specifically defined.
"Congress’s racial discrimination is ‘most evident’ in ICWA’s third placement preference … which bluntly favors any ‘Indian famil[y]’ from any of 574 tribes over any non-Indian family," a brief from the Brackeens' lawyers says.
"The placement preferences ‘operate individually and jointly’ to disadvantage non-Indian parents seeking to adopt an Indian child," reads the court filing.
The Brackeens' lawyers also argued that Congress overstepped its bounds by trying to regulate state child custody proceedings.
The Brackeens began fostering their adopted son, referred to in court documents as A.L.M., in 2016, after his mother, a member of Navajo Nation, was unable to care for him. Navajo Nation eventually identified A.L.M. as a member of its tribe more than a year later, according to the Brackeens, and sought to place him with other tribal members who were not related to him and lived in a different state.
"They had decided that we were not a suitable home for him. And so we decided to pursue adoption through the court system," Jennifer Brackeen told Fox News Digital.
The family to whom the Navajo Nation wished to send A.L.M. stepped back from the proceedings, and the Brackeens won custody. But their adoption saga continued after A.L.M.'s mother gave birth to his half-sister, known as Y.R.J.
The biological mother supported placement with the Brackeens. But Navajo Nation sought to place Y.R.J., according to the Brackeens' lawyers, "in another state hundreds of miles away with either a great-aunt or an unrelated Navajo couple."
Sweden’s conservative government abandons ‘feminist’ foreign policy
Sweden will abandon its signature “feminist” foreign policy to pursue its national interests more assertively, the country’s new top diplomat has said.
For eight years successive centre-left governments have put gender equality and women’s rights at the centre of their approach to international relations, reinventing the notion of Sweden as a “moral superpower”.
This has involved lobbying for measures to promote girls’ education, encouraging more women into the workforce and positions of influence and tackling violence against girls and women.
Since the idea was pioneered in 2014 by Margot Wallstrom, the former foreign affairs minister, it has caught on across the Western world. It gained particular traction in Germany, where Annalena Baerbock, the Foreign Minister, is drawing up an explicitly feminist strategy for diplomacy.
The new right-wing ruling coalition in Sweden, which relies on the hard-right Sweden Democrats for its parliamentary majority, said it would concentrate instead on “promoting Swedish interests in every domain”. It has already removed the feminist foreign policy mission statement from the Government’s website.
“Equality between men and women is a central value for both Sweden and this government, but no, we won’t pursue a feminist foreign policy,” Tobias Billstrom, the newly appointed Foreign Minister, told Aftonbladet.
“The label hasn’t served its purpose and above all it has obscured the fact that Swedish foreign policy must be based on the question of what Sweden’s values and interests are,” he said.
What the shift will mean in practice remains to be seen.
Ann Linde, Mr Billstrom’s predecessor, was an enthusiastic proponent of feminist diplomacy, combining it with other liberal causes.
However, critics dismissed the philosophy as platitudinous and ill-suited to an era of great-power rivalry, noting that Sweden had exported weapons to authoritarian regimes and introduced a tough asylum policy.
Swedish traditions of neutrality and avoiding armed conflicts have been diluted: it sent troops to a French-led military task force in Mali, delivered missiles to Ukraine and applied to join NATO.
Mr Billstrom said his main priorities would be NATO accession and European and Nordic-Baltic co-operation.
New economic research has finally demolished the popular notion that the 23.3 per cent gender pay gap is primarily driven by employers paying women less for doing the same job as men
While sexism still impacts some private-sector professional salaries, the real issue is that men dominate highly paid sectors such as mining, while women take most of the low-paid jobs, such as in aged and child care.
And the research argues the pay gap could be cut by one third to 15.6 per cent if we could shift to a 40:40:20 gender concentration of workers – 40 per cent women, 40 per cent men and 20 per cent any gender – across all industries and occupations.
The Gender Equity Insights 2022 report from Curtin University’s specialist unit, the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, offers detailed evidence of how the composition of the workforce generates pay gaps.
Centre director Alan Duncan said it was the first time the centre was able to use postcodes of workplaces to get more accurate state and territory comparisons.
“This is quite a clear articulation of the different contributors to overall numbers that we often see discussed in debates around gender pay gaps,” Professor Duncan said.
“The debate is often dominated by the extent of what are commonly termed like-for-like pay gaps, and by that we mean that men and women are paid differently for performing the same role in the same organisation.”
Salary differences for the same occupations still existed, he said, but the bigger problem was that wages in some industries were much lower than in others and that women were concentrated in relatively low-paying sectors.
He said that even with a 40:40:20 split “there’s another two-thirds of the pay gap that remains to be explained”. Some was attributable to like-for-like salary differences, and some because the journey to a 50:50 split had some way to go.
“I think it’s important to understand all sides of the issue,” he said. “This shouldn’t come as a surprise – it’s something that’s been discussed for some time. But we’ve sought to really get some clarity and precision on it.”
Professor Duncan said it was important to question why some sectors were poorly paid and whether women’s contributions were adequately remunerated.
“It is important, I think, to reflect on whether or not we are rewarding the value of an aged care or a childcare worker or somebody in our health system in the manner that we should,” he said.
His team used the new WGEA location data to compare pay metrics, gender pay gaps and organisational practices across Australia. It found that in most states and territories, the main driver of the gap was the gender imbalance in industries, and this was especially so in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory. Resource-rich WA was the worst in the nation at 32.1 per cent, but the gap would halve to 16.5 per cent under the 40:40:20 rule. Under that ratio, the gap in the NT would reduce by two thirds, from 25.3 per cent to 8.3 per cent; NSW and Victoria would see gender pay gaps fall by 7.4 and 6.5 percentage points; and Queensland by a larger margin of 8.8 percentage points, from 22.5 per cent down to 13.7 per cent.
It also found that for people working in major cities, the gender pay gap in base remuneration is about 19 per cent. However, the gender pay gap rises steadily to 28.2 per cent for those working in remote areas, and to 29.3 per cent for workers in very remote parts of the country,
The report said Australia needed more men in healthcare and social assistance, and education and training, and more women in construction, mining, manufacturing, information services, transport and wholesale.
“There also needs to be an increase in the share of women in leadership positions, technicians and trades workers and operators and drivers,” it said.
WGEA director Mary Wooldridge said Australia had one of the most highly gender-segregated industrial structures in the developed world.
20 October, 2022
The mother of George Floyd’s daughter has launched a $250 million legal bid against Kanye West after his controversial comments about his death
Kanye is right. The conviction of officer Chauvin was a political necessity, not a reasonable conclusion
West claimed that Floyd, who was murdered by Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin in May 2020, died after taking fentanyl and the police officers knee ‘wasn’t even on his neck like that’.
Now Floyd’s family have issued a cease-and desist letter to West, 45, for the comments he made on the Drink Champs podcast, which has since been deleted.
Roxie Washington, the mother of Gianna Floyd, claims in the lawsuit that West made ‘false statements’ about George to ‘promote his brands’.
The lawsuit also claims that he made the comments to ‘increase marketing value and revenue for himself, his business partners, and associates.’
Civil rights activist and attorney Lee Merritt first hinted at a potential lawsuit on Sunday, despite conceding that it is impossibly to defame the dead.
Lawyers say that West used ‘malicious falsehoods’ about Floyd to profit from his death and the families trauma.
Nuru Witherspoon, a partner at The Witherspoon Law Group who is representing the family, said in a statement: ‘The interests of the child are priority.
‘George Floyd’s daughter is being traumatised by Kanye West’s comments and he’s creating an unsafe and unhealthy environment for her.’
The press release by the family’s legal team brand West’s comments as ‘repugnant’, adding: ‘Some words have consequences and Mr West will be made to understand that.’
West made the wild claims during an appearance on Revolt TV's Drink Champs podcast, and made several other controversial statements in the latest of his outbursts.
He made the claim about Floyd's death while giving a glowing review of the Candace Owens documentary The Greatest Lie Ever Sold: George Floyd and the Rise of BLM.
The rapper said: 'They hit [Floyd] with the fentanyl. If you look, the guy's knee wasn't even on his neck like that.
'They said he screamed for his mama; mama was his girlfriend. It's in the documentary.'
Floyd died because Chauvin had pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck for nine-and-a-half minutes as he shouted ‘I can’t breathe.’
Hennepin County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker said that while Floyd’s heart disease and use of fentanyl were contributing factors to his death, they were not the direct cause.
The legal battle comes just a few years West joined the protest in 2020 following Floyd’s killing - making himself a public ally.
During the podcast he also implied that Kris Jenner, 66, had sex with Drake, 33, and say 'Jewish media' censored an interview of his.
In other parts of the chat, West said 'Jewish people control the black voice' and sarcastically stated the 'Jewish media' would cancel one of the hosts for saying: 'F**k Black Lives Matter.'
The father-of four has faced criticism in recent weeks for his bizarre behavior, including introducing a series of shirts branded with 'White Lives Matter.'
He has also made several eyebrow-raising comments that have been widely regarded as anti-Semitic.
"Rainbow" South Africa today
It was referred to as a rainbow nation after the end of apartheid
Our message was that while South Africa brimmed with potential, and had the elements to underwrite a successful future, it was also confronting a number of dangers that threatened the country’s very existence as a constitutional democracy.
For much of this time, our warnings went unheeded, and were often dismissed as hyperbole or alarmism.
It’s unlikely that we’d find the same emphatic dismissal today.
It’s hard to argue that South Africa has not reached a point of crisis. We’re a society in which over half the country lives below the official income poverty line, and around a quarter has trouble in affording food. Unemployment stands at just under 34% on the official definition – and that excludes those who are jobless and would accept work but are not looking for it. Crime remains a bane on our daily existence: between March and June this year, 6 424 people were murdered, or over 70 a day in this period.
Infrastructure creaks after decades of neglect and the pillaging of the institutions that were meant to oversee them. The ports in Cape Town and Durban were ranked as among the least efficient on earth in a report by the World Bank and S&P Global Market Intelligence in June. Roads and rail are in disrepair. The Post Office is effectively bankrupt. As for electricity supply, we’ve lived with load-shedding for around 15 years, with little to suggest imminent improvement.
The country’s water supply, so critical for an environmentally stressed country, is failing, and many municipalities lack a piped flow of potable water. Many municipalities have been disastrously mismanaged long term, rendering some communities effectively ungoverned spaces.
Even the metros are not immune from this. The three cities in Gauteng are each now having to deal with both electricity and water cuts. Doctors in hospitals report being asked to ferry in water from home to allow toilets to be flushed. A headline in News24 the other day put it like this: Triple whammy hits Joburg: ‘No water, no electricity and no one steering the ship.’
Last year, the government literally lost control of parts of the country as rioting hit – particularly here in KwaZulu-Natal.
Put all those things together and it is unsurprising that investment stands at historic lows of 13% of GDP. This while the National Development Plan envisaged 30%.
If there was ever any dispute about the existence or severity of our national malaise, this should have been dispelled.
We mention this not only to underline the grave circumstances that bring us here today, but because there is an explanation that all who are concerned with South Africa’s future should understand: what has brought us to this point is not only corruption, greed or incompetence; South Africa has been brought to this point by deliberate policy choices.
This is about ideology. The ruling African National Congress does not and has for decades not considered itself a political party. It is a liberation movement, a political organisation endowed by history with the right and duty to lead a radical reordering of society. It does not see itself as representing a constituency with a conditional mandate to manage the state.
It is an embodiment of ‘the people’ – note that phrase. What it represents is the higher aspirations of society. ‘Struggle’ is a near permanent condition, for a liberation movement undertaking this momentous project must always be vigilant of the nefarious purposes of its ‘enemies’ – note that phrase too.
In a world of toxic dating apps, I'm glad my daughter wants an arranged marriage like mine
RAJ GILL is a modern, professional woman whose daughter is at university. Here, she challenges preconceptions by suggesting tradition is the way forward
The first time I saw my husband I was 27. He was tall, dark and handsome — the truth, not just a cliché — and wearing tan trousers and a blazer. My first impression? He was hot!
So, did our eyes lock across a restaurant table bathed in flickering candlelight, or was our first encounter perhaps for coffee and a country stroll, just the two of us?
No. You might be surprised that passion burned so brightly when you learn that Jugtar arrived at my parents' house in Glasgow with his whole family in tow, while all my family — including my Nana — were in attendance too.
We were allowed to escape to the dining room to chat privately, but only after we'd all — 12 of us in total — shared tea together.
You see, I had an arranged marriage. Jugtar having been chosen as a prospective suitor by my parents. In these days of dating apps, transient relationships and declining marriage statistics, to many, the concept of an arranged marriage seems like something from the Dark Ages, an antiquated convention that inevitably must be oppressive to women.
And straight away I should make the distinction between an arranged marriage and a forced one. Forced is, as it says, doing something against your will.
Admittedly, in previous generations there was little sense of choice, even with an arranged marriage. For my grandparents and parents, the first time husband met wife was on their wedding day.
But these days — as it was for me — it's more like a blind date. My family had chosen someone who they felt would be a good fit and brought us together, but they were clear that it was ultimately our decision whether it progressed to marriage.
'Intro-marriage' is the modern way to describe this scenario and it's certainly worked for us. While we have our ups and downs, like any other couple, Jugtar, a 49-year-old businessman, and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary last month, and we have two beautiful teenagers.
Recently, our 19-year-old daughter Karam, who is currently studying psychology at university, said that when the time is right she would consider an arranged marriage, too — something that's entirely her choice.
It's a decision many girls her age will instinctively recoil from. Certainly, shock is the initial reaction of the character played by Lily James in an upcoming film called What's Love Got To Do With It?
She plays a documentary filmmaker and dating app addict who has a disastrous romantic history. Yet when she decides to make a film about her friend Kaz's path to his arranged marriage in Pakistan, she realises that she has lessons to learn from a different way of finding a meaningful relationship.
It's bound to spark a debate about the best way to find lasting love, but I truly believe that the lessons you can learn from an arranged marriage go further than fluffy romcom fantasy. These relationships are built on the ideas of respect and compatibility — key qualities which seem very lacking in today's dating-app culture. Here, young people hook up — often just for sex — on the basis of a picture and perceived sexual attraction.
From listening to the woes of my friends, it's clear that dating apps can be a toxic place, especially if you are female; an environment where women are treated as sexual playthings, discarded when a man gets bored.
And while a survey by the Marriage Foundation revealed that online dating has become the most common way to meet a husband or wife, with a third of those marrying now having met online, it also found that such couples are six times more likely to divorce in the first three years of marriage than those who meet at university or via family and friends.
I'm not surprised. When I was introduced to Jugtar, while I found him undeniably attractive, the focus was on compatibility.
We not only had similar backgrounds, but shared interests — we're both avid readers, for example — and wanted the same things out of life, including children. Our different personalities complemented each other: I'm an extrovert and he is more introverted. I'm always on the go; Jugtar is much more laid-back.
My family are Punjabi Sikhs, as are Jugtar's, and our parents are first-generation immigrants from India.
To start with they worked for foundries and in mills, and I was eight when we — my parents, two brothers, sister and I — moved to Glasgow and they started their own business.
Like most young women today, I was brought up to be educated, financially independent and to embrace the opportunities I was given. While marriageable age in the culture in which I was raised is from 18 years old, I wasn't put under any pressure to do so until I was ready.
My parents' world was one of traditional Indian values — daughters who went straight from their father's home to a husband's — but they let me carve my own path, often against the advice of family members.
Economy trumps feelings in the US inflationary climate
Fewer than three weeks out from midterm elections, which will determine whether Biden can have any legislative agenda in the last two years of this presidential term, feelings are indeed the Democrats’ best political weapon.
Their summer of hope, buoyed by a media maelstrom of criticism following the court’s decision to reverse a 49-year-old precedent, is fading into a gloomy autumn reality.
Bill Clinton’s aphorism about the primacy of economic matters in elections is having a renaissance as record inflation, rampant illegal immigration on the southern US border and rising crime loom larger in the minds of American voters than abortion, voting rights and climate change, let alone the ridiculous spectre of “fascism”.
Two national polls out in recent days make for grim reading for Democrats, putting Republicans easily ahead on what’s known as the generic ballot – will you vote Republican or Democrat this November?
The fine print was arguably worse reading, though. A new poll conducted by The New York Times, a publication not prone to any pro-Republican bias, and Siena College found only 5 per cent of voters thought abortion rights were the most important issue facing the nation.
Even women, that 51 per cent of the population often supposed to hold the same view on everything, had swung towards Republicans by an admittedly difficult to believe 18 percentage point margin. Memory of Dobbs appears to be fading, perhaps aided by the fact in practice abortion rights have changed for very few women, as the practice was already legal for the vast bulk of the US population and will remain so.
At the same time, 44 per cent said inflation, which has been at 40-year highs for more than six months, and the economy, widely believed to be on the cusp of a slump, were the most important issues.
To add insult to injury, Donald Trump, a man deemed the most deplorable in US history, 24/7, for more than five years, beat Biden in a hypothetical 2024 presidential matchup.
You can almost hear the teeth being pulled at the reporting desk at the Grey Lady (the NYT).
One aberrant poll might be dismissed, but the Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll of more than 5000 voters (a big sample for a political poll) released a day earlier was arguably worse for the ruling party.
When asked what issues they thought most concerned Democrats, respondents opted for the January 6 riots on Capitol Hill (an event that occurred more than 600 days ago), women’s rights and climate change.
Joe Biden has continued to see backlash for telling a reporter the US economy is “strong as hell” after a recent…
But the three top issues that respondents themselves most cared about were inflation, the economy and immigration – exactly the same three issues they said they thought Republicans were most concerned about.
Some other ominous nuggets: 55 per cent of voters doubted the President’s mentalfitness, 84 per cent believed the US was headed for recession next year and 73 per cent thought inflation – 8.2 per cent across the year to September, a 40-year high – would shortly get worse.
Absent a natural disaster or war, it’s hard to see how the next three weeks might shift US opinion.
Biden just announced a further 15 million barrels of oil to be released from the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, reducing it to about 400 million, the lowest level in its history.
Saudi Arabia’s orchestration of an OPEC supply cut has put, deliberately perhaps, upward pressure on US petrol prices, which have a powerful negative relationship with the President’s approval rating, at the worst possible time for Democrats.
The cynical move could backfire politically, though, given the petroleum reserve was set up for economic and security emergencies, not political emergencies.
A Republican win in congress next month won’t have much direct consequence for Australia, whose alliance with the US will remain rock solid, with our free trade deal set in stone.
And our biggest disagreement with the US, over the need to appoint appellate judges to the World Trade Organisation, won’t be resolved by a Republican victory, let alone one dominated by pro-tariff Trump supporters.
But the first election in an English-speaking country since inflation soared will offer some political lessons for the others. The fastest decline in living standards in 40 years, as inflation gallops ahead of wage growth and interest rates soar, isn’t only an American phenomenon.
Margaret Thatcher once said the facts of life were conservative, and after a long hiatus, they are about to become so again, as the massive costs of years of conducting policy by feelings manifest themselves.
The unhinged response to Covid-19, at least according to any pre-2020 pandemic plan published anywhere, has burdened the world with costs unrivalled in peacetime history, and which only now are starting to become apparent as broken supply chains and rampant inflation and rising interest rates exact their toll.
The widespread fervour to try to stop climate change whatever the cost may hit a political brick wall too, especially in Europe if thousands of people freeze to death this winter as a direct result of policies to switch off perfectly good coal and nuclear power stations.
Biden hasn’t spoken much about fighting climate change in the last months of the campaign, which is surprising only until reading the results of the Harris poll. A remarkable 80 per cent of respondents said having lower petrol prices and energy independence were more important than fighting climate change. Almost 60 per cent said climate change was a long-term threat or not one at all.
Unfortunately for Biden, not enough Americans will vote on feelings alone.
19 October, 2022
America’s problem is White people keep backing the Republican Party
Below is a black writer's racially-focused comment on the American political divide. I would have thought it a more informative and less racist comment onthe facts if he had headed his article "America’s problem is that minorities keep backing the Democratic Party".
But it's the Leftist way to be obsessed with race. The Ku Klux Klan were Democrats and Karl Marx despised Jews, even though he was one. And can we forget Democrat governors Orval Faubus and George Wallace? Wallace declared in his 1963 inaugural address that he stood for "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever". Democrats are now reviving that in some American colleges
A clear majority of White Americans keeps backing the Republican Party over the Democratic Party, even though the Republican Party is embracing terrible and at times antidemocratic policies and rhetoric. The alliance between Republicans and White Americans is by far the most important and problematic dynamic in American politics today.
Non-Hispanic White Americans were about 85 percent of those who voted for Donald Trump in 2020, much larger than the 59 percent of the U.S. population overall in that demographic. That was similar to 2016, when White voters were about 88 percent of Trump backers. It is very likely that White Americans will be more than 80 percent of those who back Republican candidates in this fall’s elections.
The political discourse in America, however, continues to ignore or play down the Whiteness of the Republican coalition. In 2015 and 2016, journalists and political commentators constantly used terms such as “Middle America” and “the working class” to describe Trump’s supporters, as though the overwhelming Whiteness of the group was not a central part of the story. In this year’s campaign cycle, recent articles, in The Post and in other outlets, have highlighted Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’s supposed weaknesses with Black voters. This is a strange framing. It is likely that more than 70 percent of White voters in Georgia will back Abrams’s Republican opponent, Gov. Brian Kemp, but fewer than 20 percent of the state’s Black voters will vote for the incumbent. If Kemp wins reelection, it will be because of White Georgians, not Black ones.
Republican voters are not just White people without four-year college degrees (a group Trump won by 32 percentage points in 2020), though that has been the common framing in much political commentary. The Republican Party is the preferred choice of White people who describe themselves as evangelical Christians (whom Trump won by 69 points in 2020), White people in rural areas (Trump by 43 points), White people in the South (29 points), White men (17), White Catholics (15), White Protestants who don’t describe themselves as evangelicals (14), White people in the Midwest (13), White women (7) and White people who live in the suburbs (4). (These numbers come from post-election surveys and analysis from the Pew Research Center, the Cooperative Election Study and Eastern Illinois University professor Ryan Burge.)
In contrast, the people of color in those demographic groups (for instance, Asian Americans without four-year degrees, Black Protestants, Latina women) mostly favor Democrats.
While the majority of White people with four-year degrees backed Democrats in 2020, about 42 percent of them supported Trump. He also won more than 40 percent of White voters in the Northeast and in the West. The main bloc of White voters that overwhelmingly opposes Republicans is White people who aren’t Christians. (Joe Biden won this group by about 30 points in 2020.)
After Trump did better in 2020 with Latino voters (gaining 10 percentage points over 2016) and Black voters (up two points in that period), there has again been an effort by some in the media and even some Democrats to play down race and suggest the Trump base is really one of Americans without college degrees or those annoyed by progressive views on gender and race. But the actual percentage of Republican voters who are Black (2 percent in 2020) or Latino (8 percent) is tiny.
Overall, Republicans win the majority of White voters (55-43 nationally in 2020) in most elections.
Being the party of White Americans has given and will continue to give the Republicans two huge advantages. First, White Americans are about 72 percent of the U.S. electorate, about 13 percentage points more than their share in the overall population. White adults are more likely than Asian and Hispanic adults to be citizens (not recent immigrants) and therefore are eligible to vote. The median age for a White American is higher than that for Asian, Black or Latino Americans, and older Americans tend to vote at higher rates. If the electorate mirrored the country’s actual demographics and those groups voted as they did in 2020, Trump would have won only about 44 percent of the national vote, three points less than his 47 percent two years ago.
Second, the electoral college and the Senate give outsize power to less populated states — which in America today tend to be disproportionately White.
The alliance between White Americans and the Republican Party has existed for decades. The last time a Democratic presidential candidate won the majority of White voters was in 1964, a year before Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act. The Republican Party spent much of the next three decades courting White Americans, in part, by casting Democrats as too tied to the causes of minorities, particularly Black people and Latino immigrants.
Through the presidency of George W. Bush and Barack Obama’s first term, however, Republican leaders generally distanced themselves from this style of politics — feeling that the old tactics were not only morally wrong but also would doom the GOP in a country with a growing non-White population. But Trump and his allies have brought anti-Black and anti-immigrant sentiments and a focus on White identity back to the center of the Republican Party’s electoral strategy.
Even when Republican politicians are not campaigning directly on racial issues, the party is organized around defending the status quo in America, which is weighted toward White Americans. Policies such as raising taxes on upper-income people and making college free would reduce gaps in income and opportunity between White Americans and people of color. By opposing them, Republicans in effect protect White advantages.
So it’s no accident that Republicans are winning the majority of White voters. It is in many ways the result of a successful strategy. It’s not that Trumpism brought White voters as a bloc to the Republican Party (they were already voting Republican) — but rather that it hasn’t scared many of them off.
Perhaps the best way to understand American politics is an overwhelmingly White coalition facing one that is majority-White but includes a lot of people of color.
Perry Bacon Jr.: Have Democrats reached the limits of White appeasement politics?
Democrats are doing a lot of White appeasement to address this Republican tilt: nominating White candidates in key races; moving right/White on racialized issues such as policing and immigration; trying to boost the economy particularly in heavily White areas where the party has declined electorally.
Some of that has worked; Democrats did somewhat better among White voters in 2018 and 2020 compared with 2016. But it is very likely that the majority of White voters will again vote Republican in 2022 and 2024.
And because White people are likely to be the majority of voters for at least two more decades, America is in trouble. Across the country, GOP officials are banning books from public libraries, making it harder for non-Republicans to vote, stripping away Black political power, aggressively gerrymandering, censoring teachers and professors and, most important, denying the results of legitimate elections. The majority of America’s White voters are enabling and encouraging the GOP’s radical, antidemocratic turn by continuing to back the party in elections.
It’s not, as much of our political discourse implies, that the Democrats have a working-class or Middle America or non-college-voter problem. The more important story is that America has a White voter problem. And there is no sign it’s going away anytime soon.
The Left’s addiction to destruction
It was the late English philosopher Roger Scruton who once wrote: ‘Good things are easily destroyed, but not easily created… The work of destruction is quick, easy, and exhilarating; the work of creation is slow, laborious, and dull. That is one of the lessons of the twentieth century.’
It certainly is. And it is the so-called progressive camp that seems to excel at this.
That the Left prefers violence and destruction over reason and debate should be rather clear by now. It seems the daily newspaper headlines give us a good indication of this behaviour with stories of rioting, looting, and trying to burn down cities as they protest various causes. It is how they ‘make their case’.
They do not really have sound arguments or logic on their side, so simply destroying things is how they proceed.
Sure, it is not just the secular Left who act this way. Political Islam does similar things. Groups like ISIS are well known for destroying anything they regard as an affront to Islam. Whether it is religious extremists blowing up ancient ruins, Black Lives Matter rioters tearing down statues, or even green militants trying to destroy great works of art – they are all cut from the same cloth with destruction as the preferred MO.
‘Works of art?’ you say. Yes, you must have missed the latest craze of the crazed Left: attacking famous works of art in the name of saving the planet. There have been a number of cases of this occurring recently. As one news report: explains:
Climate change protesters threw soup over Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers at London’s National Gallery on Friday, the Just Stop Oil campaign group said. The group, which has been holding protests for the last fortnight in the British capital, released a video showing two women walking into the gallery and throwing tins of Heinz tomato soup at the painting. It is one of five versions of the Van Gogh painting on display in museums and galleries around the world.
Both women were arrested for criminal damage and aggravated trespass, police said. Just Stop Oil said the painting, which dates to 1888, had a value of $US84.2 million. An international movement that has seen climate activists smear cake across the Mona Lisa and superglue their hands to masterpieces by Sandro Botticelli, Vincent van Gogh and Umberto Boccioni has also arrived in Australia.
Two Extinction Rebellion protesters were recently arrested at the National Gallery of Victoria after glueing themselves to the 1951 Picasso painting Massacre in Korea. At their feet lay a banner reading “Climate Chaos = War + Famine”. A spokesperson from the gallery said there was some minor damage to the frame, but that the painting itself was undamaged, likely due to a protective varnish.
The group’s activists have been blocking roads around the British parliament over the last few days. Last Sunday, police said that more than 100 people had been arrested after a weekend of protest-related activity by environmental groups.
Hmm, so in the name of saving and preserving things – in this case, the planet supposedly – these nutters are going on a rampage, attacking priceless artworks to show their moral superiority.
As to these yokels gluing themselves to walls or pavements or streets, my idea is that they should just be left there to fend for themselves! Give them a few days super-glued to a busy street and see how long before they beg for help.
They are idiots who destroy rather than build. Nothing is sacred for these hoons. But as their destructive antics become even more alarming, one fears for what lies ahead.
As a result of activists terrorising art galleries, we can expect to see the need for far more stringent security measures being put in place, with the costs to visitors going up and the ability to get close to some of these great works of art taken away from us.
Since I began this piece with the words of one noted figure from England, let me finish with two more. Sir Winston Churchill said: ‘To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day.’
And conservative Jewish writer Melanie Phillips put it this way: ‘The great battles today are not between left and right. They are between morality and nihilism, truth and lies, justice and injustice, freedom and totalitarianism, and Judeo-Christian values and the would-be destroyers of the West both within and without.’
While I take Melanie’s point, there is still a political and ideological divide here. Conservatives, as the name implies, like to conserve. We like to preserve what is good in a culture. We like to maintain order amid chaos, and some beauty amongst ugliness.
But the radical Left simply wants to tear down and destroy. It is their way or the highway. And their way usually seems to gravitate towards bullying, intimidation, aggression, and destruction.
Even Barack Obama now attacks Democrat ‘cancel culture’
Barack Obama has attacked “cancel culture” in his own Democratic party, arguing that “all of us, at any given moment, can say things the wrong way, make mistakes”.
Obama, 61, described some in his party as “buzzkill Democrats”, saying that those in or seeking office needed to “be able to speak to everybody about their common interests”.
He told the Pod Save America podcast: “Sometimes people just want to not feel as if they are walking on eggshells, and they want some acknowledgment that life is messy.
“I think where we get into trouble sometimes is where we try to suggest that some groups are more . . . because they historically have been victimised more, that somehow they have a status that’s different than other people and we’re going around scolding folks if they don’t use exactly the right phrase,” he said. “Or that identity politics becomes the principal lens through which we view our various political challenges.”
He did not give an example, or name anyone, but the left of his party has been accused of promoting identity politics. Republicans have described the party as “woke” and criticised the Black Lives Matter campaign, which has strong support from many Democrats.
Obama also said the party needed to be clearer in its messaging to voters and that colleagues often got bogged down by “policy gobbledygook”.
“Look, I used to get into trouble whenever I got a little too professorial and, you know, started . . . when I was behind the podium as opposed to when I was in a crowd.”
The former president spoke less than a month before the midterm elections, in which the Democrats may lose control of both houses of Congress. The party now holds the Senate by the barest of majorities, and the House of Representatives by not much more.
ANYTHING can be a "marriage" now
In 2015, when a Supreme Court majority ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that “state bans on same-sex marriage and on recognizing same-sex marriages duly performed in other jurisdictions are unconstitutional under the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution,” I wrote that the high court had an obligation to tell us if there were any standards left when it comes to human relations.
If it could come up with one, I wanted to know on what that standard was based. I predicted that having abandoned a constitutional standard, a millennia of tradition, sociological evidence, even the scriptural definition of marriage and family, that others who operated outside tradition would be next in line to demand their “rights.”
It took just seven years for that prophecy to come true.
A New York judge has now ruled that in a tenancy case, “it’s possible for two men to both claim partnerships with a third man—and that the man whose relationship is being questioned should have a chance to prove his claim in court.” Thereby opening up the possibility of recognizing polyamorous relationships, entitling them to protections under the law.
Reading the opinion written by Judge Karen May Bacdayan offers more proof that the slippery slope characterizing modern culture has evolved into a mudslide.
Bacdayan appears to have based her ruling not on an immutable standard, but on her personal beliefs, writing: “What was ‘normal’ or ‘nontraditional’ … is not a barometer for what is normal or nontraditional now.”
Notice the quotes the judge puts around the first reference to normal and traditional, indicating a prejudice against what was once considered normal and traditional. Can anyone claim anything is normal in 2022 without being assaulted on social media and to one’s face by the “woke” crowd?
She continued by saying that “the definition of ‘family’ has morphed considerably.” Indeed it has, and not to the benefit of many individuals, their children, and society.
The “reasoning” behind Bacdayan’s ruling ought to stun most rational people. She writes that “many articles have been written about multi-person relationships in recent years, revealing a preference that for some has long been known.”
So, according to Bacdayan, it appears that creating “many articles” is the way to justify any relationship or behavior.
There were “many articles” written in defense of slavery and denying women the right to vote. Had Bacdayan’s philosophy been applied, these and other injustices might never have been rectified. There were many articles written in defense of unborn human life, but it took 50 years and more than 60 million aborted babies for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Where will this decision on polyamorous relationships lead?
In 2015, YouGov found that 25% of those polled said they believed polyamory to be “morally acceptable.” A 2020 YouGov poll found that “one-third (32%) of U.S. adults say that their ideal relationship is non-monogamous to some degree.” According to what definition of morality?
The two-parent, male-female home has been the bedrock of societies. Some traditions have lasted because they work. When social mores are individually rejected, school shootings, street violence, and anti-American ideology can be the result.
Ancient Rome and other licentious societies collapsed from within because of their indifference to moral restraints. What makes Americans think we can avoid a similar fate?
We are committing cultural suicide, and few want to risk the criticism that comes from standing against the tide. We “invent ways of doing evil,” the Apostle Paul wrote.
If a judge and a growing number of Americans no longer recognize what many consider immorality, then immorality wins.
18 October, 2022
How Marriage Makes You Rich
Writing below, Renata Ellera Gomes has some unusually insightful observations. Her contempt for expensive weddings is a good example. I recently went to a wedding that must have cost in the many thousands. Yet the couple were economically fairly average.
I have never understood that sort of thing. My 4 weddings were all self-catered. The wedding breakfast for my most recent marriage was buckets of KFC -- eaten in my back yard. The kids present loved it! They understood KFC whereas French and Interntional cuisine would have baffled them.
I have been very successful economically so Renata has in me a perhaps extreme example of the sort of policy she favours
And my bride at the times saw things similarly. She also encouraged me to give her a cubic zirconia as an engagement ring. It looked like a large and expensive diamond but cost only $500. She felt that of you can't tell it from a diamond then it is as good as a diamond.
The bride concerned
Another important point Renata makes below below is that an economically succesful father can give the son of a marriage good advice on how to get ahead. I remember taking half an hour once to tell my son how to invest successfully and safely in the stock market. I told him in half an hour what lots of people would give an arm to know. I simply told him what I did. He has not wholly followed that advice but he has done well economically anyhow. He already owned a large and beautiful house by the time he got married
Married people, especially men, are healthier and live longer than their single counterparts. A happy marriage can even increase your chances of surviving cancer.
Besides physical health, marriage seems to provide other layers of social protection, such as better economic prospects and a wider safety net.
Married individuals can acquire up to double the wealth of those who never marry. In the US, on average, young married men aged 28–30 make $15,900, and married men aged 44–46 make $18,800 more than their unmarried counterparts.
Married men also work more strategically towards higher salaries, are less likely to quit without having another job lined up, and enjoy either the advantages of a dual-income household or the benefits of having a stay-home wife.
In other words, marriage can make you richer than the average single person.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that marriage facilitates the acquiring of assets. As an institution, marriage was created primarily to solidify wealth and to guarantee its transfer to legitimate offspring, increasing a family’s prospects over time.
Marrying for love is a relatively recent idea. For most of human history, marriage was supposed to be a pragmatic decision. Companionship and respect between spouses were expected, but love was a bonus, a by-product of years of working together towards a common goal: survival and, if possible, the betterment of your family.
Now, for most people, the main point of marriage is not financial gain but happiness.
We expect marriage to provide us with a path to self-actualization. Marriage, as with all other aspects of our lives, it’s not about acquiring assets but about self-expression.
As we associate marriage with love and self-actualization and dissociate it with building and solidifying wealth, we make it easier for people to see getting married as optional. Finding a partner who can offer the kind of love we see in the movies and who can lead us toward self-actualization, after all, is incredibly hard. There are other ways to find happiness.
But there are not a lot of other ways to join forces with another adult in order to acquire assets and build wealth, and there’s a specific demographic that understands that too well: the rich.
Why the rich still get married
Marriage is another means through which the rich get richer and the poor, partially by not marrying, remain poor.
As overall marriage rates have declined in the US (as in other countries), from 72% of adults 18 or older in 1960 to 50% in 2016, we notice a different scenario when we sort the data by education.
In 1990, 60% of US adults with a high school diploma or less were married, in 2015 that number dropped to 50%. For college grads with a bachelor’s degree or higher, 69% were married in 1990, and 65% were married in 2015.
And higher education is positively correlated with higher earning potential.
When we take a look at class, more people in the top 10% are likely to be married than in any other economic tier. The explanation might be self-selection, meaning that individuals tend to marry inside the same economic and educational bracket. But what explains the fact that the wealthier and higher-educated continue to marry at the same rates as thirty years ago while marriage rates amongst the poor have dropped so dramatically?
Do married millionaires and doctors know something the rest of us don’t?
How the poor are discouraged from marrying
The poor are fooled into believing they have to be financially stable before getting married instead of using marriage as a tool to build wealth.
Financial illiteracy is partially to blame. Tax codes are extremely complex to navigate, and it often takes a small contingent of accountants and lawyers to take full advantage of the tax benefits offered to married couples (a resource the poor often can’t afford).
Our culture, however, is the biggest culprit. We have emphasized big expensive weddings over small celebrations, creating an illusion that getting married is expensive. We now believe a couple shouldn’t get married unless they can put a down payment on a house, a pre-requisite that’s not only unrealistic but sends millennials running for the hills (or to the nearest animal shelter to adopt yet another cat instead of looking for a mate).
Getting married used to be a mark of adulthood, now you have to be an adult to get married. And we have more prerequisites than ever before to “be an adult,” making that status harder and harder to obtain.
Stable two-parent households offer advantages to children, including higher grades and a higher chance of attending college in the future. College degrees are correlated with higher earning potential and a higher chance of getting married.
Throughout history, the rich have built and secured their wealth through advantageous marriages. Now, the primary motivation for marriage amongst the rich might not be existing family assets or political influence, but the rich still have the means and the inclination to teach their children (often by example) all about acquiring and expanding wealth as a couple.
In the long run, that knowledge can make all the difference, creating an even bigger class divide than what we have today.
Christian childcare teacher who refused to read LGBT books to kids sues after being fired: 'Blatantly illegal'
A California childcare teacher sued her former employer last week after she was allegedly terminated and mistreated because of her religious objection to reading books to children featuring same-sex couples.
Nelli Parisenkova, who is being represented by lawyers with the Thomas More Society, worked four years at Bright Horizons Children's Center in Studio City and cared for children aged five and younger, according to the complaint she filed Thursday in the Superior Court of California.
The lawsuit claims Parisenkova was aware of such LGBT-themed material at the Studio City location of the largest childcare company in the U.S., but at first had not been required to read them. Founded in 1986, Bright Horizons has hundreds of locations worldwide and employs more than 26,000 people.
Parisenkova's situation changed in April when Katy Callas, who serves as director of the location, learned of Parisenkova’s religious objections to the material, refused her request for a religious accommodation and ultimately created a hostile work environment that led to her termination, according to the complaint.
The complaint explained how for Parisenkova, who is "a devout Christian," reading such books to children "would violate her religious beliefs and constitute promotion of intimate relationships and choices that are contrary to the teachings of her faith."
"Parisenkova formally requested a religious accommodation from Bright Horizons that aligned with her prior informally granted request. Bright Horizons responded by categorically denying the request," the suit said, which goes on to claim Bright Horizons "made no attempt whatsoever to determine whether a reasonable accommodation could be reached."
"Instead, Bright Horizons issued a counseling memo with false statements, terminated her life insurance benefits, required her to complete retraining in diversity issues, and encouraged her to resign her position," the suit alleged. "Ms. Parisenkova could not return to work without an accommodation; so, Bright Horizons terminated her employment."
The suit slaps Bright Horizons and its staff with several charges, including unlawful retaliation, failure to prevent discrimination and harassment, religion-based harassment, wrongful termination, failure to accommodate, unlawful constructive discharge and disparate treatment.
Bright Horizons has been outspoken in its support for LGBT community, documenting in October 2018 how its centers celebrated LGBT History Month by participating in Pride parades and reading LGBT-themed books to children. In 2019, the organization also endorsed the Equality Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to federal antidiscrimination policy.
Paul Jonna, special counsel at the Thomas More Society and one of Parisenovka's attorneys, described her case in a statement as "an outrageous example of religious discrimination."
Jonna said Parisenovka "had been operating under the radar with an informal accommodation request for multiple years without notice," but that "as soon as upper-level management discovered her religious beliefs and received her formal accommodation request," Bright Horizons leveled against her "the full force of the company’s anti-religious and ironically ‘un-inclusive’ diversity policy."
"They tried to get her to quit through harassment and intimidation. When she couldn’t return to work because they denied her accommodation request, they fired her," Jonna added. "You can’t get much more discriminatory than that. It’s unethical, and it’s blatantly illegal."
Jonna also claimed that when his client was called into Callas' office, the director "questioned her in an irate manner, told her that if she did not want to celebrate diversity this was not the place for her to work, gave her an administrative leave memo, escorted her outside with a security guard, and left her out in the 96-degree heat with no transportation."
Parisenovka reportedly had to walk 20 minutes in the scorching weather, waiting 45 minutes for transportation and suffering from heat exhaustion for the next two days.
Is Biden’s Destruction of Our Economy Intentional?
Last week the Committee To Unleash Prosperity’s president, our friend Steve Moore, gave a speech to FreedomWork’s activists called the "Seven Ways Biden Is Destroying Our Economy." The speech was a social media sensation
Here's the Cliff Notes version, culled from Zero Hedge and Steve's must-read Committee to Unleash Prosperity Hotline, to whet your appetite for the entire speech.
Steve said here are the seven policies Biden has implemented that are tearing our country apart:
1. dismantle the nation’s energy supply
2. don’t enforce the border
3. Detain, arrest, and jail all your political enemies
4. Devalue the nation’s currency through inflation
5. Destroy the nation’s finances by running up the debt by multiple trillions of dollars of debt
6. Divide rather than unite the nation - rich versus poor, black versus white, gay versus straight, urban versus city
7. Dumb down and indoctrinate our children with anti-America propaganda in the schools and media And allowing teacher unions and left wing activists to take over
Moore then said that it does not matter whether or not the Biden administration is intentionally trying to destroy our country, and then he listed seven strategies that could destroy a country, which he sees the White House implementing.
‘The first thing you would do is you would destroy its finances.’ “You borrow and spend like crazy until the country was on the verge of bankruptcy. President Joe Biden has done that. In 20 months, this president has spent $4.2 trillion. Now, these numbers are incomprehensibly large.
“So he’s wrecked the nation’s finances. We’re going to be spending decades—your children, my children, your children, our grandchildren, are going to be paying for what Joe Biden has done. It’s shameful. And we need to run every single person who wrote it, voted for these policies, out of town. We have to get rid of the people who made this.”
‘The second thing you do is destroy its currency.’
“Its currency is its means of exchange. Countries that go down the drain have currencies that become valueless. They debase the currency. Inflation is just a way of devaluing the currency. And that’s exactly what’s happened. So we’ve seen in 20 or so months, while Joe Biden has been president, prices have risen by about 16 percent in just 20 months. And what’s happening is people’s wages and salaries are falling way behind inflation.
“We just got the new numbers today on what happened with wages and salaries. The good news for American workers is that people’s wages and salaries over the last year were up 4.9 percent. That’s pretty good. You know what the Consumer Price Index number was over that same period? 8.4 percent. So what’s happened every single month that Joe Biden has been president? Americans are getting poorer. We are getting poorer month after month after month.”
“My friends at the Heritage Foundation have calculated that the average family, the median-income family in America today, has lost $4,000 in purchasing power in 20 months. It’s like a pay cut of $300 a month. That is causing real hardship to middle-income families.”
‘Third, you would destroy its energy supply.’
“You take away its energy. Because energy is the master of the universe. If you don’t have energy, you can’t do anything.
“And so one of the things I remember the first time I talked to Donald Trump, when I met him in late 2015, when he was running for president, I said, ‘If you get this right with American energy, the United States can be the energy-independent country for the first time in our lifetimes.’ I’ll never forget what Trump said: ‘Steve, I don’t want energy independence, I want America to be energy dominant!’
“In four years under Trump, by the time he left office, we were the number-one producer of oil and gas in the world. So, basically, what Trump did … he was in for all of our resources. He said, ‘Let’s produce coal, let’s produce oil, let’s produce gas. Let’s build nuclear plants in this country.’
“Can somebody explain to me why the Left hates nuclear power? Why do they hate natural gas? Natural gas is a clean-burning fuel.”
‘The fourth thing you would do is you would provide money to your enemies.’
“The bad energy policy that says we’re going to go from 70 percent fossil fuels to zero over the next 13 years—who benefits from that? China, Russia, Iran, and Venezuela.
“Biden says we shouldn’t get our energy from Texas. We shouldn’t get our energy from Alaska. We shouldn’t get our energy and oil and gas from North Dakota. Let’s get it from Iran and Venezuela and Russia.”
‘The fifth thing you would do is you would divide the nation.’
“You would divide it: you would pit groups against each other. Isn’t that exactly what Biden has done? It’s black versus white. It’s Hispanic versus white, versus black. It’s dividing people by income classes. It’s dividing people by their gender. All of these things are divisions.”
‘Sixth, you would destroy the stock market and people’s lifetime savings.’
“If you’re living off your 401(k) plan or retirement savings, those have been depleted greatly by Biden. Not only is the stock market down 5 percent, which isn’t that much. In nominal terms, these stocks are down 5 percent since Biden came to office. But when you adjust for inflation, stocks are down by about 20 percent. That’s as huge as trillions and trillions of dollars of losses. And so we are up against a mighty foe right now. And we need to strike back now.
“We’re in some deep trouble right now. I don’t want to depress you. And we can turn this thing around. But I’m really very, very nervous about the state of our economy today. The market lost another 600 points today.”
‘Seventh, you would weaponize government agencies by going to imprison or punish your political enemies.’
“I find that is the most frightening thing, maybe the most dangerous thing of all. Absolutely. It is so scary. I have to tell you, I’m afraid. I’m personally afraid. I’m a Trump guy. They want to come after me. I’ve got a big target on my chest. I’m nervous. One of these days, the FBI is going to knock on my door with the German shepherds and the machine guns.
“One of the most outrageous abuses of power in American history is that they are using power, and what agencies of government have they weaponized? The FBI, the Justice Department, the State Department, and IRS. I’ve got to say Joe Biden and the Democrats have a lot of nerve to call for 80,000 new IRS agents.”
Mr. Moore’s seven-point analysis puts meat on the bones of our column from August of 2021 “It’s Not A Government, It’s A Wrecking Operation” wherein we conducted a thought experiment, or what Albert Einstein called a Gedankenexperiment: What would you do if you wanted to destroy the United States of America as it has existed since its inception, or even just as it has existed since the end of World War II?
In reviewing the results of our Gedankenexperiment, and Steve Moore’s seven points, it is clear to us that incompetence can’t explain what’s been happening since Joe Biden was sworn-in as President of the United States. Institutions that have existed for decades take time to crumble, even when led by incompetents.
But what we are seeing from the Joe Biden “administration” is not a government, however incompetently run, trying to do its duty to its citizens. It is a conscious wrecking operation intended to destroy the foundational institutions of the United States. And it is succeeding with such rapidity it should make every citizen wonder if the country can survive until the next presidential election offers some hope of putting an end to the destruction.
The good news is Steve Moore says, “I think people are so fired up right now. I see this all over the country. I’ve been to Delaware, I’ve been to Pennsylvania, I’ve been to Michigan, I’ve been to Arizona, I’ve been to Georgia. Same thing everywhere. People are fired up. They want change. And they disapprove strongly of what Joe Biden has done.”
At the end of his speech, Moore emphasized: “I think a red wave is coming. But this election isn’t really about electing Republicans. My mission is to find every single Democrat who did this to our country and get them the hell out of office.” That’s our mission too, and we hope you will join us.
The Democrats’ Contempt for the Poor
Barack Obama’s economy in 2011 stank. Mitt Romney should have had an easier time running against his rather lazy opponent with little good news to his name.
But Romney was a bad candidate for the times. Members of the working and middle classes viewed him as the Boss — the rich guy running things, buying out their companies, killing their jobs, and sending the factories overseas. He was the supercilious money guy, picking filet mignon from his teeth.
They did not trust him. Obama, like Romney, was a good-looking technocrat. “At least he was black,” thought the working class. “At least he can relate to our struggles.” Alas, this wasn’t true. Obama is a trust-fund kid and has much more in common with the monied class than with the average American guy — you know, those guys who bitterly cling to their Bibles and guns.
I bring all this up because this year’s election, like in 2011, feels closer than it should be, if the polls are to be believed. The Republican Party should have been in a stronger position then, and it definitely should be in a strong position now.
What gives? To oversimplify: college-degree holders. Their unemployment rate is currently 2.2 percent. During the worst of the Obama recession years, their unemployment rate never crested 5 percent. While others experienced an unemployment rate upwards of 11 percent, the college grads were fine, and they vote. They make up a solid 30-plus percent of the country.
The most loyal Democratic constituency is the college-educated single woman. She will vote, and happily, for President Joe Biden and progressives like him. She was specifically marketed to during the Obama years with the former president’s misbegotten Julia campaign. She’s whom the Democrats are relying on again for their fortunes. She is progressive, socially liberal, relatively wealthy, and scared of everything. She’s the neurotic heart of the Democratic Party.
Vaguely socialist, fearful of the climate change bogeyman, she drives a Prius, shops at Whole Foods, drinks pumpkin spice lattes, and watches the Real Housewives shows with her gay best friend. She has a Coexist sticker; believes all women (except the ones accusing Biden and former President Bill Clinton); is vaccinated and probably suffers from long COVID now, but it’s totally worth it; and has a Ukraine flag in her bio that replaced her black square for the now passé Black Lives Matter.
The Democrats must keep the college-educated, their core constituency, content at all costs.
She was worried about her student loans, so Biden issued an edict from on high to take care of them for her. The high gas prices, which she knew were totally necessary for the planet but which bummed her out, were reduced by draining the petroleum reserve. Abortion rights are like totally being taken away, and so the Biden administration is proposing a national law.
Outside her nexus, the rest of the college-educated hold her views, but to a less intense degree. If they’re faltering from the Democratic line, it’s not because they’re suffering per se; it’s because they’re feeling angst looking at their 401(k)s. The grocery bills are getting ridiculous. There is talk of eating out less. The credit card statements have been creeping up, and that’s uncomfortable.
The Democrats must keep these people, their core constituency, content at all costs. They learned through the Obama years that the college-educated are easily manipulated and must be kept in line, or else Democrats lose elections. Happily, the very online media reflects most of the mores of these people and certainly represents Julia.
This constituency frayed somewhat in the last few years. The married college-educated with children, while at home during the COVID lockdowns, got a bird’s-eye view of what passed for education, and even their very liberal sensibilities were offended. This took some doing, but Randi Weingarten and her slacking teachers infuriated this group. Not only was the curriculum horrid, but working women had to sacrifice their jobs and time to do the jobs teachers unions wouldn’t. More moms quit their jobs to educate their children, and now they’re more involved in the schools. This is disastrous for failing schools but also for Democrats trying to get elected. This group inspires so much fear that Democrats sicced the FBI on these parents. They cannot win without these voters. They need them harried, working, angry, and too busy to pay attention.
Note that none of this addresses the issues of the poor and working class. While the college grads started to complain at $5-a-gallon gas, members of the poor and working class are being decimated right now with gas around $3.90 per gallon. They’re not making enough money to pay for their groceries and gas, and they see winter coming. They’re worried about making rent.
Members of the inner-city poor and working class have it worse. They, too, have relatively low unemployment, around 4 percent. But with inflation, crime, homelessness, illegal immigration, and drug abuse, their quality of life is diminishing. The BLM and Antifa riots, burning and looting, decimated the middle-class sections of their cities. They no longer can get common goods like car parts, medicine, and home supplies. Those businesses were torched and looted and they haven’t come back. It wouldn’t matter anyway; the people living in these neighborhoods have no excess money.
The recession is starting to affect jobs, and the jobs poor and working-class people do get aren’t paying enough to cover the bills. Inflation is outpacing income and making working less appealing. It’s not the business owners’ fault. Costs of all kinds of raw materials have inflated to such a point that their margins are slim or sliding backward. Workers’ salaries must be cut or eliminated. Some businesses, if still operating, limit hours. They don’t have the money to pay for their goods or their employees.
The Democrats have addressed none of these problems. They’re too busy passing electric-vehicle subsidies to encourage Julia and her college-educated friends to buy them.
Democratic policies necessarily harm the middle class. Inflation makes money worth less, and this destroys purchasing power and pushes middle-class people down into the ranks of the working poor. Interest-rate increases make house buying nearly impossible for this group. It’s quickly becoming impossible for the middle and upper-middle class, too.
One would think that the Democratic policies would at least somewhat focus on these people. But no, unless the blanket pardon for federal marijuana charges counts. The moves Democrats make to help these folks are largely empty and symbolic.
The Democrats have given up on the votes of the less-fortunate workers. They’re relying on their core constituencies: those who are reliant on the government and those who are college-educated. If it seems that even the upper-middle class should be worried and considering voting for Republicans, they should be, but they’re myopic. Just watch the stock market and the unemployment rate. If the college-educated have jobs and their 401(k)s aren’t hurting too badly, the election will be close.
The working poor, lower, and middle classes don’t matter to Democrats so long as the college-educated are in their pockets. Perhaps talk of nuclear war, increased inflation, job firings, freezes at tech companies, and a stock-market slide will get their attention. Or, maybe, America is descending into the politics of the have and have-nots, and the haves vote Democrat.
17 October, 2022
Russian cannon fodder
Never before has the world been so gripped with saving lives. We’ve survived Covid lockdowns imposed by governments claiming they’d keep us safe. Teams of burly footballers dropped to their knees because of Black Lives Matter. The presumption of innocence wilts under the strain of laws designed to keep women safe…
After all that posturing, it seems odd that we just watch as hundreds of thousands of young Russian men are rounded up for cannon fodder. Somehow concern about keeping them safe simply isn’t on the public agenda.
Their lives don’t matter. They are just ordinary men, members of a most despised minority group that finds itself at the very bottom of the intersectionality totem pole. To many they are the enemy – the bad guys – even though most of these young Russians haven’t a clue about where and why their lives are to be sacrificed. Their fate is simply to provide entertainment in the gripping war game capturing our media.
The Washington Post wrote recently about the ‘jack-in-the-box’ flaw in Russian tanks, referring to the way shells are stored in a ring beneath the turret. Ukrainian forces are now using drones to detonate above the turret triggering the ammo storage below, with the result that ‘the explosion instantaneously vaporises the crew’. The turret is blown sky high – that’s the jack-in-the-box. Vaporised men and bits of tank.
The article ends with a quote from Robert E Hamilton, a professor at the US Army War College, saying that the US military is aware that if one of their tanks is destroyed and the crew survives, they can always replace the tank: ‘You can make another tank more quickly than you can train another crew.’
He says Russia has no such concerns about a properly-trained crew, ‘The people are as expendable as the machine.’
People? Well, he’s really talking about men. Men and boys. Many of the 300,000 new conscripts are teenagers – boys who are given no choice. ‘You’re standing there asking yourself whether you should go and fight and die there or spend 20 years in prison,’ says Mikhail, a Moscow man protesting the draft who was interviewed by the Japan Times.
Reluctant men and boys, sometimes with no prior military experience, are given little systematic training with inept leaders and inadequate equipment. They are facing a highly motivated, extremely well-armed, and very innovative foe in the Ukrainians. The result is akin to a death sentence.
Last week we heard about the war-wrecked Ukrainian town of Lyman where Russian forces hastily departed to avoid getting encircled by the advancing Ukrainian troops. ‘Not all the Russians made it out. Burning Russian vehicles and sprawled bodies of dead Russian soldiers remain on the roadsides outside the city,’ wrote a Wall St Journal reporter.
He mentioned seeing the remains of seven Russian vehicles caught in a recent Ukrainian ambush. ‘Nine bodies of young Russian soldiers lay on the roadsides, two hugging each other in unnatural contortions, another, his skin waxlike pale, lying on his back with his fists clenched. Nearby, amid antitank mines and other ordnance, a severed hand was perched on the asphalt, a wedding ring on one of the three remaining fingers.’
No wonder so many conscripts are desperate to escape. We’ve all seen images of long queues at the borders, thousands seeking to escape to neighbouring countries, at least those willing to have them. Many countries are closing their borders. ‘Those running because they don’t want to fulfil a duty imposed by their own government, they don’t meet the criteria for humanitarian visa,’ was Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky’s firm comment.
Interestingly, there has been much media interest in stories suggesting that the conscription was targeted, with ethnic minorities disproportionately at risk. Naturally, the ABC leapt on the suggestion that the draft is targeting Crimean Tatars, a Muslim minority group that makes up a small proportion of Crimea’s population. Minorities are a far more acceptable group to champion than the ordinary Russian blokes who comprise the major victims of this unfolding human tragedy.
Martin Jones, a professor of international human rights law at the University of York has written in The Conversation suggesting that, politically and legally, the conscripts must be given protection:
‘While border states are worried about the mass influx of young Russian men, there are a range of practical reasons for other countries to provide Russians fleeing conscription with protection. Most obviously, providing sanctuary abroad undermines Russia’s ability to raise an army to continue its fight in Ukraine. It also further strengthens the Russian expatriate community and its opposition to the invasion.’
And it surely is more logical for the West to allow entry to these men rather than having to supply more high-tech weapons to kill them in Ukraine.
According to Professor Jones, the war ticks a number of boxes required for legal protection of conscripts which include catering to conscientious objection, avoiding internationally condemned acts, and conscription that is ‘extra-legal, discriminatory or results in inhuman treatment’.
With rare bravery, he takes up the point about discrimination: ‘When it comes to conscription, we have also yet to fully resolve the blatant sexism embedded in the Russian (and more widespread) practice of conscripting only men.’
Last March I wrote about Ukraine’s decision to force men to stay and fight while women and children were hastily shipped off, out of harm’s way. Suddenly, after decades of feminist demands for women to be allowed to take their rightful place alongside men in the services, we reverted to old-fashioned chivalry which demands only men are disposable. I called out the hypocrisy of blinkered media coverage celebrating the courage of the very few women who chose to remain and fight, whilst ignoring fit, healthy, single women fleeing across the borders.
At that time there were reportedly 32,000 women in the Ukrainian military, a very small percentage of the 17 million women in the relevant age group. Similarly, Russian women only make up 4.26 per cent of total active-duty forces and they are not permitted in frontline combat roles. With so few women in active service, it is hardly surprising these traditional countries choose to conscript solely men.
It’s worth remembering that the Russian conscription is simply the latest example of disposable, innocent young men being drafted into war, a key factor that has enabled military aggression throughout history, allowing ruthless political leaders to impose atrocities on the world.
Finally, in some more egalitarian countries, tough questions are now being asked. Norway introduced gender-neutral conscription in 2013, but similar countries lag behind. British journalist Anna Hollingsworth, who grew up in Finland, bought into a debate about the gendered conscription practices in that country, slamming them as ‘an outdated, sexist, and human rights-violating structure’.
‘From a gender equality perspective, men-only conscription shouts out blatant sexism… There is absolutely no reason why only men should be drafted, and politicians consistently fail to give one. In everyday conversations, though, reasons are found in everything from women serving their duty to their country by giving birth, and boys growing into men in the army – it is not uncommon to regard military service as a male rite of passage. It is as if the topic of conscription causes all conversation to undergo a bizarre time warp where all the gender equality established elsewhere in society evaporates.’
There’s a legal battle taking place in America over the male-only draft, originally led by the late Marc Angelucci, the brave men’s rights lawyer who was murdered in July 2020.
I interviewed Marc the previous year, and he talked about his important work which included running cases for the National Coalition for Men (NCFM) challenging the male draft. They’d had some big wins, with the Southern District court determining that the male-only draft was unconstitutional, but that was overturned at appeal.
After Marc’s death, the American Civil Liberties Union came on board, representing the NCFM. The Supreme Court agreed the male draft law may be unconstitutional and outdated but kicked the can down the road and said they wouldn’t decide the issue, leaving it up to Congress to change the law. Congress, of course, did nothing, and the discriminatory law remains which requires men to register for the draft in order to be allowed to vote, get a driver’s license, obtain federal or state loans, grants or scholarships, or retain citizenship.
Slow progress indeed for the men of America. But it sure beats being vaporised in a jack-in-the-box.
What our progressive overclass has wrought
Progressives at the zenith of privilege and power have steered US civil rights, education, and welfare policies almost exclusively for fifty years. What does the nation have to show for it?
Recent answers include federalized transgender protections, academic collapse, and the expansion of a dependent, often disreputable underclass for whom permanent government-based custodial care is the only feasible option. Food Stamps, Medicaid, Section Eight, and other public income support evidently sap incentive and enterprise, but what’s the alternative now for the structurally unemployable?
Anti-white indoctrination is rife in tax-funded schools. Price inflation and declining social mobility haunt the millennial generation’s future. The promotion of sexual curiosities, unpoliced urban crime, a porous southern border, and rampant hard-drug addiction cum homelessness seem inescapable and expected. Is this progress?
In next month’s elections, the Democratic Party is asking younger voters and everyone else to validate the nation’s wretched state of affairs. It asks all Americans to “do more” to affirm the impossible and shore up failed theories of social justice. But the midterms can only begin to bust the voracious administrative state. The nation’s interlocking ideological directorate has such a grip on minds and hearts that the demos might not possess the legal machinery or even desire to dismantle its project.
In many cases, voters have no good candidate choices. Brands AOC and Dr. Oz — how many voters even know their full names? — make a pair for the times. Los Angeles’s would-be mayor Karen Bass and Washington senator Patty Murray are not offering fresh ideas to halt anti-white defamation or curb the power of public employee unions. David McCormick is not on the Pennsylvania ballot, a leading indicator of electoral quality-fail. The Republicans go rough-tuff down-market. The beau monde clings to Pelosi-inspired designer masks and perpetual rainbow theater.
The status quo party is Democratic, and look what’s happened over the last three years. Defunding the police. Releasing dangerous prisoners. District attorneys greenlighting crime. Gathering votes from government clients and public employee unions to keep Leviathan gassed up. Downtowns buzzing with zombies and speed freaks amid “for lease” signs.
The opposition, Joe Biden’s speechwriters declare, represents “an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.” Trump and the GOP, why I’d rather die, Ladies Bountiful in Lululemon exclaim merrily over drinks at the beach club, smiling to the south-of-the-border staff as if to say somos camaradas.
The author Mario Vargas Llosa once labeled our times the “civilization of the spectacle,” describing once solemn guardians and public figures abandoning time-honored duties to work their own media platforms and Q scores. “Hollywood values,” the New York Times’s columnist Maureen Dowd labeled this state of political affairs: “out-of-control egos, blatant materialism, a dog-eat-dog ethos, and a devotion to pretense.”
America’s progressive overclass is saturated in Goodthink. It shivers at right-wing domestic terrorism, pursues climate justice and mindfulness religiously, and insists that gender-affirming medicine is a long overdue public good. The overclass loves Black and Green with all its heart, almost as much as it loves running the show.
Confident and schooled in self-esteem, this overclass intends to redeem the unredeemable. It stands ready to redistribute moral value. It affects woke-light righteousness, making a fashion statement. Bright-eyed game changers have much work to do — and, ideally, lucrative careers — making over the nation’s churches, foundations, museums, and colleges for the yet to be converted and obstructive.
Long ago, headmasters, bishops, professors and literati advised today’s best and brightest — or their parents — to abandon tradition and rethink their privilege. Today’s elites largely lack the conceptual tools and institutional memory to recognize the consequences of their loss. With multi-billion-dollar endowments to play with, excellent sheep use “allyship” and intramural diversity machines to get ahead and win the game.
Mighty citizens of the world, the fabled masters of the universe, truth to tell, are highly provincial. The Bangkok Thai Cuisine in Oak Bluffs or Siam Orchid in Bar Harbor are as gritty and far-out as they want to go. The overclass is as compassionate and empathetic a people as you’ve ever met. Yet it firmly insists those experiencing food insecurity and anyone with heebie-jeebies and hallucinations steer clear of their own Pad Thai experience.
Legal and social barriers to bad behavior and exhibitionism no longer hold. Widely respected, firm perimeters of privacy vanish — or worse, are ridiculed — and the power to police demotic vice decays because the cretins want it, however dreadful it might be. Meanwhile, the crotch-sellers over at Endeavor and Disney demand First Amendment absolutism in matters of subversion, shutting down “hate speech” that could blow their moral putsch.
As the nation’s moral realm shifts from the scriptural and classical to the ascriptive, capitalist fun suppliers are freed to exploit former depravity. Big money in New York wants to dance with the stars cheek-to-cheek in Malibu. There’s status and wealth in financing dreck — and public taste allows it, in fact, craves more of it. Thought control through social media and an irresistible electronic kaleidoscope prove more powerful than what could be foreseen a generation ago. But reality is compelling. Nature is insistent.
The nation’s civic future lies in operational states and localities that actively choose to protect quality of life, property and children. Civic-minded and self-interested asset holders are setting their sights on well-managed, pleasant zones as far from the scaries, lawbreakers and tax parasites as possible. Welfare capitalism’s behavioral sinks are not going to disappear. But sooner or later, some jurisdictions will unapologetically sequester crazies in asylums, put criminals in penal institutions, and say no to troublemakers, freeloaders and drifters.
If Americans are lucky, such states, counties and towns will unfold and grow, albeit slowly and unevenly, through federalism, individual choice, secure elections and the rule of law. If they are not, a state of pandemonium will compel order through surveillance, fiat and force. Whatever the case, today’s woke-driven follies cannot stand the test of time.
Trouble Brewing in US Housing Market as Mortgage Rates Hit 20-Year Highs
Mortgage rates hit their highest levels in 20 years this week with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaging near 6.92 percent—up from 6.66 percent the week prior, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
It’s the highest average rate since April 2002. The 30-year fixed rate stood at about 3.05 percent one year ago.
“We continue to see a tale of two economies in the data,” Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said in a report. “Strong job and wage growth are keeping consumers’ balance sheets positive, while lingering inflation, recession fears, and housing affordability are driving housing demand down precipitously.”
The report said the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged about 6.09 percent, up from 5.90 percent a week ago. A year ago around this time, the 15-year rate averaged 2.30 percent, Freddie Mac stated.
And the five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage, or ARM, averaged 5.81 percent, up from last week when it averaged 5.36 percent. The five-year ARM averaged 2.55 percent last year at this time, according to Freddie Mac.
It comes as homebuyer demand remains at a 22-year low, according to a Mortgage Bankers Association survey for the week ending Oct. 7. It decreased 2 percent from a week prior, and that is down 39 percent from a year ago.
“Application volumes for both refinancing and home purchases declined and continue to fall further behind last year’s record levels. The news that job growth and wage growth continued in September is positive for the housing market, as higher incomes support housing demand. However, it also pushed off the possibility of any near-term pivot from the Federal Reserve on its plans for additional rate hikes,” said Mike Fratantoni, the organization’s chief economist.
The three-part test Australians could be forced to take to prove they are Aboriginal
How rapidly things can change! Andrrew Bolt was successfully prosecuted for saying this stuff. But the change may not be as great as it seems. The verdict in Bolt's case was from far-Left Jewish judge Mordecai Bromberg. As a Jew, Bromberg should have excused himself from a case about racism. His feelings were understandable but feelings are not judicial
Indigenous leaders say employers, schools, universities and housing authorities need to make Australians take a three-part test to prove whether they are Aboriginal or not.
The call comes amid a massive 25 per cent increase in Australians who identify as indigenous over the past five years, and follows the University of Sydney and NSW TAFEs tightening requirements for students who describe themselves as having a First Nations background.
Nathan Moran, the chief executive of the Sydney-based Metropolitan Aboriginal Land Council, told Daily Mail Australia that people have been abusing the system for at least 25 years - which he described as open fraud.
Mr Moran called on organisations to adopt the Commonwealth's three-part identity test to deter Australians from falsely identifying as indigenous.
Of the 'frauds' he believes are self-identifying as indigenous, Mr Moran said: 'It makes me sick to my stomach.
'The sad and unfortunate reality is that people have used self-identification to receive jobs, housing and scholarships they're not entitled to which are meant for the indigenous.
'The indigenous birth rates don't match up with the population increase.'
The three-part test for proving Aboriginality
An Aboriginal person (includes Torres Strait Islanders) means a person who:
1.Is a member of the Aboriginal race of Australia
2.Identifies as such an Aboriginal person
3. Is accepted by the Aboriginal community as an Aboriginal person
Mr Moran called on organisations and government authorities to enforce the three-part test rather than relying on statutory declarations - pieces of paper where they legally swear they are indigenous.
The test requires Australians to identify as an Aboriginal person, be able to prove they are a member of the race, and be accepted by the Aboriginal community.
A person can prove they are accepted by an Aboriginal community by providing a letter from their local Aboriginal Land Council or a registered Aboriginal community organisation.
Mr Moran said it's time to 'end the statutory declaration and apply the laws they're compelled to enforce'. 'They have a right to ask individuals who identify as Aboriginal for confirmation of that claim and who they received that confirmation from,' he said.
The Metropolitan Aboriginal Land Council recently complained to the Independent Commission Against Corruption about the number of students at the University of Sydney identifying as indigenous using statutory declarations.
The university has since announced plans to revamp its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Status Policy by getting rid of stat decs, as Mr Moran said.
Students will have to supply a 'letter of identity' and complete the Commonwealth three-part identity test.
Students will also be asked to confirm their identity either by a letter from their land council or a sealed letter signed by a delegate of the Aboriginal Medical Service or the Aboriginal Legal Service. TAFE NSW is also now developing a Confirmation of Aboriginality Policy following similar concerns.
Mr Moran isn't the only Aboriginal land council leader raising concerns about the recent Census data. Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania chairman Michael Mansell recently claimed 'poor white people' were falsely identifying as indigenous in a move he called 'identity seeking'.
'The people who are ticking the box to say they are Aboriginal, their demographic is poor white people who pretty much are disenfranchised,' Mr Mansell said.
'They don't attribute any value to their identity as a poor white person in Tasmania, so they are searching to attach themselves to something that has greater value and I think many of those people believe that's in being Aboriginal.'
However not everyone agrees.
University of Sydney's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research director Professor Jakelin Troy claimed the latest Census data showing increased numbers of indigenous people represents the 'real' demographics of the nation.
'Freedom of self identification and self expression is a basic human right. Interfering in the efforts of invaded & colonised peoples to assert identity is just continuing invasion & colonisation,' she tweeted.
Professor Troy has expressed concerns about the crackdown argued self-identification was accepted at many international research institutions.
'It's a response to a push from some parts of Aboriginal Australia, but not all of us,' she told the Sydney Morning Herald.
'I personally think universities shouldn't really be dictating to Aboriginal people about identity. I don't think anyone should be.'
16 October, 2022
Narcissism and Sam Vaknin
is an Israeli with a considerable record of dishonesty and dubious scientific qualifications. He describes himself as a narcissist and purports to offer an understanding of that syndrome.
His descriptions of what narcissism is and the explanations he offers for its emergence in people are recognized as authentic and helpful by many who view his various videos
So what is the scientific status of his theories? From my viewpoint as a psychometrician, his theories have no standing at all. There is no objective measure of narcissism as he describes it nor is there any way of measuring degrees of it. So his generalizations are untestable. It is essentially waffle -- a theory so broadly specified that most people probably see something of themselves it, rather like horoscopes
My initial suspicion on reading Vaknin was that he was probably talking about a number of traits rather than a single trait. And the available scientific literature on narcissism bears that out. Sigmumd Freud was the effective originator of the idea of a narcissistic personality in 1914 so Vaknin comes rather late to the game. There are in fact a number of indexes of narcissism in existence so if there is a unidimdensional trait there, we should know of it.
And a 1991 study by Paul Wink
was very informative about that. He combined three existing measures of narcissism, including the MMPI and CPI, and factor analysed the responses of a heterogeneous sample to them.
The sample responses showed no such thing as as unitary trait of narcissism. Varimax rotated eigenvectors revealed two distinct traits underlying the "narcissism" questions: Vulnerabiliy and grandiosity.
The statements surveyed would seem to be at least as comprehensive as the symptoms described by Vaknin but in the absence of a measuring instrument produced by him, we have no alternative source to analyse. So it seems likely that Vaknin's picture of the narcissist is fiction. The traits he describes do exist but they do not form the coherent syndrome described by him.
So Vaknin would seem to be a popular guru like Krishnamurti, Gurdjieff, Madam Blavatski etc. His pontifications make some sense to some people but he is essentially describing something that does not exist. Gurus have their place in helping people makes some sense of their world but their claims should not be regarded as scientific or reliable in any way.
Summary: Delusions of grandeur exist in both clinical and sub-clinical forms. What goes with such delusions is the issue. Vaknin is not alone in seeing many other traits associated with it but Wink's finding of strong separability between Grandiosity and Vulnerability has become widely accepted. Characteristics that co-occur in Vaknin himself may not co-occur in others.
The Stagflation President
Another month, another bad report. On October 13 the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that consumer price inflation, at an 8.2 percent annualized rate, was higher than expected through September. Americans continue to endure the worst inflation in four decades. They continue to experience a decline in real average hourly earnings. They continue to tell pollsters that the economic recession has arrived. Blerina Uruci, an economist at T. Rowe Price, does not like what she sees. “This is very troubling,” Uruci told the New York Times. “The trend is very troubling.”
Not at the White House. It doesn’t see any troubles. According to President Biden, the most recent BLS data are superfluous. After all, everybody already knows that “Americans are squeezed by the cost of living: that’s been true for years, and they didn’t need today’s report to tell them that.” As a matter of fact, Biden said in a statement, rising costs are “a key reason I ran for President.” And anyway, the situation is under control. “My policies — that Democrats delivered — directly tackles [sic] price pressures we saw in today’s report.”
End of story, thank you all very much, nothing to see here, move along, move along.
Just a minute. Biden’s reading of recent economic history is filled with evasions, half-truths, and “yarns.” They deserve comment and rebuttal. I don’t remember Biden staking his 2020 candidacy on inflation. He couldn’t have. The inflation hadn’t happened. It didn’t arrive until the spring of 2021. By which time Biden was living — during weekdays, at least — at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Nor do I recall Biden warning the country about the coming threat of rising prices. To the contrary: Varsity Joe was captain of “Team Transitory.” The “temporary” inflation would subside, he and his teammates argued, as kinks in the supply chain got worked out and the Federal Reserve tightened the money supply.
They were wrong, of course. Inflation persisted. By the winter of 2022, Biden was blaming high prices on corporate greed and “Putin’s price hike.” Now he says inflation is the fault of the opposition party. No reason is provided; this president isn’t into causality. “If Republicans take control of Congress,” Biden warns, “everyday costs will go up — not down.”
It’s unlikely that voters see things the same way. At the least, a Republican Congress will check Biden’s big-spending instincts for the next two years. And most people draw a straight line between Biden’s policies and the parlous state of the economy. Indeed, one eminent Democrat, former Treasury secretary Lawrence Summers, drew such a line before Biden’s policies ever became law.
The American Rescue Plan Act, Summers famously observed in February 2021, was much larger than it needed to be. If combined with the trillions in pandemic-related emergency spending from 2020, Summers said, the plan would result in inflation. The White House dismissed him. The act passed Congress on a party-line vote. Biden signed it into law on March 11, 2021. Inflation spiked that April.
Biden was just getting started. On top of the $5 trillion regular budget, new spending included the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act ($550 billion) and the CHIPS and Science Act ($250 billion). Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) whittled the ambitious and partisan Build Back Better plan down to the ridiculously named — but just as partisan — Inflation Reduction Act ($740 billion). Economists at the Penn Wharton School estimated the Inflation Reduction Act’s effect. “The impact on inflation,” they concluded, “is statistically indistinguishable from zero.”
Not long after Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act, he issued a constitutionally dubious executive order forgiving college debt. It will increase the government’s cost of student loans by an estimated $400 billion. Meanwhile, to lower gasoline prices ahead of the midterm election, he drained the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to its lowest level in 40 years. Now the returns on that strategy are diminishing. The cost of gasoline is rising once again. Is this a chance to deregulate domestic energy production and build more refineries? That would be a serious response. Instead, Biden threatens reprisals against OPEC+ and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The economy shrank during the first half of 2022. In March, the Federal Reserve began ratcheting up interest rates to squash inflation. The hikes haven’t resulted in price stability. But they have led to the highest mortgage rates in 20 years, growing volatility in debt markets, and the increasing likelihood of a prolonged recession and financial crisis. National Economic Council director Brian Deese likes to say that the U.S. economy is “in a period of transition.” The transition is from bad to worse.
By subsidizing demand while restricting supply, President Biden has revived the economic maladies that afflicted the American economy when he entered public life a half century ago. Biden has turned gold into dross and, amazingly, expects to be rewarded for it. “The president and I were talking at lunch today about this,” Vice President Kamala Harris said in a recent interview with the Nation magazine. “We are so proud — and I hope I don’t give off any bravado in saying this — but we are so proud that we will end up being the most pro-labor administration probably ever.”
Sorry, madame vice president, but your bravado is showing. The unions might be happy. The other 90 percent of the workforce is not. Expect to hear from them in November.
Elites suddenly realize they need blue-collar workers they derided
“The problem with living under postmodernism,” Dean Hunter Baker commented, “is that everyone is constantly tending the narrative instead of doing something useful.”
It does seem that way, especially if you run in my circles.
But of course, plenty of people are doing something useful. The world is full of those whose diligent and largely unsung work makes the lights stay on, the grocery shelves fill with food, the toilets flush and even the Internet run. They have been ignored, denigrated and even subjected to a species of economic warfare for the last several decades, but suddenly people are starting to notice that they matter.
It’s what Joel Kotkin calls “the revenge of the material economy.”
The material economy stopped being cool sometime in the 1990s. Blue-collar workers were being laid off, but economic pundits like Clinton Commerce Secretary (now Berkeley professor) Robert Reich were describing them as obsolete. Instead, the future was going to belong to “knowledge workers” — Reich called them “symbolic analysts” — who dealt in abstract concepts, not in concrete doings.
This idea seemed very satisfying to people who sat in front of computers for a living, manipulating symbols, like most journalists, academics and bureaucrats. It wasn’t so great for other people.
As manufacturing shifted offshore or to automation, the breezy advice given to the displaced blue-collar workers was “Learn to code.” That is, forget about the grubby real-world stuff you do for a living, and be more like us, the winners!
And for a while that advice seemed to make sense. As the tech bubbles inflated, people who produced nothing tangible made massive fortunes. The 19th-century robber barons gave us railroads, steel mills and ocean liners. The 21st-century equivalents gave us Facebook and Netflix. Blue-collar workers, farmers and small-business owners — people who operate in the material world — didn’t prosper nearly so much, if they prospered at all.
This peaked during the COVID lockdowns, when the laptop classes worked comfortably from home while small businesses shut down under government mandates.
Now the shoe is on the other foot. Ironically, the likes of Reich were able to take the material economy for granted because it was so productive. When energy, goods and food are cheap and plentiful, they seem like part of the background, barely worthy of note.
But that’s changing. Thanks in large part to lousy policies symbolic analysts produced, the material economy can’t be taken for granted anymore.
“The conflict between the material economy and the economy based in ephemera — such as the creative industries, tech and financial services — is likely to define the coming political conflicts both within countries and between them,” as Kotkin writes. “The laptop elites, led by Silicon Valley, the City of London and Wall Street, generally favor constraining producers of fuel, food and manufactured goods. In contrast, the masses, who produce and transport those goods, are now starting to realize that they still have the power to demand better futures for themselves and their families. Like railway workers, they can threaten to shut things down and win much higher pay.”
Yes. Just as the Internet’s communications layer sits on top of a physical layer of wires, routers and servers, so society’s laptop layer sits on top of a physical layer of material goods and the people who transport and maintain them. No electricity, no Internet. No drivers, no DoorDash. All that stuff people were taking for granted turns out to be essential.
The political classes are still mostly in denial. In fact, there’s a strong flavor of “Scarcity is good” coming from elite quarters. The United Nations’ Chronicle website published — and later deleted — an article saying, “Hungry people are the most productive people.”
This week, UN meteorological agency chief Petteri Taalas opined that the war in Ukraine may be a “blessing” for climate-change efforts — because the resulting shortages are blacking out much of Europe.
But most people don’t want to be poor, hungry and sitting in the dark, even if the leadership feels otherwise. (The old joke: “What did socialists use before candles? Electricity!”) And, of course, we all know that the leadership won’t be missing any meals or living by candlelight. Just as the elites cheerfully evaded COVID rules when it suited them, they’ll continue to live large while the little people are asked to sacrifice.
The question is: What if the little people refuse to go along?
Australia: The modern-day Fascists are on the Left
In his essay, Politics and the English Language, George Orwell wrote, ‘The word fascism has now no meaning.’
Last weekend, I experienced this firsthand. I was attending my first CPAC Conference. After lunch, I stepped outside to get some fresh air. When I heard chanting and screeching, curiosity got the better of me and I went to investigate.
I saw a small group of pale people shouting about ‘fighting the right’ and ‘smashing fascism’. I quickly determined that these skinny, carefully masked-up youngsters posed no danger. They weren’t going to be fighting anyone, not without eating some red meat at least.
But their words struck me as odd, particularly since I was attending CPAC as part of a delegation from the Australian Jewish Association. As the grandson of Holocaust survivors, who experienced first-hand what fascism is, I am hyper-vigilant about its dangers.
It got me thinking, where was this fascism they were protesting so vigorously?
I thought back to the talks I had just listened to that morning. Surely, they didn’t take issue with the all-Indigenous panel talking about why so many Indigenous people oppose the divisive Aboriginal ‘Voice’.
Did these activists think that Zion Lights, the climate advocate of Indian origin, was a fascist? Was it Michael Shellenberger, who ran as a Democrat candidate for California Governor that was getting them so worked up?
As I was thinking back to the diverse group of speakers I had listened to earlier that morning, something dawned on me. The protesters chanting about racism, while attempting to smash the windows and storm the convention centre, were almost exclusively white. While inside we listened to Nigerian and Japanese people share their points of view, outside, the gathered crowd was monolithic. The most diversity I saw was a girl with purple hair.
Ironically, it was on the t-shirts of the rent-a-crowd that one could find support for another historical injustice. Many of them unashamedly wore Marxism shirts. Perhaps they were unaware that the movement they were promoting has caused more deaths than even the Nazis.
It’s easy to laugh them off, but these far-left radicals represent something sinister. Whilst inside the conference, I hadn’t witnessed anything even close to fascism. These protesters, in trying to shut down free speech, were exhibiting aspects of it.
These zealots are just emulating their leaders on the left who call anything they don’t like, ‘fascist’. If you’ve read the news recently, you may have noticed, that instead of celebrating the election of Italy’s first-ever female Prime Minister, mainstream media labelled her a ‘fascist’. They do this because she refuses to bow down to Woke norms and proudly supports traditional values. Giorgia Meloni is in good company. Donald Trump, the most pro-Jewish president in US history, was also wrongly labelled a fascist and an antisemite.
As a rule of thumb, it’s likely that those being slandered with terms like racist or fascist provide a much better example than those doing the labelling, who are often themselves spewing hatred.
Much like the word racism, fascism has lost all meaning. Far-leftists have even attempted to label the Australian Jewish Association as fascist for representing common-sense values shared by the majority of Australia’s Jewish community.
By labelling everything they disagree with as fascist and racist, leftists devalue truly horrific historical events. This is part of a wider trend of misappropriation. In recent years, the word ‘apartheid’ has been co-opted by extremists to slander the Jewish state. In the process, they diminish the horrors experienced in South Africa.
Dialogue and the exchange of ideas are hallmarks of Australia’s open society. In order to preserve what our ancestors so successfully built here, we must learn to disagree with others without labelling everything and everyone as fascist, racist, or Nazi.
14 October, 2022
Leonard Leo Pushed the Courts Right. Now He’s Aiming at American Society
The NYT has found a new boogeyman. Some of it may even be true
After leading efforts to put conservatives on the bench, the activist has quietly built a sprawling network and raised huge sums of money to challenge liberal values.
Millions of dollars in television advertisements blasting schools for teaching critical race theory and assailing corporations like BlackRock, Uber and American Airlines for catering to “woke politicians.”
A lawsuit pending before the Supreme Court to radically reshape how federal elections are conducted. Complaints against President Biden for violating election law and against school districts that allow information to be withheld from parents about children’s gender identities.
These initiatives were advanced in the past year or so by a handful of new or reconfigured conservative groups — each with their own leadership and mission.
Behind the scenes, though, these groups have something in common: They are part of an ambitious coalition developed in recent years by the conservative activist Leonard A. Leo, who until now has been best known for his role in pushing the appointments of conservative judges to the center of the Republican Party’s agenda.
Most of the initiatives were financially supported, or in some cases launched, by an opaque, sprawling network shaped by Mr. Leo and funded by wealthy patrons, usually through anonymous donations that critics call “dark money.”
An investigation by The New York Times of Mr. Leo’s activities reveals new details of how he has built that network, with relatively little public attention, into one of the best-funded and most sophisticated operations in American politics, giving him extraordinary influence as he pushes a broad array of hot-button conservative causes and seeks to counter what he sees as an increasing leftward tilt in society.
The network represents a dramatic expansion of tactics and focus for Mr. Leo, who spent nearly three decades working mostly behind the scenes to pull the judiciary to the right as an executive at the Federalist Society. His success in that effort, and expansion into other polarizing fights, is rapidly making him a leading target of criticism from the left.
His philosophy is defined by a belief that the federal government should play a smaller role in public life and religious values a larger one, and that institutions and individuals should be challenged for embracing what he sees as subversive liberal positions.
While his efforts to put conservatives on the courts found a powerful ally in President Donald J. Trump, Mr. Leo, an Ivy League-educated lawyer, has steered clear of the most virulent strains of Mr. Trump’s right-wing populism and he has navigated past most of the fissures in the Republican Party.
Among leading political figures, Mr. Leo is more aligned with Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who as Republican leader in the Senate has worked with him closely on judicial nominations and shares an animus for laws restricting the flow of money into politics.
Mr. Leo’s approach blends cutting-edge political financing techniques — some of which he says are copied from the left — with deep connections to the Republican establishment and a willingness to harness some of the culture-war issues animating the base.
Mr. Leo had begun quietly building the new operation in 2016, but its scope and intensity ramped up substantially when he stepped down in January 2020 from day-to-day leadership of the Federalist Society and shifted his attention to building the conservative advocacy and donor network full time.
The network is made up of a loosely affiliated and evolving set of nonprofit and for-profit entities, through which Mr. Leo helps raise huge sums of money from donors, steers the cash to groups promoting issues he supports and then shapes the resulting initiatives.
The Menace of ‘Misinformation’
It’s a powerful weapon, misinformation. Properly executed, it’s a one-two punch that forces an opponent onto the defensive while deceptively redirecting the people’s attention. And the Left is infinitely better at deploying it than the Dudley Do-Rights on the Right.
Why might that be? Author and conservative commentator Dennis Prager puts it succinctly: “Truth is not a left-wing value.”
One the Left’s most recent and obvious manifestations of misinformation has been Joe Biden’s shameful charge that supporters of Donald Trump are “semi-fascists.” This is also known as the Big Lie, and it’s the reverse of the truth. It’s an attempt by Biden’s handlers to convince his gullible base that their political opponents are guilty of the bad behavior that they themselves are guilty of. The truth is that the Republican Party, whether being led by Donald Trump or someone else, has always been the party of liberty, lower taxes, smaller government, economic freedom, and individual accountability.
As for the Democrats and their leftist brethren, what could be more fascist than the government’s corporatist weaponization of Big Tech and Big Media in collusion with the Department of Justice and against their political opponents on the Right?
Here, blogger Glenn Greenwald offers a sobering assessment: “Stop being shocked when mainstream liberals express their desire to see their political adversaries not only censored by a union of state and corporate power but also imprisoned. The crux of American liberalism is authoritarianism.”
Think about how this cabal worked in concert to perpetuate the biggest of the Big Lies: that Donald Trump had colluded with the Russians to steal the 2016 election from Hillary Clinton. It was, for all intents and purposes, a quiet coup.
And think about how, four years later, it rigged the 2020 election by shamelessly working the other end of the misinformation angle: by telling us that all the very real and damning materials found on Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop were actually Russian disinformation. Indeed, they co-opted more than 50 “former senior intelligence officials” to co-sign and publish a letter saying as much. The laptop “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation,” said high-level Trump-hating liars such as James Clapper and John Brennan and Mike Hayden.
But as columnist Aaron Kliegman points out, the laptop misinformation ruse is merely the most consequential of numerous versions of the same ploy. Indeed, Kliegman lists six other recent examples of the misinformation device being used by the Left against the Right. Among them:
The origins of COVID-19, whereby those who proposed that the virus had leaked from of virology lab in Wuhan, China, were labeled bigots and conspiracy theorists
The vaccine as panacea, whereby questions about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine were shut down as disinformation
The January 6 narrative, whereby suggestions that Nancy Pelosi knew in advance about the threats of a violent storming of the Capitol were dismissed but later revealed to be true
The integrity of the 2020 election, whereby claims of fraud and other irregularities were deemed false, misleading, or unsubstantiated
In all of these cases and others — such as the mistreatment of J6 defendants and the insistence that critical race theory wasn’t being taught in our schools — the truth eventually rolled out of bed and put its pants on … but not before the “misinformation” lie had traveled halfway around the globe.
And that’s the sad reality of our discourse today: When the truth is harmful to the Democrats’ agenda, they’ll do everything they can to hide it.
The Real Meaning of 'Diversity and Inclusion' at Microsoft CSPI
From 2021 to 2022, I worked as a manager in Microsoft’s AI Platform division. I’ve been working in the software industry for over a decade, and while I’ve often encountered some combination of the words “diversity” and “inclusion,” how those words have been translated into culture and policy has varied dramatically over time and between companies. At Microsoft, I became concerned about diversity and inclusion policies that required me to sacrifice what I viewed as the best way to serve the company’s mission, particularly as it affected work prioritization, hiring, and promotions.
Large companies like Microsoft have a major impact on their billions of users. But they also influence other companies’ cultures and policies, since former employees move on to other firms and use what they learned, and some people view things being done at large successful corporations as “best practices.” How these cultural and policy issues manifest themselves at universities has received a lot of attention. My aim in writing this piece is to raise awareness of what’s going on inside one of the world’s most valuable companies.
I’m publishing this article pseudonymously because I fear I would be fired or many companies would in the future refuse to hire me for writing it.
Microsoft classifies its employees by race, gender, and other categories, and aims to increase the shares of employees in preferred groups. This is not a secret. Microsoft has publicly committed to racial equity, including an effort to “double the number of US Black and African American, and Hispanic and Latinx people managers, senior individual contributors, and senior leaders.” The company publishes an annual report on Diversity & Inclusion (hereafter shortened to “D&I”) in which it tracks its progress toward such goals. Some “gains” noted in the 2021 report include:
Amongst US employees, Hispanics increased from 6.5% to 7.0%.
Amongst all employees, women increased from 28.6% to 29.7%.
Amongst US executives, Blacks increased from 3.7% to 5.6%.
So how does Microsoft achieve this progress?
D&I Must be a Core Priority of Every Employee
Every Microsoft employee has to complete a “Connect” several times a year. As part of this process they must write out their priorities for the coming months, and how they plan to make progress on them (“critical indicators of success”). This text must be reviewed and approved by the employee’s manager.
You might think that a company that spent time writing a mission statement would ask employees to focus on its mission (Microsoft’s is “to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more”). But every Microsoft employee instead is told that D&I must be a “core priority,” and that they should write about that first, and then “briefly” discuss their own additional priorities. Below is the text shown to employees:
When I initially saw this, I thought I would just write something anodyne and get back to focusing on producing great software for our users. But I soon learned that there was more to Microsoft’s commitment to D&I than making me write some text that was only visible to my manager every few months. I received an email from my corporate vice president (2 hops below the CEO), requiring all managers and employees above a certain level to publicly share our personal D&I plans.
I soon learned that if I wanted to get promoted, visibly announcing my commitment to D&I wasn’t enough. The corporate vice president who sent that email had to approve all promotions within his organization above a certain level, and it was made clear to me that he weighed contributions to D&I very heavily when making those decisions, and that he encouraged lower levels of management to do the same.
To contribute to D&I, people did and were encouraged to do the following:
Hire “diverse” candidates (more on that below).
Promote “diverse” employees (more on that below).
Participate in a “culture club,” which organized speakers, book clubs, and movie showings focusing on topics like allyship and discrimination.
“Diverse” Candidates are Preferred During Hiring and Promotion
An important and challenging part of my job was hiring people at a time when the labor market was tight and our competitors were offering better compensation, remote work policies, and higher levels of prestige (would you rather work at Google on Gmail or at Microsoft on Outlook?). But in addition to all of these challenges, the company also put in place additional constraints in the service of D&I.
As a hiring manager, I was told that for any position to be filled in the United States I had to interview:
At least 1 African-American, black, Hispanic, or Latin candidate, and At least 1 female candidate.
The slide below mentions a part of the company called “CELA” (Corporate, External, and Legal Affairs), but my impression was that it applied company-wide.
There weren’t any quotas around how many of these “diverse” candidates I had to actually hire, but I was pretty sure my corporate vice president would be more likely to promote people who had hired more of them and thus made his contribution to the annual D&I report look good.
For one position I was trying to fill, dozens of people applied, and most of them seemed qualified based on their resumes, but I spent months waiting for a single person to apply who fulfilled the racial requirement. When no one did, I spent hours trying to find people on LinkedIn who I thought might count as black or Hispanic based on their name or resume. Sadly, during these months I had many very qualified internal candidates applying for the role, but I couldn’t hire them. Unable to hire, my team became a bottleneck that delayed several projects integrating AI into Microsoft products.
You might imagine this policy doesn’t bias the hiring process, since managers are still free to choose who to hire after interviewing the diverse candidates. But because of the number of applicants, most are rejected based on their resumes. Imagine diversity candidates are 1% of the applicants but 15% of those interviewed. This gives those candidates opportunities to do well in interviews that their peers with similar resumes do not get.
In my role as a manager, I recommended employees for promotion. About a week after submitting one set of recommendations, I got an instant message from someone in human resources along the lines of “Hi, did you consider recommending [one of my subordinates] for promotion?” I replied, “I think I’m missing some context, can we discuss this over video?”
During the video call, I was told that HR was reviewing employees from “diverse” groups and making sure they had been considered for promotion. I told HR that I had considered it and I believed my recommendation was correct. HR said “OK, then we don’t need to change anything. I just wanted to check that you had considered them.”
Again, there was no quota, but it seemed clear that promoting this person would have made HR and my corporate vice president happy.
Another part of the generally disastrous response by governments to the pandemic
The Premiers might want to consider balancing their budgets by setting up a petting zoo for their endangered White Covid Elephants. Members of the public could come and visit the hundreds of millions of dollars they cost to purchase and upkeep and ask questions of the zoo keepers like, ‘Why the hell did we build quarantine camps for a seasonal flu that was almost over?’ and ‘Was it necessary to fit convict electronic ankle bracelets to people in quarantine?’
There’s a time and a place for quarantine camps. Australia used to have several historic facilities back when we were a young, fragile country unable to deal with the introduction of the world’s serious illnesses.
The flow of migration was tiny and tightly controlled through a series of ports. Many died in those facilities to protect the nation in conditions close to a living hell and, unlike Covid’s ‘re-imagined’ notion of quarantine, you could not buy your way out of historic quarantine or use your position and privilege to get around the rules.
Quarantine was a practice started in earnest (as far as we can tell) in Venice in the 14th Century where ships were forced to anchor in the harbour to see if anything terrible happened to the passengers and crew. Quaranta giorni or ‘forty days’ is where we get ‘quarantine’ from.
It was a good solution for the time, but that world is gone.
Globalisation, mass migration, and the continuous flow of human beings into Australia via air and sea makes it impossible to sustain human-based quarantine – for anything – unless a full shutdown of the nation is enforced. It is an unsustainable proposition that would only work for a handful of diseases. Certainly, it was never credible to believe that a highly transmissible respiratory illness like Covid could be contained via quarantine.
Once Covid entered the general population, quarantine went from an absurd hope to a nonsense. Quarantine facilities are designed to keep a disease out of a nation. If that nation already has a domestic outbreak – quarantine is no longer viable. To enforce isolation orders on travellers after Covid escaped into the community was always ridiculous – one may even argue that every cent taken from civilians by government departments for their forced quarantine was theft.
To be clear, hotel quarantine and police-enforced self-isolation offered no long-term value.
Think about it this way, with tens of thousands of cases spreading out of control through the community, what difference does it make if you spend nearly $10,000 getting one traveller into the country ‘clean’? The answer is none. It is the same medical absurdity as America’s current vaccination orders for travellers. Vaccination for Covid has no discernible impact on transmission or prevention from infection. America has millions of active cases. Their medical red tape at the airport is nothing but petty politics from an embarrassed regime that cannot and will not admit it lied for two years.
Australia’s National Cabinet (which has wrapped itself in protective layers of secrecy) claims to be advised by leading experts in the medical field, and yet laymen worked out all the way back in late 2020 that Covid would become an endemic virus that could not be stopped by tyranny.
Why did the world slit its economic throat in pursuit of Covid eradication? Was it just so that Big Pharma CEOs could raise billions from a mandated vaccine? Was Covid being used as an excuse to expand political power and collapse Western systems of government into something that looks more like authoritarianism? Was it simple fear and incompetence from political leaders prepared to break every rule of civilisation to hang on to power, making promises about safety they had no right to make? Whatever it was, it had very little to do with healthcare. Maybe idiocy, but not health.
While Premiers probably wish they could ‘move on’ from Covid and pretend that they didn’t act like tin-pot dictators – there is still a question about what to do with their white elephant quarantine stations and health apps…
Queensland’s ‘Wellcamp’ (which sounds like an Orwell theme park) outside of Toowoomba was proudly opened in mid-February 2021 by Annastacia Palaszczuk. It was built to house those pesky unvaccinated international travellers, holding them in small prison cells. Why only unvaccinated travellers? Quarantine is predicated on the notion of locking diseases in with excessive force. It’s not a quarantine facility if half the infected travellers take an Uber straight into the centre of town. Nobody in the press challenged Palaszczuk on the distinction.
Deputy Premier Steven Miles made it quite clear that this was a holding cell for the unvaccinated, not a genuine quarantine station.
‘We anticipate an ongoing number of arrivals, particularly from countries where their vaccines aren’t recognised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and therefore will be required to quarantine. As well as farmers, refugees from other countries who haven’t been able to access vaccinations.’
At some point, every person held at Wellcamp should sue the Queensland government for being held under false pretences. It cost a shocking $3,220 for a single adult, $4,130 for two adults, and $5,040 for two adults and two children. How can this be seen as anything other than a mean-spirited, state-issued fine on the unvaccinated?
There was no competitive tender for Wellcamp’s construction by the Wagner Corporation which cost $200 million along with $9 million to Compass Group and $7.67 million to Aspen Medical in service fees. It is owned by the company, not Queensland, and is being leased. Now, it sits empty with everyone admitting the facility has no use whatsoever. It was a political construction – nothing more – and those in government responsible should have the amount docked from their public service budget.
‘I don’t regret anything about it,’ said Miles. He should regret everything, especially his comment that segregating the unvaccinated was about ‘rewards’.
The situation is nearly identical in Victoria, where Daniel Andrews has his own white elephant exhibit. Victoria’s $580 million quarantine facility in Mickleham is the most expensive of all the albino zoo animals. It was built by the federal government (why did you do that, Scott Morrison?) and operated by the Victorian Labor government.
‘There is no doubt in my mind that we will look back on this decision by the Commonwealth and the state government to invest in a special purpose-built quarantine facility as one of the best decisions we’ve made,’ said Police Minister Lisa Neville.
Matthew (Matt?) Guy chipped in, ‘It’s a shame it wasn’t in place maybe a year or so ago when it was needed most. But it’s an important piece of armoury to ensure there are no more lockdowns.’ ‘You can see it from the moon,’ Neville added.
Wonderful. A failure so large it is visible from space.
The hub is already closed. These are same governments that cry poor and insist they ‘just have to increase taxes’ to salvage the economy. How about they start paying back, with their salaries as forfeit, the hubris of their careers?
It was the Liberals who facilitated this Southern failure and the Liberals that shared the information required to create vaccine passports, so I don’t want to hear any more garbage from the party elite about how ‘Labor is so much worse’. You’re both atrocious. That’s why ‘you betrayed us!’ was screamed at those on stage during CPAC.
The Howard Springs quarantine facility in the Northern Territory copped well-deserved flak for essentially forcing remote communities to relocate into it. While arguably the most successful of the facilities (in that a significant number of people moved through its doors), it was still a failure of concept. At the end of the day, for all its ‘success’ it served no purpose and made no difference to our final destination as a nation.
With the fully-vaccinated flying into Australia riddled with Covid at the same time as the unvaccinated were being carted off to live in prison facilities, Australia and its leaders openly practised discrimination and segregation despite the science (and basic ethics) being against them. At no point have they apologised for this, or sought to amend the legislation that allowed these violations in basic decency.
As a nation, we wasted a fortune and learned nothing except that our Premiers and medical bureaucracy harbour an insatiable lust for cruelty and cretinism in equal measure. If this is the quality of ‘expert’ on offer, we’d be better off with the village idiot – or a stray cat. And yes, your money is still being used to feed the elephants.
13 October, 2022
Old diabetes drugs slash the risk of dementia by more than a FIFTH, study finds
The "risk" of heart disease from taking Avandia is rubbish. Avandia was the target of a political war. See my previous comment on it
A class of diabetes drugs that have fallen out of fashion may help prevent Alzheimer's, a major study suggests.
Thiazolidinediones (TZDs) reduced the risk of developing the disease by more than a fifth in a study of more than half a million patients.
The drugs are thought to work by reducing bad cholesterol in the blood and boosting blood flow and oxygen supply to the brain.
They are sold under the brand names Actos or Avandia but they are rarely prescribed because of their links to liver toxicity and heart problems
But researchers from Arizona University, who did the latest study, are hoping the drugs can find a new lease of life.
They say the drugs should be given to type 2 diabetics to prevent cognitive issues that could turn into dementia.
Previous studies have shown people with this form of diabetes are at a higher risk of the memory-robbing condition.
Having too much sugar in the blood can damage organs, including the brain.
TZDs can drop dementia risk by more than 20 per cent in type 2 diabetics that use the drug. These drugs have largely been removed from the US market over risks related to heart failure and bladder cancer
The research team, which published its findings Tuesday in the BMJ, gathered data from 560,000 type 2 diabetics from 2000 to 2019.
Each of the participants was over the age of 60 and had received either a TZD or other popular type 2 diabetes drugs like metformin or sulfonylurea.
These drugs are typically taken once daily, but in some cases a patient may take up to three doses per day.
TZDs - once a popular class of diabetes drugs that have since been dropped from the market
Thiazolidinediones (TZDs) are type 2 diabetes drugs.
They work by activating genes in a cell's protein that make them more sensitive to insulin. This, as a result, makes the body more able to process glucose in the blood.
While they were once a popular treatment for the disease, they have since fallen out of favor across the US and Europe.
The drugs have been linked to fluid build up in the heart and even an increased risk of heart failure. They have also been linked to bladder cancer, liver toxicity, losses in bone mass and severe weight gain.
The drugs were pulled from many international markets in the early 2010s. They now see rare, if any use, across the world as they have been outclassed by more modern type 2 diabetes drugs.
Participants had their health tracked using Veterans Affairs medical records for an average of eight years each. Those who used a TZD alone had a 22 per cent lower risk of developing all-cause dementia than those who used metformin within the first year. There was also an 11 per cent drop in risk of dementia in particular, and a 57 per cent fall in cases of vascular dementia - caused by reduced blood flow to the brain.
The drugs were even more effective at preventing cognitive problems when they were taken alongside metformin - dropping the risk by another 11 per cent.
The research could bring a second-life to a class of drugs that has largely been left by the wayside. Also known as glitazones, TZDs help combat type 2 diabetes by reducing the blood's resistance to insulin. They work by binding to a cell's protein and activating genes that help increase the blood's sensitivity to the hormone.
Avandia, one of the most popular TZDs, was pulled from the US market by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2010 after it was linked to an increased heart attack risk.
Its main competitor Actos has also been linked to heart issues, along with bladder cancer and liver toxicity.
While Actos is still available in the US, it is rarely prescribed anymore as newer, safer, diabetes drugs have since taken its place on the market.
The drugs have also been linked to loss of bone mass and uncharacteristic weight gain in users.
Development of type 2 diabetes has long been linked to risk of dementia. Alzheimer's has even been described by some as 'type 3 diabetes' because of the similarities in how they affect the body at the cellular level.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that around ten per cent of US adults are suffering from diabetes.
Billion-Dollar Transgender Industry Leaves Broken Families and Lives
Photos of Jeff Younger’s smiling twin boys are scattered throughout his home in the Dallas suburbs—happy moments, frozen in time.
Next to the back door, a jump rope and youth-sizes boxing headgear haven’t moved from the corner where they were tossed 13 months ago. Outside, a punching bag hangs silent from a sturdy shade tree towering over a yard once filled with the tap-tap-tap sound of little fists pounding canvas.
Younger spent hours at a time in that space with his boys, James and Jude, who were 9 at the time, teaching them how to wrestle and how to land a punch—just as his father taught him when he was a kid. “I remember people by the things they do,” Younger said.
He took the boys to parks, teaching them how to hurl sticks and track rabbits along a creek, all part of growing his boys into men. But for James, now 10, manhood may never come.
James is like so many swept up in the hype of transgenderism, part of an exploding trend among youth and young adults. And Younger is among a swarm of objectors, many of them parents, fighting an uphill battle against a $2.1 billion transgender industry in the United States.
Younger’s ex-wife, Anne Georgulas, a pediatrician in Coppell, Texas, says that James has wanted to identify as a female since preschool, wears dresses, and goes by the name Luna. Younger hasn’t seen James in more than a year because he has refused to go along with the idea that James is a girl.
Now, the Texas father, who’s embroiled in a high-profile custody battle, fears that a court ruling in September could allow his ex-wife to move to California and chemically castrate his son.
Younger worries that his ex-wife now will transition James medically. He said documents he obtained during court proceedings show that she took James to a therapist who recommended that the family “explore” gender transitioning at the Dallas-based Genecis medical clinic.
Younger said his former wife’s medical practice is scheduled to close on Oct. 31. Georgulas declined to comment about a potential move to California when contacted by The Epoch Times.
But California is a welcoming place for young people seeking to medically transition.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation on Sept. 29 giving the state authority over transgender minors, creating a potential nightmare for Younger. Gender-altering surgery and drugs, referred to as “gender-affirming care” by its supporters, is legal in California, and the new law shields Californians from laws and court actions in other states that could block transition treatments.
Younger believes that the new California law will allow his ex-wife to get around a previous Texas court order preventing either parent from treating the child with hormonal suppression therapy, puberty blockers, or transgender reassignment surgery without both parents’ consent or a court order.
Transgender Money Machine
Money and a hysteria epidemic are driving the transgenderism phenomenon, according to Clifford Alan Hopewell, a Fort Worth neuropsychologist who spoke to The Epoch Times.
Hopewell—a trained behaviorist, a former Texas Psychological Association president, and a fellow with the American Psychological Association—said therapy has become the gateway to a bustling transgender economy.
Gender dysphoria is a relatively new diagnosis, made up so insurance companies will cover the costs of so-called gender-affirming care, he said. Therapists will write out a prescription with no questions asked, he said. Mental health providers “just see the money.”
“It’s all bogus,” Hopewell said. “There’s this transgender money-making machine.”
The current market for transgender surgery is expected to increase to $5 billion in 2030 from $2.1 billion in 2022, an 11 percent compound annual growth rate, according to Grand View Research, a market research company.
Breast or chest surgery in females transitioning to males showed the most growth in terms of transitioning surgeries, which increased by 15 percent over the 2019–20 period, according to the Plastic Surgery Statistics by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
The absurdity of the cycle is astonishing, Hopewell said.
A man or woman can visit a licensed mental health provider and express interest in becoming the opposite sex. The therapist affirms the patient, who has self-diagnosed, he said.
“If you walk in and say, ‘Amputate my leg,’ nobody would do it,” Hopewell said. “You walk in and say, ‘Amputate my penis,’ ‘Oh, well, let’s get you on the surgery list right now [is the response].'”
He cited a recently exposed 2018 Vanderbilt University video in which a hospital representative talked about money-making opportunities in the transgender industry. Top surgeries could bring in $40,000 per patient, the representative told the audience enthusiastically.
Creating a Need
People who decide to transition need transgender care for the rest of their lives, Hopewell said. Hormones and other needed medications could cost $200,000 or more over the lifetime of a transgender person.
But as some transitioners have discovered, the total cost can be much higher—and can’t be counted just in dollars.
For 49-year-old Scott Newgent, a woman who began transitioning to appear male seven years ago, the journey has been filled with expensive medications, surgeries, and complications. Newgent, who lives in Texas, estimates that the transition has cost about $1.2 million so far.
Like Hopewell, Newgent believes that transitioning represents a lucrative new revenue stream for the health care industry. “It’s all very, very evil,” Newgent told The Epoch Times. “There’s too much money.”
Cross-sex hormones prescribed to Newgent have cost roughly $30,000. The price of phalloplasty was $309,000. During that procedure, a surgeon cuts into the forearm to remove a tissue flap to form and attach a pseudo-penis and extend the urethra.
Insurance has paid for much of the transition, Newgent said, noting that without insurance, the surgery would have cost $70,000 in cash.
Newgent now refers to the surgeon who performed the surgery as a “monster.” Complications from the procedures led to months of infections, emergency room visits, and maddening pain. The cost of care climbed by another $850,000.
In a recently released documentary titled “What is a Woman?” Newgent passionately described the suffering in hopes of warning the world about the dangers of transition surgeries.
If she had known the dangers, transitioning wouldn’t have been an option for her, Newgent said.
Pronouns right and wrong
The word ‘they’ has two legitimate uses and one illegitimate use. The first proper and legitimate use is as the subjective case of the third person plural pronoun – that is, to refer to a bunch of people. The second is as a singular pronoun in cases where it is impossible to know the gender of the person referred to, for example: ‘If someone wins the lottery they should…’ In such cases, and only in such cases, it is proper to use ‘they’ just as ‘you’ has been employed for centuries – covering both singular and plural.
However, it is improper, illegitimate and totally appalling to use ‘they’ as a singular pronoun when the gender is known. This has been done, apparently, by Northlakes High School in NSW. At that school, the boys’ toilet has a sign saying ‘He/They’ and the girls’ toilet one saying ‘She/They.’ This is wrong on so many fronts it’s hard to know where to begin. For a start, toilets are not normally labelled with pronouns – they are labelled ‘mens’ (or ‘gents’) and ‘womens’ (or ‘ladies’). In a school context this becomes ‘boys’ and ‘girls’. Switching to a pronoun for labelling is nonsense.
Worse, the gender is known. Males go to boys’ toilets and females go to girls’ toilets – so the use of ‘they’ to be gender neutral is a bit of hard-left Marxist ideological madness. And third, this is dangerous. Mark Latham has pointed out that these lunatic woke signs may encourage boys to use the girls’ toilets – meaning little 12- and 13-year-old girls could find themselves in a toilet with perving 17- and 18-year-old boys. It is outrageous that a principal could assume the power to impose politically correct stupidity on a whole school (without – as it happens – telling parents or seeking their permission). Madness. Dangerous madness.
TV presenter slams plans to introduce a spanking ban on kids in Australia
The claim that smacking/spanking has bad mental health outcomes is based on the old fallacy that correlation is causation. The bad mental health among some children who are smacked could be a CAUSE rather than the result of the smacking. Ill-behaved children are more likely to be smacked and mental health problems can cause bad behaviour. See here for an example of the research concerned
My father never laid a hand on me nor did I ever lay a hand on my son but both of us are quiet intellectual types not drawn to any kind of florid behaviour. But all children are not the same and some children do need pressure to observe boundaries. And smacking is a clear sign that a boundary has been transgressed.
Karl Stefanovic has furiously shot down plans to introduce a ban on Australian parents giving their kids a smack.
University of Melbourne Professor Sophie Havighurst supports the idea of making corporal punishment illegal, saying it 'has effects on children in a whole range of different ways'.
She referenced research from the Australian Child Maltreatment Study that found 61 per cent of young Aussies had been smacked at least four times in their life. 'We now know that that doubles their chances of anxiety and depression,' Prof Havighurst told The Today Show on Thursday morning.
But Stefanovic wasn't having any of it, saying there was no need for a law change. 'I don't want to see any more legislation around me as a parent, my head explodes,' he said.
'And the idea of parents being charged or going into court for smacking a child. I mean, come on, Sophie, give me a break, please.'
The professor said she wasn't seeking any consequences for those who use physical punishment on their children, but wanted the law to change. 'Any form of smacking or physical discipline has been found to have a negative effect on children,' she said.
Sixty-three countries around the world have made physical punishment against children illegal including Scotland, Sweden and Korea.
Prof Havighurst said the law change hadn't led to an increase in prosecution of parents who hit their kids in any of those countries. She said banning the behaviour would lead to a cultural and attitude change among Aussie parents.
The expert sympathised with Stefanovic's concerns parents would be charged for smacking their children, but said discussion around the topic was important. 'We all have times when we lose it ... but in New Zealand when they changed the law in 2007, they didn't get an increase in what you're fearful of,' she said.
'We don't want the government and police having more involvement in our family lives but we do know that law change can guide us to use other ways of parenting and that's really important.'
Australia's former deputy chief medical officer, Dr Nick Coatsworth also weighed in on the matter, saying the bottom line was that parents should not smack their kids - but that making the behaviour illegal wasn't necessary.
'My view is that governments should do their best to educate and make sure kids are safe,' he said. 'Criminalising aspects of parenting, even those aspects that are wrong, shouldn't be the direction the government should be going in, in my view.'
In Australia it's currently legal for parents to smack their kids but varying states have specific rules on the matter.
In NSW, the physical punishment should not be painful for more than a brief moment, and kids can't be hit on their heads or necks.
In Victoria, there is no legislation surrounding parents applying physical punishment to their kids while in various other states it must be considered 'reasonable under the circumstances'.
12 October, 2022
The Capitalist Origins of the Myers-Briggs Personality Test
I am putting up below the opening blast of a history of the MBPT. It makes some useful points. The curious thing about the MBPT is that it has intuitive appeal to a lot of people and many take its categorizations semi-seriously as applicable to themselvres.
That is rather a pity as the test is a psychometric disaster area. It is not internally consistent and often fails to give the same answer twice when it is administered on more than one occasion. It psychometrician's terms it lacks both validity and reliability.
There are now however now a lot of personality tests which do have good scientific credentials -- the "Big Five" etc.
I might declare an interest here. I have been a very active psychometrician. I suspect that I have had published more tests than anyone else. In just one article I published six different measures of six separate concepts -- all reliable and valid. Most of my work, however, was in the field of attitude measurement, not personality measurement. I did however make contributions to the measurement of anxiety, dogmatism and ambition (achievement motivation). See my categorized list of articles here. My measure of achievement motivation has proved particularly popular with other researchers
We tend to think of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as a frivolous internet distraction, akin to the hundreds of BuzzFeed quizzes that help us pass the time and think about ourselves in new (if not especially serious) ways. But in the mid-20th century, businesses used it as a powerful tool in hiring and management, changing the trajectories of many workers’ lives. What most of these businesses’ executives didn’t know was just how arbitrary the “science” behind the indicator was.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was the brainchild of a mother and daughter, Katharine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers. They had no formal background in psychology or statistics, but they did have a fervent belief that their experiences as mothers and wives had taught them all about the innate, immutable power of personality types. Born in 1875, Katharine Briggs had always been fascinated by the idea of personality. She became a minor celebrity in the 1920s while writing parenting columns about how she educated her daughter, Isabel. When Isabel left for college, Katharine fell into a deep depression. It was then that she discovered the writings of Carl Jung, whom she called her “savior,” her “maker,” the “author of her life.” Over time, Katharine developed a way of categorizing people’s personalities using a variation of Jung’s theory of psychological types: introversion/extraversion, intuition/sensing, feeling/thinking, and to this she added perception/judging.
Her system never really caught on until her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, developed it into a 117-question marketable “indicator” — never a “test,” since there were no right or wrong answers, no good or bad types. Myers sold it to Edward N. Hay, a family friend and one of the first personnel consultants in the United States. With the rise of the labor force during and after World War II, newly established consultancies like Hay’s were warming to the idea of using cheap, standardized tests to fit workers to the jobs that were “right for them,” a match made under the watchful eyes of executives eager to keep both profits and morale high.
Personality tests spoke for more than just an individual person or company; they represented an emergent culture of white-collar work.
From the end of World War II to the beginning of the arms race in the early 1950s, news of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator thundered through Pennsylvania, New York, and Washington, D.C. As men built bomb shelters and children practiced attack drills, Isabel picked up accounts, and these accounts began to double, even triple, in size. She took on large orders from colleges, government bureaus, and pharmaceutical companies; from Swarthmore, her alma mater; from her father’s longtime employer, the National Bureau of Standards; from the First National Bank of Boston, Bell Telephone, and the Roane-Anderson Company — a subcontractor for atomic weapons her father introduced Isabel to through his contacts on the Manhattan Project. She was not shy about asking for help or using her family’s connections.
Never one to miss out on an opportunity for self-promotion, Edward N. Hay wrote to his corporate client list on Isabel’s behalf, taking the credit for the indicator’s success despite his apparent lack of familiarity with its origins or the theory behind it. “The test is based on Jung’s Psychological Type-Mind,” he informed one client. “It was developed by Mrs. Isabel Briggs-Myers out of an experiment she did with me in 1942. I have used it in my consulting work quite a little.”
By the mid-1950s, Isabel’s clients were the largest utilities and insurance companies in the United States. They regularly spent upwards of $50 a year on test booklets and answer sheets. The Home Life Insurance Company of New York purchased it twice—first to determine whether an applicant would make for a successful life insurance salesman, and then to calculate whether a life insurance applicant should pay a larger premium on his insurance. (According to Isabel’s summary of her results, extraverted intuitive types — ENTPs and ENFPs — were more likely to exhibit risk-taking behavior.)
Fascist women's marchers
Violence to achieve political ends comes instinctively to Leftists. Hitler's Brownshirts were the same
Thousands of pro-abortion activists gathered in Washington, D.C. on Saturday to rally with the Women’s March following the overturn of Roe v. Wade.
The Daily Signal spoke with many attendees about the post-Dobbs landscape, asking whether attendees support any restrictions on abortion. Most of the Women’s Marchers that The Daily Signal spoke with said that they did not support a single restriction on abortion, even if the unborn baby could feel pain or was able to survive outside the womb.
One Women’s Marcher acknowledged that “having abortion banned means that…now I have to be more careful when I have sex.”
Multiple activists who routinely protest outside the homes of the Supreme Court justices also attended the event — activists whose illegal protesting I had exposed in a report for The Daily Wire over the summer. Both Maryland and Virginia law prohibits picketing at the residence of an individual to disrupt or threaten to disrupt that individual’s “tranquility in his home.” Federal law also prohibits such behavior.
We observed some of these activists (including Nadine Seiler) harassing pro-life activists who attended the march. The pro-abortion demonstrators repeatedly screamed at the pro-life activists, loudly blared megaphones right into their ears, and trampled on their pro-life banner.
Some of these Supreme Court activists recognized me from my coverage of their demonstrations and proceeded to harass myself and my video producer until we left the Women’s March, screaming and swearing at us, shoving their hands in front of our cameras, ringing bells in our faces and yelling into our ears with megaphones.
One activist repeatedly blew into a whistle so vigorously, and so close to my face, that her saliva landed all over my face.
“Sucks when that happens, doesn’t it,” shrieked activist Sadie Kuhns, as she followed us to the police line. Kuhns also accused me of doxxing her through my coverage, which illustrates how she herself frequently posts about her activities at the homes of the justices.
“Bye b—-!” the activists screamed when we departed
Gabbard leaving the Democratic Party frightens ‘elitist cabal’ in Washington, D.C.
Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement on former U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii leaving the Democratic Party:
“Former U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s decision to leave the Democratic Party should send shivers down the spine of what she calls an ‘elitist cabal’ that controls it. Gabbard is no conservative; she is what the Democrat leadership fears most, an honest liberal. And the former DNC Vice Chairperson from Hawaii is not alone in rejecting the warmongering totalitarian left in expressing dismay at where the liberal elites have gone. Author Naomi Wolfe and former New York Times Editor Bari Weiss are two more examples of liberal opinion leaders who have chosen to speak out against the anti-free speech mantra that has overrun the party of Jefferson and Jackson.
“But the GOP should not become sanguine due to these important defections. Unfortunately, they have their own problems with too many leaders that are either too tepid or blindly accept narratives from the very elitists that Gabbard rejects. Additionally, many of Gabbard’s comments about the elitist cabal on the left sound eerily familiar to those of us who were around during the tea party movement where similar concerns were openly voiced about GOP leadership.
“Americans are sick of uni-party rubber stamp government. The election in November will reflect that rejection of the elites. It will be up to those who replace them to prove that they are not just a new boss who is same as the old boss, to paraphrase The Who song, ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’.”
Who will defend the white Christian male?
Did you hear about the Muslim who got the sack because of his Islamic beliefs and the Indian who was similarly dismissed because he was a Hindu?
How about the Aborigine who was shown the door because of his traditional beliefs?
You didn’t because these events never occurred and if they had, there would have been shrieks of outrage while accusations of Islamophobia, racism and religious intolerance echoed around the nation and social media erupted in an explosion of condemnation.
If, however, you happen to be a white Christian male with conservative views that don’t align with the woke-Left view of the world and you have your employment terminated because of your religious beliefs, then sorry, mate.
Suck it up. It’s your fault for being a holy-roller and not running with the mob.
My late father once told me that when he was growing up in Brisbane in the 1930s and looking for work as an apprentice, it was not uncommon to see advertisements offering employment, which carried the qualification that “Catholics Need Not Apply”.
Bigotry was entrenched back then and thankfully we now live in a more enlightened age, one in which inclusiveness has become the mantra of the times. Sexual and gender preferences of every alphabetic combination are welcomed.
Corporations laud their inclusiveness and point proudly to their ongoing pursuit of gender balance and a multicultural workforce, but what happens when a white bloke gets the chop because he belongs to a particular Christian church?
Not much, as Andrew Thorburn discovered when he was forced to resign as chief executive of Essendon Football Club the day after he was appointed when the AFL club discovered that the church to which he belonged preached that homosexuality was a sin and was anti-abortion.
Professional football clubs, of course, are paragons of virtue unless you count the revelations of domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse and public affray in which their players so regularly feature.
I’ve no brief for Thorburn. He was forced to step down as head of the National Australia Bank after a royal commission blasted the bank for charging customers $650m in fees for which there was no service.
The issue, however, is not about the man’s business ethics, but about being a Christian in today’s society.
Former prime minister Scott Morrison was regularly lampooned because he openly practised his Christian faith, as was former PM Tony Abbott.
When Dominic Perrottet became NSW Premier, the focus was not of his qualifications for the role, but that he was a Catholic and had six and now seven children.
Had he been a Muslim with a large family, it would have gone unremarked. Rugby player Israel Folau suffered the wrath of the woke Left and paid a price for standing up for his beliefs.
Essendon thought Thorburn, a passionate and long-time supporter of the club, was the right person for the job, but then in a heartbeat, it didn’t. It folded at the first hint of faux outrage.
Thorburn’s church, the City on a Hill, is hardly the only one to have unfashionable views.
According to the Australian National Imans Council: “From the Islamic standpoint, homosexuality is a forbidden action; a major sin and anyone who partakes in it is considered a disobedient servant to Allah that will acquire His displeasure and disapproval.”
Does this mean that all those who have applauded the actions of Essendon, including, to his external disgrace, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, regard Muslims as unsuitable to hold responsible office?
Andrews is a professed Catholic and the Catholic Church is anti-abortion so how can he justify supporting Thorburn’s treatment?
The answer, of course, is that he is a politician with an election coming up and is trying to curry favour with Left-leaning inner-city electors.
The hypocrisy is staggering. Will Essendon now interview all its players and demand to know their views on abortion and homosexuality, tearing up the contracts of those whose beliefs do not coincide with what is believed to be acceptable?
You know the answer.
There’s an ugly undercurrent tugging at our society, one seeking to sweep away those who would stand up for their right to hold Christian beliefs. If we fail to fight against it, we do so at our peril.
Philosopher John Stuart Mill put it succinctly when he wrote: “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.”
11 October, 2022
The Rise of Lonely, Single Men
The article below has been much reproduced and much commented on since it first appeared a few months ago so I thought I might say a few words about it.
For a start, I think it is accurate as far as it goes but it fails to get to the bottom of what is going on. The basic problem is that traditional sex roles have altered. And a large part of the blame for that goes back to the schools.
Education has become very feminized and that tends to be uncongenial to men. As a result they tend to drop out before women do. But educational qualifications are still the highroad to many good jobs. So women tend to have more prestigious jobs and, to some extent, better pay.
So men have lost the occupational, educational and financial advantage they once had. They have, in other words, lost a lot of what used to be attractive to women. And women are therefore less likely to take an interest in them. So women look for other things in a man. And a major one is compatible values. But values tend to be influenced by your sex. There are intrinsic differences between male and female values. So when values become of over-riding significance for women, their own female values will be part of that. They will hope for some sign of female values in a man.
But that is an uphill requirement. Men will often be poor at providing such a value match, which will be bad for both parties. Neither the men nor the women will be able to find that they want. Neither the men nor the women are to blame. It is an educational and economic imbalance that has driven them apart.
What is to be done? I am afraid all I have to offer is that great old British solution: Compromise. Women have to stop expecting the impossible from men and men have to learn more respect for female values. It will not be easy for either party but to the extent it happens, both men and women will be happier.
The sad thing about it all is that the more desirable people will do OK anyway. It is the less desirable men and women who will need to change in order to find partners. And for some that will be really uphill. A major factor in interpersonal attraction is appearance and the factors there can be of stark importance. Good-looking men and women will find one another and be happy in a union but others will not. And, to be blunt about it, fat women and short men will fail to attract. Those are not the only factors in appearance but they are a big part of it.
Fortunately, appearance can be supplemented in other ways. The classic is short men who drive big cars and who are dapper in dress. They tend to be amusing to other men but women are sometimes impressed.
A less obvious example of a compensatory characteristic is a high IQ. I benefited from that. I have only ever been average in looks but my high IQ has been very attractive to one class of women: High IQ women. Women LOATHE being partnered with a man who is dumber than they are. So my arrival in the life of a high IQ woman tends to be very welcome. And I am not blowing smoke in saying that. I married fine women 4 times and, although I am now in my 80th year, I have recently acquired a very bright new girlfriend. And life is not fair. High IQ women tend also to be better looking. Terman and Oden noted that way back in the 20s. And my girlfriend is unusually good-looking for her age (in the 70s).
But both looks and IQ cannot be changed by wishing it. So other factors will have to be attended to in partnering. And there are a few of those. A dominant but polite personality is attractive to many women, for instance. But best of all is simply listening. Both men and women vary greatly in what they are and what they want so listening to the other party, finding out what they value, and trying to provide that will always be a leading way to satisfactory relationships.
Younger and middle-aged men are the loneliest they’ve been in generations, and it’s probably going to get worse.
This is not my typical rosy view of relationships but a reality nonetheless. Over the last 30 years, men have become a larger portion of that growing group of long-term single people. And while you don’t actually need to be in a relationship to be happy, men typically are happier and healthier when partnered.
Here are three broad trends in the relationship landscape that suggest heterosexual men are in for a rough road ahead:
Dating Apps. Whether you’re just starting to date or you’re recently divorced and dating again, dating apps are a huge driver of new romantic connections in the United States. The only problem is that upwards of 62% of users are men and many women are overwhelmed by the number of options they have. Competition in online dating is fierce, and lucky in-person chance encounters with dreamy partners are rarer than ever.
Relationship Standards. With so many options, it’s not surprising that women are increasingly selective. I do a live TikTok show (@abetterloveproject) and speak with hundreds of audience members every week; I hear recurring dating themes from women between the ages of 25 and 45: They prefer men who are emotionally available, who are good communicators, and who share their values.
Skills Deficits. For men, this means a relationship skills gap that, if not addressed, will likely lead to fewer dating opportunities and longer periods of being single. There's less patience for poor communication skills today. The problem for men is that emotional connection is the lifeblood of healthy, long-term love and it requires all the skills that families still are not consistently teaching young boys.
While there’s probably no chance of stemming the rising tide of unintentional single men, there is some good news.
The algorithms are becoming increasingly more complex on dating apps and other online platforms. One result is that great matches are on the rise. One dating app, Hinge, found through beta trials that 90% of users rated their first date positively, with 72% indicating that they wanted a second date.
How can men reap the benefit of the algorithms? Level up your mental health game. That means getting into some individual therapy to address your skills gap. It means valuing your own internal world and respecting your ideas enough to communicate them effectively. It means seeing intimacy, romance, and emotional connection as worthy of your time and effort.
Ultimately, we have an opportunity to revolutionize romantic relationships and establish new, healthier norms starting with the first date. It’s likely that some of these romances will be transformative and healing, disrupting generational trauma and establishing a fresh culture of admiration and validation.
Men have a key role in this transformation but only if they go all-in. It’s going to take that kind of commitment to themselves, to their mental health, and to the kind of love they want to generate in the world. Will we step up?
The Truth About Columbus
Is this the last time we can celebrate Columbus Day? A wave of cities have decided to remove the holiday from the calendar and replace it with “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.”
Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer credited with discovering America, and his legacy are under attack figuratively and, increasingly, literally.
Several Columbus monuments have been attacked and vandalized around the country. The towering Columbus statue at Columbus Circle in New York City now needs 24-hour guards after Mayor Bill de Blasio put it on the list of a commission to review “offensive” memorials.
And according to Far Left Watch, a watchdog organization, Antifa and other left-wing groups plan to deface and attack Columbus statues across the country on Columbus Day.
It is unfortunate to see what was once a uniting figure—who represented American courage, optimism, and even immigrants—is suddenly in the crosshairs for destruction. We owe it to Columbus and ourselves to be more respectful of the man who made the existence of our country possible.
Once Revered, Now Maligned
A few historians and activists began to attack Columbus’ legacy in the late 20th century. They concocted a new narrative of Columbus as a rapacious pillager and a genocidal maniac.
Far-left historian Howard Zinn, in particular, had a huge impact on changing the minds of a generation of Americans about the Columbus legacy. Zinn not only maligned Columbus, but attacked the larger migration from the Old World to the new that he ushered in.
It wasn’t just Columbus who was a monster, according to Zinn, it was the driving ethos of the civilization that ultimately developed in the wake of his discovery: the United States.
“Behind the English invasion of North America,” Zinn wrote, “behind their massacre of Indians, their deception, their brutality, was that special powerful drive born in civilizations based on private profit.”
The truth is that Columbus set out for the New World thinking he would spread Christianity to regions where it didn’t exist. While Columbus, and certainly his Spanish benefactors, had an interest in the goods and gold he could return from what they thought would be Asia, the explorer’s primary motivation was religious.
“This conviction that God destined him to be an instrument for spreading the faith was far more potent than the desire to win glory, wealth, and worldly honors,” wrote historian Samuel Eliot Morison over a half-century ago.
In fact, as contemporary historian Carol Delaney noted, even the money Columbus sought was primarily dedicated to religious purposes. Delaney said in an interview with the Catholic fraternal organization the Knights of Columbus:
Everybody knows that Columbus was trying to find gold, but they don’t know what the gold was for: to fund a crusade to take Jerusalem back from the Muslims before the end of the world. A lot of people at the time thought that the apocalypse was coming because of all the signs: the plague, famine, earthquakes, and so forth. And it was believed that before the end, Jerusalem had to be back in Christian hands so that Christ could return in judgment.
Columbus critics don’t just stop at accusing him of greed. One of the biggest allegations against him is that he waged a genocidal war and engaged in acts of cruelty against indigenous people in the Americas.
But historians like Delaney have debunked these claims.
Rather than cruel, Columbus was mostly benign in his interaction with native populations. While deprivations did occur, Columbus was quick to punish those under his command who committed unjust acts against local populations.
“Columbus strictly told the crew not to do things like maraud, or rape, and instead to treat the native people with respect,” Delaney said. “There are many examples in his writings where he gave instructions to this effect. Most of the time when injustices occurred, Columbus wasn’t even there. There were terrible diseases that got communicated to the natives, but he can’t be blamed for that.”
Columbus certainly wasn’t a man without flaws or attitudes that would be unacceptable today.
But even as a man of an earlier age in which violence and cruelty were often the norm between different cultures and people, Columbus did not engage in the savage acts that have been pinned on him.
How Americans Once Viewed Columbus
For much of the 19th and 20th centuries, most Americans were taught about Columbus’ discovery of the New World in school.
“In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue … ” went a popular poem about the Italian explorer who flew under the Spanish flag. At one time, Americans marveled at what seemed like an unbelievably courageous voyage across unknown waters with the limited tools and maps of the 15th century.
It is difficult in the 21st century to imagine what Columbus faced as he crossed the Atlantic in search of what he thought was a route to Asia. The hardship and danger was immense. If things went awry, there would be nothing to save his little flotilla besides hope, prayer, and a little courage.
Most people, even in the 1490s, knew that the Earth was round. However, Columbus made a nevertheless history-altering discovery.
The world was a much bigger place than most had imagined, and though Columbus never personally realized the scope of his discovery, he opened up a new world that would one day become a forefront of human civilization.
This is the man and the history that earlier generations of Americans came to respect and admire.
Unfortunately, Zinn and others’ caricature of Columbus and American civilization has stuck and in an era in which radicals and activists search the country for problematic statues to destroy, Columbus is a prime target.
Ku Klux Klan Pushed Anti-Columbus Rhetoric
Much of the modern rhetoric about Columbus mirrors attacks lobbed at him in the 19th century by anti-Catholic and anti-Italian groups like the Ku Klux Klan.
In fact, Columbus Day became a nationally celebrated holiday following a mass lynching of Italians in New Orleans—the largest incident of lynching in American history.
In 1892—the 400th anniversary of the Columbus voyage—President Benjamin Harrison called for a national celebration of Columbus and his achievements. Americans patriotically celebrated Columbus and erected numerous statues in his honor as the country embraced him.
Though American appreciation of Columbus deepened, some groups weren’t pleased.
As the pro-Columbus website The Truth About Columbus points out, the Ku Klux Klan worked to stop Columbus Day celebrations, smash statues, and reverse his growing influence on American culture.
According to The Truth About Columbus, in the 1920s, the Klan “attempted to remove Columbus Day as a state holiday in Oregon,” burned a cross “to disturb a Columbus Day celebration in Pennsylvania,” and successfully “opposed the erection of a statue of Columbus in Richmond, Virginia, only to see the decision to reject the statue reversed.”
Attempts to quash Columbus failed, but they have re-emerged in our own time through the actions of far-left groups who want to see his legacy buried and diminished forever.
This would be a tragic loss for our generation and those of the future.
Woke Ideology Has Metastasized in U.S. Military. It Will Take Time to Remove Its Divisive Influence
Efforts to uncover the prevalence of woke, divisive critical race theory-based equity training and policies in the military are bringing to light an extensive problem.
The latest revelation is the Air Force Academy promoting gender-based “inclusivity” indoctrination while advertising for a fellowship that excludes cadets based on sexual orientation.
Those are only the latest tips of the critical race theory and gender ideology icebergs.
The divisiveness of critical race theory’s and gender ideology’s influence on the military is pervasive, infecting military academies, operational units, and—incredibly—even military medical care.
This scourge was introduced into the military with President Barack Obama’s well-intentioned-sounding diversity and inclusion Executive Order 13583 of Aug. 18, 2011. It was quickly followed by a Government-Wide Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan that directed all agencies to establish diversity and inclusion councils with visible leadership involvement.
These councils and their associated diversity, equity, and inclusion advisers have created a nomenklatura enforcing political preferences that Nadia Schadlow has correctly equated with Soviet political commissars.
One of these diversity apparatchiks was recently uncovered and is under investigation for racist and derogatory public statements. This person is the Department of Defense’s education activity chief diversity officer. This shouldn’t surprise anyone, as this agency has been pushing these divisive ideas for some time.
But this is only a reflection of deeper rot, which also has seemingly infected the military medical community’s thinking.
The Uniformed Service University trains uniformed medical care providers, and in its strategic plan, it aims to institutionalize similar critical race theory-sounding efforts for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Ostensibly a mission for its associate dean, an Army colonel is heading up the institution’s School of Medicine diversity, equity, and inclusion office.
Meanwhile, the Navy’s own medical command’s culture of excellence prioritizes support for diversity and inclusion, albeit dropping the equity part. Understanding how these efforts affect medical guidance, approval for grants, and selection of applicants merits closer scrutiny, especially given the vice president’s recent remarks on equity in allocation of disaster-recovery assistance and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s past guidance on equity in COVID-19 vaccination distribution.
A critical race theory whistleblower hotline created by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, has helped bring a lot of this sort of thing to light, but must be sustained and awareness increased among service members. Already it is credited with exposing the Navy’s “pronoun” training focused on creating safe spaces, and so too could it uncover malfeasance of military medical training and policies.
The nonprofit watchdog group Judicial Watch also has been active in uncovering critical race theory prevalence in the military, and it has outstanding lawsuits against the Navy seeking information on Naval Academy training records. It recently was credited with uncovering critical race theory ideology in the training at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, despite the Army’s protestations to the contrary.
Overall, the effect has been to subordinate operational readiness in defense of the nation to social shibboleths such as diversity, equity, and inclusion.
That’s something that retired Gen. Thomas Spoehr, now the director of The Heritage Foundation’s Center for National Defense, detailed in a recent speech. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)
Spoehr rightly points out that this has already led to unwise medical decisions, such as waiving prohibitions on HIV-positive personnel from serving in combat zones. Given that soldiers, sailors, and Marines bleed together in combat, this operationally uninformed policy change makes little medical sense.
To be clear, HIV is now a chronic disease, requiring lifelong medical treatment, whereas COVID-19 fatality rates are very low with rare long-term consequences requiring sustained medication.
So, where will all of this lead? The revolutionary French navy of the 1790s provides a good case study. It was a fleet that years earlier was victorious over the British navy at the Battle of the Capes, the 1781 battle that helped us win independence at Yorktown. Revolutionary France undid its fleet’s readiness by prioritizing political reliability as the principal qualification for command at sea.
As a result, three years later, France was unable to muster an effective naval response to British blockades and interdiction of its shipping during war with Britain. As such, the revolutionary French navy suffered a string of naval defeats for 26 years, eventually leading to Napoleon’s defeat in 1815.
Hopefully, our nation will heed such lessons and reverse the caustic influence of critical race theory on military good order and discipline. Then-President Donald Trump’s September 2020 executive order banning related training in the federal government came too late in his administration to markedly change the trajectory in the military.
So deeply ingrained is critical race theory that even a commander in chief’s efforts can be stymied. While Trump was still president, the Navy was so enraptured by the tenets of diversity, equity, and inclusion that in July 2020, it launched Task Force One Navy, a deep look into the prevalence of racism and extremism in the ranks.
The Task Force’s final report, released in January 2021, revealed a Navy that’s still remarkably egalitarian, despite anecodotal claims of racism and extremism. That report was followed shortly by an unfortunate embrace of problematic books such as Ibram Kendi’s “How to Be an Antiracist” on naval professional reading lists.
When it comes to proponents of critical race theory, facts and unbiased research are in short supply. Moreover, despite the military political leadership’s protestations to the contrary, no statistically relevant data has been provided. Little evidence validates the time and energy devoted to diversity, equity, and inclusion indoctrination, or claims of rampant racism and extremism in the military.
It has in fact been a straw man to instill political compliance among the rank and file, sowing discord where little existed before in the military.
In the immediate future, efforts such as the critical race theory whistleblower hotline and legal requests for information must continue apace, and new vigor must be directed at uncovering critical race theory’s influence in the military medical community.
Australia: Indigenous leaders, Greens unite against pro-Aboriginal referendum
Amusing. This ensures that the referendum will fail. Referenda in Australia succeed only if there is no significant opposition to them
Conservative Aboriginal leaders and Greens have held talks over their common opposition to a referendum on an Indigenous voice to parliament, as Anthony Albanese leans toward starving both the Yes and No campaigns of public funds.
A diverse range of Indigenous leaders and politicians is coalescing against the voice, demanding the government halt the referendum, or at least ensure public funding for an Aboriginal-led No campaign.
The Australian can reveal Indigenous businessman Warren Mundine met Greens senator Lidia Thorpe last Wednesday and discussed ramping up a No campaign, on the sidelines of wider talks with crossbench senators about Indigenous affairs.
The meeting – between Mr Mundine, a former federal Liberal Party candidate, and Senator Thorpe, who says a voice is not radical enough and a treaty between Indigenous Australians and the federal government is needed – was the first informal step to bringing conservatives and radicals in the Aboriginal community together to support a No campaign.
“These blokes (supporters of the voice) are better than Jesus Christ,” said a source who was at the meeting. “They have brought all these people with different politics together.”
Mr Mundine also plans a national talking tour with Country Liberal senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price in coming months to promote the No cause.
Veteran Aboriginal leaders across the country, including Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania chairman Michael Mansell and former North Queensland Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire mayor Percy Neal, are also rallying colleagues to help halt the referendum.
Mr Mansell is campaigning for designated Indigenous senators from each state as an alternative to the voice, while others such as Mr Neal want to move immediately to a broader treaty.
A spokeswoman for the federal Greens confirmed the meeting between Senator Thorpe and Mr Mundine took place, and did not deny they discussed their mutual opposition to the Albanese government’s referendum.
“As you would expect, Senator Thorpe meets with a range of First Nations stakeholders,” she said.
“Senator Thorpe and Greens leader Adam Bandt are currently working with the government to ensure all elements of the Uluru statement including truth, treaty and voice are delivered.”
Senator Thorpe has repeatedly attacked the voice referendum despite saying she does not oppose it in theory.
The Victorian Greens senator has called a referendum a waste of money and claimed that a campaign could be harmful to Aboriginal Australians.
Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney said the government was yet to make a decision on funding for the Yes and No campaigns. “It’s one of a number of issues that government will be consulting on … in the months ahead,” a spokesman said.
However, The Australian understands there is an influential view within government that it will not fund either campaign.
This would significantly advantage the “yes” camp, which corporate Australia is lining up to bankroll. “People have to make an informed decision on constitutional change and you can’t have an informed opinion if you’re only getting one side of the story,” Mr Mansell said. “They’ve given nothing to the Aboriginal voice that says ‘Hang on, we’ve got a different viewpoint and we want to raise some issues’.”
First Nations people, rather than the non-Indigenous, should receive any funding for the No case, given the subject matter, he said. “Those who wish to express themselves must have an opportunity to do so – most Aboriginal people are just completely shut out of this process. They don’t have the resources.”
This was backed by Mr Mundine. “I am sitting down and talking to people because we have got no money,” Mr Mundine said.
“We are up against a 50,000-tonne dragon. I think the general public will say ‘if they (Aboriginal people) are all split, why should we vote for it’. I predict the debate will get angrier as we get closer to this referendum because the voices of everyday working Aboriginal Australians have been totally snuffed out.”
Supporters of the voice are increasingly concerned opposition from such influential Indigenous figures threatens the Yes vote.
There is particular concern the Yes vote will struggle in Tasmania and Queensland, leaving it vulnerable to failure, given referendums require a national majority and a majority in at least four of the six states.
Mr Neal said like-minded Indigenous figures from across the country hoped to meet soon to plan a united approach to government to halt the referendum.
“We want to speak to government about where we’re going,” Mr Neal said. “There is still time. The Prime Minister has to seriously consider this. Now is the time to try to get something really good out of all this talk.”
If the referendum proceeded, he would reluctantly have to advocate a No vote. He believed the focus should be on treaty now.
“The Uluru Statement (from the Heart, which elevated voice as an initial step) was when we had a conservative government,” he said. “But now with Albanese there, we should all get together again and put that energy and money into seriously considering treaty.
“If (Mr) Albanese could show the same enthusiasm for treaty as for the voice to parliament, I think he’d be able to pull it off.
“Treaty is the only thing that everyone understands. People on the ground want something meaningful.”
He said he believed the cost of a voice would be better spent on improving the day-to-day lives of Indigenous communities.
At the 1999 republic referendum, the Howard government allocated equal funding to the two campaign committees. Campaigns by both sides in the 2017 same sex marriage plebiscite were also government-funded.
However, at the 1967 referendum (to count Aborigines in the census and allow federal laws for their betterment), only a Yes campaign was government-backed, given a lack of advocacy for a No vote.
Pauline Hanson is preparing to work on a No campaign alongside Mr Mundine and anyone else with shared concerns.
Her office said it was in ongoing discussions with Mr Mundine about a shared opposition to an Indigenous voice to parliament. “It has to be a collective effort. A divided No campaign will fail,” she said via a spokesman.
10 October, 2022
NYC judge rules polyamorous unions entitled to same legal protections as 2-person relationships
One wonders about the ramifications of this. A major privilege for married couples is concessional income tax rates. Will all parties in such a union get such a concession? And if they do, might it not encourage lots of people to claim being part of such a union? Given such considerations, a higher court could well overrule this verdict
An opinion from New York City’s eviction court has come down on the side of polyamorous unions.
In the case of West 49th St., LLC v. O’Neill, New York Civil Court Judge Karen May Bacdayan reportedly concluded that polyamorous relationships are entitled to the same sort of legal protection given to two-person relationships.
West 49th St., LLC v. O’Neill involved three individuals: Scott Anderson and Markyus O’Neill, who lived together in a New York City apartment, and Anderson’s husband Robert Romano, who resided elsewhere.
Anderson held the lease, and following his death, the building’s owner argued that O’Neill had no right to renew the lease because he was a “non-traditional family member.”
The attorney for the property owner said that O’Neill’s affidavit, in which he claims himself as a non-traditional family member, is a “fairytale.”
According to LGBTQ Nation, the case returns to court after further investigation of the three individuals’ relationship.
In her decision, Judge Bacdayan highlighted the importance of a previous case and asserted that the existence of a triad – no matter how they got along – should not automatically dismiss O’Neill’s claim to non-eviction protections.
In the case at hand, Bacdayan notes how changes since 1989 play a role, including changes to the definition of “family.”
She notes the law has rapidly proceeded in recognizing that it is possible for a child to have more than two legal parents.
“Why then, except for the very real possibility of implicit majoritarian animus, is the limitation of two persons inserted into the definition of a family-like relationship for the purposes of receiving the same protections from eviction accorded to legally formalized or blood relationships?” asked Bacdayan.
“Why does a person have to be committed to one other person in only certain prescribed ways in order to enjoy stability in housing after the departure of a loved one?” she continued. “Do all nontraditional relationships have to comprise or include only two primary persons?”
Bacdayan pondered whether a person who would not meet the requirements for succession to a rent-stabilized apartment after Braschi was decided could now be evicted when they may qualify – as was concluded in Braschi – under a more inclusive interpretation of a family.
The judge notes that the “problem” with cases like Braschi and the landmark Obergefell v. Hogdes – which held that the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees the right for same-sex couples to marry and requires all states to recognize and issue marriage licenses for those couples – is that they “recognize only two-person relations.”
“Those decisions, however, open the door for consideration of other relational constructs; and, perhaps, the time has arrived,” Bacdayan said, citing a passage from Justice John Roberts’ Obergefell dissent.
“If not having the opportunity to marry serves to disrespect and subordinate gay and lesbian couples, why wouldn’t the same imposition of this disability … serve to disrespect and subordinate people who find fulfillment in polyamorous relationships?” Roberts wrote.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center suspends gender affirmation surgery for minors
Vanderbilt University Medical Center is suspending all permanent “gender affirmation surgery” for minors until further notice.
The international medical center will forgo performing any transgender surgeries for children that cannot be undone or reverted later in life, pending an internal review.
“On September 6, 2022, WPATH published a new version of its recommendations to health care professionals for treatment of transgender persons, known as SOC-8,” the university wrote in a letter to lawmakers.
The letter continued, “In light of these new recommendations, and as part of completing our internal clinical review of SOC-8 guidance in patients under 18, we will be seeking advice from local and national clinical experts. We are pausing gender affirmation surgeries on patients under age 18 while we complete this review, which may take several months.”
The statement comes in relation to calls from Tennessee lawmakers to investigate the clinic following a report from conservative activist Matt Walsh.
Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and others called for an investigation after the September report, which claimed that VUMC “drugs, chemically castrates and performs double mastectomies on minors.”
The VUMC denied any wrongdoing in a statement to Fox News Digital at the time, saying that it conducts all of its care “in compliance with state law and in line with professional practice standards.”
Vanderbilt University denied involvement in the VUMC in a statement to Fox News.
A series of videos from Vanderbilt staff came to light in September, showing the medical center’s discussions surrounding the practices, which have been offered for both children and adults.
Assistant professor Dr. Shayne Taylor can be heard in a 2018 video apparently discussing “top surgery.”
“Some of our VUMC financial folks in October of 2016 put down some costs of how much money we think each patient would bring in. And this is only including top surgery, this isn’t including any bottom surgery, and it’s a lot of money,” Taylor said in the video
More fraudulent history
As a general rule, it’s worth remembering that Hollywood is in the business of mythologising, rather than retelling history. The Woman King, which was released in cinemas this week, represents the latest effort at constructing a past more in tune with 21st century progressive political narratives. In the film, King Gezo of Dahomey and his loyal Amazons – an elite band of women warriors – struggle to free his kingdom and his people from the evils of the slave trade, the dominance of the Oyo empire, and the creeping tendrils of European colonisation. It’s a stirring tale of African resistance and female empowerment. It’s also deeply flawed.
King Gezo, Dahomey, and the Amazons really existed, and did fight a war with the Oyo. At that point, the parallels with reality end. The real Dahomey was a country of almost unrivalled brutality, its economy built on slavery and its religion on human sacrifice. The wars it fought had the intention of preserving the slave trade, and its conflicts with Europeans were driven by British attempts to suppress it.
In 2018, a book called Barracoon was published, containing old interviews with Cudjoe Lewis – the last survivor of the final slave ship to land in America. Lewis was kidnapped by soldiers from Dahomey in 1860, and the raid on his home town featured the kingdom’s ‘women soldiers’. The slave ship set sail in the first place following King Gezo’s resumption of slave trading – the same Amazons and the same Gezo lauded by The Woman King as proto-abolitionists.
In Hollywood’s history, Gezo is a reluctant slaver forced into the selling of prisoners to fund his purchases of weapons. In the real world, the King was an enthusiastic participant in the trade. In 1850, the British dispatched an officer to Dahomey with a simple mission: to persuade the kingdom to abandon the slave trade. He met with stout resistance. Gezo is quoted as saying:
‘I and my army are ready at all times to fight the queen’s enemies and to do anything the English government may ask me, except to give up the slave trade. No other trade is known to my people… it is the source of their glory and their wealth: their songs celebrate their victories, and the mother lulls the child to sleep with notes of triumph over an enemy reduced to slavery. Can I, by signing a treaty, change the sentiments of a whole people?’
This quote reflects the complex reality of slavery in West Africa; far from being solely an imposition by Europeans on African states, the system lasted for so long because it was mutually profitable for indigenous kingdoms to engage in it too. The eventual British colonisation of West Africa was driven in part by the difficulty of eradicating the trade once public sentiment in Britain moved against it.
This complexity is reflected in Gezo’s real-world relationships with European slave traders. In the film, a Portuguese-trading slaver known as Santo Ferreira – seeking slaves to send to Brazil – plays the role of antagonist. In reality, far from waging war on slavers, Gezo enlisted their help in seizing the throne. Gezo – then Prince Madagungung – was second in line after his brother, Adandozan. Francisco Felix de Sousa, a Brazilian based in the port of Whydah, financed Gezo’s revolution and was rewarded with the position of ‘Chacha’ (principal trading agent) in the region. De Sousa’s descendants remain prominent in modern-day Benin, counting among their number former presidents and first ladies; the title of ‘Chacha’ is still handed down along the clan’s patriarchs.
This reliance and debt to de Sousa, in combination with the sheer wealth the trade brought him, partly explains why Gezo was so reluctant to end the trade. And, in turn, why the city of Abeokuta had to go. Because the curious thing about The Woman King and its glorification of Dahomey is that there really was a kingdom which resisted African slavers. It’s just that the city in question was Abeokuta, and the slavers it resisted were Gezo and his Amazons.
Abeokuta was home to a large population of liberated slaves, and did not generally participate in the wider trade. It was not a paradise; like other West African states, the people of the city kept slaves. However, this was not comparable to the cruelty shown in Western plantations; they worked in agricultural labour, and the notes of one European observer suggest a greater resemblance to the slaves of Rome than those doomed souls forced to cross the Atlantic.
When Dahomey eventually assaulted the city, it was repelled. The war on Abeokuta was partly motivated by the willingness of Europeans to engage in arms sales to the city, which was allied to abolitionist Britain. This defeat did not result in a lasting change of heart; eventually Gezo returned to slave raiding. This time, there would be no coming back: a sniper friendly to Abeokuta killed the slaver King, sparking another round of conflict between the city and Dahomey.
The story told by The Woman King is both less complicated and less interesting than the reality. Wouldn’t the story of Dahomey in full – its complicated relationships with Britain, France, and neighbouring kingdoms, the rule of Gezo, the role of de Sousa – be fascinating to see play out? And wouldn’t it be better to set aside political mythology and examine the world as it was?
The Australian War Memorial represents ALL of Australia's ethnicities, singling out none
I couldn’t agree more with the need to provide a place to acknowledge the conflicts between the original inhabitants of this continent and those who settled here from elsewhere in the late 18th Century. But the Australian War Memorial is not that place, and it is wrong to make it a political football.
When I was a child, I wanted to wear my great-great uncle’s slouch hat to a fancy dress ball at school. My grandfather was livid – how dare I disrespect the uniform! I have that same slouch hat today. It, and my own slouch hat, are succumbing to the inevitable forces of time.
Yet the sanctity of military service was not lost on four generations of my family who wore the uniform. While in recent times, that very sanctity appears to be an anachronism; a remnant of a time gone by, a lesson well-learnt through death and destruction, supported by the faith that such an atrocity, like the Great War, will never happen again.
Challenges to the idea of what it is to be Australian have somewhat turned against the work of Dr Bean, that eminent historian who is largely responsible for creating the ANZAC legend and manifesting it as that sacred place we call the Australian War Memorial.
Why sacred? Stand under the dome next to the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Look at the stained glass and mosaics. Read the values inscribed therein. This space touches all those who enter in the way an old soldier explained to me:
‘All soldiers believe in God. When caught in an ambush, they all pray.’
While the ideal society eludes humanity, Australia has it pretty good. This is in no small part due to the sacrifices of our soldiers.
Last week, I was in Seoul at a seminar about the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea. A Korean general said to me that he was most grateful for the sacrifice of 340 Australians who lost their lives while contributing to Korea’s freedom. He gestured to the skyline of Seoul’s magnificent development, humbly hoping that Korea’s peaceful democratic society was a worthy tribute to our digger’s sacrifice. It made me think deeply about those same sacrifices.
If you knew my paternal great-grandmother who worked in the munitions factory at St Marys (she was so happy when the Rising Sun badge was returned to the brim of the slouch hat) or sat a moment with Mrs Stewart (a second world war widow who lived nearby and once gave me a ‘shilling’ after she told me the story of her long-lost husband through her tears), you would know that war is blind.
It strikes all – regardless of social constructions – the devastation wreaks havoc on participants, victims, witnesses, and conscientious objectors alike. But you cannot always appease an aggressor. We can hope for a better world, but appeasement has never proven adequate. Sometimes you have to fight.
And fighting has its costs. The photographs of Mrs Stewart’s uniformed dead husband and brothers that adorned her mantel still haunt me to this day. I felt like Pip stumbling upon the wedding feast that never was. Mrs Stewart lost her life, back then, too.
But they were post-federation Australian soldiers. Not settlers. Not troopers. Not colonists. Australians. They were united in purpose.
When I met my maternal great-grandmother, we asked her where we’d come from. She said we were Cherokee Indian. Twenty years later, we learned that our maternal heritage is Kamilaroi. She had lived that lie to avoid being sent to the mission and carried it to her deathbed.
George, one of my grandfather’s mates who lived next door at the RSL veterans’ village in Cairns, was an Aboriginal digger and a veteran of New Guinea. He liked to paint. But he was an Australian digger through and through. (I daresay the antics he and my grandfather got up to provide sufficient empirical evidence to support that fact.)
And if you ever heard the glorious harmonies rise up when Charlie Company of 51FNQR let off steam, you’ll feel the generations of pride of the many Torres Strait Islanders like Sarpeye Josie who served to protect their home and continue to do so.
These are not stories about colonisers or the victims of colonisation. These are stories of Australians who served and continue to serve to protect their homeland. This spirit is what the Australian War Memorial commemorates.
Australians have experienced war and peace, prosperity and depression, recessions we had to have and circumstances we did not want. We have lived lies; we have faced up to truths. Or not – and there is plenty of scope for more truth-telling. But we should never forget that the Brisbane Line was a last-ditch attempt to protect these very privileges. That time is still in living memory for many among us.
We can criticise the government, we can criticise politicians, we can criticise our institutions. But such freedoms imply responsibilities to support that very liberty.
The problem stems from the habitual use of our individual freedoms to say whatever we like about politics as a safety valve, to let off steam. While doing so got us through the pandemic, in light of the changing nature of geopolitics, it has become a bad habit that we now take for granted and potentially to our own detriment.
The Australian War Memorial is a symbol of the social cohesion we so desperately need, rather than a battleground for the polarised community we appear to have become.
Our island home can only be breached if we open the gates from within.
The Australian War Memorial does not sanctify war. The lives of all Australians who served Australia make it holy. Not necessarily in a religious sense, but holy in that it honours the sacrifice given by those who believed in something more. Australians who believed in something more.
It is a mistake to allow one of the central symbols of Australia’s national identity to become embroiled in politics. I urge caution on all sides of politics should we neglect our duty by opening the gates and cutting off our nose to spite our face.
Let us learn from the past, let us embrace the good and the bad. Let us acknowledge colonial times and conflict appropriately, but somewhere else.
Let the sacrifice of the many First Nations diggers have their place in the history of this great federation where it rightfully belongs. Let the Australian War Memorial tell its stories. Let it tell the stories of my great-grandmothers, of Mrs Stewart, of George, of my old comrade-in-arms Sarpeye Josie, and all those who give up their freedoms so we may have ours.
And let all Australians hear them.
9 October, 2022
Death of democracy is now a live threat
Democracy is going through a rough time. It is openly challenged by autocratic states like China, Russia and Iran. In the West’s oldest democracies, it is challenged from within by growing numbers who have lost faith in it as a form of government.
The Washington polling organisation Pew Research Centre has been tracking attitudes to democracy across the world for some 30 years. Britain has one of the highest levels of dissatisfaction with democracy in the world, at 69 per cent. Only Greece and Bulgaria are more disillusioned. A recent survey of political engagement in the UK found that a narrow majority wanted a strongman in power, someone who would sort things out without having to worry too much about parliament, judges, democratic debate or other impediments to decisive action.
Britain is not unique. Authoritarian figures have come to power with public support in many democracies: Donald Trump in the US, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Viktor Orban in Hungary and Giorgia Meloni in Italy. In France and Germany, authoritarian parties are beating at the gates. Australia does quite well in the Pew Research surveys, with only 41 per cent dissatisfied, but it cannot expect to be immune from the anti-democratic tide that is engulfing the West.
Democracy is a system of collective self-government. Its survival depends on two things. One is an effective institutional framework for discovering the values and desires of a majority of citizens: parliaments, elections, free media, and so on. The other is respect for the rule of law and a culture of tolerance and pluralism, without which democracy cannot survive. People have to be willing to accept democratic decisions that they do not like.
It is because these qualities are not natural to human beings that some form of autocracy has always been the default condition of mankind. In the West, democracy has a short history. It emerged in very special circumstances just two centuries ago, in very different circumstances to those that obtain today. Respect for personal autonomy was at its height and the capacities of the state were limited.
Towards the end of his long life, John Adams, one of the founders of American democracy, warned that “democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes and exhausts itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” In using the word suicide he was making an important point. Democracies fail from within. They are rarely overwhelmed by powerful external forces such as invasion or insurrection. They fail because people spontaneously lose interest in democracy and turn to more authoritarian forms of government.
Why has democratic sentiment weakened in so much of the world? The answer is complex, and not necessarily the same everywhere. But it is possible to point to three main enemies of democracy: economic insecurity, fear, and intolerance.
Historically, democracies have always depended on economic optimism. Except in two short periods, the US has enjoyed continuously rising levels of prosperity – both absolutely and relative to other countries – until quite recently. Other countries’ fortunes have been more chequered but the trajectory has generally been upwards.
Australia’s good fortune since World War II seems likely to be the main reason for its relatively high level of support for democracy. Today, the outlook is darker. We face problems of faltering growth, relative economic decline and capricious patterns of inequality. People measure their wellbeing against their expectations. Half a century of post-war expansion raised those expectations to stratospheric levels.
The shattering of optimism is a dangerous moment in the life of any community. Disillusionment with the promise of progress was a major factor in the 30-year crisis of Europe that began in 1914. That crisis was characterised by a general resort to totalitarianism. In the 1930s, Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany were widely regarded as models for the future, just as China sometimes is today.
When democracy cannot guarantee a continuously rising level of wellbeing for its citizens, people begin to reject it. This is particularly true of the young, who see their future clouding over while their parents’ generation are still enjoying the fruits of the good years. Authoritarian systems rarely do better, but that tends to be discovered too late.
Then there is the empire of fear. Historically, people who are sufficiently frightened of some external peril, such as invasion, violent crime or epidemic disease, have generally been willing to submit to an authoritarian regime that offers to protect them. Today, this is a bigger problem than it has been in the past because of the ever wider range of perils, physical, economic and psychological, from which people demand protection.
Of course, democracies can confer despotic powers on the state in emergencies without losing their democratic character. But there comes a point at which the systematic application of coercion is no longer consistent with collective self-government. If we hold governments responsible for everything that goes wrong, they will take away our autonomy so nothing can go wrong. If we call on the state to use its awesome power to defend us from the ordinary perils of human existence, we will end up doing it most of the time.
Finally, there is the mounting tide of intolerance. The campaigns of suppression conducted by pressure groups against unfashionable or “incorrect” opinions on controversial issues such as race, gender reassignment, same-sex relationships or climate change are a symptom of the narrowing of our intellectual world.
Demonstrations, such as those organised by the followers of Trump in Washington, Extinction Rebellion in Britain, or climate-change activists on the streets of Sydney, are all based on the idea that the campaigners’ point of view is the only legitimate one. No democratic outcome can therefore be tolerated which fails to give effect to it. On this view of the world, it is perfectly acceptable to bully people and disrupt their lives until they submit, instead of resorting to persuasion or ordinary democratic procedures.
This is the mentality of terrorists, but without the violence. Once we start telling ourselves that it is more important to get our way, democratic decision-making is done for. The result is the abandonment of political engagement and a general resort to direct action; that is, force.
Those who engage in direct action always believe that the end justifies the means, but they rarely confront the implications.
Since we are never likely to agree on controversial issues, what holds us together as societies is not consensus. It is precisely the methods by which we resolve our differences. It is a common respect for constitutional procedures, whether or not we like the outcome.
The transition from democracy to authoritarian rule is deceptively smooth. The outward forms are unchanged, but the substance is gone. Democracy is not formally abolished.
Instead, it is quietly redefined. It ceases to be a method of collective self-government but becomes something different, a set of values like communism, nationalism, or human rights.
The question whose values are to prevail can be resolved only by the crude exercise of power by the dominant ideology.
Will democracy resist these pressures in the next century? A generation ago it would have seemed strange even to ask the question. Today, it is a real issue.
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt And State Freedom Caucus Leaders Vow No Sex-Change Mutilation Of Minors
Oklahoma has become the first state to ban puberty blockers for children under 18, as Republican Governor Kevin Stitt announced he will withhold hospital funds until doctors stop prescribing the life-altering drugs to youth who aren’t old enough to vote, buy cigarettes or alcoholic beverages.
The UK’s Daily Mail reported Stitt signed a bill that effectively bans gender- reassignment drugs from being prescribed to minors at the state's main children's hospital.
The action blocks COVID relief funds from Oklahoma Children's Hospital at OU Health until it stops providing puberty blockers and hormone therapy to under-18s.
Gov. Stitt said Tuesday: “By signing this bill today we are taking the first step to protect children from permanent gender transition surgeries and therapies.
“It is wildly inappropriate for taxpayer dollars to be used for condoning, promoting, or performing these types of controversial procedures on healthy children.”
Oklahoma Children's Hospital currently offers life-altering drugs to teenagers under 18 with parental approval. It is thought that around 100 minors are currently receiving treatment, reported the Daily Mail.
Stitt also called for the Republican-controlled state Legislature to ban some of those gender-affirming treatments statewide when it returns in February.
He said in a statement that he wanted a prohibition on “all irreversible gender transition surgeries and hormone therapies” on minors.
Stitt’s actions came after Alabama tried to make it a felony for doctors to prescribe puberty blockers to minors with a punishment of up to 10 years in prison.
But that move was blocked by a federal judge just a few days after it took effect in April.
Tennessee has banned doctors from providing the drugs to pre-pubescent minors, but older teens can still access the drugs.
Oklahoma Children's Hospital currently offers sex-change interventions, such as puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and help finding surgeons who perform sex-change surgeries for people up to age 24.
Despite criticism and threats from the Far-Left Governor Stitt stood tall and also called on the Republican-led legislature to ban certain sex-change interventions outright when it returns to session in February.
The Daily Mail reported the Governor said, “We cannot turn a blind eye to what's happening all across our nation, and as governor I will not allow life-altering transition surgeries on minor children in the state of Oklahoma.”
At the same time Governor Stitt announced the Oklahoma ban, state legislators who are members of state Freedom Caucuses released a letter denouncing the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Children's Hospital Association for calling for the censorship of opponents of the genital mutilation of minors and supporting the use of these barbaric procedures on young children.
Signed by the leaders of the South Carolina Freedom Caucus, the Nevada Freedom Caucus, South Dakota Freedom Caucus, the Arizona Freedom Caucus, the Illinois Freedom Caucus, the Mississippi Freedom Caucus, and the Georgia Freedom Caucus, the letter said in part:
...with your advocacy of childhood genital mutilation, your call to investigate those who disagree with you, and your request for Big Tech to suppress constitutionally protected free speech that challenges your leftist ideology, you have lost whatever credibility you had left.
Though many children cannot choose between which toys they want to play with on any given day, your organizations and the depraved doctors that follow you are suggesting to kids, not even of grade school age, that they can determine what they will do with their God-given gender. They are ultimately pushing, and deciding for, these young children to take action which will result in irrevocable and irreparable harm. This so-called “gender affirming care” is both morally and ethically repugnant. Simply put, performing vaginoplasties, phalloplasties, double mastectomies or providing puberty blocking drugs to children as young as four is child abuse and we will not tolerate it. Furthermore, it is incredibly alarming that many of these atrocities are occurring at taxpayer-funded medical institutions. As members of our state freedom caucuses and our state legislatures, we unequivocally declare that these procedures are outside the scope of the proper use of funds we have allocated to our respective hospitals. We will fulfill our duty to stand in the gap and stop harm to any child by unnatural and
irreversible procedures. As state legislators, we are particularly charged with ensuring taxpayer-funded institutions take no part in furthering ethically and morally repugnant agendas inconsistent with the values of our states.
Collectively, and across the country, we will be pursuing a path to ensure no minors can receive these barbaric procedures. This includes calling on our governors to denounce this practice and using all available tools to end it. If proven non-compliant, these facilities will face repercussions for practices inconsistent with the values of the citizens of our states. This mutilation cannot and will not be tolerated in any form.
We applaud Governor Stitt of Oklahoma and the state Freedom Caucus leaders listed below for their leadership and opposition to this form of medically facilitated child abuse. We urge CHQ readers and friends to call their state legislators and governors to demand they follow suit
With “gender affirmation” poised to be a $5 billion industry, Planned Parenthood wants in on the action
Perhaps the greatest lie ever told by Planned Parenthood is that it does what it does because it cares about people. Perhaps some misguided people who work for Planned Parenthood do earnestly want to help people, but the overall theme of the abortion mill from its inception is to prey on the vulnerable and be a scourge of society. Now, Planned Parenthood — which has started advertising that it will supply puberty blockers — is looking to add the gender confused to its list of victims.
Planned Parenthood was founded with the destruction of others as its purpose. Its founder, Margaret Sanger, was a eugenicist. Her vision for creating these abortion clinics was at least in part to exterminate babies of color. Sickeningly, she thought the purging of black people would bring about a more perfect human race. She wrote about this in her book The Negro Project, which advocated for “the gradual suppression, elimination and eventual extinction, of defective stocks [black Americans] — those human weeds which threaten the blooming of the finest flowers of American civilization.”
Planned Parenthood’s leaders have been well documented in their willingness to sink to the depths of human depravity for a few extra dollars. Recall Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical research, who was caught via undercover camera seeking baby body parts. Also recall that Planned Parenthood didn’t get in trouble — the reporters who broke the story did, thanks to then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris.
Planned Parenthood is perhaps the most dangerous because of its savvy marketing. Even its name sounds harmless, non controversial, and rolls off the tongue. That marketing bring us to the issue at hand: tricking gender-confused teens and their parents into buying puberty blockers.
The video starts with a teen who has an actual medical condition: intersex. Intersex individuals are lumped in with LGBTQ as a justification for the T. But that’s shrewd marketing — start with an actual medical condition that needs medication to help with puberty complications like intersex and then neatly slide in gender dysphoria (a mental illness) and compare puberty blockers to medication prescribed to help people who are intersex. Planned Parenthood also makes the incredible false claim that puberty blockers are harmless.
Puberty blockers are definitively not harmless. They cause irreversible damage such as voice deepening, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, infertility, increased cancer risk, and thrombosis. Notice how none of these side effects was listed in the ad. Instead, this teen-targeted ad promises that they can stop puberty without consequences and that they are the ones who get to choose their gender. There is a literal rainbow in the ad; all it’s lacking is the Pied Piper in the background and a flying unicorn.
“Gender affirmation” is a big-bucks industry. Society is pressuring parents to bow to this ideology, and children’s hospitals are providing the lucrative service. The Daily Wire reports: “The industry surrounding transgender surgeries is expected to reach $5 billion by the end of the decade. According to a recent report from Grand View Research, the sector saw a $1.9 billion valuation last year and is forecast to expand at a compound annual growth rate of more than 11% through 2030.”
Of course, Planned Parenthood wouldn’t miss this money-making opportunity. This is just one more clue that the organization is out to exploit the most vulnerable in society. The vulnerable are the easiest to dupe into giving up something precious — and also paying for it.
Australia: Gillard 'cool anger' drove misogyny speech
Words uttered in anger are rarely wise and this is a good example of that. The speech so pissed off male voters that her party's popularity dropped like a stone. Seeing the disaster, her own party promptly booted her out of the top job. Feminists sometimes seem to forget that men have a vote too
Nearly a decade since [former Prime Minister] Gillard declared in Australian parliament she would not be lectured by then-opposition leader Tony Abbott on sexism and misogyny, she has reflected on the speech that attracted global attention.
The former Labor leader said her chief-of-staff Ben Hubbard asked if she was sure she wanted to respond to an opposition bid to remove then-lower house speaker Peter Slipper, who had sent sexist text messages about women's genitalia.
"I wandered over to the adviser's box and I said to the advisers there, 'I'm going to take this, I'm going to do the reply'," she told a 5000-strong crowd in Sydney on Wednesday night.
"And Ben said to me 'are you sure?'. Because normally I used to hold myself above the tactics of the opposition on any given day.
"Yes I am sure because I am sick of this s***."
Ms Gillard said for many years she felt the speech was her constant companion.
"Wherever I went it was walking with me alongside me," she said.
"But I've come to realise that it's not my companion, it's yours because it's become your anthem of defiance when you are subjected to a sexist slur."
The former prime minister was joined by an eclectic bunch of women who shared their impressions of the speech.
Others beamed in via video message, including New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
The latter said the response to misogynistic attacks on Australia's first female prime minister had reverberated around the chamber, parliament, the nation and the world.
"With such an economy of words Julia captured and channelled the indignities and obstacles so many women had faced their whole lives," Mr Albanese said.
"Julia spoke to every woman and for every woman who had been excluded and bullied and harassed or worse.
"Australian women recognised themselves in the speech. That's what made it so powerful and that is why it will endure."
Ms Gillard said the unplanned speech was fuelled by a cool anger. "I felt analytical. I knew precisely what I wanted to say," she said. "And I felt empowered, not embattled, not cowed. "And that is the spirit of the misogyny speech."
Ms Gillard believes that a decade after the October 9, 2012 speech, sexist and misogynist behaviour is not tolerated as much as it was during her prime ministership.
The former prime minister, who serves as chair of leading mental health awareness body, Beyond Blue, appeared on stage in Melbourne and Sydney over two nights.
7 October, 2022
Americans Often Hear About ‘Religious Extremism,’ But Rarely About ‘Extreme Secularism
"Americans often hear about “religious extremism,” but rarely hear about “extreme secularism" commentator and radio host Dennis Prager said Monday night at an event launching his latest book.
Prager spoke about the themes of the book, “The Rational Bible: Deuteronomy,” in an interview format while seated on a stage at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C.
The book, officially available Oct. 11 and part of Prager’s “Rational Bible” commentary series, serves as a defense of the fifth book of the Torah as remaining profoundly relevant to modern society.
The combination of secularism and affluence lead to boredom, Prager told his audience during the event, which also was broadcast live as part of “The Dennis Prager Show.” This, he contended, has let to leftism.
Those who are poor and secular find meaning in the bare necessities of life—food, water, shelter, Prager argued. Those who have religion—whether poor or wealthy—find a more lasting meaning.
Rich secularists are those who are pushing the environmental movement, he said, and the wealthy say the world is doomed because this gives them meaning.
According to Prager, society is seeing in modern culture what 19th-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche captured in his infamous statement, “God is dead.”
Secularism is devoid of religion, said Prager, who is Jewish and often writes about modern society as viewed through the Judeo-Christian tradition.
Human beings worship more false gods today than they did in the time of Moses, he argued.
Prager, whose syndicated column appears in The Daily Signal, noted that the secular god of “science” is one such example, remarking: “What the hell does science tell you, if you believe in it?”
If your god doesn’t reveal a moral code, he said, that god is worthless.
Prager also commented on the psychological advantages of religion.
Most people who were afraid of COVID-19 are secular, Prager argued, adding that many houses of worship caved to secularism during the pandemic.
“If you don’t fear God, you’ll fear everything else,” he said. “We’ve raised wimps in secular society.”
The advantage of religion, he said, is that “I fear God and only God.”
Moreover, Prager argued, fear of God gives believers a moral advantage over secularists.
In the Old Testament, the Hebrew midwives fear God more than they fear Egypt’s pharaoh. English translators of the Bible, he said, translated a word meaning “fear” as “revere,” which gave the original meaning less weight.
Other than God, parents are the only creatures we are commanded to fear in the Torah and the Bible, Prager said. Honoring one’s father and mother, he explained, is a vehicle to divine authority.
The breakdown of respect for parents is another aspect of secularism that pervades our culture, he said.
Doctor Groups Push DOJ to Probe ‘Disinformation’ on Meds, Surgeries for Trans-Identifying Youths
Three influential American medical groups are urging the U.S. Department of Justice to “investigate and prosecute all organizations, individuals, and entities” that share information deemed to be false about transgender medical treatments for minors.
The Oct. 3 letter, sent to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, represents the latest salvo in a fierce national debate.
In the letter, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Medical Association, and the Children’s Hospital Association are insisting that “disinformation” must be blocked and people who spread it should be prosecuted, adding that their words foment threats, intimidation, and violence against medical professionals.
Detractors interpret the letter as an attempt to squelch opposition to the lucrative medical procedures and to shift the focus away from rising concerns over the safety, effectiveness, and ethics of such interventions. They note the letter comes just days in advance of the AAP’s convention in Anaheim, California, where critics of the treatments plan a “First Do No Harm” unity rally on Oct. 8.
Won’t Be Silenced
In response to the letter, Scott Newgent, a biological woman who deeply regrets medically transitioning to appear male at age 42 after giving birth to two children, said in a text to The Epoch Times: “This was made to silence me and others like me.”
Newgent refuses to stop his advocacy, saying that he, too, has been subjected to threats for vociferously opposing medical gender transition for minors. Newgent’s medical transition inflicted lifelong complications and he is passionate about “saving kids” from similar consequences. Newgent’s advocacy group, TreVoices.org, declares: “Medical transition is no place for a child!”
Newgent plans to participate in the Anaheim protest this weekend and in “The Rally to End Child Mutilation,” set for Oct. 21 at the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville. There, lawmakers have been expressing dismay over a Vanderbilt University Medical Center video that surfaced in which a doctor described transgender surgery as a “big moneymaker.” Conservative commentator Matt Walsh was first to draw attention to the video.
Feud Over ‘Gender-Affirming Care’
People on both sides of the debate agree on one thing: Increasing numbers of young people are being diagnosed with “gender dysphoria,” a strong, persistent conflict between a person’s biological sex and self-perception of gender. The trend’s origins and the best ways to help young sufferers are hotly contested, along with virtually every other facet of this topic.
Opponents accuse “gender-affirming” proponents of fast-tracking minors along a course of puberty-blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones, and body-altering surgery, denouncing the process as “child abuse.” Supporters call the procedures “medically necessary” for the patients’ overall wellbeing.
Some supporters of the “gender-affirming” model opine that questioning minors’ uncertainty about their gender smacks of “conversion therapy,” a process that aims to switch someone’s same-sex attraction to that of the opposite sex.
People like Newgent counter that many youths who “transition” are actually same-sex-attracted, rather than transgender. A number of gay-rights advocacy groups oppose the “gender-affirming” treatments.
Lawmakers nationwide are responding to public outcry over the procedures in various ways. Last week, California became a “sanctuary state,” welcoming people to travel there from states that have banned or restricted the treatments for minors. On Oct. 17, a battle over the nation’s first law banning the procedures for minors goes to trial in an Arkansas federal court.
Medical Groups Allege ‘Campaign of Disinformation’
Proponents of the “gender-affirming care” model include the trio of groups that wrote to Garland urging “swift action” against a rising tide of “coordinated attacks” against medical professionals who provide the controversial medical interventions.
Some medical professionals and patients involved with other types of medical care have been caught in the crossfire, the groups say. “In one hospital, a new mother was prevented from being with her preterm infant,” the groups’ letter said, because the neonatal intensive care unit allowed no one in or out due to a bomb threat.
In addition, people who work at medical centers have been subjected to harassing social media messages, telephone calls, and protests, the letter said, alleging that “the attacks are rooted in an intentional campaign of disinformation, where a few high-profile users on social media share false and misleading information,” fomenting threats and violence.
Besides seeking intervention from the Department of Justice, the medical groups are also marshaling “Twitter, TikTok and Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram … to take bolder action when false information is shared about specific institutions and physicians,” an AAP news release said.
Because of the threats, medical professionals now are fearful of providing “evidence-based, gender-affirming health care” for children, the letters state.
Biden to pardon everyone convicted on federal marijuana possession charges
President Joe Biden announced Thursday that he will pardon all individuals convicted on federal marijuana possession charges, a move that the White House estimated would affect more than 6,500 people.
The move, which many Democratic activists have been calling for, comes roughly a month before the midterm election that will decide whether the president’s party can hold onto control of Congress.
“As I said when I ran for President, no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana,” Biden said.
“It’s legal in many states, and criminal records for marijuana possession have led to needless barriers to employment, housing and educational opportunities,” he continued. “And that’s before you address the racial disparities around who suffers the consequences. While white and Black and brown people use marijuana at similar rates, Black and brown people are arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates.”
Biden called on all governors to follow his example and said that he would ask the attorney general and Department of Health and Human Services to review marijuana’s classification in federal law as a Schedule 1 drug, the same classification as heroin and LSD.
The White House released the news while Biden was in upstate New York touting IBM’s investment in a plant that will make semiconductors.
Time For the Left To Admit Men Are in a Crisis
It is shocking that simply talking about men struggling immediately pisses so many people off.
Today, two-thirds of high school students in the top 10 percent are girls, while roughly two-thirds of the lowest are boys. Moreover, one-third of young males are not having sex despite living in an unprecedented time of sexual liberation.
Men are also struggling in the workplace.
In 1970, women made up 37 percent of the American workforce. Today, they make up 47 percent. In that same period, the proportion of employed working-age men has fallen from 83 percent to 69 percent and unemployment is now most prevalent among young men.
Yes, the upper echelons of society are still male-dominated. Of Fortune 500 companies, only 44 of them are led by women; not to mention, in Congress, only 144 out of 539 members are women.
This desperately needs to change!
However, the majority of men are not in the upper echelon of society; in fact, they’re bottom-feeding like never before.
They have no message, no guidance, and no hope.
The rise in popularity of voices like Andrew Tate should not be a surprise:
Men, especially young men, need help.
It’s time to stop using blanket terms like “Toxic Masculinity” or “Patriarchy” like they’re ketchup bottles that we can mindlessly shake and watch the redness pour out. We need to start having real conversations about why men are struggling and what we can do to help them.
The Problem: Jordan Peterson?
Onan episode of Piers Morgan’s “Uncensored,” Jordan Peterson was asked if he was the “pseudo-intellectual hero to the incel community” — a title given to him by actress and director Olivia Wilde.
I was shocked by his answer: “Sure, why not?”
He added: “People have been after me for a long time because I’ve been speaking to disaffected young men, what a terrible thing to do that is,” he said. “I thought the marginalized were supposed to have a voice.”
There is no better way to describe the meaning crisis in men than this!
Men are slowly turning into Travis Bickle and Rupert Pupkin: They are accounting for three out of four “deaths of despair” — from alcohol, suicide, or drug overdose; meanwhile, 40% of women outearn them (another interesting source); and about 15 percent of men say they have no close friends, up from 3 percent in 1990. As Henry David Thoreau once famously said, “The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation.”
If you live in elite circles, you aren’t seeing these types of men, but I implore you, look down. Look down at the bottom, or even at the middle, there are real men with real problems who feel like they have no voice.
And to them, Jordan Peterson is a hero because he’s speaking to them. He might not have all the answers, but at least he’s trying.So, what are these solutions?
I’ll tell you what they aren’t: They aren’t what the Left is preaching by telling men to become self-flagellating “male feminists” or talking about “toxic masculinity.” But they also aren’t what the Right is saying by bringing back good ol’ fashioned breadwinning and a “return to archaic traditional values.”
Men need to create a new narrative, but we don’t need to erase the progress that feminism has made and is making. The answer, as always, lies in the middle.
The Solution: New Narratives For Men
Women had an old narrative: take care of the house and children, and be a good wife. They have a new narrative: you can do anything you want, be anything you want, and compete with men, because historically speaking, your ancestors were not given that chance.
Men had an old narrative: be a breadwinner and provider, go compete mostly with men (having both men and women in a workplace certainly changed social dynamics), and be a good husband. And now their new narrative is… well, they don’t really have one.
So, what we need to do is create new narratives for men. And that’s going to take a lot of hard work, but it’s something we need to do.
I’ve been reading Richard V. Reeves’s new book “Of Boys and Men: Why the Modern Male Is Struggling, Why It Matters, and What to Do about It” for solutions to this crisis.
I think he has some good answers:
Start Boys Later in School: Boys develop their pre-frontal cortex — the part of the brain that handles executive functioning like planning, organization, and self-regulation — later than girls. This is why boys are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD or push off homework for playing outside. So, Reeves argues, we should start boys in school later (at age six or seven instead of five or six) to better match their development.
More Male Teachers: The meteoric rise in Joe Rogan and Jordan Peterson shouldn’t be surprising. When men are absent in boys’ lives, they naturally seek out male mentors and role models.
Reeves argues that we need more male teachers in schools, especially in the early grades. Fewer than 3 percent of preschool and kindergarten teachers are men, and those numbers don’t improve much in later grades.
Higher Importance of Family: Dostoevsky once said, “The second half of a man’s life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half.” Reeves argues that we need to put more emphasis on family life in the early years to set boys up for success later in life. This means more parental involvement, especially from fathers, who, as of last year, fatherhood fell to its lowest point in 42 years.
None of these solutions are easy.
Some are even controversial. But if we want to save our boys and men from a life of mediocrity and possibly complete despair, we need to start somewhere.
Don’t Neglect the Young Man in Your Life
As a Black man, I have two younger male cousins who don’t have their father in their life. Their mother has done a stellar job raising them and our family has tried to be there for them as much as possible, but nothing replaces a good father.
This is all to say that this topic is controversial, it’s taboo, like talking about death at the dinner table. But we have to talk about it. We have to do something about this.
And as some writers fail to mention when broaching this topic, we can have the prognosis without succumbing to misogyny.
We can have healthy masculinity that isn’t domineering, abusive, or neglectful. We can have all the benefits that feminism has accommodated for women without losing our identity as men!
Or can we? This is the question that must be answered
6 October, 2022
The New Inquisition
America’s progressives, led by Bernie Sanders, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Elizabeth Warren, and Joe Biden, have established an agenda and have sanctioned a strategy that harkens back to a much earlier day: the Inquisition that started in the 12th century.
The Inquisition was part of the Catholic church’s effort to identify and punish heresy. Heresy was any opinion contrary to the canons of the Church. Heretics were harshly punished, and their lives were often “cancelled” (terminated). The earliest prosecutions seem to have been against Catholic splinter groups and later spread to Jews, Muslims, and Protestants, although Catholics who dared to deviate from the Church’s dictates were also subject to persecution.
America’s progressives have their own “religion” and impose punishment on heretics as well. The progressives excommunicate, “cancel,” heretics, banning them from jobs and access to the media. The primary targets for the progressive inquisition are citizens who desire limiting government control over their lives; support the Constitution (to include freedom of religion); support law and order, want schools to focus on reading, writing, and arithmetic; or, gasp! voted for Donald Trump. Dissenters from the progressive religion are not labeled heretics since the similarity to the Inquisition would become too obvious. Instead, they are labelled “deplorables,” “destroyers of democracy,” and “semi-fascists.”
Progressives eschew economics: cost-benefit analysis, supply and demand, and opportunity costs are irrelevant to their values and “logic.” Once they determine a policy they like, it matters not how much it costs or how wasteful it is. The Green New Deal and the tuition debt-forgiveness programs are cases in point. Asking if the money might be put to better use will mark the questioner as “selfish.” Progressives raise illogic to a new level.
Progressives are also destroyers of history that they do not like. They accept no “false gods.” Statues of the Founding Fathers and Abraham Lincoln are pulled down and their names excised from schools and other buildings. Joseph Stalin rewrote Russian history for political gain. Progressives are doing the same.
The catechism of the progressives includes Critical Race Theory, the 1619 Project, and the indoctrination of pre-pubescent children into transgender ideas. Progressive teachers, we are told, know best how to educate our children.
Progressives have found their own official inquisitors: The FBI and Department of Justice seem to have become part of the progressives' religion. They have hidden Hunter Biden’s laptop and his crony capitalism, and Joe Biden’s nepotism. They have allowed Hillary Clinton to escape prosecution for mishandling sensitive government documents. Members of the “true faith” walk free while heretics are prosecuted.
Progressives, as true socialists, seize ownership of businesses in practice if not in name. They will regulate business to do their bidding by imposing ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) scores, packing boards of directors with public representatives (i.e., progressive faithful), and banishing industries and oil pipelines not to their liking.
Progressives, in their intolerance of dissenting ideas and abhorrence of sharing political power, plan to make Washington, D.C., a state in order to add two new Democratic senators. They speak of packing the Supreme Court with progressive-friendly justices. For progressives, the end justifies the means. Progressives desire a one-party, one-religion state and will not stop until their mission is accomplished.
The original Inquisition lasted for several hundred years. The Enlightenment greatly helped to end the terror. Progressives now threaten these gains. They seek to banish competition and establish one-party (one-church) rule. Knowledge through reason, liberty, toleration, and constitutional government are all under threat. Progressives are dangerous to individual freedom, and they must be called out for what they are: intolerant religious zealots, fascist-socialists, and power-hungry anti-intellectuals.
No, Hurricane Ian will not 'fuel the economy'
THE DEVASTATION caused by Hurricane Ian in Florida and South Carolina was catastrophic. The storm left collapsed homes and businesses in its wake, along with demolished hotels, impassable roads, smashed boats, and upended citrus trees. The economic damage, ABC News reported, could climb as high as $75 billion. As for the human damage, more than 100 deaths have already been confirmed, to say nothing of the incalculable toll caused by injury, trauma, and suffering.
When all is said and done, Ian may rank among the five costliest storms in US history. Yet to hear some analysts tell it, all that carnage and lost wealth is actually — a windfall!
The Wall Street Journal this week blithely assured its readers that the hurricane, far from being a terrible blow, is actually a blessing in disguise, since it "will nudge up economic output over the coming years." The paper quoted University of Illinois economist Tatyana Deryugina, who had no trouble seeing the silver lining in other people's ruined livelihoods. Sure, "some businesses [will be] forced to close," she conceded. "On the other hand, there will be destroyed cars, destroyed housing that needs to be rebuilt, and people will go out and spend money and that will drive GDP up."
Over on Fox Business, meanwhile, real estate executive Justin Greider was talking up all the funds that would be spent on recovery and rebuilding in Florida, telling anchor Maria Bartiromo that Ian's impact would be to "fuel the economy."
It never fails. Some disaster wreaks cataclysmic harm and experts pop up to label it an economic boon. After the biggest and deadliest hurricane of 2012, Business Insider published a story headlined "Now Get Ready For A Huge Economic Boost From Hurricane Sandy." The horrific California wildfires of 2007, which burned nearly a million acres and forced the largest evacuation in state history, inspired a University of San Diego economist to tell the Los Angeles Times that "this will probably be a stimulus" since "there will be a huge amount of rebuilding." Perhaps the most notorious recent example was Paul Krugman's take in The New York Times three days after 9/11. "It seems almost in bad taste to talk about dollars and cents after an act of mass murder," he wrote, but the terrorist attacks could be counted on to "do some economic good."
These are just a few examples of the popular fallacy that destruction is economically beneficial, since money must be spent to repair what was damaged. The 19th-century French thinker Frederic Bastiat exploded such reasoning in a famous 1850 essay, "That Which is Seen and That Which is Not Seen." The essay opens with a parable: A boy breaks a shop window. As the merchant sweeps up the shards of glass, dejected over his loss, onlookers attempt to console him by observing that the loss is actually a gain: The six francs it will cost him to restore his window, they point out, will benefit the glazier, who will then have more money to spend on something else. Those six francs will circulate, and the economy will grow.
The critical flaw in that thinking, explained Bastiat, is that it concentrates only on "what is seen" — the glazier who will be paid for a new window. What it ignores is "what is not seen" — everything that the shopkeeper will not be able to do with those six francs. Forced to spend the money on repairing his window, he will lose the opportunity to spend them on, say, a pair of shoes or a new book. The glazier gains, but the shopkeeper loses — and so does society as a whole. There is no financial upside to destruction.
No one commits the broken-window fallacy when it comes to their own personal losses. If your car is wrecked in a crash, you don't rejoice because an auto dealer will get to sell you another vehicle. The money you must spend to get a new car might otherwise have been devoted to enlarging your (and society's) stock of capital. All it will do now is restore what you already had.
Because billions of dollars will be spent to clean up, repair, or rebuild what Hurricane Ian obliterated, those billions will not be available for anything else. Whatever Florida gains from the resources committed to reconstruction can never outweigh what was lost through the storm's devastation. It may be heartening to think that economic loss makes us richer. Real life doesn't work that way.
Vice chair of Treasury Dept’s new racial equity committee wants to defund police, 'center race' in all policy
The vice chair of the Treasury Department’s newly-announced racial equity committee wants to defund the police and put racial justice at the center of all government policymaking.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday announced the formation of a 25-member committee called the Treasury Advisory Committee on Racial Equity, which will identify, monitor, and review aspects of the domestic economy "that have directly and indirectly resulted in unfavorable conditions for communities of color," according to a press release.
In the latest iteration of the Biden administration’s inclusion of capitalism critics in federal governance, Felicia Wong, the president and CEO of the Roosevelt Institute, was announced to serve as the nascent racial equity committee’s vice chair.
Wong is a former executive at the Democracy Alliance, a network of liberal megadonors founded in part by billionaire George Soros. Since 2012, she has led the Roosevelt Institute, a liberal think tank that wants to abolish for-profit prisons, reimagine capitalism, and put racial justice at the "center" of all government policymaking.
Last year, the Roosevelt Institute published a report co-authored by Wong, titled, "A New Paradigm for Justice and Democracy," which argued that "all policy, from vaccine distribution to higher education funding to tax reform, will have racialized effects. Recognizing this reality, and always considering race in policy design, is therefore vital."
Wong and the authors wrote that a "skills-based, opportunity-focused liberalism" is outdated and ignores systemic racism, and that "our mainstream politics has yet to recognize, prioritize, and make central the reckoning, race equity, and self-determination that a multiracial democracy would require."
The report praised the idea of wealth redistribution in the name of racial justice and argued that "equity" means equal outcomes, not equal opportunities.
"True equity means equity of outcome, and not accepting the promise of ‘opportunity’ within a system that continues to systematically exclude," Wong wrote. "It demands redistribution of resources—especially when wealth for some has been extracted from many—and a redistribution of decision-making power."
The same report co-authored by Wong also called for eliminating the filibuster, which requires 60 votes in the Senate to pass major legislation, calling it a tool of white supremacy.
"In this environment, a focus on democracy and racial justice means that filibuster reform or elimination must be on the table," it read. "The filibuster has been disproportionately used throughout history by segregationists and other white supremacists to slow or stop laws intended to promote racial equity. Today, it continues to stall progress on key democracy priorities: protecting voting rights; ending partisan gerrymandering; curbing the influence of corporate money and lobbying in our rulemaking process; and creating stronger ethics laws for federal officeholders."
"These all have racial justice implications, since the current system prioritizes a lobbying and corporate interest–driven system that is dominated by those who are wealthy and white, and whose interest is in preserving the status quo," it continued.
Another report authored by Wong in 2020 about "new progressivism" slammed the concept of "neoliberalism," which she defined as "a free-market capitalist ideology" that has devolved into "tax cuts for the rich and deregulation of the most powerful and pervasive industries."
In 2016, years before the "Defund the Police" movement came to national prominence, Wong co-authored a report that argued that "police budgets should be reduced and for-profit prison systems must be done away with."
"A key lever for reform is removing the money that fuels a corrupt justice system," the report stated. "[W]e must make a concentrated effort to reduce our prison population, at least in part by decriminalizing drugs and also by bringing U.S. sentencing practices more in line with other nations."
The report also claimed there is a need for "more direct redistribution in the form of investments in asset-poor communities and transfers to asset-poor individuals," and it argued in favor of a "constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to vote for all and implementing a fully national system of universal voter registration, which should no longer be left up to states."
Wong and the other authors also called for a "significant shift in the current state of constitutional jurisprudence on issues of racial inequality, discrimination, and affirmative action" in regard to the Equal Protection Clause.
"[C]urrent Supreme Court practice poses a problem, as it is focused predominantly on race neutrality," the report said. "Current constitutional doctrine thus makes impossible the kind of racially targeted policies that, as this report has suggested, are essential for undoing structural racial inequities."
On Tuesday, the Treasury Secretary Yellen announced the formation of the Treasury Advisory Committee on Racial Equity which will have 25 members from different colleges and universities, advocacy groups, and the business world.
When reached for comment, the Roosevelt Institute pointed Fox News Digital to Wong's statement in the Treasury Department's press release Tuesday, in which she said, "Any efforts to address inequality in the United States must account for the legacy of racial exclusion built into our economy."
Several Republican lawmakers reacted to the news of the Treasury Department creating its committee on racial equity.
Senator Josh Hawley, R-Mo., slammed President Biden for prioritizing the "wokeification" of the federal government over Americans' needs in a statement to Fox News Digital.
"Joe Biden has overseen historic inflation, historic gas prices, and historic supply shortages," Hawley said. "But while working Americans struggle to afford basic necessities, Joe Biden’s top priority isn’t bringing prices down, it’s the wokeification of the federal government."
"It’s time for this administration to stop pandering to their left-wing base and start working to put this country back on track," the Missouri senator continued.
Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wis., a member of the House Select Committee on the Economy, told Fox News Digital if "Biden was serious about helping people struggling in today’s economy, he would stop inflation by ending reckless spending and unleashing American energy."
"Too many Americans are suffering under one party Democratic control that is wrecking our economy," Steil continued.
‘Doctors Never Warned Me of Side Effects’ With Hormone Therapy and Breast Implants, Detransitioner Says
Photographs show Abel Garcia after his transition to a woman, left, and then following his detransition. Garcia, who lives in Texas, underwent a final surgery this year to remove excess tissue from his “top surgery" for breast implants. (Photos courtesy of Abel Garcia)
Abel Garcia began transitioning from male to female at age 19 while living in Southern California. After attempting to live as a young woman for a few years, though, he decided to “detransition” to a man again—but not without resistance from those who readily had signed off on his hormone treatment and breast implant surgery in the first place.
Garcia’s story came to light amid a growing movement of detransitioners who have begun sharing their stories online and in documentaries. The Daily Signal recently interviewed Garcia and agreed not to use his real name.
In the interview, Garcia, now 25, told The Daily Signal that he didn’t feel “masculine enough” growing up. He didn’t have a strong male role model, because his father often was out of the home working, he says.
Garcia says he believed that “If I’m not good enough to be a man, I must be a woman.” He recalls coming across a YouTube video about transgenderism when he was in his early teens. “That planted a seed in my mind,” he says. “But I didn’t act on it until after I had left high school.”
Garcia says he told his mother in late 2015, when he was about 18, that he believed he was transgender. He sought help from a gender clinic in Southern California, where a therapist told him he was transgender in the first session.
“We never got into any actual reason [for] why I thought I was trans,” Garcia recalls, and the therapist said that “she did not want to gatekeep him.”
In 2016, Garcia’s father learned that he was seeking gender transition treatment. In an effort to “fix his son,” as Garcia wrote in a recent blog post, his father took him to a brothel in Mexico.
Garcia recalls that his father stood by his side while he picked a woman out of a line. “Take good care of him. It’s his first time,” his father told the prostitute as she led Garcia away.
Nothing happened with her, Garcia told The Daily Signal. “I knew my dad probably spent a decent amount of money,” he says, so he asked the prostitute to tell his father that it went well. “She covered for me. I’ll give her that.”
But looking back, Garcia says, the incident traumatized him. It wasn’t until years later, after seeking more traditional therapy, that he realized this incident was the tipping point in his male-to-female transition.
He continued seeing his therapist in Southern California for five more months and eventually moved away from his parents’ home. Shortly after, Garcia began hormone treatment and changed his name and sex on legal documents.
‘Top’ and ‘Bottom’ Surgeries OK’d
A year later, two therapists gave Garcia permission for “top surgery,” which, he noted, “is a euphemism for breast implants for boys or young men like myself.”
“During that same session with this therapist … who signed off on [the surgery], he gave me both letters [giving approval] for breast implants and penile inversion, even though I had only requested breast implants,” he told The Daily Signal.
A few weeks later, Garcia says, he received a letter from his insurance company stating that he was approved for both “top” and “bottom” surgeries.
Garcia initially had planned to wait five years for breast implants and 10 for penile inversion. He wanted to take the transition slowly, he told The Daily Signal.
Garcia didn’t move forward with “bottom” surgery, though he decided to receive breast implants in 2018.
“I thought this was going to be good for me and this is what’s going to be the rest of my life,” he says.
His doctors didn’t warn him of the potential side effects of his surgery and hormone treatment, Garcia recalls. He described the symptoms that developed since his transition treatment—including numbness in his chest, genital atrophy, and a tremor on the left side of his body.
Doctors also didn’t mention the effects of cross-sex hormones and surgeries on his fertility, he says.
‘Always Going to Be a Man’
Around the time Garcia began transitioning to a female, he joined an LGBT support group in California. He told The Daily Signal that the group initially showered him with affection.
Now, Garcia says, he believes the group was using “love-bombing” tactics—a recruitment technique used by cult-like groups to lure new members through praise and affection.
Shortly after his surgery to create breasts, Garcia says, he had a falling out with a member of the group. The group’s “love-bombing” suddenly vanished, he recalls, and some members began dragging his name through the mud.
Then he hit rock bottom, he told The Daily Signal.
“I realized that I was always going to be a man. I was just a man who mutilated his body to make what I believe[d] was a woman [but was] just a caricature of a woman.”
Just three to four months after receiving breast implants, he says, “I admitted defeat and tried my best to reverse everything.”
He sought guidance from the same therapist who first signed off on top and bottom surgery for him. The therapist said that Garcia hadn’t made a mistake. Rather, it was “just childhood trauma” returning while he was “still recovering from surgery.”
Garcia went to see a different therapist, who said he shouldn’t be too “cavalier” with his detransition, since he “didn’t know the full extent of the damages” reversing his transition would cause.
Garcia says he discovered that nobody wanted to take him on as a patient. Detransitioning poses a risk to therapists who didn’t want to be accused of so-called conversion therapy, which is banned in California.
Hoping to Help Others
Eventually, with the help of Walt Heyer, a Daily Signal contributor who also used to live as a woman, Garcia began to reverse direction.
Despite initial pushback, the same surgeon who gave Garcia breast implants removed them. The social detransition process in California took longer, he says.
Garcia says he recently had one final surgery to remove excess breast tissue and skin from his implantation surgery. He now considers his detransition complete.
The experience was eye-opening, he says.
“Medical professionals don’t really know what they’re doing, and the world is more cruel than I expected,” Garcia says.
Doctors are “willingly allowing children and young adults who are confused to harm their bodies in the name of acceptance and being tolerant,” he says. “I do hope the harm that I’ve been put through is able to help others.”
5 October, 2022
A big climb-down for statin useStatins for preventing heart disease were once so fashionable that some people were talking of adding it to the water supply. How the mighty are fallen! The JAMA editorial below concludes that the benefit from taking statins is "marginal, likely small, and uncertain". They also note that "the frequency of adverse effects increases as the statin dose increases". Even for oldies it seems to give no benefit. Statin prescribing has become routine among family doctors but they need to unlearn that
Statins for Primary Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Time to Curb Our Enthusiasm
In the US, more than 126 million adults have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease (CVD).1 Reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with CVD is a public health imperative. Accordingly, considerable resources and effort have been invested in determining not only how to effectively treat symptomatic coronary artery disease or ischemic stroke, but also on prevention of clinical CVD. Although elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is associated with higher rates of CVD,2 there is uncertainty regarding the net benefit to risk ratio of using statins to reduce LDL among persons without CVD (primary prevention). This contrasts with the established role of LDL reduction for persons with established CVD (secondary prevention).
The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has updated its 2016 recommendations on the use of statins for the primary prevention of clinical CVD.3 Two of us (M.H.K. and R.F.R.) wrote about the 2016 recommendations,4 and in this Editorial we update our comments for the 2022 recommendations.5
The 2022 recommendations seem largely unchanged from the 2016 recommendations.3,5 For individuals aged 40 to 75 years without clinical CVD, with LDL lower than 190 mg/dL, and without known familial hypercholesterolemia, the USPSTF makes 3 recommendations. First, the Task Force concludes with moderate certainty that those with an estimated 10-year CVD event risk of 10% or higher based on the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association pooled cohort equations (PCEs) and at least 1 risk factor—dyslipidemia (LDL of >130 mg/dL or high-density lipoprotein of <40 mg/dL), diabetes, hypertension, and/or smoking—are likely to derive moderate benefit (B recommendation) from initiation of a moderate-intensity statin (lowers LDL by 30%-49% on average). Second, the Task Force concludes with moderate certainty that those with an estimated 10-year CVD event risk of 7.5% to less than 10% and at least 1 risk factor are likely to experience small net benefit (C recommendation) from initiation of a moderate-intensity statin, and thus clinicians should engage patients in shared decision-making. Third, the Task Force concludes that there is insufficient evidence (I statement) to fully assess the net harms and benefits of initiating statins in adults 76 years and older, regardless of estimated 10-year CVD event risk or presence of risk factors.
The details of the updated recommendations merit further consideration.5 The systematic review6 that accompanies the 2022 USPSTF recommendations examined 22 randomized clinical trials (RCTs; n = 90 624 participants) that compared statin therapy vs placebo or no statin, with a mean follow-up duration of 3 years. The systematic review examined the clinical end points of all-cause mortality, CVD mortality, fatal/nonfatal myocardial infarction, and fatal/nonfatal stroke among those with a mean age of 52 to 66 years, except for 1 trial that only enrolled older individuals between 70 and 82 years of age (Table6,7).
The updated evidence synthesis6 found that statins yielded a slightly smaller, but still statistically significant, reduction in all-cause mortality (pooled relative risk, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.87-0.98), as well as for myocardial infarction and stroke (Table). The USPSTF recommendations should be considered in the context of a meta-analysis, published in 2010,8 which included only trials that enrolled patients receiving high-risk primary prevention; this study showed no benefit on all-cause mortality with statins. The benefit for CVD mortality was not statistically significant (pooled relative risk, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.81-1.02). Notably, there was no significant statistical heterogeneity (I2 = 0) across the 12 trials (n = 75 138) examined. The null result was robust in sensitivity analyses that excluded trials that stopped early, trials that included patients receiving secondary prevention, good-quality trials, trials with at least 3 years of follow-up, and trials with participants with a median baseline LDL lower than 160 mg/dL.6 The lack of benefit on CVD mortality found in the 2022 evidence review6 and the lack of benefit on all-cause mortality in the purely high-risk primary prevention meta-analysis8 call into question the reliability of the all-cause mortality benefit reported in the systematic review that accompanies the 2022 USPSTF recommendations. Because 19 of the 22 included trials were industry sponsored, potential bias in the randomization processes, as well as the potential for exaggeration of net benefits,9 are of greater concern than for trials whose sponsors were disinterested with regard to the outcomes.
In contrast with its 2016 recommendations,3 the USPSTF no longer recommends use of low-intensity statins in certain situations. This change is driven by the fact that 17 of the 22 trials had fixed-dose statin groups, including 12 which used moderate-intensity statins.6 We are unaware of any RCTs that directly compare either different statin intensities in terms of clinical CVD outcomes or fixed-dose vs titrate-to-LDL goal approaches. While it is understandable that the Task Force was limited by lack of data on dosing, this change is unfortunate for patients because the frequency of adverse effects increases as the statin dose increases.
Finally, the 2022 recommendations no longer note the “uncertainty in individual risk prediction” in contrast with the 2016 recommendations, which more clearly acknowledged that cardiac risk prediction is not an exact science.3,5 Refining the accuracy of prediction of risk for individuals remains a major issue for primary prevention. It is disappointing that there was no sex-specific analysis in the evidence review, as women have lower cardiovascular risk than men at all ages until age 75 years and are more likely to experience adverse drug effects than men.29 Thus, the risk-benefit profile for statins is less favorable for women than men, which is neither discussed nor recognized in the current USPSTF recommendations.
Many of the caveats and concerns noted in the Editorial accompanying the 2016 USPSTF recommendations4 are still present with the 2022 recommendations.5 These include the heterogeneous inclusion criteria across studies and the inclusion of participants not receiving primary prevention who either had symptoms consistent with clinical CVD10,11 or known coronary artery disease equivalents, such as carotid artery atherosclerosis.12 As noted previously, a meta-analysis of statins for patients receiving high-risk primary prevention found no benefit on all-cause mortality.8 Additionally, as the data for many trials of statin therapy remain unavailable, the USPSTF does not have access to participant-level data. The trials for which there is no data transparency are those with data housed at the Cholesterol Treatment Trialists’ (CTT) Collaborative at Oxford University.13 The CTT does not allow academic researchers and others access to the data from 24 trials comparing statins with a control group, starting in 1995. The CTT states that it is just the repository of data and cannot allow others access because the data are owned and controlled by the industry sponsors of the trials. In 2022, there is no reason for participant-level data from these trials to remain unavailable for independent analysis.
At present, there are further reasons to curb our enthusiasm about the use of statins for primary prevention of CVD. There is a difference between statistically significant and clinically meaningful benefit. The purported benefits of statins in terms of relative risk reduction are fairly constant across baseline lipid levels and cardiovascular risk score categories for primary prevention.6 Therefore, the absolute benefit for those in lower-risk categories is likely small given that their baseline absolute risk is low, while the chance of adverse effects is constant across risk categories.
Use of the PCE to risk-stratify individuals is problematic. The cut points of 5%, 7.5%, 10%, and 20% are arbitrary given the linear “continuum of risk”14 without a threshold effect3 that exists within the relationship between CVD risk and CVD occurrence. Additionally, the PCE itself is an imperfect tool to assess baseline 10-year absolute risk. The PCE was derived and validated in studies that enrolled individuals (mostly White males) between 1968 and 1990. Thus, the PCE does not reflect the recent decreases in rates of CVD that have accrued owing to population-wide health improvements from reduced rates of smoking, shifts in dietary patterns and exercise, and blood pressure control.15 In a multiethnic prospective cohort (n = 4227) from 2000 to 2002, the PCE overestimated CVD events by 86% in men and 67% in women.16 When applied to 6 cohorts from 1971 to 2014 (n = 26 689), the PCE overestimated 10-year risk of CVD by an average of 20% across risk groups, which would have down-staged 11.7 million adults from a 10-year CVD risk of greater than 10% to less than 10%, and 11.8 million adults from a 10-year CVD risk of greater than 7.5% to less than 7.5%.17 Furthermore, the PCE propagates the unavoidable variability and uncertainty in the clinical inputs (eg, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein, systolic blood pressure); a 10% higher or lower variation in these inputs would result in up to a 24% change in the risk categorization of individuals.18 Such issues with discrimination and calibration present challenges in applying the USPSTF guidelines to individuals in informing discussions about their potential for clinical benefits from statin use.
The USPSTF concluded that, among 19 RCTs and 3 observational studies examined (a different data set than the data set for the review of benefits, which was 22 RCTs),6 statins did not have any statistically significant harms, namely in terms of myalgias, incident diabetes, liver enzyme elevations, cancer, kidney effects, cognitive harms, or cataracts. However, in clinical practice, adverse events are commonly reported with use of statins. For example, in observational data, statin-associated muscle symptoms affect up to 1 in 10 individuals.19 Even if, as has been argued, statin-associated muscle symptoms are at least partly due to the nocebo effect,20 the extent to which muscle symptoms lead to either dose-reduction or discontinuation of statins (usually with subsequent cessation of these symptoms) should not be discounted. Although the USPSTF analysis6 did not find a statistically significant increase in incident diabetes, a prior meta-analysis of 13 trials (n = 91 140) found that 1 extra case of diabetes per 255 patients over 4 years of statin treatment could be attributed to statin use.21 Furthermore, individuals with other risk factors for glycemic intolerance and people with preexisting diabetes are likely to be at increased risk of progression to diabetes22 and worsened glycemic control, respectively.23 When assessing the potential harms of statins, it is prudent to keep in mind that although the purported benefits of statins will accrue to a few patients in the future, everyone prescribed a moderate-intensity statin is at risk immediately for the harms. Consideration of adverse effects is especially important for a primary prevention drug, which is prescribed to healthy people who feel perfectly well.
The practice of medicine is an art as well as a science. As the USPSTF and other professional societies, including the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association24 and the European Society of Cardiology/European Atherosclerosis Society14 have all emphasized, shared decision-making of the anticipated benefits, harms, and uncertainties in predicting CVD are essential in determining whether to initiate a medication that a patient may possibly take for the remainder of their life. Although there are patient-facing decision-support aids for statins,25 they are underused. These aids would be more useful if quality-of-life data were collected in statin trials and could be added to decision-making tools. In addition, consideration should be given to deprescribing statins for adults 76 years or older, other older individuals unlikely to derive benefit from statins for primary prevention, and individuals who are at risk of polypharmacy because of medications taken for other conditions.
In the US, about $25 billion is spent annually on statins.26 Cardiovascular disease incidence and mortality are the upshot of myriad social determinants.27,28 Although statins lower LDL cholesterol in individuals, investments at the community level to construct a more salubrious environment that enables healthy eating and promotes physical activity are likely to have more widespread multiplicative and pleiotropic effects on the biological and psychosocial risks of CVD, as well as on improving quality of life. The 2022 USPSTF recommendations5 are an opportunity to pause and refocus efforts to meaningfully improve CVD outcomes for all, rather than extol the marginal, likely small, and uncertain absolute benefits of statins for the few in primary CVD prevention.
Shrieking lefties hate democracy — their attacks on the Supreme Court prove it
As the Supreme Court begins a new term that includes highly contentious cases on everything from voting rights to anti-Asian racism in elite college admissions, expect endless lefty and liberal attacks on the court’s very legitimacy simply because some decisions don’t go their way.
A prime example: radical historian Jeff Shesol’s histrionic New York Times op-ed.
Shesol slams President Joe Biden for acting as a cowardly “bystander” in the face of the Supremes’ recent blockbuster decisions on abortion and gun control, as if it weren’t every president’s duty to respect the rulings of a judiciary that’s independent under the US Constitution even when he vehemently disagrees.
The Founders never intended the high court to be under the executive’s direct and sole political control. But Shesol instead urges Biden to imitate President Franklin Roosevelt’s full-on political and rhetorical assault on the court after it struck down some early New Deal laws (which were, in fact, breathtakingly unconstitutional: One of them aimed to give the prez the power to micromanage every business in country).
Notably, the public and a heavily Democratic Congress utterly rejected FDR’s move to pack the court. Yes, the Supremes later let other New Deal laws take effect — but only after the president backed off his unconstitutional vision.
Shesol calls the high court’s rulings on abortion and guns an “assault on democracy.” Yet the Dobbs ruling simply allows voters to decide on abortion restrictions. And while we criticized the Bruen decision on guns, it centered precisely on the protection of constitutional rights where the court is supposed to be “anti-democratic.”
Wealthy blue-staters having a tantrum does not a constitutional crisis make, but Shesol sure is rooting for one. No matter that, for decades, the court acted to write into the law precisely the policies that liberals love: abortion, quotas, gay marriage. (Though note that the “conservative” court last year upheld gay marriage: Sometimes, what the left favors doesn’t defy the Constitution.)
Saying the court is illegitimate simply because it strikes down actions that Congress clearly hadn’t authorized (as Shesol does over the Supremes’ nixing of far-reaching environmental rules) is insanely partisan and profoundly destabilizing of our democracy. That this view has taken root among Dem politicians is frightening.
An avalanche of this hysterical extremism is on the way, make no mistake. So best pray that Biden — who seems an increasing hostage to the activist wing of his party — has enough presence of mind left to not try following in FDR’s footsteps.
Why Hispanic voters are rejecting the wokesters — and its a huge problem for the Dems
One of the most significant events in American politics is that Hispanics are, in effect, deciding that they are working-class voters rather than ethnic-grievance voters.
This is so momentous because it means that Democrats can’t rely on the monolithic Hispanic voting bloc they imagined would guarantee them an enduring electoral majority, and that the shift to the Republicans may be just beginning (the migration of working-class whites to the GOP has been happening over the course of a couple of generations).
A NBC News/Telemundo poll of Hispanics has Democrats ahead of Republicans in the battle for Congress 54-33 percent. That’s a healthy lead, but it’s down from prior polls. Democrats led among Latinos by 42 points in October 2012, 38 points in October 2016, and 26 points in October 2020. Detect a trend?
Republicans don’t have to win Hispanics outright to change the calculus of American politics, only eat into Democratic margins.
In specific places, they’re doing even better. A Sienna College poll shows Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Marco Rubio, both running for re-election in Florida, above 50% among Hispanics. A new poll for The Nevada Independent has Republican Adam Laxalt, challenging Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, down by only 2 points among Hispanics.
It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. Progressives had Hispanics pegged as “non-white” voters, which meant they’d be animated by the same worldview as black Americans and become nearly as immovably Democratic. The arbiters of such things even cooked up a new term for Hispanics, “Latinx,” to signal their assimilation into the hothouse world of woke politics, with its kaleidoscope of genders and other bizarre priorities.
Yet “Hispanic” is an incredibly wide-ranging category including people from different countries and regions who may have lived here for generations or just got here recently. Generalizations are inevitably simplifications, but it’s safe to say they don’t have much in common with American blacks, who went through the uniquely searing experience of enslavement and systematic discrimination.
Within memory, blacks had to fight for the basic legal protections of citizenship, whereas many Hispanics got here after 1980, when the most fundamental civil-rights struggles had already been won.
In a piece for Spectator World, the Republican pollster Patrick Ruffini argues that Hispanics are tracing the basic trajectory of white Catholics as they assimilate, move to the suburbs and hew to traditional values out of fashion with the nation’s elite.
Analyst Ruy Teixeira has noted the clashing cultural attitudes of “strong progressives” and Hispanics. According to Echelon Insights survey, 66% of progressives reject the idea that America is the greatest country in the world; 70% of Hispanics disagree. Asked whether racism is built into our society or comes from individuals, 94% of progressives say it is systemic, and 58% of Hispanics say it is from individuals.
The same divides are evident on transgender sports, defunding the police and the importance of hard work.
The picture is of a constituency that is going to be skeptical of a party that made excuses for the 2020 riots premised on the notion that America is fundamentally corrupt, or that is on board the rush to embrace a non-binary future. Needless to say, this is not FDR’s Democratic Party, which had such a hold on white Catholics for so long.
On the cultural questions in the Echelon survey, Hispanics are much closer to working-class voters than the wokesters. This shouldn’t be a surprise since about 80% of Hispanics aged 25 or above don’t have a four-year degree, whereas hyper-progressives are disproportionately college-educated. Like other working-class voters, Hispanics are focused on the economy, and give President Joe Biden failing grades.
None of this means the Hispanic trend toward Republicans is inexorable. Rather, it shows that, despite Democratic hopes, these voters are up for grabs, and their support has to be earned like that of other Americans.
Australia: Sikh's bid for weapons act amendment rejected in Supreme CourtSikhs are often in trouble over this. But it is part of their faith. Religious accomodations are extended to Muslims and Aborigines. Why not Sikhs?
The state government has dismissed a Supreme Court application which would allow knives to be carried into Queensland schools for “genuine religious purposes”.
Court documents have revealed the director of an Australian religious group had applied for the state’s weapons act be amended in the Queensland Supreme Court.
The application was made by Kamaljit Athwal, the director of the Sikh Nishkam Society of Australia, who said the weapons act prevented her and others from entering Queensland schools for educational purposes.
According to the court document, Ms Athwal is an initiated as an Amritdhari Sikh and has been the society’s director since 2010.
Initiated Sikhs are required at all times to wear or possess five mandatory “articles of faith” which include an undergarment, a small wooden comb, an iron band, have “un-cut” hair covered by a turban and a ceremonial sword.
The sword, known as a Kirpan, is made of steel or iron and is usually worn underneath clothing on a sling.
Ms Athwal argued in the court document that if a Sikh were to remove any of the articles of faith they must go refrain from eating or drinking for a period of time.
“That would extend to the removal of the Kirpan to enter school grounds,” the document read.
Ms Athwal said she and other initiated Sikhs had been excluded from school drop-offs and pick-ups, from attending assemblies, meeting teachers, attending school activities and conducting work on school groups.
Further, Ms Athwal contended her ability to vote at government elections at her local school had been deprived.
Under the weapons act, a person must not physically possess a knife in a public place or a school unless the person has a reasonable excuse.
Maximum penalties including one year’s imprisonment.
The state government acknowledged the difficulties initiated Sikhs faced however, on September 30 it dismissed the court application
My other blogs. Main ones below:
http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)
http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)
http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)
http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)
4 October, 2022
Kamala Harris Remains True to Doctrine of Unequal Treatment
How is it that equity, a doctrine that tells government and the private sector to treat Americans differently because of their race, is becoming so pervasive in the Land of the Free?
One reason is the deliberate obfuscation of its meaning. Fortunately, every once in a while Kamala Harris comes along to remind us of what it truly is.
Displaying her inerrant tin ear and bad timing, the Veep chose this time the devastation that Hurricane Ian has caused to say that aid would be distributed according to race. Florida officials had to rush forward to deny that this was the case, lest already horrific conditions be made worse by confusion.
Harris left little room for misunderstanding, saying on Friday that, “It is our lowest-income communities and our communities of color that are most impacted by these extreme conditions and impacted by issues that are not of their own making. And so we have to address this in a way that is about giving resources based on equity, understanding that we fight for equality, but we also need to fight for equity, understanding not everyone starts out at the same place.”
She added, “And if we want people to be in an equal place, sometimes we have to take into account those disparities and do that work.”
“This is false,” tweeted immediately the rapid response director for Gov. Ron DeSantis’s reelection campaign, Christina Pushaw, referring to the idea that race would play a role on how aid was handed out. “[Harris’] rhetoric is causing undue panic and must be clarified. FEMA Individual Assistance is already available to all Floridians impacted by Hurricane Ian, regardless of race or background.”
Florida’s senior senator, Rick Scott, also took to social media to clear the air. “This is wrong and dangerous. Aid is distributed based on need, period. FL is strong and ready to undertake the long journey of rebuilding. We are in this together, and won’t let politicians like @KamalaHarris use race to divide us as we work to recover our lives and communities. Even Elon Musk felt the need to call out the injustice included,” tweeted Scott.
As indeed, the founder of Tesla had indeed had his own comment: aid, he said, “should be according to greatest need, not race or anything else.”
The Biden administration has, however, made race-conscious benefits the hallmark of its term, even though it is unconstitutional. Last week was not by no means the first time that Harris drew a sharp distinction between equity and the American ideal of equality. “There is a big difference between equality and equity,” she wrote fewer than two years ago.
It is indeed a core belief of Critical Race Theory that, because racial disparities exist, aid and benefits should be race-based and not limited to means-tested criteria. The foundational writings of CRT are filled with the promotion of racial-conscious policies that fall under the umbrella label of “equity.”
“This belief in color-blindness and equal protection,” writes Kimberle Crenshaw in a 1988 essay, “…make no sense at all in a society in which identifiable groups have been treated differently historically and which the effects of this difference in treatment continued to the present.”
Neil Gotanda goes right to the heart of the CRT argument when he writes in 1991, “Color-blindness strikes down Jim Crow segregation but offers no vision for attacking less overt forms of racial subordination. The color-blind idea of the future society has been exhausted.”
One problem for CRT enthusiasts such as Harris is that American society has decidedly moved away from having government or private enterprises dole out benefits or rights based on race. Race-conscious policies are dismally unpopular, with racial preferences university admissions polling at best 26% versus 74% against and other similar policies largely rejected.
The other problem is that policies based on race are clearly immoral and violate the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act.
And yet, businesses, schools and professional associations are falling all over themselves to compel their employees and members to conform to this ugly and unpopular views, by for example forcing them to sign Diversity, Equity and Inclusion statements, or face disciplinary measures, or worse.
Americans are fighting back. Last week, Jonathan Haidt, a liberal who is a professor at New York University, announced he would resign from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the only professional organization he belongs to, because it has instituted a requirement that everyone presenting research explain how their work advances “equity, inclusion, and anti-racism goals.”
Haidt wrote that he found he found the demand problematic in an academic institution supposedly devoted to seeking truth. He quoted a well known passage from a book by Ibram Kendi, who earns a great deal of money from training Americans on equity activities: “The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”
Haidt wrote, “I explained why I thought the claim was incorrect from a social science perspective because there are obviously many other remedies. And I explained why I thought the claim was incorrect morally because it requires us to treat people as members of groups, not as individuals, and then to treat people well or badly based on their group membership. That’s exactly the opposite of what most of us who grew up in the late 20th century thought was a settled moral fact.”
It takes courage for Americans to buck the tide of DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion), but they shouldn’t be alone. Until the federal government is in different hands, the 50 states should be passing bills which make it clear that discrimination is illegal, as is compelling a belief on such discrimination, and prosecuting violators.
Until then, we can rely on Harris to remind us occasionally what exactly equity entails, and why it must be opposed.
To Understand a Memorial's Leftist Turn, Follow the Money
Claims are a video now being shown at James Madison’s Montpelier is on slavery’s lasting legacies and features protesters carrying “I can’t breathe,” “Stop police brutality,” and “Black Lives Matter” signs and others waving Confederate flags.
As detailed in a recent Heritage Foundation report, Montpelier today has numerous exhibits on race and slavery, yet none on James Madison’s accomplishments. Mr. Madison’s contributions are discussed only during the house tour and through a brief video in the visitors center.
This is not giving Mr. Madison his due. As the Father of the Constitution, author of the Bill of Rights and many of The Federalist Papers, Mr. Madison’s legacies include the oldest written constitution in history and the first nation committed to self-government. Still, the video on slavery’s lasting legacies is longer than the one on Mr. Madison’s ideas, America’s “moments of triumph” diminished with Mr. Madison himself.
Why? It helps to follow the money. Consider who Montpelier worked with—and who gave it funding.
First is the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum calls “a left-wing hatchet group, using its accumulated prestige to go after legitimate organizations and individuals.” They are “a hugely rich institution with a formidable reputation lacking a raison d’etre or even a moral conscience.”
Montpelier invited SPLC associates to develop the video, serve on their board of directors, and help produce a set of standards for how slavery should be taught at historical sites. According to their recommendations, “it is not enough simply to discuss the humanity and contributions of the enslaved. It is imperative that these institutions also unpack and interrogate white privilege and supremacy and systemic racism.”
The nongovernmental organization that owns Montpelier, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, oversees 27 historic sites. The trust was established in 1949 by an act of Congress and received $4.2 million in government grants during the 2020 tax year to add to its $412 million in assets.
Though they enjoy tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3), in 2020, they issued the following statement: “Black Lives Matter. Black History Matters. Historic places of all types and periods should be places of truth-telling and inclusivity. Historic preservation must actively advance justice and equity for all people. Historic preservation organizations have an obligation to confront and address structural racism within our own institutions. …”
Their subsidiary, the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, is funded by corporations like Ford, Hewlett, Mellon, and the Open Society Foundations, George Soros’s group. Mr. Soros is a Democratic donor with immense influence. He recently poured tens of millions of dollars into local district attorney elections, in jurisdictions that are now experiencing a surge in violent crime.
Of these players, David Rubenstein, a billionaire “patriotic philanthropist” and co-founder and co-chairman of The Carlyle Group, seems the least political. According to his book, The American Story: Conversations With Master Historians,” he has given significant donations to numerous historical sites to enhance “interest in learning more about American history.” At Montpelier, his funding made possible the exhibit “The Mere Distinction of Colour.” A panel there recognizing Rubenstein’s contribution also features a quote from critical race theory practitioner Ta-Nehisi Coates, a journalist who referred to 9/11 responders as “menaces of nature” who were “not human” and portrayed Dr. Jordan Peterson as a Nazi.
While interested in American history, Mr. Rubenstein is contributing to its distortion. Mr. Rubenstein claims that when Thomas Jefferson wrote “all men are created equal,” he “really meant all white men who were Christian are equal if they have some money.” Men refer to mankind, and Jefferson was a staunch advocate for religious freedom.
Finally, Montpelier received funding from the federal government and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
In 2019, Montpelier obtained a federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services for work that included a children’s exhibit to foster “conversations about fairness, justice, and race between children and their caregivers.”
In 2020, they were awarded funding from the Commonwealth of Virginia for major projects and for “curriculum development for anti-racist curriculum that would be available for use in public schools throughout Virginia.”
If conservatives refuse to engage and ignore spaces like Montpelier, we leave that void to be filled by others: in more places. The National Trust oversees 27 historical sites, and Rubenstein recently gave $10 million to the National Park Foundation for new exhibits at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial that will bring an “inclusive spirit” and “provide a broader, more multi-faceted understanding of President Jefferson’s impact.”
The project at Montpelier, aided by the above individuals and organizations, has been ambitious. They have restored Mr. Madison’s mansion to tear down our history.
The American story is not one based on slavery and oppression but a chronicle of striving toward freedom against the odds dictated by the history of humanity, of the contributions of generations that moved us toward a fuller realization of our principles. James Madison was an essential actor in that story. He deserves better at Montpelier.
Christian nurse sues controversial Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust for 'forcing racist ideology' on students in lecture entitled, 'whiteness - a problem of our time'
A Christian nurse, who is suing an NHS Trust for discrimination, has claimed that the healthcare service forces a 'racist ideology' onto its students. Amy Gallagher, 33, is taking legal action against the Portman Clinic in North London, part of The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust.
The nurse, who is in her final stages of a two-year course in forensic psychology at the trust, claims she has been discriminated against on the basis of race, religion and philosophical belief.
The mental health nurse took issue with the trust when she was allegedly forced to take part in a lecture titled 'whiteness - a problem of our time' in October 2020.
The online presentation then said, 'the problem of racism is a problem of whiteness' and encouraged attendees to confront 'the reality of whiteness'.
At a meeting with her course leader Ms Gallagher explained she did not consider herself racist and that she took a 'colour-blind' approach, meaning she did not judge people by their skin colour.
Ms Gallagher claims she was told that such a colour-blind approach is now 'outdated'.
Ms Gallagher then filed a formal complaint to the Tavistock Trust in January last year.
In March the legal case was escalated after an external speaker complained to the Nursing and Midwifery Council, claiming that Ms Gallagher had 'inflicted race-based harm' and as a result could not work with 'diverse populations', The Telegraph reports.
Ms Gallagher said she believes it will be the first legal case for 'lack of belief' that argues that a white Christian woman cannot believe in Critical Race Theory.
The theory says racism is institutional and rejects the colour-blind approach.
She told The Telegraph: 'They are forcing Critical Race Theory onto people - you're not allowed to disagree with it, or they will bully you for two years.
'I'm bringing this legal case to protect my career but it's also the in the courts.
'The NHS is forcing someone to adopt a racist ideology and it needs to be stopped.'
The nurse who will be represented by Andrew Storch Solicitors, filed court documents in the Central London County in March.
Shakespeare Martineau law firm, representing the trust, plans to file its defence this week.
Ms Gallagher, who has worked for seven years, enrolled on the Portman Clinic's D59F Forensic Psychodynamic Psychotherapy course in September 2020 to finish her clinical training. She had already completed the Tavistock's foundation psychotherapy course.
She said she initially enjoyed the two-year, part-time course, which will qualify her to set up her own private psychotherapy practice.
But became concerned when, in November, students were given a compulsory lecture on race and racism by forensic psychoanalyst Dr Anne Aiyegbusi.
Ms Gallagher claimed that the lecturer 'spoke negatively about Christianity while no other religions were mentioned'.
In August 2021, the nurse set up a Go Fund Me page titled '#StandUpToWoke Tavistock discrimination Lawsuit'.
On the site, she said the money would help fund the initial lawsuit, class action lawsuit and an application for a Judicial Review.
It has raised £27,518 in the last year.
The nurse previously said that the Trust had threatened to suspend her from her final year of the course to become a psychotherapist, which cost more than £20,000.
She previously told MailOnline in January: 'On the basis of my experience there, what they describe as anti-racism is racism. What they describe as tolerance is an intolerance of anyone who thinks differently to them.
'Left unchallenged, such institutional bullying will only be emboldened. 'I feel passionate about this. I hope my case will prove that teaching these discriminatory ideas – as though they are factual and true – within the NHS or within academia is wrong.'
A spokesman for the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust said: 'We cannot comment on an ongoing legal case. 'As a trust, we have made a public commitment to work to become an anti-racist organisation.'
In July, the NHS Trust's controversial child transgender clinic was forced to shut down after a report found that it was 'not safe' for children.
The gender identity service will instead be replaced by regional centres at existing children's hospitals, which will provide more holistic care with 'strong links to mental health services'.
Ugly truth behind dating apps revealed in key statistic
I am very sad to hear this. I have been using advertisements to find partners for most of my adult life and have had excellent results. I have had 4 marriages and some good long-term relationships out of it. And all four marriages ended amicably. So the system can work well. And just this year I have acquired a new partner via a dating site who is both smart and good-looking -- despite the fact that we are both now in our 70s
I think it is all up to the people involved. Men who are selfish will be nasty however they are encountered. The key is to approach with caution. Meet somewhere safe initially and learn as much as you can of the other person's background as soon as you can. Google can be a help there but old-fasioned reputational enquiries also have a place.
Milieu is important too. I always insist that a lady I take an interest in should like classical music. So I am moving in a very civilized milieu there. There are however many milieus and moving in an unsafe one must have its problems. I think there of women who date men with criminal records. No matter how good-looking and manly the man may be, he is high risk. So choose your milieu carefully. Low educational achievement is another red flag. The jails are full of poorly educated men
Most people who have used dating apps have also experienced some level of sexual violence via the increasingly popular medium, a new survey has revealed.
The study by the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) released on Monday found three in every four respondents had been subjected to sexual violence through dating apps in the past five years.
The most common form of behaviour reported was sexual harassment, with abusive and threatening language and unsolicited sexual images also commonly experienced by those seeking love online.
In a troubling sign, the study also found sexual violence via dating apps was experienced far more frequently by LGBTIQ+ men and women compared to heterosexual participants.
Problems didn’t end when users of dating apps met face-to-face, with one in three survey respondents saying they experienced in-person sexual violence such as sexual assault or coercion, reproductive and sexual health related abuse and in-person image-based sexual abuse.
AIC deputy director Rick Brown said steps needed to be taken by dating app developers to improve user experience and safety. “The high levels of online and in-person DAFSV in this report demonstrate the need to embed safety by design principles in their development processes,” he said.
Despite the exponential explosion in popularity of dating apps over the past 10 years, few studies have been done exploring technology-facilitated sexual violence.
“This study aims to address these gaps in knowledge and provide valuable information that can assist in the development of policies and practices to prevent this kind of violence from occurring,” Dr Brown said.
Last year, dating app Bumble launched an initiative to provide free online trauma support to users who had experienced sexual assault or relationship abuse.
Earlier, the company also introduced an AI driven feature, which automatically identifies and blurs lewd images, leaving it at the recipient’s discretion if they want to view them.
A spokesperson from Bumble said they were saddened by the latest findings and that the company was taking steps to combat the specific types of abuse mentioned in the report.
“We hold everyone on Bumble accountable for their actions,” the spokesperson said.
“Any instance of violence, harassment or abuse is unacceptable to us and we do not hesitate to permanently remove perpetrators from our platform.
“We take our block and report tool very seriously, and have made it easy for our members to report any behaviour that makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe to us so that we can take action.”
3 October, 2022
A strange jurist
Leftist blindness and lack of principles on clear display. And it's on SCOTUS!
Supreme Court justices return to work next month following a tumultuous last session in which the majority issued some controversial rulings, most notably the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Liberals in general, and Justice Elena Kagan in particular, are upset by the decisions of the conservative majority.
Kagan recently spoke at Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. She said: “When courts become extensions of the political process, when people see them as extensions of the political process, when people see them as trying to impose personal preferences on a society irrespective of the law, that’s when there’s a problem.”
As conservatives see it, what Kagan objects to is precisely what liberal judges have been doing for more than half a century. Conservatives have seen the court as too often making law from the bench that has little or nothing to do with the Constitution, only what the justices think it ought to say and would have said had they written it.
Former President Barack Obama once revealed the objective of many liberals. During an interview in 2001 he seemed to disparage the Constitution as merely “a charter of negative liberties. It says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.”
In fact, the Constitution limits the power of the federal government to preserve and protect individual liberty. That’s why the Preamble begins “We the people of the United States” not “You the government.”
The late Justice Antonin Scalia was on point when he said: “As long as judges tinker with the Constitution to ‘do what the people want,’ instead of what the document actually commands, politicians who pick and confirm new federal judges will naturally want only those who agree with them politically.”
Following criticism by then-President Donald Trump about judges who reflect the ideology of the presidents who appoint them, Chief Justice John Roberts issued a rare statement in rebuttal: “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges. What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them.”
If that were true, there would be no dissents and all judges would have the same view of the Constitution, but clearly in modern times they reflect the view of law of the Democratic presidents who nominate them. That is not always so with Republican presidents.
Earl Warren, John Paul Stevens, Harry Blackmun, Warren Burger, Sandra Day O’Connor, David Souter, and Anthony Kennedy were all named by Republican presidents and to one degree or another (some more than others) voted in ways, from abortion to same-sex marriage, that delighted Democrats.
So far as I can tell, only one judge named by a modern Democrat did not completely reflect the views of the president who nominated him. That was John F. Kennedy’s pick of Justice Byron White, who was in the 7-2 minority when Roe was decided in 1973.
If there are no Bush, Obama, Clinton, Trump, and Biden judges, how else could they be described?
Persecuting Christians who refuse to do work for same-sex weddings is nothing less than bigotry
Emilee Carpenter is a gifted photographer whose lavish images celebrate all kinds of people — Christian, Jewish, black, white, straight, gay and everything in between. She aims her lens at clients without fear or prejudice — with one notable exception.
She refuses to take pictures of same-sex weddings. That’s non-negotiable. And it could cost her — big time.
“I serve everyone, including those who identify as LGBT. But I now face threats of up to $100,000 in fines, a revoked business license and even jail time simply because of my Christian beliefs about marriage,’’ Carpenter, who lives and works near upstate Elmira, said this week.
“The government shouldn’t banish people from the marketplace because of their faith,’’ she continued. “Free speech is for everyone, not just those who happen to agree with the government.”
The state of New York would differ.
Carpenter is in the vortex in which a professional’s deeply held religious belief that holy matrimony is the union of one man and one woman is being attacked as a hate crime.
Carpenter has declined requests by same-sex couples to document their weddings. So she researched potential penalties — hefty fines, revocation of her business license, even up to a year behind bars — and freaked out. In April 2021, she sued New York, claiming its human-rights law forcing her to shoot same-sex marriages ran afoul of her First Amendment rights to free speech, free association and free religious expression, and violated the establishment clause and her right to due process.
In December, a district court judge dismissed the case. This delighted state Attorney General Letitia James, who is named in the suit — Emilee Carpenter Photography v. James. The AG called it “a huge victory in our pursuit to ensure that every New Yorker has equal access and equal protections under the law.’’
“Love is love,’’ James’ statement also said, “which is why my office will always fight to ensure that all New Yorkers are treated equally under the law.”
Except, apparently, Christians. Their beliefs are anathema to the woke social order.
On Wednesday, the case got another look, as oral arguments were held in the US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in Manhattan. The three-judge panel grilled a lawyer for the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom group, which represents Carpenter, as well as a rep for the state Human Rights Commission and the upstate Chemung County Attorney.
Bryan Neihart of ADF argued that the Constitutional right to free expression must shield an artist such as Carpenter from being compelled to go against her values. The same would go for a tattoo artist whose work only celebrates Islam. Or for such creators as florists and calligraphers, Neihart said. The judges will rule at a later date.
The case recalls the ordeal of Cynthia and Robert Gifford, Christians who declined to hold a wedding ceremony for two lesbians at their upstate New York Liberty Ridge Farm back in 2012. (A reception would have been OK). As I reported, they were fined $13,000 by an administrative law judge — $1,500 to compensate each member of the couple for “mental anguish’’ and $10,000 to be poured into the black hole of state government. The couple’s appeal failed, and they gave up and took the financial hit that greatly harmed their family business.
But Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado, whose Christian owner, Jack Phillips, refused to create a custom wedding cake for a couple of gay men — but has said he’d gladly make anyone a birthday cake or shower cake, cookies or brownies — has been caught in a Kafkaesque nightmare.
In 2018, the US Supreme Court ruled by a 7-2 vote that Phillips did not violate the state’s anti-discrimination law. But the harassment of the religious baker continues to this day.
Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission filed another complaint against Phillips’ bakery, on behalf of transgender activist Autumn Scardina after the cake-maker declined to create a birthday cake that’s blue on the outside and pink on the inside to symbolize Scardina’s transition from male to female. Phillips countersued, claiming, justifiably, that he was being singled out for his religious beliefs. In early 2019, both parties dropped their cases.
But the activist continued the anti-religious crusade, filing separate litigation against Phillips’ bakeshop in District Court. Last year, a judge ruled in favor of the trans woman. That case is on appeal.
Readers know I support same-sex unions, as do a majority of Americans. But the persecution of people of faith should frighten us all, regardless of sexual orientation.
This is just another form of bigotry.
Unions Bleed After Top Court's OK of Membership Opt-Out
The nation's four largest government unions lost more than 200,000 members after the Supreme Court ruled that public sector workers could opt out of union membership, according to a report released Wednesday.
In the four years since the landmark Janus v. AFSCME ruling, the National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, Service Employees International Union, and American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees lost almost 219,000 union members. The report, published by the Commonwealth Foundation, found that the Supreme Court decision escalated a decades-long decline in dues-paying members at the public sector unions.
Despite the drop in membership, labor groups have scored legal and political victories that are buoying their political power. Union bosses scored a major victory last year in Virginia, where they attained collective bargaining rights for government workers for the first time through the then-Democratic-controlled state house. The Missouri Supreme Court last year voided a law that would have required unions to have regular recertification votes and annual reports on political activity. Colorado, meanwhile, passed a law in 2020 that unionized its 30,000 state government employees.
Overall, the Commonwealth Foundation downgraded five states in their annual report card, which measures workers' freedoms across the country. Jennifer Stefano, vice president of the Commonwealth Foundation, said the report shows there is still much progress to be made on expanding workers' rights—even as unions lose members.
"Government unions continue to exert undue influence on policymakers, advancing controversial causes counter to the interests and beliefs of their membership, while creating barriers that prevent civil servants from making their own decision about whether or not to associate with unions," Stefano told the Washington Free Beacon.
The decline in union membership comes as Democrats in Congress push for the PRO Act, which would limit employment for independent contractors and put an end to "right-to-work" laws in 28 states that ban union membership as a term of employment. The bill, which passed in the House, is supported by President Joe Biden, who refers to himself as the "most pro-union president" in history.
The top government unions have made passage of the PRO Act a top priority: The NEA, AFT, and AFSCME were the top three public political spending unions in the 2020 election—totaling $80 million that overwhelmingly went to Democratic candidates and groups.
AFSCME lost a total of 15,562 union members since the Janus decision. The NEA lost 84,980, SEIU lost 78,295, and AFT lost 39,773. The unions also had a significant number of members opt out of paid dues, as they lost 379,184 fee payers in total.
Rebecca Friedrichs, a public school teacher who challenged mandatory union membership at the Supreme Court in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, said workers will continue to opt out of membership as they learn more about their rights.
"I was abused by my unions for 28 years, while they pilfered money from my paychecks and picked on me for putting my students ahead of union politics," Friedrichs told the Free Beacon. "In every major decision the union faced in my career, they prioritized adults over children and valued their own pocketbooks more than the best interests of teachers."
How 1 Small European Study Changed Transgender Medicine in US
Excerpts from an interview
So I just want to underscore that what is being called crucial is actually based on the results of one very small study that was done years ago in the Netherlands. And I will explain what that study is about, but I first want to emphasize that the Dutch Protocol is the foundation of the type of care that doctors like myself, therapists, endocrinologists, who prescribe hormones, surgeons, and so on are being told is the way to approach these children, gender-affirming care.
Now, what happened in the Netherlands years ago was that, until the ’90s, the only people that would transition to live as the opposite sex with hormones and surgery were adults. And almost only, I mean, the vast majority were men. And the results for those men were not so good.
The cosmetic results were not good. And that is because they had already gone through male puberty. And so they had been masculinized by the testosterone that surges during male puberty and beyond. And so they had many features that made it difficult for them to appear feminine, as a female. And their mental health, after transition, was found to not be so good. And there were still high suicide rates in that population.
So in Holland, a group of doctors had the idea that if we could intervene in these people’s lives before puberty, and we could prevent the masculinization and feminization that happens during puberty—I mean, when you think about it, you think of someone who hasn’t gone through puberty, they’re a child. They don’t appear masculine or feminine, really. They could really present as either. They’re androgynous in a way.
So it’s only with the onset of puberty and the changes that occur, the breast growth and fat redistribution and facial hair and all the other things that happen, that it becomes more clear when we look at somebody whether they are male or female.
So these Dutch doctors wanted to find a way to identify those kids who were most likely to persist with their gender dysphoria for the rest of their lives, which is not an easy thing. In fact, it’s impossible.
You see, we can’t predict who’s going to persist with the gender dysphoria and who will get through it and will, after a number of years, reach a point of being comfortable with one’s biology, with one’s body. And that is called desistance.
So the kids whose gender dysphoria doesn’t last, they’re called desisters. And those for whom it does last, they’re called people who persist. So those are the terms that we use.
So the Dutch group tried, and we cannot—oh, what I meant to say, Katrina, is that we have no way of predicting which kids are going to fall into what category. But, I mean, we have at least 11 studies that conclusively tell us that the vast majority of kids do desist as they get into puberty and go through puberty and become adults.
Trinko: So for most of them, it’s not a permanent thing.
Grossman: Correct. And I’m talking about huge numbers here, depending on the study, between 60% to 90% … of these kids. So this is a very tricky thing. We don’t know which kids are going to persist and which kids are not.
But the majority of them, well, at least in the little kids, we have a new population now of the teenagers, but at least in the little kids, we know that chances are good, if not very good, that they will not persist. Many of them end up to be gay and lesbian, but they are comfortable and at peace with their physical bodies.
So the Dutch got together 55 kids who they thought probably a good chance that they will persist with their gender dysphoria their entire lives. And these were, again, kids who started complaining about their sex and not wanting to be their sex, or insisting that they were the opposite sex at a young age, 4, 6 years old, little kids. And then they persisted with that for a number of years. It didn’t come and go. It was persistent and they were insistent of this situation.
So what they did is they took a medication that we now call puberty blockers. They were not invented to block puberty. They were invented—well, they were used for different conditions. One is called precocious puberty. So precocious puberty, it’s also a rare condition, in which kids, boys and girls, they enter puberty way too early.
Grossman: I mean—
Trinko: Talk about a nightmare.
Grossman: Yeah. It is a nightmare. It’s a nightmare. Girls, 6, 7 years old begin to develop breasts.
Trinko: Oh, poor kids.
Grossman: So the treatment for those kids is very often to give them medications that will stop that. I mean, these kids, though, you can do laboratory work and discover that they actually have a medical condition. They have elevated levels of the hormones that shouldn’t be elevated at that time in their life. So we treat them for a few years with blockers, they’re now called blockers. And then when they’re 11, 12 years old, those medications are stopped, and they do go into regular puberty.
Trinko: So I’m guessing the kids in the Dutch study were not going through premature puberty.
Grossman: Correct, correct. They had gender dysphoria. Now, this was the first time that puberty blockers were being used in this context. They’re also used in other conditions. They’re used with prostate cancer, endometriosis. They’re used in sex offenders, because they block testosterone and testosterone increases sex drive. So they’re used in people who might be incarcerated or have really gotten into trouble with their urges.
Trinko: So what were the outcomes of these 55 kids who were put on puberty blockers?
Grossman: It’s a complicated subject, but for the purposes of our discussion, I’ll just say that they followed these kids for a year and a half after surgery. A year and a half is a very short time.
Trinko: Right, for the rest of your life.
Grossman: They did discover, though, that after a year and a half—oh, wait, I didn’t say something very important. So, two main things. First, that these kids developed gender dysphoria at an early age. And second is that if they had any significant mental health issues, they were disqualified.
Trinko: Got it. So that would be anything beyond gender dysphoria, OCD, depression. I don’t know all the kids’ mental health issues.
Grossman: Well, right now kids with gender dysphoria are presenting with many, many mental health—many of them are on the autism spectrum. They have anxiety disorder, depression, OCD, eating disorders, self-injury.
There’s many different issues that they struggle with.
Trinko: So these kids in the Dutch study, no other existing issues.
Grossman: Right. They were excluded if they had significant psychiatric comorbidities. That was an exclusionary point. So they were psychologically, generally, healthy kids, but they had gender dysphoria from an early age.
So they got 55 of these kids and they put them through this protocol. And they found that a year and a half, they were still very young, I think they were still, maybe 20, 21 at the oldest, and they were in general doing well. And they had less gender dysphoria.
So now there are many issues that I’m not going to go into here with the problems related to this Dutch study. I mentioned one just a minute ago, which is that the follow-up was so short. We now know that regret with undergoing medical and surgical transition takes a long time. It can take up to eight or 10 years to experience that regret, No. 1, and then to process it and accept it internally to the point of being able to admit it. And then you have to admit it not only to yourself, but to others.
So that is a very complicated process, because you have to imagine here that these young people have, over the years, everyone in their lives, their families and their friends and their connections, they’ve all told them, “This is my identity. I have a new identity. I’m not male. I’m female. This is my new name. These are my pronouns. I’m sure. I’m 100%. This is who I am. Don’t challenge me. I know who I am.”
And then after years, and after these huge decisions that they’ve gone through, and perhaps their families may not have been 100% on board and they may have alienated their relationships within their families—this is a very complex thing.
Trinko: You mentioned in your talk, I believe, correct me if I got this wrong, that part of the problem with American doctors relying on this study was these kids didn’t have coexisting mental issues or comorbidities. And today in America, most kids with gender dysphoria do, so the study doesn’t really seem applicable. Is that correct?
Grossman: That’s correct. What I’m saying is that the current population, you have to compare apples and apples. This is not apples and apples. This explosion of young people right now who are clamoring for puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones and surgeries are a completely different population than those kids that were part of the Dutch study.
You see, what’s going on in gender-affirming care is that the parents are actually being dismissed. Parents come into a therapist and say, “Wait a minute. What’s going on? Our child is autistic,” or, “Our child is being treated for autism. Our child was sexually molested a few years ago.” We need to look into all that stuff before we automatically say, “Oh, yeah, you’re a boy. Change your name, change your pronouns, put you on testosterone.”
And what’s happening, and I’m hearing this a lot from parents, is that the therapists will say, “If you don’t accept that you now have a son and not a daughter, you are the problem right now. And your lack of acceptance is going to increase the chance of your daughter ending her life.” So that’s a whole other discussion—
Trinko: The threat, yeah.
Grossman: … is the suicide thing. And maybe we can do that another time, because I know we don’t have much time.
But what I’m saying is that parents should not allow therapists to throw them under the bus. We’re talking about loving, devoted parents who from Day One, from the moment they found out they were pregnant or the moment they signed the adoption papers, are 100% devoted to this child and doing everything and more for this child. So it makes me very angry when I hear about therapists who throw these parents under the business and tell them that they’re the problem.
The parents are not the problem. The parents have very good reason to be concerned about what’s going on and to want to take it slowly and carefully and address all the other mental health issues that are going on first.
So there are a lot of websites. Let me just mention a few of them. I won’t be able to mention all of them, but first of all, I’ll mention my website, which is miriamgrossmanmd.com. And I have articles and videos. I wrote an important article for The Daily Wire going through the medical consequences of transitioning. It is behind a paywall, but it’s very thorough. And I think that it’s must reading for parents.
2 October, 2022
Why the left keeps smearing its political rivals as Hitlers or Mussolinis
Want to be Hitler? You don’t have to hate Jews, invade Poland or grow a silly mustache. There’s only one thing you have to do: Win an election against the left, or even look like you might.
We’ve seen that for years, of course. Democrats have likened every GOP presidential candidate back to Tom Dewey to the Austrian corporal.
When the Tea Party movement — best known for leaving the sites of its protests cleaner than it found them, in stark contrast to lefty groups like Occupy or BLM — appeared on the scene, they were immediately likened to Hitler’s brownshirts.
To listen to the Democrats and the media (I repeat myself), the Trump administration was a Nazi reign of terror over America, though none of those critics wound up targeted by the Gestapo. (That fell to pro-life activists and Trump supporters under the Biden administration.)
It’s not just in America. In France, farmers angry about government policies that were putting them out of business who protested by wearing yellow vests were quickly vilified as Nazi-like. “Immediately, the protesters were denounced as xenophobes, anti-Semites and homophobes,” observed French geographer Christophe Guilluy. “The elites present themselves as anti-fascist and anti-racist, but this is merely a way of defending their class interests.”
Yes, the story of recent politics is one of the West’s elites dividing people by race, fomenting antagonism to serve their own purposes, and posing as the only ones who can protect society from the bigotry and violence of . . . voters.
It happens over and over again (see President Donald Trump’s 2016 election or Brexit), and every time they run the same script.
They’re doing it again in response to this week’s election in Italy, which elevated Giorgia Meloni to be Italy’s first female prime minister. She identifies as a mother, a Catholic and an Italian and says she wants what’s best for the Italian people, not what serves the agenda of the Western gentry class.
This makes her . . . well, not Hitler exactly, but since it’s Italy, Mussolini.
At least, that’s what you’d think from the press coverage. Headlines call her the “most far-right” ruler since Mussolini and speak darkly of fascism and so on, according to the familiar script.
This time, at least, there has been some pushback from her liberal opponent, former PM Matteo Renzi, who said, “Personally I was against Giorgia Meloni. I’m not her best friend. We are rivals, but she is not a danger to democracy. The idea there is a risk of fascism in Italy is absolutely fake news.”
It always is.
Yet the question is why. Why does the liberal press constantly go out of its way to portray any threat to the status quo as a Nazi or fascist?
Well, you can’t call non-elite figures on the right communists, because 1) those people are on the left, and 2) the press generally thinks of communists as good guys.
So you go with the most loaded remaining terms, and that’s various accusations of bigotry and fascism. We’ve seen the same thing at home with Joe Biden standing in front of uniformed Marines on a blood-red stage calling Republicans fascists. (Or, “semi-fascists,” whatever that means.)
We used to teach kids in school that politics was a game of give and take. My own former US senator, Howard Baker, was famous for saying that you should listen to your opponents: “The other guy might be right.”
If you lost an election, that meant you weren’t doing what the people wanted. It was time to take stock, adjust your positions and try again next time while serving as the loyal opposition in the meantime.
Now any election the left loses is treated as an existential struggle, the equivalent of war. And all’s fair in war. Calling your opponents Nazis justifies whatever you want to do to them, and makes you the good guy when you do it.
Hurray for Matteo Renzi for showing that Italian politics isn’t as far-gone into this slough of hatred as our own. But then, the Italians have an advantage: Some of them still remember what real fascism looks like.
Opioids @ Work: The Hidden Scourge Sapping the Economy
Opioids are taking an immeasurable toll on the American workforce, James Varney reports for RealClearInvestigations, exploring a largely invisible crisis sustained by fentanyl smuggling from China and likely to haunt the nation's economic well-being for years if not decades to come. The only thing certain is that the costs are staggering, according to physicians, counselors, economists, workers, and public officials:
First, record fatal overdoses of workers in their prime years mean untold years of lost productivity from the economy.
Next, opioid addiction’s rise in the U.S. has exerted strong downward pressure on the workforce participation rate – although precise causality is difficult to establish.
It's similarly difficult to calculate just how much drug abuse has caused absenteeism and tardiness and swelled state disability rolls, but the connection is strong, experts say.
Opioids are a dirty secret that employers and workers are reluctant to talk about.
A neighborhood social media thread about opioids’ dire impact in the workforce unleashes a barrage of horror stories. Homeowners speak of an inability to find reliable handymen, painters, landscape workers, etc.
Tree service operator in suburban New Orleans: “If I’m lucky enough to have an employee that can pass a [urine analysis] the chances of them doing so after the first check is slim.”
The staying power of the crisis is suggested by other lasting national challenges, including the porous southern border – a major conduit for smuggled, Chinese-made fentanyl – and economic and social traumas set in motion by the pandemic.
NYC: A 17-year-old black girl was killed because politicians and activists care more about the gang members
A black author speaks:
I believe a society should be judged by how they treat their children. And by that benchmark, we are failing.
On September 28, 17-year-old Shayma Roman was shot twice and killed in a crossfire between two rival gangs. With the prospect of a prosperous future as a star student and basketball player at Brooklyn Democracy Academy, her life came to a tragic ending as her older sister, Tayma Roman, held her as she bled.
As violent crime rises in New York and innocent lives are lost, politicians in Albany like Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Carl Heastie push for more leniency through bail reform for criminals like the ones who murdered young Shayma. It’s evident that politicians like them empathize more with the people who are put in handcuffs than the ones who bleed in the streets.
The growing mentality to avoid appropriately disciplining our children when they’re young has now permeated the minds of politicians who stray away from applying responsibility for criminal behavior through justice.
Shayma’s death also is one of many recent indications of a nation that’s been battling sickness that we are in denial of: the broken family.
Gang violence is primarily committed by dysfunctional young men who come from homes that are plagued by family dysfunction, and even more pronounced, homes where there isn’t a healthy father figure to guide them. They are the lost boys of our society who wander around purposeless and vulnerable enough to carry out the objectives of their malicious street brethren.
The murderers of Shayma Roman likely never had a healthy fatherly authority figure to teach them appropriate boundaries as a child and have them understand that an essential attribute of manhood is to protect the innocent, not to harm them.
The United States has the highest rate of single-parent homes in the world and there are dire consequences to our country’s familial degradation. Socially, we’ve accepted this as being a new normal and minimized the impact that fatherless homes have on our children, especially our boys.
We’ve reduced fathers to being optional figures within the family and we’re unwilling to be critical of the women who choose undesirable men. We have parents who only care about themselves by constantly seeking to be empowered by means of independence and actively ignoring their responsibility to their children by not placing them in the best family structure possible: the nuclear family.
As a father, I understand that, fair or not, if my son succeeds it’s his success but if my son fails it’s my failure. We are fostering a culture of blameless parents as they place their children in structureless environments while lacking curiosity and accountability for their child’s destruction.
The gangs that torment communities across this great nation are the most pronounced and destructive sign of family decay and they’re angry enough to put other people’s lives at risk for self-gratification and group approval, including children like Shayma Roman.
We have to start seeing raising children as a potential life and death matter for other people as the children we neglect, and abuse today may find a reason to neglect our concerns and abuse our boundaries.
Our parental selfishness is always paid for by our children and it’s about time we alter our family planning methods, decisions, and outlook so children like Shayma Roman can have a future worth celebrating instead of a death that leaves loved ones grieving.
Trashing men in the movies
It was never going to be my cup of tea. Here was a play proclaimed by a London reviewer as a ‘roll call of real lives shattered by despicable brutality perpetrated by men’.
But it was hard to resist the National Theatre’s screening of Jodie Comer’s much-acclaimed London performance in Prima Facie, even if it meant suffering through a propaganda session from the playwright informing us that one in three women have been sexually assaulted.
I sat surrounded by rows of earnest women who nodded seriously at this absurd statistic. They must have used a pretty broad definition of sexual assault to come up with that one, perhaps inflated by that old chestnut, ‘unwanted staring’.
Jodie Comer is riveting and the play most compelling. It is an utterly fascinating example of how far we have come from the days when female reviewers grumbled that men were winning all the star parts in movies and theatre whilst female characters were cardboard cut-out, one-dimensional props to hero males.
Now the female producers and playwrights churning out much of today’s entertainment are bent on lionising women whilst displaying total indifference to making male characters believable.
They see no problem in the fact that the rape that is at the heart of Prima Facie is not only utterly illogical but also appears to be anatomically impossible.
Warning: spoiler alert for anyone still keen to see this production or others mentioned below.
First, let’s consider the motive for the crime; the reason the rape takes place.
Jodie Comer plays Tess, a successful barrister who happily gets involved with her colleague Damien. She’s keen. ‘I find myself kissing Damo …’ she says, also describing their coupling on the sofa in his office. Is she falling for him? ‘Maybe,’ she says, clearly enjoying the thought of him as her boyfriend.
Then comes the night in question… It begins with dinner at the local Japanese place. Plenty of sake, followed by wine. Home to her place. Intimate talk, kissing, ‘It’s hot and sexy. We seem to fall into having sex,’ she says.
Later they end up in bed with more kissing and cuddling. But suddenly, presumably due to all that alcohol, she has an overwhelming desire to vomit. She makes it to the loo. He’s kind, holds her hair back while she vomits, and then carefully carries her back to bed.
Then, he rapes her. Go figure. Why on earth would he? He’s just had loving sex with her and is apparently enjoying their lusty new relationship.
But according to feminist lawyer turned playwright, this must be just what men do. Patriarchal bullies get their kicks out of asserting their power over vomit-splattered women. No need for any further explanation.
Then there’s the vital question of how it happens. During Act II, which features Tess’s cross-examination, details come out of the attack. Tess describes how she was pinned down. Using one of his hands Damo grips both her hands ‘pulled high above my head’ whilst his other hand is over her mouth, so she can’t cry out. ‘He was squashing me,’ she says, which presumably means he was lying flat on top of her.
My question is how then does he get in? Suffice to say, under the described circumstances it would be tricky without the use of hands and harder still to get traction for what Germaine Greer called the ‘piston mechanics’ necessary for successful rooting.
Recently I found myself discussing all this with a group at dinner and we ended up with guests on the floor trying to work out if the Prima Facie rape scenario was physically achievable – with hilarious results. But no doubt I was the only one in that rapt movie audience remotely concerned about whether this rape was possible.
When it comes to painting men as villains such details don’t matter. Flawed male characters, whether they be dangerous creeps or merely pathetic losers, simply act as foils to the virtuous, scintillating creature that is today’s woman.
One of my favourite movie performances is Bill Murray in Lost in Translation, where he plays a fading movie star stuck filming in a Japanese hotel who befriends a young woman, played by Scarlett Johansson, who is portraying an equally lost soul. He’s in a troubled marriage, she clearly has the hots for him, yet he resists temptation, valuing their growing friendship. It’s a complex, touching story celebrating male restraint and kindness.
That was in 2003, before the rot really set in. Over the next couple of decades, men were pushed ruthlessly from their pedestals. By 2020, Sofia Coppola, the producer of Lost in Translation, again called upon the talented Bill Murray, this time for her comedy On The Rocks, where he portrays a philandering father whose daughter fears her husband is having an affair. In this supposedly jolly romp dad drags his daughter around town spying on the husband, indulging her paranoia with crass comments about ‘that’s the way men are’. No moral complexity here – just degrading stereotypes about men who can’t keep their trousers zipped. Yawn.
Many commentators have picked up on the male heroes’ fall from grace in the movies. There’s a funny rant by Scottish YouTuber, Critical Drinker. It’s called Why modern movies suck – they’re destroying our heroes.
He’s acerbic about the latest Star Wars sequel and talks about Han Solo whom he points out, ‘Started out as a selfish smuggler who only cared about Number 1 but over the first three movies transformed into a smart, resourceful, brave fighter and protector for Princess Leia, ready to risk everything for the sake of his friends. Pretty cool, right?’
The YouTuber then describes the sequel set thirty years later, where Solo is, ‘A cynical, self-absorbed smuggler who’s lost track of his own shit, a dead-beat dad who’s abandoned his wife and son, and an incompetent criminal who’s made enemies across the galaxy.’ Naturally Solo now has to be constantly rescued by a ‘non-diverse female space Jesus’.
Solo is supposed to be in his sixties yet he is ‘somehow less experienced, competent, and mature than when we first met him. All his experiences, his character development and achievements have been rendered completely moot’.
A fitting epitaph, perhaps, to the fate of generations of once competent men in this feminist world?
What bugs me is even when movies try to portray admirable, sensitive male characters, they still can’t get them right. I recently enjoyed Emma Thompson’s outstanding performance in Good Luck to You, Leo Grande. Thompson plays Nancy, an uptight widow who, having never experienced an orgasm, decides to find someone who can show her what she was missing. She lucks out with gorgeous Leo, a sex worker of rare charm and sensitivity.
It’s a clever production, as Leo gradually coaxes the tense, brittle Nancy through her insecurities. He’s quite believable as a complex, intelligent young man who sees his job as a vocation. Yet one scene grated. There’s a critical moment when Nancy pushes too hard in her yearning to play social worker to the young man. Leo reacts with fierce anger and distress to her probing.
Then, without skipping a beat, he’s back on the job, willing and able to tick off the next item on Nancy’s wish list, her desire to perform fellatio. Hmm, the essence of his character is his sensitivity, a soft, sincere man whose emotional accessibility is critical to his craft. Yet the movie’s female playwright Katy Brand glibly assumes his male appendage would snap to attention even as he is still reeling from that emotional upset.
The truth is that the spirit may be willing but this particular flesh is weak and capricious and rarely responds to commands – as any man could tell you. The problem is no one bothers to ask them anymore.
Fantastic lies about white settlement of Australia
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has thrown his support behind truth-telling as a softener for the emotional campaign for the Voice to Parliament referendum. Let’s hope he’s not relying on the SBS series "The Australian Wars" billed as ‘the documentary that reveals the truth of Australia’s history’.
The first episode of the show, produced by Rachel Perkins, daughter of the late Charles Perkins, made a number of claims which cannot be verified but serve to vilify the nation’s European colonisers.
In the introductory episode the staggering claim is made that 100,000 Aboriginals were murdered by troops or settlers in wars which lasted a century.
There is no evidence presented to justify this statement and even the final findings of the eight-year long Colonial Frontier Massacres Digital Map Project (elements of which have been successfully challenged) conducted by University of Newcastle emeritus professor Lyndall Ryan do not support this figure. The Guardian, which supported Professor Ryan’s flawed project, analysed the data and found that between 11,000 and 14,000 Aboriginal people died.
Which leaves a credibility gap into which Perkins’ 89,000 to 86,000 alleged deaths have fallen.
War is usually defined as a state of armed conflict between two countries or different groups within a country but it clear that there was never a state of war between Great Britain and an Aboriginal nation as there were no Aboriginal nations, no matter how nation is defined.
Further, the groups of Aboriginals who resisted European settlement did not constitute a coherent body.
Wars is too strong a term for what were at best deadly skirmishes between soldiers and a handful of Aboriginal clan leaders initially and later between small Aboriginal bands and police or settlers.
The claim is also made that children were taken as ‘slaves’ and that women and children were the most valuable commodities in the nascent colony though there is no evidence that slavery was ever practised by the colonisers and certainly no evidence that women and children were traded as commodities.
The wars, according to the documentary, were brought about because Governor Arthur Phillip bypassed an ancient legal system on his arrival.
This is Bruce Pascoe humbug on steroids. There was no Aboriginal legal system covering the continent. It was very much different strokes for different folks depending upon which clan or tribe they belonged to. In much the same way as some Aboriginal oligarchs today sequester all the royalties arising from mining in their areas and deny funding to those who aren’t part of their clan or kinship group.
Another of the many demands the Voice makes is for a treaty with Australia, which not only supposes that there is an actual cohesive Aboriginal nation and that such a nation could have a treaty with the nation that it exists within, which is patently nonsensical, but it also begs the question why didn’t any Aboriginal seek a treaty as the Maori had done when the tide of European settlement reached New Zealand?
I put this question to Sir Tipene O’Regan (now Ta Tipene O’Regan) twenty-three years ago at his Auckland home during the 1999 APEC conference.
O’Regan, who was named 2022 New Zealander of the Year in March, is the son of an Irish surgeon and activist Rolland O’Regan and Rena Ruiha, who was a member of Ngai Tahu tribe.
As the driving force behind a number of successful land and sea fisheries claims for the Ngai Tahu with legendary negotiating skills, his views on indigenous claims are worth listening to.
He told me that there were vast cultural differences between the Maori and the Aboriginals. All indigenous people are not the same. He said he had attended international meetings of indigenous groups and felt closer to Native Americans from the Pacific Northwest (in particular the Kwakiutl), than the Australian Aboriginal representatives.
‘We are both seafaring people, when Europeans arrived we understood trade and treaties, culturally we are similar, we carve, we had complex oral histories detailing our heritage.’
The Maori nobility, he said, were able to recite their family lineage and this oral recitation of genealogy (whakapapa in Maori) was essential to define who was privileged and who was a slave.
‘Because knowledge of your whakapapa was essential, the Maori embraced writing to set down their family trees so they would not lose their identities and within the first century of the arrival of Europeans, the level of literacy was higher among Maori than among the settlers.’
The Maori, he said, were pressed for space and resources and each tribe or iwi had clearly defined boundaries which required the development of a diplomatic code if there was not to be perpetual war.
When Europeans landed, the shore dwellers could not retreat as they would be encroaching on the tribe up the hill. They had to negotiate a settlement with the new arrivals and arrangements for them to collect wood and water. They could not retreat.
Aboriginals, on the other hand, in his view, had almost unlimited opportunities to withdraw and they did.
I was unfortunately unable to contact Ta Tipene through the University of Auckland to seek his view on the Voice but as we don’t yet know in what form the Labor government proposal will be presented, the questions would be hypothetical.
Perkins and her crew are in no doubt about the need for a Voice, treaty and truth-telling.
Perhaps they could just start by telling the truth and letting the nation decide whether the rest is necessary.
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